Magic Mayo Moist Chicken Breasts

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This Magic Mayo Moist chicken breasts recipe is a variation, with variations, of a generic Mayo Chicken Breast recipe that’s been around since the 60’s.  It is moist, versatile, full of flavour, moist, and best of all, easy to make! Did I say that Magic Mayo Moist Chicken is moist?  Did I say that Magic Mayo Moist Chicken is easy and versatile?  You betcha! Magic Mayo Moist Chicken is perfect for a stress-free dinner party, too – prepare ahead, leave in the fridge until you put the oven on to preheat, put into the oven when ready! MAGIC!

Magic Mayo Moist chicken breasts, ready to eat – note the moisture on the lower right

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup good egg mayonnaise (use plain Greek yogurt in place of the mayo, for a healthier option, or half and half)
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (halve recipe for 2 people)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • ½ -1 teaspoon seasoning salt (or Italian, or your choice)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Optional: ½ cup mozzarella, sprinkle planko or other crumbs)

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise (or yogurt if substituting), cheese, and the seasonings of your choice (other options below)..
  2. Preheat oven to 160 deg C (375 deg F)..
  3. Put the chicken breasts into a baking dish, tucking thin ends underneath.
  4. Spread the mayo mixture evenly on top of each chicken breast, sprinkle with crumbs, if using.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven, for about 35-45 minutes,  or until cooked through. (test wuth skewer for clear juices from thickest part.
  6. Serve warm, with noodles, potatoes or similar, plus a salad.

Autumn’s Culinary TIPS:

Experimenting with the basic recipe is fun – here’s some ideas

  1. Try using the mayo mix on thick fish fillets.
  2. Slice the chicken through the middle from the side and slide in a big slice of ham with a little Mozzarella por cheddar cheese for a different taste.
  3. You can switch the mayo for Greek yoghurt or lite mayo, the seasonings for BBQ or other seasonings.
  4. Other things you can add, or sub for original seasoning:

– Finely zested lemon or orange zest.

– finely chopped fresh herbs ( a little basil or thyme is great)

– a little chilli, or even some sweet chilli sauce

– some seasoned breadcrumbs (wholemeal or Planko are great)

  1. As well as the parmesan, add 1/4 – ½ cup grated mozzarella cheese.
  2. Try adding some bacon (chopped small) on top, about 3/4 the way through cooking.
  3. A great, easy side dish is thin egg noodles cooked to al dente, drained, and then some butter, garlic cloves, and Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top! Delicious and simple .  Salads are great, too.
  4. What great ideas can YOU come up with?

Magic Mayo Moist chicken breasts, ready for the oven

Magic Mayo Moist Chicken Breasts
Author: 
Recipe type: Chicken, Dinner, Celebration, Mains
Cuisine: Inernational
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Magic Mayo Moist chicken breasts is a variation, with variations, of a generic Mayo Chicken Breast recipe that’s been around since the 60’s. It is moist, versatile, full of flavour, moist, and best of all, easy to make!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup good egg mayonnaise (use plain Greek yogurt in place of the mayo, for a healthier option, or half and half)
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (halve recipe for 2 people)
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ½ -1 teaspoon seasoning salt (or Italian, or your choice)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Optional: ½ cup mozzarella, sprinkle planko or other crumbs)
Method
  1. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise (or yogurt if substituting), cheese, and the seasonings of your choice (other options below)..
  2. Preheat oven to 160 deg C (375 deg F)..
  3. Put the chicken breasts into a baking dish, tucking thin ends underneath.
  4. Spread the mayo mixture evenly on top of each chicken breast, sprinkle with crumbs, if using.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven, for about 35-45 minutes, or until cooked through. (test wuth skewer for clear juices from thickest part.
  6. Serve warm, with noodles, potatoes or similar, plus a salad.
  7. Autumn's Culinary TIPS: Experimenting with the basic recipe is fun – here’s some ideas
  8. Try using the mayo mix on thick fish fillets.
  9. Slice the chicken through the middle from the side and slide in a big slice of ham with a little
  10. Mozzarella or cheddar cheese for a different taste.
  11. You can switch the mayo for Greek yoghurt or lite mayo, the seasonings for BBQ or other seasonings.
  12. Other things you can add, or sub for original seasoning:
  13. - Finely zested lemon or orange zest.
  14. - finely chopped fresh herbs ( a little basil or thyme is great)
  15. - a little chilli, or even some sweet chilli sauce
  16. - some seasoned breadcrumbs (wholemeal or Planko are great)
  17. As well as the parmesan, add ¼ – ½ cup grated mozzarella cheese.
  18. Try adding some bacon (chopped small) on top, about ¾ the way through cooking.
  19. A great, easy side dish is thin egg noodles cooked to al dente, drained, and then some butter, garlic cloves, and Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top! Delicious and simple . Salads are great, too.
  20. What great ideas can YOU come up with?

 

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TURKISH PIZZA or Lahmacun – tasty, makes great picnic food, too

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Called Lahmacun in Turkey, TURKISH PIZZA or Lamhmacun is a variant of a yeast dough with meat and cheese pizza found in the Mediterranean region, with less tomato and more spices.  Beautifully fragrant from the oven, this is enhanced traditionally by a squeeze of half a lemon over the meat mixture.

Tradition also shows in the shape – instead of the circles of an Italian Pizza, the Turkish Pizza or Lahmacun is a long oval in shape.

