Chicken Flautas

I find it interesting the so called shortcuts people like to take when cooking. How so much processed food seems to be the go to when they don’t really save time or money. In fact, it’s more expensive for the most part. When I was doing my pinning on Pinterest I came across a recipe for Chicken Flautas that called for canned chicken that came already seasoned. I wouldn’t want to even guess what preservatives and junk would also be in that can. No way, thank you.

I mean, how hard is it to mix a few ingredients together and slow cook chicken? Not very hard! While I cooked the chicken in the oven, you can use a slow cooker and walk away.

Our garden is doing so much better than last year so this is dish was a great way to use what is just outside our door. I was able to use tomatoes, hot peppers and sweet peppers for this meal.

Technique for Chicken Flautas

Pre heat the oven to 300F/150C.

Mix the marinade ingredients and make sure the chicken is coated. I cooked twice as much chicken so I could use some for salads and lunches.

Slow cook for 3-4 hours, until the chicken is tender and shreds easily. Using two forks, tear the chicken apart.

Set aside. Heat up the olive oil in a skillet. Sauté the onions, mushrooms and garlic until the onions begin to soften. Add the peppers and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken, seasonings, lime juice and chicken stock. Stir well and simmer. You want to reduce the liquid so the mixtures stays moist but isn’t overly liquid.

Heat up the vegetable oil in a saucepan to about 335F/170C.

Place the filling on flour tortillas. I accidentally bought quinoa flour gluten free tortillas. I was a bit worried that this would end up a failure. Thankfully they fried up well. Roll the tortillas tightly and spear with a toothpick. Fry until they are golden brown and crispy. Drain and place on a piece of kitchen roll to absorb the extra oil.

In an attempt to keep this somewhat healthy, I served it over a bed of lettuce. I chopped up a fresh tomato, a spring onion and cilantro to top along with queso fresco. You can also serve with dollops of sour cream or guacamole.

Chicken Flautas

Slow cooked chicken, seasoned with hot peppers, then wrapped in deep fried goodness.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Chicken Flautas
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Our Growing Paynes

Ingredients

Shredded Chicken

  • 1 lb boneless chicken breast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

Chicken Flautas filling

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 mushroom, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 hot pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup sweet pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp fresh cilantro (coriander leaf)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

Tomato and Spring Onion

  • 1 tomato, coarsly chopped
  • 1 small spring onion, chopped
  • dash lime juice
  • sea salt to taste

Completing Chicken Flautas

  • 1/2 deep sauce pan of vegetable oil
  • 12 half 8" flour tortillas
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco

Instructions

Shredded chicken

  1. Preheat the oven to 300F/150C.

  2. Mix the ingredients together in a baking dish and add the chicken. Make sure the chicken is nearly covered and coated. Bake for 3-4 hours until the chicken is fork tender. Use two forks to shred the chicken. Set aside.

Chicken Flautas filling

  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Sautè the onions, garlic and mushrooms until the onions start becoming soft. Add the peppers and the chicken. Mix in the seasonings, lime juice and chicken stock. Simmer until the liquid is nearly reduced to zero. You want the mixture moist but not overly wet.

Tomato and Spring Onion

  1. Add the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

Completing the Chicken Flautas

  1. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of filling onto each half tortilla. Roll tightly and secure with a toothpick. Heat the vegetable oil to 335F/ 170C. Deep fry the flautas until golden and crispy. Drain and place on kitchen roll to absorb excess oil.

  2. Place the flautas on a bed of lettuce, top with the tomato and spring onion along with the cheese. Serve immediately.

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Pork Wellington

Pork Wellington has been on my list of things to blog for awhile now, waiting for a special time to make it. My husband just had a business trip that was crazy busy and when he comes back from these trips I like to treat him to a special meal. Understandably he gets tired of restaurant food and eating on the run.

The meal had to wait a day as we had tickets to go see Heart. Those two ladies at 65 and 69 years of age can seriously rock. Leaping about and belting out the songs, it was amazing. I would love to have that energy!

This is a time consuming but not difficult meal to make. You can save time by buying puff pastry but making the rough puff pastry is relatively simple and tastes a lot better than store bought pastry.

Technique for Rough Puff Pastry

The main key for a good rough puff pastry is keeping everything cold. Some people will grate frozen butter for this but you can get away with butter from the fridge.

