Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

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I set this awesome soup going while I was out on Monday, and it’s turned out SO GOOD. It doesn’t have the Hubby seal of approval (because it is soup and he isn’t a fan of soup, so he hasn’t even tried it yet) but I reckon it’s fantastic. It has officially risen to the position of “Go-To Chicken Soup Recipe” in my collection.

The recipe came out of an old recipe book that I got from an op shop. I suspect the book is from the early 80s or something, some of the recipes are a *little* bit scary… (There’s a recipe for one of those savoury jelly salad cake things. It contains calamari. UGH!)

This recipe has a GF variation (see end of recipe).

Serves: 6-8 (ish) – could serve up to 10, depends on how much water you add and how hungry you are.

Ingredients:

  • 2L chicken stock
  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped (or 4 thighs)
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 2 carrots, small dice
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic (as always, I used about twice as much garlic)
  • 2 tsp vege stock powder (or 1 cube – whatever amount makes 500ml stock)
  • 410g can creamed corn
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 375g packet egg pasta, broken up
  • 500g chinese cabbage, shredded

Method:

  1. Saute onion, leek, garlic and celery until beginning to soften. I did this in my slow cooker itself, as I have a saute function. This saute step was not included in the original recipe, so you could probably skip it if you don’t want to dirty a separate pan and you can’t saute in your slow cooker.
  2. Put all ingredients EXCEPT frozen veg, pasta and cabbage into the pot. Add a little more water if required (I didn’t need to). Cook on LOW for 6-8hrs.
  3. At the last 30mins of cooking time, add cabbage, frozen veg and pasta.
  4. Serve and enjoy 🙂

Disclaimer – there is no cabbage in the photo, because I forgot to add it! I’d chopped the cabbage up when I prepped everything at the start, and then put it back in the fridge… so I sort of forgot about it when I put the pasta and frozen veg in (because I didn’t check the recipe again). By the time I realised, it was far too late. I would have killed the pasta if I’d cooked it for another 30mins when I realised I’d forgotten.

Variations: If you’re gluten free, you could easily make this GF by just skipping on the pasta. Cabbage (if you chop it the right way) is an EXCELLENT pasta analogue in soups.
You could also add whatever veges you happen to have around the house if you wanted to, but make sure you add hard veg (potatoes, carrot, swede, etc) at the start of cooking, and soft veges (cabbage, zucchini, spinach) in that last 30mins.

~K

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Omurice

Right, so instead of the regular “Foodie Friday” post, this week I decided to share this video with you.

I made this for lunch for myself this week, and it is SO YUMMY. But mine ended up looking like chunky fried rice (I epically failed at the whole “getting stuff onto the omelette” part) so I thought the original video with an amusing Ryosuke would be better (both for the recipe, the amusement, and what the food is actually supposed to look like).

NB – I halved the recipe, because I was only making it for me.

Enjoy!

~K

Yellow Chicken Curry (Mild)

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The other week, I went out for Thai with my Mum. We had this FANTASTIC yellow curry, and while I was shopping this week I saw that the yellow curry paste was on special so I decided to grab it and have a go at making it myself.

SUCCESS!

I know that’s not a very pretty picture, but it’s the only one I remembered to take.

Serves: 6 (ish)

Ingredients:

  • 250g chicken breast, cubed
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 5 small potatoes, in 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup bok choy, chopped
  • 2 tbsp yellow curry paste
  • 300ml can coconut milk (or cream if you want a thicker sauce)
  • 1 vegetable or chicken stock cube

Method:

  1. Preheat a wok with a dash of oil and just brown the chicken, then put aside.
  2. Cook onion until just beginning to go translucent, then add carrot and potato.
  3. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the curry paste and stir through.
  4. Cook for a few minutes, until veges are coated and curry paste is fragrant.
  5. Add the bok choy and stir through, then add coconut milk, chicken and stock cube.
  6. Stir so everything is covered, lightly pat down any bits that are sticking up above the liquid and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for about 25mins, or until the potato is cooked through.

Serve over rice.

Hubby even gave this a good mark, so it’s not an overly hot curry. If you like your curries very hot, you might want to add some chilli or whatever.

~K

Oven slow cooker

The experiment was a success!

Just a few things I’d change next time – cook chicken as whole breasts, then chop up after cooking, and probably use thighs instead (juicier meat). The chicken literally fell apart when I was serving, but Hubby says that the couple of whole bits he got were a little dry.

