Tag: savory

Creamy garlic parmesan chicken

Difficulty:Easy

Time:30 minutes

Serves:4

Ingredients
6 chicken thighs
3 cloves garlic, crushed
An onion
200g bacon chopped, or bacon lardons
400g mushrooms
1 cup cream OR milk (or half and half)
½ cup (120ml) chicken stock
½ cup Parmesan, grated
Chopped parsley, to garnish
Fresh shaved or grated parmesan, to garnish

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It’s easy to get stuck in a rut making the same dinners again and again so I’ve been trying to mix things up a little bit lately. Anyone with young children will know that this is a risky business so I tend to stick to safe ingredients like chicken and pasta. I found this recipe for creamy garlic parmesan chicken from Cafe Delights on Pinterest (my go to place for inspiration) and it was truly delicious. It’s always a bonus when you find something as tasty as this that the kids will eat too!

Method

Preheat your oven to 200C / 180F / 400F
Cook the chicken

This is a step to do without the help of your little ones: Heat a tbsp of oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Brown the chicken on both sides ( a few minutes on each side).

Transfer the chicken to an oven proof dish and pop into the oven to roast until completely cooked through, about 25-30 minutes (or while you make the sauce).

Prepare the ingredients for the sauce

Get your toddler to help you peel the garlic and onion. While they are busy doing that, dice the onion.

 

Give your child a blunt (butter/table) knife and get them to help you chop the mushrooms. Mushrooms are a really easy vegetable to do some cutting practice with. You can always finish off any unevenly sized pieces. It was the first time Lewis had done it and he really enjoyed himself!

Make the sauce

Fry the onion and garlic over a medium heat until they are soft and fragrant, stirring frequently. This should take a minute or so.
Add the bacon and fry until it is starting to go crisp.

Add the mushrooms and cook them until they begin to soften.
If your little one is old enough and you trust them they can help you stir everything as it goes in.

Measure or get your little one to help you measure out the cream/milk and chicken stock. As we were just using a stock cube, Lewis also help unpeel and crush it.

 

Pour in the cream (or milk – we used half a cup of each), the chicken stock, and parmesan. Simmer in the pan until the sauce thickens slightly.

Add the chicken

Remove the chicken from the oven and add it back into the sauce. Cook for a another few minutes. Garnish with parsley and or grated parmesan (optional).

creamy garlic parmesan chicken

Serve with rice or pasta or vegetables.

Animal rolls

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes + 1.5 hours proving + 15 minutes baking

Serves: 8+ rolls

Ingredients
450g strong white bread flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp caster sugar
1x 7g sachet fast action dried yeast
50g butter, softened.
250ml lukewarm milk
1 egg
For decoration
Sultanas/raisins cut in half

 

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Shaped dinner rolls

Hot cross buns

Homemade pitta bread

We’ve made rolls before, but never ones shaped into anything interesting. So when I saw someone make bread rolls into bunny rabbits on pinterest I thought we had to try that. We got a bit carried away though and ended up with a small menagerie of bunnies, hedgehogs, a tortoise, and a snail. I’m sure there are other things you could make so let you and your kids imagination run away with itself. Our animal rolls definitely looked more like animals going into the oven than they did coming out, but the kids really enjoyed making them (and eating them) so i’m considering them a success!

Method

Mix the dry ingredients
Get your child to measure the flour (450g) out and pour that into a large mixing bowl or freestanding mixer.

 

Add the salt (2 tsp), sugar (1 tsp) and yeast. As you are using a whole packet of dried yeast you can get the smallest chefs involved by just pouring it all in.

  

Weigh the butter (50g) out. If it’s not softened, pop it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds so it’s soft, but not melted. This will make it easier to mix.

Rub the mixture together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. You can either do this by hand or using a mixer. The mixer is obviously quicker but my kids really enjoyed getting their hands messy!

Add the egg and milk
Get your child to pour the milk (250ml) into a measuring jug, or a bowl on your scales set to ml. We put ours in the microwave for 30 seconds to make it lukewarm.


