My friend Lisa made me something like this from a Donna Hay magazine for lunch last week and it was so yummy I had to make it again – only I could not find the recipe anywhere! So I had to make it up as I went and thankfully the chef type friend who helped eat my version said it worked! Pair this recipe with Lemon, Zucchini and Chicken Pasta in the same week, to use just one BBQ chicken to make two tasty and affordable meals. Apologies for the half-eaten sandwich in this photo – got a bit excited eating it before remembering to photograph it. Serves 6 people with 2 open sandwiches each and costs less than $12 to make.
- 1/2 BBQ chicken, shredded while warm (much easier than when cold from the fridge)
- 1 loaf of sourdough bread or similar
- 120g slivered almonds
- a couple of lugs of olive oil
- 1/2 bag baby spinach or 1 cup basil leaves roughly torn
- 1/2 tub spreadable cream cheese
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- zest of a whole lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- Slice sourdough into at least 12 slices and spread cream cheese across one side of each, followed by a layer of baby spinach or basil. Divide shredded chicken evenly among each slice, placing it on top of cream cheese and greens.
- In a frypan place slivered almonds, lemon zest and olive oil. Cook on low heat until almonds are brown, but not burnt. Remove from the heat and add lemon juice, stirring the mixture well.
- Top open sandwiches with almond and lemon mixture. Season with slat and pepper. Serve 2 slices per person.
Thankfulness and relief fill my heart whenever I stumble over a recipe like this one. Donna Hay’s Spiced Chicken & Chorizo Couscous from No Time to Cook proved to be delightfully fast to make in just one pan, flavoursome and inexpensive to make. My kids ate stacks of it, asking for more long past their usual limit and it was so simply done that I was able to talk on the phone at length while making it, which happens so rarely in my household in this stage of life. A few comments about Chorizo: I’ve noticed they regularly come on special for half price at the deli at my local Woolworth’s about once every two months, so I tend to buy up then and freeze them in small quantities for meals like these. Even so, this tasty crowd pleasing dinner, which serves 6-8 costs no more than $14 to make.
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 x chicken breasts (400g total)
- 2 x Chorizo sausages, sliced thinly into half moon shapes
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 (500g) cups instant couscous (generic brands are fine)
- 2 (500ml) cups chicken stock (I used powdered, reconstituted with water)
- 1 cup (250ml) water
- 100g fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives (optional – leave out to reduce cost if necessary. I’ve done this before and it’s still very yummy)
- Place onion, chicken, chorizo, chilli and garlic into a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat and cook for 5-6 minutes or until chicken is browned.
- Add couscous, stock and water to the pan, cover and simmer over low heat for 2 minutes or until couscous is tender. Stir spinach and olives through couscous mixture and serve immediately.
My wonderful mother-in-law gave me this recipe years and years ago. Every now and then my husband says “We haven’t had that mango curry in a while” and I’m always surprised I don’t think to make it more often. This not-at-all hot curry gets devoured quickly, is easy-peasy to make and so affordable. It’s a great option for hospitality because you can do all the preparation in advance, long before people arrive, and simply leave the stir-frying until you’re about to eat – cause there’s no more than 10 minutes cooking time for this dish. Ensure rice on the go in a rice cooker while people arrive and you really won’t have much to do in the kitchen when things are getting underway. The quantities listed below serves 6 and is easily doubled when cooked in a wok for a larger group. This flavoursome dinner costs around $10.
- 2 large chicken breast fillets, thinly sliced
- 1x440g can mango cheeks, thinly sliced (home brand is fine)
- 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 6 spring onions, white ends chopped roughly, green stalks thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
- 1/2 cup chicken stock (powdered or cubed is fine)
- 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
- 100g snow peas, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- salt & pepper to taste
- In a large frypan or wok on maximum heat, cook sesame oil, garlic and white ends of spring onions until fragrant.
- Add chicken strips and fry until brown on all sides. Turn pan down to low and add carrots, curry powder, mustard and stock. Simmer for 5 mins.
- Add green stalks of spring onions, snow peas and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, gently fold through thinly sliced mango cheeks. Serve with rice.
Recently a friend posted this yummy recipe on my facebook wall and tonight I tried it out. Before finishing his second mouthful my husband asked me to make it again soon! As promised, this Biryani recipe originally from Super Food Ideas was dead easy to make and the smell of it that permeated the house whilst cooking was divine. Including the yoghurt but not the pappadums, this meal cost an affordable $11 to make 4 large serves, though you could use less chicken to make it cheaper if required. Thanks Katrina, for this terrific contribution.
- 750g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed, cut into 3cm pieces
- 1/2 cup Tikka Masala curry paste
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 large brown onions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup thick Greek-style yoghurt
- 1/3 cup mint leaves
- 8 small pappadums, cooked, to serve
- Combine chicken and curry paste in a ceramic bowl. Cover. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight if time permits (I didn’t have time to do this and didn’t pre-marinate at all. It was still good!)
