Bean and Chicken sausage stew

bean_and_chicken_sausage_stew

There’s nothing like a hearty warm stew (read here other news) to fill you up and bring you back to those old nights by the fire at home.

Bean and chicken sausage stew is just one of those soups. The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 12-ounce package fully cooked chicken sausage links, sliced, 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, 1 19-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed, 1 14.5-ounce can low-sodium chicken broth, 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, 1 bunch kale leaves, torn into 2-inch pieces, kosher salt and black pepper, and 1 loaf country bread.

To prepare first heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or a Dutch oven over a medium flame. Next add the sausage and cook, stirring once, until browned for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then stir in the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the beans, broth, and tomatoes as well as their liquid and bring to a boil. Next add the kale and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until wilted for 2 to 3 minutes. Warm the bread and serve with the stew.

For this recipe you may also use a variety of pork or beef sausages.

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Pasta primavera

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Pasta primavera is a dish made from pasta and fresh vegetables. Sometimes chicken is added but the meal is usually vegetables only. Ingredients such as broccoli, carrots, peas, onions, and green bell peppers, and tomatoes can be used. The pasta used can be bowtie or penne.

To make pasta primavera you will need 3 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips, 2 medium zucchini, cut into thin strips, 2 yellow squash, cut into thin strips, 1 onion, thinly sliced, 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips, 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs, 1 pound bowtie pasta, 15 cherry tomatoes, halved, and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan.

Next preheat an oven to 450 degrees F and on a large heavy baking sheet, toss all the vegetables with oil, salt, pepper, and herbs.

Put half of the vegetable mixture onto a large baking sheet and arrange evenly. Bake until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes.

Cook the pasta in a separate bowl of water until al dente for about 8 minutes. Next toss the pasta with the vegetables in a large bowl and combine.

Add the cherry tomatoes and enough of the left over cooking water to moisten. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.

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Paella, Spanish delight

paella
Paella is the dish associated with Spain. This combination of rice and seafood or meat and vegetables such as green peas is seen outside of Spain as the country’s national dish but is really a regional speciality from Valencia.

To make a paella gather 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of paprika, 2 tablespoons of oregano, salt and black pepper, 2 pounds of skinless chicken breasts cut into small pieces, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 2 cups uncooked short-grain rice, 1 pinch saffron, 1 bay leaf, 1 quart of chicken stock, 1 Spanish onion, 1 red bell pepper, 1 pound chorizo sausage, and 1 pound deveined shrimp.

First: season chicken with olive oil, paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper. Then heat olive oil in a large skillet, add garlic, red pepper, and rice and stir for 3 minutes. Add the saffron, bay leaf, chicken stock and lemon. Lower heat and allow the mixture to simmer for about 20 minutes.

In another, skillet heat oil then add chicken and onion and cook for a few minutes; add bell pepper, sausage, and shrimp, turning the shrimp until both sides are pink. Decorate paella with shrimp. Paella is best enjoyed served warm.

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Vegetarian Pizza, a way to eat healthy

vegetarian_pizza

The great thing about a good pizza is that you can choose your own toppings. If you’re not a fan of meat then you can also pile on the vegetables. The basic pizza dough 2 x 7g sachets dry yeast, 2 teaspoons caster sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 5 cups plain flour, and 1/2 cup olive oil.

To make the dough combine the yeast, sugar, salt and 1 1/2 cups warm water in a bowl. Cover and let it stand for 20 minutes or until the mixture is foamy. Then add flour and oil in a bowl and stir. Make a well in the centre and add yeast mixture. Knead onto a lightly-floured surface.

When the dough has risen, use fist to flatten and knead until smooth. Divide into quarters; roll to form four, 30cm round pizza bases and place on greased baking trays.

For the toppings use 1 small onion, finely chopped, 1 clove garlic, crushed, 1 small zucchini, grated, 200g of diced tomatoes, 1 tablespoon shredded basil, 1/2 medium red capsicum, thinly sliced, 1/2 medium green capsicum, thinly sliced, 4 (120g) bocconcini cheese, sliced, and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.

In a saucepan heat oil and add onion, garlic and zucchini. Stir until onion has softened then add tomatoes. Bring to the boil; reduce heat until sauce has thickened. Add basil. Then spread pizza base with tomato mixture and add capsicum, bocconcini and mozzarella. Bake until cheese has melted and base is crisp.

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Beef Pot Roast, taste in a pot

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When we think “roast” we often think “oven” but one of the tastiest roast meals is pot roast beef which can be done simply and easily on the stove top.

Pot Roast is an excellent meal to serve for an evening entertaining friends for a dinner party. It can be served with baked potatoes and gravy and a side salad of lettuce and tomatoes.

The ingredients required are 2 teaspoons olive oil, 4 pounds boneless chuck roast,1 onion, chopped, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Meat should be seasoned and left to marinade prior to cooking.

First preheat an oven to 325 degrees F. Heat a Dutch oven on top of the stove over a medium high heat. Then add meat and sear for around 4 minutes, searing all sides for 3 to 4 minutes each. Remove from the pan and sprinkle salt and pepper, add garlic, and 1 bay leaf. Replace meat in the pan and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Reduce heat and cook for a further 1 ½ hours. Garnish with onions and gravy.

A variation on this dish involves searing the meat. Once browned, add water, and boil until tender over a low flame. 