Make for dinner, for lunch or make in the morning and take wrapped in foil for portable but different picnic food.  If you have a breadmaker appliance, the dough is quickly done, but as it’s a one-knead, one-rise dough recipe it’s also easy to make by hand.   The recipe, as given, made 4 large oval Turkish Pizza or Lahmacun, and half to one per serve was fine.

Again, very few pics as the “hungry hoards” weren’t interested in waiting!  Not with that cumin-y, lemony odour wafting around!   I couldn’t get one of the two trays, I was lucky to get a pic of one plate!   Yes, they all disappeared VERY fast…..!

One of the two trays with large pizzas, ready for the oven

Half a large oval Turkish Pizza or Lahmucan ready to serve

Dough:

1.25 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoon oil or melted butter

1 teaspoon sugar

3.25 cups high grade flour

2 Tablespoons Surebake yeast or ½ envelope of dried yeast.

 

Filling:

250 gm lean lamb mince  (beef can also be used, but lamb is best)

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1.5 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon dried mint

.25 cup fresh mint leaves

2 diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon worchestershire sauce (optional)

1.25 cups grated cheddar cheese

1 egg beaten with a little water for glaze.

To Serve: squeeze of I/2 lemon on the hot pizzas.

Method:

  • Make dough in breadmaking machine, or mix by hand in large bowl, knead by hand on floured bench, and leave in a greased bowl, with a cover of plastic wrap, until doubled in size.
  • Process onion, lamb, spices and sauce, and dried mint, process until paste-like, then add fresh mint and diced tomatoes, process until shredded.
  • Divide dough into six pieces (don’t “punch it down”), roll into ball, knead a little, roll out into oval shapes (roughly 20 cm x 10 cm, or to fit your oven sheets).
  • Baste edges with egg wash, spread filling down the middle of oval.  Bring edges in to not quite cover filling,  pinch the ends of the ovals (as shown), baste with egg wash, sprinkle with grated cheese.
  • Place onto hot trays and bake in preheated oven at 220 degrees C (fan oven) or 240 degrees C in regular oven for about 15 minutes or until golden.
  • Best eaten straight from oven, but can be reheated next day.  They make great, easy-to-carry, picnic food, and for this purpose, make 8 – 10 smaller ones.

TURKISH PIZZA or Lahmacun
Author: 
Recipe type: lunch, picnic, dinner. snack
Cuisine: Middle East
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
TURKISH PIZZA or Lamhmacun is a variant of a yeast dough with meat and cheese pizza found in the Mediterranean region, with less tomato and more spices. Beautifully fragrant from the oven, this is enhanced traditionally by a squeeze of half a lemon over the meat mixture.
Ingredients
  • Dough:
  • 1.25 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoon oil or melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3.25 cups high grade flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Surebake yeast or ½ envelope of dried yeast.
  • Filling:
  • 250 gm lean lamb mince (beef can also be used, but lamb is best)
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1.5 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • .25 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon worchestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1.25 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg beaten with a little water for glaze.
  • To Serve: squeeze of I/2 lemon on the hot pizzas.
Method
  1. * Make dough in breadmaking machine, or mix by hand in large bowl, knead by hand on floured bench, and leave in a greased bowl, with a cover of plastic wrap, until doubled in size.
  2. * Process onion, lamb, spices and sauce, and dried mint, process until paste-like, then add fresh mint and diced tomatoes, process until shredded.
  3. * Divide dough into six pieces (don’t “punch it down”), roll into ball, knead a little, roll out into oval shapes (roughly 20 cm x 10 cm, or to fit your oven sheets).
  4. * Baste edges with egg wash, spread filling down the middle of oval. Bring edges in to not quite cover filling, pinch the ends of the ovals (as shown), baste with egg wash, sprinkle with grated cheese.
  5. * Place onto hot trays and bake in preheated oven at 220 degrees C (fan oven) or 240 degrees C in regular oven for about 15 minutes or until golden.
  6. * Best eaten straight from oven, but can be reheated next day. They make great, easy-to-carry, picnic food, and for this purpose, make 8 – 10 smaller ones.

 

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Margarita Chicken Marylands

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One of my favourite flavours is lime… and when you think of lime, you think Tequila and Margaritas, right?   So, when I fancy a touch of Mexican flavours, Margarita Chicken Marylands are my go-to dish, as it’s so simple to make, so full of flavour, and so tender, but although it looks complicated, it’s truly not.  And I’ve shown this as a complete meal plan.

Read it all through first, noting which items can be pre-prepared if you wish, and just take it step-by-step.

Margarita Chicken Maryland

Margarita Chicken Maryland – completed meal

You can even start marinating the chicken the night before (I do!), so it’s perfect for entertaining, or busy family life.

You’re the cook, you know how your family handles heat, so adjust the amount of chilli to taste – start lower than given, add more if needed.

Tequila is an added taste explosion, and helps tenderise the chicken.   Don’t worry about the alcohol, it’s cooked off, and only the flavour and the tenderising action remains.  Keep the alcohol in the pitcher of Margaritas for the adults to enjoy with this Mexican-inspired meal.

Total cooking time is about 50 minutes, with the prep (done in stages) taking up to 45 minutes, spread across your day – or the night before!)

Enjoy – Ole!

Margarita Chcken Marylands – marinating in ziplock bag

 

Total Meal Ingredients

Margarita Chicken   

4 chicken Marylands (leg and thigh) or 8-10 chicken thighs (skin ON is best for this recipe)

100 ml white tequila (blanco)

zest and juice of 2 limes

¼ teaspoon chilli flakes, plus more for garnish (cna use fresh, if available)

2 Tablespoons oil – I used canola

1 teaspoons salt (granulated or flakes)

Baked Kumera

4 even-sized smooth orange kumera (sweet potatoes), scrubbed.

