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Category Archives: Delish Dinners

Show off your cooking skills with these yummy recipes!

Chicken Souvlaki

One of my friends is a souvlaki purist. She gets offended when souvlaki is made in any variation other than the ‘traditional way’. Me? I don’t mind so much. I like a bit of variety and experimentation but not so far as totally changing a dish.

I scoured the web for a good souvlaki recipe that didn’t veer off into strange ingredients and fancy methods. I just wanted grilled, tasty chicken wrapped in a pita with a punchy garlic sauce and this recipe was the one I decided to go with. The only thing I did differently was not skewer the chicken, ain’t nobody got time for that. I simply sliced the chicken breast into strips and cooked it on a cast iron grill. Yum! That was my favourite part, scraping all the gooey, caramelised chicken bits on the bottom of the pan….Happy days.

I also did not use kalamata olives or red onion because I didn’t have any on hand…and I’ve never had olives in a souvlaki and didn’t feel like I wanted to…

Ingredients

  • For the Chicken:
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, grated (about 4 teaspoons)
  • For the Tzatziki Sauce:
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (see note above)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium clove garlic, grated (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 cup greek yogurt (see note above)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • For the Salad:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 small tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 2 small red onions, sliced thin
  • 1 medium cucumber, seeded and sliced into thin half moons
  • 3/4 cups pitted kalamata olives
  • 6 ounces crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 6 pitas

Method

  1. In medium bowl, whisk lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Place chicken cubes in a separate medium bowl. Mix in grated garlic and 7 tablespoons of dressing. Toss chicken to coat evenly, cover, and refrigerate to marinate for about 2 hours, tossing occasionally. Set remaining dressing aside for salad.

     

  2. While chicken marinates, make the tzatziki sauce: Place cubed cucumbers in strainer set over bowl. Toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let sit to drain, about 30 minutes. Gently pat cucumbers dry with paper towel, place in small bowl, and mix with garlic, yogurt, and dill. Season to taste with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

     

  3. Skewer chicken pieces on 8 to 12 skewers. Discard used marinade. Heat grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Place chicken skewers on grill (or cook in batches on grill pan) until well browned and internal temperature registers 155° on instant read thermometer, turning evenly to cook on all sides, about 5 minutes total. (Adjust temperature of grill if necessary). Remove chicken to a serving platter and let rest 3 minutes. Meanwhile, briefly grill pitas and keep warm.

     

  4. Just before serving, prepare the salad: Whisk olive oil into reserved chicken marinade. Add tomatoes, onions, cucumber, olives, feta, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

     

  5. Serve skewers with salad, pita, and tzatziki sauce. Remove chicken from skewers to stuff into pitas with sauce and salad.
 

Potato, Chorizo & Thyme Tortilla

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This tortilla/fritatta is a brunch favourite in our house. I call it the Happy Marriage Tortilla because it represents a happy medium for my husband and I. There’s meat and potatoes, 2 points to the caveman corner. Then theres’s frilly girly things like beaten eggs and beautifully fragrant thyme, some delicately sautéed onion….2 points to the women’s corner. Told you, happy medium!

Together, this tortilla packs a flavourful punch. To quote my friend, “It’s like a party in my mouth and everyone is invited”. With every bite, you get a little surprise – some meaty, rich and spicy chorizo…delicately seasoned egg…. POP -there’s some thyme and that subtle sweetness? Oh that’s just the onion. Crispy and decadent, the potatoes are my favourite part and if you really want to go KABOOM POW, layer some slices of prosciutto on top before serving with some dressed greens for a delish lunch or dinner.

Ingredients

8 large eggs

4 medium sized yellow-fleshed potatoes, sliced as thin as you can go!

