Category Archives: Dinners

Slow Cooker Chicken & Chorizo Stew

 Chicken and chorizo in a rich tomato sauce with a subtle warmth, this slow cooker dish is perfect for a cold winter night served with rice or tortillas and salad and a dollop of soured cream.             My love of Mexican food is no secret and I am constantly thinking of new recipe ideas whether it is adapting traditional recipes or using Mexican flavors to come up with yummy dishes of my own. My Chicken and Chorizo Stew is by no means traditional, it just borrows some delicious Mexican flavours to make a comforting and tasty dish. 

There are always chicken thighs in my freezer and chorizo in my fridge. I love chicken thighs because they have so much flavour. I must admit I always prefer leg and thigh meat on a roast chicken, breast is very tasty but has nothing on thigh meat in my option. Thighs are also great in slow cooker dishes because they don’t dry out as easily as breast meat can. 

With the chorizo, I am lucky that my parent’s often bring me a delicious ring back from their trips to Fuerteventura. You can buy a normal or spicy chorizo, so buy whichever you fancy. The rings to tend to have a papery covering to make sure you peel this off before you cut it up. 

Even though I have quite a collection of chile powders, I realise that not everyone does. So with this recipe I have tried to keep it to chile powders and flakes that I have seen in supermarket. If you still can’t find them, it isn’t the end of the world and you can just substitute it with any chile powder you have, just use less if it is hot and more if it is very mild. I love to use Mexican oregano because it has a citrus flavour but again, if you don’t have this normal oregano will be great. 

As I haven’t browned the chicken off before adding it to the slow cooker, the chicken will shred really easily and become almost part of the sauce. If you would prefer the chicken to remain in chunks, either skip the shredding step or cut the chicken up and brown it at the same time as the chorizo. As with most dishes, you can adapt this to your tastes. 

Serves 4 

500g chicken thighs, deboned and skinless
100g chorizo
3 peppers
400g tin chopped tomatoes

 3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ancho chile flakes
½ tsp chipotle chile powder
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp black pepper
1 tsp sea salt

300ml water 
1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp water 

  1. Cut the chorizo in half and then slice into half moon shapes and fry either in a dry pan or in your slow cooker basin on the hob (you’ll know if your slow cooker has this function). You just want the chorizo to get slightly browned and release its oil 
  2. De-seed and slice the peppers length ways. Add them to your slow cooker along with the tinned tomatoes, garlic and water and stir everything together 

  1. If they aren’t already, debone your thighs and remove the skin. Even if I buy them ready prepared I always check them over to trim of any excess fat, remove any veins and check for any small bones that may have been missed 
  2. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken thighs with the oregano, paprika, chile flakes, salt and pepper and then lay them on top of the slow cooker 

  1. Cook for 4 hours on high or 6 on low before removing the chicken. Shred the chicken before adding back to the slow cooker and stirring everything together

  1. If you want the sauce to thicken, add the cornflour and water mix and stir through 
  2. Cook for a further 30 mins and serve either with rice or salad and tortillas and a dollop of soured cream

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Sausage & Mustard Traybake

Comforting and easy but most importantly this tray bake is delicious. 

We’re at that time of year now when we all look for a warm and comforting meal to come home to in the evenings. Sausages and roasted vegetables are such essential winter ingredients that can be made into so many tasty dishes. 

Apart from the tasty ingredients, the other advantage to this recipe is how easy it is. All you need to do is peel and cut some vegetables, mix a sauce, give it a stir and put it in the oven. You can then carry on with your evening duties, whether that is washing, ironing or something that is actually exciting; without having to be tied to your kitchen. 

This recipe is incredibly versatile and really allows you to add vegetables that you like or happen to have lurking in the fridge. I would recommend using potatoes as a standard ingredient and then adapting the other vegetables. As well as changing the vegetables you use, you can easily change the quantities too. If you’re trying to eat less carbs, reduce the number of potatoes and add more of something else. 

