Chicken mince is one of my favourite cooking ingredients. It’s tasty, it’s cheap, it’s lean and so versatile. And Mexican food, how I love Mexican food! Looking down the list of ingredients from my friend Anna’s Enchilada recipe makes me want to party: tomatoes, chicken stock, coriander, beans, tortillas and cheese – but even more so the ease of making them. Originally from Donna Hay Magazine, these crowd-pleasing enchiladas feed lots of people in one hit and are fast to make, especially as the chicken filling can be made and frozen ahead of time. And I especially like the way the tortillas soften into something more like lasagne than a wrap when baked in the oven. The quantities below serve 10 people and cost around $23 to make. Thanks for sending in this recipe, Anna.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 brown onion, chopped
- 1kg chicken mince
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/4 cup oregano leaves (I use dried)
- 3 cups (750ml) chicken stock (I use powdered)
- 2 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 x 400g tin of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped
- 2 x packets of mini tortillas (total 20)
- 120ml tomato puree
- 200g grated mozzarella or pizza cheese
- Heat the oil in a large deep sided frying pan, such as an electric one. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until softened. Add the mince, garlic and oregano and cook for 10 minutes, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon.
- Add stock, tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally for 30-40 minutes or until thickened. Set aside and allow to cool. Stir in beans and coriander.
- Place a couple of tablespoons of chicken mixture in the middle of each tortilla and roll up, placing each one side by side in a large baking dish.
- Top with tomato puree and grated cheese. Bake at 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
“Do you have plans tonight? Wanna come over, make me dinner, and watch a movie?”. That was my text to my old friend Sheridan one Sunday night at the end of last year. My husband was away and all the end of year ‘lasts’ – functions/events/things, had left me exhausted. And although normally under such circumstances, breakfast cereal is the dinner time option of choice around here, I couldn’t face another such dinner for the 5th time that week. Generous and hospitable as she is, even at my place rather than hers, Sheri came over and made this delightfully easy and tasty Donna Hay dish, which just happens to be gluten, egg, wheat and dairy free. Her food, good company and contentment with not much chit-chat that night were real blessings to me. And we’re still laughing about how from now on she’s going to have to read my sms invitations carefully to check who’s doing the cooking! Super simple to make, fresh and healthy too, this noodle dish is perfect for cooking for yourself or friends straight after work and can easily be multiplied for a larger group. And all of the preparation can be done quickly and hours ahead of people coming over – once they’ve turned up and have a cold drink in their hand, just stir fry everything from start to finish in 10 minutes. If you purchase your herbs from a grocer rather than a supermarket, this dish costs no more than $10 to make and serves 4. Thanks for this terrific recipe, Sheri.
- 2 teaspoons vegetable or sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped (or, as I do, a good squeeze of Gourmet Garden lemongrass in a tube)
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 500g chicken mince
- 1/4 cup lime juice (I use lime squeeze from the fridge)
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3/4 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves
- the stalks of the coriander leaves, washed and chopped finely
- 3/4 cup basil leaves
- 4 green onions, shredded
- Put a large pot of water on the stove and bring the boil for cooking egg noodles.
- Heat a frying pan or wok at high heat. Add the oil, ginger, coriander stalks, lemongrass and chilli and cook for 1 minutes. Add the chicken mince and cook, stirring for 6-7 minutes or until cooked through, breaking up any large lumps of chicken as you go.
- Add rice noodles to the boiling water and cook according to instructions on the packet and when soft, drain in a colander.
- Stir through the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, coriander, basil and green onions. Serve stir-fry in bowls on top of freshly cooked rice noodles.
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.
Yesterday I was the grateful recipient of a ‘day off’ by myself. My husband ordered me to ‘go to a cafe and read a book’ which I readily agreed was a wonderful way to use some of the day. Beforehand, I found a copy of Donna Hay’s No Time To Cook, and having used it a number of times, sat down to read it like a novel, page by page. By the end I was inspired by a number of the recipes, especially this one. Normally a yummy vegetarian dish, I knew my husband would prefer it with the addition of mince, and the result was a less stodgy and much healthier lasagne. With 750g of mince added to the passata sauce this dish costs around $16 and around $11 if you keep it vegetarian. Serves 10.
- 1.2kg ricotta (buy it from the deli, not the fridge section, much cheaper!)
- 160g grated parmesan
- 6 tbsp chopped chives (if you have it)
- 8 tbsp shredded basil (if you have it)
- 1 rounded tbsp finely grated lemon rind
- sea salt and cracked black pepper
- 4 tbsp coarsely chopped oregano leaves (if you have it)
- 1.25 litres tomato passata
- 450g-600g lasagne sheets
- 1.5kg pumpkin peeled, seeded and sliced thinly (2-3mm)
- 100g grated mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
- Combine ricotta, half the grated parmesan, chives, basil, lemon rind, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Stir oregano into passata.