200g sour cream or coconut yoghurt, to serve

small bunch parsley or coriander, chopped to give around ½ cup.

salt and pepper, to season

1 teaspoon lime zest, to sprinkle

Mexicano sauce (optional – omit if chillis aren’t your thing)

2 – 3 cloves garlic, crushed

thumb-sized knob (40-60g) ginger, peeled and grated

1 teaspoon salt (fine kitchen salt)

1½ Tablespoons canola oil

2 teaspoons sugar

juice of 1 lime

either 1- 2 teaspoons dried chillies (or to taste) or 75g fresh chillies, roughly chopped

Serving

  • 1 avocado, mashed with a little lime juice
  • ½ capsicum (red or yellow), very thinly sliced into long strips
  • ½ red onion, very finely sliced
  • Torn lettuce leaves
  • finely chopped parsley or coriander leaves
  • lime wedges

Method

  1. For the MARGARITA CHICKEN, make a few slashes across the chicken marylands (or thighs) and place them into a large ziplock bag.
  2. Add the tequila , lime juice and zest, chilli flakes, oil and salt to the bag, squish air out of the bag, and seal it.   Place on a tray and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or even overnight if you have time, to allow the flavours to develop.  Turn occasionally, if you can.
  3. Preheat oven to 200-220C (400 – 425 F).
  4. Prick several holes with a skewer into each KUMERA, then place onto a baking tray lined with foil or baking paper. Season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven until soft, about 45 minutes.
  5. Once chicken has marinated, remove chicken pieces from the bag, reserving marinating liquid in the bag. Place chicken pieces onto a shallow baking tray with sides,  lined with foil or baking paper. and bake for about 20 minutes, turning heat down if over-browning. Pour about half of the marinade over the chicken pieces.
  6. Meanwhile, mix sour cream or coconut yoghurt and chopped parsley or coriander together in a bowl until combined. Season with salt, to taste, cover with cling film and set aside in the fridge. ** can be prepared earlier in the day
  7. Remove chicken from oven and pour the remaining marinade over the chicken pieces. Continue to bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.
  8. MEXICANO SAUCE: Put all ingredients into processor and wiz (or zap to a puree in a bowl, using a stick blender. Allow to stand and rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. ** can be prepared earlier in the day
  9. Check with a skewer that the chicken is cooked through (juices run clear, not bloody) and remove from oven. Remove chicken pieces from the baking tray and set aside, keeping warm. Add a little boiling water to the baking dish to loosen the pan juices and stir to create a slightly thick sauce. Set aside until required.

 

Assembling the plate to serve:

  1. Arrange torn lettuce leaves on your plates, and spoon or pipe some mashed avocado on top of the lettuce (or serve in avocado shell, as I have)..

 

  1. Next, place a Baked Kumera onto the plate, slice it open lengthwise, and fill with some of the previously prepared and chilled sour cream/coconut yoghurt dressing. Sprinkle with some lime zest.

 

  1. Place one Margarita Chicken Maryland (or thigh) pieces onto the plate, pour the reserved pan juices over the chicken, then sprinkle with chopped coriander/parsley and chilli flakes.

 

4. Spoon some of the Mexicano sauce to the side, or pour into a gravy boat so guests can serve themselves.      (Mine is shown in a glass container at the right of the plate).

 

