Sausage and Baked Bean Casserole

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Now it’s September my mind has started to turn to more autumnal meals. I’m pretty sad about summer being almost over, I truly love it and do suffer a bit with the seasonal blues but one thing I do love is autumn/winter cooking.  There’s nothing better than a bit of comfort food and a nice warming casserole sums up autumn perfectly for me.

Sausage casserole used to be a regular in our dinner rotations however for whatever reason, it’s dropped right off in the past few years, but I am bring it back!  I think I’ve avoided it due to my fussy child – I hate having to make two separate dinners though inevitably it’s something I do several times a week.  I am trying to encourage him on though and he actually ate a plate of this tonight so I am super proud of him, it’s way out of his comfort zone but there’s nothing not to like here.

To me, this is the perfect family meal, served up with a big pile of peas and cheesy mash. I used Richmond Sausages as they are cheap and cheerful and hands down my favourite sausage ever. I’ve tried all manner of gourmet sausages, but the posher they are, the lumpier they seem to be, and I just don’t like them all gnarly.

The recipe here serves 4.

Sausage Casserole

Ingredients

olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
12 thick sausages
400g tin of baked beans
250ml vegetable stock
400g tin chopped tomatos
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
pinch of mixed herbs
salt and pepper to season

Method

Gently heat the oil in a deep pan. Add the diced onions and garlic and fry until softened and starting to colour golden.

Add the sausages to the pan and fry for a couple of minutes until brown.

Next add the baked beans, vegetable stock, chopped tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and herbs to the pan. Gently stir to mix and then bring to the boil.  Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

Season to taste.

It’s ridiculously simple, but oh-so-tasty. Definitely going to be a regular occurrence this winter!
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Creamy Bacon & Garlic Mushroom Spaghetti

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So I appreciate that the above picture looks a little like something my cat threw up but I took the photo in a rush because I was STARVING. I’m currently on a diet and this was practically the only thing I ate yesterday (despite it not being that diet friendly…everything in moderation is my philosophy). Plus – have you ever tried to make a plate of white mush look attractive? Let me tell you, it’s no easy task!

Anyhow, it matters not a jot what this looks like because it tastes flipping delicious.

The original recipe for this didn’t include bacon but everything tastes better with bacon right? Also, a dinner without some form of meat in it just isn’t a dinner for Mr M so I threw that in there to keep him happy.

All in all, while this looks a bit of a disaster, it wasn’t, so ner. It’s  bit heavy on the butter and cream but if you like creamy garlicky mushroomy goodness – then you’ll like this!

Recipe serves 4.

Creamy Bacon & Garlic Mushroom Spaghetti

Ingredients
250g spaghetti 
50g butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
250g bacon lardons or diced pancetta
500g fresh mushrooms, sliced (I used chestnut)
1 tsp dried mixed herbs 
350ml milk (full fat is best)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
100ml single creamMethod

Cook the pasta according to direction – when cooked put to one side and mix a little olive oil in to stop it all sticking together.

In a frying pan, fry the diced bacon in a little oil until golden and starting to crisp. Remove from the pan and drain off excess fat by resting on some kitchen roll.

Over a medium heat, melt half the butter in a large pan or wok. Add one clove of garlic along with the sliced mushrooms and gently sauté for above 5-7 minutes until they have softened. Remove from the pan and put to one side.

Take the remaining butter, pop into the pan and melt over a medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Put the flour and herbs into the pan and cook for a further minute. Slowly add the milk, whisking as you go. It might look lumpy for bit but keep whisking, it will get there. Season and simmer until thickened (this doesn’t take long at all). Mix in the cream.

Put the spaghetti, bacon and mushrooms back into the pan and mix everything together well and serve!

We had this with crispy garlic bread and sprinkled over some parmesan.

I really wish I had some leafy salad to go with it too so next time I’ll do that!

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Oven Baked Honey Salmon

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Two things.

Firstly, this salmon is delicious.

Secondly, why aren’t salmon fillets bigger?

This salmon dish is so very easy and so very tasty but I do have beef with salmon dishes – there’s not nearly enough fish there for me. I’ve considering having two fillets but then the £££ of this puts me off. Is it just me that is a big fat salmon pig?  I probably use more sauce ingredients than you need but I like things saucy, ooh err.

Salmon cooked in foil in the oven is probably one of my favourite ways to cook salmon – I even do it when we’re camping now, normally just with some butter and lemon but this recipe uses such basic ingredients I think I will add this to my camping notebook too!

A super quick and easy dinner – I hope you enjoy!

