cheap, Chicken

Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Pie- (84p per portion)

My grandparents who I was very close to always used to say, waste not want not. They both experienced the shortage of food, under the war and also the shortage of other necessities in those years. My grandad especially hated food waste, he remembered the depression and people queuing for food. My grandma was more off a practical cook instead of an experimental cook. She often cooked the same things. But what she cooked, she cooked really well, especially her biscuits. 

However, it never occurred to me how much the things my grandparents used to say to me as a child has actually stuck with me. I hate waste, I hate throwing good food out. Also, I use my nose and my eyes to judge whether food is still ok to eat. I think a lot of people have become way too reliant on the best before and use by date. I rarely stick to that, except when it comes to mussels and other sea food like that. But only because I once became really ill eating sea food that was well out off date, a friend cooked it for me… and ohh we were sick…

It’s a good thing I’m not too bothered about the dates, as I now tend to pop to my local shop in the evenings. Often, I pick up amazing offers at either 7pm when it’s 75% off the price and 9pm where its 90% of the price or 10p each item. The Other day I picked up lots of reduced Chicken… Drumsticks and whole chickens for 10p each!! I made a roast chicken not long ago for friends, I kept the carcasses and stripped off any meat we didn’t eat. I also stripped some meat of drumsticks that we didn’t get through. I have been keeping it all in the freezer.

This week Flipper has been poorly with tonsillitis and double-sided ear-infection and as he was relaxing, I spend all of Tuesday cooking, he loves being around whilst I cook. I made a lovely chicken soup on the carcasses and with the leftover meat (see my previous blog) and I made this chicken pie containing reduced mushrooms, leek, bacon and the leftover chicken together with a bit of the soup to make a yummy filling. I also had puff pastry, just the basic ready-made stuff from the super market. That’s one thing I can’t be bothered to make from scratch I must admit.

Blip really enjoyed the food, Flipper tried it, but with his hurting throat and ears he really wasn’t too interested. Luckily, he finally seems to be recovering.

I served the pie with green trees (broccoli) and yellow tree trunks (baby corns) which I had found reduced as well. Blip won’t eat them if I call it broccoli and baby corns. We also had potatoes on the side.

Chicken Pie

Serves 4 – 6 people

Ingredients

1 packet puff pastry
Leftover meat from chicken (approximately 400g)
1 leek
4 rashers of streaky bacon (or cooking bacon)
250 g closed cup mushrooms
1 garlic clove, grated
½ teaspoon nutmeg
250ml chicken stock (or leftover soup)
100 g cream cheese
100 g Greek yoghurt
1tbsp plain flour
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp oil 

Method:

  1. Take the puff pastry out of the fridge and leave out for about 10 to 15 minutes before using. Clean the leeks thoroughly then cut them into 1 cm discs, set aside. 
  2. Clean and quarter the mushrooms and put aside. 
  3. Make sure the chicken is made into small pieces and all deboned. 
  4. Chop the bacon into small squares. 
  5.  Now line the pie tray with 2/3 of the puff pastry, reserving the rest for the lid, ( I use a non stick tray so its not necessary to grease it first).  Place thelined  pie tray in the fridge until it needs using. 
  6. If cooking the pie straight away, turn the oven on now to 180C (fan oven) or 200C traditional oven. 
  7. Add the oil to a frying pan and fry the bacon on a medium heat until crispy and then set the bacon aside. 
  8.   In the fat from the bacon add the mushrooms, garlic, leeks and saute until the leeks has softened. Then add the chicken and stir.
  9. Now add in the yoghurt, cream cheese, nutmeg and 200 ml of chicken stock mix it well and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes. 
  10. Whilst the mixture is simmering, add the flour to the remainder of the chicken stock and mix it until it forms a paste. 
  11. Now add the flour mixture to the filling, mix and simmer for another 1-2 minutes, the mixture should have thickened up. Taste the mixture and season accordingly with salt and pepper.
  12. Add the filling to the Pie tray and place the remaining pastry on top so it forms a lid. You can decorate it with any of cut pastry if you wish. Ensure you make 1 or 2 holes in the pastry so steam can escape. 
  13. Place in the warm oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is nice golden and flaky. 
  14. Serve with vegetables of your choice and potato bits.

