It’s another Blogiversary!

Today celebrates my 6th year of my Insanely Normal blog.

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It’s been fun, although a little slack, and I know that I have said it time and time again, but that can now change…  I have a lot more time to be able to publish, and I have all sorts of ideas!

So, without further ado, let’s revisit my top three posts…

At number 3…

This post has somewhat amused me since I published it in 2014.  It was a review (a negative one at that!  And badly wrote, haha) about a local franchised café.  I can remember visiting the place – it was bloody awful, and I imagine nothing has changed, because I’m still receiving messages agreeing with my post!  You can read about the Pound Café in Huyton here.

At number 2…

2015 seems to have been the year that brought in most of my subscribers (hello stalkers!), and top of the shot (again), was my Christmas Ham post!  My second most popular post in 2015 was for my slow cooker sausage casserole…  With just under 10,000 reads throughout the year, it definitely got the attention it deserved, ha ha.  You can try the slow cooker sausage casserole recipe here.

Drum roll please, because at number 1…

Every Christmas, I make a ham.  It’s by far the best thing I have ever made, and you all seem to agree, as the amount of views that post has received is amazing!  I first published the post in 2012, and it seems to be a recipe that is used right throughout the year, as it’s always my most read…  My “best” stats for this recipe was on 1 December, 2016, when I had a little over 4,000 views – just on that day!  You can read my Christmas Ham here.


So, it seems that my stalkers like recipes and negative reviews!  Ha ha.  Yes, those were my top three posts in the past six years, and other posts in my top ten include more recipes, a holiday post, and how parenthood drives me crazy.

So, here’s to more exciting times – more recipes, more random stuff, and I may even through in a mini-comp somewhere…

Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole – Pic Heavy

More of a winter-warmer type recipe (but today has been relatively cold, hence this being our dinner tonight) this yummy casserole warms the cockles of your heart, and right through to your stomach.  This is a fab recipe for the whole family (my 3 year old loves it), and I think it all only cost me around £2.50 to make!!

Ingredients:

1 pack sausages (I used Richmonds’ 16 thin sausages)

1/2 onion – diced thinly

1 tin peeled, plum tomatoes

1 tin baked beans (I used Branston)

1 or 2 drops of Tabasco sauce

Method:

1.  Lightly fry your sausages in your choice of oil / fat, until they appear to be a nice browny colour.  Ensure to turn them every now and again.

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2.  When the sausages are nicely cooked, remove from the pan, and dry on a paper towel (to absorb as much grease as possible).  Leave the remaining oil in the pan.

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3.  Lightly fry your diced onion in the fat / oil that is still in the frying pan.

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4.  Turn the heat down on the frying pan, and chop your sausages up in to ‘bite size’ pieces.

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5.  Place the peeled, plum tomatoes in to your ceramic pot of the slow cooker.  Strain the onions from the oil, and add to the tomato mix, and add one or two drops of Tabasco sauce.  Using a hand blender, blend until the mixture becomes smooth.

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6.  Once smooth, add the sausages and the tin of baked beans (don’t bother to strain away the tomato sauce in the beans), and stir thoroughly to ensure the sausage ‘bites’ are all covered in the tomato mixture.

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7.  Put your ceramic dish inside the slow cooker, and add the lid.  Turn your slow cooker to ‘high’, and leave to cook for 4 hours.

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8.  The tomato mixture should now be bubbling away nicely, so give it a final stir before serving.  Enjoy x

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Super Easy Homemade Veggie Soup – pic heavy

After being informed that I need to increase the iron in my diet, I decided that I would grab a few bags of pre-prepped veg from Asda.  It seemed like a good choice, so I got two bags of diced potatoes, and two bags of broccoli, carrots and sprouts.  We used one bag of the mixed veg, and one bag of potatoes on Saturday, to go with a pre-cooked chicken (also from Asda – we were having a bit of a lazy cooking day, ha ha).

When I got to the fridge, early this afternoon, there was lots in there to feed me, but I realised that I needed to get the veg eaten.

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So I decided to make a veggie soup in my slow cooker (please note that this recipe can also be made in a large pan (with lid), so if you don’t have a slow cooker / crock pot, don’t dismay!!).

