Baked Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes, Lemon, Olives and Capers

Baked Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes, Lemon, Olives and Capers

I’ve talked about the lovely ladies from The Monday Morning Cooking Club before when I shared their delicious tomato and eggplant bake (AKA Bubba’s Eggplant) from their first cookbook here and their delicious recipe for their Shallot Ginger and Sesame crusted salmon here.   I was so excited to get my hands on a copy of their recently published sequel called ‘The Feast Goes On’.  This beautiful book has plenty more stunning recipes inside that I cannot wait to try.

I love that each recipe has been handpicked from hundreds submitted – so you know that if it makes it into the cookbook it is going to be worth making!  Not all the recipes are clean, but there are several that are and I am looking forward to getting to know this book as much as I enjoyed the first.  You can check out the Monday Morning Cooking Club’s webpage here and follow them on Facebook here.

This recipe was the first one I made from the new book and it was a real crowd pleaser.  I have altered it to include tomatoes and lemon, which gives the dish a much different flavour, but I loved the changes and I hope you do too!  (You can double it quite easily if you need to feed a larger group or if (like me) you want to freeze some for another night when you don’t have the time or inclination to cook)

Baked Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes, Lemon, Olives and Capers

(adapted from The Feast Goes On, Monday Morning Cooking Club)

What you will need:

  • 1 chicken jointed (I ask my butcher to cut a whole chicken into 8 pieces for me)
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) salted baby capers (well rinsed and drained)
  • 75 grams (½ cup) pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 lemon sliced into rounds about ½ cm/¼ inch
  • 350 grams (1 punnet) cherry tomatoes
  • 2 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 250 mls (1 cup) white wine (or chicken stock if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 sprigs thyme (or lemon thyme and/or fresh oregano work well too)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

How to bring it together:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius (400 Fahrenheit).

Line a large roasting dish with some baking paper.  Lay out the chicken and scatter the capers, olives, garlic and tomatoes on top.  Pour the wine (or stock) and olive oil over the chicken, lay the lemon wedges across the top and scatter the herbs.  Season generously with pepper.

Roast for 45 minutes – 1 hour or until the chicken is golden and the juices run clear when pierced with a knife. If the chicken is not browned enough, turn the oven to the hottest setting for the last 5 minutes.

Enjoy

XX

Tasty Spiced Chicken

Tasty Spiced Chicken

This is a fantastic spice mix and works well on any cut of chicken – I have used it on Chicken Marylands and baked it for a dinner party, you could use a whole chicken cut into pieces or last night we had it on Chicken thigh fillets barbecued with some coconut oil.  I think it would make a delicious whole roast chicken too.  It’s really very versatile (and so ridiculously easy!!)

Tasty Spiced Chicken

Spiced Chicken Mix

In a bowl mix together the following spices:

  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander (cilantro) seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

spices

How to pull it together:

Put the chicken cuts you are using (I used organic chicken thigh fillets) in a clean plastic bag with the spice mix.  Toss well until Chicken is covered.

Cook to your liking!  We barbecued these in some coconut oil  which added a  delicious flavour, and served with some blanched asparagus for a light yet very tasty meal.

Enjoy XX

Super Tasty and Healthy Sang Choy Bow

Super Tasty and Healthy Sang Choy Bow

This is one of our favourite mid-week staples.  It is quick to make, easy to double and freeze (usually get about 4 dinners from 1 quantity), tastes delicious and is really light – so is a great dinner to have if you feel you have been over indulging lately.  I have tried to measure the ingredients so that you won’t have to think too much, however due to the nature of the dish (i.e. throw whatever you can in) you may wish to play around with the flavours to suit your own tastes.   If we feel that there is not enough left over for dinner for both of us a second time I have been known to freeze what’s left and when reheating I add a can of organic lentils (well rinsed) to bulk it up.

I have also made this as a vegetarian meal with minced tofu rather than chicken.  I boil some organic firm tofu cubes for 2 minutes in a pot of boiling water then drain well and blitz in the food processor.  It becomes a similar consistency to minced meat …)

The cashews add a delicious crunch to this dish that the not so healthy versions might get from fried noodles …  Trust me – it is seriously tasty!