 

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Bon Appetite as my grandad would have said.

 

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per March 2019).

 

–      This time costings are harder as I’m using a leftover chicken. However, I have calculated it on ½ a leftover medium chicken from Tesco 1.3-1.5 kg.


Puff pastry £1.30
Chicken £1.50
Leek (£1.50/3)x1 =50p
Bacon (£1.25/14)x4 = 36p
Mushrooms (95p/300g)x250g=80p
Garlic clove 3p
Nutmeg 2p
Chicken stock (or leftover soup) (50p/10)x1 =5p
Cream cheese (49p/200g)x100g = 25p
Greek yoghurt (85p/500g)x100g =17p
Plain flour (45p/1500g)x 10g = 3p
Salt and pepper 2p
Oil (£3.50/5000ml)x15ml =1p

 Total cost £5.04  – Per Portion (£5.04/6)= 84p

 

 

cheap, Chicken, Meats, Soup

Waste Not Want Not – Chicken Soup – (94p per portion)

When I was about 9, my parents got divorced. The best thing they ever did in my opinion. They are as different as the sun and the moon and neither me or my brother have ever had any doubt that it was the best thing, they did for us. However, it brought a lot off changes into our lives. Some of them were good changes, however, it also brought its challenges with them.

I had to stay with my mum whilst my brother stayed with my dad. My brother is 4 years older than me. We were very close and still are very close, even when we don’t see each other that often.  I was only allowed to see my dad every other weekend and it was hard, as I had always been very close to my dad. Anyone who knows us, says there is no doubt I’m his daughter. Both with looks and the ways we are. I got a lot of positive traits from my dad.

One of the things I really enjoyed when I used to visit my dad and brother in the weekends, was the food he used to cook for us. My dad is a really good cook, he loves cooking and puts a lot of care into it.  Whereabout my mums cooking is rather horrendous (sorry mum) and more, let’s put this in a pot and cook it as quickly as possible. My mum’s food is either really plain or very hot and unbalanced.  There are only one or two meals she really cooks to perfection.

One of the things my dad often cooked for us was soup, not always chicken soup but often and ohh my days how I loved it! To this day when I visit my dad in Denmark, I always ask him if he can make me soup. He normally does it as he knows it makes me very happy!

I have recreated the recipe he used, however, changed it slightly as I wanted to make it from leftover chicken from Sunday roast, instead of from a whole chicken.  It almost tastes the same, but it will never be as delicious as the one my dad makes. Even if I use his recipe, it’s just not quite right.

Also, I haven’t made the traditional Danish meatballs and flour balls (melboller) we normally add to the soup back in Denmark, mainly as I still haven’t mastered the technique and they therefor don’t taste quite right.

The good thing is, that if you got enough leftover chicken meat and about 250ml soup you can turn all of this into a gorgeous chicken pie. If you are planning to make a pie, then you need about an extra 400g of chicken and 250 ml of soup.

Blip enjoyed the soup, Flipper didn’t but then he does have tonsillitis and an ear infection.

I served the soup as a starter before the chicken pie and I also have had it a few more times since.

I added a bit of pasta in for the kids, however, you can leave this out if you wish.  I would recommend Anellini or Filini pasta, as they take very little time to heat up. You would only need a small handful of this.

The soup freezes perfectly as well

Chicken soup

Serves

At least,  4 as a main course.

Ingredients

For the soup:

1 carcase
1 onion
2 Carrots
1 leek (green and white part)
1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
2 celery sticks
2 whole garlic cloves.
2 litters of water
Salt and pepper

Filling for the soup:

