Category Archives: Easy Cooking

Carbonara Recipe – that works every time!

It has been such a long time since I added any recipes to my blog but there are still recipes which I still want to share.  I have favourite recipes which are on scraps of paper which are getting more and more ragged as I use them!  So, today I have finally got back here and am sharing with you all again.

FullSizeRenderPasta Carbonara is a recipe which my whole family loves so over the years I have tried many recipes with varying degrees of success.  Sometimes it would be flavourless, sometimes there wouldn’t be enough sauce, occasionally it was that glorious creamy sauce that coated each strand of spaghetti (our favourite form of pasta for carbonara).  Then one day my daughter had to make Carbonara at school for Food Technology at school and she brought home this recipe.  I would love to name check the parent who shared this with us but Meg has never managed to find out who it was.  Soooooo if you are reading this, live in Sheffield and had a daughter who went to Silverdale secondary school and you recognise this recipe please shout up.  In the meantime many many thanks for a brilliant recipe!!  For those purists out there – I know that this isn’t how you make a classic Carbonara BUT it works… EVERY time… and we all love it!

Ingredients

Pasta for 4/5 people (for us that means 500g spaghetti packet and I always use wholewheat pasta.  Its a really easy switch that taste no different but is so much healthier)
Olive Oil
Six slices of back bacon or 12 of streaky bacon (the better quality you can afford the better and if you can go all the way to pancetta then please do)
2 Cloves of Garlic
250ml Cream (the original recipe says double but I usually have single so use that, and our pots are 284ml so I use a whole one – who needs 34 ml of cream hanging about in the fridge?!)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Dried Oregano
Dried Thyme
Parmesan Cheese Grated – good chunk at least 75g.
Frozen Peas/ Frozen Sweetcorn (optional)

Method

  1. First get a big pan of salted water on to boil (I use Nigella’s rule – enough salt to make it taste like the Mediterranean!).
  2. Whilst the water coming to the boil cut the bacon into small strips/ squares.
  3. Add your pasta to the boiling water and give it a quick stir with a fork to make sure it doesn’t all end up in one lump stuck together.
  4. Add some olive oil to a large sauté pan (I LOVE my non-stick Pampered Chef one for this so I only use a small amount of oil, maybe tsp).  Once the oil is warm add the bacon.
  5. Fry the bacon until it starts turning colour.  At this point add your garlic.  Sometimes I crush the garlic, sometimes I thinly slice it – depends on my mood and the tool I have nearest to hand!  Make sure the pan is not so hot that the garlic burns.  Season with plenty of pepper.  Do not add any salt – you will have enough from the bacon and cheese.
  6.  Once the bacon is cooked and nicely brown add a good pinch of both herbs.  Stir these in and cook for a minute or two, then add your cream.  Do not boil the cream just let it get up to a good simmer.
  7. By now the pasta should be cooked.  Drain the pasta – I like to leave just a little bit of the water with the spaghetti and toss it about at this point to help reduce clumping.
  8. Add the pasta to the sauce (my saute pan is big enough I add the pasta into that – if yours isn’t go the other way!), add plenty of grated cheese and mix well.  Sometimes I also add some frozen peas and/ or sweetcorn at this point.  This is just to increase the vegetable quota in the kids diet!  Taste to check whether you have enough cheese and enough seasoning.
  9. Serve.

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Filed under Easy Cooking, Family Cooking, Other

Jo Murphy’s Sweet and Sour Chicken

This is a slightly different version of a sweet and sour “Chuck & Bung”.  I really like the warmth from the chilli and using the pineapple juice makes this a really juicy family meal.  Try it – you will love it!

Ingredients

4 Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 Medium Onions
2 Peppers (any Colour)
225g can Water Chestnuts, Drained.
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Small piece of fresh Ginger
Freshly Ground Pepper
640g of Tinned pineapple in Juice
4 Tbsp Corn Flour
260ml water
4Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
4Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
4Tbsp Soft Light Brown Sugar
4Tbsp Tomato Ketchup
1 Tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
Small Bag Basmati Rice