3 tbsp chopped thyme (fresh is preferable)

1 large chorizo sliced thinly

1 onion, diced

1 clove of garlic,minced – optional

4-6 slices of pancetta or prosciutto, torn into smaller strips

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup milk

2tbsp Olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over low-medium heat. Cook the potatoes, chorizo, onion and garlic, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Spread the potato, onion and chorizo mixture evenly over the bottom of the frying pan and turn the heat down.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, thyme, Parmesan cheese and milk until well combined. Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes and chorizo, shaking the pan to ensure it is evenly distributed.
  4. Cook, with a lid on for about 8-10 minutes, keeping an eye on the bottom of the pan. Because I cooked it with the lid on, the heat was trapped and the top started to set, making it easier and more sturdy to flip.
  5. Here’s the fun part. Once the bottom of the tortilla is golden and cooked, you can either put the pan in the oven to finish the top (if you have a metal handle on your frying pan) OR, you can cover the top of the frying pan with a large plate and while holding the bottom of the plate, turn the pan and tortilla onto the plate. Then, gently shimmy and slide it back into the pan to cook the underside. From the time you flip, you only need a further 3-4 minutes of cooking time to set that egg.
  6. When you’re ready to serve it, top it with the prosciutto slices and some rocket leaves, if desired.
  7. Serve with lightly dressed rocket leaves and crusty bread or as part of a delish big breakfast with bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach.
 

Crunchy Chicken Noodle Salad

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I love this salad and would eat it every day if I could. It’s fresh, it’s light but satisfying, it’s packed with flavour and best of all, it stores well so you can easily prep it the night before and take it to work the next day.

As always, I freestyle the recipe amounts, so I will give approximates…I’m sure you can figure it out for what suits you and your current situation. For myself, I always cook for myself and my husband and hope for leftovers the next day for our work lunches.

Now, if you’re lazy time-poor like me, you can just opt for a pre-sliced bag of coleslaw mix from the supermarket instead of chopping all of your cabbages and grating carrots and ruining your manicure. You just march yourself  into that refrigerated aisle and buy yourself a bag of coleslaw mix like it ain’t nobody else’s business and don’t feel bad about it. These small conveniences can save you heaps of time and effort in the kitchen and it’s not going to cause brain cancer, starve a third world country or kill of baby gorillas.

Ingredients

3 chicken breasts

1 bag Coleslaw mix

1/4 cup spring onions, sliced

1/3 cup toasted peanuts

1/2 cup Chang’s Fried Noodles

1/2 cup soy sauce

4 tbsp fish sauce

1 lime, juiced

Drizzle of sesame oil

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

 

Method

  1. Marinate whole chicken breasts in 3/4 of the soy sauce, 2 tbsp of fish sauce, lime juice and a lick of sesame oil. Marinate for a least an hour, covered with cling film, however overnight is even better.
  2. Cook the chicken breasts on a cast iron grill or heavy based pan. A barbecue would be even better for that smoky charred flavour. Once the chicken is cooked through, set is aside to cool before slicing or shredding it.
  3. In a separate large bowl, empty out your coleslaw bag (if you’re making it from scratch, put your carrots, cabbage and spring onion in now). I can’t believe I just made opening a bag of coleslaw an actual step in this recipe.
  4. Make the dressing by combining the remaining soy sauce, 2 tbsp fish sauce, a little drizzle of sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. Taste as you and make any adjustments to suit your taste. Disclaimer: I am a salt fiend and really go ape with the soy – you may want to go easy to on the suggested amounts and taste as you go to suit your own palate.
  5. Toss the sliced/shredded chicken with the salad and pour the dressing over. If you eating or serving the salad later, stop here. Do not pass GO and do not collect $200. If you add the nuts and fried noodles now, they’ll take up that dressing and lose their crunch factor, so if you’re eating this later, simply store the salad in a sealed container or covered with cling film and add the nuts and noodles just before serving. If you’re taking this to work, just pack these items separately.
  6. Toast your peanuts in a dry hot pan with NO oil over a medium heat until thy’re  toasty and fragrant. Some slight char marks are ok, but if you walk away to go and watch Chelsea Lately and get lost in her horse-like features and un-witty banter, you may come back to some smoking black little nuts. I meant the peanuts, not the guests on her show, just so we are clear
  7. Last but not least, when it’s time to serve, toss the toasted peanuts through the salad, top with some crunchy noodles and garnish with some coriander (the herb of the devil, I hate it) or sliced chilli and spring onion.  .

