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ZESTY BEAN SALAD WITH CAJUN SPICE PORK CHOPS

zesty pork chop with cajun spices and lime juice

This is a great recipe from HelloFresh™. It was the first time we tried a set meal delivery and my daughter and I were very pleased with our first experience. The package consisted of 3 meals that came in three boxes packed in a large box with an ice pack in it.

Zesty pork chop was the first recipe we picked to cook. The instructions came in a lovely booklet that adds nicely to our menu library. The beauty of a set meal is a stress-free cooking without having to shop for ingredients and dreaming up recipes to cook.

Instructions for the Zesty Pork Chop

1. Wash, dry and prepare the vegetables. Chop the onions into little chunks, dice the tomatoes, grate the garlic, grate the lime skin, cut the corn kernels off the cob, finely chop the parsley, rinse and drain the beans.

2. In a large bowl, marinate the pork chop. Rub it with the cajun spices, lime zest and lime juice and season with salt and pepper. You can buy cajun spices conveniently mixed and you’d need about 1 to 2 tablespoon to mix all your meat in.

3. For the pork chop, you’d need to heat some oil (a couple of tablespoons) and fry it over medium-high heat, or barbecue it if you prefer. It will take about 4 – 5 minutes per side to cook it through.

4. For the salad, heat some oil in a large pan and add the corn and chopped red onion. Toss them over medium-high heat for just 2 – 3 minutes. Mix the remaining of the salad ingredients, lime zest, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. The salad can be prepared in advance and chilled if you prefer.

5. Serve the pork on the salad. You can glaze the pork with a drizzle of honey.

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SALMON BAKED WITH POTATOES, SPINACH, AND CHEDDAR CHEESE

Salmon Baked with Potatoes, Spinach & Cheddar Cheese
Salmon baked with potatoes, spinach & cheesePrepare all the ingredients
  1. STEP 1: Slice the potatoes thinly (preferably with a mandolin slicer) so they’ll cook in the oven. This time round my potatoes were a bit chunky so I ended up with extra minutes in the oven, so the thinner the better.

 

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STEP 2: Put the salmon in a baking glassware or tray

 

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STEP 3: Layer the ingredients on top of the salmon, bake it at 350ºF

Bake the fish covered (you can use silver foil) for 30 minutes

Bake uncovered for 15 to 25 minutes

 

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STEP 4: Serve hot

You can serve this dish with bread or hot plain rice.

 

Oh yes – I forgot to take pictures before eating! Thankfully, we had enough to put in a small plate for the photo shoot but really they turned out better looking than this. The cheese curdled a bit but that didn’t impair the taste. You can disguise the curdle by garnishing with a few fresh spinach leaves and sprinkle of parmesan cheese before serving. Equally, you can leave the spinach out until the last 5 – 10 minutes of cooking!

 

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MOROCCAN CHICKEN RECIPE

Moroccan Chicken Recipe
Morrocan chicken is perfect for any occasion

Moroccan Chicken RecipeSo far this winter has been so incredibly mild that it reminds me of the Mediterranean climate which is one of hot…

Moroccan Chicken RecipeMoroccan chicken shares very similar spices to Indian curry – cumin, turmeric, ground ginger, coriander, paprika, cayenne pepper and cinnamon. It’s mildly spicy with a tangy Mediterranean flavor. You can add just about anything to the dish and of course depending on what ingredients you choose will produce an entirely unique taste. Some of the variations include chick peas, olives, apricots, almonds and eggplant. Well, for this recipe you can use a red pepper to give it sweetness and also to form a nice red paste for the sauce.

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Ingredients
8 chicken thighs with no skin or bones
1 red onion – chopped
1 red pepper – chopped
1 small can chopped tomato
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano or italian seasoning
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
juice of half a lemon
2 chicken stock cubes
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups water
Method

1. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil

2. Sauté the chopped red onions

3. Cut the chicken thighs into small pieces

4. Add the chicken pieces and spices to the onions and gently fry for 3 to 4 minutes

5. Add tomato puree and chicken stock cubes

6. Add water

7. Bring to boil and lower the heat to simmer for 30 minutes

8. Add the red pepper and and half a lemon juice

9. Continue to simmer for another 15 minutes or so until the sauce is thickened and the chicken completely cooked through

10. Serve with white rice and garnish with a few lemon wedges, sprigs of cilantro or parsley

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SPINACH PASTA ROLLS BAKE

Lasagna Spinach Rolls
I LOVE LASAGNA
I LOVE LASAGNA

There are many versions for lasagna rolls but we like this one for its versatility and simplicity. You can vary the ingredients and cheeses, it is quick and easy to make and I believe there are less calories in it too which is a bonus.