Add the ingredients to a mixing bowl. Work the butter into the flour until you have a coarse mixture.

Add a bit of water at a time until the clumps come together in a rough ball. Cover and chill for at least 20 minutes. If you find that you add too much water, don’t panic you can fix it when you knead the dough.

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. If you made the dough too wet add extra flour while you are kneading the dough. You don’t want to overwork the dough but you want a smooth ball where you see marbling of the butter. Roll out thinly into something close to a rectangle.

Fold into thirds like an envelope.

Rotate 90 degrees and roll out into a thin rectangle.

Fold into thirds again.

Cover and chill for at least 20 minutes and until you are ready to use it.

Technique for Pork Wellington

Melt butter in the skillet. Season the pork with sea salt and pepper. Sear all sides and cook it to about two thirds done. This is probably the trickiest part as you need the pork to be cooked through by the end of baking but you don’t want it dried out. It’s not like the beef wellington where you want it medium rare.

Remove from the skillet and set aside while you cook up the apple mixture.

Finely chop up the apple, mushrooms, garlic and sage. Add additional butter to the skillet and sauté the ingredients for several minutes until the mushrooms start to brown.

Deglaze with the calvados and cook until the liquid reduces to nearly zero. Remove from the heat.

On cling film lay out the prosciutto and spoon the mushroom mixture onto the prosciutto and spread it out. Coat the pork with the mustard and place the pork in the centre.

Tightly wrap the pork and chill for half an hour. After the half hour roll out the dough, remove the cling film and place the pork in the centre of the dough.

Trim the ends and wrap the pork like a burrito. Place seam down on a baking sheet and brush with a beaten egg.

Bake in an oven set at 425F/220C until the pastry is golden and flaky. About 30-35 minutes.

Let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. Though if it is really flaky, the darn thing will fall apart as you slice.

I roasted up a bit of parsnip and made up a side salad to keep the meal light.

This Pork Wellington was well worth the effort and the flavours were even better the next day.

Pork Wellington

A twist on the traditional beef wellington.

Course Main Course
Cuisine English, French
Keyword Pork Wellington
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

Rough Puff Pastry

  • 150 grams strong flour
  • 150 grams cold butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 60 ml cold water (up to 60 ml)

Pork and Apple Mushroom mixture

  • 1 lb pork loin
  • 1 cup finely chopped shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup finely chopped apple
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3-4 leaves sage, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup calvados 2oz
  • 4-5 tbsp butter
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 6-8 slices thin prosciutto
  • 1 tbsp stone ground mustard

Instructions

Rough Puff Pastry

  1. Sift the flour and salt in a bowl. Cut up the cold butter and add it to the flour. Using your fingers, incorporate the butter into the flour until you have a coarse mixture. Add a bit of water at a time until the dough comes together in a ball. It will be coarse and sticky. But you don't want it overly wet. Cover and chill for 20 minutes.

  2. On a floured surface, knead the dough until it is a smooth dough where you can see a marbling of the butter. Don't overwork the dough.

  3. Roll out thinly into a rough rectangle. Fold into thirds in an envelope. Rotate 90 degrees and roll out again into rectangle. Fold again into thirds. Cover and chill for at least 20 minutes or until you need it to wrap the pork later.

Pork Wellington

  1. Heat half the butter in a skillet. Season the pork with sea salt and pepper. Sear all sides of the pork. Cook it about 2/3 thirds of the way. When it's done baking at the end you want the pork to be cooked thoroughly but not dry. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  2. Add more butter to the skillet. Add the mushrooms, apples, sage and garlic. Sauté for several minutes until the mushrooms begin to brown. Pour in the calvados to deglaze the pan. Cook until the liquid is reduced to nearly zero.

  3. On a piece of cling film lay out the prosciutto. Spoon the mushroom and apple mixture onto the prosciutto and spread it out. Coat the pork with the mustard and place the pork in the centre of the apple and mushroom mixture. Tightly wrap the pork in the prosciutto and seal with the cling film. Chill for 30 minutes.

  4. Roll out the pastry thinly. Place the pork into the centre. Trim the sides and wrap the pork like a burrito. Place on a baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes.

