Lemon Parmesan Chicken Spaghetti Platter

Chicken – Lemon & Parmesan Chicken

Lemon & Parmesan Chicken
Lemon Parmesan Chicken Spaghetti Platter
Here’s a really easy way to get some vegetables into you and perhaps coax them into a cranky child.  I’ve taken to blitzing greens lately, in particular kale and broccoli and I just blanch them with hot water for speedy cooking.
You might notice that I’m using a glass baking dish in the pictures here and that’s a change that I’ve made lately too.  I was fed up of going at my rusting baking trays with ‘steel wool’ in efforts to scrape the burned on bits off and they just never felt really clean after the first use, whereas the glass ones clean beautifully in the dishwasher.
I’ve also pulled out my spaghetti measure in an effort to not end up with a mountain of left-over pasta.
There’s a video that accompanies this recipe over on my instagram and facebook pages if you’d like to see as well as read.
Lemon & Parmesan Chicken
Lemon & Parmesan Chicken
Lemon & Parmesan Chicken
Lemon & Parmesan Chicken
Lemon & Parmesan Chicken
Lemon & Parmesan Chicken
You will need:
4 chicken breasts
3 fat garlic cloves
Rapeseed oil
250g cherry tomatoes
300ml chicken stock
tub creme fraiche – 200ml or 250g approx
1 lemon (using zest & juice)
150g washed and roughly chopped/shredded kale
Small handful pinenuts
Small handful grated parmesan
Spaghetti
(Note: Boil the kettle and have the food processor out for blitzing kale.  You also need a colander set over a large saucepan)
Method:
Heat the fan oven to 200
Peel and slice the fat garlic cloves in half
Slice the chicken breasts in half
Place the cut garlic, chicken and the whole cherry tomatoes into a baking dish / tray and drizzle with some oil, mix well to coat everything and place in oven to partially cook for 10 mins.
Meanwhile get on with some of the prep. : blitz the kale using a food processor and add in the zest of a lemon and set aside.
Juice the lemon and set aside.
Grate the parmesan and set aside.
Once the chicken has had 10 minutes of cooking time add in the chicken stock and return to cook in the oven for a further 10 minutes.
Finish off the rest of the prep while the chicken finishes cooking :
Dry fry the pine-nuts until golden brown and set aside.
Cook the spaghetti.
Place the blitzed kale and zested lemon in a colander placed over a large saucepan and pour over a kettle full of boiling water pressing the water through the colander with a spatula so that the kale is blanched but not soggy.
Remove the chicken from the oven, take out the chicken pieces and set aside.  Add the creme fraiche and lemon zest into the chicken stock and mix with a whisk to form a sauce.  Add in the cooked spaghetti and the blanched kale and mix well.
Place the chicken back on top.  Grate parmesan all over and top with toasted pine-nuts.
Enjoy!
‘Til next time, Sheila

Platter Black Eye Bean Meatballs

Black Eye Meatballs with loaded Spaghetti

Black Eye Bean Meatballs & Loaded Spaghetti

Platter Black Eye Bean Meatballs
We’ve gotten over  the holidays but still have a bit to go to see the other side of Winter which is hard.  Unless of course you live in Australia or other sunny climes.  Comfort food is a natural requirement in the cold but when you’ve had wall to wall chocolate for 2 weeks most of us are contemplating getting our jaws wired.

