Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Chinese Chicken, Peppers & Black Bean Sauce – Slow Cooker Recipe

31st January & I hope you’re keeping well.  Time is nigh to celebrate with Recipe No. 1 of 2020.  Welcome to the real beginning of the New Year because January was complete and utter drudge now wasn’t it?  I’ve been expanding my repertoire of Slow Cooker recipes and have worked on perfecting this Chinese one, it was good before, and now it’s better.  Next I have to work on the Chicken Curry one as it’s been constructively critiqued as a little bland and a little watery!

First up are the photos and then if you’d like to try it out the ingredients and method are below.






Chinese Chicken, Peppers & Black Bean Sauce.

You will need:
1kg chicken breast – cut into chunks
1 onion
3 red chillies
2 peppers (i used 1 red, 1 green)
2 tins black beans
1 tsp cornflour
100ml water
4 tbsp grated ginger or ginger puree
2 tbsp garlic puree or 3 crushed garlic cloves
12 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp golden syrup
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar or red/white wine vinegar
1 tbsp chilli flakes
peanuts & spring onion to garnish
suggest boiled rice to serve
 Method:
Place chicken chunks in the base of the Slow Cooker
Next add in chopped onion chunks, 3 finely chopped red chillies, 2 sliced peppers
Drain the black beans and add these next
In a jug mix together the 1 tsp cornflour and 100ml cold water
Into the jug add the remaining ingredients : ginger, garlic, soy sauce, golden syrup, vinegar, chilli flakes
Mix well
Cook on high in the slow cooker for 4 hours
Chop up spring onion and scatter on top along with peanuts before serving with some boiled rice.
Enjoy!
xx Sheila

Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Brie Stuffed Chicken Breast

This is one of my recipes of the summer but so robust and hearty it will fare well at any time of the year. It was enjoyed a deux with my husband in beautiful West Cork in mid-August. The photos below the ingredients and method will show you how this came together. A side of paprika baby roast potatoes would be excellent with this or keep it light with a side of dressed mixed leaves. Here I’ve simply served with some pan-fried courgette and a side of garlic bread.

brie stuffed chicken

Ingredients: (to serve 2)
2 chicken breasts & a little oil to pan-fry
3 garlic cloves
2 tbsp chopped parsley (reserve 1 to garnish)
1 tbsp chopped sundried tomatoes
2 slices brie
Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 200
Heat some oil in a frying pan
Slice each chicken breast lenghtways along one side but leave closed
Pan-fry the chicken breasts until golden on each side
Meanwhile chop the garlic, parsley & sundried tomatoes and mix together (keep back 1 tbsp of the parsley for garnish)
Open out the chicken breast (see pics below) and top with the tomato mix
Oven cook for 5 minutes
Place a slice of brie on each chicken breast and sandwich it closed
Return to the oven to cook for a further 5 minutes
Ready to serve with whatever you fancy

ingredients
brie stuffed chicken

A new favourite for me, so simple & tasty.
xx Sheila

Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Baked Chicken & Bulghar Wheat (or is it bulgur or bulgar?!)

Really the spelling doesn’t matter now does it? The thing I want to share with you is the fact that you can bake it. Yes you can bake bulgur wheat!!! Baking it in a dish like this alongside chicken, onions and garlic means the flavour enhancement is huge.

This dish is for a day that you don’t really feel like cooking but are in need of something decent and comforting. There is only a tiny bit of prep to this and it then more or less looks after itself over the course of an hour which will give you time to do a few bits – like put the bins out and unload the dishwasher because the last few people who encountered the FULL to overflowing bins and dishwasher chose to ignore them, didn’t they?

I’ll show you a few pictures here first of how the dish came together and you’ll find the written ingredients list and method below them….

A packet of frozen veg, patiently defrosting for the first 30 mins of cooking time……..
Bulgar gets added AFTER chicken has cooked for 30 minutes first
This goes back in the oven for a further 30 minutes

