Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Week 44: Chicken Parmesan Cupcakes

The Recipe
1 egg
1 lb ground chicken breast
1 small bell pepper, chopped
1 small/medium white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp dried oregano
6 fresh basil leaves, torn (optional)
salt and pepper
Mozzarella, cut into cubes.
1/2 cup panko / breadcrumbs
2-3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1/2 tbsp olive oil

Pasta / Spaghetti
Pasta Sauce

Preheat oven to 200C.

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the crust, mix until evenly coated and set aside.

In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg. Then add the next 7 ingredients (chicken through salt and pepper) and mix thoroughly.

Coat a muffin tray with oil, place a blob of the chicken mixture in each well. Nestle a cube of mozzarella in the center of the mixture. Pat the chicken over the cheese to completely cover it.

Sprinkle the panko/Parmesan mixture on top of each chicken mound, lightly pressing it into the meat.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the panko is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Let rest 5 minutes. Then lightly loosen each cupcake from the muffin tin.

In the meantime, warm the pasta sauce and cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.

The Verdict
The original recipe had you mix TWICE as much panko/parmesan for the crust. I was VERY generous and still had heaps left over. I'll definitely be using these measurements next time.

Because there absolutely will be a "next time". I'm not usually a huge meatball/meatloaf fan, but possibly the fact that this was made with chicken instead of beef meant that it was much lighter and it tasted great :) I didn't have any mozzarella, so I substituted for a cheap cheese, which was probably a mistake. I'll try to find a better cheese next time.

Definitely worth a repeat :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Week 43: Tapas Tartelettes

The Recipe
1 leek, finely chopped
10 slices of bacon, thinly sliced (about 150g)
1dl white wine
2dl cream
1 package puff pastry - about 250g

Heat some oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook the leek and the bacon for a couple of minutes until the leek is soft and the bacon is cooked but not yet crisp.

Add the white wine and let it simmer until mostly reduced. Add the cream and warm it up until just before boiling. Let it cool down.

Cut the puff pastry into pieces suitable for a muffin-thingie (yes, I'm sure that's the official word for it!), shape it as a tartelette and distribute the leek-bacon mix into each.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 10-12 minutes.

The Verdict
Strangely boring! I had not seen that coming at all, but I was very unimpressed. I like the idea though, so may try again with different filling.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Week 42: Beef Bourguignon

The Recipe
3/4 lb carrots
3/4 lb pearl onions
1 lb beef stew meat, cubed
salt and pepper
½ tbsp oil
3 spring onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup red wine
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp beef broth
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 bay leaf
1.5 tbsp butter
1.5 tbsp flour
250g white mushrooms

Place everything in a crock-pot, stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW for 7-9 hours.

Serve with baked potatoes.

The Verdict
Another freezer meal (except the mushrooms which were added at cooking time), and once again I can state definitively that carrots do NOT freeze well! They turned all weird and icky. I'm not usually a picky eater, but had to put those aside.

Apart from that it tasted alright. Not an instant favourite though, so I may or may not make this again.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Week 41: Slow Cooker Nachos

The Recipe
1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained
1 bell pepper, diced
1 can (15oz) beans, undrained
2 tbsp salsa
1 pkg. taco seasoning (~1oz)
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp garlic powder

Toppings: Shredded Cheese, Salsa, Guacamole... whatever strikes your fancy.

Brown ground beef in skillet on stove. Add ground beef through garlic powder to crockpot.
Cook on low 4-6 hours or high 2-3 hours.

Serve with toppings.

The Verdict
I've made stove-top nachos more often than I can count (and love it!), but needed a crock-pot version of it. I didn't expect it to taste all that different from stove-top nachos - and it didn't - but somehow the texture of it was better. Probably not something I'll make too often, as I prefer crock-pot recipes where I don't have to cook the meat in advance, but it's a nice recipe to have available for those lazy Sundays where I'd rather have my cooking over and done with early in the day.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Week 40: Cheesecake with Raspberries

The Recipe
200g / 400ml soft vanilla ice cream
150g biscuits, crumbled (I used hobnobs)
60g butter, melted
200g rinsed raspberries - save 12 for decorating
8 small meringue, crumbled
200g ricotta
25g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Can preferably be made 1 day in advance and frozen (leave off the decorating raspberries). Take it out of the freezer 20-30 minutes before serving.

Mix the biscuit crumble with the butter and press the mixture into a spring form (20cm) - leave it to cool.
Put the ice cream into a large bowl and mash it with the back of a spoon. Mix in the ricotta and the vanilla, and then the meringue crumble and the raspberries. Mix gently and distribute the mixture on the now cool biscuits.
Put into the freezer for at least 1hr, preferably until the next day.

The Verdict
Pretty good, but not as awesome as most other cheesecakes I've tried. A LOT easier to make though, which is always worth taking into account :) Another time I'd probably mash the raspberries as well though, rather than mixing them into the ice cream whole.