This recipe comes directly from the kitchen of my dear friend Lisa, who found it in One Handed Cooks magazine. Lisa is such a wonderful old soul – she carefully loves the people around her, thinks hard about everything that’s important in life and wastes no time on what isn’t. She looks after her family simply but diligently, with a heart full of wonder at all God’s given her. She put me onto this tasty, simple, and affordable meal and in addition to all these things, it’s so very her: warm, generous, and hearty. Once cooked, this crowd-pleasing one pot dish can be pureed with a stick blender for babies and frozen for future baby meals – no need to make the little ones a separate meal. And if you need a gluten free meal, simply exchange pasta for the gluten free variety. This dairy free recipe costs around $7 to make and serves 6. Thanks Lis, when I grow up I wanna be just like you.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 red onion thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 340g dried linguini (any pasta is fine though)
- 1 x 400g can diced tomatoes
- 1 large chicken breast, diced very small
- 4.5 cups chicken stock (powdered is fine, but check for gluten if need be)
- ½ cup basil leaves (but dried is totally fine too)
- Heat oil in a large pot/frypan. Sauté onion and garlic together over low heat. Gently fry chicken pieces in this mixture.
- Add all the other ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes, or until pasta is cooked through and liquids have reduced to a risotto-like consistency. Enjoy with crusty bread and/or salad.
I’m not quite sure how I came across this easy, slow-cooked winning dinner. It’s been getting a bit of a workout at our place lately, mainly for two reasons: simplicity and affordability. Aside from a couple of steps at the end, to make this dinner, all you really need to do is stick 2kg of chicken drumsticks in the slow cooker turned onto ‘low’, covered with a full bottle of teriyaki marinade, and walk away. And in terms of price, even with steamed Asian veggies and rice, this tasty meal costs only $10 to make for 6 people. A great one for this time of year as life gets busy!
- 2 kg chicken drumsticks
- 1 x bottle Masterfoods chicken teriyaki marinade
- A couple of handfuls of sesame seeds
- Mixed Asian veggies to serve (I use pak choy, capsicum and broccoli)
- 2.5 cups jasmine rice
- Place chicken in the slow cooker, cover with teriyaki sauce and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- Half and hour before serving, prepare vegetables for steaming and cook rice according to instructions on the packet. Heat oven to 200 degrees.
- Carefully remove drumsticks from the slow cooker and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle each drumstick with sesame seeds and place tray in oven, turning chicken, and sprinkling more seeds after 5 minutes on each side.
- Strain the teriyaki liquid from the slow-cooker into a small saucepan and simmer on stove to reduce to a thick sauce. This takes about 20 minutes.
- Remove chicken from the oven, which should now have a shiny and sticky coating. Serve on rice with asian veggies and cover each portion with reduced sticky teriyaki sauce. Enjoy!
As I was thinking about what to write about this wonderfully fast and tasty dish, I realised again just how many times I’ve sat at the bench in my friend Amy’s kitchen as she’s recommended recipes to me. Though she’s moved houses since we first met, the scenario hasn’t changed much over the ten years we’ve known each other: Amy makes cups of tea for us both, she cooks whatever she needs to cook (and she’s a good deal better at it than me), we chat, sip tea, and she tells me about all the great recipes she’s tried out lately. Probably a good number of the recipes on this blog have come from her and over the years I’ve learnt lots about simple, yummy eating from Amy. In the beginning, I’d write her recommendations down on scrap paper (many of which I still have) but these days I just take a photo of her recipes on my phone and then come home and try them out. Now that my son is learning piano from Amy’s wonderful husband, once a week while he’s having his lesson, I get to once again sit at her bench and learn new things, which is exactly what happened a fortnight ago when she suggested this truly yummy, simple and affordable Donna Hay number. And although I’ve already added a slow-cooker satay recipe here, sometimes you just need a tasty stir-fry recipe of the instant variety. This one is freezer friendly and good to give away, though of course, check for peanut allergies before doing so or inviting folk over. A double portion of the recipe below fills a large wok almost to the brim, though following those listed below serves 8 with rice, and costs around $12.
