One-pot chilli and garlic rice with chicken…

  

We love mexican food, and in the past I have brought the Kits from the supermarket. The problem I have with the kits, as nice and easy as they are is the fact you don’t know exactly what goes into your food. Plus, they contain preservatives and quite frankly they are expensive for what you get. So, I decided to attempt my own version of the chilli and garlic rice meal by old el paso.

  

  • 2 Diced chicken breasts
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp chipotle paste (or chilli powder to taste)
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tin, drained, sweetcorn
  • 2 peppers, sliced
  • 5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 mug rice
  • 2 mugs water
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp oil
  • handfull of parsley, chopped
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp honey

Heat the oil in a large pan, and add the chicken. When browned, Stir in paprika, chilli, garlic and vegetables. When starting to soften(about 5 minutes), add the rice and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Add tomato puree, and season. cook for a further 2 minutes stirring all the time. add remaining ingedients, stir well and cook for approximatly half an hour until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is has some bite. Serve with a little sour cream.

serves 4-6

Hope you like it!

Emma-Jayne xx

Advertisements

Scallop, asparagus and tomato pasta…

IMG_3640Until a few days ago, I had only had scallops in Coquilles St. Jacques, from Marks and Spencers… we had them last valentines day, and really enjoyed them but having heard horror stories about how difficult it is to get scallops right we didn’t attempt to recreate the dish at home. fast forward a few months, and I was in Tesco and noticed that they had fresh scallops that weren’t too expensive. They then sat in my freezer for a little longer as I wondered what to do with them until I watched an episode of the pioneer woman cooks and noticed she paired them with tomato pasta. This recipe, is a pretty simple tomato sauce jazzed up with the mushrooms, asparagus and scallops. If (like in my house) someone doesn’t eat mushrooms, cook them in a seperate pan to the sauce in a little butter. These scallops are Lillee approved so this dish is looking to become a new family favourite in our house!

  • 1 pack of fresh scallops (about 300g)
  • asparagus (3-4 spears per person)
  • carton of passata
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 10 mushrooms, sliced
  • pinch of sugar
  • olive oil
  • Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 300g pasta
  • 1tsp mixed herbs

Cook pasta according to packet instructions. Meanwhile, soften the onions in a large pan with a little oil. When translucent, add the garlic, herbs and mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes and stir in the passata, Worchestershire sauce and sugar. Leave to simmer on a low heat. Heat a griddle pan or frying pan, and add the asparagus. Cook until lightly browned on one side before turning over and browning the other side. it should take 5-10 minutes. When the pasta is cooked, drain and stir into the tomato sauce. Heat a frying pan with a small amount of oil. When hot, add the scallops cook for 1-2 minutes until starting to brown. Turn over and cook for another minute. Serve on top of the pasta with the asparagus.

Serves 4.

Hope you enjoy it!

Emma-Jayne xx

Lentil and sprout top shepard’s pie…

IMG_3182

So, a little while ago I found this amazing recipe for a lentil and kale Shepard’s pie, the first time I followed their recipe, and it was amazing. I’d defienetly go and check it out If I was you! Anyway, dan wanted cheesy mash for dinner and I remembered this recipe before I discovered we didn’t have some of the ingredients.

This is my take on it, but you can find the original here.

•1 onion, chopped finely
•1 cup of green lentils
•1/2 cup of red split lentils
•1 sprout top finely sliced
• handful of mushrooms sliced
•1 carton passata
•pinch dried thyme
• 2tsp honey
• few shakes Worcestershire sauce
• pinch dried rosemary
•1 clove of garlic finely diced
•1kg potatoes peeled and in chunks
•200g mature cheese
•100ml milk
•50g butter

Boil the potatoes until tender, when done mash with the butter and milk and a little seasoning. Stir in the cheese.

Meanwhile boil the lentils until soft and drain when done.

Soften the onions and garlic in a little oil, and add the mushrooms and sprout tops. Cook for a few minutes before adding the herbs, honey and Worcestershire sauce. Stir through then add the passata and cooked lentils.

Layer in a baking dish, the lentil mixture at the bottom and mash on the top. Indent with a fork (to make more crispy bits!) and drizzle with olive oil before baking for about 40 minutes at 180c

My whole family loves this recipe, and it I love how it is meat-free. Personally, I think we eat far too much meat in our house so this makes a really nice change!

What do you think?

Emma-Jayne xx

Spicy tomato and butternut squash soup…

IMG_2695.JPG
After an unseasonably warm October, November is here and it is freezing! We’re all full of cold and in need of something to warm us up. Obviously, this means it’s a perfect time for soup! I love soup. I’m pretty sure I could live off soup… However, if you want something a little different, this recipe also makes a fantastic pasta sauce…

IMG_2693-0.JPG
Serves 6

•1 butternut squash
•6 tomatoes
•2 peppers
•2 carrots
•1 large onion
•1 courgette
•6 mushrooms
•2 sticks of celery
•garlic
•2 chillies

Roughly chop all the veg, and roast at 180*C for approximately an hour or until soft.
Remove the skin from the squash, an blend all the vegetables with hot water, until it is as thick/thin as you want it.