A great addition to add at the moment would be pumpkin or squash as it is in season and is a good way to use up any leftover pumpkin you have from Halloween. I’m not a fan of Halloween so I don’t buy pumpkins to carve like a normal person, I buy them to eat and a few mini ones to look pretty and then eat. 

I’m not sure why, but people seem to eat sausages on Bonfire Night. So this would be a perfect dish as it is simple and can feed quite a few people easily without having to prepare anything additionally, everything is in the one tray in the oven. I love sausages to be dark and crispy because I think this gives them the best flavour. If you don’t like them this brown, turn the temperate down slightly after 20 minutes or so and you should get less colour on your sausages but still ensure your vegetables are cooked through. 

I have used my favourite pork and apple sausages in this recipe just simply because I absolutely love them, but you can use whatever sausages you fancy. I’m amazed every time I go to the shops because I see different flavours of sausages each time. If you’re watching your calories, Heck sausages are low in fat and gluten free and if you’re vegetarian, Quorn sausages could be used instead I would just add them half way through the cook instead of at the start. 

Serves 2

3 potatoes (approx 450g)
1 red onion
2 carrots (approx 200g)
2 parsnips (appox 200g)
4 sausages 
1 tbsp olive oil 
1 tsp (heaped) wholegrain mustard
1 ½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 ½ tbsp runny honey

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC
  2. Peel the carrots, parsnips and onions. Cut all of the vegetables into similar sized pieces and add them to an oven proof dish
  3. Add the sausages to the dish and prick them with a sharp knife a couple of times
  4. Mix the olive oil, honey, salt, pepper and mustard together in a dish and then pour over the sausages and vegetables. Mix all of the ingredients together until everything is coated

  1. Cook in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the sausages are browned and the vegetables are cooked through and also browned. Stir the vegetables and turn the sausages over half way through the cooking time

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Chicken Chow Mein

This is the real deal. 

I have tasted more than my fair share of Chicken Chow Mein over the years, so when I say this tastes exactly like the best Chicken Chow Mein you have tasted; you can trust me! This tastes so delicious there aren’t enough ways for me to rave about it!

 Ever since I can remember, Chicken Chow Mein has been one of my favourite things to eat. As I’ve grown up, my favourite things to eat have changed but Chicken Chow Mein has always remained up there. 

I have to have it anytime we have a Chinese takeaway or go to a Chinese restaurant because it is hands down the best part of a Chinese meal for me. 

Around ten years ago, we started going to a Chinese restaurant for my Grandad’s birthday on Christmas Eve. Before we started going there, my Mum used to make my Grandad a duck dish as it was one of his favourites. After a few years of this, Mum quite rightly decided cooking a big family meal the day before she made a huge Christmas roast was a bit much. That’s when it was decided that we would go out, but to a Chinese restaurant so my Grandad could still get his duck. 

Unfortunately my Grandad isn’t with us any longer, but we still all make every effort to go back to that same restaurant each year. We always seem to be the loudest table in the restaurant who are also one of the last to leave. It is definitely one of my favourite family traditions. 

Each year we order their special set menu. This in itself is quite amusing trying to explain that we would like the chicken and beef in black bean separated. My sister isn’t keen on the beef so she asks for them on separate dishes. Personally I think it’s the way she tries to explain it that causes the confusion! Their set menu does have one issue. No Chicken Chow Mein. So obviously we have to order this as an extra!

I do love a Chicken Chow Mein, but we all know you can’t keep ordering takeaways or eating at restaurants all the time. So other the years I have attempted numerous different chow mein recipes with each bringing nothing but disappointment. That is until now. 

I don’t remember exactly how I stumbled across The Woks of Life blog, but I am so pleased I did! It’s a blog run by a family who all come up with delicious authentic Chinese cooking. I was initially skeptical after being let down by Chicken Chow Mein recipes so many times before. But the step of frying the noodles was something I hadn’t seen before and was what convinced me to give it a go. Oh my goodness it was amazing. The flavours are exactly what you want from a Chicken Chow Mein. 

