Poached Chicken Salad with Lemon Herb Dressing

We’re into Week 2 of lighter lunches. So far, so good. Getting enough flavour in there to keep me entertained.

I’ve always been a big fan of poached chicken. I tried it for the first time a few years ago at work funnily enough (yes, sometimes office catering is decent) and I really liked it! As someone who always quadruple checks that my chicken is cooked properly, i feel this is a pretty foolproof way to cook it properly and have it taste good. I do use breast meat but it still stays incredibly juicy even if you feel like you may have poached it for too long.

I have used similar ingredients to my other salad (sweet potato was $2.50 per kg on the weekend!) and I am obsessed with the Coles brand Marinated Danish Feta so that made a comeback.

Alright, let’s get stuck in.

Poached Chicken Salad with Lemon Herb Dressing (makes 3 lunches)

What you’re going to need

Salad

2 chicken breasts

2 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup quinoa

1 medium sweet potato, chopped into small, even pieces

generous handful baby spinach

30g feta

Dressing (rough estimates, adjust to taste)

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 tablespoon chopped herbs (I used basil, oregano, sage and parsley)

1/2 teaspoon sugar

pinch of salt

Method

  1. In a large saucepan, place the chicken stock and breasts on a medium heat to poach. (Note: Cooking time will vary but if you are using fresh not frozen chicken, it will take at least 30 minutes. Ensure you have enough liquid to cover the chicken. Add tap water to adjust.)
  2. Whilst the chicken is cooking, roast the sweet potato in the oven with olive oil and salt to season. Cook until you can stick a fork through and it comes out easily.
  3. While your chicken and sweet potato are cooking, prepare the dressing. In a jug, add all of the dressing ingredients to taste. Whisk well and store in a jar/reusable container.
  4. After the chicken has finished poaching, remove from the saucepan and set onto a chopping board. Keep the liquid as this can be used to cook the quinoa.
  5. Cook quinoa as per packet instructions. (Note: I personally find quinoa pretty bland and tedious to cook. However, I have found cooking smaller quantities in the microwave works wonders. Added bonus, use the chicken stock to add more flavour.)
  6. Once everything is cooked and cooled slightly, you can start to assemble. Slice the chicken into even pieces. Place into a large bowl.
  7. Add the remaining ingredients into the bowl and mix well. If serving straight away, add as much dressing as desired. If storing for later, add dressing each time you serve it to avoid the dressing sitting at the bottom of your salad.

 

Pasta Salad with Greens

It has been way too long since my last post. Life got busy but I am so glad to be back.

I’ve had a bit of a change with my meal prepping routine for work lunches. Have shifted from fully loading my freezer to prepping fresh food for at least 3 meals of the week and then I can delve into my freezer stash.

I’m a big believer that a salad should always have carbs (don’t @ me). These can be any carbs you want, whatever makes you feel happy. I chose pasta this week but mixed it in with plenty of other tasty stuff.

I absolutely loved this salad and I hope you do too.

Pasta Salad with Greens (makes 3 lunches)

What you’re going to need

3 cups pasta

generous handful baby spinach

100 g green beans, chopped into smaller pieces

3 slices prosciutto, chopped into smaller pieces

handful kalamata olives

20 g feta (or as much as you like…you do you)

juice of half a lemon

1 tablespoon olive oil

cracked pepper

Method

  1. Cook pasta as per packet instructions.
  2. Whilst pasta is cooking, cook the prosciutto and beans in a fry pan with a small amount of olive oil. Remove pan from the heat once cooked.
  3. Once pasta is cooked, place the pasta in the pan with the prosciutto and beans. Add in the spinach and olives and stir well.
  4. Add in the lemon, olive oil and cracked pepper to taste. Top with feta.

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Chicken Noodle Soup

‘Tis the season to get sick unfortunately. We’re fast approaching winter, it’s getting chilly in the mornings but at least it’s still warm during the day. I’m a big soup fan but they can be quite time consuming to make in order to get the depth of flavour you want. However when you’re sick, the last thing you want to be doing is cooking up a storm for hours just to get that perfect broth.