kale and brocoli
kale broccoli and lemon blitz

This recipe is a healthier version of spaghetti meatballs that will still satisfy even without the grease or the heavy sauce.  The sauce is ultra-lightweight and the meatballs leave much of their meat fat behind in the baking tray rendering them more healthy than usual.  I’ve used black eye beans for added non-meat protein.  The tins of beans I buy are pre-cooked and called black eye beans, on the tin it says they’re also known as black eye peas but I’m no expert!
The spaghetti gets ‘loaded’ up with extra nutrients in the form of blitzed and blanched kale and broccoli.  I’m loving my food processor lately and using it to speed up the cooking process of whatever I can.  Cooking the veggies in this way means minimal loss of nutrients as they are quickly blanched and ready to serve .
Bowl of Meatballs
Black Eye Bean Meatballs & Loaded Spaghetti
Serves 6.
(leftovers reheat well in the microwave.)
You will need:
2 x 400g packs round steak beef mince (800g total)
2 x 400g tin black eye beans
2 egg
1 red chilli (or use some dried chilli flakes)
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 red onion
Spaghetti
200ml creme fraiche
zest & juice 1 lemon
Handful Flaked Almond
Grated parmesan and lemon slices to serve
Method:
Pre-heat a fan oven to 200C
Use a food processor to blitz the red onion and red chilli then blitz in the eggs.
Place the minced meat and drained black eye beans in a large bowl.
Add the blitzed onion mix to the meat and beans along with the spices (cumin & coriander) and mix well, season with salt and pepper.
Shape into golf-ball sized meatballs placing them onto a baking tray (bit bigger than golfball!).  You should get around 24.
Put these in the oven at 200C for 15 mins and then reduce heat to 180C for 10 mins.
Meanwhile roughly chop the broccoli and blitz in food processor.  Place in large colander.
Blitz the kale and add into the broccoli and mix well, add in the zest of the lemon and mix through.
Boil a kettle of water and with the colander positioned over a large saucepan pour boiling water over the broccoli and kale to blanch it.  Press it with a spatula to squeeze out excess water and set aside.
Toast / dry-fry the flaked almonds and set aside.
Whisk together the juice of the lemon and the tub of creme fraiche in a jug and set aside.
Keep an eye on the meatball cooking time and at around 20 mins go ahead and cook the spaghetti.
When everything is ready, strain the spaghetti and reserve a cupful of the cooking water.
Put the spaghetti into a large platter, mix through the blanched kale and broccoli and the creme fraiche sauce with enough cooking water to coat everything well.
Place the meatballs on top, scattering over the flaked almonds.
Serve with grated parmesan and sliced lemons.
Enjoy!
Til next time, Sheila

p.s. I’ll be posting a video on my instagram and facebook pages over the coming days so check that out if you like!

Food photography Marta Miklinska, Food Styling by Jette Virdi

Cranberry Croque Monsieur – Recipe 9 of 12 from Enjoy!

Cranberry Croque Monsieur
Look at this for a beautiful image, I can’t believe that it was photographed in my home.  It really shows how something very simple can be spectacular.  There is a misconception that because I am a food blogger with 2 published recipe books that the food in my house is always amazing. It’s not!  There are days when I am so busy with work that I don’t have time to shop or cook and there is always a frozen pizza or two in my freezer.  I am not a purist food saint.  Food made from fresh ingredients will always taste better than frozen food though and on one of the busy days I would definitely opt for this glorious croque monsieur over a pizza.   This will be an excellent use of any left-over baked ham and cranberry sauce after Christmas and that cheese, there will definitely be left-over cheese.

Food photography Marta Miklinska, Food Styling by Jette Virdi

Food photography Marta Miklinska, Food Styling by Jette Virdi

Cranberry Croque Monsieur
Serves 1
You will need:
2 slices of granary or multi-seed whole-wheat bread
Butter
Cranberry sauce
Cooked ham slices
Cheddar cheese slices
Rocket leaves
Red onion, thinly sliced
Method:
Heat the sandwich toaster. Butter both sides of the bread, then smear one side with a generous layer of cranberry sauce. Cover with slices of ham and cheese and a scattering of rocket leaves and sliced onion. Close the sandwich, toast until golden brown and enjoy!
‘Til next time, Sheila.

Vegetarian Lasagne

Vegetarian Lasagne – Recipe 7 of 12 from Enjoy!

