I’ve had some cooking successes lately.
The other night I was pressed for time and needed to cook dinner quickly. I could’ve had a frozen meal (i.e. reheated a serve of leftovers) but I had some chicken thighs in the fridge that needed to be cooked as I’d moved them from the freezer earlier in the week.
So I googled, “cook chicken thighs in the microwave” (or something like that) and came across this recipe. Basically, it involves:
- 2 x chicken thigh fillets
- Chopped veggies of your choice
- Chicken stock (made into liquid form)
- Garlic, salt, pepper
- Microwave-safe container
- Oven mitt (for pulling container out of microwave)
- Chopping board
- Smear garlic onto chicken and place in bottom of dish – season with salt and pepper to taste
- Pour chicken stock over chicken
- Add veggies on top
- Cover with lid and put in the microwave on high for 4-5 minutes
- Remove lid (or let it sit lightly) and repeat step #4
- If chicken is still not cooked to satisfaction, microwave dish for bursts of 1 minute until it’s cooked through
Voila – I had a piping-hot microwave meal ( 😉 ) ready to eat. Just be careful with step #5. I left the lid off completely as instructed by the online recipe, but that caused too much moisture to escape and the microwave did not like it.
No photos to show for this meal – I was a bit too busy for that. 🙂
My second success was a few nights after, when, aided only by memory and the help of a googled recipe, I made chicken curry for the first time in my new place, all by myself. So here’s another dish to add to my known repertoire!
Chicken Curry 🍛
- Oil/ margarine
- Chilli, garlic, ginger, curry powder, Moroccan seasoning, cumin powder
- Chicken stock
- Chicken thigh fillet
- Rice/ noodles/ couscous/ potato
- Frying pan
- Stirring spoon
- Tongs/ spatula/ etc
- Chopping board
- Chop veggies
- Chop chicken into strips
- Heat the oil/ margarine in the pan
- Add chicken pieces and cook until browned
- Stir in garlic, ginger, chilli, curry powder, cumin powder, Moroccan seasoning NB: the curry and cumin powders make this dish, with the Moroccan seasoning providing some extra flavours like hints of paprika and so on. Add as much of the cumin and curry powders as feels right.
- Add chicken stock after a minute and reduce heat to cook for some time
- Add veggies (I added them earlier than the online recipe indicated to because they needed to cook for longer).
- I also started cooking my potato here in the pot and ended up putting some of the harder veggies (carrots, sweet potato) in with it to reduce cooking time.
- Once judged that veggies were ready, I combined everything and took it over to the table. It tasted like it should, so yay.
The other day I had an early-morning plasma donation appointment booked at my local Red Cross donation centre. That went well. Watching muted breakfast TV and listening to FM breakfast radio on Valentine’s Day, while the donation is on, leads to seeing/hearing some interesting things though – and reinforces why I don’t watch them usually.
I decided that I’d have eggs for breakfast to give me a good start. Below is the result. 🙂 I cracked two eggs into a microwave-safe bowl, added chopped tomato, coriander and milk, then gave it a couple of minutes in the microwave. I paused it halfway to stir it. I also put a couple of bread slices in the toaster and added some lettuce at the end. Yum!
The other day I made a meal using some ingredients I had to hand, following and improvising and adding from the recipe on the back of a “burrito spice mix” packet and memory.
I didn’t have any wraps and forgot about using rice as a substitute – instead I added some fried sweet potato. Yum.
- 2 x bok choy leaves
- 1/3 to 1/2 x sweet potato 🍠
- 1 carrot 🥕
- 1 x cauliflower floret
- 1/6 x Onion
- Refried bean paste
- Burrito spice mix (Mum also adds garlic, cumin & paprika, but cumin at least is in with the refried beans)
- Frying pan
- Chopping board
- Sharp knife
- Chop & peel etc. veggies
- Tip some spice mix into a plastic bag with the mince and shake to combine
- Heat oil in pan, add mince to brown
- Remove mince to container, add onion & sweet potato slices to cook
- Cook until sweet potato is crunchy but soft adding more oil if needed then remove to same container as mince
- Cook other veggies now, adding refried bean paste with a bit of water as well
- It’s a “to feel/ taste” recipe, so trust yourself – it’s not going to matter too much if you’ve added a little too much water.
- Once veggies are cooked, remember to add other ingredients back in to cook through and be coated in the flavours.
- Scoop onto plate and enjoy. I like to eat out on the balcony near my room.