400 g chicken
2 leeks
2 carrots
50g Anellini or Filini Pasta (optional)
Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Clean the leek and chop into 1 cm discs, also cut the carrots into 1 cm pieces, cut the onion into quarters, unpeel the garlic and slice the ginger into 5 match sticks.
  2. Add the carcase to the pot, and all the vegetables for the soup, (remember to reserve the vegetables that are for the filling of the soup). Now add the 2 litters of water and a teaspoon of salt and pepper. Put the lid on and gentle boil the soup for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  3. If any white forms on the soup whilst simmering, gently remove with a spoon and continue to cook. You may have to do this several times during the cooking time. This ensures that the soup stay nice and clear.
  4. Now prepare the filling for the soup, ensuring the leftover chicken is cut into bite size pieces, peel the carrot and cut into 1 cm round disks. Also ensure to clean the leeks thoroughly and cut into 1 cm disks.
  5. After the 1hour and 15 minutes is up, sieve the soup and discard all the vegetables and the carcase of the chicken.
  6. Place the now clear soup back on the stove, season with salt and pepper and add all the filling for the soup. Including the pasta if you are planning to use it. Let it simmer for another 15 minutes or until the carrots are nice and soft.

 

Bon Appetite as my grandad would have said.

 

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per March 2019).

–          This time costings are harder as I’m using a leftover chicken. However, I have calculated it on ½ a leftover medium chicken from Tesco 1.3-1.5 kg.

 

Ingredients:

Chicken +(carcase) £1.50

Onion 10p

Carrots 18p

Leek £1.50

Ginger 15p

Celery sticks 10p

Garlic cloves. 6p

Pasta 99p/400g) x50g = 13p (https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/259347043)

Salt and pepper 2p

Total cost = £3.74 Per portion (3.74/4) = 94p per portion

 

Chicken, Meats

Chicken One-Pot – Food for the Soul – (92p per portion)

 

It’s been way too long since I have updated my blog and there are many reasons as to why. No, l didn’t just get tired off writing my blog. Unfortunately, life just took over and I got overwhelmed. The last thing on my mind was to write any posts. However, I have missed it and knew that it was time that I started again.

So you may be wondering what happened. We sold our house, however, the whole sale went messy and even though we had buyers to buy it, it took 6 months for the sale to get through. .However, this meant that we lost the deal on the house we where going to buy. Instead, for 4 months we lived in Air BnBs… believe me it was hard as we moved around a lot… Now.. we are finally renting a place until we find out if we are going to buy a place or not.

Also, Baby Flipper became a toddler, he is now 18-month-old. And Toddler Blip is no longer a toddler but a clever school boy. He started in reception in August and, touch wood, he is doing really well…

As to me, well I have finally decided that it would be too much for me to work, and instead I will for the time being be a stay at home mum to my two boys. Hopefully this means I’ll have plenty of time to focus on cooking delicious food for my two boys…

With all the confusion that has been surrounding my little family one of the things that has been constant is mine and our love of food. Yesterday when “Blip” came home from school, we made one of my favourite dinners. One Pot Chicken. It’s what I would call comfort food and food for the soul… (another reason I love this dish though is because it all can be made in one pot and therefore it saves on the washing up).

Blip and Flipper both ate the food, only refusing the tomatoes. Strangely enough, neither of my boys likes tomatoes very much. I used chicken drumsticks, however, you could easily use thighs instead, preferable with the bone in. I’m quite lucky that I have often found chicken drumsticks reduced in my local Co-op I got nine trays yesterday for 65p each. My friend got some off them. Its brilliant when you got friends you can share your bargains with.

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Now some people may say that 2 drumsticks per person isn’t enough, for our family its enough. However, you could serve it with salad and garlic bread on the side.

One Pot Chicken
–          Serves 4

Ingredients:

8 Chicken drumsticks
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp all-purpose seasoning
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 Rasher streaky bacon, chopped
400 ml Chicken stock
500g small potatoes, halved if big
100g Full fat soft cheese
200g peas
200g Sweet corn
200g Cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp finely chopped dill (optional)

Method:

  • Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and the all-purpose seasoning, then dust with the flour.
  • Heat the oil in a large lidded pan and brown off the chicken, this may need to be done in batches. When Brown set aside on a plate.
  • Without cleaning the pan, fry the chopped bacon in the pan until crisp. Then return the chicken into the pan and add the chicken stock, cover and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Then add the potatoes and cook for a further 20 minutes or until the potatoes and chicken is cooked through.
  • Now stir in the cheese, and add the corn and tomatoes and let it simmer without the lid for a further 3 minutes. Then add the peas and cook for about a minute so the peas are just cooked through. Now turn off the heath and add the dill, season further if needed.

Bon appetite – as my granddad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per February 2019).

