Chicken and veg bake, yum!

This dish is soooo good. Just saying, it truly is. It has all the food groups needed and somehow the combination is ridiculously tasty. Not even toddlers can deny it.

Ingredients:

Chicken breast or thighs cut into cubesWhole milk
1 onion dicedPlain flour
Sundries tomatoes roughly cutRosemary sprigs
Butternut, courgette, aubergine cubedGarlic
½ stock cube diluted in a cup ½ boiling water/ ½ milkMixed herbs
Cheddar cheese, gratedButter
Mushrooms thinly sliced to top the dishPepper & salt

Method:

As always cut up your vegetables of choice, toss with olive oil and herbs that you like or have in the house. Roast it off and then when it is done put your sundried tomatoes in with the veg.

While the vegetables are roasting start with the chicken part of the dish. Fry your onions in a bit of olive oil, add a small pinch of salt, garlic and some butter, onions love that! Add a tablespoon of roughly chopped rosemary and let them mingle. Remove everything and add some oil to the pan, now get your chicken in there and sear on all sides. When the chicken has good colour add the onion back and take a heaped tablespoon of flour and sprinkle it all over the chicken and onions and stir for 1-2 minutes.

Now remove from the heat and add the whole milk & stock slowly while stirring now return to the heat and add the last while stirring. It should thicken up to nice saucy mixture now add the vegetables, pour a little boiling water in the vegetable bake tray to loosen all the oil and herbs and add to the chicken mixture.

Empty it into a baking tray (make sure the chicken is distributed evenly) and top with the grated cheese and lay the mushrooms on top and bake for 20 minutes. If the top is not nice and brown get the grill on and watch it bubble! Served with couscous, bulgur wheat, potatoes or wraps whatever you got in the cupboard.

Sponsored Post Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new courseThe WordPress.com Blog

Are you new to blogging, and do you want step-by-step guidance on how to publish and grow your blog? Learn more about our new Blogging for Beginners course and get 50% off through December 10th.

WordPress.com is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually.

Leftover Roast Chicken Pasta with sage, butter, and caper sauce (Adult only)

Inspiration has struck! Not to say I have not been cooking and all of us eating well but reverting to tried and tested recipes has been the theme this summer. This is one of those; my taste buds need it moments. I love sour, bitter, salty sharp flavors. Then the full round buttery flavour’s of Tuscany, sage, pepper, and brown butter. I gave a rough search for inspiration and one of my favourite chefs recipes popped up, of course, Tieghan from Halfbakedharvest.com

Ingredients:

Left over roast chicken, meat stripped1 tsp flour
½-1 cup of sage leaves2 tbsp of unsalted butter ( more if you like)
1 cup chicken stockGround black pepper
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice½-1 tsp mixed herbs
1 shallot finely choppedOlive oil
2 tbsp of capers¼ cup of white wine (optional, I didn’t use it)
Roast Butternut and courgette¼ – ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp lemon zest 
500g Pasta, linguine or pappardelle  

Method:

I roasted the vegetables earlier in the day for the children’s food, so it was all ready to go. You can swap out what I used for what you have handy or need to use up, but I do think the butternut and courgette really suited the dish. Mushrooms and sweet potato could be delicious too, experiment with what you think can work.

Put 2 tbs of butter in a small/medium saucepan with 1 tbs of olive oil, let it heat up on a medium heat. Get your shallot in there and fry off for 1 minuteor less, then add your sage leaves, once the butter has browned and it is bubbling check your sage, but it should be crispy. Remove the sage and place to one side on some kitchen towel.

Pour in the cup of stock and stir for a minute. I put the flour in a cup with some hot water from the kettle and mixed it to a paste and added it in with the broth, stir well then add your lemon juice and wine (if using it), capers, lemon zest and a few grinds of black pepper, continue to stir until the sauce thickens. Keep an eye on it as you may need to turn your burners lower, so it is simmering not boiling. Get your dried mixed herbs or fresh chopped herbs in the pot. Cook for 3 -5 minutes till a lovely consistency, taste do you need more salt or pepper? Add it if you do.