  1. To complete, serve with wedges of lime – and a pitcher of Margaritas. Ole!

Margarita Chicken Marylands
Author: 
Recipe type: dinner, chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • Total Meal Ingredients
  • Margarita Chicken:
  • 4 chicken Marylands (leg and thigh) or 8-10 chicken thighs (skin ON is best for this recipe)
  • 100 ml white tequila (blanco)
  • zest and juice of 2 limes
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli flakes, plus more for garnish
  • 2 Tablespoons oil – I used canola
  • 1 teaspoons salt (granulated or flakes)
  • Baked Kumera:
  • 4 even-sized smooth orange kumera (sweet potatoes), scrubbed.
  • 200g sour cream or coconut yoghurt, to serve
  • small bunch parsley or coriander, chopped to give around ½ cup.
  • salt and pepper, to season
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest, to sprinkle
  • Mexicano sauce (optional - omit if chillis aren't your thing):
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • thumb-sized knob (40-60g) ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt (fine kitchen salt)
  • 1½ Tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • either 1- 2 teaspoons dried chillies (or to taste) or 75g fresh chillies, roughly chopped
  • Serving:
  • 1 avocado, mashed with a little lime juice
  • ½ capsicum (red or yellow), very thinly sliced into long strips
  • ½ red onion, very finely sliced
  • Torn lettuce leaves
  • finely chopped parsley or coriander leaves
  • lime wedges
Method
  1. * - For the MARGARITA CHICKEN, make a few slashes across the chicken marylands (or thighs) and place them into a large ziplock bag.
  2. - Add the tequila , lime juice and zest, chilli flakes, oil and salt to the bag, squish air out of the bag, and seal it. Place on a tray and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or even overnight if you have time, to allow the flavours to develop. Turn occasionally, if you can.
  3. - Preheat oven to 200-220C (400 - 425 F).
  4. ** - Prick several holes with a skewer into each KUMERA, then place onto a baking tray lined with foil or baking paper. Season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven until soft, about 45 minutes.
  5. - Once chicken has marinated, remove chicken pieces from the bag, reserving marinating liquid in the bag. Place chicken pieces onto a shallow baking tray with sides, lined with foil or baking paper. and bake for about 20 minutes, turning heat down if over-browning. Pour about half of the marinade over the chicken pieces.
  6. Meanwhile, mix sour cream or coconut yoghurt and chopped parsley or coriander together in a bowl until combined. Season with salt, to taste, cover with cling film and set aside in the fridge. ** can be prepared earlier in the day
  7. - Remove chicken from oven and pour the remaining marinade over the chicken pieces. Continue to bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.
  8. ** - MEXICANO SAUCE: Put all ingredients into processor and wiz (or zap to a puree in a bowl, using a stick blender. Allow to stand and rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. ** can be prepared earlier in the day
  9. - Check with a skewer that the chicken is cooked through (juices run clear, not bloody) and remove from oven. Remove chicken pieces from the baking tray and set aside, keeping warm. Add a little boiling water to the baking dish to loosen the pan juices and stir to create a slightly thick sauce. Set aside until required.
  10. ** Assembling the plate to serve:
  11. - Arrange torn lettuce leaves on your plates, and spoon or pipe some mashed avocado on top of the lettuce (or serve in avocado shell, as I have).
  12. - Next, place a Baked Kumera onto the plate, slice it open lengthwise, and fill with some of the previously prepared and chilled sour cream/coconut yoghurt dressing. Sprinkle with some lime zest.
  13. - Place one Margarita Chicken Maryland (or thigh) pieces onto the plate, pour the reserved pan juices over the chicken, then sprinkle with chopped coriander/parsley and chilli flakes.
  14. - Spoon some of the Mexicano sauce to the side, or pour into a gravy boat so guests can serve themselves. (Mine is shown in a glass container at the right of the plate).
  15. - To complete, serve with wedges of lime – and a pitcher of Margaritas. Ole!

 

Autumn’s Culinary Tip:

A Chocolate Mousse (or even Chocolate and Avocado mousse), served with fruit and whipped cream or more coconut yoghurt, would be the perfect way to finish this meal

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Aubergine and Leek Turkish-Style

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If you are seeking “something different” for a vegetarian dish, or as a side for a main, I recommend giving this dish of Aubergine and Leek Turkish-Style a try!  The aroma is divine, it’s rich and deliciously exotic.  A wonderful mix of savoury with a touch of sweetness (from the currants) that goes beautifully with grilled chicken or fish.  I prefer it served hot, but it’s also nice as a salad (in which case, add an extra drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar to your taste).

Aubergine and Leeks Turkish-style - cut and ready to cook

Aubergine and Leeks Turkish-style – cut and ready to cook

Aubergine and Leeks Turkish-style - ready to cook in heavy pot

Aubergine and Leeks Turkish-style – ready to cook in heavy pot

Aubergine and Leeks Turkish-style - the perfect side dish for chicken or fish

Aubergine and Leeks Turkish-style – the perfect side dish for chicken or fish

Aubergine and Leek Turkish-Style
Author: 
Recipe type: vegetarian, salad, main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
“something different” for a vegetarian dish, or as a side for a main, I recommend giving this dish of Aubergine and Leek Turkish-Style a try! The aroma is divine, it’s rich and deliciously exotic. A divine mix of savoury with a touch of sweetness (from the currants) that goes beautifully with grilled chicken or fish.
Ingredients
  • 125 ml good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large leek (or 2 small) thickly sliced, green parts as well as white
  • 1 large eggplant in 2 - 3 cm chunks, skin on
  • ½ cup currants
  • ½ cup black olives
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped mint (or a teaspoon of dried mint).
  • A few tablespoons of water, if and as needed.
  • To serve:
  • 1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped parsley
  • A little extra top quality olive oil
Method
  1. Heat oil in a large wide heavy pan (or casserole) with a lid.
  2. Combine all ingredients except serving herbs, and add to pan, combine.
  3. Cover and cook over a low heat for about an hour or until vegetables are very tender.
  4. Check liquid occasionally and add a little water if necessary.
  5. The mixture when cooked should be luscious but not too wet.
  6. Add chopped parsley and mint, and a drizzle of finest olive oil, just before serving.
  7. Serve Aubergine and Leek Turkish-Style with grilled chicken or fish (if non-vegetarian) and a Greek Salad and mint/yoghurt Tzatziki) dressing, or other salad.
  8. Aubergine and Leek Turkish-Style is also nice reheated next day, or served cold, as a salad, with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar to your taste

 

 

 

 

 

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SMOKED SALMON CHICKPEA PATTIES

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Smoked Salmon Chickpea Patties

These very simple-to-make and very tasty Smoked Salmon Chickpea Patties are gluten-free, healthy, and delicious!  Mash any leftovers onto a good sourdough or ciabatta bread and add some chopped tomato, shredded lettuce and aioli for a superb sandwich!

If you’d like to be economical with your smoked salmon, try doing it yourself – use the method I gave for Tea Smoking food in your kitchen !  It’s real easy!