Method

  • Put oven on to 200C/ 180 fan/ Gas 6.
  • Chop the chicken into bite size pieces using Forged Cutlery Knife on the Cutting Board. Add to the Rectangular Baker.
  • Using a knife, peel the onions and cut into quarters. Finely chop using Food Chopper. Add to the Rectangular Baker.
  • Using a knife, cut the peppers into 3cm pieces. Add to the Rectangular Baker.
  • Open water chestnuts using Smooth Edge Can Opener and drain using Stainless Colander. Slice water chestnuts horizontally using the Knife. Add to the Rectangular Baker
  • Crush the garlic directly into the baker using the Garlic Press.
  • Grate the ginger directly into the baker using the Microplane Fine Grater
  • Add freshly ground pepper using Grinder.
  • Open Pineapple tin using Smooth Edge Can Opener. Drain the pineapple using Stainless Colander pouring juice into Easy Read Measuring Cup.
  • Using large Adjustable Measuring Spoon add 4 tbsp of corn flour to Classic Batter Bowl. Add 3 tbsp of pineapple juice and mix to a paste using Mini Mix ‘N Scraper.
  • Add the remaining juice to the Batter Bowl, and add the water using the same measuring cup
  • Using Mini Easy Read Measuring Cup and both Adjustable Measuring Spoons add all remaining ingredients (except for rice) into the Batter Bowl.
  • Add the sauce to the baker. Mix together using Small Mix ‘N Scraper.
  • Place in oven for 30 mins – until bubbling nicely.
  • Boil full Kettle. Using Large Easy Read Measuring Cup add 2 cups of rice and 4 cups of boiling water to Rice Cooker Plus. Place in Microwave for 15 mins or until all the water is absorbed.

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Filed under Chicken, Deep Covered Baker, Easy Cooking, Family Cooking, Food Chopper, Garlic, Ginger, Microplane Grater, Pineapple, Rectangular Baker, Rice, Rice Cooker, Stoneware

Upside Down Pecan Carrot Cake Pampered Chef Recipe

This is a new recipe which came with the ‘baby’ Rockcrok.  I have eaten it once before but not actually made it – until last night’s Pampered Chef party.  Well, I still didn’t actually make it – the guests did! – but I helped out here and there and saw just how easy it was.  The thing which impressed me the most was how easily it dropped out of the Rockcrok when I turned it out.  It just came straight out, absolutely no encouragement needed!!  Plus it tasted absolutely fab, not at all rubbery like some microwave cakes can be.  LOVED it!  Make it – you won’t regret it.

Upside Down Pecan Carrot Cake.  Beautiful!

Upside Down Pecan Carrot Cake. Beautiful!

Ingredients

50g Butter
175g dark soft brown sugar
2 tbsp water
100g pecan halves
200g trimmed and peeled carrots
150g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
2 eggs
150ml sunflower oil

Method

  1. Add butter, 50g of the sugar and water to Rockcrok Casserole (1.9l).
  2. Put onto the hob on medium heat for 3-5mins or until sugar is dissolved and mixture begins to bubble, stirring
continuously using Small Mix ‘N Scraper. Remove from heat and cool for 2 minutes.
  3. Starting on the outside edge of the Casserole, carefully place about 85g of the pecans upside down, close together in a circular pattern, in brown sugar mixture. Set aside.
  4. Coarsely chop remaining pecans in Food Chopper. Set aside.
  5. Peel carrots using Vegetable Peeler and trim ends off using Paring Knife. Grate carrots using Adjustable Microplane Coarse Grater into a Classic Batter Bowl.
  6. Zest orange using Microplane Zester directly into Batter Bowl.
  7. Using Small Adjustable Measuring Spoon add baking powder, cinnamon, mixed spice to the Batter Bowl. Add remaining sugar, flour, and chopped pecans to the bowl and stir using Bamboo Spoon.
  8. In Small Batter Bowl, whisk eggs and oil together using Stainless Whisk. Pour egg mixture into the carrot mixture, mix until well combined using Small Mix N Scraper. Spoon mixture carefully into Rockcrok and level surface.
  9. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH for 7-9 minutes or until a wooden cocktail stick/ cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the sponge. The top will look quite moist and side shrunken away slightly. Remove cake from microwave to Stackable Cooling Rack. Let it stand, covered for 5 minutes, if you can resist the smell. Carefully invert the cake onto a serving plate. Serve warm or cold.

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Filed under Batter Bowl, Cake, Easy Cooking, Eggs, Food Chopper, Microplane Grater, RockCrok

Mushroom Risotto – Oven Baked… no Stirring?!!