Don’t worry too much if you don’t have the exact ingredients, pretty much any combination of the vegetables listed will work and if I don’t something I leave it out! The squash can be replaced with pumpkin, and the chillies with chilli powder. Also, to make a more tomatoey soup either add more tomatoes or a tin of chopped tomatoes.

This soup is so easy and good for you! Let me know what you think…

Emma-Jayne xx

Going on a health kick…

IMG_0905

So, I have to be honest I LOVE fresh fruits and vegetables. I have been known to eat an entire 500g bag of sliced cabbage and leeks to myself. (Cooked in with a tiny bit of oil and some garlic. Delicious) broccoli is among one of my top 10 foods to eat, but even so recently I’ve noticed the weight has been creeping up. A few pounds here, a few pounds there and now I’m at least half a stone heavier than I was at the wedding. Not that I managed to loose weight for I in the first place.. So that got me thinking. What is it I’m doing wrong? I live fruit and vegetables, i prefer chicken to red meat most of the time and I rarely eat bread, pasta or rice and when I do it’s the wholewheat kind. But, let’s be honest here, that’s not ALL I eat. We have ice-cream in the freezer, cheese in the fridge and this week I know I’ve eaten crisps, biscuits and pizza. Not that any of these things are bad in moderation, but that’s the key to it isn’t it? In moderation. So actually, when I think a little harder, I’ve Been indulging a bit too often. And as for water? Not very long ago, I was pretty much only drinking water. At the moment I’m lucky if I get one glass of pure water in a day. So really, when I get down to it I’m not really that healthy am I?

Well, after this revelation, what’s a girl to do? For a start, I need to put down this glass of wine and actually do some exercise! I think I’ll say it in a whisper so I don’t shock my system. I rarely do proper exercise. I take Lillee to and from school during the week but honestly? These days that’s about as good as it gets. I am aware that housework and walking are good alternatives to exercise but I have to be honest here, I don’t do anywhere near enough to actually be able to count it as doing my recommended level.

So what am I going to do? Well, I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, and although I’ve said it before and then slowly backslid. Especially when things like gü puddings end up it the trolly.. I NEED to change my diet. But I don’t want to go on a diet because then I’ll get fed up. And really, who wants to be counting calories or syns or points for the rest of their life? I know I don’t. So obviously, the answer here is to start making better choices. To eat more “clean” foods. I don’t want to stop having treats but it’s gotten quite clear that it’s not really a treat if you have it every day is it? Therefore, starting today.. well, technically it’ll start tomorrow as it’s now 10pm and I’ve already eaten for today I’m planning in upping my levels of fruit and veg, looking into things like chia seeds and flax seed which I’ve heard so much about but never tried and Definitely drinking WAY more water! As for exercise? Well, in theory I will start doing maybe 3 workouts a week.. But I think that will probably start to come in a little later once I have the food locked down.

Although I’m hoping I will loose some weight, this isn’t really the main reason for doing this. I want to improve my health and especially my fitness levels. Plus I want to jump on te opportunity while Lillee still prefers strawberries to chocolate and she asks to drink water if she’s thirsty. I really need to start taking life lessons from her!

Wish me luck!

Emma-Jayne xx

Stuffed Marrow…

20140409-003424.jpg

I was in tesco, and there were some marrows reduced to about 40p. I’ve never had marrow before, never mind cooked with it, but I figured that price it wouldn’t hurt to try especially as we like courgette. Isn’t marrow pretty much just a big courgette?

So anyway, I googled it. Read a few recipes, then came up with my own. Essentially it’s marrow stuffed with bolognese and covered with cheese.. But it was pretty tasty!

Although Lillee didn’t like the marrow she ate the pasta and sauce telling me she doesn’t like hot cucumber..

Here’s the recipe if you want to try it!

•250g small pasta shapes
•400g chopped tomatoes
•Worcestershire sauce approx 1tbsp
•1tsp mixed herbs
•2 tbsp tomato purée
•1 onion, diced
• 3 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 bay leaf
•300g minced beef
•200g grated cheese
•1 marrow sliced into inch thick pieces, middle removed and chopped.
•1 large carrot, diced
•2 beef stock cubes
•100ml red wine(optional)

Pre-heat the oven too 200*C (180*C fan) Place the slices of marrow into a baking dish in a single layer. I actually used too so I could freeze one. In one pan, cook the pasta following packet instructions and drain when tender. In a seperate pan, sauté the onion, carrot, garlic and herbs until softens and the onion is translucent. Stir in the mince and continue to cook until browned. Stir in the tomato purée, stock cubes and Worcestershire sauce. Cooke for a few minutes then add the wine. Allow to reduce down before stirring in the tomatoes and the centre of the marrow. Simmer for as long as possible on a low heat to infuse the flavours. When ready, stir in the cooked pasta and spoon into the marrow. Put any extra on or around the marrow pieces. Cover with foil and place into the oven for half an hour. After half an hour, remove to foil and top with the cheese. Return to the oven for approximately 20 minutes until the marrow is soft, and the cheese is melted and golden.