You will need / Ingredients:
Chicken pieces – skin on – I used thighs
A little oil
2 onions
6 garlic cloves
1 tin chickpeas
Hot paprika
Tomato passata – 500g
Bulgar Wheat – 250g
Frozen Veg – 450g
Chicken Stock – 500ml – from cube is fine
1 lemon
1 tbsp chopped parsley
4 tbsp greek yoghurt
Half cucumber
Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 200C
Open the frozen veg onto a plate and leave to semi-defrost
Peel and chop the two onions into wedges, peel and slice each garlic clove in two
Arrange the chicken pieces in the base of large oven proof casserole dish
Place the onion, garlic and drained chickpeas in between the chicken pieces
Pour a little oil onto the chicken and pour the tomato passata in between the chicken pieces
Sprinkle hot paprika on top
Bake in the hot oven for 30 minutes
Prepare a raita (sauce/dressing) by combining the juice of 1 lemon, 1 tbsp chopped parsley, 4 tbsp greek yoghurt and half a cucumber cut into small cubes
After the chicken has cooked for 30 minutes remove from the oven and scatter the bulgur on top – in between the chicken pieces, then scatter the semi-defrosted vegetables on top and press down with a fork so everything is touching some tomato
Lastly pour over the hot chicken stock and continue to bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Serve dressed with some raita.

Enjoy!
xx Sheila



Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Berbere Baked Chicken

Berbere Baked Chicken
Sunday morning, he took two of the lads to football training and I jumped out of bed knowing that food had to be got for their return and a decent dinner made as the twin girls had a football match later in the afternoon.  No ordinary football match – a Senior County Final and a replay at that – so woe betide me if there were no food. (October 2018).  Off I went, fitting in a yoga class and then a flit through the supermarket.  On my return however they were back and my hero of a husband was already cleaning the kitchen with Niall having cooked for them all.  They had polished off scrambled eggs and black pudding and there was no panic for me to cook.  I didn’t mention that I had stopped off for a scone and a cappuccino in between the yoga and the shopping did I?  It’s an official habit of mine now, a scone with Irish butter and a cappuccino.  It’s usually accompanied by a catch up on my Instagram Feed and those stories can be very distracting!
This lack of time pressure made my foray into the kitchen so much more enjoyable.  It is so much nicer to cook when you yourself are not starving and the masses are not persistently inquiring as to the nature of the dish and ‘when will it be ready?’
Berbere Baked Chicken
I had intended on a quick cook dish though and proceeded with my plan.  Oven was preheated, vegetables quickly chopped and then tipped in a large baking dish with some berbere dusted chicken mini fillets.
Is Berbere new to you?  It is to me.  A recently discovered (by me!) Ethiopian origin spice blend similar to Ras El Hanout but with a really gentle warmth.  I found it on the shelves of my local Dunnes Stores and have been using it for the past week or so and it’s going down well with everyone.
Berbere
The Berbere baked chicken was accompanied by harissa spiced couscous with a little coriander mixed through and a good dollop of natural yoghurt spiked with lemon juice and topped with a sprinkling of Berbere for colour.
Harissa Couscous
Berbere yoghurt
Berbere baked chicken
Baked Berbere Chicken:
You will need:
A few baby potatoes
1 Aubergine
1 courgette
1 red pepper
1 red onion
Olive oil or rapeseed oil
Mini chicken fillets 400-700g (judge by how many you want to feed!)
Berbere spice blend
Serve with couscous made with tsp harissa paste and some coriander
Natural yoghurt spiked with lemon juice and dusted with berbere.
Method:
Preheat the fan oven to 200C
Microwave the baby potatoes for 5 to 10 mins until easy to cut through
Cube the aubergine and courgette
Deseed and slice the red pepper
Peel and slice the red onion
Scatter the vegetables in the base of a large baking dish
Slice the par-cooked baby potatoes and scatter on top
Drizzle some oil over the vegetables and then mix them around
Place the chicken mini fillets on top of the chopped vegetables, drizzle with some oil and dust with berbere.
Cook in the hot oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through – turning the chicken over midway through cooking and dusting with a little more berbere.
Enjoy! Sheila

Posted in Dinner Party, Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Moroccan Meatballs

Moroccan Meatballs

Moroccan Meatballs

So why would I call this meatball dish Moroccan then?  When I cook with lamb and spices like cumin and cinnamon I think of Middle Eastern or North African cooking so there you have it, the simple explanation is that it just makes me think of Morocco or Moroccan cooking.  Though I’ve never been to Morocco and neither have I eaten in a specifically Moroccan restaurant so I have absorbed this probably mostly from cooking programmes.  There definitely was a Jamie Oliver one where he was in Morocco and oh let me tell you the spice markets are amAAAAAAAzing there.  And how would I know – because I saw it on the telly of course.

The secret is the cinnamon I think.  It’s something that Westerners traditionally associate with sweet dishes, particularly with apple dishes likes pies and crumbles.  It sets these meatballs on a more exotic path than the Italian one’s that we’re more used to.