Hi all. One of the things about moving out has been having to cook for just one (or two if I invite my boyfriend over). I make meal plans to help organise myself for dinner so I don’t have to think about it too much. Most of the time it’s been pretty basic meals – steamed veggies, a carb, a bit of meat. The only thing is, as I’m on the first floor (i.e. not the ground floor), with the communal kitchen below, I have to carry my utensils up and down to cook. There’s a small kitchenette near my room but it doesn’t have a stove, just a microwave.
So last Friday, I couldn’t be stuffed carrying both the steamer pot and the frypan downstairs. I had a think and came up with a meal that just used the frying pan to cook.
Tuna with Fried Veggies
- Can of tuna – one of the small 95g tins (with the flavours) was enough for me.
- Bit of squash
- 1/3 a long sweet potato (I used a variety that’s white on the outside & purple in the middle)
- 1/3 capsicum
- Couple of handfuls of chickpeas (from one of the regular tins)
- 1 bunch spinach
- Mixed herbs
- Small frying pan
- Potato peeler
- Sharp knife
- Chopping board
- Plate, knife & fork (for serving & eating with)
- Wash veggies then chop them – you’re aiming for thin slices of the squash, sweet potato (both peeled) and capsicum, while the spinach should be torn up a bit and the stems discarded.
- Drain chickpeas and put into reusable container because you won’t use all of them.
- Lay out spinach on plate – scatter it as you tear it off the stems.
- Turn on stove and heat oil in frying pan, then put in sweet potato – due to the size of my frying pan I did the veggies in batches.
- The sweet potato should be cooked until it is cooked and golden-ish but not too crispy – otherwise you’ll just taste fried starch instead of nice sweet potato!
- Remove sweet potato onto plate with spinach and replace with the squash.
- Cooking the squash is a bit odd – I wasn’t 100% sure what it should taste like which made things interesting! I added more oil and sort-of deep fried it until it was golden and soft but with crisp edges.
- When the squash is cooked, dump it onto the plate with the sweet potato and spinach, then add the capsicum and chickpeas. There should be very little oil in the pan – you’re shallow-frying them. The oil is in fact mostly there for the benefit of the capsicum. Add the mixed herbs over the chickpeas – sprinkle liberally.
- Move the chickpeas and capsicum almost constantly with tongs or something similar – we’re looking for the chickpeas to brown up and for the mixed herbs to be spread around the pan. BE CAREFUL! The heat should be turned right down, as the chickpeas will pop out of the pan otherwise!
- Remove pan from heat once chickpeas are brown and capsicum is cooked. Tip everything onto the plate. Then add the tuna, including the flavouring. Mix up with your fork to stir all flavours through and there you have it.
- Bon apetit!
Now I’ve moved, I’m going to have more of a chance to experiment with things depending on my mood. Expect more recipes!
It’s been very hot in my part of Australia recently. Around Christmas we had a spell of scorching hot days and we just finished another.
Naturally this means I’ve been having lots of salads and so on. I thought I’d record some.
- 1 bigger / 2 smaller cans of tuna (seasoned with lemon & pepper);
- Several handfuls of lettuce (we used iceberg);
- Ten-fifteen cherry tomatoes, halved;
- 1 spring onion;
- Experiment with other ingredients if you want to.
Halve tomatoes, wash & shred lettuce, chop up spring onion, and mix in a bowl with the tuna.
Chicken and Salad (Wraps)
- Chicken pieces*;
- Handfuls of lettuce (e.g. iceberg);
- 1 medium-sized tomato;
- 1/2 spring (or salad) onion;
- Extra veggies if wanted – I reckon carrot would go well with this and maybe some beetroot;
- Grated cheese;
- Mayonnaise if desired, or perhaps some pickle relish;
- Wraps (or you could cook some rice instead I guess).
- Prep and cook the chicken pieces.
* = depending on your tastes/ willingness-to-bother, you could use already prepped and cooked frozen chicken pieces (from freezer section of supermarket) or some breast/thigh fillets from the meat section.
- Assemble and prep other ingredients – wash, grate and chop them, depending on what they are.
- If using rice – i.e. if you’re bothered enough to cook something else as well as the chicken (remember it’s hot, as in 36*C hot 😛 ) – then cook that too, either in the microwave (15 or so mins, stir & check for water absorption, give it a bit more) or on the stove (however long it takes for the water to be absorbed by the rice).
- When chicken is ready, lay out plates.
If using rice, dish that up and assemble the other ingredients into a salad around the chicken.
If using wraps, lay them (use two at once if they’re thin) on the plates, then assemble everything else. The mayo and cheese should be added last or close to that.
- Close up wraps and EAT!
