Fiesta Chicken Lasagna

 

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As the name suggests, this recipe is an adaptation of my Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken. My Fiesta Chicken recipe is really tasty I thought I needed to come up with other ways to enjoy its yumminess!

This recipe popped into my head when I was thinking of what I associate with Mexican food and flavours. Tortilla wraps are a favourite in my house so I thought about using them instead of pasta to make a lasagne inspired Mexican dish. The finished dish was delicious! Another great thing about it is once you have done some very simple assembling, you can chuck it in the oven for 20 minutes and forget about it. This along with the fact that you’re using the Fiesta Chicken you have already made, make it a quick meal perfect for a weekday dinner.

It is hard to specify the ingredients you will need as they vary depending on how many people you are cooking for. The below quantities provided two large portions. When I say a portion of Fiesta Chicken, I mean enough to feed however many people you are cooking for. The initial recipe can be split into quite a few different portions depending on how many people there are in your family. For example for a family of four, use the amount of Fiesta Chicken you would usually have served with rice, and then allow for 12 small tortillas and between 150-200g of cheese (you can use as much or as little cheese as you want).

Serves 2

Portion of Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken
1
00g cheese, grated

1 pepper, sliced
1 tbsp tomato puree (if needed)
6 small tortillas 

  1. Add your Fiesta Chicken to a pan over a medium heat and allow to begin heating through
  2. If your Fiesta Chicken has been defrosted, you may need to add some more liquid. I added around 100ml of water from a recently boiled kettle to create more of a sauce as I find when dishes have been frozen they loose their moisture. Add as much or as little as you feel you need. I then added the tomato puree to add a richness back to the sauce
  3. Add the sliced pepper and allow to simmer for around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally

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  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC
  2. After your Fiesta Chicken has warmed through you are ready to assemble. I used a 10″ square oven proof dish and began with cutting all of the tortillas in half. I used four of the halves to cover as much of the base of the dish as I could and then added one third of the Fiesta Chicken mix. On top of the mix I added one third of the grated cheese
  3. Repeat twice more finishing so you have the Fiesta Chicken topped with cheese

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  1. Put in the oven to cook for 20 minutes on a rack in the middle of the oven

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Tenderstem Broccoli with Oyster Sauce & Garlic

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Delicious crisp Tenderstem broccoli flavoured with garlic and oyster sauce – what’s not to love?!

I am obsessed with Tenderstem broccoli. Absolutely obsessed. It started about six months ago when I was watching what I was eating as part of my wedding diet. I’ve always liked broccoli, but Tenderstem broccoli is on another level. The stems are delicious and as the same suggests – tender! It also has a slightly different taste to normal broccoli which is hard to describe so you will need to try it for yourself if you haven’t already!

A couple of months before my wedding, I decided to really reduce the carbs I ate. I’m not suggesting everyone should do this, but it worked for me and I actually didn’t miss carbs and it has helped change my view on food. Reducing my carbs meant I was eating a lot more vegetables which consisted of eating Tenderstem broccoli at least 6 days out of 7. I would go to numerous shops searching for it if it was sold out at the first shop I tried. The obsession was real.

We went on our honeymoon for 2 weeks to the Maldives and there was no broccoli in sight, let alone Tenderstem! I ate the most amazing food but my time away from my beloved broccoli made me think new recipes as before I had just boiled it. That is when I came up with this recipe and loved it.

Yes I went and brought some Tenderstem broccoli the day after we got back from our honeymoon!

This recipe is so incredibly quick and delicious that I have now had it a few times instead of a salad or sandwich; its a tasty meal in itself!

The quantities below make enough for one large portion; which in my opinion is the only size portion you need of this!

100g tenderstem broccoli
2 tsp sunflower oil
1 tsp finely diced garlic
1 ½ tbsp oyster sauce
Sprinkling of sesame seeds 

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium heat and when hot, add the Tenderstem broccoli. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes allowing the stems to get slightly brown and toasted

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  1. Add the garlic and oyster sauce and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Add a splash of water if the broccoli tops are getting a bit too crisp
  2. Put on a plate and garnish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds
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Brussel Sprouts with Bacon & Garlic

 

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Crispy bacon with charred sprouts with a delicious hint of garlic, this is not a boring side dish.

