Chicken and Smoked Sausage Alfredo Pasta

It’s been quite a while my last post, and I thought it was about time I started blogging again.  I don’t think I could have chosen a better time than to post a new recipe!

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts

1 smoked pork sausage

1 courgette (for those who live in the USA, you would call this a zucchini)

1 small(ish) unsweetened double cream (Elmlea is perfect.  Again, if you’re in the US, you may call this heavy, or whipping cream)

A couple of handfuls of cheese – I used 1 handful of white Cheddar, and 1 handful of red Cheddar

1 small pot of garlic paste, or if unavailable, 2 garlic cloves – crushed / chopped…  Whatever your preference

A good shaking of smoked paprika

Pasta – I used five handfuls of fusilli

Tablespoon of olive oil – for frying

Method

  • Dice your chicken breasts, slice your sausage, and ‘stick’ your courgette.

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  • Add your pasta to a pan, and cover with water.  Put on the heat, on the hob.

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  • Warm your wok / frying pan up, and add the oil just as the pan begins to smoke.
  • Add the chicken, and fry until fully cooked, stirring occasionally.

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  • When the chicken has cooked, add a decent shaking of your smoked paprika, and add your garlic paste / cloves.

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  • Stir thoroughly, and allow the paprika & garlic to be absorbed just a little.
  • Add the sliced smoked sausage and sticked courgette, and allow to fry – stirring occasionally – until the courgette has started to soften slightly.

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  • Pour in the cream, and stir thoroughly.

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  • Ignore the look of it now…  It’s gone from “pretty” to a mess in less than 5 seconds.
  • Add the cheese – about half a handful at a time – and use the ‘lift & stir’ technique.  (If you don’t know what this is, it’s simple.  Push your wooden spoon / spatula under the mixture, then lift – as if you’re folding the mixture – then stir around, until all the cheese has melted.)

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  • Turn down the heat completely, and sort out your pasta…  I usually drain off the pasta, pour boiling water over it, then redrain.  Add a small amount of butter (small – ha ha!!) and stir until the butter has melted.

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  • Turn off the heat to the cheese sauce & meat mix, and add the pasta directly to the pan.

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  • Give it a good stir, then turn out in to a fancy (if you have one) serving dish.

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  • Help yourself, and enjoy 🙂  I served this with a couple of garlic baguettes, straight from the oven.  Yummy.

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Homemade Cottage Pie – Pic Heavy x

I bought a 5kg sack of potatoes last week, and so far we’d only used a small handful out of it.  Usually when I buy spuds, they end up growing roots all over them, and sometimes I forget about them completely, and end up having to chuck them out.

I wanted to use up some of the potatoes, so I wandered around Asda earlier today, wondering what I could make with them.

There’s a shelf hidden away that stores all the reduced fresh foods…  The foods that have the “eat by” (todays) date on, and sometimes you can get a real bargain there.  In the past, I’ve managed to get a beautiful rump steak for only 60p!

Scouring the shelf this afternoon, I looked through the reduced fish, quiches, yogurts…  And there it was.  Hidden at the back, under a pile of macaroni cheese ready meals…  A 500g carton of lean beef mince.  It had a price tag of £4.99 on the carton, but a yellow sticker placed on top, saying £3.42.  Not a huge saving, but I was in a bit of a rush at this point.

The dilemma of what we were going to have for dinner was solved.  Cottage Pie.

Now, you may be surprised when I tell you that there are so many people out there who do not know the difference between a cottage and a shepherds pie (seriously – I’m not lying!!).

It’s easy to remember…  What do shepherds do?  They look after sheep!  A shepherds pie is made with lamb.  A cottage pie is beef.

So, here’s my take on the classic cottage pie.  It’s so family friendly, that even my 4 year old had seconds!!

Ingredients

Beef mince meat

Potatoes

Peas

Carrots

Beef gravy granules

Cheese (I used red Leicester)

BBQ sauce

Salt

Oil (for frying)

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 200C (180C for fan assisted ovens), and get an ovenproof dish ready.
  • Peel and quarter your potatoes, then place them in a large pan.  Add a sprinkle of salt, and cover the potatoes with water.  Bring to the boil, and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.

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  • Meanwhile, heat a frying pan with a splash of oil in it.  I usually use my wok because of its’ size.  I love my wok, ha ha.  When the oil is almost bubbling, gently place the mince meat in to the oil, and separate with a wooden spoon / spatula.

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  • When the meat has all browned off, squirt a bit of barbecue sauce on top of the meat, and stir in well.
  • This is the part that I cheat on…  A little bit anyway.  Now you can do it with fresh peas and carrots, but due to a certain little man annoying me for his dinner, I opened a tin of petit pois and carrots and threw them in.