Here is the second of my 2 surprisingly fabulous recipes I’m sharing with you tonight!!  Pampered Chef Stoneware is amazing stuff which allows you to do many “chuck and bung” meals, where you literally chuck the ingredients in the Stoneware and Bung it all in the oven to cook.  Risotto is one of those recipes which just looks like you are doing magic rather than just cooking!  Honestly, this risotto takes about 6 minutes to prepare (tops) and then you bung it in the oven until its done.  No stirring, no hassle, no waiting by the hob for half an hour – just Chuck and Bung!!  Plus, it actually tastes really, really delicious?!!  (That I wasn’t expecting!!!)  Enjoy.

Oven Baked Mushroom Risotto - No Stirring!!

Oven Baked Mushroom Risotto – No Stirring!!

Ingredients 

1 box Arborio rice (500g)
1 box closed cup mushrooms
1 box chestnut mushrooms
1 onion
Veg stock cubes
Fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic
100g grated Parmesan
Med. Pot double cream or crème fraiche

Method

  1. Boil the kettle and put the oven on at 200c.
  2. Finely chop onion using Food Chopper and add to Rectangular Baker.
  3. Using Egg Slicer Plus and/ or Forged Cutlery Knife slice both boxes of mushrooms. Add to Rectangular Baker.
  4. Add box of rice to Baker.
  5. Using Easy Read measuring Cup measure 1 litre of boiling water. Add double the amount of stock cubes than is recommended on the box (stops it being too bland). Add to Rectangular Baker.
  6. Put the coriander in the 250ml Prep Bowl and chop using the Professional Shears. Add to Rectangular Baker.
  7. Crush garlic using Garlic Press and add to the baker (no need to peel the garlic first!). Then using Mix ‘N Scraper stir risotto. Put it in the oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Whilst cooking grate the parmesan using Microplane Adjustable Fine Grater.
  9. When the risotto is cooked remove from the oven. Add parmesan and Cream/ Crème Fraiche. Stir using Mix ‘N Scraper and leave for 5 minutes. Serve.

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Filed under Cream, Deep Covered Baker, Deep Dish Baker, Easy Cooking, Family Cooking, Food Chopper, Garlic Press, Microplane Grater, Mushrooms, Stoneware, Vegetarian

Pampered Chef Rockcrok Pineapple Upside-down Cake

Oh my goodness, it has been sooo long since I posted a new recipe?!!  Where has that time flown?  Well, I am pleased to say that I return today with TWO new recipes.  Both of which I didn’t expect much from, but both of which surpassed all expectations! This first recipe is a 70’s throwback recipe for Pineapple Upside-Down Cake – made in the microwave!!  My first thought was that it was going to taste too spongy or ‘fake’ but I was blown away with how light, fluffy and moist it was.  I don’t know how much of this is to do with the Pampered Chef Rockcrok, but I love it – and will be making it again!

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake - made in the microwave?!

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake – made in the microwave?!

Topping

50 g butter
50 g light soft brown sugar
7 canned pineapple slices
7 cocktail maraschino flavor cherries

Cake 

175 g self-raising flour
4 tsp baking powder
175 g golden caster sugar
100 g butter
100 ml semi-skimmed milk
2 eggs

  1. Melt the butter in Rockcrok Everyday Pan over a medium heat until melted (approx. 1 – 2 minutes). Add brown sugar and cook until sugar is dissolved and bubbling, stirring continuously with Small Mix ‘N Scraper. Remove from heat.
  2. Open Pineapple tin using Smooth Edge Can Opener. Using Stainless Colander drain pineapple. Arrange pineapple slices in a single layer in base of Rockcrok. Place a cherry in centre of each pineapple slice.
  3. Using Easy Read Measuring Cup measure 100ml of milk. Put butter in 500ml Prep Bowl and melt in the microwave (about 30-40 seconds). Remove from microwave to cool slightly.
  4. Place flour, baking powder and caster sugar in Classic Batter Bowl; using Bamboo Spoon mix well.
  5. In Small Batter Bowl, whisk melted butter, milk and eggs together until well combined using Stainless Whisk.
  6. Pour egg mixture into the flour mixture; then whisk together until well combined and smooth. Slowly pour cake batter over pineapple. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 9 – 10 minutes or until a wooden cocktail stick or cake tester comes out clean when inserted into centre of cake.
  7. Remove pan from microwave. Run Skinny Scraper around cake edges to loosen. Immediately invert cake onto Shimmering Glass Round Platter. Serve warm.

