Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Week 7: Creamy Pasta Casserole

The Recipe
250-300g penne pasta
~500g pasta sauce
1/2 dl cream
1dl parmesan cheese
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 dl pesto
1 large onion, sliced
~250g cherry tomatos
150g mozarella, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
basil leaves
250-300g chicken (or pork)

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package and preheat the oven to 180C.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a skillet and cook chicken until brown - 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer to an ovenproof dish. Add onion to the skillet and cook until softened slightly. Transfer to the ovenproof dish as well. Add tomatos, bell peper and mozarella.

In a bowl, mix together pasta sauce, cream, parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar and pesto. Once the pasta is cooked, mix thoroughly with the sauce and transfer everything to the ovenproof dish. Mix everything up to ensure that not all the pasta is left on top.

Bake for 20 minutes. Add fresh basil leaves just before serving.

The Verdict
Really, really good! I used heavy cream which felt a tad decadent, but it was SO worth it. Definitely a restaurant-grade pasta dish.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Week 6: Crockpot Cashew Chicken

The Recipe
1lb chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tbsp cornstarch or flour
½ tsp pepper
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tsp ginger
a dash of red chili flakes
½ cup cashews

Combine cornstarch/flour and pepper in a bag. Add chicken and stir to cover all pieces. Heat the oil in a skillet and brown the chicken for about 2 minutes on each side. Remove and add to slow cooker.

In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, chili, sugar, garlic, ginger and chili flakes. Pour over chicken and stir to ensure all pieces are nicely coated.

Cook on LOW for 3 hours. Add cashews and cook for another hour.

Serve with rice (either just regular boiled rice, or fried rice with a bit of the sauce added at the very end) and a nice salad. I made one out of bell pepper, tomatoes, carrots and feta - yum!

The Verdict
I served this with ordinary rice the first day and fried rice the next day as leftovers. Fried rice is definitely better! The salad meshed nicely with the dish as well - especially the feta.

As a whole, the recipe wasn't really groundbreaking, and definitely something I've tried before, but it was easy to make and tasted great (plus! cashews!!), so who cares? You don't have to be innovative all the time.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Week 5: Potato Quiche

The Recipe
2 large potatoes, sliced thinly
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 tbsp parmesan
5 eggs
1 cup milk
1 large tomato, diced
½ bell pepper, diced
1-2 green onions, diced
125-150g bacon
½ cup shredded cheese
1 tsp garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Put the sliced potatoes in a bowl and add olive oil, salt, half the pepper and the parmesan cheese. Mix it all together (using your hands is easiest) to coat the potato slices evenly. Lay out the slices in a pie dish, starting from the middle and working out, making sure the slices overlap and that there are no gaps. line the edge of the dish with overlapping slices as well.

Bake the potatoes for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a pan until just crisp. Transfer to a bowl (I just used the same one as before to save on dish washing :-P ) and mix together with the eggs, milk, green onions, bell pepper, tomatoes and cheese. Add the rest of the pepper and the garlic powder.

Slowly pour the mixture over the potatoes, making sure they don't start to life up. Bake for 30 minutes - leave to rest for another 5-10 minutes before serving.

The Verdict
Really good! I like alternative uses of potatoes, and this was a great addition to my repertoire. Definitely something I'll be making again, and it's so easily adaptable too - just the way I like it.