 

Ingredients:
Drumsticks  £1.24
Flour (0.45p/1500g)x20g = 1p
All-purpose seasoning (0.95/100g)x10g =10p
Oil (£5/5000ml)x15ml= 2p
Streaky Bacon = (£1.25/12)x4=42p
Chicken stock (0.50/10)x1= 5p
Potatoes (0.77/1000g)x500g= 40p
Full fat soft cheese (0.49/200g)x100g= 25p
Peas (0.62p/900g)x200g=14p
Sweet corn (0.79p/907g)x200g =18p
Cherry tomatoes (0.85/330g)x 200g=52p
Dill (0.70p/30g)x15g = 35p

Total cost £3.68  – Per portion £3.68/4 = 92p

 

Chicken, Meats

Chicken, Leek and Mushroom “Leftover” Pie (£1.45 per portion)

Now the other day me and Toddler “Blip” had the Lemony chicken pasta, well he just had the plain pasta as he wasn’t feeling too well. His chest sounded really wheezy, luckily,after a good night sleep he seemed better. I decided to keep him home from nursery though.

I know for a fact that I don’t like going to work, if I’m not 100% and therefore I don’t believe he would like to go to nursery before he is feeling well again. Luckily, he loves being home with me and Baby “Flipper”. I love to see them together and how much love they got for each other. Toddler “Blip” adores his little brother and can’t stop giving him cuddles and kisses.


It was Halloween not long ago and Toddler “Blip” was absolutely obsessed with it, therefore, the pie we ended up making was “Halloween” inspired. Saying that, it was the wrong pastry to use if wanting to decorate it (which I knew), but he had fun, which was the most important part.


What was even more impressive is that he was willing to try the pie after, and he ate quite a bit of it

This recipe can be made either from the leftovers, just add the nutmeg, mushrooms and bacon, and add the pie lid, alternatively make it from scratch following the steps below. 


Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Pie

Serves 4 people

Ingredients

4 large closed cup mushrooms
3 streaky bacon rashers
Puff pastry
2 Onions, sliced
2 Leeks, sliced
2 Courgettes, chopped
4 Garlic cloves, Chopped
Thyme, 20 sprigs (or 2 tsp dried)
2 Chicken breasts
200 ml Chicken Stock
100 ml Crème Fraiche
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vegetable oil
½ – 1  Lemon depending on taste
Zest of one Lemon 

Method:

Start by thinly slicing the onions and put in a bowl. Then clean and slice the leeks into fine slices and cut the courgettes into 1 cm strips and add to the bowl and set aside.

Grate the garlic cloves and have it ready.  Also Pick the thyme leaves and set aside for later in the cook.  

Cut the mushrooms into slices.

Now, in a frying pan, fry the bacon until cooked but not crispy, take the bacon aside and fry the mushrooms in the fat from the bacon. Cut the bacon into 1 cm strips. Whilst mushrooms are cooking cut the chicken into 2 cm pieces.

When the mushrooms are cooked put aside together with the bacon. In the same frying pan add 1 tbsp of oil and cook the chicken for about 6 minutes or until brown all over. Then remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Turn the heat to a medium heat on the frying pan and add the onions, leeks and courgettes to the pan you cooked the chicken in. Cook the vegetables until they begin to soften, then add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Then return the chicken to your pan with the vegetables, the mushrooms and bacon, and add 200 ml of chicken stock to the pan together with 1 tsp of nutmeg, stir it and bring it to the boil. When boiling reduce the heat to low, add a lid and let it simmer for around 5 minutes with the lid then remove the lid and let it simmer for another 5 minutes or until reduced to half (and the chicken is cooked through).

When the chicken is done, spoon in the crème fraiche and warm it through. Then add the thyme, lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice and season with salt and pepper, if the mixture is too thick add a bit of water to it and mix well.

Then add the pie mixture to the a pie dish and roll out the puff pastry and place on top. Make a hole in the pastry to let out the steam. Cook in a 200C oven until the pastry is done.

I like to serve it with some vegetables on the side..


