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    Monday, March 27, 2017

    $10 Worth of Chicken - What to do with it? Why...Make Pies Of Course

    Its worth looking for specials when you are at the supermarket and throw into the freezer
    for later. Last week there was a special on chicken drumsticks, so I grabbed 3 packets
    Cost...Just cents over $10

    So I threw them into a roasting pan along with a carrot, on its last legs in the fridge and a pile of spring onions, that were looking a little sad
    Seasoned them with some Vegeta Chicken Stock Powder, and some freshly ground black pepper Threw on a good slosh of Olive Oil and about a cup of Hot water
    Toss well and into the oven 200C
    After 15 minutes, take them out and baste them with the tasty juices
    They took about 25-30 minutes to cook
    I let them cool and then removed the meat from the bones
    Add the bones, plus all the juices into a reasonable size pot
    Rinse the roasting pan, with some boiling water and scrape all those good bits off the bottom
    Then top up with enough water, to cover the bones
    Bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes
    Taste and add some salt and pepper if it needs it

    Voila… Chicken stock
    Now we can make the Pie Filling

    3 tablespoon butter
    1 onion peeled and chopped
    1/2  red pepper chopped
    1 stick celery chopped
    1 cup frozen corn, you don't need to thaw
    Sea salt and Freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup white wine

    3 tablespoon flour
    1 cup hot chicken stock
    Chicken meat chopped
    Frozen Puff Pastry
    1 egg beaten with a tsp water for glazing 

    Melt the butter in a pan
    Add the onions, season with S & P
    Sauce gently till soft
    Add red pepper and celery, season
    When they are soft
    Add corn
    Toss well
    Add wine and let reduce right down
    Add flour cook for a few minutes to cook the flour out
    Add hot stock, stir well and cook till thickened
    About 4-5 minutes
    You do need it reasonably thick
    It’s a pie filling after all
    But if too thick, just add a little more stock
    Taste and re-season if needed

    Put aside to cool

    AND there was stock left over
    Its was beautiful, all jellied.
    Maybe a risotto, some soup.
    There will be a use for it

    Now this amount of filling, was enough for 14 pies
    Into the freezer they went
    Still some filling left over,
    so I put it into a ovenproof dish
    Made some Mashed Potato
    1 large potato peeled, large chopped
    Cook in boiling salted water till tender
    Drain and mash with a little milk and good knob of butter
    Set aside

    Spread that over the top of the filling
    Chicken Pot Pie
    and that also is in the freezer
    waiting for another day

    So all up, I made all that Food for under $20
    Not bad for half a days work

    Aren't Muffins Fun - Two Ways - Using Honey

    Through some the websites that email me every morning I have found two new recipes for Muffins
    Both of them use Honey, both quite different, first one has the addition of Banana
    BUT what they both have in common...How easy they are to make!
    Virtually throw everything in together
    A little bit more finesse than that of course
    However So So Simple
    AND this first recipe No sugar, no dairy...if that suits 

    Also, all my Muffins freeze well, 
    Pop them on a tray and freeze, then place in a plastic bag
    Then just defrost on auto defrost, in the microwave
    Take them out, before they get too hot
    So to make the Honey Banana Muffins...recipe courtesy of Dinner with Julie blog
    I baked them in my fan oven and the muffins were ready in 15 minutes
    So I suggest that you check with a skewer or toothpick, around that time
    Oh and I added some lemon zest, you never go wrong with that

    3 very ripe bananas
    1/3 cup honey (creamed or liquid is fine)
    1/4 cup canola oil
    1 large egg
    1 tsp. vanilla

    Zest of a medium lemon
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1/4 tsp. salt

    Preheat the oven to 185C Fan Oven

    In a large bowl, mash the bananas with the honey, oil, egg and vanilla and lemon zest

     Add the flour, baking soda and salt.
    Divide the batter among 10-12 paper-lined muffin cups, filling them almost full, 
    (Actually I only had 9)
    and bake for 15- 20 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch.
    So Round Two

    From The Taste Of Home Website 2007 Page 33
    Titled quite Appropriately for Grandma's Honey Muffins

    2 cups all-purpose flour        
    1/2 cup sugar
    3 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 large egg
    1 cup milk
    1/4 cup butter, melted
    1/4 cup honey

    Preheat oven to 190C Fan Bake. 
    In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. 
    In a small bowl, combine egg, milk, butter and honey. 
    Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. 
    Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. 
    Bake 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 
    Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm.
    Freeze option: Freeze cooled muffins in resealable plastic freezer bags. 
    To use, thaw at room temperature or, if desired, 
    microwave each muffin on high for 20-30 seconds or until heated through. 
    Yield: 10

    Thumbs up from the Grandchildren

    Wednesday, March 08, 2017

    Spinach Two Ways

    Spinach Two Ways
    Creamed Cauliflower and Spinach - Perfect Side Dish 
    Fish Spinach and Pasta Bake

     I was multi-tasking
    Cooking up for the next couple of days, these dishes have things in common, so I cooked them at the same time