Serves 7

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Filed under Batter Bowl, Cake, Cherries, Easy Cooking, Eggs, Family Cooking, Food Chopper, Other, Pineapple, RockCrok

The Pampered Chef ® Pesto Pinwheels Recipe

This is a super quick recipe for a party or nibbles.  Very, very tasty too!

image1

Pesto Pinwheels ready for eating! YUM!!

Ingredients

Sunflower oil, for greasing
1 packet (145 g) pizza base mix
About 100 ml warm (hand hot) water
40 g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 clove garlic
15 g fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato pesto (see Chef’s Corner)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC/fan 180ºC/Gas 6.
  2. Lightly brush Medium Bar Pan with sunflower oil; set aside.
  3. Place pizza base mix in Classic Batter Bowl. Measure warm water in Mini Measure-All® Cup; add enough water to pizza base mix, mixing to form a soft dough. Knead dough on lightly floured surface 5 minutes or until smooth.
  4. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface using outer tube of Mini Measure-All® Cup to form 30 x 17 cm rectangle. Leave to rise 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, finely grate cheese into clean batter bowl using Microplane® Adjustable Fine Grater. Press garlic using Garlic Press into batter bowl and mix gently into cheese using Small Mix ‘N Scraper®.
  6. Roll basil leaves up together and cut into fine strips using Colour Coated Santoku Knife on Bar Board.
  7. Spread pesto evenly over bread dough using back of Small Mix ‘N Scraper®. Sprinkle basil leaves and cheese mixture evenly over pesto.
  8. Starting from a long side, carefully roll up dough rectangle to form a tight roll. Cut roll in half widthways. Cut each dough half widthways into 10 even sized slices using Santoku Knife on Bar Board. Transfer pinwheels onto Medium Bar Pan, spacing apart evenly and neaten into rounds if necessary.
Pesto Pinwheels ready for baking

Pesto Pinwheels ready for baking

Bake 15 – 17 minutes or until pale golden brown. Transfer pinwheels to a serving plate. Serve warm.
Yield: Makes 20

Per serving: Nutrition information per pinwheel: Energy 236kJ/56kcal. Protein 2.2g, Carbohydrate 7.1g, Sugars 0.5g, Fat 2.3g, Saturated fat 0.7g, Fibre 0.3g, Salt 0.2g

Cook’s Tip: Substitute the red pesto with green pesto, if desired.
These appetisers are best served warm and eaten on the day made.

© 2015 The Pampered Chef used under license.

Cook’s Tip: Substitute the red pesto with green pesto, if desired.
These appetisers are best served warm and eaten on the day made.

© 2015 The Pampered Chef used under license.

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Filed under Batter Bowl, Cheese, Easy Cooking, Garlic, Garlic Press, Medium Bar Pan, Medium Round Stone, Microplane Grater

Vegetable Risotto

This is a really, really tasty risotto that even my meat-loving family enjoy!!  It is also really, really easy because it is another “Chuck and Bung” recipe where all ingredients are chucked in the Stoneware or RokCrok and then bunged in the oven… no stirring required at all!

Enjoy!

IMG_9231Ingredients:

250-300g cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
1 garlic clove
Baby spinach (good handful)
2 small red onions
1 small red pepper
6 small mushrooms
2 sticks celery
25g butter
225g risotto rice
250ml white wine
450ml boiling water with a vegetable stock cube added (I like Knorr Stockpots)
2 teaspoons sundried tomato paste
50g piece fresh parmesan plus 25g to shave over

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180/160fan/Gas 4
  2. Using Food Chopper, finely chop onions and celery.  Slice peppers and mushrooms with Utility Knife. Place in Large Micro Cooker with the butter, put lid on and microwave on high 2 mins. Take out and stir. Cook on high another 2 minutes until vegetables are softened.
  3. Measure stock and wine in Classic Batter Bowl and add with rice and vegetables from micro cooker to Deep Covered Baker or RokCrock. Press in the garlic with the Garlic Press. Slice cherry tomatoes in half and stir in with sun dried tomato paste and a grind of salt andpepper.
  4. Put Deep Covered Baker in oven for 40-45 mins until rice is cooked.
  5. Stir in grated cheese and spinach. Shave over remaining parmesan with Garlic Slicer and drizzle over a little olive oil.

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Filed under Batter Bowl, Cheese, Deep Covered Baker, Easy Cooking, Family Cooking, Food Chopper, Garlic Press, RockCrok, Stoneware, Tomato