The recipe itself got 10/10 from hubby though, so I’ll post about it next time I make it (I forgot to take photos this time).

~K

Chicken Paella

This is not my photo – I keep forgetting to take a photo when I make this. God I’m slack!

The recipe is from the Super Food Ideas magazine from several years ago, and this is another one of Hubby’s favourite meals.

This is the recipe, but as per usual I make a few changes:

  • I use SIGNIFICANTLY more paprika. Like, 2 tbsp. We really like the smoked paprika in our house.
  • I tend to use chicken breasts rather than thighs, and I slice the meat up (rather than leaving them whole like the picture). I find this makes it easier for portioning out, because the amount from this recipe will usually make about 6 serves for us.
  • I also use only about 500g of chicken (not 800g), because meat is expensive. You really don’t notice the lesser amount, particularly if you are chopping it up.
  • I use plain tinned tomatoes, and add about a tbsp of additional tomato paste – those fancy ones with “tomato paste and capsicum” that the recipe asks for are EXPENSIVE! ($3.50 a can rather than $1 or less – I’ll take the cheaper cans thanks).
  • I don’t know whether it is just my stove, or what, but I often need to add a little more water, as all the water absorbs and the rice is not cooked properly. I add about 1/2 cup at a time and let it absorb, then repeat until the rice is properly cooked through
  • If you do not turn the heat down far enough, or if you have an electric stove with crappy elements, be very very careful to stir it well and often, otherwise the rice will stick to the bottom of the pot.

And apologies for this “Foodie Friday” not ACTUALLY being on a Friday – I sort of lost track of my days and forgot to finish this post in time *oops*

~K

Sunday’s Bento

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This is from Sunday – previously, I haven’t tended to make bentos on weekends because I’ve never really needed to. But now, because of a musical I’m involved in has rehearsals on Sundays (and I can’t afford takeaway at the moment) I’ll be taking bento lunches to that.

We have:

  • veges (carrot, cauli, and some frozen peas – I was out of broccoli)
  • caramelised onions
  • rice
  • chicken enchilada filling w/ cheese

Pretty much everything in this bento was leftovers – rice was frozen, enchilada mix too, onions were from the night before’s dinner, and the peas were just part of my huge collection of frozen veges. The only things I had to prepare fresh were the carrots and cauli.

Got a lot of compliments about this one today – everyone was saying how good it smelled and looked, and the enchilada mix stirred into the rice tasted absolutely AMAZING.

I will definitely be doing the enchilada-rice combo again 🙂

~K

Chicken nugget bento

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What do we have this time?

  • carrot, cauliflower and broccoli – steamed
  • 1 cup rice with some seaweed furikake
  • lemon chicken nuggets (homemade) – recipe from JustBento.com

Total calories: 480

This was actually my dinner today, because I was being a bit lazy with the dishes and I didn’t have any cooking utensils clean to make this at lunch time (I ended up having soup from the freezer – taco soup om nom nom).

Generally, my bentos are pretty boring because it’s just easier for me to deal with in the morning. To keep from giving you guys monotonous posts I’ll only post something if I’ve made something new 🙂

And for anyone who’s curious, this is what my bento box looks like when I put it all together (minus the soup bowl) – the little domed top sits inside the bowl when you put it all together properly.

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~K

Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake

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I’d already started dishing up before I remembered I should take a photo! Oops…
Also, the picture is of the batch I made when I didn’t have any frozen peas, so it doesn’t have them in it. The other two batches of this I’ve made over the last 2 months had peas (anything to up the vege content!)
It also tastes fine without the bacon (ran out of bacon the last time I made it), if for whatever reason bacon is off the list.

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 250g dry pasta (I generally use spirals or penne)
  • 500g diced chicken
  • 1 brown onion (or a leek if you’re feeling fancy)
  • 3 bacon rashers
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 300ml sour cream
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 tbsp chives
  • 1 cup grated tasty cheese

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Cook pasta until tender and drain. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan over med-high heat. Cook chicken until browned, then transfer into a heatproof bowl.
  3. Add onion (or leek), bacon and garlic to pan and cook until onion (leek) is softened. Return chicken to pan, and add stock cube and 1 cup of cold water. Bring to simmer, and simmer until chicken is just cooked through.
  4. Stir in sour cream, corn, peas, and chives. Add pasta to pan and toss/stir to combine. Pour/spoon mixture into an 8-cup baking dish and top with grated cheese.
  5. Bake for 30mins or until golden on top.