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced (my addition, not Donna’s)
- 4 chicken breast fillets / 6 chicken thigh fillets
- 2 long red chillies, thinly sliced (I use the gourmet garden one in a tube)
- 1/2 cup coconut cream
- 2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1/2 cup chicken stock (I use powdered, reconstituted in water)
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 200g fresh snow peas
- 2 carrots, peeled and julienned (my addition, not Donna’s)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh coriander leaves (optional, no big deal if you don’t have them)
- In a small bowl combine coconut cream, peanut butter, soy sauce, stock, fish sauce and sugar. Mix well and set aside.
- Heat a large wok or frying pan over high heat. Add the oil, onion, chicken and chilli and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden.
- Add the snow peas and carrots and cook for 1 minute. Add the combined peanut butter and liquids and cook for a further minute or until slightly thickened. Stir through the coriander and serve on steamed rice.
This week where I live we’re having a heat wave, the temperature staying in the 40s for what feels like days on end, so I thought it worth sharing some more slow cooker recipes people have been kindly sending in. Huh? Slow cooker meals on ridiculously hot days? Have I gone mad? While it’s possibly true that I have, let me tell you why this makes sense: meals cooked in the slow cooker don’t heat up your kitchen on sweltering days, you can fill them up to make enough dinner for an extra night or two, and if you serve your slow cooked yumminess on rice, having cooked it in a rice cooker, with some greens quickly steamed in the microwave, you’ve managed to completely avoid adding to the heat in your house. Ages ago, my friend Sam sent me this very simple and tasty recipe which is perfect for hospitality: just put it on in the morning, when friends are coming over for dinner after work or church, or just divide into batches of family sized portions for freezing – for your own family or to grab at short notice when someone is in need (but do check that there are no cashew allergies among your recipients!). Doubling the recipe below two thirds fills a 5.5L slow cooker, and using the quantities below costs around $16 to make, even less when chicken breast are on special. Thanks Sam for a healthy, tasty, cheap and easy recipe. Serves 6-8.
- 3 boneless chicken breasts (approx. 750g), cut into thin strips
- 2 tbsp butter (optional, I don’t use it)
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 chopped green onions
- 200g sliced mushrooms (I prefer to cop my own, the thin sliced ones from the shop end up too small once cooked)
- 1 x can condensed cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup (undiluted)
- 2 sticks celery, sliced
- 1 ½ tbsp. soy sauce
- ½ cup cashews, (approx. 100g, pre-roasted is a little nicer, but not necessary),
- 1/2 cup white wine (optional)
- salt and pepper
- handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1. Combine chicken, butter, garlic, green onions, mushrooms, soup, celery, soy sauce, and wine (if using) in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 6 hours, or high for four hours. Alternatively, cook in a large heavy based casserole dish with lid on at 160 degrees for 2 hours.
2. Half an hour before the end of the cook time, add the cashews into the chicken. Season well with salt and pepper. If necessary, thicken with a little cornflour suspended in water, then add to chicken, stirring well. If desired, add chopped fresh parsley just before serving. Serve on steamed rice with a side of greens.
I’ve been meaning to blog about Miriam English’s Balsamic Chicken Bake for ages and I’m so pleased to have finally got around to it. Since I first tried this awesome recipe about six weeks ago we’ve eaten it many times because it’s so very easy and tasty: just put everything in the roasting dish at the same time, and then whack it in the oven. Then, just before serving, steam some greens to serve with this crowd-pleasing dinner, stick it all in the middle of the table, and that’s it – dinner is done. This versatile dinner, originally from Super Food Ideas, Issue 111, copes well with various cuts of chicken and the addition of extra roasting veggies such as carrot, pumpkin and sweet potato. Recipes like this one are so great to have in your back pocket, cause if you’re anything like me, all sorts of things need to happen while dinner is cooking: supervising the reading of school readers, quickly scrubbing the loo before guests arrive, wiping down most surfaces and putting washing away – this tasty and simple dinner enables much needed efficiency. Using the quantities below and chicken thigh cutlets, this problem- solving dish costs less than $15, serves 6-8 people, and is dairy, egg, wheat and gluten free. Pictures here are of half quantities.