Healthy Chicken Sang Choy Bow – serves 4

What you will need: (again note that these quantities are all approximate and can easily be adjusted to suit your tastes or what you have on hand)

Coconut Oil

Aprox 500 grams (1 pound) organic/free range chicken mince (I use  a packet of Macro Free Range chicken mince from Woolworths)

5 Shallots or 1 onion or 1 Leek – chopped

1 chilli chopped finely (with or without seeds depending on how you like your heat)

1 clove garlic or 1 teaspoon organic minced garlic

2 carrots peeled and finely chopped

2 zucchinis (courgettes) finely chopped

2 sticks celery finely chopped

1 cup finely chopped mushrooms

1/2 bag of bean sprouts (optional) and/or 1/2 – 1 Bag of baby spinach leaves

3/4 cups cashews dry roasted

1 iceberg lettuce

Marinade: (shake in a jar or whisk in a bowl)

1 Tablespoon Kecap Manis

1 Tablespoon Tamari

2 Tablespoon Spiral Miso Hoisin (or organic Hoisin)

1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil

If you would prefer to make this dish completely clean, rather than using the kecap manis and hoisin, you could create a marinade from tamari, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and salt and pepper – have fun experimenting!

How to pull it together:

Heat a large pan/wok and add about 1 tablespoon coconut oil.  When heated add onion/leek/shallots and chilli with garlic and cook until translucent.  Add the remaining veggies (except for spinach and bean sprouts) and chicken and mix well until the chicken is browned.   Add the marinade ingredients and cook well.  (You can do all of this earlier and reheat before serving)

To serve:

Cut the iceberg lettuce into little cups.

Toss the roasted cashews, baby spinach and/or bean sprouts through your chicken mix and reheat until the spinach is wilted and the dish is nice and hot and then spoon into the lettuce cups and enjoy XX

Getting Creative With Your Salad

Getting Creative With Your Salad

Lunch doesn’t have to be boring, or a sandwich, or a soggy wrap, or leftovers.  You certainly don’t need to fork out obscene amounts of money at a gourmet cafe for a quick healthy salad.

I am going to share a few of my favourite pull together salad ingredients in the hope that it inspires you to get creative, plan ahead and enjoy amazing lunches wherever you are during the day!

Firstly I always have a bag of mixed greens in the fridge.  I love the baby salad and beetroot from woollies because before you have even done anything else you have a rainbow of vegetables to start with.

Here are some other yummy salad ingredients to think about adding – there is no end to the number of options – these are my current favourites but they do tend to change regularly!

pumpkincaulisalad

Roast pumpkin, cauliflower, broccoli and feta salad.

Some of these suggestions like the pumpkin or tomatoes I like to make in bulk and keep them in little containers in the fridge and I make a big batch of dressing for the week too.  Then pulling together a gourmet salad is incredibly quick and easy.

Some ideas for your salad:

Firstly, I always like to have a source of protein (apart from the nuts and cheese) such as chicken, leftover steak from the night before, tuna or tofu.  See below for some preparation tips:

  • Chicken: You can  steam/poach/grill/bbq/ or fry up some chicken breast in some coconut or olive oil.  Add some spices or a squeeze of lemon for some zesty flavour.  I have been steaming a few breasts at the beginning of the week and we have been using in salad, as snacks etc … great source of protein.  Choose free range or organic if you can …
  • Tofu:  I love to chop up a little bit of firm organic Tofu (make sure it is GM free) – say 75grams into little bite sized squares and cook it in some coconut oil until it goes brown and crispy – yum!  You can marinate it before cooking in a little tamari or lemon juice for added flavour …
  • Tinned tuna/salmon – always easy to take with you if you are on the go or at work.  If you are going to use the flavoured variety check the ingredients as some are cleaner (i.e. no nasties added) than others.  The lemon/pepper flavour, zesty vinaigrette or chilli ones are quite good.
  • Legumes – Some well rinsed organic chick peas, cannellini beans, kidney beans or lentils are great in a salad.

 

Here are some other yummy extras you can think about adding:

  • Chopped veggies – think capsicum, cucumber, mushrooms, tomatoes (if you aren’t using the roasted ones see below), snow peas, sprouts …
  • Steamed veggies – such as broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini …
  • Roast Pumpkin – chop up some pumpkin into cubes.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and chilli powder and bake in the oven for 30-40 mins or until cooked to your liking.  You don’t even need to spray with oil …
  • Roast Tomatoes – even the shrinking hubby (who professes to hate tomatoes) loves these!  I am loving the mini roma tomatoes at the moment. Slice them in half lengthways and toss in some olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper.  We found a delicious basil infused olive oil which is great with the tomatoes.  Bake skin side down in a 200 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until they are cooked to your  liking…
  • Nuts and/or seeds:  Think sunflower seeds, pistachios, walnuts, pine nuts – although these are great dry roasted or tossed in a little bit of coconut oil, they are just as nice sprinkled over a salad straight from the container and add lots of nutrients, protein, good fats and yummy crunch to your salad.  You can also buy seed mixes from grocers such as Harris farm or Thomas Dux for salads which are just as yummy …
  • Olives – black or green add so much zest to a salad!
  • Feta – those who have  been following me for a while must have realised I have a serious feta fettish!!  I just can’t get enough of the stuff although I (try to!) limit myself to just a little bit …
  • Avocado – Avocados are just so brilliant – they provide so many essential nutrients, good fats, great for skin, hair, mood and taste so amazing.  One of my favourite things!