Oven Baked Honey Salmon

Ingredients

6 tbsp honey
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or a good sprinkling of dried if that’s all you have)
Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 salmon fillets

Method

Preheat oven to 180c/gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with foil.

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, garlic, olive oil, white wine vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper.

Pop the salmon fillets on to the foil and fold up the sides – you want to create a kind of bowl so that the honey doesn’t run out… Spoon the honey mix over the top of the salmon and fold the sides of the foil over the top to make a sealed parcel.

Place the baking tray into the oven and cooked for about 20 minutes.

Serve this immediately with your choice of accompaniment – we did green beans and new potatoes, but equally this would be nice with some rice.

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Spicy Mongolian Beef

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Now THIS is a slow cooker recipe I can get on board with. Aside from slicing the beef, it’s a chuck-it-in-the-crockpot totally faff-free recipe, and it’s delicious to boot!

I’m having a complete love affair with beef at the moment, especially in the slow cooker. Delicious melt-in-your-mouth beef. The original recipe calls for ‘skirt’ which I guess you can only really get at a butchers? I’ve certainly never seen it labelled as such in Morrisons but I’m not that fussy and when it comes to recipes like this, I’ll use whatever is on offer. In this case, I used braising steak because it was bargainous and it was perfect. In another situation, I might use rump steak, I think anything goes!

The flavour of this was amazing and while I have called it “spicy” the chilli flakes really just added a nice little kick. I only used a tsp as my family aren’t keen on spice but if you prefer things hotter, fill your boots! Alternatively, it will do no harm to just leave the chilli out altogether.

This recipe serves 2-3. I’m sure it’s meant to serve more, but, you know.

Spicy Mongolian Beef 

Ingredients

600g beef steak (approx weight, cut to suit!)
30g cornflour
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
150ml soy sauce
150ml water
150g brown sugar
1tsp chilli flakes
90g grated carrots
Sliced spring onions 

Method
Cut the beef steak into thin strips and coat well with the cornflour. You can either do this in a ziplock bag or simply place in a bowl and mix well.

Put the olive oil, minced garlic, soy sauce, water, brown sugar, chilli flakes and grated carrots into the slow cooker. Stir ingredients to mix.  Add the sliced beef to the slow cooker and stir again until completely coated in the sauce.

Cook on low for 4-5 hours or high for 2-3 hours.

And then eat!

I served this with steamed white rice and sliced spring onions to garnish. Oh and a pile of Thai crackers on the side.

Yums!

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Slow Cooker Sweet Chilli Chicken

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Okay, so maybe it’s not the best photograph but just looking at this chicken dish is making my feel hungry – it was SO tasty!

I mentioned recently about how much I am loving my slow cooker these days and I think one of my favourite things to cook in it is either pulled pork or shredded chicken, and I’m a sucker for anything with an Asian twist.  When I think of sweet chill, beef is what normally comes to mind – it’s my favourite thing to order from the Chinese takeaway at the weekend – but this sweet chilli chicken ticks all the boxes for me, and the fact that this has really little prep and can just be left in the slow cooker to do it’s thing, well that makes it pretty much perfect in my eyes!

When I made this I used powders for the garlic and ginger in this recipe, but you could quite as easily use fresh. I don’t always have ginger in my fridge though and my local shop doesn’t stock it so powder works well if I haven’t got it in. (That’s country living for you. I live on the edge of a large town which is on the edge of a large city, not some remote island and I can’t get fresh ginger or chilli at my local store?!)

There’s not a lot more to say about this dish, other than TRY IT!    This recipe will serve 2-3 people, depending on how big you like your portions!

Slow Cooker Sweet Chilli Chicken

Ingredients

450g of chicken breasts

Sauce ingredients;
60ml sweet chilli sauce
60ml light soy sauce
80ml tomato ketchup
65g light brown sugar
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1.5 tsp garlic powder
0.5 tsp onion power
0.5 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

To finish the chicken;
1.5 tbsp cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp water

Method

Pop the chicken breasts into the bottom of your slow cooker.

In a separate bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce, then pour over the top of the chicken.

Cook in the slow cooker on low for around 6 hours or on high for 4 hours.

When the chicken is cooked, take two forks and shred the chicken (it’s sometimes easier to remove the chicken from the slow cooker and do this on a plate or chopping board!) and then add the cornflour paste to the slow cooker and mix well.

Cook on high for a further 20 minutes until sauce thickens.

And that’s all there is to it.

If you want to make it sweeter you can add a dash more sugar at the end. Alternatively if you like things spicy, add a dash of hot pepper sauce (go easy!).

I served this with rice and chopped up some spring onions to go on top. Next time I might serve this is a tortilla wrap or similar as I think that would work well!

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