Chicken & Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

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When it comes to comfort food shepherd’s pie is top of the list. It is the ultimate Winter warmer, oozing comfort. From the rich hardy filling topped off with buttery creamy mash and baked all in one pan till just crisp, there is just nothing better. Hungry yet?

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Risotto The One Pot Wonder

One thing I love is one pot dinners I make them quite often, whether it is pasta, casserole, stir-fry, curry, or tray bakes I’m all for cutting corners.  It makes feeding a family a whole lot easier and less time-consuming, not to mention less washing up which is always a bonus cause the last thing you want to do is a huge pile of washing up after a hectic day.

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Orecchiette with Pork, Broccoli Mushrooms and Roast Tomatoes

Such a quick and easy family favourite that satisfies every member of the family and still with some added veggie goodness.

I have used orecchiette pasta shells but you can use any type of pasta with this. For vegetarian version leave out the pork.

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Peri Peri Roast Chicken with Roasted Veggies & Minted Peas with Fetta

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When I think of family classic dinners, roast chicken comes straight to mind. I love the fact that you can prepare a whole chook earlier with whatever spices or flavouring you like then leave it to marinade. Then before all the after school craziness or after work fatigue kicks in you have the chicken ready to cook, throw a few veggies in the oven and in 30-40mins you have a delicious family dinner on the table.

I butterfly my chicken before I roast it  (meaning cut it so it lays out flat) I have explained this process in another recipe I’ve posted here’s the link incase  How to butterfly a whole chicken. It cuts the cooking time in half and no one can argue with that.  I used a Peri Peri spice rub this time which is a mix of paprika, garlic, chilli, salt and oregano. You can buy the Peri Peri or Portuguese spice premix in the herb and spice section of your supermarket or I have shared a quick make-yourself version in the recipe. Serve with whatever roast veggies you and your family like. Roast carrots and peas are always a good roast accompaniment, I have jazzed up my peas with some shredded mint and marinated fetta.

The secret to a succulent juicy chicken is all in how you cook it, with the addition of white wine in the roasting tray keeps the bird moist and doesn’t dry out. Add some slices of lemon and rosemary or oregano under the chicken to infuse extra flavours and make sure not to over cook. A regular size chicken with only take around 30-35mins to cook when it’s butterflied like this so make sure to check it, when the juices run clear it is ready. Enjoy!

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Peri Peri Roast Chicken with Roast Veggies and Minted Peas with Fetta

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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A Classic family dinner to feed the family

Ingredients

1 whole chicken organic preferably and butterflied

1 lemon sliced

sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 cup white wine

2 cloves garlic crushed

Dried Oregano leaves

Store bought Peri Peri or Portuguese Spice Mix or Make yourself

6-8 baby carrots peeled

4-6  potatoes peeled and quartered

3 cups frozen green peas

3-4  mint leaves roughly chopped

1/4 cup marinated fetta

Peri Peri Spice Rub

 

  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, ground
  •  3 teaspoons paprika
  •  2 teaspoons garlic salt
  •  2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  •  2 teaspoons ground ginger
  •  2 teaspoons garlic powder
  •  1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional hot)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180’C
  2. Rub chicken with garlic and spice rub then sprinkle oregano all over
  3. In a large roasting tray add slices of lemon and sprigs of rosemary.
  4. Lay chicken skin side facing up on top of the lemons, add the white wine to the roasting tray.
  5. Cover and leave to marinade, meanwhile prepare your vegetables.
  6. Place carrots and potatoes in a separate roasting tray with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle of salt , place in the oven to cook for 35-40mins or until cooked through
  7. Cook chicken in the middle rack of the oven for 30-35 mins or until the juices run clear.
  8. Boil water in a small saucepan once boiling add frozen peas and 1 tsp salt cook for 5mins
  9. Drain, add mint and fetta and set aside.
  10. Once Chicken is cooked portion pieces and serve together with roast veggies and peas.

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Summery Sweet Chilli Chicken with Mango Salad

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Summer has come to an end sadly and what I will miss the most is the tropical fruit we are so lucky to enjoy here in Australia especially Mangoes. My grandfather has the most spectacular mango trees in his backyard which they planted over 40 years ago. Each year he harvests around 600-800 mangoes during the summer most the size of small footballs. The juicy flesh of these delicious fruits are so sweet nothing quite compares.

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The mangoes that you buy from the grocery shops are picked well under ripe like most commercially grown fruit so the flavour doesn’t have the time to develop as much as homegrown making these mangoes the absolute best (non biased of course). He even has had people help themselves to his tree uninvited  to my grandfathers displeasure. At 85 years old he still hobbles around his yard every morning quite literally collecting and admiring the fruits of his labour. So proud in fact that he keeps a journal and records how many he has harvested each year even the ones that the bats have taken. Bless his heart ♥

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Mangoes are a great source of  vitamin C which aids a healthy immune system. Helps with digestion as it contains enzymes that help to break down protein in your body. Lowers cholesterol, clears the skin, keeps your eyes healthy and there is even research that suggests the compounds in mangoes have cancer preventing properties. In case the sweet flavour of this fruit isn’t enough to get you indulging in them the nutritional  benefits speak for themselves.

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Finishing off the season I decided to make a summery mango salad to accompany the kids sweet chilli chicken they love. Very simply put together with fresh lime and olive oil as the mango just shines on its own.

Now to embrace the cooler weather  ahead well not quite yet, here in Queensland they weather stays quite warm till end of April so we still have time to enjoy the sun and afternoon swims for  a little while longer.

Caz

Sweet Chilli Chicken with Mango Salad

  • Servings: 4
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A sweet and summery meal that the whole family will enjoy

Ingredients

500g chicken tenders

1/4 cup sweet chilli sauce preferably one with low sugar

1 clove garlic crushed

1/2 lime juiced

200g mixed lettuce leaves

1 large mango seed removed and sliced thinly

Dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 lime juiced

salt and pepper

Directions

  1. In a bowl place chicken tenders, sweet chilli sauce, lime juice and garlic. Mix well to coat chicken and place in the fridge till needed.
  2. Prepare dressing, place all the dressing ingredients in a jar and set aside
  3. In a serving bowl place lettuce leaves and  sliced mango
  4. Heat a grill pan on medium to high heat and cook chicken tenders for 3-4 mins each side until cooked through
  5. Arrange chicken pieces on  top of the salad and pour over the dressing. Season with extra salt and pepper if needed.

+You can also add some cashew nuts for some extra crunch.

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