Chicken/etc., Salad and Noodles
- Chicken pieces (or beef/kangaroo/etc. probably could be used?);
- Lime juice
- Spices/herbs: cumin, paprika, coriander;
- Refried bean mix paste;
- 2 carrots;
- 1 spring onion;
- Several handfuls of lettuce;
- 1 cob corn;
- 1/2 cucumber?;
- Cherry tomatoes;
- “Chinese noodles” of some sort – possibly rice noodles? They were long, thin and whitish.
- Cook chicken pieces in deep frying pan with lemon juice, spices/herbs and refried bean paste (a bit like how my house makes a burrito mix).
- Make salad by washing, chopping, grating/peeling and just generally preparing veggies – including halving the cherry tomatoes, grating the carrots, slicing up the spring onion and so on.
- Cook the Chinese noodles – it only takes a few minutes.
- Serve and eat!
This is one of Mum’s favourite dishes. If I can make it half as good as she does when I do it by myself, I’ll be happy.
Meat – bacon, sausages, marinara mix, etc. Can be anything really and is a good way of using up leftovers.
Garlic, ginger, maybe chilli & coriander
Sauces: fish, oyster & soy
Cooking spoons & teaspoons, etc.
- Choose & chop veggies;
- Chop & cook meat [N.B. this can be the longest, especially if it’s bacon];
- Put rice on to cook (1 cup rice: 2 cups water) – either set on medium heat and cook until water is absorbed, or set on high and cook for ~15 mins;
- Once meat is cooked, remove from wok – add oil and then crack egg in [N.B. how many eggs depends on egg size];
- Scramble egg(s) in oil for a minute, then remove;
- Add onion (& more oil if nec.) – cook until translucent;
- Add 1 teaspoon of garlic & ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of chilli and mix;
- Add veggies and cook with lid on for a few minutes (until mostly soft);
- Add egg(s) back in, then add dashes of fish sauce, oyster sauce and soy sauce, to taste;
- Cook with lid on for a little longer if necessary;
- Add bacon into mixture and mix to combine;
- Mix the rice through and serve.
Going to write down some recipes so I can remember them. To that end, I’m adding a new category. Here’s the first. 🙂
Veggies, including 1 onion
Pasta (usual to use spaghetti, but can use fettuccine or some other pasta)
Splash of wine for flavour
1 x saucepan
1 x deep pot
2 x large spoons
- Chop veggies. Remember that they’ll reduce down when deciding quantity. I like it when there’s a bit of colour on the plate.
- Chop onion, then put in bottom of deep pot to cook with oil and garlic
- Wait until onion is soft then add mince to brown – remember to break mince up and give occasional stir to make sure that nothing sticks.
- When mince is brown, add chopped veggies to deep pot.
- Add pasta sauce, splash of wine and some water to the pot – mix everything up together carefully, as pot will (likely) be full.
- Taste and balance flavours – the flavour should be full but not overpowering
- While it cooks (it’ll take a while, depending on the quantity and type of veggies), start on the pasta.
- Bring water to the boil in a deep saucepan (if short on time, boil a jug and tip that in). Add some salt. Add pasta and stir to avoid sticking.
- Set timer for about 12 minutes (depending on what it says on the packet, plus a minute or two extra). Stir pasta occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick or boil over.
- When cooked, drain pasta. Serve with the veggies and meat.
I’m starting to make dinner for the family about one night a week or more if I can.
Three of my more recent dinners were a caramel chicken recipe I found online and adapted, a “spiced-batter fish” one and a marinara mix stir fry.
1. Caramel chicken
- Chicken thighs/ breast, thinly sliced
- 1 red or brown onion
- Vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Chopped vegies of your choice
- Chop up chicken and choose, wash and chop vegies
NB. Vegies for stir-frying are good
- Heat oil in a wok or frying pan and cook chicken, in batches, stirring, until golden. Transfer to a bowl/plate to wait.
NB. Start cooking with the pan with the heat set to ‘high’, then turn down to medium or medium-high as needed, once the pan’s hot. This is particularly useful if your stove takes a while to warm up; it also allows for quicker cooking.
- Add onion. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Add vegies and begin cooking them.
- In a separate pot, add rice to water with a bit of salt. The ratio is usually 2 cups water to 1 cup rice I think. Cook. It should take about 15 minutes.
NB. This can be done in the microwave, but you’ll need to stop it half-way and stir it.
NB. If you don’t want gluggy rice, then you’ll need to stir it on the stove and keep an eye on it as you’re doing the rest of the meal. It’s great if there’s someone else to help!
- When vegies are mostly cooked, return chicken to pan. Add soy sauce. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Add sugar. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture is bubbling. Add fish sauce and juice. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until sauce thickens.
- Wait for the rice to finish, plate up and serve! More or less vegies alter the effects of the sauce on the chicken, I think.