Make a well in the flour mixture then add the egg and milk.
Knead the dough

If you’re using a mixer, add the dough hook and turn it on to mix for 5 minutes or so. If you are doing it by hand, turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface. Knead it for 10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. We did a bit of both – started in the mixer until it was almost done, then the kids had a turn doing it by hand. They wouldn’t have had the patience to do it all by hand but really enjoy getting their hands messy!

 

Pop the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Put it in a warm place to rise for an hour or until it has doubled in size.

Make the animal rolls
Line 2 baking trays with baking paper
Turn the dough out on to a floured surface. Get your kids to knock it back (punch it) and knead it for a few minutes. Start by dividing your dough into 8-10 pieces and roll them into balls.

 

We made a few different animal rolls:
Hedgehogs, use half sultanas/raisins for the eyes and nose then get your child to make little snips all over the hedgehogs back with scissors to make the spines.
Bunnies: use the half sultanas/raisins for the eyes and nose and use scissors to snip two ears. Make them quite big as they shrink a little when the rolls rise/cook.
Tortoise: Roll 5 small round balls and attach for the head and legs, add the eyes and nose using the half sultanas/raisins. If you want you can also score across the back of the tortoise with a sharp knife to make the tortoise shell.
Snail: Make a sausage and roll up into a snail. Add the eyes and nose using half raisins/sultanas.

  

Put the rolls on a baking tray, spacing them well apart. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until they have doubled in size.

Bake the rolls

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan.
Bake the animal rolls in the oven for 10-15 minutes. They are ready when they have turned golden and sound a bit hollow if you tap them underneath.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

animal rolls

 

Shaped dinner rolls

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes + 1.5 hours proving + 15 minutes baking

Serves: 12 rolls

Ingredients
450g strong white bread flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp caster sugar
1x 7g sachet fast action dried yeast
50g butter, softened.
250ml lukewarm milk
1 egg

For the topping
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp water
Poppy seeds/sesame seeds

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We’ve not made any bread for a while – waiting for the dough to rise can take a while which puts me off – but it’s such a simple thing to do and the kids enjoy kneading the dough, so when we had a spare morning waiting in for a delivery recently we made some rolls together.

Although you do have to wait a while for the dough to rise, there are some easy steps for children to get involved with: they can have fun mixing, kneading the dough and shaping the rolls. And they were ready in time for lunch and were devoured by everyone which was a bonus. We’ll definitely be making these again!

Method

Mix the dry ingredients
Get your child to measure the flour (450g) out and pour that into a large mixing bowl or freestanding mixer.

 

Add the salt (2 tsp), sugar (1 tsp) and yeast. As there is no measuring with the yeast, this is a good way for the youngest helpers to get involved.

  

Weigh the butter (50g) out. If it’s not softened, pop it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds so it’s soft, but not melted. This will make it easier to mix.

Rub the mixture together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. We used our mixer so just used the paddle attachment and gave it a quick blast.

 
Add the egg and milk
Get your child to pour the milk (250ml) into a measuring jug, or a bowl on your scales set to ml. We put ours in the microwave for 30 seconds to make it lukewarm.

Make a well in the flour mixture then add the egg and milk.

 

Knead the dough

If you’re using a mixer, add the dough hook and turn it on to mix for 5 minutes or so. If you are doing it by hand, turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface. Knead it for 10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. We did a bit of both – started in the mixer until it was almost done, then the kids had a turn doing it by hand. They wouldn’t have had the patience to do it all by hand!

 

Pop the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Put it in a warm place to rise for an hour or until it has doubled in size.

 

Make the rolls
Line 2 baking trays with baking paper

Turn the dough out on to a floured surface. Get your kids to knock it back (punch it) and knead it for a few minutes.

 

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape into rolls.
We tried a few different styles. The kids were best at patting the dough into simple round rolls. If you have older children you could try a different type of roll: braids (make 3 long sausages pinch together at the top then make a plait); trefoils (divide the piece of dough into 3, roll into balls and stick together); knots (roll into a long snake and tie a single knot); cottage rolls (divide the dough into 1/3 and 2/3, roll into balls, pop the small one on top).

Put the rolls on a baking tray, spacing them well apart. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.

Bake the rolls
Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan.

