Whoever said that a main meal had to include rice, pasta, or spuds? Possibly noodles at a pinch?
The holy trinity of a double carb meal is one that my husband aspires to; a three-in-one contains rice and chips. The gourmet sandwich is always made with white sliced pan filled with Cheese and Onion Tayto. It must be cheese and onion. If it’s not cheese and onion classic, Southern Ireland, Tayto crisps, then it’s not a proper crisp butty.
Have you ever tried making a chicken and stuffing toasty with a smear of garlic mayonnaise? If you’ve never tried it before I highly recommend it, not forgetting a smear of beetroot relish on the side to dip those crispy triangles in.
If you haven’t guessed by now I’m not a fan of being tied to the kitchen sink everyday.
So take my advice, make a batch (or even a double batch) of my meatball marinara recipe. It will keep for up to 3 days in a sealed container in the fridge once cooled to room temperature. It also freezes extremely well.
Buy some ready made soft rolls, of course if you want to make your own go right ahead. If you’re using day-old rolls that are a little crunchy on the outside run them under the tap for a moment so that they soften first.
Slice those rolls down the middle and stuff them with the meatballs in the marinara sauce. Heat the stuffed rolls in a baking tray in the oven until they are warmed through. Sprinkle grated mozzarella on top, or cheddar if you want a bit of sharpness.
What about the double-carb requirement I hear you say?
Less washing up means you have to pair this meatball supper with a bag of cheesey nachos. The 11 year old has spoken and will entertain no alternatives.
Salad to the side is optional but will make you feel a little more virtuous. You will also have more washing up to do afterwards. You have been warned…
Leftover pork can be a little bit bland and this is the reason why I pair the pork with a lime salsa. It’s extremely easy to make.
Handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Pinch of salt
1 Red onion, peeled and diced
1 green pepper, diced
Stir all the ingredients together in a bowl and leave to sit in the fridge for about 1 hour before serving.
To assemble the pork wraps, heat a dry pan to medium on the hob.
On a clean surface fill a wholemeal wrap with a tablespoon of rice, pork, and black beans, top with some salsa. Roll the wrap tightly and then toast on the dry pan until heated through. Enjoy immediately!
PS: In the spirit of being open and honest, my 7 year old declined the assembled wrap and instead had the below bowl of leftover pork, baby peppers, and wholemeal wraps for his dinner. I had the contents of the wrap, but not the wrap. The rest of the family enjoyed the wraps!
My friend Karin is originally from Brazil and her rice and beans are a thing of legend. She’s pretty partial to our free-range pork so a variation of her rice and beans recipe with a roast pork shoulder is the perfect way to marry her Brazilian traditional food and our Irish ingredients.
For the Beans.
Karin recommends rinsing the black beans at least 3 times to remove dust/dirt/residue and then soaking them overnight. Once they have soaked for at least 12 hours you can boil the beans on the hob for 1 hour.
Alternatively if you have a pressure cooker (her method of choice) put the beans and water in the pressure cooker and bring to pressure cooking point. Cook for 10 minutes, release the steam and then allow the beans to cool before serving.
You can also use a tin of cooked black beans, strain away the water and rinse them well.
Take 2 large onions, peel and chop them finely. In a large frying pan heat a tablespoon of oil (I used lard from the pork but plain cooking oil is fine). Put the frying pan on a low heat and fry off the onions until they turn translucent. Season well with salt. Take half the cooked onion out of the frying pan and use for the rice (see below). Add 3 finely chopped garlic cloves to the remaining onion and cook for a further 5 minutes. Finally, stir in the cooked black beans and mix so that everything is coated in the garlic and onions and heated through.
For the rice
Put half the cooked onion into a saucepan with a lid. Put the saucepan on a medium heat and pour in the dry rice you’re going to cook. Stir the rice so that it mixes with the onion and becomes a little bit chalky. Pour hot water over the rice, so that it is about 2 inches over the height of the rice in the saucepan. Put the lid on the saucepan, bring the contents to a slow simmer for 12 minutes. Serve once cooked.