NOTE – I use a large frying pan for this, and it is JUST big enough to combine the pasta and chicken mix before transferring to the baking dish. If you are worried about your pan not being big enough, use a bigger pot for the pasta and combine it in that, or even in the baking dish itself.

This got the 5-star approval from Hubby 🙂 This recipe freezes well, so is great for bulk-cooking.

“Hidden Veg” variation
If your kids/partner/siblings/housemates/whatever will eat veges if they’re covered in a creamy cheesy sauce, just add diced/small bits of whatever to the recipe. Carrots, broccoli, peas, beans, corn, and cauliflower work best in my experience. You don’t really want to use potato, because there’s already carbs from the pasta, and pumpkin and sweet potato tend to just turn to orange mush.
If they’re prone to picking out veges whenever they find them, cook up half a cauliflower, mash it to death (even use a blender!) and add it at the same time as the sour cream. They’ll never even know it’s there!

~K

Chicken Lasagne

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This was the first time I’d made lasagne myself – and as much as the recipe said to use a 2L dish, I think I will be using a larger one next time – this is a 2L dish, and it BARELY fitted!

Very yummy recipe, not a quick cook, but reasonably easy. If you don’t feel up to personally making the white sauce, buy a bottle of Béchamel from the supermarket and use that.

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 500g chicken mince
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 400g tin diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced thinly
  • 400g mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 1 packet of lasagne sheets (fresh or instant – whatever you prefer)

White Sauce

  • 60g butter
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 2 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup (25g) finely grated parmesan, with extra to top lasagne

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F)
  2. Heat a little oil in a largish pan, and cook onion and garlic until onion is softened. Add chicken and cook until browned. Add tomato paste, tinned tomatoes, and sugar, then bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer (uncovered) for 5mins. Stir in basil, then pour into a heatproof bowl and set aside.
  3. Cook mushrooms and zucchini in the pan until softened. While you’re doing this, start the white sauce.
  4. White Sauce: Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually stir in milk. Return to heat and cook, stirring, until mixture boils and thickens. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 mins, still stirring. Season to taste. Remove from heat and stir in cheese.
  5. Line base of ovenproof dish with lasagne sheets, trimmed to fit (as much as possible). Top with 1/3 of chicken mixture, half the vege mix, and 1/2 the white sauce. Put down another layer of lasagne sheets, top with half the remaining chicken mix, then the remainder of the vege mix. Put down a final layer of lasagne sheets, remainder of the chicken and as much white sauce as it takes to thickly cover the lasagne without overflowing the pan. Top with additional parmesan.
  6. Put ovenproof dish on a cookie sheet before placing in oven.* Cover dish with foil, and bake for 20mins, then uncover and bake for a further 30mins (or until lightly browned). Stand for 10mins before serving.

*This will catch any over-spill that might happen during cooking, and it’s much easier to clean a tray than it is to clean the bottom of the oven.

As is typical of lasagne, it is almost impossible to serve it up nicely while it is hot. This is what happened to my serve:

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Can anyone say lasagne splook?

If you let it cool in the fridge overnight, it serves very nicely!

This also freezes well (both cooked and uncooked). Freeze it uncooked if you’re pre-cooking for a large family, and freeze after cooking and portioning if there’s only a couple of you. Or, split it into multiple smaller dishes! (e.g. 3x 1L dishes for 2-serve lasagnes, or make baby ones in 500ml ramekins!)

~K

Garlicky Lemon Chicken

I once again forgot to take a photo of this… but I’ll try to remember next time I make it, and update the post 🙂

This was a new recipe, and it’s a hit! So quick and easy, and sooooo tasty! 1 portion of the recipe ingredients will coat up to about 2 breast fillets worth of chicken (3-4 serves with sides). If you’re feeding more people, just double it.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken (diced/fillets, breast/thigh, whatever floats your boat)
  • 2 tbsp parsley (fresh or dried)
  • 3 gloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp lemon rind, finely grated
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp water

Method:

  1. Put chicken in pan, along with all other ingredients. Cook on med-high heat until done.

It really is that easy. This will also freeze well once cooked.

Simple, but oh-so-good. The recipe comes from the “Australian Women’s Weekly Superfast Recipes” cookbook.

~K