Cowboy Casserole – recipe

It’s been a little while since I last posted, so I decided to come back with another classic type of post…  A recipe.  This recipe is called a “Cowboy Casserole” by my two boys, but others may call it a simple sausage casserole.  It’s super simple to prepare, and makes for a filling and beautiful belly-warmer of a meal – especially now that it’s starting to get colder!

This whole recipe cost me £3.50 to make, and easily serves 4 or 5 people, meaning each serving is between 70p and 87p.  What a cracker!

Ingredients

16 sausages (I bought a double pack of Richmond’s)

1 tin of peeled, plum tomatoes (I used Asda’s own)

2 tins of beans (I used Asda’s own)

1tsp dried chilli flakes

1tsp paprika

Splash of oil (for frying)

Method

  • Add a splash of oil to a frying pan, and part-fry the sausages.  I managed to fit 8 sausages in my pan, so this took me two “goes”.  Once the sausages are almost cooked, and are a browny colour, transfer them on to some kitchen roll to remove any excess grease from the pan.
  • Chop each sausage in to a “mouthful” sized piece.  I cut each sausage in to four.

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  • Leave the cut sausages on your chopping board, and add two tins of baked beans in tomato sauce, the tin of peeled, plum tomatoes, the chilli flakes and paprika to your slow cooker.  Add the sausages, and stir the mixture with a large spoon until all the sausages have been coated.

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  • Set your slow cooker to “HIGH”, and set the timer for 5 hours.  Don’t forget to put the lid on the slow cooker.

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  • You can serve your Cowboy Casserole on its’ own, or (my recommendation) mashed potatoes.

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  • Enjoy!!
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Peanut butter bites

I have to admit, I am not a fan of peanut butter.  Peanuts are ok, but when they’ve been made in to a spread, I’m not keen.  My husband and eldest son, on the other hand, love the stuff.

Several months ago, I tried out a recipe for peanut butter truffles, but they just weren’t the same as a regular truffle should be, so I changed the name to peanut butter bites.

This recipe is SO simple, and can be made using vegan friendly products (if you are a vegetarian / vegan).

There’s no baking involved, and very little “heat” needed, so give it a go.  I think it took me about an hour to make them – from start to finish; and the whole outcome cost less than £2.

If you have any fancy boxes, you could even pop a few of the bites in to a box, tie a ribbon around, and you have an amazing, homemade, frugal gift.

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Ingredients

270g (9.5oz) peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

40g (1.4oz) unsalted butter

140g (4.9oz) icing sugar

Chocolate (I used 300g / 10oz, but I had some left over)

Sprinkles (optional)

Method

  1. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
  2. Ensure that you have enough room to fit the baking sheet in to your fridge – this is very important!
  3. Put your peanut butter and butter in to a microwavable bowl, and heat on full power for 15-30 seconds.  I checked after 15 and 20 seconds, but needed longer, so I allowed for the full 30.
  4. Transfer the butter mixture in to a mixing bowl, and mix thoroughly, until the butter and peanut butter have combined.
  5. Carefully sift in the icing sugar, bit by bit, and mix well.  I used about a third at a time.  Ensure that you have thoroughly mixed in the icing sugar to the butter mixture.
  6. Using your hands, break off a little of the peanut dough, and roll quickly in between your palms to make a ball, approximately 1 inch in diameter, and place each ball on to the lined baking sheet.  If, like mine, towards the end of the dough, it stops wanting to stick together, squeeze it a little in your palms to soften, and roll into a ball again.
  7. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
  8. After about 20 minutes, break up the chocolate in to small pieces, and place in a glass bowl – be sure that the glass bowl can sit on the top of a pan of water.  The base of the bowl should not touch the water.
  9. Bring the pan of water to the boil, and allow the chocolate to melt completely.
  10. When the chocolate has fully melted, switch off the heat, and bring out the peanut butter bites from the fridge.
  11. Roll each bite in the melted chocolate, allowing any excess chocolate to drip off.  I used two forks, and gently tapped the fork on the edge of the glass bowl to allow the excess chocolate to come away.
  12. Place the now chocolate covered bites back on to the baking sheet, and repeat until you have covered all peanut bites.
  13. When you have completed covering the bites, if you wish, you can cover them in sprinkles, or (as I did) just sprinkle a couple on the very top.
  14. Return to the fridge for approximately 20 minutes, or until the chocolate has set.

Enjoy!

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Am I eating chicken or tuna?

I am sitting in my recliner chair, feet up, laptop on my knee, watching my 18 month old with a fork and spoon.  On his plate is a portion of boiled white fish (cod) and a small amount of tomato sauce.

He’s tried so many times before to feed himself, yet every time he stabbed the food, or carefully placed it on the spoon (with his hand), it’d slip off or break in two.  None of it ever made it to his mouth.

Now I see my beautiful little man successfully stabbing, or shoveling  a small piece of fish and it’s making its’ way to his lips.  His mouth opens…  It’s made it.  He’s managed to eat half of the portion before my husband takes over to assist him.  It seems that the little man has worn himself out by feeding himself.  I am so proud.

We have a long way to go before he can manage feeding himself other variants of food, such as spaghetti, but we’re certainly not that far away.  Who knows; but when we go out for my hubby’s  birthday on the 23rd, he may be able to manage to eat his dinner with something other than his hands.

Coffee Sponge Cake with Bailey’s Butter Frosting

This was made for my dad’s birthday.  It is a recipe that I’ve used before, but previously it was only used in a large batch of cupcakes.  The larger cake, however, has turned out wonderfully.

Ingredients – Cake

8oz butter

8oz soft light brown sugar

4 large eggs

50ml strong coffee

8oz self-raising flour

Ingredients – Frosting

15oz icing sugar

10oz butter

4 tbsp Bailey’s

Method – Cake

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C (160C for fan assisted ovens) and grease 2x20cm baking tins.

2.  Cream the sugar and butter together in a large mixing bowl.

3.  Add the eggs, one at a time, ensuring that each is fully blended before adding the next.

4.  Add the coffee (I used 4 tsp coffee to 50ml boiling water) and mix throroughly.

5.  Sieve the flour in, holding the sieve as high as possible to allow a lot of air to join the mixture.

6.  Spoon the mixture evenly into the two greased baking tins.

7.  Bake in the oven for approx. 40 minutes (or until cooked).  A trick I have learned here is not to open the oven door until at least 30 minutes in to the cooking time.  This ensures a thorough cooking right the way through the cake without disturbing it too much.

8.  Allow the cakes to cool in the tin for approx. 5-10 minutes before turning out on to a cooling wire.

Method – Frosting

1.  Cream the butter in a mixing bowl.

2.  Add the icing sugar gradually.  I took 7 ‘helpings’.  Ensure each ‘helping’ is mixed thoroughly before adding the next part.

3.  Add the Bailey’s (don’t forget to pour a glass for yourself!).

Method – Putting it together

1.  On one of the cakes, cover the top with some frosting.

2.  Add the second cake on top.

3.  Use the rest of the Bailey’s butter frosting to completely cover the cake.

Enjoy!

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