- 12 (2kg chicken thigh cutlets, fillets, wings or drumsticks
- 600g potatoes, quartered
- 2 med red onions
- 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 6 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 250g cherry tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 220 degrees celcius. Arrange chicken, potato, onion, garlic and thyme in 2 large roasting dishes.
- Whisk vinegar, oil & sugar in a jug until sugar has dissolved. Drizzle over chicken mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 40 minutes. Add tomatoes. Bake for 10 minutes more, or until chicken is cooked through.
- Serve with a green salad or steamed greens.
One lovely thing about writing a blog is hearing from other bloggers. One day I hope to meet Meredith who writes a very stimulating blog The Key to the Door, but in the mean time I’m thoroughly enjoying trying some recipes she has sent in along with her stamp of approval for their ease of use when having people over. When I tried this delicious chicken dinner, I didn’t have much time or energy for cooking but the quickness and ease of it meant we got through another arsenic hour scenario and it wasn’t too taxing. Originally from the $120 Food Challenge website, I’ve adapted this a little to serve more people by cooking it in the oven rather than on the stove. Everyone in our family loved this and it’s such a versatile recipe: next time I make it, I’m planning to add a jar of drained and pitted Kalamata Olives and might then call it Oven-baked Chicken Cacciatore! Using the quantities below, this recipe serves 8 and costs around $16 to make. Thanks for sharing, Meredith.
- 8 chicken thigh fillets, (could also use drumsticks)
- 4 tablespoon oil
- 4 brown onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 packet French onion soup mix
- 2x 440g tin diced tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)
- Heat oil in a heavy based saucepan or large frying pan and sauté chicken pieces until brown and then place in a large oven-proof casserole dish.
- Add onions and garlic and fry until translucent. Add tomatoes and juices, the soup mixture, water, soy sauce, and season with salt and pepper and a teaspoon of sugar.
- Distribute this mixture evenly over the chicken and bake in a moderate oven for 40 minutes. When cooked, top the whole dish with parsley and serve with rice and greens if desired.
I’m not exactly sure why, but until a few days ago, I have struggled in recent months to want to cook anything new. With no headspace for it, I’ve been in a season of sticking to: old faithful recipes, porridge and weetbix and making one thing last a few nights. But my drought seems to have broken. Perhaps it’s because the weather has turned warmer, or because the kids are on school holidays, but today I tried this blog-worthy recipe, adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food via my friend Kara. It’s all the things this blog is about: not foody-ness – but taste, ease and affordability so that having people over isn’t too stressful. And what a terrific recipe this turned out to be! It can be made ahead of time, or in that last hour between getting home from work and people turning up – because once everything’s in the pot, it’s a simple case of simmering this gluten free meal while doing other things. Depending on the type and price of the chicken you use, this dish will cost between $10-$13 to make and serves 6-8 with rice. Add to this dollops of greek style yoghurt and fresh coriander leaves. I’m loving eating it, even as I type! Thanks for pointing me towards this bonza recipe, Kara.
- 800g chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 2-3cm pieces
- 2 medium onions, halved and sliced thinly
- 1 fresh green chilli, optional (only if you like spicy curries. I left it out)
- A 3cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
- 1 small bunch of fresh coriander, washed, leaves removed and stalks chopped finely
- 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
- rice bran or vegetable oil
- Knob of butter
- 1/2 x 290g jar of Patak’s korma curry paste
- 1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
- A small handful of flaked almonds, plus extra for serving
- 2 heaped tablesoons desiccated coconut
- salt and pepper
- Greek style yoghurt, for dolloping
1. Put the oil in the pan to heat and add onions, ginger and coriander stalks. Stir constantly for ten minutes to ensure it’s become fragrant and hasn’t burnt on the bottom. If using chicken thighs, throw them in for browning now, otherwise if using breasts, hold off til end of step 2.