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Greek-style Roast Chicken

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Roast Chicken is always a favourite for a simple yet stylish dish to serve when entertaining.

There are many different ways the roast chicken can be prepared but it can be given a twist by adding Greek Yogurt to the marinade. The yogurt helps the chicken retain its moisture while in the oven.

This recipe calls for 4 chicken breasts with the skin still on, salt, ground black pepper, to taste, 1 cup plain Greek non-fat yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, ¼ cup orange juice, 2 cloves garlic, and 3 tablespoons olive oil.

After seasoning the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, place them in a gallon sized re-sealable bag. Mix together the yogurt, cumin, smoked paprika, orange juice and garlic and pour into the bag with the chicken. Marinate chicken for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Over a medium flame, heat olive oil. Add chicken with the skin side down and cook for 2 minutes until chicken is golden brown. Place pan in oven and roast for 25-30 minutes until cooked.

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Chicken Curry, a taste of India at home

Chicken_Curry
Nothing says exotic like curry and one of the simplest curry dishes to make is chicken curry. The dish is traditionally Indian and is like bringing a little taste of the sub-Continent home.

The curry can be spiced according to your own taste – fiery hot or just mild enough to leave you wanting more.

Chicken curry is best served with either Jasmine or Basmati Rice or Nan, or both.

Gather together 2 cups of Basmati or Jasmine rice, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 medium onion chopped, 1 clove of garlic minced, 3 tablespoons of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 bay leaf, ½ teaspoon of grated ginger root, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 2 skinless chicken breast halves cut into bite sized strips, 1 cup plain yogurt, ¾ cup coconut milk, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and salt to taste.

In a saucepan, heat olive oil over a medium flame and sauté onion until lightly browned. Add the garlic, curry powder, paprika, bay leaf, ginger root, and salt. Stir. Add chicken, tomato paste, coconut milk, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and yogurt. Bring to boil, turn down heat, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. In a separate pot, cook rice according to directions on package.

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Corfu, castle island

corfu

In the Ionian Sea sits the Greek island of Corfu. The birthplace of the Duke of Edinburgh, the whole island of Corfu is made almost entirely of limestone formations.

The island was heavily fortified against the Ottoman Empire and its capital city, also named Corfu, is enclosed by castles. It has been declared a Kastropolis or castle city by the Greek government. Among the islands sites is the Achilleion palace. The palace is famous for itsItalianate architecture and was after the Homeric hero Achilles.

The palace is is filled with paintings and statues of Achilles and depicts the scenes of the Trojan War. The historic Palaiokastritsa monastery on the west coast has beautiful coastal views of small, picturesque bays.

The Nymphes waterfalls in the north and the deserted 14th century village of Perithia high in the mountains near the highest peak of Mount Pantokrator are also worth seeing.

The foods of Corfu are similar to those of mainland Greece such as olivesolive oilcheeses,fresh fruitsvegetables and seafood.

Things to try include Bourou-Bourou Vegetable and Pasta Soup, Bourtheto a Scorpion Fish in a Spicy Sauce, Pastitsatha Rooster with Pasta and Sykomaïtha – Spiced Fig Cakes. The island is served by the Corfu International Airport, two miles south of Corfu Town.

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Chicken Lasagna, Healthy Twist on an old favourite

chicken_lasagna
Lasagna made with chicken instead of the traditional beef is a tasty choice which provides a twist on an old favourite and is a great option for vegetarians who want to add a bit of animal protein to their pasta.

This lasagna requires 1 and 1/2 cups of cooked ground chicken, 1 cup chicken stock, 1 can tomatoes, 1 can tomato paste, 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped, thyme, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons honey, 8 ounces lasagna noodles, pepper,4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese, 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375°. In a saucepan combine chicken, chicken stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, pepper, garlic, thyme, honey, and olive oil and cook for a few minutes. Cook lasagna noodles until tender. Drain and cool in cold water.

In a casserole dish place a thin layer of chicken mixture, add a layer of lasagna noodles, slightly crossing each other. Pour more chicken mixture, sprinkle mozzarella and cheddar cheese and add a second layer of noodles, add a third layer of chicken mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Finally add more noodles chicken mixture, and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

Bake lasagna for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown.

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Yummy Cheese Fritters

cheese_fritters
Cheese fritters are a great meal that can be enjoyed if you prefer to have something filling or a snack sans meat or fish. The best thing is that fritters can be made with any left-over bits of cheese whether it is cheddar, feta, gruyere, pepper jack or mozzarella.

They can also be served with marmalade or chutney to give them a little extra zest. First in a bowl sift flour, salt, and cayenne or black pepper, chopped onions, chopped scallions, and thyme. Make a hole in the centre of the blended flour and add two eggs. Whisk batter combining the eggs with two tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of milk. Next grate in the cheese and stir all together.

Let the mixture sit for a few minutes while you heat a saucepan with oil. Once the oil is hot use a large spoon to scoop up batter and drop medium size dollops in the pot. Fry until golden brown. Once cooked, remove the fritters and place in a sieve or silicone paper to drain off extra oil. The marmalade can be bought or you can make you own using sugar, cider vinegar, sweet peppers, oil, and garlic. Over a medium heat carmelise sugar and onions, sweet peppers, and garlic. Turn down flame until sauce is thick. Do not allow the mixture to burn. Turn off stove and allow marmalade to cool.

Serve and enjoy!

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