Hassle Free Chicken With Chilli, Lemon And Mint

Every now and again I really get stuck in a rut at meal times. As you probably know by now, I love flavour. This is something that my kids don’t always agree with me on! And who can blame them right? I don’t remember eating the type of food I try to cook for them. Our meals were always the same most week days. I always knew Tuesday would be Lasagne, Friday would be fish fingers and we’d almost always have a roast on a Sunday. Nothing wrong with that. Absolutely not. It’s just not me these days.

So anyway, here I was feeling a bit stuck. Dinner needed to be quick and tasty. My fridge was also looking a bit on the bare side. I therefore decided to get some inspiration from my recipe books, and I came across this little beauty. To make matters better, I had all of the ingredients to hand. That is always a bonus. Especially when you live in the back end of nowhere.

This recipe is lifted straight from Nigel Slaters classic guide to comfort food. It really did hit all the right notes and was so easy to make.

Ingredients:

400g Chicken fillets

1 medium sized red chilli, seeded and chopped

1tsp dried chilli powder

2 pinches of saffron

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

Handful of mint leaves (about 20)

4 tbsp olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

Halves of lemons to serve

Method:

Cut the chicken into finger size strips and pop into a dish. Blitz the fresh and dried Chillies, the garlic, saffron, most of the mint , olive oil and most of the lemon juice for about seconds until you have a lumpy marinade.

Spoon the marinade over the chicken strips and set aside for half an hour or so.

Next up, heat a frying pan (or you can use the grill) and lightly oil it. Add the chicken to the pan and gently fry for 4-5 minutes on each side until they are golden brown in places (make sure the chilli doesn’t burn). Season the dish with some salt and the remaining mint and lemon juice.

I served this (as suggested by Nigel Slater) with some well buttered couscous, flecked with coriander and coriander. I also added a blob of Creme Fraiche on top, which I mixed some finely chopped mint leaves into.

Bon appetite lovely people! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Squash And Vegetable Soup

It’s that time of year when everywhere you look, pumpkins and squashes adorned the shelves in shops.

If you’re looking for something to do with them other than carving out ghoulish faces or pumpkin pie, look no further!

This delicious soup is hands down the tastiest thing I make at this time of year, and to make matters even better, my kids eat it! Surely that’s worthy of a parent point?!

Ingredients (serves 4 with plenty for seconds);

1kg Squash or pumpkin

2 carrots, cubed

2 large potatoes, skin on cubed

2 small onions, sliced

2 cloves of Garlic (or more, depending on taste buds)

2 pints of Vegetable stock

Sprigs of Rosemary & Sage

Seasoning

3 slices of brown bread

1tbsp olive oil

Method;

Start off by quartering the squash and carefully cut off the skin. Cut into large chunks, deseed and chuck them into a large saucepan.

Next, add the remaining vegetables and crushed garlic. Remove the herb leaves from the stalks and roughly tear up and pop on top of the vegetables.

Cover the ingredients with 2 pints of vegetable stock and bring up to boil on a medium heat.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and leave to cook for about 35/40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The next part is up to you and depends on your preference. You can eat the soup nice and Chunky as it is, or you can pulse it with a handheld blender for a few seconds. I chose the latter as my kids like their soups nice and smooth.

While the soup is cooling down, roughly chop up 3 slices of bread (crusts off) to make some croutons and place a large frying pan onto a low heat to warm up. Add a splash of olive oil and add the cubed bread.

Gently fry until the croutons are nice and crisp on each side, it should only take a couple of minutes.

Now serve up the soup and pop some crispy croutons on top.

Peruvian Inspired Sweet Potato And Chicken Soup

This earthy Peruvian inspired soup is my own interpretation of a Jamie Oliver recipe. I’m a bit of a maverick when it comes to following recipes, often straying heavily. However, the core herbs and spices are the same, I just adapted some of the vegetables with what I had to hand. I must say, this is a very tasty soup indeed!

Ingredients;

1 large red onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped

2 mixed colour peppers

3 potatoes

2 small sweet potatoes

1kg chicken thighs, skin off

Olive oil

1tsp ground cumin

1tsp coriander leaves

Pinch of ground cloves

1.5l of Vegetable stock

2 limes, halved

100g Couscous

1 bunch of fresh coriander

Method;

Prep all of the veg and once done, place a large casserole pan on a medium – high heat to warm up. Put the chicken and 1tbsp of olive oil in the pan and stir well. Brown off the chicken.

