Italian Chicken Casserole

Enjoy the taste of Italy with this tempting chicken dish ….. it’s brimming with Mediterranean flavour!

Serves: 4;   Cals per portion: 659;   Prep time: 15 mins;   Cook time: 1 hr 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1oz (25g) butter or margarine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 x 8oz (225g) part-boned chicken breasts, trimmed, washed and dried
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stick, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2oz (50g) pancetta ham or unsmoked rindless streaky bacon, trimmed and chopped
  • 8oz (225g) button mushrooms, wiped and sliced
  • 14oz (397g) can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and black pepper
  • 7 fl oz (200ml) dry white wine
  • 2oz (50g) green olives stuffed with pimientos
  • 2oz (50g) pitted black olives

Step One – In a large frying pan, melt fat with oil. Add the chicken breasts and fry for 7-8 mins, or until browned all over. Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken and drain on absorbent kitchen paper. Place in an ovenproof casserole dish and set aside.

Step Two
– Preheat oven to Gas 5, 375oF, 190oC. Using the same frying pan, fry the onion, celery, garlic, pancetta ham or bacon, and mushrooms for 3-4 mins, or until just softened. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mixture to the casserole dish.

Step Three
– Place the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, dried oregano, salt and black pepper in a large saucepan. Pour the dry white wine into the saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the tomato and wine sauce to the chicken mixture in the casserole dish.

Step Four
– Mix well, then cover dish and cook in oven for 50 mins, or until the chicken is tender. Remove casserole from the oven and stir in the olives. Return to the oven and cook, uncovered, for a further 10 mins. Serve with warm ciabatta bread and a dry white wine.

Find a selection of yummy Italian goodies here …

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Re-Fried Beans

Serves: 4;  Cals per portion: 413;   Prep time: 5 mins;   Cook time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 15oz (430g) can borlotti beans, drained
  • 15oz (430g) can black-eye beans, drained
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
  • salt and ground black pepper

Step One – Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, then add the beans, chopped onion and crushed garlic, and mash well with a fork.
Step Two – Stir in chilli powder, ground cumin and chopped parsley, and season well with salt and ground black pepper. Mash again, then cook, stirring frequently, for 5 mins. Serve.

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Guacamole

Serves: 4;   Cals per portion: 177;   Prep time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 2 large ripe avocados, peeled, halved and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Step One – Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend for 30 secs. NB: If you don’t own a food processor, finely chop the ingredients and mash with a fork.

Step Two – Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and chill until required.

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Mexican Rice

Serves: 4;   Cals per portion: 415;   Prep time: 15 mins;   Cook time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 10oz (300g) long-grain rice
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 ½ pt (900ml) chicken stock
  • 8oz (225g) canned sweetcorn kernels, drained
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • salt and ground black pepper

Step One – Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the onion and garlic for 3 mins. Add the rice and continue to cook for 3 mins.
Step Two – Stir in chilli, green pepper, stock, sweetcorn and tomatoes. Season well. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 mins, or until liquid is absorbed. Serve.

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Chicken Fajitas

Serves: 4;   Cals per portion: 300;   Prep time: 20 mins;   Cook time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lb (900g) boneless chicken breast, skinned and finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp onion salt
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced

Step One – Heat the oil in a large pan. Add chicken slices, garlic, onion slices, chilli powder, onion salt, ground cumin, dried oregano and lemon juice. Season well. Cook, stirring frequently for 10 mins.

Step Two – Add the peppers to the pan and continue to cook for 5 mins. Serve with wheat tortillas, mixed salad leaves, salsa and soured cream sprinkled with parsley.
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Chilli Con Carne

Serves: 4;   Cals per portion: 392;   Prep time: 10 mins;   Cook time: 55 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 ½ lb (675g) lean minced beef
  • 2 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • ¾ pt (450ml) beef stock
  • 397g can chopped tomatoes
  • 430g can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • soured cream and freshly chopped parsley to garnish.

Step One – Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic for 3 mins. Stir in the minced beef and chilli powder and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 5 mins, or until sealed.