For the Pork
I have cooked the bone-in pork shoulder (weighing about 2kg) with the skin on for 4 hours at 150 degrees. All I did was sprinkle a little salt on top before putting the pork into the oven. That makes the skin turn crispy. That’s my lot.
If you have a piece of pork that is smaller, reduce the cooking time. If the pork doesn’t have skin or fat to protect the roast, cover it with tinfoil. Once cooked, remove the pork from the oven and allow to stand/rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.
The full meal can be served with plenty of fresh raw vegetables and green salad. We like grated carrot, fresh tomatoes, and rocket.
For the second meal don’t forget to keep at least half the pork, beans, and some rice to one side for tomorrow.
If you made yesterday’s meal of Paprika Chicken with Vegetables you should by now have half of the vegetables along with the leftover chicken from the roast chicken.
This meal is now extremely simple.
Pasta (I used spaghetti here but any type is fine)
1 bag of spinach
Leftover roasted vegetables
Boil some water and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Make only as much as you need (so check the portion sizes on the packet).
1 minute before your pasta is ready, lash spinach into the boiling water with the pasta. It’ll only take a minute to cook.
Strain away the pasta and spinach, leaving the hob on. Return the (empty) saucepan to the hob and put the leftover vegetables and chicken into the empty saucepan. Pour the pasta and spinach on top. Stir well so that all the ingredients are combined and heated through. Serve immediately.
PS: Apologies with the slight delay in posting this. We’ve had an eventful day and I’m only just getting onto the sofa after the Raheny 5 Mile today. Cxxx
Before I get started on the actual recipe for Paprika Chicken With Vegetables I want to ask you how many racks you have in your oven? Everytime I put a meal into my oven I hear my Grandmother admonishing me to make the most of the cooking space. In the past year I added a third rack to my (fan) oven which really makes a huge difference to what I can fit inside it to cook. Also, even with a fan oven you can still cook items on the bottom of the oven (yes seriously). Think of the bottom of the oven as a very warm spot which doesn’t necessarily have a reliable temperature so instead of cooking technical items like cake in the bottom of the oven, it’s ideal for slow roasting or comforting sweet dishes like crumbles.
If you think about it, once you put on your oven all that wasted space is wasted energy. With a little bit of organisation you can maximise what you cook and not increase your energy costs. Where can you get an additional rack? It seems that there isn’t much of an Irish market for them but you can definitely buy a spare rack from Amazon for about €13. However, if you have a grill pan in your top section of your double oven, or a grill pan that you continuously take in/out from your single oven you should just add that to your regular cooking racks to save money.
The secret to this week’s Make Once Eat Twice challenge is making the most of your oven space for a short period of time which will benefit you on the second day. Just in case you don’t have 3 racks in your oven there is another option when making the recipe, don’t worry!
1 medium chicken
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
2 medium onions, peeled and cut into chunks
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
2 large peppers, cut into chunks
7/8 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
For the Seasoning
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons olive oil (yes I know this sounds a lot but it has to go a long way!
Preheat your (fan) oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Combine the seasoning ingredients in a large bowl and set to one side. Line 3 baking trays with non stick baking paper. Get a large basin of hot soapy water and have it at the ready.
Take Tray 1: Put the chicken on the tray (do not wash the chicken). Take 1 teaspoon of the seasoning mixture and rub it onto the skin of the chicken. Use the soapy water to immediately clean your hands once this is done. Put Tray 1 in the oven immediately.
Take Tray 2: Put the root vegetables on this tray; butternut squash, carrots, and parsnips. Take 1 tablespoon of the seasoning mixture and pour it over chunks of vegetables. Mix the vegetables well so they are coated in the seasoning. Once again wash your hands!
Take Tray 3: Put the soft items on this tray; tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Repeat the steps with the seasoning mixture and washing your hands.