I have adapted their Cantonese Soy Sauce Pan-Fried Noodle recipe to create my Chicken Chow Mein recipe. I’ve tweaked the sauce slightly an added chicken.

There are a few tips you really should stick to when making this recipe. Firstly it is essential to get the correct ingredients. They’re not very expensive and can easily be found at your local Chinese supermarket, or even in the world food aisle of large supermarkets. If you are able to go to a Chinese supermarket I would definitely recommend doing so as things seem very reasonably priced and also you can pick up some great things you wouldn’t find in standard supermarkets. The other thing to remember is to keep your wok/pan hot. Whack it up as high as it will go!

Usually when I have a Chinese meal, I have a few different dishes. One because they are tasty and two because I am greedy! However when I make this Chicken Chow Mein I have this as my whole dinner. This links back to my greediness – it tastes so good I don’t want just a small portion, I want to eat the whole lot! 

This is a great way of using up leftover roast chicken, but if you don’t have any leftover chicken do not panic! Just cook a chicken breast in the oven at 180ºC for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. Leave to cool for 10 minutes or so until it is cool enough to shred and then you’re ready to make the dish!

serves 4 as a side dish / 2-3 as a main dish

3 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp shaoxing wine
4 tbsp sunflower oil
200g chicken, cooked and shredded
3 spring onions, finely sliced length ways 
300g beansprouts 
230g chow mein or egg noodles 

  1. Put the shredded chicken in a bowl along with the soy sauces, salt, sugar, sesame oil and shaoxing wine. Stir until the chicken is completely coated and leave to one side

  1. Slice the spring onions length ways as finely as possible and set aside. Cook the noodles as per the packet’s instructions – usually in boiling water for around 3 minutes. Drain the noodles 
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan on high heat. Once the oil starts to shimmer you will know its nice and hot. Add some of the noodles to the pan making sure they are in one layer – you will need to do this step a few times as you don’t want to overcrowd the pan. Leave the noodles to become crisp on one side for 3-4 minutes before turning and repeating the process on the other side. Once the noodles are crisped on each side remove them from the pan and repeat until all of the noodles are crisped. Use another tablespoon of oil when you run out of oil in the pan

  1. Once all of the noodles are crisped, add the final tablespoon of oil to the pan followed by the spring onions. Stir fry for a few seconds before adding the noodles back to the pan making sure you break up any clumps of noodles
  2. Add the chicken and beansprouts making sure you add any sauce that hasn’t soaked into the chicken 

  1. Cook for a couple of minutes stirring continuously until the beansprouts are softened slightly. Serve and devour! 

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Ancho Chile Chicken

 Deliciously charred chicken thighs with a gentle chile warmth. Great cooked on the BBQ or on a grill inside which makes it perfect for anytime of year. 

I love Mexican food so any opportunity I have to use those flavours, I take it! Lots of people would assume that this would be quite a spicy dish because of the amount of chile powder, but even with 3 teaspoons this recipe has a gentle warmth and isn’t overly hot at all. As with most recipes, you can always reduce the chile powder if you prefer a mild flavour. 

Although I have cooked the chicken on a BBQ, it is also perfect to be cooked on a grill inside. My only recommendation is to try and get the charred edges from the grill like you would get on the BBQ. These add great flavour to the chicken and make it extra tasty. Charred is different to burnt remember ;). 

You don’t need to cut the thighs into strips if you would prefer to leave them as the full thigh. I cut them into strips because it makes it easier to add to salads or make into a wrap. 

These thighs are so versatile and can be served with anything you fancy. Rice or sweet potato with a nice salad and maybe even my Mexican Sweetcorn Salad would make a very tasty dinner. alternatively you could add them to a wrap with salad for a great lunch idea. These are delicious hot or cold, so I would recommend making more than you want to eat for that meal and saving the rest for yummy leftovers.

I buy my chile supplies from the Cool Chile Co but I have seen ancho chile powder in some large supermarkets and also TK Maxx in their food section (not the first place you might expect I realise!). 