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Heat oil and butter in a frying pan over medium heat until sizzling. Add onions. Cook for 15 minutes or until caramelised. Transfer chicken to an 8-cup capacity ovenproof casserole dish. Spoon onions over chicken.
- Place rice into a sieve. Rinse under cold water until water runs clear. Sprinkle rice evenly over onions. Place stock into a microwave-safe jug. Microwave on HIGH (100%) power for 2 minutes or until hot. Pour stock over the back of a metal spoon over rice. Cover with foil then cover with a lid. Bake for 1 hour 45 minutes or until rice is tender (Start checking from 1 hour – mine didn’t need nearly as long as this). Season with salt and pepper.
- Place yoghurt into a bowl. Finely chop 2 tablespoons of mint leaves. Stir through yoghurt. Spoon biryani into bowls. Top with yoghurt mixture and remaining mint leaves. Serve with pappadums.
This one pot dinner was contributed by Louise a few months ago, but I’ve only just got around to giving it a go tonight. And I’m so glad I did! This was such an easy, yummy and affordable meal – exactly the kind of recipe this blog is about. Originally from Good Taste magazine, this tasty recipe made oodles and will definitely be one I grab when I next need a fuss free meal for a fair few people. As well as all these things, what I really like about this recipe is the fact that you probably already have all of the ingredients in the cupboard and it utilizes only one pot, so there’s not much washing up. And one more thing: to increase time spent with guests, you can prepare this recipe to the end of step 1 up to 2 hours ahead. Store in the fridge until ready to finish if off. Total cost is around $10 and serves 6+ adult size portions.
- 6 (about 1kg) chicken thigh cutlets
- 1 tbs plain flour
- 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
- 60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
- 2 carrots, peeled, coarsely chopped
- 1 leek, ends trimmed, halved lengthways, washed, coarsely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 600g (3 cups) long-grain rice
- 1L (4 cups) chicken stock
- 1/2 cup fresh continental parsley leaves
- Place the chicken, flour and Chinese five spice in a sealable plastic bag. Season with pepper. Seal and toss to coat.
- Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes each side or until browned. Transfer to a plate.
- Add the carrot, leek and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until the leek softens.
- Add the rice and stir to combine. Add the stock and stir until well combined. Return the chicken to the pan. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 12-15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Set aside, covered, for 10 minutes to stand. Season with extra salt and pepper and sprinkle with the fresh parsley leaves to serve.
I made this modified Ainsley Harriott recipe for the first time last night and everyone loved it. The kids devoured these yummy Thai chicken and corn cakes and I loved them not just for taste but also for simplicity: everything just goes in the food processor for blitzing. And it was so affordable: the total cost being less than $10 (and it made 20 rissole sized cakes which is two dinners worth in this house). Next time I make hot finger food I’m going to roll them into little balls to dip in its sauce using a toothpick for a yummy starter. These Thai chicken and corn cakes are freezer friendly, which makes this recipe my new favourite.
- 3 skinless chicken breasts or 5 thighs (approximately 750g)
- 1 egg
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
- 50g breadcrumbs
- 1 x 400g tin corn kernels, drained
- half bunch fresh coriander leaves
- 4 spring onions, sliced
- 2 tbsp sesame or peanut oil
sweet chilli sauce
- 4 tabs sweet chilli sauce
- 1 teasp soy sauce
- 1 teasp fish sauce
- 5cm piece cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
- Roughly chop the chicken breasts and put all ingredients (minus the oil and sauce ingredients) together in the bowl of a food processor. Process until combined evenly, though ingredients should still be visibly distinct to the eye.
- With wet hands, pat mixture into 20 rissole sized cakes and pan fry on each side for 3-5 minutes, in a very hot fry pan using sesame or peanut oil.
- If desired, combine sauce ingredients in a dish (though sweet chilli sauce straight from the bottle is great with this dish too).
- Serve with mashed potato and steamed vegetables or a salad of asian greens. Makes 20 cakes, and serves 6+ adults.
Though it’s true I’m not the biggest fan of packet mixes (they aren’t that cheap really, and often don’t taste that great), this Southern Fried Chicken coating mix is simply awesome. It doesn’t have that hideous packet mix ‘fake’ flavour, it goes a surprisingly long way and best of all, it’s one of the fastest ways get a decent dinner done at the drop of a hat. I tend to keep multiple packets of this in reserve for when the day ends much more crazily than was first planned or when the opportunity to have people over arises out of the blue. Use this shaker chicken mix on any type of chicken you like – drumsticks for affordability – wings for hot finger food that pleases a crowd – or thighs and breasts for a quick meat and three veg dinner. Simply coat chicken pieces in the mixture and roast in a very hot oven in a roasting dish splashed with olive oil and/or butter, at around 200-220 degrees, making sure you turn them before they burn. The chicken should develop a lovely brown stickiness all over. 1 packet of this Southern Fried Chicken coating does a bit more than 1kg chicken. Enjoy!