Step Two – Stir in the flour and tomato puree, cook for a further 1 min, then add the stock, tomatoes, beans and chilli. Season well. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 40 mins. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with soured cream sprinkled with chopped parsley.

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Corn Soup

Serves: 4;   Cals per portion: 189;   Prep time: 10 mins;   Cook time: 55 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1oz (25g) butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 12oz (350g) sweeetcorn kernels
  • 2 pt (1.2 litres) chicken stock
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • ¼ pt (150ml) single cream
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped chives

Step One – Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then add onion and garlic, and sauté for 3 mins. Add the sweetcorn and stock to the pan. Season well. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 40 mins.
Step Two – Blend soup in a processor for 30 secs. Return to pan and stir in cream and chives. Continue to cook for 5 mins, without boiling, until soup is piping hot. Serve with crusty bread.
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Nachos

Serves:  4;  Cals per portion:  324;  Prep time:  10 mins;  Cook time:  7 mins

Ingredients: 

  • 4oz (100g) tortilla chips
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4oz (100g) cheddar cheese, grated
  • ¼ pt (150ml) soured cream
  • 2 green chillis, sliced

Step One – Place a layer of tortilla chips in an ovenproof dish.  Top with onion, cheese, soured cream and chillis.  Repeat layering process twice more.

Step Two – Heat the grill to medium and cook dish under grill for 5-7 mins.  Serve.

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Lamb Chops and Ratatouille

Serves:  4;   Cals per portion:  405

Ingredients: 

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tbsp (60ml) olive oil
  • 1 red and 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 aubergine, halved and sliced
  • 8oz (225g) courgettes
  • ½ pt (300ml) passata
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 8 lamb chops

Step One – Saute onion and garlic in oil in a large pan for a few mins, then add peppers, aubergine, courgettes, passata and a few sprigs of fresh basil.  Season and simmer for about 20 mins, adding a little water or wine if needed.

Step Two – Grill, fry or griddle lamb chops for about 10 mins each side until tender.

Step Three – Serve the chops on a bed of ratatouille and garnish with the rest of the basil.

Rhubarb & Orange Charlotte

Deliciously tasty rhubarb with a hint of tangy citrus flavour makes this scrumptious dessert the perfect family treat …

Serves: 8:   Cals per portion: 387;   Prep time: 35 mins;   Cook time: 1 hr 10 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb (900g) fresh rhubarb
  • finely grated rind and juice of 1 small orange
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 6oz (175g) Demerara sugar
  • 1 ½ oz (40g) plain cake crumbs
  • 800g farmhouse loaf of white bread
  • 5oz (150g) butter, melted
  • 1 small egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp Demerara sugar

Step One – Using a sharp knife, trim away leaves and root ends from each rhubarb stick. Slice rhubarb into 1 in (2.5cm) long pieces. Wash rhubarb pieces thoroughly and pat dry with absorbent kitchen paper. Place the rhubarb in a large saucepan along with the orange rind and juice. Slowly bring to the boil.

Step Two – Simmer for 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb starts to soften. Stir in ground ginger, Demerara sugar and plain cake crumbs, then set saucepan aside. Using a sharp knife, slice the bread into ½ in (1.25cm) thick slices and remove all crusts. Discard ends of loaf.

Step Three – Grease a 2 ½ pt (1.5 litre) charlotte mould or a 6 in (15cm) round cake tin. Trim two bread slices to fit neatly inside the mould base. Brush one side of bread with melted butter. Place bread, buttered side down, in base of mould. Brush the bread with more melted butter.

Step Four – Reserving two bread slices, trim the remaining bread to fit around the side of the mould. Brush both sides of each slice with melted butter and arrange around side of mould, overlapping as you go and pushing the bread against the mould. Brush over the joins with beaten egg.

Step Five – Preheat the oven to Gas 5, 375oF, 190oC. Spoon the cooked rhubarb into the mould, pressing down against the bread.  Trim reserved bread to fit over mould as a lid. Press down to cover rhubarb.  Brush lid with beaten egg and cook in the oven for 1 hour, or until charlotte is golden brown.

Step Six – To turn out, run a palette knife around edge of charlotte and invert on a warmed serving dish. Sprinkle with Demerara sugar and serve with custard.