Monthly Archives: June 2013

Chicken and Bacon Ranch Macaroni



I’m a bit of a sucker for macaroni cheese and have loved it since I was a kid. Recently Steve went away for a week for work, which, for the sake of my sanity, proved to be the perfect time to try this recipe – I made it one of the first nights he was away and then the kids and I ate it every night for the rest of the week. Having long loved mac’n’cheese, I think I can safely say this is my favourite version of it – the ‘secret’ ingredient of chicken soup in the cheese sauce takes this family favourite to a new level. If you’ve got left-over barbeque chicken from Sunday lunch, this recipe is a great way to use it up. Quick and simple to make this recipe makes enough to serve 10 and costs around $12 to make.

  • 500g uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 3 rashers bacon, finely chopped
  • 250g skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 tablespoon plain flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup condensed cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 2 cups grated cheese + 1 cup extra
  • 1 onion
  • 1 capsicum, diced
  • 1 can of corn kernels, drained
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius and cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
  2. Cook bacon, onion and garlic in a large nonstick frypan over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings in pan. Increase heat to medium-high. Add chicken to drippings in pan; sauté 6 minutes or until done.
  3. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; sprinkle flour evenly into pan. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Combine milk and soup, stirring with a whisk; gradually add milk mixture to saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to the boil; cook 2 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat. Add cheese, capsicum, corn kernels, frozen peas and salt, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in pasta, two thirds of cooked bacon and chicken.
  4. Spoon mixture into a large roasting or lasagne dish coated with a little cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with reserved bacon and extra grated cheese. Bake in oven for 5-10 minutes or until cheese melts, but no longer or it will start to dry out.

Muffins That Taste Like Doughnuts



I saw this recipe floating around on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and it really grabbed me – who wouldn’t want to try a recipe promising muffins that taste like cinnamon doughnuts? These muffins delivered on their promise in taste, were simple to make from basic pantry ingredients that are readily on-hand and cost no more than $1.50 to make. Make these quick and easy muffins for last minute friends dropping by or for a quick solution for empty lunch boxes at the end of a busy week. Like all muffins, these don’t have an especially long shelf life, but they are freezer friendly and if you’re eating them after a day or two, a quick zap for 10-20 seconds in the microwave brings back a fair bit of freshness and restores them to something more like a warm cinnamon doughnut. For those avoiding sugar, simply replace the caster sugar measure for measure with dextrose (available from the beer brewing section at K-Mart or Big W). If you’re not too heavy-handed with the mixture it will make 12 muffins. Enjoy!

  • 1 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil (I use rice bran)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk

Sugar Topping

  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius and distribute 12 paper cases in a 12 hole muffin tray.

2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix liquids in separate bowl or pyrex jug. Add liquids to dry ingredients and combine together well, without over beating. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin tins using two soup spoons (but don’t overload them). Bake for 15 mins though start checking at 10. When muffins spring back a little, they’re ready.

3. While muffins are baking prepare sugar topping: combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and melt butter in yet another bowl. As soon as muffins come out of the oven, dip each one into melted butter and roll into sugar & cinnamon mixture, or brush with butter and top with sugar mixture if muffins are too hot to handle.

Chorizo Pilaf



Boredom with cooking drove me to trawl through the budget section of today and this three step, all-in-one dish caught my attention in the process. The flavours appealed to me lots: onion, garlic, chilli, cumin and paprika, and the effort level was just right for how tired I was feeling! Sausages of any kind go down a treat with my kids so I decided to give this a try – and I’m glad I did. The kids came back for seconds and the spicy – but not too spicy -flavours warmed us all up just as the evening started to chill. While the original recipe calls for six chorizo sausages, I thought this was a little over the top – four is plenty and you could even get away with three. If spicy food isn’t so much for you, simply halve the amount of chilli listed below. This yummy, simple and cheap recipe costs less than $10 and serves 6. Serve with steamed greens or a side salad.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 chorizo sausages, sliced
  • 2 brown onions, halved, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock (I use powdered)
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped (if you have it)
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook chorizo for 2 to 3 minutes each side or until golden. Cut into circles and drain on paper towels.
  2. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onions. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add garlic, chilli, paprika and cumin. Cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring, or until soft.
  3. Stir in rice. Add stock and chorizo. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir through parsley, and salt and pepper. Serve.