Serves 2
6 chicken thighs, de-boned and skinless 
125ml orange juice
60ml fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp ancho chile powder
1 tsp ancho chile flakes
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper 

  1. Cut each chicken thigh into 2 or 3 strips (depending on how big each thigh is)
  2. Whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, honey, oil, chilli powder & flakes, garlic, salt and pepper in a dish. Add the chicken thighs and leave in the fridge to marinade for at least 2 hours but ideally over night

  1. Take the chicken out of the marinade and grill the strips in a grill or a BBQ for around 5 minutes on each side or until the chicken is charred and cooked through 

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Cheese & Bacon Loaded Fries

The saltiness of the bacon with the slight heat from the potatoes covered in melted cheese makes these pretty irresistible. 

This is one of those dishes that you know you shouldn’t eat very often, but when you do give into your cravings and make it, it is oh so worth the consequences! 

I have made some very small steps to try and reduce the calories where possible. For example making your own oven-baked chips is healthier than a lot of shop bought chips and definitely healthier than fried chips. But I suppose that is where the ‘healthy choices’ end! You could use reduced fat cheese, but I find it doesn’t melt as well. So I will let you decided on whether you are looking for melty goodness, or less calories. 

I used my Actifry to make these chips as it makes delicious chips using minimal oil. If you do not have one of these, make the chips as I have written below, just make sure you turn them a couple of times to make sure they don’t stick to the baking tray. 

I know I keep referring to these as chips, but have called the recipe Loaded Fries. This is because as a whole we refer to them as chips here in the UK, but thinner chips like you would see in fast food restaurants, are often referred to as fries. If you prefer thicker chips, just cut them thicker and cook them for longer. 

You can have these as an indulgent side dish or how I envisage eating them is when you’re having a lay day on the sofa watching movies under a blanket and you fancy something a little bit naughty. Pause your movie, prepare these and then sit back and watch the rest of your film with the most amazing snack.  

Serves 2 

400g potatoes
1 tsp sunflower oil
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp ancho chile powder
½ tsp garlic powder
4 rashers of streaky bacon
50g cheese, grated

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC
  2. After cleaning the potatoes, cut them into slices and then each slice into strips to form chips
  3. Toss with the oil, chile powder, garlic powder and salt. Line the chips on a baking tray and cook for 20 mins making sure you turn them a couple of times so they don’t stick

  1. While the chips are cooking, line the bacon on another baking tray and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until really crispy

  1. Once the chips and bacon are cooked, add the chips to an ovenproof dish. Using scissors, snip 3 rashers of bacon onto the chips

  1. Top with the cheese and the other rasher of snipped bacon
  2. Cook in the oven for 5 mins or until the cheese has melted 

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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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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 Glazed Ham

Amazingly moist gammon with a deliciously sweet and crisp crust. You will all be fighting for the end piece! This is one of my favourite things in the world to eat.

As with a lot of families, we always have ham 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 ham with him. My Mum always used to joke that he wasn’t allowed to come and stay with us if he forgot the ham. I remember looking forward to her New Year’s ham all year. As soon as my Mum had finished cooking the ham I would loiter in the kitchen waiting for the chance 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 one of my favourite recipes that Mum has passed down to me. As our lives have moved on, my sister and I have both moved out and we now have husbands so have other families to see over the festive period; my Mum understandably doesn’t make this every year. This is another reason why I am so pleased she taught me how to make it, so I can enjoy it without having to nag her to make it for me!

It used to be a much bigger ham 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 as I tend to only cook it for me and Mr Curly. Although it is smaller, we still like a big enough ham so there is plenty for dinner and leftovers; whether that is for cold ham and chips or a very tasty sandwich. 

I have to watch Mr Curly when I make this because he is always trying to catch a nibble like I used to do with my Mum. As soon as we’ve finished eating dinner, he’ll always ask what is happening with the rest of it and when can he eat more. I’ve learnt not to slice the ham before putting it in the fridge because then it i far too tempting for him to go in and sneak a piece. 

