Monday 6 February 2017

Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls

I was asked for some slow cooker recipes that weren’t stew, so here’s the first. These may look like they have a lot of ingredients, but I think you should have most of the stuff to hand – and they’re really easy to put together. You can zshuz (?!) them up at the end however you like – I like to add grated cheese, chopped onions with coriander and homemade guacamole, then make wraps! But you can just as easily eat straight from the bowl.


Like many of my recipes, you can vary quantities, and ingredients to some extent, according to taste. And if you don’t have a slow cooker, you could do this in the oven in a lidded casserole. If you don’t have a can of corn, use frozen, or even peas. If you don’t have black beans, use kidney beans…it really doesn’t matter here if you switch things in and out.

This recipe makes 6 big portions.


4 chicken breasts

1 can chopped tomatoes (or two jars of salsa)

230ml chicken stock

4tsp taco/fajita seasoning packet – I base mine on this recipe or chilli powder, cumin, salt

CHEAT: 2 packets microwave brown + wild rice (at £1 each, I don’t think they’re bad value)

can of black beans or 250g dried black beans

can of sweetcorn or small mug of frozen corn

peppers and red onions (optional) CHEAT:  I used sliced frozen peppers and slice frozen red onions


If you’re using dried beans, rinse them well – I didn’t. It’s not a problem, but everything in the pot turns a purply brown if you don’t.

Put everything, apart from the rice, peppers and onions into the pot. Stir to combine and ensure chicken is covered. Turn onto low for 4 hours. Keep a check to ensure it doesn’t dry out and stick.

After 4 hours, the beans will probably still be hard and chewy on the inside…don’t worry.

Add frozen pepper and onions. Turn up to high for 2 hours.

Remove chicken and shred. Tip in rice. Stir together. Turn back to low for ten minutes to ensure rice is heated through.

This is a great ‘prep ahead’ meal. You can get everything out and bag it all up in one bag ready to tip in that morning. Easy! This recipe would also work really well in the Cook4Me although I’d definitely use tinned beans, not dried. I’d also only use half the stock. Since you’re using whole chicken breasts, I think about 15 minutes should do the trick, and you can always add more cooking time to get them to the shreddable stage!


I served it with soured cream, grated cheese and salsa and gave everyone warmed wraps to make their own burritos. Once the OH discovered they were actually very healthy, with beans, tomatoes, corn, peppers, chicken and ‘good for you’ rice, his rating of the dish climbed to an 8/10. And none of the goodness disappears from the slow cooker either.

Monday 30 January 2017

Family Meals–Cheat’s Cottage Pie

So, after asking you what you’d like to see on the blog, several people asked for quick, tasty family meals that don’t use too many ingredients. So I’m starting you off with my own ‘cheats’ version of a cottage pie. The cheat aspect is to use frozen, pre chopped veg. Now, now…don’t scoff. This is one type of food I’ve started relying on. Firstly, the taste. It’s just the same as the fresh. The price? Well, maybe twice the price as buying individual pieces of fresh veg. but there’s no waste as it simply sits there waiting for the next use. One thing I have found is that once defrosted, the veg does become watery. Because of this, I wouldn’t use it for drier dishes where you want a thick sauce, but for stews and stir-fries, the extra water just becomes a part of the sauce.



beef mince

frozen chopped onions

frozen chopped carrots

crushed garlic

stock cube (I just used a little corner of one as was making for the kiddies)

hp brown sauce

red wine (notice, this didn’t bother me – for the kiddies!)

Worcestershire sauce



frozen mashed potato – yes, I know, but it only has in it the stuff you’d put in at home I promise!

Stovetop Method:

1 - Brown mince, onions, garlic and carrots in a little olive oil

2 - Whilst browning, make your stock – combine a large glug of brown sauce, small glug of Worcestershire sauce, half glass or so or red wine, beef stock cube, ground pepper and enough water to just cover your mince – add a little. You can always top up the pan later if there’s not enough. I used around 300g mince and made about 300ml stock.

3 - Sprinkle the mince mix with a spoon of plain flour, mix in.

4 - Pour your stock mix over the top, stir and let bubble down until the mince and veg are cooked and the liquid is reduced so you have a thick gooey sauce.

5 - Pour into an ovenproof dish, top with frozen pellets of mash, Grate cheese over the top and bake as usual – about 35 minutes on 180 should do. You just need to cook the mash and brown the top really.

Cook4Me Method:

Manual mode – browning, 3 minutes.

See 1 and 2 above.

Once browned, see 3 and 4 above.

Manual mode – quick cook, 7 minutes.

Once finished, see 5 above

So, hopefully that’s one to get you started, even if you already make a version of this, try with the pre chopped frozen veg…it honestly is so much faster!