Mix the egg yolk and water (1 tbsp) together in a little dish. Get your toddler to brush on to the top of the rolls. Sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds if you are using them.

Bake the rolls in the oven for 15 minutes. They are ready when they have turned golden and sound a bit hollow if you tap them underneath.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

shaped dinner rolls

Sticky soy and honey pork

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 20 minutes + 10 minutes

Serves: 4

 

 

 

 

Ingredients
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp clear honey
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
500g piece pork tenderloin
2 nests medium egg noodles
2 tsp sesame oil
Vegetables: baby sweetcorn, pepper, sugar snap peas (whichever ones you like)
small bunch spring onion

 

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I like to introduce the kids to new tastes and cuisines. It doesn’t always go down well, but this sticky soy and honey pork did – they both polished off, probably because the honey gives it a little tasty, sticky, sweetness. You can get your toddler to help prepare this in advance so you just need to cook it just before you serve it.

Method

Prepare the pork and vegetables
Trim any excess fat from the meat and cut into bite size pieces. I didn’t get Hannah to help with this, but if your child is older and confident with a sharp knife they could do this step.
If they can, get your toddler to help you cut the peppers and any other vegetables you’re using into nice strips. Hannah cut some of the peppers with a blunt knife, but had a bit more success helping me with a sharp knife (I put my hand over hers to help guide the knife, making sure no fingers were in the way.)

 

 

Prepare the sauce
Get your toddler to help measure the soy sauce, ketchup, honey and Chinese five spice into a bowl.

 

 

Add the pork and give it a stir so all the meat is coated.

 

Cook the noodles
Add the noodles to a pan and cook according to the packet instructions. (We just added boiling water and cooked for a few minutes.) Drain and keep back a little (50ml) of water.

Cook the stir fry
This step I mostly did on my own with Hannah watching as I don’t quite trust her around the hot pan.

Heat the sesame oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the pork and sauce and cook for a few minutes until the meat has browned. Add the vegetables and spring onions and continue to stir fry. Add the remaining noodle water to help steam the vegetables.

 

 sticky soy and honey pork

 

Add the cooked noodles to the wok and stir so everything is coated in the sauce.

 

Toad in the hole

Serves: 4

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 5 minutes + 1 hour cooking

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

1 pack sausages
1 red onion, cut into wedges
100g plain flour
1 egg
300ml milk
1 tbsp oil

 

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Toad in the hole is a simple, quick dinner. Once you’ve made the batter you can just bung it in the oven and forget about until it’s ready so it’s great for a midweek family meal. This always used to be a disaster when I made it, but this recipe seems to work as long as the oil is really hot when you put the batter in and the red onion adds a nice bit of flavour.

Method

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan

Cook the sausages and onion
Arrange the sausages and onion in a 20×30(approx) sized roasting tin. Drizzle a little oil over them and cook for 20 minutes until they have browned and the onions are soft. Meanwhile…


Make the batter

Measure the flour (100g) into a bowl.

 

Make a well in the flour then add the egg. Either break the egg in directly or crack it into a separate bowl first if your toddler is doing it and you’re worried about rogue shell.

Add a splash of the milk (300ml) then give it a mix to incorporate some of the flour.

Slowly add the rest of the milk while mixing until all the flour is combined and you have a smooth batter.

 

Season (you can also add a tbsp of mustard or thyme at this point).

Add your batter back into the jug you measured your milk in to make it easier to pour into your sausages.

Cook the batter
Quickly add the batter to the hot roasting tin. I don’t involve Hannah at this point – she has to stand well back and watch. The easiest way to do it is just to pull the shelf out of the oven a little and pour the batter in. It should sizzle and bubble at first as it goes into the hot oil.

Return to the oven and cook for 40 minutes. Toad in the hole is ready when the batter is cooked through, well risen and golden.