    Two dishes using Spinach, one as a side dish and the other a full meal
    One using fresh Spinach, one using frozen
    AND by the way...both delicious
    Enough of each, to freeze for later maybe
    These little Spinach balls are great
    I always have frozen spinach, peas and corn in the freezer
    So useful
    The Bake is a good family dish
    So lets attack the Cauliflower dish first 
    This is a side dishes…I paired it with Pan Fried Fish
    But equally good with Grilled Lamb or Beef
    Gluten free too
    It is quite rich, very creamy but slipped down really easily

       Bag of fresh baby spinach
       1 small cauliflower head [cut into florets]
       1 small onion [diced]
       1/2 cup • shredded mozzarella [plus a little more for on top]
        2 tbsp • cream
        1 tbsp • butter [plus a little more for sautéing the onion
        1/2 tsp • nutmeg
        pinch of ground cloves
        salt and pepper

    Bring a medium pot of water to the boil.
    Once it boils rapidly,
    add the cauliflower florets and boil for about 10 minutes till tender
    When the cauliflower is cooked, use a slotted spoon to scoop the florets into a food
    Blitz the cauliflower until smooth with the cream and butter.
    Season with salt and pepper.
     While the cauliflower boils, sauté the onion in a little bit of butter until soft 
    then add the spinach, nutmeg and cloves and cook until wilted.
    Now mix the cauliflower, spinach, onion and cheese together,
    Adjust seasoning if needed, and scoop into a cast iron pan or small baking dish.
    Place in a 180C cook for about 10 minutes
    Then to finish off
    Slide under the broiler until the cheese is golden brown.
    I forgot to put the cheese on top. It was good but would be better with it
    Meanwhile, at the same time  I made a Fish, Spinach Pasta Dish
    Baked in a Cheesy Creamy Béchamel Sauce
    This has a light citrus flavour, due to marinating the fish
    The top, after it bakes is so crunchy and yummy
    Very easy to pick those crispy bits off before you serve
    and I did!!!

    For 4 people
    300 gms Pasta cooked  Penne or shells
    3 cups of prepared Béchamel Sauce
    1/2 cup grated cheese

    1 onion finely diced

    1 tablespoon butter

    8 Balls of Frozen Spinach thawed and all juice squeezed out
    300 gms Hapuka/Groper or any other meaty fish, Monkfish could work
    Zest and Juice of a lemon
    2 Tablespoons of Olive oil
    Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
    Grated Cheese for topping

    Sauce onion in a little butter
    Set aside

    Make Béchamel Sauce

    150 gms butter
    120 gms flour
    1 tsp mustard
    Sea salt and white pepper
    1 bay leaf
    6 peppercorns
    3 cups milk

    Make a roux.
    Melt butter in pan
    Add flour and seasoning and mustard
    Mix well to cook flour out
    Heat milk with bay leaf and peppercorns
    Strain and add all at once to roux.
    Whisk well and cook till thickened
    Add cheese
    Set aside

    Cut fish into 1.5 cm cubes
    Place in an non metallic container
    Add Lemon zest, juice, Olive oil and S & P
    Marinate for about 30 minutes just to start the cooking process
    Cook pasta to manufacturers instructions
    Drain and set aside
    Place onion, béchamel and thawed spinach into a large container
    Add pasta, Mix well
    If it is too dry just add some more milk
    mix well, best to be quite thin, the pasta will absorb the sauce

    Place in an oven proof baking dish
    Cover with Grated cheese
    1/2 into the freezer
    Bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes until bubbling and golden on top
    The Crispy bits are so good

    Tuesday, March 07, 2017

    Egg Fried Rice - Easy Peasy

    Usually when I cook rice, I frequently cook too much… not quite enough for another meal though
    So this time I decided to cook more...on purpose
    Enough leftovers to freeze for another day or maybe
    In lurking your freezer, is an almost "instant meal"
    You just have to cut up some vege
    Saute them
    Add some eggs
    The Rice 
    Don't worry too much about quantities particularly for the Vege
    But rule of thumb

    3 tablespoons rice bran oil
    2 cups cooked rice approx
    4 eggs
    2 Tablespoons Grated ginger
    2 tablespoons Soy Sauce

    As much Vege as you want  chopped fairly small
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Some chives and spring onions for garnish

    Add oil to large hot pan 
    Add chopped vege
    Season with S & P
    Saute for 3-4 minutes, you want to retain some crunch

    Meanwhile add Soy Sauce and Ginger, to eggs in a bowl and whip together
    Pour over vege
    Mix well and as it start to scramble
    Throw rice on top
    Mix well and cook for about 5 minutes till piping hot

    Throw chives and spring onions over the top

    Thursday, March 02, 2017

    Ginger Chicken with Spicy Roasted Cashew Nuts - What a Great Combination

    I have been cooking more chicken recipes over the last couple of months,
    than almost... in my entire life...Reason darling husband didn't like chicken
    So I would just skip over all those wonderful ideas
    Push them aside and find other food to cook
    Things have Chicken in all forms, is back on the Menu
    For some reason my local supermarket didn't have any Sambal Oelek
    So I used Sriracha Sauce, I love Sriracha Sauce