Smoked salmon chickpea patties with Turkish leek and aubergine side

Smoked salmon chickpea patties with Turkish leek and aubergine side

 

SMOKED SALMON CHICKPEA PATTIES
Author: 
Recipe type: Lunches, main, picnic, vegetarian, gluten-free, snacks,
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
 
These very simple-to-make and very tasty Smoked Salmon Chickpea Patties are gluten-free, healthy, and delicious! Mash any leftovers onto a good sourdough or ciabatta bread and add some chopped tomato, shredded lettuce and aioli for a superb sandwich!
Ingredients
  • 200g cooked smoked salmon (divide into 2, chop ½ into dice and reserve)
  • 400 g can plain chickpeas, drained (see note on liquid AF below)
  • 2 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger (fresh, or prepared paste)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped coriander (fresh, or prepared paste)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley (fresh, or prepared paste)
  • ½ -1 teaspoon garlic (fresh, or prepared paste)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 egg (or use 2 tablespoons AF – Aqua Faba – from chickpea can)
  • ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper (or to taste)
  • Breadcrumbs for crumbing
  • Small amount of oil for cooking
Method
  1. Into a food processor bowl, put everything but the salmon, crumbs, and the oil.
  2. Wizz until well mixed
  3. Add half the salmon (reserve the diced half) and wizz a little, but do not break up too much.
  4. Remove from the machine, remove blade, add the diced salmon and mix through with a knife.
  5. Divide the mixture into 6-8 balls, press into breadcrumbs. Refrigerate until needed.
  6. Heat a little oil in a frying pan. Gently fry in oil, about 4 minutes each side, until brown. Serve with side dish or salad, and your favourite sauce or aoili

The exotic side dish shown on the plate with this recipe is Aubergine and Leek Turkish-Style  – a great complementary dish.

Autumn’s culinary note:

AQUA FABA or AF is the viscous liquid you drain from a can of chickpeas.  I used to throw this away….. until I discovered the joys of AF or Aqua Faba  – literally “Bean Water”, but many translate it as “fabulous water”!  Now, vegans can have meringues and pavlovas (Yes! Truly!), and use the water from cans as an egg substitute in many dishes.

I’m too much of a novice at this, so I’m pointing you in the direction of a wonderful Facebook page –  “Vegan Meringues – Hits and Misses” –  where you can join (but read their minimal rules!), and access excellent recipes on files, and learn many tricks.  They also have vegan and non-vegan groups (perhaps that saves arguments?), and seem very helpful.

I’m experimenting for friends with diet issues and disabilities, and will share some in the future.  I certainly value the amazing recipe in the alphabetical files from Bryanna Clark Grogan on how to make homemade AQUAFABA in the slow cookerThis allows me to turn 4 cups of raw chickpeas (I paid approximately $NZ 6.35 for that) into about 10 of cooked, plus the wonderful 3 cups of Aqua Faba that produced as well, so I have plenty to experiment with!

Just as well I LOVE chickpeas in soups and casseroles at this time of the year (a reminder it’s June, the beginning of Winter down here in New Zealand), and have heaps of recipes old and new to cook up!  But I have frozen some of the crockpot largesse, according to the recipe from the link in the resource above.  I thoroughly recommend joining the FB group, if just for that!  But there is soooo much more to explore…… !

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LARGE MEAT LOAF

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A moist, robust, tasty and easy-to-slice meat loaf that is ideal for family meals, for picnics or buffet dinners, and great for sandwiches.  It’s also brilliant for your budget!

This makes 2 loaf-tin sized or one large foil wrapped loaf.   I’ve tried many other recipes over the years, but always come back to this one – it never fails.

Sorry, the photo is just meat and 2 vege – plain, but VERY quick, economical and tasty, and makes the mince (an economical meat) go even further

Large meat loaf - makes 2 large tins - ready for the oven

Large meat loaf – makes 2 large tins – ready for the oven

 

 

 Large meat loaf, half quantity, just out of oven - moist, juicy and economical


Large meat loaf, half quantity, just out of oven – moist, juicy and economical!

 Large meat loaf recipe - simple meal, great taste


Large meat loaf recipe – simple meal, great taste

 

LARGE MEAT LOAF
Author: 
Recipe type: Meat Dinners, main meals, picnics
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-12
 
A moist, robust, tasty and easy-to-slice meat loaf that is ideal for family meals, for picnics or buffet dinners, and great for sandwiches. It’s also brilliant for your budget!
Ingredients
  • 1 large cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3 oxo (beef stock) cubes
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch dried mixed herbs
  • ¼ cup parsley chopped
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon worchestershire sauce
  • 907 gm (2 lb) mince
  • 454 gm (1 lb) sausage meat
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1 finely chopped large onion
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).
  2. Crumble oxo cubes into crumbs in large bowl, add milk, beaten egg, worchestershire sauce, spices, lemon zest and leave to soak for half an hour.
  3. Mix in rest of ingredients, and mix thoroughly with your hands (use disposable gloves if you don’t like mess!).
  4. Shape into 2 greased loaf tins or free-form into one large loaf on a sheet of heavy foil.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for just over an hour at 180 C (350 F).
  6. Loaf can be served sliced hot, with gravy, mash and vegetables or salad, or cool quickly and leave in fridge until required.

 

 

 

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Lazy Lady Lunch Quiche

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So quick and easy, this crustless quiche makes it’s own base.  Nearly everyone has a version of this dish – this is mine!

My kids used to call it “Seagull Pie” – because their mother used to “seagull” through the fridge for all the leftovers to make it, when times were tough – but it’s still a quick, tasty dish, with the ingredients only limited by your imagination, the contents of your fridge, or your bank balance!

