Sunday, 27 January 2013

Getting Creative in the Kitchen

Hello all!!

I have not done a recipe post in a while.

And to be honest, feeling under the weather lately, I didn't cook that much.
But today I felt creative and hungry for some good and healthy food.
I basically made up a recipe of things I had in the fridge and things I know go well. And it was DELICIOUS!!! 

So here is an easy and yummy chicken in tomato sauce (preparation time 15 mins, cooking time 1 hour):

Saute three medium onions and one carrot on a bit of olive oil. Add vegetable stock with it. Don't add water just the stock pot:

Brown the chicken in a separate pan on a splash of olive oil. I had one chicken breast and three thighs. Not much, but then again, it is vegetables and the sauce that make this dish good. Note, just brown the chicken pieces as they are going to cook in the oven for about an hour once you add the sauce. Once browned, put aside to set.

Cut out vegetables. I only had three mushrooms and one and a half of yellow pepper. Of course you can add anything you want (celery, courgettes, aubergines,...). I had these in my fridge and they are kind of my staple anyway:

Once the onion and carrot are softened, add your chosen vegetables:

Now, for the star of the dish - tomato sauce. I absolutely love tinned tomatoes and use them in almost all my cooking. I always have at least two or three tins in my cupboard. For this dish I used two tins, three cloves of finely chopped garlic, two bay leaves, a bit of dried oregano and three chillies (if you like hot food that is. If not, just leave them out).

After cooking vegetables for about three minutes, add the sauce in. Cook that for another 3-4 minutes but not longer. You just want the spices and juices to get going. They'll cook longer in the oven and release all their goodness in time.

I had four potatoes and threw that in too. Cut them in smaller pieces so they cook faster. I placed the chicken at the bottom of the tray and then pour the sauce over it, covering the whole tray. Season the whole dish, but don't forget you've already put the vegetable stock in and that's already somewhat salty.

Pre heat the oven at 200C. Pop the dish into the oven and cook for an hour, on medium heat, then after half an hour turn it up to the highest your oven goes to. And then wait patiently (that was the hardest bit of the cooking. The kitchen smelt beautifully and I was starving).
After an hour, your dish is ready to be eaten:

In all seriousness this was the best meal I have had in months and months (and I have eaten in quite good restaurants in the last six months). But this one beats them all. It is healthy and if you leave potatoes out not many callories either (next time I am adding quinoa instead of potatoes). Most of all, this dish is seriously delicious. And so easy to prepare. The biggest challenge is not to go for seconds, thirds, fourths,... I can't wait for my dinner tomorrow (there is so much of it, I have at least two - three more meals left).

I am not so good at following recipes. I take the basic idea from a recipe book and then experiment. I cook with my gut instinct, my taste buds and what's in the fridge. I can never stick to someone else's recipe. So of course, use this as your guide, but add or leave out at your pleasure. However, I suggest that you use different coloured ingredients. It is important that the dish looks colourful and inviting.

So, how do you cook? Do you follow someone else's recipe or do you go in to invent and experiment. Either way, let me know.

Have a delicious week.

Red xx


Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

As you most likely already know, we do not cook. We are fortunate to have Tímea, our cook/housekeeper, who prepares us the most wonderful Hungarian dishes. However, this looks to be both simple, as you say, and delicious. We will show her this post....and hope!!

Little Rus said...

This is delicious!!! I used similar ingredients(all but the chicken as I don't eat meat), so I can imagine what it taste like. :) x

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

My type of dish. I almost always just throw together what I have on hand and rarely do things go wrong. Keep well Diane

Mary Jo at TrustYourStyle said...

Oh yum, that looks delish! I know what you mean about cooking something fairly simple that's so much better than eating in the most fabulous restaurant. Lately because I've been under the weather since returning to London, I've gotten on a healthy kick and have been cooking up a storm from a recipe book meant to re-set your sleep clock (the premise is that sleeping more and eating at the same time daily will make you burn more calories). I don't know about that but I'm definitely getting in 3 meals a day--which is a miracle! Hope you feel better soon!
xo Mary Jo

Fifi B said...

Hi Z, so sorry I have not been very good at keeping up with blog reading of late. Love the recipe, very healthy and no doubt delicious! Hope all is going well and hopefully not long till half-term! xxx