Here’s another slow cooker recipe to get you through the winter months. Our family really enjoyed this because the sauce isn’t too spicy, yet it has a definite satay flavour. This satay sauce can be used with your choice of beef or chicken such as drum sticks or diced thigh fillets. Doubling this recipe will almost fill a 5.5L slow cooker and will provide you with extra meals for no extra hassle. After researching my local area, I found that Coles had the best price for chuck steak ($8 per kilo), though I have seen it cheaper on special at various places. Quantities given below serve 6+ people and costs around $12 to make.
- 1kg diced beef (chuck or rump works best)
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into half moon shapes
- 1 400g can lite coconut cream
- 1 tab ground cumin
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp coriander flakes (or fresh if you have it)
- 2 tabs soy sauce
- 2 tabs lime juice (I use squeezie from the fridge)
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 250 grams good quality peanut butter, (homebrand won’t do in this case!)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place beef or chicken in the slow cooker along with the onions, carrots, spices, lime juice, garlic and peanut butter. Mix well to coat the meat in the flavours.
- Pour coconut cream over the seasoned meat and again, mix well.
- Cook on low for 8 hours. Check the flavour and season according to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on rice or mashed potato with steamed snow peas, broccoli and capsicum.
Katrina put me onto this soup recipe a few weeks back and I thought I’d give it a go today. I tried it today because we’ve got a big week ahead (one of our kids is having their tonsils and adenoids out tomorrow), I wanted a meal to give away and I wanted to put the rest in the fridge for the number of lunches and dinners we’ll need quickly in the days to come. For all these reasons, I doubled the quantities and I really enjoyed the ease of this recipe – it only took around 20 minutes of peeling and chopping before sticking it on the stove to simmer. The ingredients list tells you to use chicken lovely legs, but today at my butcher, drumsticks were on special and lovely legs were not. I decided the saving in cost was worth the 5 extra minutes to remove the skin from each drumstick, and seeing as the recipe requires the removal of bones, I figured it didn’t matter that each leg was not shortened. The end result was yummy, full of good meat and healthy vegetables. Total cost, less than $8 and feeds 6-8. Thanks for the link, Katrina and thanks taste.com for the recipe and photo.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 leek, halved, washed, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 large carrot, peeled, diced
- 2 sticks celery, diced
- 2 small zucchini, diced
- 1 swede or turnip, peeled, diced
- 1 1/4 cups dry soup mix, rinsed
- 8 cups chicken stock (I use powder cause it’s cheaper)
- 1kg skinless chicken lovely legs (or drumsticks)
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leek and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until soft but not coloured. Add carrot, celery, zucchini and swede. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in soup mix, stock, chicken and 1 cup cold water. Increase heat to high. Bring to the boil.
- Reduce heat to low. Simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour or until soup mix and vegetables are tender.
- Remove chicken legs from soup. Allow to cool slightly. Remove meat from bones. Roughly chop chicken meat and add to soup. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into warmed bowls. Serve with bread if desired.
- Packet dry soup mix is a combination of split peas and lentils. You can find it near the chickpeas in the supermarket.
I first came across this recipe in Donna Hay’s Instant Entertaining and it’s now one of my favourites for large group catering, freezing for later or giving away when someone needs a meal. It’s such a hands-off recipe and is so versatile, allowing you to add whatever flavours you like. Tonight I’ve added chicken, sun-dried tomato and mushroom, though I’m keen to try it with ham, roast pumpkin and pine nut. The possibilities here are endless, so go with whatever you like or what needs using up in your fridge. For this variation, I added the sun-dried tomato strips to the stock and rice at the beginning so that they were nice and tender to eat and allowed about 50g of chicken per person. Total cost less than $10 and these quantities feed 12.
- 3 cups arborio rice
- 8 cups chicken stock (I use powdered, reconstituted with boiling water)
- 2 cups finely grated parmesan cheese
- 80g butter
- salt and pepper
- 500-600g chicken thigh fillets
- 1 small jar sun-dried tomatoes (cut into strips)
- half a bag of mushrooms, sliced
- parsley and or shallots (if you have them)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Place rice and stock (and sun-dried tomatoes) in a large roasting dish and stir to combine. Cover tightly with foil or a lid and bake for 45 mins or until most of the stock is absorbed.
- While the rice is cooking, cook up whatever add-in elements you like (in this case, fry the pieces of chicken and saute sliced mushrooms).
- Pull rice out of the oven, stir in the parmesan, butter and salt and pepper. Stir for 3-4 minutes until the risotto is thick and creamy. Add in extra elements and stir again. Add extra flavour with a handful of finely chopped parsley and spring onion. Serve with a side salad or top with steamed greens.