Lazy Lady Lunch Quiche
Author: 
Recipe type: Lunches, Picnics, vegetarian, children's meals, mains
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-10
 
So quick and easy, this crustless quiche makes it's own base. Nearly everyone has a version of this dish – this is mine! Make with vegetables only for a vegetarian option.
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 4-6 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon good cooking oil
  • 1 dessertspoon seedy mustard (if desired)
  • 1 - 1.5 cups of available cooked vegetables and meats as desired and available. **
  • About ½ cup chopped parsley or other fresh herbs, as desired.
  • FOR VEGETARIAN OPTION: use cooked vegetables only. Adding a little Blue cheese with kumera (sweet potato) is a nice touch.
Method
  1. Grease a quiche dish, preheat oven to 350 F/180 C.
  2. Put all dry ingredients into bowl.
  3. Beat together eggs, milk, mustard (if using) and oil, pour onto dry ingredients and mix very lightly.
  4. Add vegetables, meats and herbs, and mix lightly again.
  5. Pour mixture into quiche dish, bake at 350 F/180 C for about 30 minutes, until golden.
  6. Serve warm, in slices, with salad if desired. Also nice served cold.
  7. ** Smoked salmon scraps make a luxury dish for a ladies lunch, or finely diced roast chicken, sausages, bacon.... and any cooked veges (boiled or roasted), chopped up, are fine

Lazy Lady Lunch Quiche ready to bake

Lazy Lady Lunch Quiche ready to bake

Lazy Lady Lunch Quiche just out of the oven...MMmmmmmm!

Lazy Lady Lunch Quiche just out of the oven…MMmmmmmm!

Lazy Lady Lunch Quiche sliced, ready for a tasty quick lunch

Lazy Lady Lunch Quiche sliced, ready for a tasty quick lunch

 

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Preacher or Cola Chicken Drumsticks

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Preacher or Cola Chicken Drumsticks

Preachers or Ketch-Cola Chicken

Preachers or Ketcha Cola Chicken  Drumsticks – ready for the oven, cooked, and served. A great, quick, family chicken meal!

Everyone has their own variation of this easy family dish – and if you don’t, well, you won’t want to be without this one!

So quick to throw into the oven!  You can even pull the drumsticks out of the freezer the night before (or at breakfast time!!), pour the sauce over them, leave in the fridge all day to defrost, and then put them in the oven to cook when you get home….. In less than an hour, they’ll be ready to eat!

Great for the budget, too!  Drumsticks are always on special, are easy to store in the freezer, kids love them (it’s “legal” to eat them in their hands…), and this takes less than five minutes preparation – so, what’s not to love?

As well – I’ve thrown in a couple of great variations!

Preacher or Ketcha Cola Chicken Drumsticks
Author: 
Recipe type: Chicken Dinners, children's meals, mains
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: varies
 
A sticky, tasty, fast-to-make chicken drumstick family meal that can be prepared the night before and ready within an hour of getting home! Cheap, cheerful and oh so tasty!
Ingredients
  • 8-12 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 packet French onion soup mix
  • 1½ cups cola (should come ½ way up drumsticks)
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste, before serving
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 F).
  2. Lay drumsticks onto greased baking dish (could be lined with baking paper, to save on cleaning).
  3. Sprinkle with onion soup mix.
  4. Pour over cola, tomato sauce, and soy sauce.
  5. Bake, uncovered, turning once or twice, for approximately 40-50 minutes at 180 degrees C (350 F), until cooked through and browning.
  6. Thicken sauce if necessary. Serve with mash, rice, or cous-cous.
  7. Autumn’s Culinary Tips - VARIATIONS:
  8. Try being inventive!
  9. [A] Use the basic ingredients, but instead of cola, use cider, instead of tomato sauce, use apple sauce, a ½ teaspoon of Worchester sauce, and finish with a couple of spoonfuls of whipping cream. Viola, Cheat’s Normandy Chicken!
  10. [B] Another variation – again, use the basic ingredients, but substitute ginger ale for the cola, add ½ teaspoon ground ginger, some pineapple cubes and call it, oh, maybe Caribbean Chicken?
  11. Food without the fuss – quick and easy. That was our aim, right?

 

 

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Choko Recipes

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Choko Recipes

choko-merliton-chayote

The unglamorous but useful choko

Ah, the Choko!  Is it a vegetable, or a fruit? So confusing – It grows on a vine, is an old-fashioned fruit, usually used as a vegetable that hails from Central America.

Called Merlitons, Vegetable pear, Chayote, Mango Squash, and many other names, the Choko can be used in both savoury and sweet dishes as it is fairly bland, and takes on other flavours with ease.  It’s coming back into fashion as it can replace zucchini, is a prolific grower producing a massive crop that keeps exceptionally well in a plastic bag in the fridge, so let’s try a few different ways of using them – well, different from Grandma’s boiled choko with cheese sauce and breadcrumbs (though that was a tasty supper dish, back then…).

I love frequenting book fairs, have done for decades, and am always to be found in the cook book and craft section, where I have found some outstanding gems!   One of these was an early reprint of Mrs Beaton’s classic;  another was a wonderful cookbook from New Orleans, with amazing southern recipes.  Sadly, that book was a casualty of our house fire in 1980, but fortunately I’d copied out several of my favourites into a book that was in another area, so I can still enjoy these.  This is where my love of gumbo and the southern cooking traditions began, and where I found that the New Zealand ubiquitous fruit/vegetable called “choko” also had other, more romantic names, like “Merliton” and “Chayote”.

