Oven Baked Chicken, Pea & Spinach Risotto



Chicken, Pea and Spinach Risotto





















I've got another super easy chicken recipe to share with you today. Utilising the trusty Sunday leftovers, this creamy risotto is one of my 'bung it in the oven' varieties. No stirring means you have time to get on with other things - at the moment this means mopping my muddy floors! I'm sure the weather will get better once the kids go back to School.

The kids aren't that keen on spinach so I only added a small handful - it would quite happily take a lot more. I also added a couple of bacon rashers too as I had them in the fridge, but it would be fine without.

Have a good week - I can't believe it's the last full week of the holidays for us!

OVEN BAKED CHICKEN, PEA & SPINACH RISOTTO
By Beth Sachs, 24th August 2015

Ingredients:
  •  25g Butter
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
  • 2 Bacon rashers, chopped
  • 300g Risotto rice
  • Glass of white wine
  • 700ml Chicken Stock
  • 100g Frozen Peas
  • Handful of baby Spinach
  • Leftover Cooked Chicken - however much you've got
  • Grated Parmesan to serve
Instructions:
  • Step 1: Preheat oven to 200c (180 fan).
  • Step 2: In a large oven proof casserole, melt the butter then gently fry the onion, garlic and bacon for 5 minutes. Add in the risotto rice, stir to coat in buttery juices then add the wine. Cook off the wine for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil then put a lid on the casserole and place into the oven for 15 minutes.
  • Step 3: After 15 minutes add in the peas, spinach and chicken - give it a good stir and return to the oven for the final 5 minutes of cooking (you can add a little boiling water if it's looking a bit dry).
  • Step 4: Serve with lots of grated Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste.
Details:
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4

Meal Plan 24th - 30th August 2015






















Its Baby H's Christening on Sunday and as well as preparing all of the food, I've also set myself the goal of trying to lose half a stone in a week (in an attempt to be able to squeeze into my favourite dress). It didn't help that yesterday we went to a party - me with good intentions to drive....fast forward 4 hours, 4 glasses of wine later, 2 burgers and lots of crisps and there I was rolling into bed with the room spinning! Back on track tomorrow.....

Monday 24th August
Slow Cooker Sausage and Onion Casserole with lots of veggies

Tuesday 25th August
Left overs

Wednesday 26th August
Beef Stir Fry

Thursday 27th August
Macaroni Cheese (I'm having salad)

Friday 28th August
Home made pizza

Saturday 29th August
Jacket Potatoes with Cheese and Beans

Sunday 30th August
Baby H Christening - finger buffet with pasties, sausage rolls, quiches, sticky chicken, crisps, dips, crudites, pate, olives, cheese and biscuits (I'm keeping it simple)

Triple Chocolate Brownies



Triple Chocolate Brownies





















I can't eat any of these (insert sad face).  I have half a stone of mostly back fat to lose in 9 days. Please pray for me.

It's Baby H's Christening on the 30th August and NOTHING in my wardrobe fits me (and no time to make the 80 mile round trip to the nearest decent shops either). She's 20 weeks now and with the other two the weight literally fell off - not this time.  I've been burying my head in the sand but its time to take action. I do plenty of exercise and eat pretty healthily (apart from the odd ('ahem') glass of wine) but it looks like I'm going to have to work harder to shift this baby weight. I'm sat here contemplating a fruit only detox (so I can still have wine right?!) but if anyone has a better suggestion then please do let me know  - sooner rather than later if possible.

Anyway, for those that can eat them, these triple chocolate brownies are AMAZING (so the kids and hubby tell me). The secret I find is to pop them in the fridge overnight to firm up before slicing. They still stay gooey but are much easier to get out of the tin without falling apart.

Have a good weekend everyone - I'm not sure I will....

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
By Beth Sachs, 20th August 2015

Ingredients:
  •  185g Butter
  • 185g Dark Chocolate
  • 55g Plain Flour
  • 30g Ground Almonds
  • 40g Cocoa Powder, sifted
  • 3 Eggs
  • 275g Caster Sugar
  • 50g Milk Chocolate chunks
  • 50g White Chocolate chinks
Instructions:
  •  Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180c (160 fan) and line a 20cm square tin with baking paper.
  • Step 2: Melt the dark chocolate and butter together in the microwave - I do 20 seconds at a time and then stir. Be careful not to overdo it. Set aside to cool
  • Step 3: In another bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar until you have a mousse like consistency. With my handheld electric whisk it takes 5 minutes.
  • Step 4: Pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the eggy mixture and stir to combine. Add the flour, ground almonds and cocoa powder and continue to stir in until all combined.
  • Step 5: Add the milk and white choc chunks then pour the mix into the prepared tin.
  • Bake for 25 minutes. Once cooled place in the fridge for at least 2 hours (overnight is better) before slicing.
Details:
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Yield: 12

Chicken, Smoked Bacon & Tomato Pasta



Chicken, Smoked Bacon and Tomato Pasta





















I'm always looking for recipes that use up leftover roast chicken from Sunday. Risotto's, pies and cobblers are always a good bet but this pasta dish is a firm favourite in this house.

