Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Week 39: Sun-dried Tomatoes and Chicken Pilaf

The Recipe
450g chicken breast
2 gloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 can (400g) stewed tomatoes
1/2 squash, chopped
50g sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (use scissors - that's easier)
2 tsp pesto
6dl chicken stock
200g brown rice

Heat oil in a pan and brown the chicken on one side only. Transfer to a plate and quickly cook garlic and onion in the pan. Add chicken stock and get all the bits and pieces off the bottom of the pan. Transfer to a slow cooker.

Add squash, stewed tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto and rice. Stir to mix up everything. Place the chicken breast on top, cooked side up, pushed down just beneath the liquid to keep them from drying out. Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours.

The Verdict
First of all, I made a rookie mistake - I assumed that HIGH for 3-4 hours would equal LOW for 6-7 hours. Not the case at all, and thus the rice wasn't properly cooked through. Not that they were 'raw', there was just a bit more of a bite to them than usual. Fortunately that was the only problem with this dish and easily remedied. Everything else worked out really well. The tastes meshed wonderfully, and the chicken was more moist than I've ever experienced white meat being before. I might add a tad more pesto and sun-dried tomatoes next time as those two ingredients seemed to disappear altogether, but otherwise it was perfect as-is.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Week 38: Salmon Poached in Elderflower juice

The Recipe
3 salmon steaks (~125g each)
0.5 dl canola oil (could probably be substituted for any other)
1.5 dl elder flower juice
1 tbsp acacia honey
3 bay leaves
1 leek in thin slices
2 carrots (or the same amount of squash), sliced
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger (optional)
Salt and pepper

Place the salmon steaks in a small ovenproof dish coated with the oil. Add juice, honey, bay leaves, leek, carrots and ginger (optional). Bake for 10-12 minutes at 220*C in a pre-heated oven. Season with salt and pepper according to taste.

Serve with wild rice and bread

The Verdict
Absolutely delicious! The sweetness of the elderflower and honey matched the salmon perfectly. I don't think this would be a hit with my DH, but my Mum would love it :) We forgot the ginger, but I didn't miss it any.

Week 37: Cheesy Enchilada Casserole

The Recipe
500g ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 can (8oz) of salsa
1 can (14 oz) stewed tomatoes
1 can (14 oz) beans
3/4dl Italian salad dressing
2 tbsp taco seasoning
1/4 tsp ground cumin
4 flour tortillas
1 can corn
1 dl sour cream
250gr shredded cheese

shredded lettuce
chopped tomato

In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Stir in the salsa, stewed tomatoes, beans, dressing, sour cream, corn, taco seasoning and cumin.
Spoon a generous layer of meat mixture on bottom of a baking dish. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
Place a flour or corn tortilla on top of meat mixture. Repeat as many layers as you like.
The last & final layer should be a healthy dose of grated cheese.
Cover with foil and bake at 200°C for 25 minutes.

Let stand for 5 minutes before topping with lettuce, tomato and guacamole.

The Verdict
I forgot to cover with foil, but don't really think that made too big of a difference.
I also didn't have any guacamole - that was a mistake!

Apart from that I really liked it though. I think I'd also add chopped bell pepper another time, but that's about the only alteration I'd make. Definitely worth making again.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Week 36: Herbed Chicken

The Recipe
(serves 5)
800g chicken thighs or drumsticks (I'm sure you can use white meat as well, but I prefer dark)
Olive oil
1/3 cup white wine
1 onion -- chopped
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 15-oz. can white beans
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried tarragon
Salt according to taste
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 14oz. can stewed tomatoes (I used whole cherry tomatoes - yum!)

Coat the crockpot with the olive oil and place the chicken in the bottom. Stir in white wine through crushed red pepper (I didn't have any, so I used paprika instead. Nor did I have any Italian seasoning, so I just used a mix of herbs - rosemary, thyme, basil etc. - instead). Cover with lid and cook on LOW for 6-7 hours. After 6-7 hours take out the chicken, remove skin and bones and return the chicken to the crock pot. Stir in stewed tomatoes and cook on LOW for another hour.

Serve with brown rice.

The Verdict
Ever so slightly bland at first, so I added extra salt, pepper and chili flakes. With that addition I ended up LOVING it! And it tasted just as good as left-overs the following day. It's a bit of a hassle to de-bone the chicken (I burned my fingers a couple of times doing it), but I still think the dark meat tastes so much better than the white that it's worth it.

Absolutely worth a repeat.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Week 35: Microwave Potato Chips

The Recipe
2 large potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Slice potatoes into thin slices. Toss slices with oil and salt to coat evenly.
Coat a large microwave-proof plate with extra oil and arrange potato slices in a single layer. Microwave on high until some slices start to brown. Turn slices over (use a fork, they are HOT) and continue microwaving until the start to crisp and brown around the edges.

The timing will depend on the thickness of the slices and microwave power - I think I ended up giving them 5 minutes on each side - perhaps a bit more for the thickest slices.

Transfer chips to another place and allow them to cool completely - they will get crisper as they cool.

Repeat with the rest of the slices.

The Verdict
I was very dubious whether this would even work, but they chips turned out fantastically! The only thing I'll add to the recipe is do not be afraid to overcook the chips!. The original recipe said 2-3 minutes on each side which turned out to be no where NEAR enough, and my first batch was very soggy as a result. If the potatoes haven't started browning it's not time to turn them over yet.

But apart from that super simple to make and definitely something I'll be doing again!