FYI, I am sorry in advance for any formatting or spelling issues on this post. My little Malshi has insisted on laying on my lap between myself and laptop. Her paw keeps jerking as she dreams and is hitting random keys. I think I found most of the mistakes and corrected them, but any that slipped through are solely her fault. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. Lucky she is cute.

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2013 in Delish Dinners, Luscious Lunches

 

Chicken & Chickpea Hot Pot

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Forgive the photos, this was a quick mid-week dinner after a rough day at work. What it lacks in presentation, it makes up for in taste! I loosely based the meal on this recipe, but added extra vegetables like green beans, red and green capsicums and lots of zucchini to fill it out with more veggies.

Ingredients

Method

  1. Heat half of the vegetable oil in a large pan. Add the chicken thighs and fry, turning frequently, until lightly browned all over. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
  2. Add a little more oil to the pan, then add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and chilli and cook for five minutes. Add a splash of red wine and simmer until reduced by half.
  3. In another pan, heat the remaining oil and fry the chorizo for 2-3 minutes. Add the sherry and cook until the chorizo is crisp. Set aside.
  4. Add the can of chopped tomatoes to the pan with the vegetables and bring to the boil. Cook for five minutes, then add the stock and bring back to the boil.
  5. Add the browned chicken, the chickpeas and crisp chorizo and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with crusty bread.
 
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Posted by on January 20, 2013 in Delish Dinners

 

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Conchiglioni with Roasted Tomato, Caramelised Onion & Chorizo

When I saw these conch-shaped pasta shells in the supermarket, I actually stopped in the middle of the aisle, eyes wide like saucers, oblivious to the muttering woman behind me who had almost run her trolley up my rear end.

As I stood in the aisle mesmerised by all the things I could picture myself doing with this pasta, I realised I hadn’t had these for the longest time- and certainly had never cooked them myself. I had enjoyed them at my grandma’s house, dripping in home-made tomato sauce or baked under a lovely sprinkle of mozzarella crust as  pasta al forno.

This large, shell shaped pasta is perfect for soaking up delicious sauces or being stuffed with tasty ricotta based fillings. Think of it as a shell shaped cannelloni. Even though before they are cooked the shells have a wide, deep scoop, when cooked, they curl up on themselves, nestling all the flavours in their shell. It’s like a big pasta hug.

I chose to do a slow-roasted tomato, caramelised onion and chorizo accompaniment for this pasta because I knew it would soak up those flavours perfectly. Of course you could have this sauce with your penne or fettuccine as well.

This is an easy after work dinner- simply pop the sauce ingredients on a baking tray for about 40 minutes while you catch up on housework or unwind from the day- then just cook the pasta and toss it all together.

Ingredients

  • 1 packet of conchiglioni pasta
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 3 mushrooms, whole
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 red capsicum, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 chorizo sausage, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup Basil leaves, roughly chopped (or dried basil)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/4 Parmesan cheese

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C (fan forced). Arrange tomatoes, onion, garlic, mushrooms and capsicum on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and cook in the oven for about 40 minutes to an hour.You want the tomatoes to be soft, slightly browned and collapsing. Don’t fret if there’s a bit of colour on your onions or capsicum- it adds to the flavour, but if your onions have burnt, peel off the outer few layers.
  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling water with a generous amount of salt and olive oil to prevent the pasta sticking together. When cooked, drain (retain 3/4 cup of the pasta water in a separate cup or bowl for later) and set aside in the same saucepan, covering it with a lid.
  3. Once the tomato mix has cooled somewhat, cut the tip off the garlic cloves and squeeze out the roasted garlic. With a wooden spoon, squash the tomatoes down- it’s not about perfection, it’s going to look ‘rustic’ (translation: sloppy)- don’t stress about it! Slice the mushrooms thinly.
  4. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil and the sliced chorizo and cook for a few minutes until it has picked up some colour. Add the tomato mix to the pan with the tomato puree and pasta water, stir it around until the sauce begins to thicken and emulsify.
  5. Add the pasta to the pan, toss through the sauce and add your spinach and basil leaves until they wilt. Season to taste.
  6. Serve with Parmesan and some crusty bread.