- Place a layer of lasagne sheets into the base of a greased 20cm x 35cm baking dish (about 7cm deep, 3.5-4 litre capacity). Top with a third of the pumpkin and spoon over a third of the passata mixture. Top with a third of the ricotta mixture and another layer of lasagne sheets. Repeat layers, ending with a layer of lasagne sheets and the remaining ricotta mixture.
- Sprinkle with mozzarella and the remaining parmesan, cover with aluminium foil and bake for 1½ hours.
Another recipe from Donna Hay’s No Time to Cook, my friend Sonja made this for us for dinner last year – in my kitchen, so I just got to sit back and watch! I couldn’t believe how fast and yummy the whole dish was and so was keen to give it a go myself. When left to my own devices with no recipe, I normally really struggle to cook asian food that doesn’t all taste the same, but this simple recipe gets the balance of these readily available flavours just right without any stress. This recipe feeds 4 and calls for 4 firm white fish fillets, and I couldn’t believe that the 4 HUGE Basa fillets I picked up from the deli at Coles cost $4.80. The whole meal cost less than $8 and no more than 20 mins to make. I keep coming back to this recipe for all these reasons of simplicity and affordability, but also because I always think our family should be eating more fish and my brain struggles to think of anything but tuna (which not everyone loves). If you use gluten free rice stick noodles (such as Chang’s), this recipe is gluten and dairy free. And finally, if you don’t like much spiciness in asian food, go easy on the thai curry paste – and if you do like it spicy, go ahead and knock yourself out.
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tabs sesame seeds
- 2 tabs fresh ginger, grated
- 6 shallots or green onions, roughly chopped
- 2 tabs fish sauce
- 200g dried rice stick noodles
- 4 tsp red curry paste (if you’ve only got green in the fridge, that’s fine too)
- 2 tabs olive oil
- 4 firm white fish fillets
- 2/3 cup fresh coriander (if you have it and if you like it)
- 2/3 cup fresh mint leaves (if you have it and if you like it)
- Place a medium non-stick frypan over low heat, add sesame oil, seeds, ginger, shallots and fish sauce and cook for 2-3 mins. Remove sesame mixture from pan and set aside. Wipe pan clean.
- Place noodles in a heat-proof bowl, cover with boiling water for 10 mins until separated and tender.
- Combine curry paste and oil in a bowl and brush over both sides of the fish. Return the pan to low heat, add the fish and cook for 5 mins each side or until the fish is cooked through.
- Drain noodles, stir through sesame mixture and divide between plates. Top with fish and herbs to serve as well as steamed boy-choy if you’re keen.
I spotted this recipe a few days ago in Donna Hay’s No time to Cook. The recipe looked so yummy and easy that I had to give it a go and we all devoured it. Seriously, it took no longer that 20 minutes to cook the whole dinner and I was amazed at how moist the chicken turned out. This recipe allocates 1 small chicken breast per person, but ours were bigger, so we only used half a breast each (and with veggies underneath that was more than enough for each of us). So I’m thrilled that this ticks the affordable box as well as those of taste and ease. As well as all these things, this recipe is gluten, diary and egg free! The recipe that follows serves 4 and will cost no more than $10. Hope you enjoy it.
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoon oregano leaves (dried is fine, fresh is better)
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 4 x small chicken breast fillets, halved lengthways
- 4 x spring onion, finely sliced or 1/2 cup basil leaves (roughly torn)
1. Decide what veggies you want to serve this with (I suggest steamed carrots, beans, broccoli and mashed potato) and get them going. Meanwhile, place vinegar, oregano, sugar and pepper in a medium non-stick frying pan over medium heat and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the liquid has thickened slightly.
2. Add chicken and cook for 3-5 minutes each side, or until cooked through.
3. Stack up your chosen veggies on each plate (mashed potato works best on the bottom). Place pieces of chicken across the top. Drizzle the dish with the remaining vinegar mixture from the pan. Top with spring onions or bits of torn basil.
I first tried this recipe when a lovely friend provided us with this meal after the birth of our daughter. I’ve adapted it a little and added beans for a little extra nutrition. This is a quick recipe to make and costs around $7. Serves 4+ and is really easy to adapt for bigger groups by allocating 100g of chicken per person (thanks for this maths tip, Cynth!). This recipe is also dairy, egg and gluten free if you go with white wine instead of stock.
- 2 chicken thigh fillets or 1 large breast fillet (total 400g), thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 400ml can crushed tomatoes
- 60ml white wine or chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped basil leaves
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
- handful fresh green beans, head and tailed
- salt & pepper to taste
- shaved parmesan cheese (to serve on top)
- Heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2 mins until soft.
- Add the chicken and cook until brown in colour. Add the tomatoes, wine/stock and sugar. Simmer over low heat for around 10 mins so chicken cooks all the way through.
- Add a handful of green beans and simmer a further 5 minutes.
- Just before serving, throw in the basil and olives. Season with salt & pepper.
- Serve on rice or mashed potato.