Serve with your favourite vegetables and/or some onion gravy.

toad in the hole

Meatballs

Difficulty: Medium

Time: 20 minutes + 30 minutes cooking

Serves: 4img_1669-small

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

For the meatballs:
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
500g mince (beef, pork or a mixture of the two)
1 egg
a small onion (or 1/2 a large one)
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp parsley

For the sauce:
Tin tomatoes
1 small onion (or half a large one)
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp Caster sugar
2 tsp rosemary
1 tbsp parsley

 

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When Hannah was little and still mainly eating finger foods I used to turn loads of things into balls or sticks so she could feed herself. Now Lewis is at that age I’m rediscovering those old favourites. This recipe is for a fairly simple version of meatballs but you can mix it up a bit and use different meats in it or add some spices and serve with cous cous instead of pasta.

Method

Put all the meatball ingredients into a bowl
Pop the mince and breadcrumbs (2 tbsp)in a bowl. We already had some breadcrumbs – we made way too much the other day when we made chicken nuggets so I put the extra in the freezer. If you don’t have any fresh, make some from one slice of bread.

Get your toddler to crack in the egg, or break it into a separate bowl first if you’re worried about rogue egg shell.

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Get your toddler to help you peel the onion, then chop it up really finely (or grate it), then get your child to add it into the bowl.

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Add in the herbs. You can add any flavours you like, and you don’t have to be too accurate about quantities – Hannah just poured in the basil and parsley.

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Make the meatballs
Prepare a baking tray by lining it with grease proof paper. (You could, alternatively fry them in a little oil). I prefer to bake them as I find you don’t have to keep such a close eye on them and they don’t break apart at all, which can happen if you fry them.

Once everything is in the bowl, stick your hands in and give it a good mix. Hannah really enjoyed this part!

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When everything has come together, start taking small bits of the mixture and rolling them into balls. Put them on to your baking tray. If your little one helps you make balls, just watch that they are all roughly the same size as you need them to cook at the same rate.

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Drizzle them with a little oil then put them in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

Make the sauce
You could use a jar of sauce or make your own – we did ours from scratch this time.

First, chop your onion then heat in a frying pan with a little oil. Once they’ve softened and turned lightly golden (about 7 minutes) add the garlic and herbs. If you’re using a garlic crusher see if your little one can squeeze it in the pan for you.

Add the tomatoes and sugar then leave to simmer until it’s reduced and thickened a little.

Once the sauce is ready, add the meatballs and give it a stir. Serve with some pasta.

meatballs

Homemade chicken nuggets

Difficulty: Medium

Time: 40 minutes + 25 cooking

Serves: 4img_1559-small

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

1 or 2 chicken breasts *, cut into strips/pieces
2/3 slices of bread
2 eggs
flour

 

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Chicken nuggets are a good midweek meal but I don’t really like the thought of what goes into shop bought ones so we make them from scratch. It’s much quicker and simpler than you might think and they go down well with all the family, especially James, (the biggest kid).

We used 1 large chicken breast and it was just about enough to feed all of us. Next time I’ll probably use 2 and put any left overs in the freezer – they’re easy to reheat in the oven.

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan and prepare a baking tray.
Get your toddler to line a baking sheet with grease proof paper. You don’t have to do this, but I find it helps stop them sticking.

Prepare the coating
There are three parts to the crumb – flour, egg and breadcrumb.

First, make the breadcrumb. Hannah just tore up two slices of bread, and whizzed them up in our hand food processor. Slightly stale bread works a bit better, but I just normally use the heals from whatever bread we have open. You can add seasoning if you like at this point, or some parmesan or herbs. Put the breadcrumb in a dish ready for dipping.

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Next, crack the eggs into a dish and mix them with a fork.

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Finally, spoon some flour into a dish.

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Coat the chicken
To make it easier, line the three dishes up in the right order with the prepared baking sheet at the end.

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Take each bit of chicken and dip them first in the flour, then coat them in egg before covering in breadcrumbs. I don’t normally let Hannah near raw chicken but I let her help me cover them in breadcrumbs, on the condition she didn’t touch anything else (especially herself) before we were able to wash her hands. I’m glad I trusted her as she did a really good job.

img_1592-small.img_1593-small img_1595-small

Bake the chicken nuggets
Bake them in the oven for approx 25 minutes. They’re ready when they’ve crisped up and become a nice golden brown colour.

chicken nuggets

You can serve them with anything or try sweet potato wedges: cut a sweet potato into wedges, drizzle in oil, place them on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven with your chicken nuggets.

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