The Large Bowl: There should be a small amount of seasoning left in the large bowl. Take the potatoes and toss them in this mixture. If you don’t want roast potatoes with your dinner, just make mashed potatoes as normal and skip this step.
After Tray 1 has been in the oven for 30 minutes, open the oven and carefully spoon the coated potatoes into the baking tray beside the chicken. Put Tray 2 in the oven.
Let the trays cook in the oven for another 30 minutes. If you have 3 racks in the oven, now add the third tray to the oven.
If you don’t have 3 racks, skip and leave the 2 trays in the oven for 1 hour in total. Put tray 3 into the oven when you remove Trays 1 & 2 after 1 hour’s cooking time (1 hour 30 minutes since you put the chicken in the oven).
Remove the chicken and roasted vegetables from the oven and serve your roast paprika chicken.
As this is a Make Once Eat Twice meal, reserve half of Tray 2 & Tray 3 for tomorrow. And don’t forget to pick any leftover chicken from the bones as well.
To make this simple and delicious meal of shakshuka (baked eggs) you’ll need half of the sauce made yesterday for the taco fries. Although to be fair you could make this first, and the taco fries second if you wanted to! I use small baking dishes for everyone in the family so each person gets a dish with sauce and 1 egg. However, if you don’t have these you can bake this meal in a large ovenproof baking dish and dole out the individual portions once cooked. Ingredients (serves 5 people)
Half of the sauce recipe made yesterday
Handful of fresh coriander
1 large lime cut into wedges
Crusty bread or pitta bread
Method Preheat a fan oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Spoon the sauce into a large oven proof baking dish. Put the baking dish into the preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes (this allows the sauce to warm through). Using a large spoon make 5 pockets/dimples in the sauce and immediately crack an egg into each space. Cover the baking dish with a large saucepan lid or tinfoil. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Serve your shakshuka/baked eggs with torn coriander leaves on top, crusty bread for dunking into the sauce, and a wedge of lime on the side to give it an extra sour kick (this is my 7 year old’s favourite part). 4 recipes down, only 100 to go!!! Eek!
I know I’m a week behind, don’t worry that will be fixed over the coming months! Unfortunately the entire family came down with the flu this past week and everything had to go on hold while I dealt with that. This week’s recipe is based around a vegetable and bean stew which I use to make a taco fries dish on day one, and day two will follow tomorrow. Once again this is a low fat recipe making it slimmer friendly, it’s high in fibre and protein. Remember this sauce will do you for 2 full sized family meals (family of 5) and it’s like a hug in a bowl this one. The kids love it; when I asked them which dish I’d make this week from the list this was what they opted for. The 10 year old wanted a vegetarian meal that he loves and the 7 year old (who doesn’t like cheese) said he wanted it plant-based. The biggest challenge is always convincing my husband that he doesn’t need meat to complete a main meal and the great news is he doesn’t feel hard done by with the taco fries.
Ingredients (for the sauce)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
2 peppers, chopped
1 teaspoon each of salt, ground cumin, garlic powder, and paprika
2 tablespoons tomato puree
100g split yellow peas or red lentils (either is fine or a combination of both works too)
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tin of chickpeas (including the water)
1 carton of tomato passata
1 teaspoon runny honey
For the Taco Fries
1kg of baby potatoes
1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
1 teaspoon each of paprika and onion salt (optional)
2 scallions/spring onions chopped
100g of grated cheddar cheese (optional)
Method Place a large saucepan (which has a sturdy lid) on a medium heat. Into the saucepan add the olive oil, onion, and peppers. Stir for about 3 minutes so that they start to soften. Next add the ground spices and the tomato puree. Stir so that the puree starts to cook in the heat and coat the peppers and onions. Pour in the split peas and stir well so that they are also coated in the sauce mixture. Stir for another 2-3 minutes and then add all the remaining ingredients. Stir one more time and wait until the sauce starts to simmer. Cover the saucepan and turn the heat to low. Cook the sauce on low for 90 mins. After 90 mins, turn your oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Slice the baby potatoes into quarters. Toss the sliced baby potatoes in a large bowl with the sunflower oil and spices. Put the coated baby potatoes onto a non-stick oven tray and roast in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. To Serve Serve the cooked homemade potato wedges/fries, with spoonfuls of the sauce on top. Sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese and chopped scallions on top of the sauce, finally add a wedge of lime on the side of the dish and enjoy while piping hot. Don’t forget you should keep half of your sauce for the second meal the following day! The cheddar cheese is optional, if you are making this a vegan dish then leave it out.