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Ingredients
1 packet lasagna pasta
1 small packet chicken breast tenderloin –about 2 lbs but you can vary the amount depending if you want more chicken or more spinach and cheese, however you desire!
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce. We used Italian Seasoning for this dish.
1½ to 2 cups Ricotta cheese
½ cup Cheddar cheese or Mexican blend
1 cup chopped spinach (fresh or frozen doesn’t matter)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoon butter (you can use vegetable oil instead)
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Method

Frying chicken breast

1. Cut the chicken into small cubes

2. Fry gently with a little butter for about ten minutes until cooked

 

Filling for Lasagna Roll

3. Put the cooked chicken pieces in a bowl and mix with the cream, cheese and spinach

4. Meantime cook the lasagna skin in boiling water until soft

5. Take the lasagna skin out, drain and let the steam dissipate

6. Pour a cup or two of the marinara sauce in the pyrex dish (you can put more if you like)

7. Lay a piece of wax paper on the kitchen counter top

8. Lay out the each lasagna skin carefully and spread a layer of the ingredients you just prepared

9. Make the rolls and place in a pyrex dish with the marinara sauce

 

Making lasagna spinach rolls

10. When finished, pour a layer of the marinara sauce over the top of the rolls carefully
Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

11. Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes at 355°F until the cheese is golden brown

 

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13. Enjoy!

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Creamy Squash Pasta Sauce

creamy squash pasta sauce
Perfect for pasta dishes

creamy squash pasta sauceI learnt that squash can keep for months if stored in the right conditions – usually in a dark cool place like the cellar in the basement. But before you can store them away you have to harden or cure the rinds to create impervious barrier against moisture, insects, mold and bacteria. To cure the rinds, some websites say you have to leave the vegetable in high humidity and temperatures of 80°F for about ten days. Strange that won’t cause the vegetable to rot.

 

creamy squash pasta saucecreamy squash pasta sauce

Squash is surprisingly delicious when cooked in a creamy sauce.  For this particular recipe, you can bulk it up with cured meat such as ham or chorizo. You can also add cooked chicken to make a substantial main course.

 

Ingredients
1 Squash –  butternut or summer squash
2 tablespoons butter
2 – 4 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon oregano
1 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, grated
1 cup double cream (heavy cream)
2 cups whole milk
Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Basil, for garnishing
Method

1. Take the skin of the squash and cut the flesh into little cubes.

2. Chop one spanish onions.

3. Finely chop 1 glove of garlic.

4. In a medium heated pan, gently sauté the onions and garlic with a little bit of butter and olive oil. Approximately 5 minutes.

5. Add  the squash. Gently sauté for 10 – 15 minutes till squash is soft.

6. Add cream and milk.

7. Turn the heat down and let it simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.

8. If you need to cook it longer and liquid is considerably reduced, add a little water.

9. Add the oregano.

10. Add salt and pepper and to taste.

11. Serve on a hot plate of pasta or spagetthi.

12. Sprinkle lots of parmesan cheese over.

13. Finish with a few fresh basil leaves.

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Chicken Chorizo Paella with Cockles

Easy Home Cooking Paella
Watch how we cooked our paella

Paella is a fun party dish – everyone can lend you a helping hand or cheer you on. This One Pan Wonder can accommodate everything – even your left over. Having said that, it won’t tolerate the wrong type of rice. You cannot use your normal American Long Grain or Thai Jasmine Rice because it will turn into congee. You’d need short grain, arborio or risotto rice. Seafood isn’t necessary though it’d give a more authentic taste and you definitely wouldn’t need saffron. You may be surprised to know that an ounce of saffron is more expensive than gold, hence save your money for a nice bottle of wine instead. I would definitely recommend Rioja for this occasion.

 

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Total cooking time – about 1 and 1/2 hours

Serves about 15 people
Ingredients
1 Spanish chorizo sausage
4 spicy Italian sausages – substitute for chorizo if you cannot get chorizo
3-4 tablespoons Olive oil
3-4 tablespoons Butter
1 Green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 large can of chopped tomatoes
2, 4 pound packages Short grain rice or risotto rice
4 Chicken thighs
10 Little necks, cockles or mussels
24 large Uncooked shrimp in their shells
4 fluid ounces White wine
boiling water
Herbs & Spices
3 Spanish onions, diced finely
2 Cloves garlic, crushed
1 small bunch Parsley, chopped finely
2 spanish chillies, sliced
Juice of 2 Lemons
Salt
1 teaspoon Paprika
A small packet of saffron (optional)
1 teaspoon Garlic powder
5 cups Chicken stock (no msg)
Method

1. First, sauté the onions and some pieces of sausages in a large paella pan for about 10 minutes

2. Add the chopped red and green peppers and gently fry everything for about another 10 minutes.

3. Add the rice and give the whole thing a good stir, making sure the ingredients are well mixed.

4. Spread the rice out evenly on the pan.

5. Meantime, barbecue the chicken thighs rubbed in paprika, salt and oil.

6. Grill the remainder of the sausages on the barbecue.

7. Barbecue the shrimps with some butter.

8. After the rice has been fried for a minute or two, pour in the chicken stock, a tin of chopped tomatoes and add the paprika and salt.