Bon Appetite – As my granddad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per November 2017)

Mushrooms 30p
Bacon 11p
Puff pastry 55p
Onions 20p
Leeks 50p
Courgette 69p
Garlic 12p
Thyme 70p
Nutmeg 5p
Chicken breasts £1.89
Chicken Stock  5p
Crème Fraiche 28p
Vegetable oil 1p
Lemon 35p 

Total cost £5.80 or £1.45 per portion

Chicken, Meats, Pasta

Delicious Lemony Chicken and Leek Pasta (£1.46)

I love pasta dishes, but often only cook it for me and Toddler “Blip” as the husband is still doing his low carb diet. If I do cook it for the husband I would give him Courgette Pasta instead of the normal pasta.

The first time I cooked this I cooked it for 4 people and I wasn’t left with any leftovers. However, this time when I cooked it I didn’t half my portion and still cooked it for 4 people instead of just me and toddler “Blip”.  As you can imagine, I was left with lots of leftovers, which I turned into a lovely pie the next day.

Luckily, I did realise when I was half way through and cooked pasta just for me and Blip. I think sleep deprivation does get to me these days, I seems to be doing some weird things occasionally. But then this is, apparently, rather normal when you got a baby and a toddler, or so I’m told.

I like this pasta dish because of the lemony creamy taste, created by the lemon and crème fraiche. You can use any kind of pasta you like, I always keep my eye out for offers on different shaped pasta, because I like to change them. But you could use basic penne or fusillo pasta.

I know that it would seems logical to mix the pasta and the chicken/leek mixture together in one pot and then serve and if you know its all going to be eaten this is brilliant. But as we rarely will eat it all I keep them separately, also, Toddler “Blip” is much more likely to eat them if served separately  

Unfortunately, Toddler “Blip” has not been too well lately with his asthma, so he only ate the plain pasta. However, the following day he ate some of it the mixture in the pie. I don’t like to put too much pressure on him to eat, especially when he isn’t feeling well. I remember being a small kid and how awful it was when people tried to push me to eat more, I was extremely underweight though and picky!

I try to always encourage him to at least try the food I have made, which seems to make him much more willing to try new things.  


Lemony Chicken and Leek Pasta

Serves 4,

Takes around 35 minutes

Ingredients

400g Rigatoni, or pasta shapes of your choice (4 people)
2 Onions, sliced
2 Leeks, sliced
2 Courgettes, chopped
4 Garlic cloves, Chopped
Thyme, 20 sprigs (or 2 tsp dried)
2 Chicken breasts
200 ml Chicken Stock
100 ml Crème Fraiche
1 tsp vegetable oil
½ – 1  Lemon depending on taste
Zest of one Lemon
Grana Padano, Grated (for serving)

 Method:

Start by chopping up and prepare all your vegetables and get them ready for the cook.

Start by thinly slicing the onions and put in a bowl. Then clean and slice the leeks into fine slices and cut the courgettes into 1 cm strips and add to the bowl and set aside.

Grate the garlic cloves and have it ready.  Also Pick the thyme leaves and set aside for later in the cook.

Place a large saucepan of water on the stove, and add salt to the water to cook the pasta, place a lid on the pan and leave on medium heat. Don’t add the pasta until the water is proper boiling.

Whilst the pasta is cooking, start making the pasta sauce by cutting the chicken into 2 cm pieces. Take a large frying pan and heat 1 tbsp of oil on high heat, then add the chicken and cook for about 6 minutes or until brown all over. Then remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Turn the heat to a medium heat on the frying pan and add the onions, leeks and courgettes to the pan you cooked the chicken in. Cook the vegetables until they begin to soften, then add the  garlic and cook for another minute.

Then return the chicken to your pan with the vegetables, and add 200 ml of chicken stock to the pan, stir it and bring it to the boil. When boiling reduce the heat to low, add a lid and let it simmer for around 5 minutes with the lid then remove the lid and let it simmer for another 5 minutes or until reduced to half (and the chicken is cooked through).

Now, cook the pasta by adding it to your boiling water and cook as per the instructions on the packet or until al dente. Then reserve a cup of the water and drain the pasta.

When the chicken is done, spoon in the crème fraiche and warm it through. Now, add the thyme, lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.  You can add a bit of the reserved cooking water if it has become too thick.

Serve on top of the pasta and with the grated parmesan on top.