The smoked paprika and streaky bacon give it a lovely robust flavour and it only takes about half an hour to make - perfect for busy Monday's. In fact if I'm being super organised I make the sauce on Sunday evening, then all I need to do is cook some pasta when we get in from swimming lessons.

If you didn't have bacon, chorizo would work well and I sometimes add in more veggies like courgettes and spinach for extra goodness. It's a great base recipe for you to add what you have in the fridge.

What do you do with your leftover roast chicken?

CHICKEN, SMOKED BACON AND TOMATO PASTA
By Beth Sachs, 18th August 2015

Ingredients:
  • 400g Pasta
  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
  • 120g Streaky Bacon, chopped
  •  2 TBSP Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 TSP Chilli Flakes
  • 2 x 400g Tins Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1TSP Sugar
  • Leftover Roast Chicken, chopped into bite size pieces
  • Grated Parmesan to serve
Instructions:
  • Step 1: Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook pasta following instructions.
  • Step 2: In a large frying pan, heat the oil then fry the onion, garlic and bacon for 5 minutes. Add the smoked paprika, chilli flakes, tomoatoes and sugar and cook for 10 minutes to thicken sauce.
  • Step 3: Add in the roast chicken then toss through the drained cooked pasta.
  • Step 4: Serve with some grated parmesan.
Details:
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yield: serves 4

#DifferentFlavours Ice Cream Competition


















Over the next two weeks Different Money are running a #DifferentFlavours competition on their Facebook page. They are asking people to suggest weird and wonderful ice cream combinations for the chance to win £99 and a tub of the winning flavour.

It's reminded me that I haven't had my ice cream maker out this year yet! When I do finally drag it out of the back of the cupboard (probably around Christmas), I really want to try Maple Bacon Ice Cream (yes, it has real bacon in it!), which I've seen on several American blogs recently. I think the Maple Bacon flavour would go really well with thick american pancakes and extra crispy bacon on the side. That would definitely be the flavour combination I would choose - what would yours be?

The competition closes at midnight on the 31st August 2015. Good Luck!















This post has been comissioned by Different Money.

Must-Have Tools for the Home Baker
































The Great British Bake off has kicked off yet again and with it will undoubtedly come a national desire to start making all manner of tasty cakes, breads and pastries. Baking is one of those culinary arts that can be as simple or as fiendishly difficult as you like, but if you're going to make food worthy of the judges, then you'll need not only a decent amount of skill and the right ingredients, but the right kitchen tools too. Here we're going to look at the essentials you can't live without, which not everyone will have in their drawers. Most are available from good kitchen suppliers like Nisbets.

Parchment
No matter how fantastic your cake is, if you can't get it out of the tin, your delicious dessert is likely to be ruined. Yes, you can certainly grease the sides of your tin, but this isn't always effective. parchment can be used to line the inside of the tin and you'll be guaranteed a perfect transition from oven to cake stand.

Cooling Rack
Soggy bottoms are the enemy of all who bake cake and the the best way to combat them is with a cooling rack. You don't need anything special, but it's absolutely essential that you allow the air to reach all of your cake, including the bottom and a rack is the best way of doing this.

Measuring Spoons
Some recipes require exact amounts of ingredients for them to turn out correctly. While you might think you can correctly guess a teaspoon, it's very easy to be wrong. Those spoons in your drawer might not be anything like the actual standard measurement, so its a good idea to get a set of measuring spoons.

Food Mixer
The final essential on our little list is a food mixer. Some might claim that you can mix everything by hand, but if you are a bit of a serial baker then all that stirring is going to get tiring. It can also take a fair amount of time to get everything mixed in properly so an electric mixer is useful. Set it going and you can be preparing something else in the meantime.

This a commissioned post for Nisbets

Meal Plan 17th August - 23rd August 2015




Meal Plan





















Only three weeks left of the holidays! I'm not sure where it's going and although I am looking forward to getting back into a routine (I like routine very much), I just hope it slows down a bit and we have a longer spell of good weather.

The weather did behave this weekend though and we went to Bude Carnival on Saturday night (it was great to see the town so busy) and Babbacombe Model Village, complete with Eastenders set and nudist beach, on Sunday (see the photo's below).
Babbacombe Model Village

































It's another busy one this week with the kids taking part in some sport and craft activities at the local leisure centre. We also have two birthday parties and a village Revel.

Monday 17th August
Leftover Roast

Tuesday 18th August
Chicken, Bacon, Pea and Spinach Risotto

Wednesday 19th August
Spaghetti Bolognese

Thursday 20th August
Bolognese Pasta Bake with Homemade Garlic Bread

Friday 21st August
Homemade Pizza

Saturday 22nd August
Birthday BBQ

Sunday 23rd August
Slow Cooker Sausage and Onion Casserole with lots of veggies.