Sprouts have quite a bad reputation here and a lot of people don’t seem to like them. Like a lot of people in Britain, I used to only tend to eat brussel sprouts at Christmas.  When we have them at Christmas, they are usually just boiled so they aren’t the most exciting vegetable.

I decided to come up with a brussel recipe a couple of months ago. It came about when I decided to try out a low carb diet to help me drop a few more pounds before my wedding. I didn’t want to cut out carbs altogether, but dramatically reduce them. This meant I was eating a lot more veg – I mean a lot more. I became slightly obsessed with tenderstem broccoli; I can’t get enough of it! But I couldn’t just eat broccoli, so I decided to come up with a sprouts recipe. I’d heard of combining bacon with sprouts before so thought I would give it a go. The recipe turned out great and I now have it at least once a week; my boyfriend now even asks if he can have some when he wouldn’t go near brussels before!

My diet has gone well and with the last few weeks of eating far less carbs, I have managed to loose just over three stone in five months. This recipe is great for everyone to enjoy, not just people trying to loose weight!

500g brussel sprouts
200g bacon lardons
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp rapeseed oil

  1. Trim the sprouts and get rid of any outside leaves that don’t look great. Cook in salted boiling water for around 10 minutes so the sprouts are just cooked but not soft. Drain the sprouts and leave to cool slightly

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  1. Cook the bacon in a frying pan on a high heat until crisp

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  1. While the bacon is cooking, cut the sprouts in half or quarters depending on how big they are. Add them to the bacon along with the oil and stir occasionally
  2. Once the sprouts have started to get crisp, add the garlic and allow to cook for a five or so more minutes

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Store Cupboard Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole

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I chose a short and catchy name for this recipe!

I have made quite a few chicken casseroles in my time. They are so versatile as they can be eaten with potatoes and vegetables as a simple and warming dish or topped with some puff pastry for a quick and delicious pie. Although a lot of the recipes I have followed in the past have been delicious, they tend to need some forward planning. I think there is nothing more annoying than wanting to make a recipe but realising you’re missing a vital ingredient. It can’t just be me that writes numerous lists and will still always forget something when you go to the shop?! My housemate and I found a delicious chicken casserole/pie recipe that we would make at uni; but the recipe used creme fraiche which isn’t something I tend to have in my fridge. And then once you have used the small amount you need for the recipe, the rest goes to waste as it sits in the fridge because you don’t know what else to do with it.

I decided I wanted to come up with a chicken casserole recipe that was minimum effort and used mainly ingredients I (and other people) tend to already have in their cupboards or fridges. Obviously you can substitute ingredients still but this recipe will provide you with a deliciously comforting chicken casserole without needing a long shopping list!

This chicken casserole freezes really well. When you reheat it, the chicken tends to break up slightly but I don’t mind this at all! I usually serve this with  small baked potato and vegetables.

4 – 6 people

1 kg chicken breasts (or use a mix of breast and skinless thigh)
500g carrots, peeled and sliced
300g leeks, washed and sliced
400g tin cream of chicken soup
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp dried thyme
350ml semi skimmed milk
Chicken stock pot
Spray oil 

¼ ground pepper
1 tsp salt 
2 tbsp cornflour (if needed)

  1. Cut the chicken into cubes. Brown the chicken in batches in a pan or in your slow cooker on the hob (if your slow cooker allows this) using some spray oil

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  1. Once all of the chicken is browned, add it all to the slow cooker dish. Add the sliced carrots, leeks and the rest of the ingredients apart from the cornflour. I add the soup and then use the tin to measure the milk and then fill nearly to the top with recently boiled water. Not only does this give you the correct measurements but it also rinses out the tin too!

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  1. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8
  2. Once the casserole has finished cooking, check to see if the sauce is the right consistency. If it is too thin, use the cornflour and add enough water to make a slurry. Add this to the casserole and allow it to cook for another 30 minutes

 

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Honey Rum Drizzle Cake

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I am very lucky because my parents have a villa in Fuerteventura which means I can pop over there for some sun. It seems customary to offer shots of honey rum at the end of a meal. Although this isn’t in all restaurants, it seems to happen more often than not following an evening meal. There seem to be endless different brands and each restaurant appears to have their favourite – some are definitely better than others!