Next up, tip in the herbs and spices stirring regularly. Stir in all of the prepped veg and cook for 15 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring the mixture up to boiling point. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 30 minutes.

Put the limes in and pour in the couscous. Cook for a final 15 minutes until the couscous is cooked through. Remove from the heat. Season well and stir in the chopped fresh coriander.

Bon appetite!

Chicken Lollipop Dippers

If you are looking for something a little bit different for the kids, look no further than this Jamie Oliver recipe. My children love these lollipops and the little dip that went with it. What’s more, it was super easy, quick and hassle free.

Ingredients;

2 skinless chicken fillets

Olive oil

Seasoning

4 tbsp natural yogurt

2 tsps tomatoes paste

4 Lollipop sticks, soaked in water

Method;

Start off by cutting the chicken fillets into chunks and use a sharp knife to make a deep slit into the bottom of each piece of chicken.

Rub oil into each chunk and season well. Insert a lollipop stick into each slit and gently warm up a frying pan on a low – medium heat.

Place the chicken lollipops into the frying pan for 7 minutes on each side, until golden.

Whilst the chicken is cooking, mix the yogurt and tomato paste together in a bowl, seasoning to taste.

When everything is ready, plate up with your sides of choice and enjoy!

Bon appetite!

Autumnal Pork & Vegetable Stew

This delicious stew is perfect for these cooler days and tastes like a hug in a bowl. It’s so easy and the kids love it, so a real winner in our house!

Ingredients (serves 4 with plenty left for seconds);

3 pork chops, fat off and removed from the bone (optional)

3 potatoes, skin left on & cubed

1 sweet potato, skin left on & cubed

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 carrots, cut into chunks

1 apple, cored and diced

6 cherry tomatoes, halved

Cup of frozen peas

Splash of balsamic vinegar

Handful of fresh Sage, crushed and chopped (keep a few leaves aside to garnish when you plate up)

1 vegetable stock cube

Sprinkling of gravy granules

Method;

Preheat the oven to gas mark 180°C, and place all of the ingredients (except for the stock cube, gravy powder and frozen peas) into a large casserole pot. Cover with water and bring to boil on a medium heat on the hob. Reduce the heat to a simmer and sprinkle in the vegetable stock cube, stir. Put the lid on and pop into the oven.

After an hour, remove the casserole pot from the oven and stir. Sprinkle a generous amount of gravy granules over the top, stir and put it back into the oven for 45 minutes, until the gravy is thick and the vegetables are tender. Stir in the frozen peas and pop back in the oven for a further 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool down until ready to eat. Garnish with some fresh sage leaves and serve with chunky bread.

Bon appetite!

Easy Packed Lunches – Food That The Kids Can Help Out With

The theme this week is packed lunches. What do you put in your kids lunch box? We’ve always stuck to sandwiches, day in and day out for oh, about 7 years now. I’ve decided to change all of that and be a bit more experimental.

These gorgeous little pizzas/patties/pastries with toppings (not quite sure what to call them, if I’m honest) have gone done a storm at lunch time.

They are so easy to make – the kids got stuck in with their favourite toppings – and they cost pennies.

This time around I totally cheated and bought some ready made pastry (it was on offer for 90p – bargain!). We heated and thickened up a tin of chopped tomatoes, adding in some mixed herbs. Once the sauce had thickened, I took it off the heat and placed to one side to cool down.

The kids used scone cutters to cut out the bases, then we set about choosing the toppings. They went for green peppers, left over green pesto sauce (https://mumsinreallifecouk.wordpress.com/2019/08/22/basil-pesto-sauce/),sliced baby bells and Chiritzo.

Once all of the ingredients had been chopped and sliced, we set about spooning a blob of the tomato sauce on top of the pastry bases. We then sprinkled over the ingredients, made them look pretty and popped them into a preheated oven at 180•C for about 12 minutes.

As you can see, they look dreamy. Leave to cool down on a wire rack and enjoy! Bon appetite.

Here at Mums In Real Life we’re always looking for tips and hints. Please do share any favourite Packed lunch ideas with us. Thank you x

The Scuffin Way – Healthy Packed Lunch Boxes

The summer holidays have come to an end and it’s back to making packed lunches for the little ones. It can often be challenging to think of different healthy foods to pack in their lunch boxes, this is therefore a great choice and it certainly ticks the boxes in terms of taste.