This recipe is from my first cookbook ‘Gimme the Recipe’ – I haven’t cooked it in ages and it will be gracing my table this week.  Perfect warming Autumnal fare.  I hope you get a chance to try it sometime too.

Moroccan Meatballs

Moroccan Meatballs

(serves 6)

You will need
1 large red onion
3cm thumb-width piece of ginger
3 garlic cloves
1 red chilli
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
800g minced lamb
1 tbsp olive oil
2 x 400g cans plum tomatoes
250ml chicken stock
Handful of fresh coriander to garnish
Method:
Peel and roughly chop the red onion, ginger and garlic, and blitz together with the deseeded chopped chilli, cumin and cinnamon in a mini chopper or food processor to create a spicy paste.
Use a fork or your hands to mix the lamb with half of the spicy paste in a bowl and then shape them into meatballs the size of golf-balls.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat and brown the meatballs.
Push the meatballs to the sides of the pan and cook the rest of the spicy paste in the centre of the pan for 1 minute
Add the plum tomatoes to the centre of the pan and roughly chop them with a knife. Add the chicken stock and stir to combine with the tomatoes, paste and meatballs.
Bring to the boil then reduce to simmer for 25–30 minutes. (Test the centre of a meatball to check that it is cooked through.)
Serve with a sprinkling of chopped fresh coriander and Moroccan couscous or rice.
Enjoy! Sheila

Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Spaghetti with Pesto, Bacon & Broccoli – Quick, Simple & Cheap

Spaghetti with Pesto, Bacon and Broccoli

Easy Food

What do you want to eat? Maybe the question should be what do you want to cook?  At this time of year with the seasons changing and a chill sometimes seeping in through any gap it can find, you may be looking for comfort in a bowl.  This particular bowl of comfort also has the added benefits of being quick, simple and cheap.  The latter of course depending on how in-season broccoli is for you, whether your pesto and parmesan are gourmet or own-brand and yes the humble rasher of bacon too could veer towards expensive if you are wont to artisanal produce.  Well each to their own on that front, only a food snob would judge you by your choice of ingredients and boy do they exist.  Regardless of provenance I guarantee that the end result will be delicious.
(Perfect for any students of any age in your life.)
Easy food

Spaghetti with Pesto, Bacon and Broccoli

You will need: (serves 4–5)
400g broccoli (1 small head)
2 garlic cloves
300g cherry tomatoes
400g dried spaghetti
10 rashers (approximately 300g)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp basil pesto (see next page for home-made recipe)
Grated Parmesan cheese to garnish
Method:
Fill up a large saucepan with boiling water and bring it back to the boil.
Prepare the broccoli by giving it a quick rinse and breaking it up into florets and set aside.
Peel and crush the garlic and set aside.
Rinse and slice the cherry tomatoes in half and set aside.
Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water for 6* minutes, while gently frying the rashers in a frying pan in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
Occasionally stir the spaghetti so that it does not stick together.
After 6* minutes, add the broccoli florets to the spaghetti and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the other tablespoon of olive oil to the rashers and add in the crushed garlic and halved cherry tomatoes.
After a total cooking time of 8* minutes drain the spaghetti and broccoli, retaining about a half a cup of the cooking water.
Roughly chop the rashers in the pan and then stir the rashers, garlic and cherry tomato mix into the spaghetti and broccoli.
Stir in the pesto and enough of the reserved cooking water to moisten.
Serve hot with some extra pesto and grated Parmesan.
*you may need to adjust the cooking time depending on cooking time of your spaghetti so check the pack
Enjoy! Sheila.

Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Crispy Lardon & Mozzarella topped baked potatoes for a Simple Supper

Tasty, Easy and Very Affordable here’s a simple supper idea.  Here’s another dinner idea told mostly in pictures.

Crispy Lardon & Mozzarella topped baked potatoes for a Simple Supper

You will need:
Potatoes for baking
Bacon lardons
Onions
Some oil
Dried basil
Mozzarella ball
Iceberg lettuce
Plum tomatoes
Mini mozzarella balls
Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar

Method:
STEP 1 – Put potatoes on to bake in hot oven (takes 40mins to 1 hour depending on size)
10 minutes before the potatoes are fully cooked do the following :

Fry up the lardons – 5 mins approx.

add diced onion and a little oil to the pan of lardons – cook 5 mins more

add basil – i used 1 tbsp

Remove almost cooked potatoes from oven

 

Cut the potatoes in half

 

 

 

top with the bacon and onion mixture

 

Tear apart a ball of mozzarella

 

 

Hot Oven for 5 more mins to melt mozzarella