When my family were out there over New Year, we hunted down one of our favourite bottles. My Mum and boyfriend started then having a few shots before we went out for an evening meal! Before you panic, it has a lower alcohol percentage than other spirits at around 20%. I say shots, but really my Mum was sipping it which was far safer for her.

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I was also lucky enough to go out to Fuerteventura for my Hen Do in February with some of my closest friends. Honey rum obviously played quite a large part with us losing track of just how many shots we were having. The difference with honey rum to other liqueurs is that honey rum actually tastes nice so is enjoyable which is more than can be said about other liqueurs!

Honey rum has some great memories for me so I wanted to make a cake that incorporated the delicious drink. The first thing that came to mind was a honey rum drizzle cake where I could add the honey rum to both the cake and the glaze. The cake turned out just how I wanted with the flavour of the honey rum but without there being an overpowering taste of alcohol.

If you’re not heading to the Canary Islands anytime soon and still want to make this cake; you can buy honey rum online and it isn’t too expensive.

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For the cake
250g margarine
250g caster sugar
4 large eggs
250g self raising flour
100ml honey rum

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC and line a 1kg loaf tin
  2. Cream together the sugar and the butter until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat on a high speed
  3. Add the flour and mix before adding the honey rum and mixing again until just combined
  4. Pour the mix into the prepared tin and smooth the top slightly

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  1. Bake in the oven for 45- 50 mins or until a cocktail stick comes out clean. If the top is getting a little too brown, cover it loosely with foil

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  1. Allow the cake to cool slightly in the tin before turning out and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack

For the icing
3-4 tbsp honey rum
100g icing sugar

  1. Mix the icing sugar and rum together until smooth
  2. Drizzle all of the cooled cake

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Cous Cous Salad

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Fresh, colourful and versatile. This cous cous dish is delicious as well as being healthy.

Growing up I didn’t like cous cous. Well I told myself I didn’t as the only time I had come across it was when my Mum made her version of Tabbouleh. This was never going to be the best cous cous dish for me to try as it is packed with herbs such as parsley, mint and coriander – all of which I can’t stand. After years of thinking I didn’t like it, my Mum made a version with no herbs and very similar to what I make today and I realised I did actually like cous cous!

Along with my Mum, my sister and I have been making this recipe for years but with different variations. This recipe is great for adding things you like and leaving out anything you don’t. My Mum and sister make theirs using tomatoes and spring onions as well as the ingredients I use. I like tomatoes but I don’t seem to have them in my fridge every week whereas I always have the other ingredients. So please feel free to add anything else you fancy. I decided to call is Cous Cous Salad because I tend to use basic ingredients that I’d put in a salad – imaginative I know!

The versatility doesn’t end with the ingredients in the cous cous, you can also add a whole range of ‘toppings’. We usually have this cous cous with marinated chicken, but we have had it with chorizo, grilled halloumi and my new favourite; chicken sausages.

This is now my boyfriend’s favourite recipe to make for his lunches during the week. If he can make it, then you can too!

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Serves 4
350g cous cous
750g boiled water
1 tbsp chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 peppers
1 x 340g tin of sweetcorn, drained
¾ of a cucumber, diced
20g butter (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. De-seed and slice the peppers. Put them on a baking tray and roast in the oven for around 30 minutes, turning half way. You want them to get slightly blackened
  2. Put the cous cous in a large bowl. Add the chicken stock, olive oil and water to the cous cous. The water should just cover the cous cous by around 1cm. Stir with a fork and then cover with cling film
  3. While the cous cous is cooking, dice the cucumber and drain the sweetcorn
  4. After around 15 minutes the cous cous should have plumped and cooked. Test it is ready by trying it, if it is still a little hard recover for a few more minutes

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  1. Once the cous cous is cooked, add the butter if you are using it and fork through to fluff up the cous cous2016-07-12 19.12.52
  2. Remove the peppers from the oven and slice up. Add to the cous cous along with the sweetcorn and cucumber and fork through to mix

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Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup

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Delicious soup which is full of flavour perfect for lunch or as a light dinner.