 

Dressings:

And there are loads of options for dressings – try these – you may want to experiment with quantities as per your taste …

  • This is my current favourite dressing (makes enough for about 4 salads):  shake the following up in a jar: 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1 teaspoon organic maple syrup, 1 teaspoon garlic, 1 tablespooon dijon mustard and some freshly ground cracked pepper.
  • Other great mixes are olive oil with apple cider vinegar, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice.
  • Try a dash of greek yoghurt with some pesto or a squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Or another alternative is some tahini with some lemon juice, water, salt and pepper.
Tofu cooked up in coconut oil with olives, chick peas, avocado, broccoli, pistachios, walnuts and my dijon/maple syrup dressing

Tofu cooked up in coconut oil with olives, chick peas, avocado, broccoli, pistachios, walnuts and my dijon/maple syrup dressing

So – hopefully that is enough to get you excited about what to have for lunch!  Feel free to comment below … and please if you have any suggestions of other great additions to salads please comment below or share on my facebook page www.facebook.com/theshrinkinghubby

Enjoy XX

Fresh Corn and Poached Chicken Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing

Fresh Corn and Poached Chicken Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing

A friend of mine, Alison, has just started a new business called The Little Grocery Service.  The philosophy behind The Little Grocery Service is that once a week (on a Friday) she visits the markets and selects the best seasonal fruit and vegetables she can find (conventional and organic when she can).  She provides enough fruit and vegetables to feed a family with 2 or 3 children and in addition provides a bunch of beautiful flowers, a home-made jam or preserve (which she herself makes) and/or a baked good.

When in season she looks for interesting items to add to the regular selection and in order to help you get the best use from the produce from her box  and to encourage you to try new foods she also includes recipes and cooking tips.

Alison wanted me to try her service to see what I thought, so last Friday I arrived home to this beautiful sight:

box

Needless to say I was delighted!!!  At first I was a bit sceptical of the idea of somebody else choosing my weekly produce but I found that in addition to the usual staples that I would buy anyway there was an abundance of seasonal items that I now felt compelled (and happily so) to use.  The box contained so much stuff!  In addition to the fresh fruit and veggies which we are still happily working our way through, there was a jar of chilli sauce with garlic and ginger (that Alison herself made), a beautifully wrapped bunch of mixed herbs …  and as a special treat there was the added pleasure of putting a huge bunch of amazing dahlias into a vase and enjoying them all weekend!

It’s a great service and one that will encourage you and your family to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and encourage you to step outside of the comfort zone and try new things!

The recipe included in this week’s box was for a fresh corn salad with prawns, red onion and crème fraiche which inspired me to make this delicious chicken and corn salad below.  All of the fresh produce I used was provided in the box apart from the chicken, soba noodles, greek yoghurt and lemon (which I already had).  It made for a lazy Saturday morning cooking something a little bit different for lunch for hubby and I  (but so yummy we were fighting over the leftovers).

Poached Chicken and Corn Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing

What you will need:

  • 2 cobs sweet corn, husks removed
  • 375g organic soba noodles (I actually only used 2/3 of the packet which is 375g)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 poached/steamed chicken breast chopped into chunks. (I usually poach a few chicken breasts a couple of times a week – it makes such an easy protein source for salads, sandwiches or even on its own as a mid morning/afternoon meal)
  • ¼ red onion finely sliced
  • 1 lebanese cucumber quartered and cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons greek yoghurt
  • 3 shallots peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons mint leaves shredded finely
  • 2 tablespoons coriander shredded finely
  • A couple of handfuls baby spinach

How to pull it together

Fill a saucepan with 1 ½ litres of water (I used filtered as I intended to use the water for stock later), add the corn and some salt and bring it to the boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.  Once cooked, turn off the heat and allow the corn to cool in the liquid.  When cool, shave the kernels from the core using a sharp knife, and  place in a large bowl.  You can hold onto the water to make a stock (see note).

Cook the soba noodles in rapidly boiling water for 4 minutes.  Drain, then rinse well with cold water and drain again.

Add the onion, cucumber, yoghurt, chicken, spinach,  lemon juice, soba noodles, herbs, spring onion to a bowl and mix together thoroughly.  Season with sea salt and cracked pepper to taste.  I found this was perfect for 4 servings.

NOTE:  To make the veggie stock, add the corn cores back to the water and simmer for 10 minutes.  Now you have a delicious vegetarian stock to use in soups or purees.

If you are interested in speaking to Alison about her service you can either visit her website www.thelittlegroceryservice.com.au or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Little-Grocery-Service/383614048377833?fref=ts

Enjoy your salad!

XXX

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