So, while it’s fine to boil or steam the choko, and serve with a cheese, tomato, or other sauce, there are far tastier ways to serve this cheap and available vegetable, so let’s explore the ways!

-merliton-chayote-precooking-crockpot

Chokos precooking in my large crockpot

To make the process easier, you can precook the chokos.  Three ways to pre-cook:

  1. Simmer whole chokos (merlitons) in salted water until tender, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Cool, halve, remove seed, cube, slice or chop.
  2. Cooking the whole chokos in a crockpot on low for about 4 hours. Remove, drain, cut in half, remove seed, scoop out pulp, cube or chop. Cool.
  3. Peel and cut into approximately 1 inch (25 mm) cubes and boil in unsalted water or until chokos are tender, approximately 10 minutes.

Autumn’s Culinary Tip:

To peel Chokos:  peel them under running water, and they won’t feel “sticky”.  (A good idea for kumera, too)

 

CHOKO (or MERLITON or CHAYOTE ) CREOLE BAKE

Now, this was the original New Orleans Mardi Gras dish, from that recipe book I found at the book fair.   I’m giving it in full, in case anyone wants to try it – but I recommend the easier, modern version that follows!

Ingredients:

3-4 medium Chokos, cooked and cubed

1 large onion, chopped

1 bunch green onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 Cup fresh parsley

2 stalks celery, finely sliced

1 green pepper, finely chopped

olive oil or margarine

1 Cup bread crumbs (French bread if possible)

1 Cup firm cheese (tasty cheddar, romano cheese), grated

500 gm (1 lb.) green (uncooked) shrimp, peeled and diced (or ham, cubed, or a mixture of both)

½ – 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning  (I used McCormacks) (or more, to taste)

2 sprigs fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried)

I beaten egg

extra butter, to dot top.

Method:
Preheat your oven to 350° F (180 degrees C ) and grease casserole dish (approx 9” (23 cm) x 13” (33 cm) x 2” (5 cm) – your average lasagne dish).

Boil, cool, peel, and cube the chokos.

Reserve some choko boiling water.

Sauté the onion, green onion, parsley, garlic, and celery until soft.

Add the shrimp (or ham, or half and half) and cook about one minute.

Add the chokos, Cajun seasoning, beaten egg, thyme, 3/4 cup bread crumbs, and 3/4 cup of the cheese. Stir well.

Use a little of the water from cooking the chokos to moisten if necessary.

Place the mixture in a greased casserole dish.

Sprinkle with the remaining bread crumbs and cheese. Dot with a little extra butter.

Bake about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

*****

Personally, I found this too watery, so early on – like, about 20 years ago – made a cheese sauce, and latterly, simply use a Heinz Seriously Good (or similar) cheese pasta bake sauce, as per the following recipe, for excellent results, and an easier life!

CHOKO (or MERLITON or CHAYOTE) CREOLE BAKE
Author: 
Recipe type: dinners, meat dinners, vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
An updated, super easy modern version of a classic New Orleans Mardi Gras dish that makes tasty economical meal that suits New Zealand palates. Vegetarian option - omit ham.
Ingredients
  • 2 medium Chokos, cooked and cubed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 teaspoon minced prepared)
  • ½ Cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely sliced
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • olive oil or margarine
  • 500 gm (1 lb.) green (uncooked) shrimp, peeled and diced (or ham, or a mixture of the two)
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (I used McCormacks) (or more, to taste)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped (or ½ teaspoon dried)
  • ONE JAR CHEESE PASTA BAKE SAUCE (eg HEINZ Seriously Good)
  • ½ Cup bread crumbs (French bread if possible)
  • ½ Cup firm cheese (tasty cheddar, romano cheese), grated
Method
  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F (180 degrees C ) and grease casserole dish (approx 9” (23 cm) x 13” (33 cm) x 2” (5 cm) – your average lasagne dish).
  2. Boil, cool, peel, and cube the chokos.
  3. Sauté the onion, green onion, parsley, garlic, and celery until soft.
  4. Add the shrimp (or ham, or half and half) and cook about one minute.
  5. Add the chokos, Cajun seasoning, thyme, cajun seasoning, JAR OF CHEESE SAUCE, and stir well.
  6. Place the mixture in a greased casserole dish.
  7. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and cheese. Dot with a little extra butter.
  8. Bake about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Choko-merliton-creole-readytobake

The Creole Bake ready for the oven

Choko-merliton-creole-baked

The Creole Bake ready for the table – yummmmm

 

 

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Crockpot Chicken and Apricot Casserole

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In the crockpot, ready to cook

In the crockpot, ready to cook

Crockpot Chicken and Apricot Casserole

Don’t you just love the classic flavours of chicken combined with apricots?

This is an easy take on a classic 60’s and 70’s favourite – made ever so much easier with the crockpot, and with pantry staples.  Grab the chicken from the freezer, the cans of apricots and crushed tomatoes, some onions and sauces, and you’re well on the way to a delicious meal!

The bonus is that leftovers reheat and freeze well, so minimum effort is well rewarded.

My adult son, born in 1970, thoroughly enjoyed this the other night – and asked me to update a few more recipes from that era, so keep your eyes peeled, readers!

Chicken and Apricot casserole, simply served with rice

Chicken and Apricot casserole, simply served with rice

 

I was in a hurry cooking this meal, so cut the chicken into smaller cubes, and cooked the meal in the crockpot for just under 4 hours.  It really depends on the size of your chicken pieces.   As I go over below – always check that chicken is fully cooked.