As you may already know, I am incredibly fussy with many things; soup being one of them. When I was a child I had a bad experience with tinned soup and since then I have tended to stick to homemade soup.

I have a soup maker which makes the whole process of making soup so much easier and quicker; if only for the fact it blends the soup as well as cooking it which means less washing up! It also means I can use the base ingredients and quantities to come up with lots of different soups depending on what vegetables I have in the fridge that need using.

This Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper soup is a staple in my house. I roast the vegetables to give them more flavour in the soup, but if you want to make this really quickly you can miss this step out and go straight to adding everything to the soup maker. If you do this, I would reduce the garlic to 1-2 cloves though.

This recipe will make three generous portions which keep well in the fridge for a couple of days or can be frozen. If frozen, you can either defrost the soup or heat it from frozen. What is even better about this soup is each portion is only roughly 150 calories which makes it fantastic for those people trying to be healthier in the new year; or for people who just like tasty soup!

If you don’t like the idea of having tomato seeds in your finished soup, you can either de-seed your tomatoes before you roast them or pass the soup through a sieve after it’s been blended. Personally I don’t mind the seeds so I just leave it as it is.

5 large tomatoes
2  red peppers
3 cloves of garlic
300ml semi-skimmed milk
600ml chicken or vegetable stock
Sprinkling of frozen basil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

  1. Heat the oven to 180ºC. Chop up the peppers and tomatoes and add to an oven proof dish along with the garlic cloves, salt, pepper and thyme. Spray a couple of times with spray oil. Put the vegetables in the oven for roughly 30 minutes
  2. Take your vegetables out of the oven and add to your soup maker/pan with the stock and milk

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  1. If using a soup maker, set to the smooth setting and leave the machine to do the work
  2. If using a pan, cook for approximately 15 minutes and then blend until smooth

 

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Honey Glazed Gammon

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This is one of my favourite things in the world to eat.

Amazingly moist gammon with a deliciously sweet and crisp crust. You will all be fighting for the end piece!

As with a lot of families, we always have gammon around Christmas – traditionally on New Year’s Day. My Grandad (aka Granda) used to come and stay with us for Christmas and New Year and he would bring a huge gammon with him. It used to be a much bigger gammon in those days so mum would boil it first before putting it in the oven and then putting the glaze on it. I cook much smaller versions so you can cook it just in the oven.

I look forward to our New Year’s gammon a lot more than the Christmas roast. Although I love all of the trimmings, turkey isn’t my favourite of meats – especially cold! As soon as my Mum had finished cooking the gammon I would loiter in the kitchen waiting for the change to sneak an off cut. My Mum always serves this with creamed mashed potatoes, vegetables and a parsley white sauce. I don’t like the parsley sauce but the rest of the family rave about it! I do keep the rest pretty much the same though as it is such a delicious combination.

This is so delicious you will keep going back for more!

Smoked boneless gammon joint (1.5kg)
50g demerara sugar
70g clear honey

  1. Line a roasting tin with plenty of tin foil or use a disposable foil tray. Place the joint on the tin and cover with more foil. Cook the joint for 30 minutes less than the time specified on the cooking instructions
  2. When the joint has 30 minutes left of cooking time, remove it from the oven and dispose of the foil
  3. Cut off the rind and the majority of the fat leaving a couple of millimeters. Score the fat with a knife diagonally one way and then the other

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  1. Mix the sugar and honey together in a bowl and then pour over the fat of the gammon. Put the gammon back into the oven uncovered for the remaining 30 minutes of cooking

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  1. Take out of the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes loosely covered in foil before carving

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Frangipane Mince Pie Slices

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Mince Pies but without all the fiddly pastry! These Frangipane Mince Pie Slices have all the flavours you’d associate with mince pies but in a tray bake instead of an individual little pie.

Mince Pies may not be something you are aware of if you’re not from the UK. They are little sweet pies filled with mincemeat which is a sweet filling consisting of dried fruits, spices and spirits. Although I love a mince pie, mincemeat does divide people and it’s not everyone’s thing!

