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Food, general thoughts, food…

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Baked Pumpkin and Bacon Risotto

I found this recipe on the net the other day and was immediately taken with it. I don’t have a photograph of my attempt simply because we ate it all before I thought of it. I found it here Baked Pumpkin and Bacon Risotto on Best Recipes (they have pictures).
I love risotto, any which way you cook it, and this was a tasty combination. Of course I changed things, my recipe is below but it is very similar to the original just a few ingredients swapped out for what I had available.

This was readily (and surprisingly) devoured by an incredibly stubborn pumpkin hating 10 year old boy and even given the nod of approval from my 95 year old Grandmother who happily accepted the leftovers when I brought them down for lunch the next day. I’ll be making this again and again, probably swapping out ingredients each time to create something new.

Baked Pumpkin and Bacon Risotto

4 bacon rashers chopped
1 red onion diced
1 1/2 cups rice
2 1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup white wine
60 g butter
1/2 butternut pumpkin peeled diced
1/2 cup parmesan cheese finely grated
1 pinch salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 190C. Lightly pan fry bacon until crisp, and cook onions in bacon
fat until transparent, about 5 minutes.
Place rice, stock, wine, butter, pumpkin, onion and bacon in an ovenproof dish and stir
gently to combine.
Cover with foil or lid and bake for 30 minutes or until rice is soft (took about 1 hour).
Stir in Parmesan, salt and pepper, then serve.


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Stuffed Rice Bubble Chicken Breasts

My husband stole my iPhone cable.
That is my current excuse for not posting. My phone/camera has been non-accessible for the past few days. This of course is just a weak excuse made up by a busy working mother who has misplaced he desire to cook and write about it. Not that I have not been cooking but I have mostly just been revisiting old favourites recently, things that I have either posted previously or I don’t consider ‘recipes’ in the sense that a large component is a store bought sauce (eg spaghetti bolognaise, I love Leggo’s Neopolitana sauce) or something so basic that I am sure everyone has done it and has their own recipe by now anyway.

That said, I have made a few things that I thought might be worth passing on. One of which I will write out below.

My Grandmother recently told me that chicken breasts were on special down her way, it was a good special, would I like her to get me some that I could pick up the next week when I popped down for a visit? Would I ever! So I took my trusty cold bag with me expecting a few packs, maybe 3 or 4. Good thing I decided to bring down the larger bag instead of the six pack bag! I came home with 13 trays of chicken breasts, 2 large breasts per tray. I immediately began planning what I would stuff into these fat delicious chicken offerings.

On the day that I decided to open the first tray I ran out of bread, going to the freezer I realised that I had also (at some point prior) run out of breadcrumbs (I wiz up my old bread ends and bag them in the freezer for later use). What to do? After a bit of a scrounge I emerged from the pantry with a box of rice bubbles (or rice krispies, depending on where you hale from). I wasn’t positive about this experiment but you have to take the odd risk to achieve greatness.

And great it was!

Stuffed Rice Bubble Chicken Breasts

2x chicken breasts
parmesan cheese
sundried tomatoes in oil
2x egg whites (because I had them in the fridge left over from something else)
Rice Bubbles
Salt & Pepper

Crush the rice bubbles roughly with your hands.
Cut a pocket in each chicken breast.
Slice sundried tomatoes into small pieces, remove thyme from stems and mix thoroughly with the desired amount of cheese.
Poke this mixture into the chicken breasts.
Dip the chicken into the egg white and then roll in the rice bubbles until well coated.
Place on a greased oven tray, sprinkle with salt and pepper and pour over a little of the tomato oil. Cook for 20 mins at 180C or until golden.

Served with green beans and boiled potatoes that had been tossed with butter and snipped chives, this was a great meal.

I have done the Rice Bubble chicken again since stuffed with the same mix but with tasty cheese added (I prefer the original) and I have also used a herb mayonnaise mixed with a whole egg combination to dip the chicken into. I still like to crumb my chicken with bread crumbs if the opportunity presents itself but I am now just as happy to use the Rice Bubbles if I have them on hand, they crunch up without burning and give a whole new texture to the dish. A combination of both will be my next thing to try. Necessity is the Mother of invention (so they say), this time it worked out a treat!



Crockpot cooking

I have dragged the crockpot out this week. I am not generally a huge fan of the slow cooker but we have a houseful of people this week and lots to do so I find it takes the stress out of making sure dinner is prepared on time if I do it at breakfast time. The meals are hearty and I am learning how to make them flavourful (my biggest beef with the slow cooker is that the recipes I had tried in the past didn’t suit my palate and seemed very tasteless) and with the addition of rice or pasta they fill everyone up nicely.
Last nights meal was Creamy Parmesan Chicken. It wasn’t bad. Of course I used cream of chicken soup to replace the cream of mushroom (husband is back home, sometimes I’ll be sneaky and use the mushroom anyway but I was feeling kind) and I didn’t have any celery salt so I omitted that.

I’ll be trying out a few more crockpot/slow cooker recipes this week. I’ll keep you posted, at least I will if they are any good…

Creamy Parmesan Chicken in the crockpot

4 Chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, chopped (I had 6 for 5 people)
1 Can 300g Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup  (I used cream of chicken)
1 Can 300g Condensed Cream of Celery Soup
1/2 Cup Sherry
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese, (with extra set aside for garnish)
2-1/2 Tbs Lemon Juice
1 Tbs Paprika
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder, or to taste
1/4 tsp Onion Powder, or to taste
1/4 tsp Salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp Pepper, or to taste
1/8 tsp Celery Salt  (didn’t have)

Arrange chicken in crock-pot.  In mixing bowl, combine soups, sherry, seasonings and cheese; mix well.  Pour over chicken.
Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours. Serve with rice or noodles with extra Parmesan Cheese for garnish, if desired.
This would go great with mashed potatoes, too.

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Chicken Nuggets Extraordinaire

Again, there is no photo. There was no chance. These were so good that my family emerged from the woodwork as they were cooking and pounced upon them the second they came out of the oven. As different from store bought chicken nuggets as chalk is from cheese.
These were so easy to make and so tasty that I will never, ever buy chicken nuggets from the store again. I wish I had come across this recipe 10 years ago when my kids were still at home and enjoyed ‘finger food’ for dinner. I know these would have made the grade.

These are great on their own, with a few vegies, some salad or would be terrific with some kind of dipping sauce. Or for an almost authentic (but better in every way) ‘fast food’ dinner, team them up with some homemade wedges or smashed and roasted potatoes.

Baked Parmesan Chicken Nuggets

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 220C. Combine mayonnaise, cheese & garlic powder.
Cut thighs into large chunks.
Mix chicken into mayonnaise mixture, remove and coat each piece with bread crumbs.
Arrange chicken on baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or just until lightly browned and tender.