Melt in the mouth.  That’s the description my daughter Éimear gave as she tucked in heartily to a mammoth portion of this vegetarian lasagne yesterday.  When I cook I often ask myself what can I do to make something  easier and for this recipe it was the white sauce.  For a classic white sauce there would be infusing of flavours into milk, the making of a roux and at least 15 to 20 minutes cooking  to the end result.  Mine takes probably 3 minutes at most.
Stash this recipe for one of those “i need something other than turkey” days of the holidays because it’s now only 5 more weeks (recipes) until Christmas!! The lights went on in Cork City this evening so let the shopping begin.
Vegetarian Lasagne
Vegetarian Lasagne
Vegetarian Lasagne
Vegetarian Lasagne
Vegetarian Lasagne
Vegetarian Lasagne:
You will need:
250g green speckled or puy lentils (see the note below)
4 garlic cloves
2 medium onions
3 tbsp rapeseed oil, plus a little extra
300g mushrooms
2 tsp oregano
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato purée
3 tbsp water
250g ricotta cheese
75g grated Parmesan, plus a little extra
150ml crème fraîche (approx. 6 tbsps
2 tbsp basil pesto
Fresh lasagne pasta sheets
Method:
Place the lentils in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add a peeled clove of garlic and bring to the boil for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer for a further 15–20 minutes, then drain, removing and discarding the garlic clove.
Meanwhile, roughly chop the onions. Heat 2 tablespoons of the rapeseed oil in a large pan over a low heat, then add the onions and let them soften for 5 minutes. Peel and crush the three remaining garlic cloves. Add to the softened onion, stir through and cook for 1 minute.
Chop the mushrooms into bite-size pieces. Turn the heat up add them to the pan of onions along with the oregano and another tablespoon of oil. Stir through and cook for a couple of minutes, until the mushrooms start to colour.
Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and the cooked, drained lentils. Stir well, then add the tomato purée and water. Reduce to a simmer for a couple of minutes while you prepare the cheesy sauce.
Preheat a fan oven to 180°C.
Mix the ricotta, grated Parmesan, crème fraîche and basil pesto together in a bowl to a thick sauce consistency. If you need to loosen it up a little, add some oil.
Layer up the lasagne in a large ovenproof baking dish – spread half of the lentil mix on the base of the dish and top with a layer of lasagne sheets, then the remaining lentil mix, half of the cheese sauce, a layer of lasagne sheets, then the remaining cheese sauce. Top with a little grated Parmesan and cook in the oven for 30 minutes, until the cheese is turning golden brown.
Note: Follow the directions on your packet of lentils for cooking – the ones I buy don’t require pre-soaking, but some do. Feel free to substitute a drained tin of pre-cooked lentils if you prefer.
Enjoy!
‘Til next time, Sheila.

baked potato close up

Eight Ways with Baked Potatoes – Recipe 6 of 12 from Enjoy!

The humble spud.  A divine medium to be elevated, cajoled, flourished, transformed in whatever direction you chose.  Mash, Champ, Deep-fry, Roast, Gratin, Dauphinoise, Hasselback, Gnocchi, Rosti, Hash, Boxty or as is here kept simple and straightforward baked in its skin until a crispy edible shell beholds a smooth creamy innard that deserves to be adorned.  Here I crown it with Irish Wicklow Blue Brie, Cranberry Sauce and a garnish of chives which will be a simple way come Christmas time to use up that extravagant cheese-board selection and those extra  jars of ‘just in case’ cranberry sauce.
irish wicklow blue brie
cranberry sauce
baked potatoes
In my cookbook Enjoy! I offer 8 alternative ways to serve baked potatoes and it makes a fabulously easy Saturday supper.

Eight Ways with Baked Potatoes
You will need / Method:
Large baking potatoes (I normally use Roosters)
Pre-heat oven to 200oC
Bake scrubbed potatoes (skin on) for 45 minutes to an hour  (depending on size) (push a knife into the centre and it should glide easily when done)
Then indulge with lashings of melted butter, salt and pepper
Or serve in any of the 8 following ways:

  1. Heated kidney beans with chopped red chilli, sprinkled with chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and finished with a dollop of Greek yoghurt

or

  1. Spiced ratatouille – soften some chopped onions, garlic, peppers and celery in oil with a dash of smoked paprika

or

  1. Herby lentils – simply soften a chopped onion in a little oil with some herbes de Provence, then add a tin of drained lentils and heat it through

or

  1. Brie, cranberry sauce and rocket leaves

 

  1. Crispy fried pancetta, grated Parmesan and rocket leaves

or

  1. Basil pesto and diced cooked chicken breast with halved cherry tomatoes

or

  1. Garlic butter and peppered sweetcorn kernels – heat a tin of sweetcorn, add a knob of garlic butter and season generously with freshly ground salt and black pepper

or

  1. Halved black olives, feta cubes, sliced beef tomato, sliced red onion and a drizzle of rapeseed oil

    No.4 being the simplest is my favourite embellished with a scattering of chives!
    baked potato close up
    Enjoy!
    ‘Til next time, Sheila