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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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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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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CHOGS – a meat and veges dish children love!

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 (And a wonderful way to get them to eat lots of veges, too….)  Serves 4

Chogs-A

Some of the simple basic ingredients

31 Chogs, ready for the sauce. I made one meal for the family, and a small dish for a neighbour to enjoy

31 Chogs, ready for the sauce. I made one meal for the family, and a small dish for a neighbour to enjoy

Having trouble getting your toddlers to eat meat and vegetables?

This easy-to-make dish gets them every time, and you can also fill it full of “illicit” vegetables, and they’ll eat them happily… and ask for more!  And, wear disposable gloves if you don’t like sticky hands – or get the kids to make the meatballs! – throw it all in the oven, then relax while they do their homework, and later watch them gobble down all the foods they say they hate…..  They love the grains of rice sticking out of the meatballs, like hedgehog spines, hence the name, and they’ll luuuurve the tomatoey meaty gravy……

The name, CHOGS, is the “baby talk” name my kids gave the dish years ago, and it stuck.  I promise, this will become a family favourite, because it’s so quick, so hearty, oh… and I didn’t mention…… it FREEZES well, too!   And easily doubles for a great family buffet dish……

No need for potatoes (there’s rice in the Chogs), just some greens or a salad – failing that, some good old bread and butter, and the kids will be happy as!

CHOGS – a meat-and-veges dish children love!
Author: 
Recipe type: meat dinner, mains, beef, children, meatballs, lunch
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
A wonderful way to get kids to eat lots of veges with their meat - everybody loves meatballs!
Ingredients
  • 530 gm (1 lb 1oz – or close enough) Standard mince – don’t buy premium, it needs a fair amount of fat to make the sauce nice and rich…..
  • ½ cup long grain rice (uncooked, unwashed)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ½ grated white onion (adults prefer them finely chopped, but kids can tell… best you grate them!)
  • 1 stalk grated celery
  • 1 small – medium grated carrot (as much as you think you’ll get away with!)
  • Up to ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 oxo stock cube (or one teaspoon beef stock powder)
  • One lightly whipped size 6 – 7 egg
  • Optional Extras:
  • A little finely chopped bacon – say a tablespoon
  • A couple of crushed garlic cloves, if your kids won’t mind….
  • Grated rind of one lemon
  • Any other vegetables you can grate and add in…..!
  • To cover – Mix together:
  • Standard size can of condensed tomato soup
  • 1 can of water (rinse out the rest of the soup with it…)
  • 1 teaspoon worchestershire sauce
Method
  1. In a large bowl, add all ingredients except the last three (covering) ingredients. Mix gently but well.
  2. Make into small balls, about 1 inch (25 mm) in size).
  3. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C (300 Degrees F).
  4. Oil a lasagne-style ovenproof dish, lay in meatballs. in a single layer.
  5. Gently pour the soup, water and worchestershire sauce over the meatballs.
  6. Place into oven and bake approximately 30 – 40 minutes, until lightly browned on top, bubbling and a meaty brown sauce has thickened around the Chog meatballs, and the rice is poking through like hedgehog spines, indicating the rice is fully cooked.
  7. Serve with cooked greens such as broccoli or peas, or a salad, and pan, brown bacon, drain on some crusty bread for the yummy gravy.
  8. AUTUMN’S CULINARY TIPS:
  9. Double the Mixture, and cook (single layer, again) in a large roasting dish for a family buffet dinner.
  10. As above, double the mixture, and cook in a large roasting dish. Serve half for a normal family meal, leave the other half to cool. When cold, place that remaining half into a large ziplock bag, lay the bag flat into your lasagne-style dish with the meatballs and it’s sauce in a single layer, and freeze. When frozen, remove dish, and label bag. There’s a quick, easy meal for you to thaw, place into the oiled lasagne dish, and reheat until bubbling, on “one of THOSE days”......
  11. Chogs can also be made with minced boned chicken thighs (breast meat is too fine) – but use an oldfashioned mincer, not a kitchen whizz as that appliance will just turn chicken into a paste and make for very dry meatballs. Turkey would be another option.
  12. You could cook Chogs in a rectangular electric frypan/skillet, at a pinch. But cook them gently, and don’t stir often or they may fall apart, and not have the “spines”. The whole idea of doing them in the oven is to “prep ‘em and leave ‘em till they done”! No standing over stuff, fiddling, is my motto, if you can get away with it!

Sauced up, ready for the oven

Sauced up, ready for the oven

Out of the oven, ready to serve

Out of the oven, ready to serve

A perfect toddler sized meal – full of unseen veges, too!

A perfect toddler sized meal – full of unseen veges, too!

AUTUMN’S CULINARY TIPS:

  1. DON’T LIKE MESSY HANDS? Get a box of cheap disposable gloves from a chain store, and keep them in the kitchen! Ideal for saving hands from mess when making meatballs – although kids will love to help you with this chore!

 

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