I really would recommend using a disposable foil tray to cook this in. Even though I used to line my roasting tins with foil, the honey and sugar mix always seemed to manage to seep under the foil and burn itself and the foil to the roasting tin. So after far too many times scrubbing my roasting tins to within an inch of their lives, I now use the disposable foil trays. 

Something I do that I’m not sure my Mum would approve of is when I’ve sliced the ham, I add the slices back into the tray the ham was cooked in and coat them in the sugary juices. The ham then becomes fully coated in the delicious glaze which is too good to just throw away! 

A ham of this size will easily feed 4 people with leftovers. 

Smoked boneless ham 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
  2. After carving, serve as it is or dip in the sugary juices to coat and then serve 

 

 

Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken

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Melt in your mouth chicken packed with loads of delicious flavours; this dish is quickly becoming a new favourite!

My sister has been trying to convince me to get a slow cooker for a long time. I was reluctant because in my head I thought it was cheating and taking out some of the fun of cooking. Obviously I was wrong! She bought me one for my birthday after finally giving in and saying I would give one a go – and now I love it!

The first thing I attempted to make were cinnamon rolls. They really didn’t turn out well at all! However this wasn’t the slow cooker’s fault but mine as the part of the recipe that specifically warned me to be very precise, I wasn’t. I decided to leave the desserts alone for a while and focus on savoury dishes.

I’d seen a few recipes using chicken and Mexican flavours so used them to create my own interpretation which I decided to call Fiesta Chicken! My main inspiration came from one of my favourite bloggers over at Skinny Taste. I tweaked her Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken recipe.

This recipe is really flexible. Add more of what you want, less or none of what you don’t and make it your own. I happened to have some chicken thighs and a couple of breasts in the fridge so I decided to chuck them both in. I love chicken thighs as they have so much flavour but until recently I have always tended to buy breasts. Since I’ve got a chest freezer I now go a little crazy and buy thighs in bulk and have a mass de-boning session. Last week I de-boned approximately 80 thighs ready for BBQ’s. They are definitely my favourite cut of chicken but use whichever you fancy!

I used a combination of chilli powders that I buy from the Cool Chile Co. They have a store in Borough Market but you can also order from their website and they have great service (I just genuinely like their products, they aren’t paying me to mention them). Don’t let not having different chilli powders put you off making this dish. Use whatever you have – chilli powders, cayenne pepper, paprika etc. and add more if you like a bit of heat. The quantities in the recipe below are more to add flavour than heat, so adjust as you wish. This also depends on the heat rating of the chille powder you decide to use, for example chipotle chilli powder is hotter than a guajillo chilli. I would always veer on the side of caution and then give it a little try when you add the shredded chicken back in. You can always add some more chilli at this stage if it needs a bit more of a kick.

I added a tin of flame roasted mild green chillies which I bought from Tesco maybe a year ago. I’d seen a few American recipes where they included tinned tomatoes with mild green chillies, so when I saw the tin of chillies in the World Food’s aisle I bought them. This recipe was finally a reason to use them! You’ll notice I haven’t included them in the recipe though as since making this dish, I haven’t been able to find them anywhere. I’ve even searched online for them and it seems you need to order them from America which isn’t the cheapest option, so I decided it was better to miss them out, however sad this made me feel.

I was so impressed with how tasty this recipe was and it was such minimal effort. I did find that there was too much liquid when I made it so I have reduced the amount slightly. That is the only thing I have found with slow cookers, because you are cooking with the lid on, they keep all of their liquid and it doesn’t evaporate. If you want to try and thicken the dish without using cornflour (or as well as) just take the lid off for the last 30 mins cooking to help some of the water evaporate.

