Sunshine Smiles Chicken Casserole

Now that Autumn has turned her come-hither look upon all she surveys, turning Summer’s once lush and green glories to tantalising burnt umbers, ravishing reds, vivid vermilions, opulent oranges and golden yellows, we start to think about warming evening meals to fill our hearts with joy. This chicken casserole dish is an excellent heartening meal that accompanied with seasonal vegetables makes for a wonderful comfort food experience that’s guaranteed to bring sunshine smiles to your home.

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Ingredients

Serves 4

4 chicken breasts

2 tsp cooking oil

25g flour (any kind)

400g can of tomatoes or fresh ones, washed and roughly chopped

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

300ml stock (chicken or vegetable will be fine)

200g mushrooms, washed and sliced

1 tbsp mixed herbs

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 190°C electric.
  • Put half the cooking oil in a frying pan and warm, then add the chicken breasts, skin side down and gently brown. Turn the chicken breasts over once brown and brown the other side. Set aside in a casserole dish.
  • Add the remaining cooking oil and warm. Once warmed, add the onion and garlic, and gently cook until the onion becomes transparent and soft. Add the flour and cook for a minute. This helps create a thickened stock later on in the cooking.
  • Slowly add the stock and stir until the flour and stock are combined. Add the tomatoes, mushrooms and mixed herbs, and stir.

Dawn: As a wee optional flavour enhancer you may decide to add at this point a splash of brandy and then simply cook the alcohol off for a few minutes. 

  • Add this mixture to the chicken breasts in the casserole dish making sure they are covered.
  • Cover the casserole dish and place in the oven.

Dawn: I like to season with salt and pepper a wee way into the actual cooking so that the real, true flavours of the food are realised first.

  • Cook for about 1.5-2 hours. Test at about 1.5 hours to determine if the chicken is tender. If not, return to the oven and cook until mouthwateringly tender and to your preference.
  • You may decide that the sauce the chicken is cooking in is too thick in which case simply add a drop or two of hot water and mix well.
  • Serve with boiled potatoes, carrots and green vegetables.

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How to Make Poached Egg

Eggs, eggs, glorious eggs! Adding to Love Food’s “How to Make” range, a quick and easy dish to satisfy even the most hungry belly!

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Ingredients

Serves 1

1 egg

Pinch of salt

Splash of vinegar

Dawn: Depending upon how hungry you are, add another egg. So without further a-do, I’ll crack on…I know: the pun was intended!!!

Method

  • Place a non-stick medium size frying pan on a medium heat hob and half fill it with boiling hot water.
  • Allow the water to bubble, adding a pinch of salt and a splash of vinegar. Stir with a wooden spoon.

Dawn: Adding a splash of vinegar adds to the taste and is optional. I’m told the vinegar not only adds to the taste but also helps the egg keep it’s shape. 

  • Crack the egg open into a small cup or ladle and gently ease the egg into the boiling water.
  • With a slatted fish slice, gently coax the boiling water over the egg.
  • Cook until the egg is lightly set with the white having lost it’s transparency and having become opaque in look, and the yolk has taken on a glistening look.

Dawn: This doesn’t take very long to cook and really depends upon how well you like your eggs done.

Liked this simple recipe? Find more simple and easy to follow recipes at Love Food UK’s “How to Make” range. Want to be kept in the know with banter on Twitter? The ‘place’ for up-to-the-minute info? Then please feel free to follow @Love_Food_UK and this blog at www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.comYou’ll also find Love Food UK over on Mumsnet Bloggers Network, as well as Foodies100 and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lovefood.forfoodlovers.

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Panzanella

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We have said before that the Southern Italians can make what they have go a long way, and this dish is ideal for using up stale bread and slightly soft tomatoes.

Dawn: Just as we have the kitchen back up and running, here we have a no cook recipe.

Andrew: It is just ideal for the warmer weather, quite filling on its own, but excellent in a large bowl with a barbecue.

Dawn: And the longer you leave it before serving, the more the flavour develops.

Ingredients

Serves 4

100-200g day old bread, unsliced

300-400g tomatoes (any size or variety)

One red onion

2 tsp of capers

A handful of black olives

One tin of anchovies (optional)

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and black pepper to season

Method

  • Roughly tear the bread into bite size pieces. No need for ceremony here, as this is a rustic dish where presentation isn’t the key issue.
  • Chop the tomatoes into different sized pieces. We have made this with a large beefsteak variety, some plum and vine tomatoes and a few cherry ones, for variety in colour and texture.
  • Place the bread and tomatoes in a salad bowl and mix well.
  • Add the capers, olives and anchovies to the bowl, then sprinkle on the vinegar and drizzle over the olive oil.
  • Mix well to allow the oil and vinegar to coat everything. They will moisten the bread, as will the juices from the tomatoes.
  • Season well, and serve when ready.

Andrew: There are no limits to this dish. A few cloves of roasted garlic, slices of roasted pepper and courgette can be added too.

Dawn: A few basil leaves, and a crumbly white cheese like feta might add to the colour and flavour too.

Andrew: Fantastic!

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