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Stuffed Chicken Breasts w Peppadew Sauce

I know this photo is terrible, I took it in a not very well lit room, on my knee just slightly before I crammed all of this fabulousness down my very hungry throat. You should thank me for taking the time out to photograph it at all.

This was one of those ‘what do I have in the refrigerator’ meals and it turned out amazing.

The chicken breast was stuffed with mushrooms, spinach and feta cheese, smothered in a sauce made of cheese stuffed peppers and then baked in the oven for an hour. The potatoes were just nuked in the microwave and then topped with cream cheese (Philadelphia) and Jalapeno slices (yummy!). The broccoli was just boiled quickly and served, I like broccoli however it comes.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts w Peppadew Sauce

1 small container of stuffed Peppadews (left over from a tapas meal, about 8 or 10 in all)
4 chicken breasts
6 mushrooms, sliced
Fetta cheese
Fresh Spinach leaves

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Blend the peppadews with a little of the marinating oil to make a smooth sauce.
Slice a pocket in each chicken breast.
Stuff each breast generously with some mushroom slices, feta and spinach.
Place in an oven proof baking dish and smother with peppadew sauce.
Bake for approximately 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through.


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Mushroom Parcels

This was last night’s dinner, whipped up with help of imagination and a recipe that wasn’t really anything like this but got me thinking…

As you can tell, my mushroom and vegetable phobic husband is not at home so my daughter and I are indulging in vegetable laden meals all of which include mushrooms. True to my belief that anything tastes better if you wrap it in pastry, this turned out a treat and used up some ingredients that were getting toward their use by dates.

Mushroom Parcels

2 sheets of puff pastry
1 Tbsp olive oil
8 button mushrooms
3 spring onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
1 cup ricotta
2 handfuls of spinach
1/2 cup grated cheese
salt
freshly ground black pepper
milk

Preheat the oven to 220C.
Cut each pastry sheet into 2 large triangles.
To make the filling, heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently sauté the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes, add the mushrooms and cook for a further two minutes.
Add the spinach and heat gently for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Season to taste, turn off the heat and then stir in the ricotta and cheese.
Spoon the mixture on to one half of each pastry triangle, brush edges with milk, fold over and press open sides closed. Brush tops with a little milk.
Place in oven for 20mins or until golden and crisp.


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Chicken and Mushroom Casserole

My husband and I spend almost every waking hour of every day together and I miss him when he travels for work. We keep in touch via phone when he is gone but it isn’t the same, I miss him in so many different ways. The one thing that is good about his travelling is the opportunity to cook meals that he wouldn’t enjoy if he was here. This in no way makes up for him not being around, I’d give up mushrooms happily if he would just stay home but it is a little silver lining to the clouds that cover my day when he isn’t here.

I love mushrooms, I don’t often cook with them as my husband abhors them and they are a very pervasive flavour, you can’t just pick them out and make it okay, so I just leave them out. I love to have them on toast for breakfast (that I can do for just me) but I really love them teamed up with chicken, I think that makes the best flavour combination of them all.

Last night’s meal was just for me. My daughter (who also loves mushrooms) was inexplicably not hungry but I had a bag of mushrooms in the fridge, brought in expectation of an upcoming business trip and I was not letting them go to waste.

The preparation of this dish was fairly quick and although it took some time to cook it was certainly worth the wait. The rice cooked in the mushroom juices, stock and cream and could have been a meal just on its own. The chicken was half roasted, half poached from being exposed to the oven heat on one side and being submerged in the rice and liquids on the other side and was delicious.

There is still a fair amount left and I am very much looking forward to lunchtime when I can decently get dug into it again, I’ll freeze any leftovers for another meal down the track. Happily the business trip was only an overnighter and it is back to mushroomless meals again for the foreseeable future. This was certainly a meal worthy of the wait.

Chicken and Mushroom Casserole
Serves: 4

45 mL olive oil
6 chicken pieces
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 onion, sliced
250 g mushrooms, chopped
1½ cups uncooked rice
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
500 mL chicken stock
125 mL white wine
250 mL cream
Salt and pepper to season

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and brown the chicken.
Set aside and then saute the onions, garlic and mushrooms.
Add the rice and stir to coat with oil. Add oregano and transfer to a casserole dish.
Place chicken on top.
Combine the stock, wine and cream and pour over chicken.
Season with salt and pepper.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until rice is tender.

Test the rice in several places before dishing out, I discovered that although the first spoonful of rice seemed cooked there were a few spots that could have used a little longer.


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Fungi pies for one

This was just waiting for my husband to be away. He HATES mushrooms, go figure.
I went to the supermarket last week and mushrooms were on special, half price in fact, so 1 ½ kg of them found their way into my basket (don’t ever say I don’t do things in the extreme). I knew I had a week coming up when the husband would be absent so a plan was hatched to enjoy some mushroom pies while he was gone. I have a pie maker so it makes the casing in pastry bit really easy.

By mushroom pies I don’t mean beef and mushroom or chicken and mushroom, these were to be full on, nothing but, good old fungus pies. Oh and they are delicious, good hot, surprisingly good cold too. The husband has been warned not to attempt to touch any homemade pies he comes across in the freezer when he arrives home, they will NOT be to his liking.

This recipe made 24 pies so I had enough to freeze for a later easy dinner item, meat pie for him, mushroom pie for me. Perfect!