I hadn’t heard of Scuffins before, until I picked up a recipe book from a trendy young lady called Izy Hossack. They are the shape of a scone but with the texture of a muffin. They also taste pretty damn good and got a massive thumbs up from my kids, which is always a bonus.

I used Izy’s recipe as a guide, but made quite a few adaptations based on the quantity I needed and the fruit I had to hand. Let’s go!

Ingredients (makes 6);

30g Red Lentils

1 Egg

3tbsp Milk

40ml Olive Oil

1/2tsp Nutmeg

80g Plain Flour

30g Oats

1tsp Baking powder

150g Pears (Cooked) & Strawberries – cubed

30g Demerara Sugar

Method;

Kick off by preheating the oven to 180•C fan. Line a baking tray with baking paper, or use fairy cake cases.

Next up, put the lentils into a saucepan and cover with water. Boil for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and place back into the saucepan.

Stir in the egg, oil, milk, nutmeg and sugar and stir well. Add the remaining ingredients combine everything together.

Using a tablespoon, scoop out about 2tbsp worth onto either baking paper or into the cases (I tried both) until the mixture has been shared out evenly.

Bake in the oven for 17 – 20 minutes, until spring and golden. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

Bon appetite!

Quick Pesto Sauce

If like me, mealtimes at the moment are a bit of a rush, why not give this green pesto a try? Knocked up in less than 5 minutes, it’s the perfect solution for a quick tea time meal. Stir into some pasta or spread on top of chicken fillets, voila!!

Ingredients;

50g Fresh basil leaves

30g Parmesan (more or less, as required)

60g Pine nuts

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 cloves of garlic

2 tbsp olive oil

Method;

Put everything (except for the Parmesan) into the blender and blitz for a few seconds.

Add the finely grated Parmesan, season to taste and add more olive oil or lemon juice to loosen, if required.

Crust Topped Cod Fillets

If you are looking for a light and healthy yet tasty fish recipe, you’ve landed in the right place.

This delicious dish is unbelievably easy to prep and only takes 12 minutes to bake. Want to know more? Let’s go!

Ingredients:

2-3 Cod Fillets

2 slices of stale bread (crusts off)

2 cloves of garlic

Small handful of cornflakes (optional)

10 – 12 black pitted olives

2 sprigs of rosemary (off the stem)

1 tbsp Oregano

Salt & Pepper

1 egg white

Method:

Preheat the oven to 220•C (fan) and lay the fillets onto an oven proof tray. To make the crust, place the bread, cornflakes, garlic, 4 olives and herbs into a mixure and blitz. Season to your taste.

Next up, coat the top of the fillets with the egg white and crumble the crust on top. Spray lightly with cooking oil.

Sprinkle the remaining olives and some fresh herbs around the fillets and bake in the oven for 12 minutes.

Serve with side of choice – we had mash & peas!

Bon appetite!

Cod And Crispy Pancetta

Here at Mums In Real Life we’re all about ease & lifestyle balance. During the week especially, with a busy household to keep in shape it’s often unrealistic to spend hours cooking. That’s what makes this dish so perfect. This light but warming recipe is ideal for summer evenings & is incredibly easy to make. It’s also very budget friendly, and tastes delicious. I found it on the Good Food website and have made a few tweaks.

Here’s the link for the original recipe:

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/cod-olives-crispy-pancetta

I will definitely be making it again as it was so yummy! Here goes:

Ingredients (for two people):

2 Cod fillets sliced into large strips

400g Tin chopped Tomatoes

2tbsp green or black pitted Olives

1tbsp sun dried tomatoes

3 pieces of Pancetta

Freshly chopped Parsley to garnish

Salt & Pepper

Method:

Start by preheating the oven to 200•C/180•C fan/gas mark 6.

Place the tomatoes, olives and sun dried tomatoes into a bowl and season well. Give it all a good mix.

Transfer into an oven proof dish (I used 2 small oven proof dishes so we could eat straight from them) and lay the cod fillets on top.

Drizzle over some olive oil and place into the oven for 20 minutes. Just before they are due to come out, heat up a small amount of olive oil in a pan and crisp up the pancetta. Remove your cod bakes from the oven and top with Pancetta and freshly topped parsley.

Serve with Rice and enjoy!

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