  5. Preheat the oven to 425F/220C.

  6. Brush the pastry with a beaten egg. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the pastry is golden and flaky. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Lemon Rosemary Grilled Pork

While I don’t like the heat and humidity we get this time of year, I do love that we are starting to be able to benefit from our veg garden. Miraculously, thanks to my lovely husband, we still have a rosemary plant going strong. It’s an annual where we live and he’s managed to get it to grow to a decent size. I would have killed it by now.

To keep it a manageable size, I’ve been using it a lot in various dishes, including my Lemon Rosemary Pork. For a side dish I sautéed some swiss chard we’re growing. The swiss chard is going gang busters this year, it’s rivaling the rhubarb!

Technique for Lemon Rosemary Pork

I love the pink of the Himalayan salt

Get the dry ingredients of the marinade together before adding the olive oil and lemon juice.

Add the pork and marinate for at least a couple of hours in the fridge. When it’s time, start prepping the sauce ingredients while the grill warms up. Heat up the butter in a skillet and add the mushrooms.

Cook for a couple of minutes before adding more garlic and rosemary. Once you add the pork to the grill, add the remaining marinade to the skillet. Bring up to a simmer.

Add the chicken stock and lemon juice. Simmer for a few minutes. Remove about a 1/4 cup of the sauce and set aside.

Once the pork is cooked and resting, sautè the swiss chard in the remaining sauce. Cook the stalk pieces first then add the leafy bits. I like them slightly wilted but not mushy.

Spoon the chard onto the plate, top with the pork and drizzle the reserve sauce over the dish.

I need to come up with more swiss chard dishes as well because they aren’t showing any sign of letting up.

Lemon Rosemary Pork

A flavourful dish for grilling season

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Lemon Rosemary Pork
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 pork chops

Sauce

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • remaining marinade
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 cups swiss chard

Instructions

Marinade

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade. Add the pork and chill for at least a couple of hours.

Grilling the Pork

  1. Heat the grill to medium high. Grill the pork until the internal temperature is 145F/63C. Allow to rest about 10 minutes.

Sauce

  1. Heat up the butter in a skillet. Sautè the mushrooms for a few minutes. Add the rosemary and garlic. After cooking for a few minutes, add the chicken stock and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer.

  2. Reserve a 1/4 cup of the sauce for the pork.

  3. In the remaining sauce, cook the swiss chard stalk pieces for a minute or two, then add the leafy part of the chard to slightly wilt.

Assembling the Dish

  1. Spoon the swiss chard onto the centre of the dish. Place the pork onto the swiss chard and spoon the reserve sauce over the pork.

Oven Baked Brisket

Doing oven baked brisket was just one of the family events from the past several weeks. It’s been an emotional roller coaster what with our daughter’s graduation high school, our son’s birthday and my husband’s parents staying with us for a few weeks. I managed not to embarrass myself with too much crying as our daughter received her diploma but watching her drive off for her summer job of a camp councillor was tough. She is completely ready, us? Not so much. But we’ll adjust.

For our son’s birthday, I thought it would be fun to have a BBQ of grilled corn on the cob, mashed potato and a brisket. My in-laws don’t have much BBQ back home so I wanted to treat them as well. The thing is, it’s hard to keep the grill at a set temperature for 20 minutes, never mind the 10 hours needed to do a brisket on the grill. Plus, I didn’t think the propane would last. So the oven it was.

While it may not be traditional, you can get a very tender and flavourful brisket in the oven. You also don’t have to stand by the grill all day.

Technique for Oven Baked Brisket

As this isn’t Texas, I wasn’t able to find the Texas size brisket but that’s ok as we’re fans of portion control.

The only downsize to a smaller piece of meat is you don’t have a lot of fat on it. Make up the dry rub. Spread stone mustard all over the cut of meat, then rub the dry rub so the meat is well covered. This will help the brisket keep moist.

Cover and keep in the fridge overnight. An hour before you put it into the oven remove it from the fridge to bring it to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 300F/150C.

Wrap the brisket well in tin foil, you don’t want any moisture escaping into the oven. Bake until the brisket is fork tender. For the 1 1/2lb of meat I used, it was about 2 1/2 hours.

Spread with BBQ sauce of your choice. I used my Fresh Peach BBQ Sauce for this. Broil on high for a couple of minutes to heat the sauce and crisp up the outside of the brisket.

Allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Slice and serve with your favourite sides.