Mushroom Pies

1 1/2kg mushrooms, sliced (do it with a food processor for goodness sake!)
4 onions, diced
50 g butter
2 tsps dry vegetable stock
2 tsps cornflour
½ cup water
salt & pepper
1 good bunch of parsley (from the garden), chopped
12 sheets of store bought puff pastry

Microwave the onions in the butter for 2 mins (or cook them in a big pot, I would have but I’d already dumped my mushrooms in it before I decided I needed the onion).
Place (maybe not dump) your mushrooms in a large pot along with the onions and butter.
Cook over a low heat until the mushrooms reduce and go soft.
Stir the stock and cornflour into the water and add to the mushrooms, stirring constantly.
Season with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley.
If you are lucky enough to have a pie maker then each sheet of pastry will make 2 pies. If not then make small or large pies as you desire.
Bake in the oven at 180C until golden brown.


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Pastry Parcels

Pastry parcels, a weakness of mine. Anything is good packaged in pastry. Okay, not everything, but most of anything is good if you bung it in a pie or in a parcel made of puff pastry. The following two recipes are ones I have altered lately to put into triangles of puff pastry. They were both delicious.

Chicken Pie
Serves: 4

1 BBQ chicken, chopped
250 g mushrooms sliced
1 onion, sliced
½ cup cream
2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons plain flour
90 g butter
Salt and pepper
Puff pastry cut diagonally into triangles

Preheat oven to 190C.
Cook mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of the butter, set aside.
Cook onion in a little oil, set aside.
Melt remaining butter in fry pan and blend in flour. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the stock, slowly stirring to make a smooth paste.
Stir in cream and season with salt and pepper.
Add in mushrooms, onion and chicken.
Place spoonful’s onto pastry and seal around edges to form parcels.
Bake until pastry is golden.

I made these for Christmas day. They went in seconds. The leftover filling was perfect for pastry parcels.

Bacon And Mushroom Vol-Au-Vents
Makes 36.

15g butter
2 green shallots, finely chopped
2 bacon rashers, finely chopped
100g mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tablespoon plain flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup grated tasty cheese
2 tablespoons packaged breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
36 small vol-au-vent cases

Combine butter, shallots and bacon in a bowl, cover, cook on HIGH for 2 minutes,
stir in mushrooms, cover, cook on HIGH for 2 minutes. Stir in flour,
cook on HIGH for 1 minute. Stir in milk, cook on HIGH for about 2 minutes or
until mixture boils and thickens, stir in the cheese.
Place teaspoonful’s of mixture into vol-au-vent cases, sprinkle with combined
breadcrumbs and parsley.
Cover a plate with absorbent paper, place one-third of the filled vol-au-vents
on the plate, cook on HIGH for 1 minute, transfer to serving plate.
Repeat in the same way with remaining vol-au-vents.


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Baked Chicken

Is it just me, or in this age where it is so very easy to send bulk emails to faceless persons full of information of a varying degree of use, are people just getting ruder? Employers seem to be adopting the attitude of ‘I am a very busy and important person, if I want you to know something I’ll call you, otherwise assume you are of little interest to me.

I have been on several job interviews lately, most employers list that if you unsuccessful, they will not bother to contact you. But even those people I have met with in person and have shaken hands with, that have told me they will contact me in the next 2 business days to let me know if I am successful or not, have never bothered to call.

Hell, I don’t want flowers from these guys, or even a phone call if it is too confronting for them but how about an email? How hard is it to collate a list of emails, write ‘sorry, you were unsuccessful’ and hit send? You don’t even have to write my name, just let me know so that I can move on and stop wondering.

People suck. Job hunting sucks. People make it worse.

I’m going to eat something.

I made this a few weeks back. I then promptly moved the recipe and forgot which one it was.
I had this great looking photo of a meal and no corresponding recipe. Things like that make me feel old.

BAKED CHICKEN
6 Servings

1.3kg Chicken pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped (I only had red)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
225g sliced mushrooms (I left these out for my husband’s sake)
2 cups Ketchup
2 cups chicken broth
1 Tbls Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbls black pepper
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 180C.
Place chicken in a baking dish and set aside. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil.
Saute onion, bell pepper, garlic, and mushrooms until golden brown.
In a medium bowl, combine ketchup, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper.
Pour the ketchup mixture over the sautéed vegetables   in the skillet. Bring the vegetable mixture to a boil, and then pour over the chicken.
Place dish in the oven and bake 1 1/2 hours or until no longer pink inside and juices run clear.
Serve over rice or steamed vegetables.


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Mushrooms as big as your head

I made these an age ago. We had a BBQ and I wanted something different to have along with meat and salad. My daughter was home and my son was coming down, perfect time to whip out a mushroom recipe while there would be more than just me to eat it. The picture is pre baking, there wasn’t any time to take a photo afterward, they were whipped of the dish and down the hatch. This is the best stuffed mushroom recipe I have tried so far and as you can see, we didn’t scrip on the size of the mushrooms.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Serves: 4

12 large button mushrooms (I used 3 massive mushrooms)
1 rasher bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon stale breadcrumbs
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine (the red wine sounded weird to me but i am glad I used it, it added a real depth)
¼ teaspoon dried mixed herbs
Salt and pepper

Wipe mushrooms with a cloth and remove stems.
Finely chop stems and add to medium bowl with other ingredients.
Stir well to combine. Mixture should just hold together without being wet.
Using a dessertspoon, pile the mixture onto the mushrooms, pressing down firmly.
Hold mushrooms in one hand over the mixing bowl so any excess mixture falls back into bowl.
Bake in 160°C oven for approximately 45 minutes. The mushrooms will shrink slightly.
Can be served hot or at room temperature. Try varying the cheese to your taste.