Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Dinner in 30 minutes – Stuffed Chicken Breast, Red Cabbage & Paprika roast baby potatoes

Hands up if you’re exhausted! I wrote this blog post while at the side of a GAA pitch earlier this evening as my lads were at hurling training.  Last night the three girls had a match while the twin boys had rugby training and the night before it was training for GAA and soccer.  A mother I spoke to yesterday was trying to squeeze in a medical appointment between a dance class for one child and a rugby session for another.  Juggling – it’s what we do.  And then there’s the dinner! Who’s going to make that, when and what are we going to eat?!

Luckily my eldest likes to try cooking different things from time to time and today it was blissful to be called down from my office to a delicious dinner and then head out the door for the lads training knowing that everyone was well fed.

It would probably make a lot of sense to cook the same meals Monday to Friday every week but then you’d have to be ultra-organised for that and dare I suggest a little bit boring too.  Variety as they say is the spice of life so lets keep it varied and somewhat spicy.

Food photography Marta Miklinska
Food photography Marta Miklinska

This beautiful dish was photographed for my cookbook ‘Enjoy!’ in the summer of 2015.  Where has that year gone?!  It looks vibrant and interesting with the bed of red cabbage but has simplicity at its heart.  It will all cook in under 30 minutes with about 10 minutes prep.
Get ahead start:
The prep. time can be drastically reduced if you were to take 10 minutes the night before to make the stuffing, grate the red cabbage and store both in airtight containers in the fridge overnight.
Instructions for getting ahead are highlighted in blue text in the method below

Parsley & Thyme Stuffed Chicken with Red Cabbage

Serves 4
You will need:
1 large or 2 small onions
50g butter
3 slices of whole-wheat bread (or any bread/bagels etc for making breadcrumbs – or buy them!)
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried thyme
half tsp salt
4 skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp cranberry sauce
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
4 cocktail sticks, for assembly
For the red cabbage:
half head of red cabbage
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Fresh nutmeg, for grating
1 tbsp runny honey
Preheat a fan oven to 180°C.
Get a small baking tray ready for the chicken – you want to cook them close together to retain their juices, so a tray that’s only just big enough is best.
Peel and finely chop the onion (a mini-chopper works best for this). Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the chopped onion, cover the pan and leave to sweat for 10 minutes.
Blitz the bread in a food processor or mini-chopper to create breadcrumbs. Once the onions are cooked, take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs, herbs and salt, stirring well to combine.
Slit the side of each chicken breast to create a pocket. Take a fistful of stuffing and squeeze it to compact it, then stuff the breast with it, securing the side with a cocktail stick. Shape any leftover stuffing into compact round stuffing dumplings to cook alongside the chicken.
Mix the cranberry sauce and rapeseed oil together really well in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to thickly paint the chicken breasts with the sauce – use it all up.
Cook the chicken in the heated oven for 20 minutes, then turn up the heat to 200°C for another 5 minutes.
Check that the chicken is fully cooked through – there should be no traces of pink.
While the chicken cooks, prepare the cabbage.
Use a food processor to grate the cabbage.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the grated cabbage, cover the pan and sweat for 10 minutes. Raise the heat and pour in the red wine vinegar and a good grating of fresh nutmeg. Stir well for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat and cook on a low heat, covered, for a further 10 minutes, then stir through the honey to heat it.
Divide the red cabbage between four shallow bowls or plates and serve with the chicken on top. Serve with a side of Paprika Roast Baby Potatoes (cook this at same time as chicken) and some extra cranberry sauce.

Paprika Roast Baby Potatoes
You will need:
Baby potatoes
Rapeseed oil
Regular paprika
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat a fan oven to 180°C.
Place the baby potatoes on a baking tray and drizzle generously with oil. Use your hands to roll the potatoes around to coat them thoroughly with the oil. Sprinkle over some paprika and season with some crushed sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 15–20 minutes, until a knife slips through easily.

Top Tip: Use leftovers of chicken and stuffing for next day’s lunch in a salad or sandwiches.

‘Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Feta and black pudding Cannelloni

Want to try something different with pasta? Cannelloni.
Cannelloni in dish with fish slice

Be warned though, it took me ages to get the filling into the dry pasta tubes using a teaspoon so an icing bag might be advised to speed up filling the tubes.  I spooned the filling in then used the back of the spoon to push it in and then the leg of the spoon along with fingers to push it right in.  It was tedious so next time I’ll be trying a piping bag.
crumbled black pudding, spinach and toasted pine nuts
Cannelloni being stuffed
Creme fraiche sauce before whisking
Creme fraiche sauce with whisk
Cannelloni with creme fraiche sauce before cooking
Cannelloni with cheddar cheese grated on top
cannelloni cooked in dish

The filling is delicious and simple to make.  Black pudding is having a bit of a moment as a ‘super-food’ and it’s always been a firm favourite in our house anyway.  What I love about this meal along with the taste is the speed of preparation, there is nothing to be chopped other than wilted spinach which is a cinch.  Another cheat is the creamy sauce, instead of labouring over a bechamel I combine creme fraiche, milk and mustard to pour over the cannelloni and then crumble over some cheddar, again super fast and easy, just what you want.
Cannelloni with knife and fork

Black Pudding & Feta Cannelloni.
Serves 4.
You will need:
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
Black pudding – 280g approx
100g spinach leaves
100g frozen peas
50g pinenuts
Block of feta cheese – 200g approx
Box dry Cannelloni tubes (16) – 200g
Creme fraiche – 250g
Milk – 200ml
1 tsp English Mustard
Cheddar – 50g
Pre-heat a fan oven to 180C.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan.  Slice the black pudding into rounds and fry for 3 minutes on both sides then place in a large bowl.
Add the spinach to the empty pan used for the pudding and add a little splash of water, cover with a lid for 1 minute to wilt the spinach.  Remove the spinach to some kitchen paper and squeeze away excess moisture.  Chop the wilted spinach and add to the pudding.  Use a fork to crumble the pudding and combine with the spinach.
Wipe out the pan and dry-fry the pine nuts until turning golden – watch carefully as they will burn easily.
Meanwhile place the frozen peas in a jug of boiling water.
Once the pine nuts have toasted mix in with the pudding and spinach.
Crumble in the feta block and combine the mixture with a fork.
Finally drain the peas and add into the pudding mixture and mix well.
Use a whisk to combine the creme fraiche, milk and mustard in a jug/bowl and set aside.
Fill the cannelloni tubes either using a piping bag or a teaspoon, packing the mixture right in.
Place the stuffed tubes in a baking dish, pour over the creme fraiche sauce and grate over the cheddar.
Bake in the hot oven at 180 for 20 minutes and then turn down to 160 for a further 20 minutes.
Great served with a simple green leaf salad.
‘Til next time, Sheila