Bon Appetite – As my grandad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per November 2017)

pasta 45p
Onions 20p
Leeks 50p
Courgette 69p
Garlic 12p
Thyme 70p
Chicken breasts £1.89
Chicken Stock  5p
Crème Fraiche 28p
Vegetable oil 1p
Lemon 35p
Grana Padano 60p

 Total cost £5.84 or £1.46 per person

Chicken, Freezer challange

Almost free, Chicken Stock (1.5l for 31p) – Freezer challenge

The freezer challenge

So, I have mentioned before that I save bones and skin and roasted carcasses from any chicken we eat in the freezer until I got a large portion. Then I make it into a super delicious stock, believe me, it can be used for so many things, soup, risotto, anything that requires stock. This time, I only had a small bag full of bones and skin, but it was more than enough to make 1.5l of stock!.


All it took was my slow cooker, the bones, and a few vegetables peelings and spices and stock was made. Obviously, it takes some electricity as well. But, when calculating the price of the stock, I do not calculate in the bones/skin, as that is calculated into my original dish (like the fake away I mentioned yesterday).


I think my husband thinks I’m slightly nuts making stock out of this, as I could just throw it, but I do enjoy it. I remember my grandad mentioning that under the second world war this was done and absolutely, nothing was wasted! Ohh.. how I miss my grandad and grandma at times. I wish I had asked them many more questions when they were alive, but at least I spend a lot of time with them.

Chicken Stock

Approximately 1.5l

Ingredients:

Skin/bones of chicken
3 cloves garlic
1 cm ginger, finely chopped
1 small onion, halved

The washed peel of a few potatoes and carrots (or you could just cut a carrot finely/and a potato)

Whatever, else of sad vegetable ends you got in the fridge. But nothing too overpowering, like broccoli and cauliflower (except if that’s the flavour you are going for).

Salt and pepper.

1.5-2l water (depending on your size of slow cooker as well)

Method:

There are two ways to do this A or B (I prefer B)

A) Bang it all in the slow cooker on high, forget about it for 4-6 hours or longer. This will intensify the taste. If you don’t find the taste strong enough, leave the mixture on high without lid for a while to intensify further.

After 4-6 hours, add salt / pepper to taste then strain the mixture and it is ready to be used.

B) Put all the ingredients into a pot and place on the stow (the inside of my slow cooker can go straight on the stow). on high heat, and roast the mixture, until the skin, bones starts slightly colouring and releasing the oils. Then add the water to the mixture and bring to the Boil.

When Boiling, put it into the slow cooker and leave it on high for 4-6 hours or longer, then after this time, add salt/pepper to taste. Strain the mixture and it is ready to be used.

If you don’t find the taste strong enough, leave the mixture on high without lid for a while to intensify further.

Bon appetite – as my granddad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per July 2017)

Ingredients:

Chicken bones and skin (free)
Garlic 9p
Ginger 5p
Onion 10p
Salt and pepper 2p
Left over vegetable peelings 5p? (estimated as it depends what you are using!)

Total 31p

Asian, cheap, Chicken, Chinese, Fakeaway, Freezer challange

Sweet and Sticky Chilli Chinese Chicken Fakeaway Stir fry (89p per portion) – The Freezer Challenge

Freezer challenge 

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I’m doing a bit of a freezer challenge, as we got way too much random stuff in the freezer that needs using up. I would like to get as much of it used before the baby arrives. However, I do think I have started way too late to achieve this, but never mind.

My husband was away yesterday for a business meeting, so only needed to cook for myself and Toddler “Blip”, however, I still ended up cooking for 4. At least I can freeze the portions and I got some ready meals for when the baby arrives.

Now, you may ask what is a Fakeaway? In my opinion, it is exactly the same as a takeaway, except that it is made at home and it resembles a takeaway. I always, like to cook from scratch, one, it is cheap, two, I know what goes into the food and three I know how fresh it is.

In the freezer, I had quite a bit of chicken, 2 drumsticks and 4 chicken thighs. In general, I like to use chicken thighs instead of chicken breast for stir-fries, it got more taste and it is much cheaper. I must have been lazy when I froze the thighs, (or just pregnant) as I froze them with skin on and bones in. But never mind, I defrosted it and removed bones from thighs and drumsticks and there was almost 450g of meat. Which is a perfect amount for 4. But you can use more/less as it fits with your family, don’t forget you can always bulk it out with more vegetables.

