Chicken Sausage Casserole (4)

img_7525

Sausages are great winter comfort food. Nothing better than ‘bangers’ ‘n mash with onion marmalade and a good gravy.  I like them in all their guises – the circular Cumberland sausage from the UK, chorizo, merguez, kielbasa, Italian sausage and the lighter and less fatty chicken sausage. Better still it is relatively easy to find them gluten free. This hearty casserole uses an Italian chicken sausage with fennel and kale from my local supermarket but probably any sausage could be substituted though I would try and find a type that had some extra flavor like herbs or spices. It is a filling dish as it includes cannellini beans, red lentils and kale – a winter winner!

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion – chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

2 rashers of bacon

1 pound of chicken sausage

2 sticks of celery – cut into 1 inch slices

2 carrots – cut into 1 inch slices

1 cup of chicken broth

1 can of cannellini beans

1/2 cup of uncooked red lentils

5 oz. baby kale

Heat the oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper in a Dutch oven and when sizzling add the onion. Let soften and brown slightly before adding the garlic. Cook for a couple more minutes.

While the onion is cooking, in a separate frying pan, cook the bacon until nice and crisp, remove from pan and when cool enough cut it into thinnish strips.

Then, sear the sausages on all sides (this will add more flavor to the dish). Then cut into bite size pieces.

Add the celery and carrots to the Dutch oven and cook for a couple of minutes till they slightly brown, then add the bacon, sausage pieces, broth, cannellini beans, lentils and kale.

Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding extra broth if you need it but the casserole is meant to be thick rather than soupy.

 

 

Advertisements

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Blended Rice and Mushrooms with Garlic and Herbs (4)

img_7523

Lovely, healthy mixture with the ingredients cooked separately then combined at the end. The chicken breast is amply sprinkled with lemon pepper – one of my favorite new spices (Simply Organic brand – you may have to order it online). The rice is a blend of rices – white, brown, wild and red (quite easily found in the supermarket) and the mushrooms are cooked with garlic, parsley and thyme.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

1 x large chicken breast – poached and cut into small bite size pieces

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and lemon pepper

1 cup of rice blend

1 1/2 cups boiling water, seasoned with salt

8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms

2 x large garlic cloves – grated

1 tbsp. fresh parsley plus a little extra for garnish – finely chopped

1 tbsp. fresh thyme – finely chopped

Place chicken breast on aluminum foil in a baking dish, pour over the lemon juice and 1 tbsp. of oil, season with salt and a good sprinkling of lemon pepper. Cook in oven for around 30 minutes until chicken is fully cooked. Cut chicken into small bit seize pieces.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the rice and mushrooms.

Bring the rice to a boil, stir, then turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, remove from heat and let stand for a further 15 minutes.

Place the other tbsp. of oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, in a frying pan. When just sizzling add the garlic (do not let garlic brown) and let cook for a minute or two then add the parsley and thyme and cook a further couple of minutes before adding the mushrooms. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or so until mushrooms are cooked but there are still some juices left in the pan.

To assemble, place rice in a big mixing bowl. Add the chicken pieces followed by the mushrooms, herbs and their juices. Mix all together and season to taste. I added some of lemon juices from the poached chicken to moisten the mixture. Place in a nice dish, garnish with parsley and serve immediately, maybe with a tossed green salad.

Salmon Endive Canapes (makes around 18)

IMG_7518

Huge success over Christmas and New Year and everyone, young and old, loved them. This recipe combines two types of salmon – poached and smoked – lemon juice, mayonnaise and dill all mashed up and spread on endive leaves. Endives are perfect for certain canapes as they don’t go soggy. I try and use the middle to smaller size leaves and use the bigger ones in a salad. Decorate with a few capers if you want.

6 oz fresh salmon – skinned

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 oz. smoked salmon

1 x shallot – finely chopped

2 tbsp. mayonnaise

1 tbsp. dill – finely chopped and some extra for optional garnish

2 – 3 endives – discard outer leaves

Capers for decoration – optional

Place the salmon on a piece of aluminum foil in a metal baking dish. Pour over juice of 1/2 a lemon and the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Make a parcel out of the foil and cook in the oven for 15 minutes or so until salmon is cooked to your liking.

Drain salmon, leave to cool then flake into a bowl.

Cut smoked salmon into small pieces and add to cool, flaked salmon along with the mayonnaise, the rest of the lemon juice and dill and mix gently together.