Now get your pasta on, after if has cooked for half the cooking time grab some of that cooking water ¼ cup will do. I then put it in the roasting tin of my vegetables, to get all that yummy flavour. Take the vegetable out first. Strain your pasta and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on it and get it back in the pan on the heat add your vegetables and chicken ( I heated ours in the microwave) stir add the cooking liquor and turn up the heat for 1-2 minutes, not drop the heat and add your sauce.

Use your own judgement here of how much you need. I also added half of the sage leaves slightly crumbled now and saved the rest for dressing after. Turn off the heat and add half or all your parmesan cheese stir and serve, top with your crispy sage more black pepper and yum! Enjoy! Let me know how you get on with this one please?

Pork, turkey & courgetti meatballs/ patties

I have done a post before about the versatility of meatballs, but these were different again and we just so good enjoyed by the children too, that I had to share. We had an over stock of courgette so que grating that and in it goes.

Ingredients:

500g turkey and pork mince eachGarlic powder, you can use fresh
LinguinePaprika
½ onion, we used red finely choppedMixed Herbs
1 medium courgette, you can add carrot tooCoriander seeds toasted and ground
1 heaped tsp dried parsley or freshGround cumin
Passata or chopped tomatoesOil for cooking and coating hands when rolling balls
1 garlic clove, minced Olive oil
 1 milk-soaked slice of bread 2-3 tbs Balsamic vinegar

Method:

Grated your courgette into a bowl and put a pinch of salt over, let is stand and get on with your day. Come back to it and squeeze out all the water, I managed fine with just my hands. Add your onion, garlic and any herbs and spices you want to use. Pan fry some slices of courgette to add on top at the end and set aside till needed.

Mash the slice of bread and they goes in too, now add the mince and for the fun, combine thoroughly with your hands. You can cover the mixture and leave in the fridge till needed or form the balls immediately. I had to work quickly as I needed to get the meal prep done. Lay out some clingwrap on a flat surface this just means I can use the chopping board after without washing it immediately. Coat your hands with some oil and with a spoon get some of the mixture out and form a ball, through the meat from one hand to the other to compact it, place on the board. You can freeze them raw and put in a zip lock ounce frozen but we going to cook all of them.

Heat some vegetable oil in a heavy based pan, put the balls in a circle from 12:00 and again in a smaller circle and so on until the pan is full. I cooked them from 5 minutes turning halfway. Heat your oven to 108 degrees.

Line a baking tray with foil and get the balls out the pan into the tray. We also made some burger patties for a separate meal later in the week. Once your have seared all your balls/patties pop them in the oven for 20 minutes, again you can freeze them at this point but I used meat that had already been frozen so I needed to cook it all the way.

Once the meat is cooked remove the balls and let them cool on a rack. You can now freeze or put them in the fridge for later or use them immediately. To the same pan that you seared the meatballs in add some balsamic vinegar and let it sizzle then tip any cooking liquid from the baking tray into the hot pan with a teaspoon of brown sugar and reduce. Once it is bubbling add mixed herbs, paprika and pepper then your passata. Add any salt you want at the end so you can remove some for the babies first.

Not cook your pasta and reserve some of the cooking liquid, bring your sauce back up to heat and put the drained, cooked pasta into the hot pan using a pasta ladle and spoon toss it together. It should be bubbling so the sauce reduces if needed add some of your cooking liquid now and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. We heated our balls in the microwave a little and then added them to the pan once the sauce had thickened. Now serve, with your pasta ladle and spoon scoop up and plate and then dived the meat balls evenly at the end. We used about 5 small meatballs each and the rest are saved for baby’s meals or frozen for another time. Now top with your fried courgette, fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.

Exploring our new world

Dear readers, we have away for a week to celebrate my birthday and the plan was to take some time out to write a post. That didn’t happen I am afraid and since it has been a while since I have hit the keys, I am almost finding it hard to decide what to write about.

When we got back from our time in Herefordshire, where they had a one-way walking system on the pavement, it seemed very much business as usual here in London. We went to Brockwell Park and the Sunday Market was on. It was lovely, we made sure to keep our distance from people and use hand sanitizer regularly, but the stores were all trading and 2 of them sold facemasks along with their other usual fabric products.