Serve one slice per portion (approx 6-8 depending on the size of the marrow)

Hope you enjoy it!

Emma-Jayne xx

Chicken hotpot…

20140120-215027.jpg

This is a variation on the hairy dieters chicken and ham tangle pie, but using the potatoes instead of pastry makes a nice change!

•500g cooked chicken
•2 cloves crushed garlic
•pot of creme fraiche
•2 leeks, slices
•sliced mushrooms
•teaspoon of mustard
•150ml chicken stock
•3 medium potatoes thinly sliced

Soften the leeks and garlic in a little oil, then add the mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes. Stir In the stock, creme fraiche, mustard and season to taste. Put in a large ovenproof dish, and too with a layer of sliced potatoes. Bake at 180*c until the top is browned.

Serves 4.

20140120-215044.jpg

Hope you enjoy it!

Emma-Jayne xx

Marmalade Ham and Soup…

20140105-204240.jpg

I tried something new today, I cooked a ham joint for the first time! It was really easy, and really tasty.

You need…
•ham/gammon joint
•marmalade

•carrots
•onions/leeks
•celery
•mushrooms
•potato
•stock
•red split lentils

Put the ham in a large pot and bring to the boil. Drain off the water, then cover with fresh water before simmering for approximately 30 minutes per 500g but no longer than 2.5 hours. Remove the ham from the liquid, reserving the liquid for after. Remove any fat from the ham and generously smear on the marmalade place in a pre-heated oven (180c) and roast until golden. It took mine around 45 minutes.

For the soup, chop all the vegetables and place into the cooking liquid with the lentils. Add any extra water/stock to ensure they are covered. Simmer until all the vegetables are soft the remove from the heat and blend.

Hope you enjoy it!

Emma-Jayne xx

Creamy Vegetable Pasta…

tumblr_mkr4xwwIpI1s9degmo1_1280

In our house, pasta always goes down well. This dish is pretty simple and great for using odds and ends in the fridge, I’ve used everything from broccoli and sprouts to sweetcorn! It’s also really good for using up any leftover meat or fish. We usually have it with pork or chicken stirred through but its just as nice on its own, with salmon or any thing else you fancy!

You will need:
.500g of pasta
.1 onion finely chopped
.2 leeks sliced
.4 carrots diced
.1 courgette diced
.2 sticks of celery sliced
.10 mushrooms sliced
.a tin of sweetcorn drained
.250g frozen peas
.1 tbsp olive oil
.2 tbsp plain flour
.1/2 pint skimmed milk
.2 chicken/vegetable stock cubes
.seasoning
.2 cloves of garlic

Heat the oil in a large pan, and add the onion, celery and carrots. Cook untill the onion is translucent then add the garlic and the rest of the vegetables. Cook for a few minutes then stir in the flour. Cook for another 2 minutes then slowly add the milk stirring constantly until thickened. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions, while the sauce simmers stirring it occasionally to stop it sticking. Drain the pasta and stir into the sauce. Season to taste.

Serves 6-8

Emma-Jayne xx

 

Fish Pie…

In my house, fish pie always goes down really well. Its one of Lillee’s favourites! Fluffy mash, chunks of fish and a creamy sauce what’s not to love? It’s such an easy dinner to make as well which definitely makes it a winner in my book!

For the fish pie…

  • about 500g of fish. I use pre-packed fish pie mix, and then usually add in a little of another fish depending on what I can get when I buy it! You can also add prawns, I would use Raw prawns and stir them in with the peas so they don’t go rubbery.
  • 1kg potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pint of milk
  • tablespoon butter
  • tablespoon of flour
  • bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • extra milk and butter for mash
  • cheese(optional)
  • 200g of peas

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Put the potatoes in a large pan of salted boiling water and cook until tender. In a separate pan, place the fish and cover with the milk and add a bay leaf. bring to a simmer for a few minutes but don’t over cook or the fish will be rubbery. At this stage, it doesn’t matter if the fish is a little under cooked as it will go into the oven yet. strain the milk into a jug, and place the fish into the baking dish breaking up any large pieces and removing the bay leaf. Stir in the peas then set aside for the moment. In the pan used for the fish, melt the butter then stir in the flour to create a paste. Cook for a few minutes, then gradually stir in the milk until it makes a thick sauce. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously then season to taste. Pour the sauce over the fish and peas. When the potatoes are tender, drain and mash well. I use a potato ricer to make sure they are smooth. Stir in some butter and milk, and season to taste. If desired, you can mix in some grated cheese to make a cheesy mash. Top the fish with the mash evenly, starting from the outside and working inwards. Top with a little more cheese. You want to mash to be rough, as it’s the rough bits that will brown nicely in the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the top is golden, and the filling is bubbling up around the sides.

Serves 4-6

Emma-Jayne xx