Ingredients

Potatoes

Mixed veg

Gravy stock (veg / chicken stock works best, but I only had beef available)

Salt & pepper

Tabasco sauce

Method

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Gather all your veg and throw it all in to your slow cooker / pan.

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Make up your gravy stock, according to the instructions on the packet.  For me, I used four heaped teaspoons of the Bisto beef gravy granules, and topped up the jug with boiling water.  In reality, this wasn’t enough, and was really watery, but I knew that once the potatoes had cooked, and when everything had been blended together at the end, it would soon thicken up.

08 09 11Pour the gravy stock over the veg, and top up with kettle water, ensuring to ‘almost’ cover the veg completely.  Add a sprinkling of salt & pepper, and cover with a lid.

12 13Turn your slow cooker on to “HIGH”, and set your timer for 5 hours.

Alternatively, if you’re using the ‘pan on the hob’ technique, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and allow to simmer for approximately 40 minutes.  After this time, check the sprouts (or potatoes) with a sharp knife…  The knife should slip right through the veg with no difficulty what-so-ever.

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When the veg is cooked right through, grab your hand blender, and blend, blend, blend!!  If you like your soup with a few ‘chunks’ of veg in it, just be sure not to blend the soup for too long.  Give it a stir every now and again until you get to the perfect consistency for you.

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Finally, add a splash (or two) of Tabasco sauce to taste, stir in to the soup, then serve.

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Chicken & Tomatoes

This recipe is slightly different to my Italian Chicken in Tomatoes; where as I used slightly different ingredients, and I cooked this using my slow cooker (crock pot).  However, if you don’t have a slow cooker, you can very easily make this in the oven too.  I have included both methods – one for the slow cooker, and the other for the oven.

I absolutely, well and truly think that this recipe beats my previous Italian Chicken in Tomatoes.

Enjoy x

 

Ingredients

1 (or 2) chicken breasts per person

Garlic and herb cream cheese (I used Asdas’ own)

1 tin of peeled, plummed tomatoes

3 tablespoons olive oil

A “good shaking” of paprika (I used approx. 1 dessert spoon)

Salt & pepper

About 80g of your favourite hard cheese (red Leicester, Cheddar, Cheshire, etc.)

 

Method for the slow cooker

Using a sharp knife, butterfly the chicken breasts (this is when you slice the chicken breast in half, but not all the way through).

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Using a butter knife, spread a “good” quantity of the cream cheese inside the chicken breast, then close it back up.  You now have a “stuffed chicken breast”.

Place the breasts inside the ceramic pot/bowl, inside of the slow cooker; trying not to overlap each piece.

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In a jug (or bowl), pour the tinned plum tomatoes, and “mush” them up with a fork.  If you prefer a smoother sauce, you can blend the tomatoes instead.  When you are happy with the consistency of the tomatoes, add the olive oil, paprika, and salt & pepper (to taste).  Give a final stir.

Pour the tomato mixture over the chicken breasts, and place the lid on (I got my son to help me with this).

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Turn on your slow cooker to “HIGH” for 5 hours, or “LOW” for 8 hours.

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When there is only approx. 30 minutes to go, carefully lift the lid and sprinkle some grated cheese over the chicken breasts.  Replace the lid and allow to continue to cook.

Serve with anything you like (veg, potatoes, pasta, rice…).

Enjoy!

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Method for the oven

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

Using a sharp knife, butterfly the chicken breasts (this is when you slice the chicken breast in half, but not all the way through).

Using a butter knife, spread a “good” quantity of the cream cheese inside the chicken breast, then close it back up.  You now have a “stuffed chicken breast”.

Place the breasts inside an oven proof glass / ceramic dish; trying not to overlap each piece.

In a jug (or bowl), pour the tinned plum tomatoes, and “mush” them up with a fork.  If you prefer a smoother sauce, you can blend the tomatoes instead.  When you are happy with the consistency of the tomatoes, add the olive oil, paprika, and salt & pepper (to taste).  Give a final stir.

Pour the tomato mixture over the chicken breasts, place the lid on and place in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes.

When the time is up, sprinkle the grated cheese over the breasts, replace the lid, and cook for a further 30 minutes.

Serve with anything you like (veg, potatoes, pasta, rice…).

Enjoy!