Alas, I have a possible solution. A lot of the time, simple is best. And for me when I can barely breathe through my nose and I’m coughing up a lung, all I want is a nice flavoursome broth and some carbs. So think – broth and noodles. To make this a bit more substantial, I added in some chicken. Sounds like it’d take hours right? Wrong! I made this delicious soup in 30 minutes. Here’s how you can too.

Chicken Noodle Soup (serves 1)

What you’re going to need

2 cups chicken stock (I used 1 Chicken Stock Pot )

1 cup water

1 small onion (skin on), roughly chopped

1 clove garlic (skin on), roughly chopped

1 small carrot (skin on), roughly chopped

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 portion dried noodles (I used Chang’s Long Life Noodles but you can use any instant noodles)

a handful shredded BBQ chicken

olive oil

Method

  1. In a medium non stick saucepan on a medium heat, add the olive oil, onion, garlic and carrot. Fry until onions and garlic begin to soften and brown.
  2. Once mixture in the saucepan is fragrant, add the chicken stock, water and peppercorns and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. During the last 5 minutes of simmering, cook your noodles as per packet instructions (ideally have noodles that cook in a bowl of boiling water so you can set and forget)
  4. Remove the broth from the stove top and strain your liquid into a heatproof jug.
  5. Add the strained liquid back into the saucepan on a low heat. Add in the noodles and chicken and stir well. Keep on the heat for 2 minutes and then serve immediately.

Chicken Noodle Soup

 

Spinach, Rocket and Basil Pesto

Went a bit crazy on the weekend and cooked an entire packet of pasta for meal prep. I ended up splitting the mix into six generous sized portions. For quick and easy pasta dishes, I like doing an oil base with cherry tomatoes, basil, feta/bocconcini, olives etc. Unfortunately those items don’t freeze very well alas, pesto made an appearance once again in my kitchen.

Unfortunately due to the seasonality of basil plants, the one in our garden was looking a bit sad. There was enough on there to give me the basil flavour I was after but had to pump up the mix with something else. I had recently bought a mixed bag of baby spinach and rocket and completely forgot about it in the fridge. It had just enough life left that I could still freeze it and use it later. Figured it was a good way to get more veg into my dish so went with that.

I love the versatility of pesto. I have used it in a pasta dish but you can also use it for salad dressings, steak toppers or even on toast.

Spinach, Rocket and Basil Pesto

What you’re going to need

100g baby spinach and rocket mix

generous handful basil leaves

6 walnuts

20g grated cheese

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) – adjust if necessary

salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. In a pulse blender, add all ingredients.
  2. Blend until mix is well combined and at a desired consistency (I like mine a bit chunky)
  3. That’s it! Use immediately or freeze in portion sizes to use later on.

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Tagliatelle with Napoletana Sauce

I just love the versatility of using a tomato based sauce. It works beautifully on its own as simple passata with seasoning or you can amp it up and throw a heap of veggies in, or pretty much any kind of meat and maybe even some cheese!

So the Sunday night ritual continues and the dilemma of how can I make an amped up sauce that suits one who doesn’t like cheese, one who won’t eat a non meat dish and the other who wants more than “just” bolognese.

I’ve over killed it with mince at the moment so decided not to use it and went with chorizo instead as the meat option. I love the flavour it gives the dish and it’s a bit more substantial than bacon or pancetta. I also used Barilla Napoletana Sauce as my tomato base and added in a heap of veg to make it an even more nutritious meal.

To make this a complete dish, I used Barilla Egg Tagliatelle as the base and to mix through the chunky sauce! I love the texture it has and it holds the sauce really well. It also cooks really quick (5 minutes in boiling water).

So if you’re salivating and to want to give this dish a go, keep on reading for the recipe!