Notes on storage: As this dish doesn’t have any meat or dairy in it, the sauce will store in a sealed container in your fridge for up to 4 days. Alternatively, you can freeze the sauce for another time and it will keep in the deep freeze for up to 3 months once it’s stored correctly. I use glass containers to store sauces in the freezer if that helps.
Yesterday I made a braised beef with seasonal veg dish and using the leftovers I’ve now made a cottage pie.
I’ll keep it simple, because my recipes have to take little time in the kitchen. The only additional ingredients you will need are about 200g of frozen peas and sweetcorn, plus a small amount of grated cheese.
Shred the remaining beef from the previous meal and stir it into the leftover gravy.
Preheat your fan oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
Spoon the gravy and beef mixture into a large baking dish. Top with the frozen vegetables.
Spoon the leftover mashed potatoes on top of the vegetables and gravy mixture. Sprinkle grated cheese on top of the mashed potatoes.
Cook in the oven for 45 minutes, until all the food is warmed through and serve immediately.
If you want to, this meal is also perfect for freezing so once assembled, cover well and put straight into the freezer where it will keep for up to 1 month. Ensure it is completely defrosted before cooking in the oven.
For the first in the recipe series I’ve gone back to a family favourite. Mam used to make this braised beef dish in a heavy casserole dish with a lid. The homely flavours come thanks to the veg that all comes from a local farm. It doesn’t get more Irish than this.
Ingredients 3 onions, peeled and roughly chopped 1kg housekeepers cut of beef (note remove any string or elastic before cooking) 4 large carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks 1/2 small turnip (or swede) peeled and chopped 1 litre of vegetable stock (use hot water and 1 vegetable stock cube) 1 heaped tablespoon cornflour
For Serving Mashed potatoes (make enough for 2 meals)
Method For the braised flavour you will need to sear the onions and the beef. So first grab your casserole dish, put it on a high heat and fry the onions in a teaspoon of vegetable oil until they turn brown/charred. Remove the onions from the dish and put them on a plate.
With the dish still on high, sear all sides of the beef so that it’s dark brown. Add the onions back to the dish, the rest of the vegetables, and then the stock. Cover the casserole dish and reduce the heat so that the stock is on a slow simmer. Cook for 3-4 hours. Note the stock should reach a maximum of halfway up the piece of beef, it should not be covered in the stock.
Adapted for the slow cooker: Fry the onions and then the beef in a frying pan before putting them into your slow cooker. Add the chopped vegetables, stock, put the lid on top and cook on high for 5-6 hours.
Before serving, remove the beef from the dish/slow cooker. Remember you have to keep half for your second dish tomorrow so it may be easier to cut it in half and cover now before serving dinner.
In a small cup mix 1 heaped tablespoon of cornflour with a splash of cold water until you get a loose paste. With the vegetables and the stock still on the heat, quickly stir this paste into the mixture. It should thicken the mixture to a gravy instantly. Once again, half of this mixture is to be reserved for your second meal.
Serve the beef with the vegetables in gravy with mash on the side. I’ve served ours with buttered cabbage as I got some fresh from the farm yesterday and I love the vibrant colours.
One of the main reasons why I love this recipe so much is because all of the vegetables used here are Irish and in season. It makes it very budget friendly for what is a very frugal time of the year.
Cover the leftover food and chill the food when it reaches room temperature. I’ll have the second recipe for you tomorrow!