The recipe below made enough for 7 large portions – 6 of which I will use for dinner and then I split the last one into two smaller portions for lunches.

approx 500g chicken
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 ½ tbsp Mexican oregano
3 tsp chilli powder (I used a mixture of ancho, guajillo and chipotle)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 x 400g tins tomatoes
400g tin of black beans, drained and rinsed
340g tin sweetcorn, drained
2 peppers, sliced
300g chicken stock
3 spring onions, sliced
1 tbsp cornflour (if needed to thicken)

  1. Sprinkle the chicken with 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, oregano and the chilli powders

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  1. Add the tomatoes, black beans, sweetcorn, pepper, stock and spring onions to the slow cooker and stir to mix
  2. Lie the chicken on top of the ingredients and put the lid on the slow cooker

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  1. Cook for 10 hours on low or 6 hours on high
  2. 30 mins before serving, remove the chicken onto a board and shred using two forks. Return to the slow cooker and stir through

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  1. If there is too much liquid, in a glass mix the cornflour with just enough water to make a liquid and add this to the slow cooker and continue cooking for the 30 minutes
  2. Serve with rice sprinkled with grated cheese and spring onions

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Vegetable Curry

Not the most attractive of dishes, but what it lacks in beauty it makes up for in taste! Deliciously comforting curry packed with loads of vegetables makes this a tasty and healthy all in one dinner.
This recipe is so flexible and really lends itself to being adapted to what you like and how spicy you like it. It is a perfect meal to make when you have a few vegetables left over in your fridge that may not be at their peak freshness but you want to use them in a dish. You can use whatever vegetables you like, but for me the staples are potatoes, courgettes and cauliflower. My Mum used to make this for us and those were the vegetables she always used.

When I was making this curry for the first time in years,  I sent my sister a photo of my it bubbling away and her response was “It looks a bit boring, have you only got potatoes, courgettes and cauliflower in it?!”. Before she said that, I hadn’t even thought abut adding more vegetables as I was recreating what my Mum had always made us. So after my sister’s comment, I added other vegetables in and it was delicious. Since then I have added whatever I have had left in the fridge which means it is slightly different each time, but every time it is delicious. 

As I hadn’t made this curry in years, when I did make it, it was the first time I had made it for Mr Curly. I wasn’t holding out too much hope for him to be too enthusiastic about it as he is always a bit unsure about new meals to him. He really liked it but just had one suggestion that would make it even better – chicken. I should have seen it coming as he is the sort of person that thinks every meal should include meat. So the next time I made it, I added a couple of chicken breasts at the stage where I added the vegetables and tinned tomatoes. As the curry cooks for quite a while, some of the chicken broke up and almost became part of the sauce which I thought was really tasty. Although adding chicken completely changes it from being a vegetarian curry, it is really tasty and it’s still packed with lots of vegetables so it’s healthier than a typical chicken tikka masala!

Another great thing about this recipe is you make a big batch and freeze it. I freeze it in dinner sized portions for a quick week night dinner; but also individual lunch sized portions perfect for me to defrost and take in to heat at work.

I always serve this curry with mango chutney because I think it is one of the most delicious condiments ever made. As you have the potatoes, you don’t need rice but I like to serve it with some poppadoms to add a crisp texture to the deliciously comforting and soft vegetables in the curry.

Updated 2017.

Makes at least 4 portions

2 tsp sunflower/vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced

3 – 4 tbsp curry paste
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 – 4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
3 courgettes, sliced
1 cauliflower, separated into medium florets
1 pepper, chopped
250g green beans
2 x 400g tins of tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
800ml vegetable stock
1 ½ tsp salt

1 tsp pepper
Chopped fresh coriander to garnish (optional)

  1. Add the oil to a large pan over a medium heat. Once the oil has warmed, add the onion and garlic and allow to sweat for a couple of minutes stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t burn

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  1. Add the curry paste to taste and stir to coat the onions

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  1. Add all of the vegetables and stir again to coat them in the curry paste. Add the tomato puree, tinned tomatoes, vegetable stock and salt and pepper

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  1. Let the stock come to the boil and then reduce the temperature to medium and allow to gently bubble away uncovered for 1 – 1½ hours or until all of the vegetables are soft and the stock has reduced and thickened

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  1. Serve sprinkled with coriander, or not if you’re like me and don’t like it!

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