Tagliatelle with Napoletana Sauce (serves 4-5)

What you’re going to need

250g pack Barilla Egg Tagliatelle

1 jar Barilla Napoletana Sauce

125 g chorizo, sliced evenly (1 sausage)

3 medium cup mushrooms, sliced thinly

generous handful baby spinach

1/3 medium zucchini, finely grated

1/3 medium carrot, finely grated

handful pitted kalamata olives

6 basil leaves, roughly chopped

salt and pepper to season

1 tablespoon olive oil for frying

Method

  1. Prepare a large saucepan with salted water and place on a low heat.
  2. In a large frypan, add the olive oil and bring up to a medium heat. Once hot, add the carrot and zucchini and fry for 2-3 minutes. Once softened, add the napoletana sauce. Before discarding the jar, half fill with water and shake with the lid on to get the extra sauce stuck to the sides of the jar. Add the water from the jar to the sauce. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
  3. Once simmering, add the sliced mushrooms and spinach and reduce to a low heat.
  4. In a small frypan, fry the chorizo until cooked. Drain on some paper towel and set aside.
  5. Once water is boiling, cook the pasta as per packet instructions. Whilst the pasta is cooking, add the chorizo and olives to the sauce. With 1 minute to go, add the basil.
  6. Serve immediately on warmed plates. (your choice if you want to mix the pasta through the sauce or serve the sauce on top)

Disclaimer: The Barilla Pasta and Napoletana Sauce were provided as a gift. I only support and endorse products that I have used or cooked with myself. 

 

 

 

Herb Crusted Lamb Rack

I love a good Sunday roast and since I cook dinner at home every Sunday, guess what was on the menu tonight. Lamb! Served up with roasted veggies, it is a treat. It is a all round crowd pleaser at my house and it is easier to cook than you think!

I’m just providing the recipe for the lamb rack. Feel free to serve this with any sides that you like but simple roast veggies always do the trick if you get stuck!

Herb Crusted Lamb Rack

What you’re going to need

1 frenched lamb rack roast (~400g)

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1/2 loaf bread, crust removed (I used pane di casa)

zest of 1 lemon

handful fresh parsley

handful fresh thyme

salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  2. Remove lamb rack from packaging and trim any thick excess sinew. (a bit of fat is good so don’t cut it all off, just the harder bits that won’t render down in the oven)
  3.  On a lined baking tray, place the lamb in the centre and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Whilst the lamb is browning, prepare the crumb. In a pulse blender/food processor, place the crust-less bread, herbs, lemon and seasoning and blitz until well combined and a creates a chunky crumb.
  5. Once the 15 minutes have elapsed, remove the lamb from the oven and spread the dijon mustard over the top and sides. Add the crumbs evenly and cover as much of the lamb as possible leaving the bones exposed.
  6. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Pull out of the oven and leave to rest on the tray for 8-10 minutes before slicing.

Herb Crusted Lamb Rack

Chicken Sausage Casserole

It’s the long weekend, it’s cold and I am being especially lazy. Alas, I still wanted to cook something delicious and healthy for dinner tonight. I went with an adaptation of my mum’s sausage casserole.

Let’s get straight into it

Chicken Sausage Casserole (serves 4-5)

What you’re going to need

8 medium chicken sausages (mine were parsley flavoured)

1/2 cauliflower, roughly chopped

2 medium carrots, chopped evenly

1 potato, chopped evenly

1 potato, sliced thinly using a mandolin

50 grams fresh green beans, chopped evenly

500 mls/2 cups reduced salt chicken stock

2-3 tablespoons cornflour

1 tablespoon cream

salt and pepper to season

olive oil for frying

Method

  1. Place mandolin sliced potatoes in water and bring to a boil. Once boiling for 30 seconds, remove from heat and strain. Set aside.
  2. In a large cooking pot that can be used on the stove top, add some olive oil and bring to a medium heat. Add the sausages and cook until lightly brown. Remove from pan, slice into even pieces (~1cm each) and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  4. In the same cooking pot, add an extra drizzle of oil and add all the vegetables. Fry the veggies for 2-3 minutes. Add in the chicken stock, cream and cornflour. Leave to simmer for 5-10 minutes until sauce begins to thickens. Add the sausages back in. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
  5. In a large baking dish, add the casserole mix and top with the mandolin potato slices. Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes and spread with a pastry brush. Season with salt and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until potatoes on the top are golden brown. Serve hot*.

*Recipe is freezer friendly, save your leftovers!