 

 

 

Crockpot Chicken and Apricot Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: crock pot, chicken dinner,
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
A 60's classic, updated for the busy cook to use in the crock pot.
Ingredients
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves (or one teaspoon crushed, from a jar)
  • 8 chicken thighs, or drumsticks, or a whole chicken cut into sections.
  • 400 g (approx) can apricot halves (drained, use only ½ cup of the juice)
  • 400 g (approx) can crushed tomatoes in juice (drained, use only ½ cup of juice)
  • ½ cup chicken stock (or water and 1 teaspoon stock powder)
  • 1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce
  • 1 dessertspoon balsamic vinegar (optional – but I like it! Don’t use alternate vinegars, though)
  • 1-2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons tomato paste (I keep a tube in the fridge for small amounts)
  • 1 dessertspoon chopped fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried)
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil, for browning
  • salt and pepper, for seasoning, if required.
  • A little arrowroot mixed with water, to thicken, if necessary
Method
  1. In large frying pan, lightly cook onion in some of the oil until softening, add garlic and cook a little longer (about 4-5 minutes in total), then place into crockpot. Turn onto high.
  2. Add a little more of the oil, if needed, raise the heat and brown all the chicken pieces (in batches if need be – don’t overcrowd the pan). Add to the crockpot. This will take 3-4 minutes.
  3. In a large glass jug or bowl, mix the sauces, herbs, tomato paste, then add stock (or water and stock powder), and the tomatoes and apricots. You can slice the apricots into smaller pieces, but I like to let them just cook down s they are. Mix, and pour over the chicken and onions, and put lid on crockpot.
  4. Cook on high until bubbles rise (approximately 1 hour), then turn to low and cook for approximately 4-5 hours more (slow cookers vary in heat, according to brand**)
  5. Ensure chicken is cooked through, check seasoning, add salt and pepper to your taste if required.
  6. Thicken with a little arrowroot and water, if necessary.
  7. Serve hot with mashed potatoes, rice or cous-cous, and green cooked vegetables or a salad, if desired.

Ingredients:

2 large onions, peeled and chopped

8 chicken thighs,  chunked, or drumsticks, or a whole chicken cut into sections.

400 g (approx) can apricot halves (drained, use only 1/4 cup of the juice)

400 g (approx) can crushed tomatoes in juice (drained, use only 1/4 cup of juice)

1/4 cup chicken stock  (or water and 1 teaspoon stock powder)

1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce

1 dessertspoon balsamic vinegar (optional – but I like it!  Don’t use alternate vinegars, though)

1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce

1-2 tablespoons tomato paste (I keep a tube in the fridge for small amounts)

1 dessertspoon chopped fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried)

1 tablespoon cooking oil, for browning

salt and pepper, for seasoning, if required.

A little arrowroot mixed with water, to thicken, if necessary

Method:

  1. In large frying pan, lightly cook onion in some of the oil until softening, add garlic and cook a little longer (about 4-5 minutes in total), then place into crockpot. Turn onto high.
  2. Add a little more of the oil, if needed, raise the heat and brown all the chicken pieces (in batches if need be – don’t overcrowd the pan).  Add to the crockpot.  This will take 3-4 minutes.
  3. In a large glass jug or bowl, mix the sauces, herbs, tomato paste, then add stock (or water and stock powder), and the tomatoes and apricots. You can slice the apricots into smaller pieces, but I like to let them just cook down s they are.   Mix, and pour over the chicken and onions, and put lid on crockpot.
  4. Cook on high until bubbles rise (approximately 1 hour), then turn to low and cook for approximately 3-4 hours more (slow cookers vary in heat, according to brand**)
  5. Ensure chicken is cooked through, check seasoning, add salt and pepper to your taste if required.
  6. Thicken with a little arrowroot and water, if necessary.
  7. Serve hot with mashed potatoes, rice or cous-cous, and green cooked vegetables or a salad, if desired.
  8. ** Regarding my note on slow cookers / crockpots.  These appliances vary quite widely in heat and in the settings available on them.  I have three of my own, and – through use – have learnt which “cooks hot” and which is better for longer, slower cooking.  This is something you can only really learn by trial and error, but a good “rule of thumb” is to use on “High” for the first 1/2 to 1 hour, then turn to low, and cook for the cooking time of the recipe.   Remember some meats are better suited to long, slow cooking than others (sinewy meats, rather than frying meats), so take care to use what the recipe suggests.

Autumn’s culinary notes:

  1. You can cook this as a casserole in the oven – approximately 45 minutes at 150 degrees C ( 300 degrees F or Gas 2). If using oven, add ½ cup extra liquid (either water or apricot juice)
  2. You could, at a pinch, even cook it in a heavy (dutch oven type) cast iron casserole on the stove top – this would take about 20 minutes, need lots of stirring (as the bottom would quickly burn..), but it IS an option if you’re desperate….. As with the oven method, you’ll need to add ½ cup extra liquid (either water or apricot juice) – the crockpot, of course, uses a lot less liquid.
  3. Cool quickly, then place in the fridge, especially if freezing. We don’t want tummy bugs, do we?
  4. My often used freezing tip: When cold, place what is to be frozen into an appropriately sized zip lock bag for the dish it will be reheated in.  Lay the chicken in the bag in the dish, and freeze  When frozen, remove dish and label  bag.   To thaw, take out of the bag, place in the dish it was frozen in, and when well thawed, reheat thoroughly in either microwave or oven.

 

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