2. Add the korma paste, coconut milk, half the flaked almonds, chickpeas, desiccated coconut and sliced chicken breasts. Half fill the empty coconut milk tin with water, pour it into the pan, and stir. Let the whole thing simmer away for about half an hour. This is so easy – now just walk away and do other things, like putting the rice on in the rice cooker.
3. Season carefully once the chicken is cooked and become tender. Serve with boiled rice, adding a few spoonfuls of Greek yoghurt dolloped on top. Sprinkle over the rest of the flaked almonds and coriander leaves.
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
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius and cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Last weekend we enjoyed the generous hospitality of my husband’s parents, and as always, it was so good to get away and enjoy some good times together – parents, kids and grandparents. My mother-in-law Pauline, is a terrific cook and like my own mother, has taught me lots about hospitality, both specifically and by osmosis. On this recent visit she cooked this delicious, almost retro, chicken casserole for us and it was so tasty, warming and comforting after the car trip from our place to theirs. Our kids devoured it that night and again the next. It’s dead easy and it’s one of those dishes that could easily stretch to serve more by adding extra veggies, rice or bread to the offering. For all these reasons, I’m pretty sure I’ll be making it often. Depending where you buy your veggies from, this dish costs around $18 to make (less still if you use a green grocer), and easily serves 8.
- 1 BBQ chicken
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 1 stick celery, chopped
- ¼ cup water
- 3 rashers bacon, sliced
- 60g mushrooms, sliced
- 440g can of Cream of Chicken Soup (Campbell’s is nicest)
- 300g carton sour cream (I use homebrand light)
- Optional: 400g can corn kernels, drained (we love corn!)
CHEESE BATTER TOPPING
- 1 cup SR Flour
- 1 capsicum (can be half red, half green)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup grated cheese
- ½ cup milk
- Remove chicken meat from bones while chicken is still warm (much easier), and shred or chop meat roughly.
- Place chopped onion, shallots, celery and water in pan, bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer covered for 15 mins (Pauline’s alternative tip: stick the lot in a covered microwave safe dish and zap for 2 mins).
- In a hot frypan, add bacon and sliced mushrooms and cook for 3 mins (again, Pauline suggests cooking the bacon and mushrooms in same covered microwave dish for about 2 mins)
- Combine the soup, sour cream, chicken, cooked vegetables, corn (if using) and bacon mixture. Pour into ovenproof dish.
- Make cheese batter: Mix flour, capsicum, lightly beaten eggs, cheese and milk until just blended.
- Spread cheese batter on top of casserole and bake uncovered in moderate oven for 30-40 mins. Serve with rice and salad.
This awesome recipe comes from my friend Kate, via taste.com.au. A tasty, cheap, easy and filling dinner for 6 people. Using around half a BBQ chicken, this recipe pairs well with Open Chicken Sandwiches with Lemon and Almonds during a working week or a weekend of having people over – 2 yummy meals that use just one chicken between them. Kate suggests adding a handful of pine nuts to the the zucchini fry-up and if zucchini doesn’t float your boat, add half a bag of baby spinach leaves to the hot pasta mixture at the end and watch them wilt up beautifully. Totalling around $8 to make this is a recipe I’ll be using again and again. Thanks Kate!
- 500g bowtie pasta or similar
- 100g butter, chopped
- 2 zucchini, coarsely grated
- 2 yellow zucchini, coarsely grated
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (about half a chicken)
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 large lemon, rind finely grated, juiced
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- grated parmesan cheese, optional, to serve
- Cook pasta in a saucepan of boiling salted water, following packet directions, until tender. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat 30g butter in a large, deep-sided frying pan over medium heat. Add zucchini and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until zucchini is soft. Add chicken and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until heated through.
- Add pasta, remaining 70g butter, green onions, lemon rind, 1/4 cup lemon juice and parsley to chicken mixture. Cook, stirring, over low heat until heated through. Sprinkle with parmesan, if using. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.