Asparagus, Pea and Bacon Risotto




Asparagus, Pea and Bacon Risotto





















Who doesn't love risotto? When I'm making it for the kids I tend to use the oven baked method which leaves my hands free for nappy changes, fixing lego models, plaits - you name it. When its just hubby and I, I revert to the traditional way, adding a ladleful of stock at a time and stirring continuously for half an hour. It's a great stress reliever after a long day. If you want to make this veggie friendly, just omit the bacon - although it does give the dish a wonderful smokey flavour.

A top risotto tip - if you have some clotted cream lurking in the fridge, a tablespoon stirred through the risotto at the end of cooking gives it a lovely rich creamy texture. Try it!

ASPARAGUS, PEA AND BACON RISOTTO
By Beth Sachs, 11th August 2015

Ingredients:
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 6 Rashers Smoked Bacon, chopped
  • 300g Risotto Rice
  • 100ml Vermouth
  • 1 Litre Vegetable Stock
  • 100g Frozen Peas
  • Small bunch of fine asparagus spears, blanched for 2 minutes then refreshed in cold water
  • Parmesan shavings to serve (and a dollop of Clotted Cream)
Instructions:
  • Step 1: In a large non stick pan, fry the onion and garlic in a tablespoon of butter until soft.
  • Step 2: Turn up the heat then add the bacon and fry until crispy.
  • Step 3: Add risotto rice and stir until each grain is coated in buttery juices.
  • Step 4: Pour in the vermouth and cook off the alcohol for a minute or two.
  • Step 5: Start adding the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring continuously. When you only have a few ladles of stock left, add in the peas and blanched asparagus.
  • Step 6: Once all the stock has been added and the rice is cooked, take off the heat and stir in some Parmesan shavings and a dollop of clotted cream if you have any.
Details:
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 3 adult portions




Meal Plan 10th - 16th August 2015

























Tis raining in Cornwall this morning so the kids and I have spent the morning baking some fairy cakes and oaty ginger cookies. Here's hoping the weather improves, although I've said that every week of the summer holidays so far I think! It's a busy week with friends over, a trip to Trethorne Farm, a wedding and Bude Carnival on Saturday. We usually get a Chinese takeaway after the Carnival but my maternity pay isn't leaving us with very much spare, so I'm going to try and recreate something myself - maybe a chow mein. I really need to reign in the money spent on groceries (I've been told) so I'm looking for top tips. My aim is to get our weekly shopping bill down to £40 for 5 of us - not sure of that's possible, but I'll give it a good go.....

Monday 10th August
Pulled Pork, Rice with Garlicky Spinach

Tuesday 11th August
Leftover Pulled Pork Macaroni Cheese with Salad

Wednesday 12th August
Build a Burger night

Thursday 13th August
Sausage and Pea Carbonara

Friday 14th August
Wedding

Saturday 15th August
Homemade Chinese Fakeaway - tbc!

Sunday 16th August
Roast Chicken, Sweet Potato Mash, Cauliflower Cheese, Carrots and Stuffing





Roasted Sweet Potato and Garlic Mash




Roasted Sweet Potato and Garlic Mash





















I'll get to the recipe in a minute but the sun made a brief appearance in Cornwall yesterday (we wont talk about the weather today though)! So, wanting to get out and about but avoid the packed local beaches at Widemouth and Bude, we decided to visit one of our favourite places - Penhallam Manor. Just a mile
down the road from us, this little known treasure is the site of a medieval 13th century manor house and is now under the guardianship of English Heritage.

The kids sitting in the ruins of the Great Hall























All that remains of the house are the low grass covered ruins and moat, which the kids love running around in. Another bonus is the woodland that surrounds the site - which will soon be full of wild mushrooms to forage. After I'd tired them out at Penhallam we headed home to Chicken Kievs and this Sweet Potato Mash as per our weekly meal plan. I much prefer sweet potato mash over normal mash. Roasting it with garlic before whizzing it up in the processor gives it a lovely flavour and when I'm not serving it to the kids I add some chilli flakes too - which makes it even better.

ROASTED SWEET POTATO & GARLIC MASH
By Beth Sachs, 5th August 2015

Ingredients:
  • 3 Sweet Potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 head of garlic cut in half 
  • 1 TSP Smoked Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper
Instructions:

  • Step 1: Place the sweet potato and garlic in a roasting pan and sprinkle over the smoked paprika and a little oil. Bake in a preheated oven (200c) for about 35 minutes until the sweet potato is soft.
  • Step 2: Leave to cool slightly then squeeze the roasted garlic out of their skins. Whizz the garlic and sweet potato up in a processor (or just mash it the old fashioned way). It will keep quite happily for a few days in the fridge if you wanted to make it ahead of time.
Details:

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 as a side to a meal



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