I got a thumbs up from my son who enjoyed his birthday dinner very much. Success!

Oven Baked Brisket

Oven Baked Brisket is a tender and flavourful addition to a summer BBQ.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Oven Baked Brisket
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 3 hours
Author Our Growing Paynes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb brisket
  • 1/4 cup stone ground mustard
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce

Dry Rub

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper

Instructions

The night before

  1. Mix the dry rub ingredients together. Spread the mustard on all sides of the brisket. Cover the mustard with the dry rub. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.

The day of cooking

  1. Remove the brisket from the fridge and preheat the oven to 300F/150C.

  2. Cover the brisket completely with tin foil. Bake until the meat is fork tender, for meat this size, about 2 1/2 hours.

  3. Uncover the brisket and spread the BBQ over the top. Broil for a few minutes to heat up the sauce and crisp the outside of the brisket.

  4. Rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing against the grain.

  5. Serve with your favourite BBQ sides.

Honey Ginger Grilled Chicken

I start grilling as soon as the grill can hold its own in the cold weather, usually when the temperatures are hovering round freezing. When the heat and humidity kicks in, the grill goes into overtime. Since it will be a few months before I get tired of salads I made a Honey Ginger Grilled Chicken for dinner and my food bowls.

To be honest, when I do get tired of salads, this would be great with rice noodles and the like. Plus you can make this with pork or fish.

For the dressing, there are many different Asian inspired ones you can choose from but I confess my guilty pleasure is salad cream. We tried to explain it to our stateside friends and they were like is it mayo? No! There were many guesses so I think we’re going to have to share our stash. Luckily, it isn’t hugely price prohibitive to get it delivered. Not like Marmite, where you have to mortgage your house to get it here. Fortunately, my in-laws are coming next week and they are bringing that with them.

Technique for the Honey Ginger Grilled Chicken

I’m not sponsored by any of these but choose the brands you prefer.

The chicken should be marinated for at least a couple of hours. Mix the ingredients together in a bowl. Before adding the chicken check the flavour of the marinade to make sure the balance of the flavours are as you like them. With the honey, you want to make sure the sweetness comes through but doesn’t overpower the rest of the ingredients. As the marinade sits, the volume of the sweetness increases. So at the start have the honey just making the marinade a bit sweet.

Slice the chicken breasts lengthwise. Aside from lessening the cooking time for the chicken it makes it easier when cooking with honey. When using honey, you need to keep the temperature at medium on the grill. I always find that food photography that shows dishes with honey glazes still honey colored deceptive. Honey will brown when cooked. You do have to be careful as it will catch and burn very easily.

After marinating for at least a couple hours, grill the chicken making sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t catch and burn.

I have new cooking grids coming this weekend, can’t wait!

Prep the salad and top with the chicken.

Who says healthy eating has to be boring?

Honey Ginger Grilled Chicken

A honey ginger marinade for a healthy meal.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Keyword Honey Ginger Grilled Chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken breast, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp lime juice

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients together. Add the chicken. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Grill the chicken on medium heat. Cube and top on salad. Serve.

Mushroom Leek Pie

I’ve been on a bit of a vegetarian kick lately when I’ve been looking for new recipes. I came across a Mushroom Leek Pie with a creamy gravy, though Attachment Mummy’s recipe was vegan. I’ve no problem, obviously, with vegan dishes but I’m not a fan of dairy substitutes so I decided to go just with vegetarian for this dish. And since the hill towns in our area saw snow this week, comfort food is all the range round here!

We did manage to start to get some plants in that won’t do well in frost. I may have been tempting fate but we’ll see. We’re going to have a bed for edible flowers and then a bed for cut flowers. Any suggestions for what to plant would be greatly appreciated. Hopefully, if all goes well this summer there will be some recipes inspired by the edible flower bed.

Technique for Mushroom Leek Pie

Chop up all the ingredients. Melt the butter in a saucepan and sauté the garlic and mushrooms.

Depending on how much butter the mushrooms soak up, you may need to add more butter when it comes time to make the roux. They can be quite the sponges!

When the mushrooms start to brown add the oregano and leeks. Sauté for a couple of minutes. Then add the flour and mustard.