9. At this point, you can add your saffron.Let the rice simmer, uncovered on low heat.

10. Throughout the process, add a little water at a time until the rice is cooked through.

11. Add the barbecued meat about three quarters way through the cooking. I don’t think it matters too much when you add them

12. Towards the end, pour in some white wine.You can serve the rice with fresh lemon or lime wedges and chopped parsley.

13. Voila — your paella is now done!

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Potato and Carrot Soup

carrot and potato soup
A perfect dish for the winter as it is very warming, but its also fantastic in the summer with fresh summer squash

carrot and potato soup

carrot and potato soup

If you fancy a bit of warmth in the winter, try this potato and carrot soup with fresh ginger. Using fresh ginger is a must as the powder form doesn’t give the same punch. There’s certainly a lot of heat stored in this aromatic pungent root vegetable. Some cultures use ginger wrap and ginger compress to treat arthritis and all sorts of ailments including muscle injuries. Ginger is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and it aids blood circulation. So, adding fresh ginger to your cooking once in a while is beneficial for health. For this recipe, you can vary the quantities according to your taste.

 

Ingredients
2 pounds carrots peeled and chopped
2 large potatoes peeled and cut into small chunks
2 tsp Fresh ginger, grated – if you like it more spicy add more by all means!
1 Chicken stock cube to 3 cups water
Salt
2 cups milk
Cream – optional
Method

1. Put the carrots, potatoes, onions, salt, ginger and couple of chicken stock cube in a pot of water and bring to boil.

2. Simmer until all the ingredients are soft and let the pot cool down.

3. Blend the whole thing with a hand held blender.

4. If the soup is very watery you can carry on simmering until it is thicker.

5. For our case, we found that the consistency of the soup after blending was too thick so we added two cups of milk to reach the right consistency we wanted.

6. Gently reheat the soup and serve immediately.

7. We added a swirl of fresh cream, it looked fantastic and tasted wonderful with warm bread rolls spread with butter.

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Quick Salmon Meal with Asparagus

asparagus-and-salmon
You could switch this up with a hint of ginger

asparagus-and-salmon

Salmon with asparagus baked in olive oil

The best things in life are easy and that’s why I love this simple dish.  You put virtually all the ingredients including the fish in the pan and just bake in the oven.

I would suggest cooking the asparagus just eight minutes before the dish is ready to be fished out. Overcooked asparagus can develop a very stringy texture.

You can serve the fish with bread, steamed rice or boiled baby potatoes. It also goes very well with garlic bread and a glass of red wine. Life is too short to slave over a hot stove, so enjoy this recipe!

Ingredients
2 Pieces salmon fillets
1 vegetable stock cube – no msg
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1/2  tablespoon butter (optional)
Method

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Wash and trim the asparagus and set aside.

3. Unpack the salmon and place the pieces in a baking tray.

4. Fill with water up to 1/2 inch and throw in the vegetable stock cube.

5. Put a dash of olive oil and a knob of butter.

6. Cook in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

7. The asparagus can be thrown in to cook for the last 5 to 8 minutes.

8. Remember – asparagus is very stringy when overcooked so keep the cooking time to a minimal.

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Homemade Sushi

The Joy of sushi
SUSHI
homemade shushi with chirizoHomemade sushi with Fratelli Beretta but you can use chirozo. Delicious garnished with cilantro or fresh coriander leaves and dipped in soy sauce.

 

When making sushi you’ve to be prepared for a major de-ricing operation. You get rice stuck on your hair, socks, clothes, kitchen counters, and even your dog. It’s a nightmare but it’s great fun with kids.

Back to school lunch box with sushi

Sushi with omelette, carrots and avocados. Ideal for lunch boxes.
Sushi rice
2 cups Sushi grade rice
2¼ cups Cold water
2 tsp Rice wine vinegar or white vinegar
2 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/3 cup Hot water
1 Packet nori sheets made with seaweed

2 Carrots peeled and cut into thin strips
1 Avocado peeled and cut into thin segments
Soya sauce and wasabi for dipping
Equipment
  • Sushi mat
    A pair of good hands
Method for the rice

1. Use 2 cups of water to 2 cups of rice.

2. Do not wash the rice.

3. Bring the rice to a boil with the lid closed.

4. Quickly lower the heat and let the rice simmer until all the water is gone, about 20 minutes.

5. Turn the heat off and let the rice cool.

6. DO NOT TAKE THE LID OFF AT ANY POINT.

7. Meantime, dissolve the sugar in 1/3 cup hot water and pour in the vinegar. Stir well.

8. When the rice has cooled, pour the sugar and vinegar solution and coat the rice well by mixing with a wooden spoon.

Now you’re ready for the sushi adventure.

 

Sushi for school lunch box

Here’s a good video to show how to roll a shushi – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swGJ2dIu9XE