For me it isn’t Christmas until the mince pies have been made. However the traditional way of making them is a little fiddly as you have to cut out circles of pastry before filling with mincemeat and then topping with more pastry. At a time of year when there is always so much going on, a quicker version is always welcome!

I thought about making a tray bake as a way to speed the mince pie process up. I have come up with this recipe which includes the added extra of frangipane and after a couple of tester bakes sampled by my friends at work, I have come up with the below recipe. I like a good thick layer of mincemeat but feel free to use a bit less if you would like. You could also scatter the top with flaked almonds before putting it into the oven.

These Frangipane Mince Pie Slices freeze really well so make a batch and freeze some ready to whip out the night before you have guests coming. You will then have a lovely home baked treat for your guests without any last minute stress!

Enjoy and remember to thank me when you’re no longer cutting out circles of pastry!

For the shortcrust pastry
175g plain flour
75g butter 
2 – 3 tbsp cold water 

For the frangipane
150g butter, softened

150g caster sugar
60g plain flour
90g ground almonds
2 ½ large eggs, beaten
¼ tsp almond extract
½ an orange zest, grated

600g mincemeat 

  1.  Start by making the pastry. Measure the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
  2. Add enough water to form a soft dough. Add it gradually because you might not need to add all three tablespoons
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Roll the dough out on a slightly floured surface and line the bottom of the tin with it

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  1. In another bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the rest of the frangipane ingredients and mix until combined

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  1. Spread the mincemeat evenly across the pastry making sure you get right to the edges

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  1. Dot spoonfuls of the frangipane on top of the mincemeat and spread evenly

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  1. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and then allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes or so before turning out onto to wire rack to cool completely. Then cut into squares and enjoy!

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Sweet Potato, Leek & Rosemary Soup

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Deliciously thick and comforting, this soup is perfect for a winter’s evening.

I’m a little bit obsessed with soup at the moment. It is so quick and easy as I have a soup maker that not only cooks the soup, but then blends it if you want a smooth soup. Fresh, tasty soup in 21 minutes – perfect.

Making soup is so much better for you than buying tins or fancy soups from the chilled aisle in the supermarket. I know you can get ‘light’ or low calorie soups in the shops, but when making them yourself is so easy, why buy them?

I was looking through Pinterest, as I seem to spend half my life doing, and saw a pin for Sweet Potato, Leek and Rosemary Soup. The suggestion of the flavour combination was all I needed and I set about to create my own recipe using those three ingredients.

I use my trusty soup maker, but you can always make this in a standard pot. Just cook until the vegetables are tender and then blend using whatever you have whether that is a blender or a stick blender.

The quantities below are for two portions simply because I can only fit between 2  – 3 portions worth in my soup maker. I think cooking smaller quantities can be a good idea because if you make a big batch you either sicken yourself by eating it for days on end or freeze it. Don’t get me wrong, I still make soup and freeze it because it’s great to have when you haven’t had time or the ingredients to make it from scratch. But by making smaller batches, I now have lots of different flavours of soup rather than loads of one flavour.

My boyfriend isn’t usually the biggest fan of soup. He likes it but he would never opt to have it instead of a sandwich for example for lunch. As this was my first time making this recipe, I asked him to try it and I have honestly never seen him so excited over a savoury dish I have made. He wanted to eat some there and then (even though he had just had his lunch); and was distraught when I said I was going to freeze it. Over the next day or two he ended up eating all of it so I didn’t get a look in! He really liked it when soup is thick and the sweetness of the sweet potato are what makes him like this soup so much.

350g sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 leeks (approx 200g), sliced
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
300ml semi skimmed milk
500ml water
1 vegetable stock pot
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

  1. Chop up all of the vegetables and add to your soup maker/pan with the rest of the ingredients
  2. If using a soup maker, set to the smooth setting and leave the machine to do the work
  3. If using a pan, cook until the vegetables have softened and then blend using a stick blender or pour into a blender to blend until smooth (could I have said blend any more times!)
  4. If the soup is too thick for your liking, add a little bit more water until it is the thickness you like

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