I like my gravies in pies to be thick so I added the 1/3 cup of flour. If you don’t like it overly thick go with a 1/4 cup. The mixture will get thick and a bit stiff. Stir while cooking for a few minutes then add the white wine. Season with sea salt and pepper. Add the milk and bring to a boil while stirring. You don’t want a roiling boil and keep an eye as it can boil over quickly if you aren’t paying attention. Add the parmesan cheese.

Taste and adjust the flavours as needed. You want to make sure the mustard and oregano come through the milk. Make up the pastry and roll out thinly. Spoon the mushroom and leek mixture into ramekins. Cover with the pastry. Use a knife to pierce the top and brush milk all over.

Bake at 400F/200C until the pastry is flaky and golden brown.

Serve immediately. If you save some of this for another day, go with the 1/4 cup flour as it does get even thicker as leftovers.

Mushroom Leek Pie

A creamy pie with a lovely flaky crust.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Mushroom Leek Pie
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Our Growing Paynes

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour 70g
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cold water

Mushroom Leek Filling

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4-8 mushrooms (depending on size), sliced
  • 1 cup chopped leek
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp stone ground mustard
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine 4oz
  • 2 cups milk 16oz
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

Pastry

  1. Using a pastry fork or fingers, blend the butter, salt and flour until the mixture resembles small breadcrumbs.

  2. Add the water bit by bit to the mixture, using your fingers to incorporate the water into the pastry. You may need more than 2 tbsp but add water until the dough comes together.

  3. Roll out thinly and using a cookie cutter, cut to the size you need.

Mushroom Leek Filling

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Sauté the garlic and mushrooms until the mushrooms start to brown. Add the leeks and oregano. Cook for a few minutes.

  2. Add the flour and mustard. Stir while it cooks for a few minutes so the flour is cooked thoroughly.

  3. Add the white wine then season with sea salt and pepper. Add the milk and bring to a boil. Don't have it a rapid boil or it will boil over. To finish add the parmesan cheese.

Constructing the pie

  1. Fill four ramekins with the filling. Top with the cut pastry. Use a knife to put slits in the pastry and then brush the pastry with milk.

  2. Bake at 400F/200C until the pastry is golden and flaky.

Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potato

I’ve discovered, in our local co-op, a sweet potato called Hannah Sweet Potato (sometimes called a yam) which has a lovely flavour without being overly earthy like the normal sweet potato. I found a recipe for Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potato by Simply Quinoa that looked interesting. Something easily adaptable to what I had on hand.

I was struck, as I made this while watching the rain come down for weeks on end, how lucky we are to have readily available ingredients. If we have a bad season in the garden it isn’t make or break. I’ve been watching Wartime Farm on YouTube which is a documentary about what the farmers had to go through in the UK during WWII. The historians living as they did in the ’40’s struggled with the wet weather. During wartime it would be catastrophic. If you like history and/or homesteading, it’s a fascinating 8 part series.

I do wonder how many people would thrive or survive in those conditions now. We live in a time of buying one use items, fast food, fast fashion etc. I do hope the trend of getting back to basics continues. There are a lot of skills that shouldn’t be lost.

Technique for Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potato

Here is my version of this dish based on what we had and what we like. But that’s the beauty of this dish, very versatile.

Roast the sweet potatoes and cook the quinoa according to the directions. Rinse the black beans and drain. Chop the veg. Heat up the olive oil in a skillet.

Start by sautéing the garlic, scallions and mushrooms.

Add the beans and corn. Cook for several minutes as the corn is frozen when tossed in. Add the spices and lime juice.

Near the end of cooking add the pepper. I always add the pepper so it just cooks but still stays crunchy. I really don’t like mushy peppers.

Once the sweet potatoes are cooked through cut them in half. Combine the quinoa, tomatoes and veg together. Spoon over the potatoes and sprinkle shredded cheese over the top. Add a dollop of sour cream and serve.

It’s a very inexpensive, very filling and very tasty meal.

Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potato

An inexpensive flavourful vegetarian meal.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potato
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Author Our Growing Paynes

Ingredients

  • 2 Hannah sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup black beans, drained and cooked
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn
  • 1-2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1-2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp habanero flakes optional
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 tomato, coarsely chopped
  • shredded cheese
  • sour cream to top

Instructions

  1. Bake the sweet potato at 400F/200C in the oven until tender. Cook the quinoa according to instructions on the packet.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Sautè the garlic, mushrooms and scallions for a couple of minutes.