Now, with the skin and bones, don’t throw it away, instead debone them and remove the skin then put it in a separate freezer bag and keep in the freezer, until you got quite a large portion. Why you may ask? Because it makes a fantastic stock (almost for free). I will post the recipe for that another day.

I served the Fakeaway with rice which Toddler “Blip” loves. He tried the chicken and vegetables but wasn’t keen, but at least he tried it.

Also, because I cook it wanting my son to eat it, I don’t add the chilli, but use my special chilli oil instead.

Sweet and Sticky Chilli Chicken Stir-fry

Serves 4

Ingredients

450g chicken thighs (bones and skin removed) cut in chunks
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Cloves of Garlic (finely sliced)
2 Cm Ginger finely cut (finely sliced)
2 Hot Dried Chillies (or 2 teaspoons hot chilli flakes or to taste)
1 Medium onion (cut into wedges)
2 Medium carrots (cut into slices)
1-1/2 bell peppers cut into bite size pieces (I used a combination of red, yellow and green, but you could choose just one colour)
3-4 Medium Mushrooms (quartered)
Handful Sugar Snap Peas
2 Spring onions (diagonally sliced)
1/2 tin pineapple pieces (reserve juice for Marinade)
Handful Salted Cashew nuts (optional)

Marinade

All the juice from the Pineapple tin
3 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp Soy Sauce
½ tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp Corn flour
Served with rice for four, approx. 240g

Method:

This dish is really best if you can let the chicken marinate for a few hours or overnight. I marinated it for 6 hours. However, even if you just marinated it for half an hour it would still taste amazing.

Start by mixing all the ingredients for the marinate, leaving the corn flour out, this needs to be added at the last minute when cooking. Then cut the chicken into bite size pieces and combine with the marinate. Leave covered in the fridge until needed.

Because this is a quick cook, you need to prepare all your vegetables before starting to cook. You won’t have time to do it as you go along.

Slice the garlic and ginger and place in a bowl with the chilli. Then cut the onion and carrot, and bell peppers and place together with the mushrooms and place in a different bowl. Then wash the sugar snap peas and place it in a bowl with the spring onions.

Have the pineapple pieces ready and the cashews if using them.

The cooking

Cook rice as per packet, or your preferred method (I use a rice cooker)

In a none stick wok, add the oil, and bring it up to high heat, then add the garlic, chilli and ginger and fry it for around 30seconds to 1 minutes. Now, with a slotted spoon remove the chicken from the marinate and place in the wok (reserve the marinate, we need this later). Now stir-fry the chicken for around 2-3 minutes until its coloured all over. If you find that a lot of marinate came into the wok, then pour it off back into the reserved marinade.

Now add the onion and the carrot to the wok and cook for a further 2 minutes. Then add the bell peppers and mushrooms cook for another minute. Then add the pineapple pieces and pour in the reserved marinade (except for 2 tbsp worth), give the mixture a good mix and cook for around another 2 minutes, until it starts slightly reducing. Then mix the corn flour into the last bit of marinade and pour it into the wok give it a good stir. At this point add the Mangetout and spring onions. Cook until it got a sticky consistency, shouldn’t take long.

Serve, with the cashews on top, with steamed rice on the side. Prawn crackers goes well with it.

Bon appetite – as my granddad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per July 2017)

Ingredients:

Chicken thighs 99p
Vegetable oil 3p
Garlic 9p
Ginger 10p
Dried Chillies 5p (bought at Asian Grocer)
Medium onion 10p
Medium carrots 5p
Bell Peppers 46p
Mushrooms 20p
Sugar Snap Peas 35p
Spring onions 10p
Pineapple pieces 30
Cashew nuts 20p

Marinade

Ketchup 5p
Tomato puree 5p
Brown sugar 5p
Ginger 10p
Garlic 6p
Soy Sauce 10p
½ tsp salt 1p
Pepper 1p
Corn flour 3p
Rice 11p

Total price: £3.59  (per portion 90p)