Chicken Stock

My Christmas preparations are continuing, as the days seem to fly by. Today, it was time to get the stock ready for a wonderful gravy.

We had a roast chicken on Sunday, so after all the meat was used up in a leftovers’ meal last night, I was able to use the carcass to make my stock. I put all of the bones, along with any unwanted skin, into a big saucepan, along with two red onions, just peeled and quartered – I used two as they were very small – and a carrot, peeled and chopped into quarters.

20171121_094344

To this, I added a bay leaf and then covered everything with water and brought it to the boil. Then I turned the heat down to a low simmer, put the lid on the pot and allowed it all to cook slowly for around 4-5hours.

20171121_094520

Then I strained out all the bits, to leave just the liquid and returned the stock to the pan for another half an hour to really help to concentrate it a touch.

Then, pour into a jug and allow to cool, removing any excess fat that floats to the top, before transferring to a freezer bag and freezing. I’ll get it out on Christmas Eve, ready to add a real level of depth to my turkey gravy for the Big Day.

20171121_142217

Advertisements

Pasta Chicken Corden Bleu

Now, I’m not really sure I should be calling this Pasta Chicken Corden Bleu as it doesn’t involve any breadcrumbs, but hey-ho, I think it fits! This is such an easy meal to whip up and if, like me, you opt for supermarket budget ingredients – with the exception of the chicken, which I got from the butcher – it can be super cheap too.

Start off by slicing up a leek and sautéing that off with a minced garlic clove. When the leek has sweated down, add two diced chicken breasts and allow to colour before putting in one rasher of very finely chopped bacon.

20171102_170456

After allowing the meat a little time to cook, add a handful of slice mushrooms of your choice – I used white mushrooms.

Now, take a small tub of soft cheese and put that in the pan and allow it to melt down, before adding a generous handful of grated cheddar cheese and let that melt together with a teaspoon or two of Dijon mustard. This will help to create a thick and very cheesy sauce. When it’s all melted together, grind in black pepper.

20171102_171801

Serve with pasta – personally, I like a drizzle of olive oil too.

20171102_172039

Chicken & Mushroom Pilaf

I was inspired to have a go at this after watching the Pioneer Woman on the Food Network this morning. If you haven’t discovered her yet, do check her out!

Ree was serving up a mushroom pilaf with a fillet steak, however, we don’t often stretch to the luxury of a fillet steak! I figured, instead of a side dish, I’d just serve it up as a main course with some chicken.

I didn’t follow Ree’s recipe, mainly because I couldn’t remember it! However, this is what I did:

I started by melting some butter in a large saucepan and added a finely chopped onion and three cloves of garlic. After allowing them to soften for a few minutes, I added six or seven chopped mushrooms – I had white mushrooms in the fridge, but you could use any you fancy. Allow them to soften a bit too and then add rice to the pan, give it a stir and pour in around a pint and a half of stock. I opted to use those stock pot things and used a chicken and a white wine one for added flavour.

Whilst the rice was cooking, I cooked two diced chicken breasts in a separate pan, before adding that into the rice along with some mixed herbs and a good grinding of black pepper. Then it was ready and time to dish up.

The feedback I got from Himself was ‘very tasty’ and he ‘really enjoyed’ it. It was ready in minutes, so if you need something quick and tasty this could help. And a big thank you to the Pioneer Woman for the inspiration!

20171028_162404

Chicken Curry

My other half does enjoy a curry, the only difference is he can take a lot more spice than I can, as I’m a wimp! But, I thought I’d give a chicken curry a go this week.

Now, I did start out with measuring spices – yes, I do own measuring spoons – but, then that kind of went out of the window.

First, I finely diced an onion and cooked that in a wok with some oil until it was nice and soft, before adding a couple of teaspoons each of ground ginger, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, medium curry powder, along with two finely chopped cloves of garlic and freshly ground black pepper. After letting them cook for a bit, I added a squeeze of lemon juice and let everything get to know each other for a while, before adding in two diced chicken breasts and allowing the meat to take on some colour.

20171021_184223

When the chicken was about halfway cooked, pour in a tin of coconut milk and a touch of garam masala and allow to simmer. For a touch of texture, I added some chopped almond – just half a handful, as I didn’t want to overpower it.