Friday 27 January 2017

Tefal Cook4Me


I've been experimenting with my new Christmas present over the last few weeks and am pleased to say, I'm definitely getting the hang of it! I used it last week, and this week in fact, for a healthy and hearty bean stew, which cooked in just 7-10 minutes. I also made a new years chilli, (10 mins) chicken sambal curry (4 mins) and monkfish with peppers (6 mins).

Image result for tefal cook4me

You may have guessed from these cooking times that my new toy is a pressure cooker. Yes, that's right, but not one of those 80s Prestige huge pans with a scary lid that went on the hob. No. An electric one. All shiny and new. A Tefal Cook 4 Me. And I may be a little bit in love. Yes, you still have all the prep. to do, and that adds more time. And you have to wait for it to preheat. But unlike my slow cooker, I can brown meats in the cooker itself, then go straight onto cooking in there, even tho it has to preheat again.


There is, however, a time and a place for it. If you want a really rich, flavoursome, homemade ragu, this machine will not give you that. If you already have amazing flavours ready to go in the pot, for example, a Thai spiced paste, it's perfect. Equally, if you cook things like bolognaise from a jar, it would dramatically speed up your dinner times.
The machine has several recipes pre-programmed into it, so you turn it on, find the recipe and the little screen guides you through what to do when. It's normally a case of prepping the ingredients, browning meat then throwing it all in to cook. The app, which is only available in the U.K. at present, has many more recipes to use and you can just follow the recipe on there and use the manual mode on the machine brown and cook. There is a new Connect model just released over here, and the app is designed to run alongside that and send the recipe direct to your machine. But I can't really see the point. For a start, it's much more expensive. And there's no extra effort or difficulty involved in using the manual mode on the machine. In fact, it’s slightly easier as the browning mode on manual starts a timer so you know how long you’ve been browning for, although I usually go on the look of it.


You can even use it to cook desserts, but I haven't braved those yet. I also don't think I've actually followed the recipes on the machine. For a start, I only use pastes for curries and everything else, like bolognaise, I make my own tomato sauce. I tend to make something I would usually make, find a similar cut of meat recipe on the machine and use that preset! So for my chicken sambal, I chop chicken, find the green Thai curry recipe as it also uses chopped chicken and coconut milk, brown meat and onions, tip my paste, coconut milk and green beans in, then use the preset time. For my chilli, I again used the chilli preset but used my own recipe. Occasionally with the chilli, the sauce is too thick for the machine to create the steam and pressure needed, so just give it a stir, try again, and add a bit more water if needed to help it on its way!


Even if I use this machine once a week, it certainly does save time and was worth the money. When F asks when her dinner is ready, I can say ‘in about three minutes’, rather than telling her we just have to wait for the oven to heat up, etc. etc. It also means I can tip everything in and leave it rather than stand at the hob and try to stop CC emptying the cupboards at the same time as juggling a hot pan … never a good idea.

Tuesday 10 January 2017

New Year, New Gadget!

Happy New Year to all…and yes, I’ll make the resolution again to cook and blog more, but don’t hold me to it!

Here’s hoping you all had a happy and healthy festive period and have since de-cluttered, found a fresh spring in our step and are ready to embrace January. If so, I have just the think to start the new year: a hearty but healthy bean and pasta stew / soup. I suppose it’s really a version of Italian bean or Peasant soup, made with whatever you have to hand and served on top of a slice of toasted, slightly stale country style bread. Ok, so it might not sound brilliant, but I promise it delivers on flavour.



streaky bacon (leave out if you want a vegetarian version)




can of chopped tomatoes

can of borlotti beans

500ml chicken or vegetable stock

pasta for soup (little pasta!)

oregano / dried mixed herbs

sweet paprika

slice country style stalish bread


Chop the ingredients into bite sized chunks

Brown bacon, then fresh veg in a pan

Add tomatoes, stock, herbs, paprika and pasta

Cover and simmer until pasta is cooked

Meanwhile, toast the bread.

Once the soup stew is cooked, season well and pour on top of the bread.

Easy – and perfect to warm you up on those colder days. I even blitzed it for the baby as I used homemade, very low salt stock…and a bit of bacon does no harm every now and then!


And as for the new gadget, it’s a Tefal Cook 4 Me…a sort of new-fangled one pot pressure cooker. I actually browned the ingredients in there, then threw everything else in and cooked for ten minutes. More on this amazing pot in a later post – I keep forgetting to take pictures of what I’ve cooked. Also this week, I’m looking forward to my last discounted Gousto delivery. Definitely getting back into this cooking malarkey!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Creative Commons License
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.