  3. Add the beans and corn along with the spices, lime juice and cilantro. Cook for several minutes then add the pepper.

  4. Once the potatoes are cooked, slice them in half. Combine the veg, quinoa and tomato then spoon over the potato halves. Top with shredded cheese and sour cream. Serve while hot.

Tabouli Salad and Resolutions

We’ve forgotten what the sun looks like in our area. Mother Nature has taken the April Showers bit very seriously, enough to continue into May. Really hope there will be a plethora of flowers soon! Even though the weather calls for a lot of comfort food, sometimes bright light food lets me pretend it’s a lovely spring. Tabouli Salad fits the bill with the fresh ingredients and flavour.

I’m not one for resolutions. We all know how long they can last, we’re lucky if it’s the end of January. But after several years of working on my mental health, injuries, etc, it was time to work on the physical stuff and lose the weight I gained from meds I was on. A big key was doing food bowls with various healthy choices to mix and match so I wouldn’t get bored. Tabouli salad is a great addition to this.

For this version I went heavy on the bulger wheat as some of the ingredients are quite strong and if I was going to be in a small cubicle with clients I couldn’t have dragon breath. I mean, dragons are cool if you are in Games of Thrones but not when you want clients to come back. The recipe will reflect the usual balance rather than what is shown in the photos.

Technique for Tabouli Salad

The bulger wheat needs to be prepped first. You can either boil the wheat for 12-15 minutes or add boiling water to the wheat, cover and let steam for 45 minutes. I tried both ways and they work but the steaming gives it a better texture.

Add the wheat to a bowl and add boiling water until it’s about 1/2in/1.5cm above the wheat. Cover with a tea towel and let steam for about 45 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.

While the wheat is steaming prep the fresh ingredients. I used parsley, tomatoes, cucumber, mint and scallions. You can add other ingredients such as celery or garlic. For the tomatoes discard the seed pulp. Chop all the ingredients into small bits. Mix the dressing and toss the ingredients and set aside until the wheat is ready.


Rinse the bulger wheat with cold water and drain. Toss with the other ingredients. It’s ready to serve but when not serving keep it covered and chilled in the fridge.

I enjoyed it with a soft boiled egg and smoked salad. Brain food!

Tabouli Salad

A fresh flavourful salad is a great choice for dinner or food bowls.

Course Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword Tabouli Salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8
Author Our Growing Paynes

Ingredients

Bulger Wheat

  • 1 cup bulger wheat, coarse
  • Boiling water, enough to cover wheat

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper

Instructions

Bulger Wheat

  1. Boil water.  Pour over the wheat until it’s covered by about 1/2in/1.5cm.  Cover with a tea towel and let stand for 45 minutes or until the water has been absorbed.  Rinse with cold water and drain.

Fresh Ingredients and Dressing

  1. Mix the fresh ingredients and dressing together.  Set aside until the wheat is cooked and drained.  Toss everything together.  It is ready to serve.  Store in the fridge covered.  

Chicken Corden Bleu Mac and Cheese

It’s official, our daughter has chosen where she is going to university, deposits paid, and so begins the journey. We’re excited for her but will miss her very much. It’s time though, she’s ready to fly. Now that tax season is over we’ll be going over any gaps in her knowledge with recipes, budgeting, etc. She actually is pretty good with this stuff but she has a list of things she wants to make sure she knows. Trust me, we are not sending our kids out into the world without knowing how to write a check or do laundry.

A big thing as she heads out into the world is knowing how to cook cheap and delicious meals. The kids had mentioned an idea of Chicken Corden Bleu Mac and Cheese that they were playing round with at the other house which would fit the bill. As it is a cool and rainy spring, we’re still in the comfort food season which makes this meal perfect.

Making the Chicken Corden Bleu Mac and Cheese

This can definitely be made on the cheap. Use chicken thighs instead of breast, lemon juice instead of white wine, etc.

Marinate the chicken a few hours beforehand. Whisk the ingredients together and add the chicken. Cover and chill in the fridge.

Grill the chicken until just cooked. It will then be cooked more in a skillet and oven so you don’t want to end up with rubbery chicken. It’s bad enough as a strange toy but awful when eating! I discovered I was out of propane for the grill so inside it was. We use our cast iron griddle constantly. Pity it’s so heavy!

