Garlic Chicken & Mushroom Pasta

This is a real tasty dish which is surprisingly good on the calories at approx 540 calories per person.  This may be because it’s not swimming in cream like I often find so many pasta dishes!  This recipe serves two adults.

IMG_1309

Ingredients:-

150g Wholewheat Spaghetti
1 tsp Fresh lemon zest plus half a lemon juice.
1 tbsp of Olive Oil
200g Chestnut Mushrooms sliced
4 Spring Onions sliced
2 Cloves of Garlic sliced
30g Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese grated
6 Sprigs of fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
150g cooked chicken breast
Optional (2 tbsp) of single cream

Begin to cook your spaghetti as per the instructions.  In a large wok or frying pan place the olive oil, mushrooms, onions, garlic and cook for about 5 minutes on a low-medium heat.  Add in the cooked chicken breast, lemon zest and juice, 2/3rds of the Parmigiano cheese, a ladle full of water from the spaghetti which is cooking, and stir round to heat through and combine.  If using the cream add this now too.  Taste to see if you want to add any salt and pepper.

You can either add the spaghetti to the pan once it has cooked, or place the spaghetti in the dish and add the chicken and mushroom mixture on top.  I like to do the latter, as then you get more equal amounts of the chicken and mushroom mix.  I then combine the spaghetti and chicken and mushroom mix whilst in the bowl.  Then sprinkle over the remaining 1/3rd Parmigiano cheese over both bowls along with the flat leaf parsley.

 

 

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Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks

This cold weather makes me yearn for comfort food, and there can be no greater hug than from this slow cooked lamb shank dish.  Cooking them this way makes the meat tender and fall from the bone, and is probably one of my favourite lamb dishes.

lamb shanks

Ingredients
• 4 Lamb shanks
• 2 Leeks chunky chopped
• 2 Carrots chunky chopped
• 1 Red Onion chunky sliced
• 2 Sprigs of rosemary (or a teaspoon of dried)
• Handful of mint leaves chopped
• 2 Bay leaves
• 1 Glass of red wine
• 3 Fat Garlic Cloves chopped in half
• 3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
• 250mls of beef stock
• Ground black pepper
• 1 tbsp of olive oil
• (Optional) Mushrooms a handful chopped in half

This is all about preparation.  There is precious little cooking which if you are busy, can be a lifesaver.  Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees.  Heat the olive oil in a large casserole pan, add the lamb shanks and turn them around to brown slightly.  Once you have done this, remove from the heat and simply add all the other ingredients.  Give the dish a mix round and place the lid on.  Cook for about two and a half to three hours.  The meat will come off the bone shank very easy, so gently remove them when serving.  I like to use and eat the vegetables that they were cooking with, which turns to be a rich ratatouille style mixture.  I serve this with roast or mashed potatoes and green cabbage.

Fish Pie

This is a great dish for the family, especially if you are one of those people who are not particularly enamoured with fish, yet still wish to get nutrients into your body.  With the weather still being particularly cold in the UK, it is also nice to eat something warming and tasty, yet not cost the earth.

fish pie

Ingredients
• Enough mashed potato to cover the top of your pie dish
• Pinch of black peppercorn
• 1 medium onion roughly chopped
• 1 bay leaf
• 550ml of semi skimmed milk
• 1 carrot roughly chopped
• 500g of cod or haddock
• Handful of prawns
• 110g of salmon fillet and/or smoked haddock
• A generous handful of frozen peas or sweetcorn
• 170ml of double cream
• 60g of butter
• 60g of flour
• Salt & Pepper
• Optional – handful of grated cheese
Place the peppercorns, onion, bay leaf, carrot and milk in a large saucepan and gradually bring it to the boil.  Allow the milk to cool for 20 minutes or so.  This will allow the flavours to infuse into the milk, then strain off those ingredients, so that you are left with just the milk.  Then place this milk into something like a large frying pan, and add the fish pieces in.  Simmer for four minutes and then allow the fish to cool in the milk, for around 15 minutes.  Preheat your oven to 180 degrees centigrade.  Gently remove the fish from the milk and keep to one side.  In a measuring jug place the double cream, then add enough milk to make it up to around 500ml.  Make a roux by melting the butter with the flour and cook it gently, until it starts to foam.  Be careful to not let it overcook! Add the milk/cream mixture a little at the time, and whisk until the mixture is lump free.  This could take a few minutes but you should be left with a lovely creamy sauce.  You can add a little salt and some pepper here.  I caution you to be careful with the salt, if you are using smoked fish, as you do not want the dish to be over salty in taste.

Place an ovenproof dish on a baking tray.  You need a baking tray, as occasionally sauce bubbles over the top and the last thing you want is a mess in your oven.  Place the fish in the dish, along with prawns and peas/sweetcorn.  Pour oven the sauce and then cover with mashed potato.  A tip here, is to dot the mashed potato over the top and then smooth it together.  If you lump it all on top, your mixture underneath will go everywhere.  I like to make a fish scale pattern on the potato topping, but you can do your own style on top.
Cook in the oven for 30 minutes.  If you wish to add the optional cheese on top, pre-heat your grill, then sprinkle the cheese on the top of the potato and grill until golden brown.
Serve with some nice greens like broccoli.