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  • Next up is to make yourself about 3/4 of a pint of gravy.  If you’ve never done this before (which I’m sure you have), simply add two large spoonfuls of gravy granules to a jug, and pour in boiled water, whisking constantly.  When you’ve made your gravy, pour it over the meat and veg, and stir thoroughly.

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  • As soon as the meat mixture has been stirred thoroughly, scoop in to an ovenproof dish, and set aside until you’re ready for the potatoes.

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  • Your potatoes should almost be done now.  To check if they’re ready, simply prod a couple with a fork, or knife.  If the utensil slips in to the potato easily, then they’re ready to be mashed.  Drain the excess water from the pan, add a big blob of butter (or marg), and attack it with your masher!

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  • When it’s all mashed, use a large metal spoon (or wooden – whatever you like) to scoop the potatoes on top of the meat mixture.

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  • Phew!  We’re almost there now…  If you haven’t already, now’s the time to get your cheese of choice grated.  When that’s done, sprinkle as much (or as little) as you want on top of the potatoes.

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  • Ok!  Be careful here, as I’m sure you’re aware; ovens are hot!!  Place your dish in the middle of the oven, and set your timer for 20 minutes.
  • It’s time for the waiting game now.  You can do whatever you want at this point.  I decided I was going to have a Diet Coke break (I have not been paid to advertise them, lol).

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  • What’s that I can hear?  It’s the timer!  It’s dinner time!!

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  • Enjoy!

Easy Peasy Oven Omelettes – Makes 12

I have fallen in to a bit of a trap.  I love having eggs in the house…  They always come in handy for last minute dinner ideas, or for baking; but for the past few months, whenever I buy eggs, I seem to forget about them.  Then, when I fancy one for brekkie (for example), I notice the date on them.  Well, being heavily pregnant, I daren’t eat an egg that’s out of date.

Anyway, the point I am getting to is to provide you with a really easy recipe and method to create these amazing little omelettes that you bake in the oven!  They’re fab for breakfast; lunch, served with a salad (or veg); or a side for your evening meal.  They’re great to eat hot or cold, so also great to pop in a lunch box for school / work.

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Easy Peasy Oven Omelettes

I had my little chef (my 3 year old little man) do this all by himself…  Well, apart from the oven and presentation parts.  And just look how great the omelettes turned out!  Absolutely delicious, and really light & fluffy too.

Ingredients

5 medium sized eggs

Good splash of milk

Salt & Pepper

Tinned Garden Peas (optional)

Cheese (use your favourite…  I used Red Leicester)

Method

1.  Preheat your oven to 210C (190C for fan assisted ovens).

2.  Grease a 12-piece cupcake tin with butter.

3.  Crack the eggs in to a mixing bowl, add the milk, and salt & pepper to taste.

4.  Using a hand whisk, or fork, mix the eggy liquid together until it all combines together nicely.

5.  Using some form of spoon (I gave my llittle chef a 1/4 cup measuring spoon to do this), scoop out the mixture in to the buttered cupcake tins.  Do not fill to the top…  Ensure you only fill to approx 3/4 of the way up the sides.

6.  Grate your cheese (if required), and add a pinch to each cupcake section.

7.  (OPTIONAL)  Add a pinch of the peas to each cupcake section…  My little chef added approximately 7 or 8 peas to each.

8.  Pop the tray in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.

9.  When done, and when you remove the tray from the oven, you will notice that the omelettes will sink.  Don’t worry about this at all…  Use two forks, or a fork and a spoon to remove each mini omelette from the tin, and present any way you choose.

10.  Enjoy, and share the recipe!

Italian Chicken in Tomatoes

Ingredients:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 chicken breast per person
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 Mozzarella ball – sliced
Parsley, to garnish (optional)
Method:
1. Place the olive oil and the garlic cloves in to a frying pan, and gently warm.
2. Preheat your oven to 210C (190C if fan assisted).
3. Deeply score 4 slices in to each chicken breast, being careful not to slice all the way through.
4. When the oil is bubbling gently around the garlic, place the chicken breasts in to the oil, score-side down, to seal – approximately 4 minutes on either side of the chicken breast should be enough.
5. When seared fully, place the chicken breasts in to an oven proof dish, ensuring they are not overlapping each other.
6. Pour the tin of tomatoes over the top of the chicken.WP_20150127_001
7. Place the Mozzarella slices on top of the chicken pieces, and if there are any left over, place the rest of the cheese in any spaces.
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8. Place in a preheated oven for 30 minutes.
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9. Remove from the oven and serve with a sprig of parsley on the top (optional).
10. Bon appetit!
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I served my chicken without the parsley, and with a side of potato gratin.  Yum.