Spoon the salmon mixture onto the endive leaves and serve, decorated with capers/chopped dill (optional)

Chive Omelet (for 1 person)

IMG_7496

Very, very simple to make and I love the subtle flavor of the chives – an ingredient that you may not have thought of putting in an omelet. I am always very careful when I eat eggs in restaurants because powdered eggs, which many establishments use, can contain gluten – a little known fact. I usually opt for poached eggs which I know are real eggs. I prefer to eat my eggs at home and am particularly partial to scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and this chive omelet which goes well with a green salad.

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper

3 large eggs – beaten

12 chives – finely snipped with scissors

Heat oil in a frying pan.

Add chives to beaten eggs and stir together.

Pour into the hot frying pan and let cook (as the eggs cook I use a spatula and tip the pan so the runny eggs in the middle of the pan move to the edge and get cooked).

When the omelet is nearly fully cooked fold the sides into the middle and flip it over to finish off.

 

 

Jo’s Thai Pho Bowl (4)

IMG_7488

This is, without doubt, the most authentic Thai dish I have created. By tasting and re-tasting each step of the way I think I have come up with a recipe that tastes really genuine and using fresh lemongrass made all the difference.

Lemongrass seems quite tough even when you have taken off the outer layer, but I read that if you chop it into fine slices and then process it in a food processor (my thanks go to http://www.thespruce.com for this information) it will add a great flavor and also be edible.

It is important to use good rice noodles that don’t go too soggy (I use Annie Chung’s brand). You can cook this recipe with either small pieces of chicken or tofu.

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and white pepper

1 medium onion – finely chopped

2 large garlic cloves – grated

1 ‘thumb’ of ginger (measured from base of thumbnail to bottom joint) – grated

1 x 6 inch piece of lemongrass – peeled and chopped

1 x 13.5 oz lite coconut milk

16.2 fl. oz. chicken broth

Juice of 1 lime

1 1/2tsp. fish sauce

8 oz. chicken tenders – cut into small bite size pieces

1 tbsp. cilantro – finely chopped

2 handfuls of frozen peas

4 oz. rice noodles

Heat the oil seasoned with salt and white pepper in a cast iron Dutch oven and when sizzling add the onion and let brown a little before adding the garlic and ginger. Cook for a minute or two until you can smell the flavors.

Place the chopped lemongrass in a food processor with a couple of tablespoons of coconut milk and whizz together then add to the onion mixture along with the rest of the coconut milk, chicken broth, lime juice, fish sauce, chicken tenders and cilantro.

Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes before adding the peas and rice noodles.

Cook for another 5 minutes or so until noodles are tender and serve immediately.

Tomato and Chicken Tray Bake (4)

IMG_7474 (1)

I love the ease of tray bakes. Everything goes into the oven together on the same baking tray and cooks at the same time – in this case baby tomatoes, French green beans (the thin ones), new potatoes, black olives from the deli counter and bite-size pieces of chicken. This same mixture can also be a salad. (see Tomato, Green Bean, Potato and Olive Salad) though of the two I think I prefer the hot dish as it produces some nice juices and cooking the olives brings out their saltiness (so don’t season until you have tasted it).

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

2 chicken breasts – cut into bite size pieces

1 dry pint or 10 oz. baby tomatoes

8 oz. French green beans

8 medium new potatoes – quartered

20 black olives

2 tbsp. olive oil

Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, pour over the olive oil and toss well together, then tip on to a baking tray and cook in oven for 30 minutes.

 

Mini Mushroom Frittatas (makes 20)

IMG_0734

Am always looking for new items to serve with cocktails to liven up the cheese and crackers/shrimp with cocktail sauce, etc. I will be serving these at Thanksgiving as nibbles. Cooked in a small muffin sized tray, preferably non-stick silicone, these make great hors d’oeuvres/snacks or a light meal served with a salad. Best served warm. Can be frozen too and de-frosted ahead of a party.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper (plus extra oil for greasing muffin tray)

1 onion – finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic – grated

12 oz. portabella mushrooms – cut into small pieces

1 tbsp. parsley – finely chopped

6 eggs – beaten

Heat oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper in a frying pan and when sizzling add the onion and let soften a little but not brown before adding the garlic and stirring well.

Then add the mushrooms (may seem like a lot but they will shrink) and parsley.

Cook until the mushrooms are soft and any water has disappeared. Take off heat and leave to cool a bit.

Beat the eggs with a fork in a large mixing bowl and then add the cooled mushroom mixture.

Oil the muffin tray and then ladle in the egg mixture.

Cook in the oven for 15 minutes (for mini muffins). Remove muffins immediately and place on paper towel to absorb any moisture.

Serve while still warm.