While making the sauce cook up the pasta. Melt the butter and add the onion. Cook until they start to become translucent. Add the garlic and mustard. Bring to a simmer, careful not to let it catch. Add the flour and whisk thoroughly. Cook for a few minutes while whisking, Then add the remaining marinade, wine and milk. Keep stirring until it comes to a boil but don’t boil over! With milk it can happen in a blink which creates quite a mess.

In goes the cheese, chicken (cubed) and ham. Simmer until the cheese has melted and you have a creamy thick mixture.

Pour into the baking pan with the pasta and mix well. Top with panko bread crumbs.

Bake until the top is nice and golden.

It is ready to serve as soon as it is out of the oven. We did carb overload with fresh baked bread my husband made. It’s so good with butter! It went quickly as I found when I went to have some for lunch and it was all gone!

Chicken Corden Bleu Mac and Cheese

Comfort food with a twist.  Grilled chicken with corden bleu flavours.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Chicken Corden Bleu Mac and Cheese
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8
Author Our Growing Paynes

Ingredients

Marinade and Chicken

  • 1 lb chicken breast 16oz/454g
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Mac and Cheese

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp brown mustard
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine 4oz
  • 2 cups milk 16oz
  • 2 cups shredded jarlsberg cheese
  • 3-5 slices ham, chopped
  • 1 lb pasta
  • Panko Bread crumbs to cover top

Instructions

Marinade and Chicken

  1. Whisk the ingredients together.  Slice the chicken breasts in half lengthwise.  Coat and cover the chicken with the marinade and chill in the fridge for a few hours. 

  2. When it’s time to make the dish, grill the chicken until just done.  Cube and set aside.

Mac and Cheese

  1. Pre heat the oven to 350F/175C

  2. Cook the pasta

  3. In a saucepan, melt the butter.  Add the onions and cook until translucent.  Add the garlic, mustard and sea salt and pepper.  Cook for a few minutes then add the flour to create the roux.  Cook additional few minutes.  Add the remaining marinade, wine and milk.  Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Add the cheese and stir until melted.  Next add the chicken and ham.  

  4. Add the pasta and sauce to a baking dish.  Top with the panko bread crumbs. 

  5. Bake until the bread crumbs are golden.  Then serve.  

Apple Brie Chicken

“Out of the mouth of babes” is a very apt phrase.  Obviously it’s important to listen to your children.  Aside from the fact it’s healthy for them and can be a lot of fun for all, you never know when they will be a source of inspiration.  

One of my son’s chores is to help me walk the dogs.  It’s my favourite “task” to have him do as it means one on one time with him.  I get to listen about his day, find out how things are going for him, etc.  We also, surprise, surprise talk about food.  He mentioned trying a frozen stuffed chicken with apples and brie/camembert.  Ooh, I said, that sounds really good.  It promptly went on my list of thing to make.

Technique for Apple Brie Chicken:

This is a quick easy meal to put together with breaded chicken and a mushroom garlic sauce.

Sweet apples with brie is a lovely flavour combo.

Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.

Slice pockets into the chicken breasts and fill with the apple and brie.

Coat the chicken with beaten egg and dredge in panko bread crumbs.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Brown the chicken on all sides.

Finish cooking the chicken in the oven.  In the same skillet add the mushrooms.  Sauté for a few minutes before adding the garlic and rosemary.

Add the butter and wine and simmer for a few minutes.  Once the chicken is finished cooking serve with the mushroom sauce spooned over the chicken.

I served this with corn and roasted potatoes.  See, it does pay to listen to the kids. 🙂  

Apple Brie Chicken

A quick meal with apple and brie. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Apple Brie Chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Our Growing Paynes

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 6 slices brie or camembert
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Mushroom Garlic Sauce

  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine 3oz
  • 1 tbsp butter

Instructions

Chicken

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.

    Slice pockets into the chicken and stuff with the brie and apple.  Dredge in the beaten egg and Panko bread crumbs.  Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Brown all sides of the chicken and finish cooking in the oven.

Mushroom Garlic Sauce

  1. Sauté the mushrooms in the olive oil in the skillet for a few minutes.  Add the garlic and rosemary.  Cook for a few more minutes.  Add the wine and butter. Simmer for a minute or two.  

Serving

  1. Slice the chicken and spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.