    By the way these Spicy Nuts are perfect to have with drinks
    Once again Bon Appetit provided this recipe. Attributed to Rick Martinez
            1 cup salted, roasted cashews, divided
            5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
            5 teaspoons Sambal oelek or Sriracha Sauce, divided
            Kosher salt
            1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into ½-inch pieces
            1 large onion, chopped
            Freshly ground black pepper
            2 tablespoons finely grated peeled ginger
            1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
            2 cups (or more) milk
            2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

            Cooked rice (for serving)

    Coarsely chop ½ cup cashews.
    Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a large pot over medium heat.
    Cook chopped cashews and 1 tsp. sambal oelek, or Sriracha stirring occasionally,
    until nuts begin to toast (yes, you’re double-toasting them), 3–5 minutes.
    Scrape into a small bowl, season with salt, and set aside.
    Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in same pot over medium-high heat.
    Cook half of chicken, stirring occasionally,
    until just beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.
    Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a small bowl.
    Repeat with remaining chicken and 2 Tbsp. butter.

    Cook onion in same pot, stirring occasionally,
    until translucent and just tender, 5–8 minutes;
    season with salt and pepper.
    Add ginger and remaining 4 tsp. sambal oelek and cook, stirring occasionally,
    until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes.
    Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pot.
    Stir in flour to coat and cook until warmed through, about 1 minute.
    Add milk and remaining ½ cup cashews; gently simmer,
    adding milk to thin if needed,
    until sauce is the consistency of heavy cream and chicken is cooked through,
    about 10 minutes.

    Season with salt and pepper, then stir in vinegar.
    Serve with rice and top with reserved spicy cashews.

    I find that Coleslaw with a touch of sweetness e.g. grated apple is excellent with Curries
    This particular Salad pictured below... does contain Chicken, I made it for lunch the other day
    But the basic ingredients for Coleslaw remain the same

    I wont specify quantities
    It's up to you

    Thinly sliced Cabbage
    Thinly sliced celery
    Yellow pepper cut into julienne strips
    Chives chopped
    Grated apple... skin and all
    Mayonnaise, Preferably home made
    Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
    Just mix everything together 

    Check out a really good so so simple recipe here  
    Really easy to make, just use your blender, take the pain out of making good Mayo

    New Take on Tacos

    So once again looking for Cheap and Cheerful, Nourishing, Tasty, Kid Friendly Food
    Consequently, I didn't add a lot of chili powder to the food
    Bit tough on smaller mouths
    I was inspired by a recipe, I found on the Bon Appetit site from Wes Avila, Guerrilla Tacos, Los Angeles

    They may not recognise it as their recipe
    But the base is there
    Apparently they call the meat sauce Picadillo
    I like that, so I will too
    I should have bought more Taco Shells
    All wolfed down so quickly

    8 Servings
            1 tablespoon vegetable oil
            600 gms hamburger Mince
            1 large russet potato, peeled, cut into ½-inch pieces
            ½ medium red onion chopped
            1 shallot, finely chopped

            ½ red pepper chopped
            Sea salt, freshly ground pepper
            Chili powder as much as you like
            1 teaspoon ground cumin
            1 teaspoon garlic powder
            2½ cups chicken broth

    Salsa And Assembly
            4 plum tomatoes
               ½  medium red onion sectioned
               ½ red pepper cut into 3
            3 garlic cloves in school
            1 red chili
            2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
            Kosher salt

    Sour Cream Sauce for Topping       
            ½ small shallot, finely chopped
            1 cup sour cream
            2 tablespoons chopped chives
            2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
            1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

    A packet Hard taco shells, 
    Grated cheddar, and cilantro
    Avocado mashed with some S & P, lemon juice and little garlic 
    (for serving)

    Prepare vege
     I like to par cook the potatoes first, just zap them in the micro wave for about 2 minutes
    Heat oil in a large skillet over high.
    Cook beef, breaking up with a spoon,
    until browned all over but not totally cooked through, 6–8 minutes.
    Transfer to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon.
    Reduce heat to medium and cook potato, onion and shallot, in same skillet, stirring often, until tender 6–8 minutes;

    season with salt and pepper.
    Sprinkle in chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder and cook,
    stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
    Add broth and beef along with any accumulated juices.
    Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring and scraping up brown bits,
    until liquid is evaporated and potato is tender, 12–15 minutes;
    season with salt and pepper.
    Transfer to a medium bowl, cover, and let sit until ready to serve.

    Heat oven to 200C
    Place Tomato, chili, garlic cloves, onion red pepper on a baking sheet
    Toss with a little olive oil
    Roast about 8-10 minutes

    Remove and cool a little
    Take off the skins from the pepper tomatoes and chili
    also remove seeds from chill
    Put everything into a blender making sure you scrape all the juices from the pan
    Blitz to make a sauce
    Sour Cream for Topping
    Whisk shallot, sour cream, chives, and lemon zest and juice in a small bowl;
    season with salt.
    Spoon warm picadillo into shells.
    Top with cheddar, salsa, avocado, cilantro, and a dollop of lemon sour cream