28 August 2011

From Cottage Pie to Chicken & Bacon Stew : a round-up of the last two weeks

Medicinal Cottage Pie - just what the doctor ordered!
As I had been struck down with a case of the nasties, my meal planning for the last two weeks has been a bit different to normal.

For the first week, I had to come up with meals that Hubby could make without too much difficulty, as it was quite apparent that I wouldn't be doing very much in the kitchen other than making toast!

So, on that Monday we had shop-bought chicken in spicy breadcrumbs, in a wrap with lettuce, salsa and guacamole.  Son & heir was very happy with this (well, apart from the guacamole, but hubby very wisely put his guacamole separately on the side of the plate as he'd anticipated problems there) and it was a doddle for Hubby to put together.

Son & heir was going on his first parent-free visit to the cinema on the Wednesday, so when we'd collected him and his friend, we wheeled them off to Macdonalds for a celebratory burger.  I had one of their sweet chilli chicken wraps, which was actually quite palatable.  We got home and I went back to bed.  LOL

I was paying for the outing the following day, so Hubby prepared a medicinal Cottage Pie, with carrots, broccoli and celeriac (for Shepherd's Pie, just use lamb mince instead of the beef mince used for Cottage Pie).  Unfortunately, the potatoes let him down in that they simply disintegrated in the pan, but the meat part of the pie was delicious as ever.  I felt much restored, thereafter.

Friday was good old Bacon & Leek Pasta.  It is one of the simplest recipes to cook and Hubby did a great job with it.

He'd got the bit well between his teeth come Saturday, and ventured into curry!  We had a really lovely chicken curry with rice and shop-bought puppodums.  There was intentionally nothing fancy, nothing special about the curry, but it was saucy, flavoursome and rich - a perfect everyday curry.

Is that not a very creditable looking roast dinner?  :-)
We've recently discovered that Hubby makes a great line in roast dinners, so for Sunday, he cooked roast chicken breasts with roast potatoes, parsnips and assorted vegetables.  He did the Marco Pierre White thing with the chicken breasts, in that he let down a stock cube with a little water and rubbed it into the meat, together with a little lemon juice.  It was really yummy!   He even found some yorkshire puddings hiding in the freezer, so they went into the oven too.  A cracking good dinner.

Monday is always a "rely on storecupboard goods" day, as either the veggies have all been used up, or it's too long (from shopping on Friday) to expect salad to keep nicely.  So we had good old sausage, mash, baked beans and peas - using Spring Fields lovely Cumberland sausages, of course.

So that was the first week, successfully completed.  I think Hubby deserves a medal, as he was carrying the entire household on his own two feet.

The second week, I was starting to feel a bit more human and anticipated being able to return to kitchen duties.  So, when I was planning the meals I went for ones I've done successfully before, that barring catastrophe, would be almost guaranteed to turn out how they should and be enjoyed by everyone.

Tuesday was cop-out day and we all had frozen supermarket pizza.  Well, it's easy!

See the purple basil?  Cute!
Wednesday was my first day back in the kitchen and although my legs really weren't ready for all this, I struggled on through and made a Sicilian Pork Ragu with Spirali pasta.  I had only made this once before, but it ranks right up there with my favourites.  Hubby did a lot of the getting stuff out and putting stuff away again, so I can't claim to have done it completely on my own - but it was a start.  I was a little concerned about how the Spirali pasta would behave with the Ragu, as the original recipe (care of "A Glug of Oil") uses Tagliatelle and knowing how Willie insists on using the right pasta for the right sauce, I was firmly crossing my fingers.  Happily, it behaved impeccably and everyone cleared their plates (well, all except for a few pieces of pasta - which the dogs soon took care of in their dinners!).

Thursday, I was back at work and Hubby was exploring further along the curry route.  This time, he made a chicken Biryani.  See how artistically he presented it?  I absolutely love boiled egg with curry (well, boiled egg with just about anything really!) and the tomato - which looks a teensy bit overpowering in the picture - in fact was a lovely juicy counterpoint to the rice mixture.  Hubby polished off the leftovers the following day for lunch, so that proves how nice it was!

Friday dawned and we had a guest for dinner that night, as Son & heir had a friend staying over for a sleepover.  I had booked in my Turkey meatballs in a tomato and fennel sauce for that night, which proved perfect as we just had to buy a little extra Turkey mince and the rest stretched.  I found the cooking a little easier to do, this time, too.

Mmmn - tenderstem broccoli!
So that brings us to last night, which was my lovely one-pot chicken & bacon stew, which I served with tenderstem broccoli.  I set off doing the prep. for the dish and suddenly it dawned on me - but not until I was pretty much half-way through - that I should be using half the quantities stated!  It was the 1 litre of chicken stock that alerted me - for 3-4 people, it would have been swimming!  So I had to back up a bit and do some adjusting of the quantities that I had prepared, but even so, I put too much onion, bacon, tomato puree and bay leaves in the mix.  Oddly enough, the result tasted absolutely gorgeous - and a marked improvement on the original (which was pretty darned good, as it stood!). In fact, I've just eaten the leftovers for breakfast, which might tell you how good it was!

Tonight, I'm planning a Pork and Caramelised Apples dish which will be started on the hob and wind up in the oven, just to ensure the pork is tender.  I'll be serving it with mashed potato, runner beans (hopefully some from our garden), carrots & broccoli.  I'll get some vitamins and minerals into those boys if it's the last thing I do!

Tomorrow, Monday, Hubby is back on the curry trail - this time he's planning a vegetable curry, in which he'll use up whatever is leftover in the vegetable drawer and has a secret weapon - a cauliflower!  Curried is the only denomination of cauliflower he enjoys, so a cauliflower was a must for a vegetable curry.  He's planning on serving it with rice and naan bread and I'm really looking forward to it.  There's quite a selection of bits and pieces of vegetables in the veggie drawer, so it should have plenty of variety!

Now, all that leaves me to do is to work out what the heck we're going to be eating this coming week!  Wish me luck!




  1. What a wonderful round-up of tasty meals, and I am with you on the point that Shepherd's Pie is medicinal too....as for the curry trail, that reminds me I need to make one soon!
    Have a great weekend Jenny.

  2. Wow, what a great selection of recipes! Lots of homely comfort food - my favourite. I desperately want to try making a curry! x

  3. Thanks Karen! :)

    Girls : Thanks! If you choose one of the curries on the blog here, you won't get much easier than that! Hmmmn, well, except maybe for the Gurkha Pork Curry - I wouldn't try that one as a first go!


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