It was a sunny day so anything I felt more confident that the sun would have zapped any Covid-19. I used to live in this little village before moving North to Kings Cross, so I always have an affinity for the area, but it is really great! It has a wonderful collection of shops and bars to explore and many of them are offering an order/ take away option for drinks and food.

Let’s start with inside the station there is a new ice cream bar, -12 ° with delicious tasty ice cream and on a hot summers day it was just what was needed. On Railton Road just outside the station, you will find The Commercial that is really one of the best pubs I have ever been to definitely worth stopping off if you are comfortable going into place. We chose to stay out in the sun, so my husband got a takeaway pint from Off the cuff; a music venue and bar. We happily strolled through the stalls and bought some Biltong from The Meat Boss, Teriyaki flavour is very good and a new one on me. 

There is a deli called Sesami that I used to love getting spinach and feta parcels from, they have amazing freshly made treats inspired by Cypriot, Greek, Turkish, Middle-Eastern and Italian cuisine, but also offer some specialist delicious store cupboard goods.

We headed over to the park a kicked a ball around with Aria and Austin who very much enjoyed seeing people out and about. We just had a job keeping them at the 2 meter distance while joylessly kicking their ball around and pulling sticks around. If you are stuck for what to do oneday I really recommend this lovely area. There are many more places we didnt get to give a go such as The Agile Rabbit, First Aid Box, The Canopy Brewery, that are definately worth checking out.

Apple Pie for the family

We have been ordering the Oddbox vegetables lately and it is such a joy to receive a box of treats to use in your cooking. We do not plan our menu around it, but we always make full use of it, this recipe came about because we got some lovely large apples in a box that we needed to use. I need to give some thanks to Diethood as I searched Pinterest for a recipe and theirs seemed healthy and tasty, perfect for the entire family! Now heat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius and start your prep.

Ingredients:

FillingOat topping
2 – 3 Apples, Granny Smith but any will do1 cup plain flour
Half Lemon juiced1 cup rolled oats
1 Tbs plain flour1 cup light brown sugar
¼ granulated sugar1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon½ teaspoon baking powder
1 can of peaches1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ – 1 cup of raisins1/8 tsp salt
 ½ cup of butter, melted
 1 tsp vanilla essence

Roughly peel and chop 2-3 large apples disposing of the core, cover with the lemon juice this prevents browning. Put a knob of butter in a pot and melt once bubbling add the apples and sugar, stir well. Add the water and a tsp of cinnamon to the pot and simmer for 20 minutes. In the meantime, open the canned peaches rinse them under the tap and chop into pieces. With 10minutes simmering left add the chopped peaches and raisins and stir let it simmer for the remainder of the time.

Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt and mix until they are well mixed. Whisk the vanilla into the melted butter and combine into the oat mixture, set aside until you need it.

You can see the consistancy of the filling in the above picture

Once the filling is ready, add 1 tbs of plain flour and ½ tsp of cinnamon into it and tip it into a baking tray and top with the oat topping. Place it in your preheated oven 40- 45 minutes and once it is done let is stand for 15 – 20 minutes and enjoy with a scoop of icecream or whipped cream!

The Social Shift: How to find your place

We are all on this crazy roller coaster called 2020.  As the shops open and the we dust off our ‘out clothes’ and life resumes to some sort of normality, I find myself sitting in a bit of a pause. Before the 23rd of March we would head out at least 4 days out of 5 in the week. Whether we went for a walk in the park nipped to Tooting to go to the Childsplay Brasserie and buy a few things from the shops or meet friends for a coffee/ brunch. Admittedly the latter was happening way less, as the twins were on the move and it was just such hard work.

I loved going out on Mommy nights, Mommy & Daddy dates, but now I feel hesitant. I received the ‘heart drops letter’ that I was on the high-risk group, so we were shielding. I am healthy except that I do not have a spleen, so my immune system is compromised. About 3 weeks into isolation my doctor called me back as I wanted to confirm the reason for being on the list. She asked me a few questions and decided that I could go to the medium risk group but still needed to isolate. I started to go out for solo walks or maybe take the kids out but never any shops and not seeing anyone, it was more for my sanity than anything.