Taste the curry to see if you like it and add anything extra you think it may need. In a separate frying pan, heat a little oil and add some mustard seeds and roasted cashews. Let them fry to put some colour on the nuts and the seeds will start popping.

20171021_190258.jpg

Serve the curry with rice and top with the cashews and mustard seeds. We also had naan bread and poppadoms for our homemade takeaway.

20171021_190634

Sweet & Sour Chicken

Feeling in the mood for something Oriental, I whipped up a simple sweet and sour chicken for dinner last night.

It’s really easy to do.

Dice up two chicken breasts (a breast per person), and add to a wok, which is already heated with coconut oil and cook. Partway through cooking, add some chopped peppers – colours of your choice – and if you fancy it, slivers of carrots.

Meanwhile, put some rice on to boil, I just used basmati, but you can use whichever rice you like the most.

In a jug, add the juice of a tin of pineapple chunks, a good generous squeeze of tomato ketchup (yes, you read the correctly!), a good dash of white wine vinegar and some honey and give it a mix. Taste to see if it’s to your liking and add more of whatever you think it needs until you are happy. I also added a little cornflour slurry (cornflour mixed with water) to help thicken the sauce.

Add the sauce to the wok and give it a good stir to make sure the chicken and veggies are nicely covered. Allow to bubble until the rice is done then throw in the pineapple chunks right at the end.

20171020_174955

Serve and enjoy!

Chicken Pizza Pasta

So, this was an unusual one, inspired by something the other half had seen online in one of those quick videos that does the rounds on social media, but I strive to please!

I’ve taken to calling this chicken pizza pasta!

Start by taking two chicken breasts – mine were skinless, but it doesn’t matter – and slash it a few times, leaving little pocket openings. Into these slashes, put sliced of red onion, tomato and pepper. Put the chicken onto a foiled baking tray and then add a little chopped bacon – I just used one rasher between the two breasts. Now, go crazy with grated mozzarella and top with some mixed herbs. Pop the tray into the oven on 200C for 25minutes.

Whilst the chicken is doing its thing, cook some pasta. I also whipped a sauce, using the remains of our home-grown tomatoes and aubergine. I chopped up the aubergine and fried it in some good olive oil, whilst the tomatoes softened in a pan with some salt, pepper and a touch of sugar. Once the tomatoes were soft, I squashed them up with a wooden spoon, added some salt, pepper and a splash of Worcestershire sauce, before adding in the aubergine and a few chopped mushrooms.

When the chicken is cooked, hopefully everything else will be ready too. Put some pasta on a plate, top with some of the tomato sauce and then your star, the chicken breast ie the pizza!

20171017_181112

Chicken With Tomatoes, Mushrooms & Spinach

It was another chicken dinner tonight, which must mean we’re back on a healthy eating attempt in our house.

In fairness, we do eat a lot of chicken generally, but the other half does love his pork. Whilst I like chicken, I prefer thighs, whereas him indoors isn’t really into the dark meat of poultry, saying it’s too strong a flavour for him, so we usually have breast – which can get very boring!

Tonight, was another case of making it up as I went along.

I took a small red onion a diced it up finely and fried it in olive oil along with a finely chopped garlic clove (we’re going out tonight, so we couldn’t go too heavy on that!) Once they had softened, I added two diced chicken breasts and let them start to get a colour on them before throwing in plenty of sliced mushrooms.

Once the chicken was well on its way to cooking, I added a small tub of full fat crème fraiche and let that melt down, along with a chicken stock pot (I use supermarket own brand), of course, if you have your own homemade, then go for it, but not having roast chicken too often means I don’t have that luxury – one day I will!!

As we still have plenty of homegrown tomatoes left, I was very generous with adding the cherry tomatoes that we have.

Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of dried basil. Personally, I don’t like adding salt to my cooking, but that’s a personal taste and my attempt to reduce the other half’s intake of salt.

Whilst all this has been going on, I was cooking up enough pasta for the two of us – penne is our shape of choice, but of course, any would do. Drain the pasta and add it to the chicken and sauce and give it a good mix.

Once the pasta is nicely coated, add a few generous handfuls of spinach and let that wilt into the mix – it should only take a few seconds.

Plate up and scatter some roughly torn fresh basil leaves to serve.

It went down very well, with two thumbs up from Himself!

20170928_171028