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2012 in Delish Dinners

 

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Slow Cooked Steak & Bean Tacos

Today’s recipe is going to be a big cluster of photos because I felt like doing a step by step post today. If you’re on a slow internet connection or a download limit….my bad.

I haven’t decided if I like this format or not, but sometimes a visual does make explaining things a little easier.

I love Mexican food, love the flavours of beans, mouth watering shredded meats, tart lime juice, corn, avocado- yum, I drool just thinking about it.

I’m not trying to pretend to be some super awesome authentic Mexican cook, because I’m not. Let’s be real, for the first 18 years of my life, any Mexican food I ate was made from an Old El Paso burrito kit or in a food court, made by a pimple-faced teenager who couldn’t even pronounce jalapeno.

This is how we make it in my house and this is how we like it. Authentic or not, the flavours are good and everything tastes that much better when you make it yourself. You know what’s in it and you appreciate it more when you know what you went through to make it.

You can substitute chicken for the beef in this recipe and it’s just as delish.

My favourite part of this recipe though is the handmade soft corn tortillas. The meal looks a little more ‘rustic’ (my tortilla making technique isn’t the best without a tortilla press), but the taste is worth it!

With the guacamole, I believe the traditional recipe calls for chopped coriander. I personally hate coriander so have avoided it in this recipe.

As usual, my measurements are approximate. I go by taste and feel most times, but I’ve done my best to be accurate. We had leftovers for lunch.

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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Delish Dinners, Luscious Lunches

 

Slow Cooked Chicken in White Wine & Rosemary Sauce

“Wine improves with age. The older I get, the better I like it.” – Anonymous

I never thought it would happen, but somehow I turned into one of those people that love and stockpile wine.

If you had told me this during my tequila-soaked early twenties, I would have laughed and said something along the lines of “Wine is for old people… [hiccup]”.

Now, not only do I like to drink wine, but I’m cooking with it more than ever! My husband says this is bordering on alcoholism. I think he just needs to pour me another glass and shut the hell up!

Truthfully, I’m not a big drinker anymore, but I do enjoy my wine on ocassion, especially in cooking. Wine lends a beautiful flavour to sauces, hearty stews and marinades and almost any meat cooked in wine is delish and tender, melting in the mouth.

This recipe suits a dry white wine. I’ve made this with sweeter, fruitier wines like Moscato before, but the sweetness overpowers the dish, so I’d suggest a dry white. You can use red wine also, but since I break out in hives when I drink red, I stick to white!

When it comes to cooking to wine, it’s tempting to use the cheapo bottle you got as a birthday present from your mother in law  the neighbour you don’t like, but the better the wine, the better the taste. If you wouldn’t drink a glass of it, don’t pour it into your food!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 Chicken Breasts, skin off (trimmed and cut into palm sized pieces)
  • 1 small brown onion, diced
  • 1 sprig rosemary, chopped finely
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley

METHOD

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan on a low heat, add onions and rosemary, cook it gently then remove it from the pan once it’s translucent and soft.
  2. Once you’ve removed the onion from the pan, turn the heat up high and drizzle with a little extra olive oil if required.
  3. Coat the chicken pieces in flour, add them to the hot pan, seal them quickly on both sides until they are browned. Toss in any excess flour from the bowl and cook it off to remove that floury taste.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and pour in the wine, enough to ensure the chicken is covered. Add the cooked onion and rosemary back into the pan.
  5. Cook on low heat, covered for about 40-45 minutes minutes, stirring occasionally or until the liquid has reduced and becomes thick. Alternatively, you can also pop a lid on this (if you’re using a casserole-type dish and pop it in the oven at 160C for about an hour) to let it marinate and cook gently in the beautiful wine.
  6. Sprinkle with parsley a few minutes before turning the heat off.
  7. Serve with lightly dressed salad greens or mashed potato.

 

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2012 in Delish Dinners, Luscious Lunches

 
 
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