The reality is that I got used to it, the isolation that is. We eat well, we work out, we drink cocktails and go for walks on the Common. I almost feel safe and the idea of going out meeting multiple people is even on a subconscious level very intimidating for me. It’s a weird one because I am not scared of getting ill, but I am concerned that if I do get ill, I may die. It really isn’t as bed a s it sounds when I say it out load, I mean surely it is a real fear. The media and old Boris haven’t said it all fine you can go out and you should be okay.

Then when we go out with 2 friends to Tooting Common and see people gathering in groups of 20, yes, I feel uncomfortable because we meant to be in groups of 6. Is it a social disorder? I know we all need to do what we feel comfortable with but really, I am wondering if anyone else is here, where I am or close? I am not a hermit I like/ like going out, shopping, eating in restaurants, so how does our future look ?

A question we must all be asking because it will not be the same. It should not be the same! This is our chance to pivot life. They used to say you can do that with your career, but literally we can do that for our entire socio-economic lives. I would really love to hear from you guys, if anyone is finding the ‘freedom’ hard to process.

Packed Baked Beans: Version 2

We are adapting the original because we don’t have spinach or mushrooms today. I am surprised I didn’t put carrot in the original actually! This one can work for breakfast, lunch or dinner just add an egg or a baked potato to switch it up.

Ingredients:

1 Tin of haricot beans2 tsp Tomato paste
1 Carrot grated1 Tbsp BBQ sauce
1 Small onion finely dicedPepper, salt to taste
¾ Can chopped tomatoes½ – 1 teaspoon paprika
Splash of water if neededMixed herbs
Grated cheese and yogurt ½ teaspoon Garam Masala

Method:

Fry off the onion in a bit of oil, once brown and soft add a small nob of unsalted butter and add the carrots and garlic. Once they are cooked add the beans, spices, herbs, and canned tomatoes. The beans are sometimes a bit hard straight from the can, I checked mine and decided how much water I’d need. Simmer all for 10 minutes.

Now add the tomato paste and BBQ sauce and simmer, I had to add a little more water and reduce for 10 minutes on a simmer. You are looking for the consistency in the image below if it is still a bit watery reduce more. I mashed the beans slightly and then added cheese and yogurt for the children.

You can add a bit of chilli at the end if you are having it on a baked potato for dinner yourself.

Food prep the Mom2Squared way

It has been a while since I managed to do a post as I have been tweaking my schedule at home to be more mindful and spend not only time on exercise but also fit in meditation and other positive influences in my day. I have shared a few recipes with you on here now and I am not sure if you have noticed a pattern, but I have definitely found a method that works for my and the family.

We don’t do large batch cooking, yes, we do freeze extra portions but we make fresh and then freeze a few portions for when we need a meal quickly. What I do is use the entire day to prepare the meal in stages and it comes together at night for the dinner. We generally feed Austin and Aria at 5pm and then pull ours together after bedtime, but we are not starting from scratch. I would at the very least have fried the onions and vegetables in advance depending on what meal we are having.

I would say that roasting vegetables has become a huge part of my cooking because the vegetables love it, they morph into something delicious. They sizzle and crisp, soften and sweeten. What is not to love right? I would normally start off roasting a batch of whatever it is that I may need first thing, when every I have the time to chop dress and pop in. Normally around 10:00 while The Mini Music Makers are on and I can nip to the kitchen. There are a few key spices that add the flavour to our food and we have found them very baby friendly. The magic happens by using the right amount of the following; Mixed Herbs, Garam Masala, Ground Cumin, Paprika, Garlic powder, Ground black Pepper, Fennel Seeds, Onion Seeds and Rosemary. Start small with the spices and see what works for your family. We just add salt and chilli once we have removed the childrens portion.

Roasting the butter nut for our pasta sauce first thing or when you have 10 minutes to prepare it.

When need a quick meal, I always start with frying off onions and grating a carrot in, for me I then know that is the makings of a balanced meal. Add some mixed herbs and a splash of balsamic vinegar fry off the vinegar and add a can of chopped tomatoes or passata, now you have a nice pasta sauce, not from a jar, no hidden sugar. You can always put a teaspoon of maple syrup or sugar alternative in. I use the same sauce when making our rice balls and just use a little bit and then have plenty left for another dish.

