It’s that time of year when we are on the countdown to the summer holidays - yay! With only a few weeks to go before many of us head away for weeks or months long holidays, this is the time I start planning to use up what’s left in the freezer and the cupboards. I hate food waste and I love the challenge of seeing what I can make with whatever I have :)
I started this challenge by doing my favourite chores: cleaning out the kitchen cupboards. As sad as it sounds, it really is one of my favourite things to do! Pulling out all the ingredients starts my mind racing with all sorts of ideas for meals, and I feel very inspired that I can't wait to get cooking.
In the cupboards today I found two half bags of pasta shells, half a bag of basmati rice and half a bag of chana dhal.
Opening the freezer I found 2 packs of chicken breasts, and in the fridge; eggs, carrots, a red pepper, some onions, shallots and a half empty tub of Greek yoghurt - all perfect ingredients for 3 tasty dishes.
So here’s what I made...
Spiced Lentil and Carrot Soup
This is creamy, tasty, packed with protein, so filling and delicious especially when topped with crispy fried shallots.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. oil on a medium heat and add the finely sliced shallots and fry until soft and coloured.
- Add the cumin, coriander and turmeric and fry until fragrant.
- Add the lentils and chopped carrots and mix.
- Pour in the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for around 40 minutes until the lentils soften and become a creamy consistency.
- Serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and some crispy fried shallots.
- 200g chana dhal
- 2 chopped carrots
- 4 sliced shallots
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. coriander
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 pint stock
- Greek Yoghurt and Crispy Fried Shallots for serving
Malaysian Chicken Fried Rice
A mild curry spice and crispy fried rice topped with a rich runny egg yolk – delicious!
- 250g chicken breast, sliced in strips
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 thumb sized piece ginger grated
- 200g button mushrooms sliced
- 150g frozen peas
- 200g basmati rice, cooked and cooled
- 2 Tbsp. curry powder
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 4 eggs
Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake; A Quick and Easy Family Favorite
- Cook the rice as per the packet and add the peas 5 minutes before the end. Ensure the rice cools through before frying.
- Add the sliced, seasoned chicken to a pan on a high heat to brown quickly for a couple of minutes and then remove and set aside.
- Fry the onion, ginger, red pepper and garlic on a medium heat until soft and just starting to colour.
- Add the mushrooms and curry powder and continue to fry for a few minutes before adding the cooled rice and peas plus the soy sauce.
- Add the chicken back to the pan, mix with the rice and cook through for a few minutes longer, constantly moving the rice around the pan.
- Fry 4 eggs and serve on top of the delicious rice and enjoy :)
Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake
A quick and easy family favourite that you can make anytime!
- Preheat the oven to 180c Fan
- Put a pan of salted water onto boil and cook the pasta with the onion.
- Slice the chicken breast, season and sprinkle over the paprika and ensure all the chicken is coated.
- Slice, deseed and dice the tomatoes and set aside.
- Fry the chicken on a high heat with a splash of olive oil and once browned set aside.
- In a clean pan add the butter and melt, then add the flour and stir until you have a paste then add the milk slowly whilst whisking to ensure a smooth sauce. Simmer the sauce and add 2 tbsp. of the Parmesan and season.
- Add the drained pasta to the cheese sauce and mix.
- Tip half the pasta into a baking dish, add the chicken then the rest of the pasta, top with diced tomatoes and the rest of the parmesan.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
- 250g chicken breast, sliced in strips
- 250g dried pasta shells or any shapes you have
- 50g butter
- 50g flour
- 500ml milk
- 3 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
- 1 diced onion
- 2 tsp. paprika
- 2 large tomatoes, sliced and de-seeded