If you are doing anything you make in a pan, early in the day when you have time chop up your onion and other vegetables you are planning to use and fry them down. Sometimes I even do this without staying there I just pop back and stir once in a while or you can unpack the dishwasher will it is cooking away. As you get more used to cooking you will figure out your own short cuts, just know it doesn’t have to be a big job and a big clean up.

The finished product of the Tomato based pasta sauce, only two pans to clean

I use the same chopping board throughout the day, unless I have done meat on it. It just stays there until I am done chopping the last vegetable or herb, load the dishwasher as you go and rinse your utensils. By the time you have eaten you should only have the pan and the plates and cutlery you used. Yes, there will be exceptions but for the most part you have it under control. Happy cooking people!

Healthy, whatever you got Muffins

I hope you all had a great start to the week.? Here we jumped out of the starting blocks only to feel like I needed a nap! I have been trying to make something with pecans and raisins for about two weeks and I saw a lovely recipe on Instagram yesterday I decided as soon as just go down I would bake.

Unfortunately, I could not find said recipe and was scrolling through my entire Instagram following list… I still do not know who it was. Half Baked Harvest helped with Honey, Strawberry muffin recipe that I adapted to our ingredients and what I had in my mind.

Ingredients:

1.5 cups of Flour (plain of self-raising)1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs of flaxseed mix1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbs of Chai seeds2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
½ cup of honey1 tsp of baking soda
2 eggsPinch of salt if desired
1 cup of whole milk½ cup melted unsalted butter
½ cup of natural yogurt½ cup coconut oil or alternative

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, if you know your oven is very warm do it to 170 degrees. Sift together the dry ingredients in a big bowl. Now add all the bits you want to put in; nuts, raisins, seeds, and flax mix I also added desiccated coconut.

Whisk your eggs together and combine with all the wet ingredients (butter, coconut oil, yogurt, milk, honey, vanilla essence) and add that to the dry ingredients in 3-4 batches.

I greased the muffin tin with butter, just a little amount with your fingers I then but it in the oven just for a moment and removed to fill the tray. Bake for 20 minutes and check them with a toothpick or something similar. I forgot to put oats in, but you can put ½ cup in with the other dry ingredients and mix through before you put the wet ingredients in.

Once cooked remove from the tray and put on a baking rack to cool. You can eat these plain, with cheese or jam, honey anything I’d say. The recipe made 12 tasty large muffins!

Served here with butter and honey and on the otherside with jam

Cocktail Hour 2

The Bank Holiday has come and gone but it was lovely, we just enjoyed the children and the lovely weather. How is it that I still feel we over commit or are busy when we are all staying at home! With the weekend came cocktails and all seemed to be served in short so alas they do not look very fancy, but they were truly refreshing and delicious.

We kept it simple, I am not going to pretend that we are master cocktailers. We started off proceedings with Whiskey smash recommended by our neighbour Emily. Per cocktails you need a double whiskey shot, lemon slices of a ¼ lemon, bunch of mint leaves and a teaspoon of sugar. Put it all in a shaker with ice and shake! Pour it over more ice and enjoy. I left two slices of lemon out on the side over night and it

Moscow mule, 1 shot of lime juice, ginger beer, and double shot of vodka. Combine the ginger beer and vodka in a glass with ice and stir, add your lime juice a gently stir garnish with a slice of lime.

Then the humble Margarita, party in a glass right! My husband does the honors with this one and I need to really fight to make a cocktail in this house. I love having cocktails made for me but noticed cocktails and fire is my husband’s domain. You will need a double shot of Tequila, single lime juice and a single Triple sec or Cointreau. Shake all the ingredients with ice in a shaker and pour into a glass we don’t serve ours over ice, but you are welcome to. This may be controversial, but we also do not salt our rim… personal choice, last time I did a tiny sprinkle on top to give that taste bud explosion.

Here is the G&T we had on a hot Sunday afternoon, these lovely glasses from my Mom really suit this cocktail

Have a great weekend and take care, I know the rules are relaxing but still make sure to keep yourself and others safe.