Chicken Parmigiana

chicken parmigiana

 

Parmesan coated chicken breasts are baked in a tomato and basil sauce covered with mozzarella. They are served with tagliatelle tossed in chopped parsley and garlic butter and sautéed courgettes/zucchini.

 

Chicken Parmigiana
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time 45 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the parmigiana
  • For the tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 400g tin (½ x 28 fl oz can) chopped/diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, shredded
  • salt and pepper

  • For the chicken
  • 28g (1 oz) Parmesan cheese, finely grated (¼ cup)
  • 28g (1 oz) flour (3 tbsp)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 28g (1 oz) butter
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, skinned
  • 8 thin slices mozzarella cheese
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh basil sprigs to garnish

  • For the tagliatelle
  • 8 tagliatelle nests
  • 28g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2–3 tbsp fresh flat-leaf/Italian parsley, chopped

  • To serve
  • 2 courgettes/zucchini
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • Equipment
  • An ovenproof dish large enough to take the four chicken breasts in a single layer


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 200C/400°F/gas mark 6

  3. For the parmigiana
  4. For the tomato sauce
  5. Put the olive oil and garlic into a pan over a medium-low heat and, as soon as the oil starts to sizzle, stir in the tomatoes and tomato purée. Simmer gently for 10 minutes to thicken a little. Add the shredded basil leaves and season.

  6. For the chicken
  7. Meanwhile, measure the flour into a plastic bag and season. Then add the grated Parmesan and shake to mix. Spread out onto a large plate.

  8. Tip the egg into a shallow dish.

  9. Turn the chicken pieces in the egg, shaking off any excess egg while lifting them from the dish. Then coat with the flour and cheese mixture.

  10. Melt the butter in a frying pan/skillet and add the chicken pieces to the pan. Cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes on each side until they are light golden in colour. Transfer to the ovenproof dish and pour the tomato sauce around the chicken.

  11. Lay two slices of mozzarella on top of each chicken breast then sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan.

  12. Cover the dish loosely with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes until the cheese is lightly browned.

  13. For the tagliatelle
  14. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the tagliatelle and cook for the length of time suggested on your packet.

  15. While it is cooking, mix the butter with the garlic and chopped parsley.

  16. Drain the tagliatelle, return it to the pan with the parsley butter and toss together.

  17. For the courgettes/zucchini
  18. Cut the courgettes/zucchini into 1.25cm (½ inch) slices.

  19. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan/skillet over a medium heat. Add the the courgettes and toss in the oil. Sauté for 3–5 minutes, turning frequently until cooked through.

  20. To serve
  21. Lift the chicken breasts from the pan onto four serving plates and spoon the tomato sauce around. Garnish the chicken with the basil sprigs. Serve with the tagliatelle and courgettes/zucchini.

Updated: November 18, 2017

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese

 

What can I say? Spaghetti Bolognese is a real family favourite. And quick and easy to prepare!

 

Spaghetti Bolognese
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the Bolognese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 450g (1 lb) minced/ground beef
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 275ml (10 fl oz) beef stock (1¼ cups)
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes (½ x 28 oz can diced tomatoes)
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 115g (4 oz) button mushrooms, sliced (1½ cups) (optional)

  • For the spaghetti
  • 225g (8 oz) spaghetti (filling the hole of a pasta server with spaghetti is a single portion)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a little olive oil

  • To serve
  • Parmesan

  • Equipment
  • large frying pan/skillet or sauté pan
  • a large pan for the spaghetti


  1. Method
  2. Heat the oil in the pan and cook the onion over a low heat for 10 minutes until golden. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.

  3. Increase the heat to medium, add the beef, and brown for about 5 minutes. Break up any clumps with a wooden spoon.

  4. Stir in the stock and tomato purée and bring to the boil.

  5. Add the tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, mushrooms, if using, and season. Give it a good stir and then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  6. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add salt and dash of olive oil, then ease the spaghetti into the pan.

  7. Reduce the heat a little and cook the spaghetti for the length of time according to the directions on the packet. (Can recommend DeCecco brand.)

  8. Drain through a large colander, reserving 120ml (4 fl oz) (½ cup) of the cooking water and then return to the pan with the spaghetti. Add the sauce and toss well.

  9. Spoon into bowls and top with little slivers of Parmesan.

  10. Note
  11. A Caesar salad makes a good starter. And garlic bread to serve with the Spaghetti Bolognese.

 

Individual Shepherd’s Pie

Individual Shepherd's Pie

 

These tasty little shepherd’s pies are made in a small gratin dish and are quick to prepare. The lamb is mixed with beans and a minted tomato sauce, and then covered with a creamy mash potato and topped with cheese and cherry tomatoes.

 

Individual Shepherd's Pie
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 900g (2 lb) potatoes, peeled and cut into even-sized chunks (about 6 medium)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 450g (1 lb) lamb mince/ground lamb
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) lamb or beef stock (1¼ cups)
  • 415g tin baked beans
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée/tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tbsp cheddar cheese, grated

  • Equipment
  • 4 × individual serving ovenproof dishes


  1. Method
  2. Add the potatoes to a pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 25 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile heat the oil in a frying pan/skillet, then add the lamb, and brown over a medium heat, about 5 minutes.

  4. Reduce the heat a little and stir through the flour. Then add the stock, stirring until it thickens, about 2 minutes.

  5. Next stir in the baked beans, tomato purée/tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and mint. Season. Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Divide between the dishes.

  6. Preheat the grill/broiler while finishing the pies.

  7. Drain the potatoes once they are tender, then mash, adding a good knob of butter and just enough milk to produce a creamy mash. Spread the mash evenly over the meat mixture.

  8. Place six tomato halves, cut sides up, on top of each pie, pressing them down a little into the mash.Then sprinkle the cheese over.

  9. Place under the grill/broiler and cook for about 6–8 minutes until golden and bubbling.

  10. Individual Shepherd's Pie

 

Baked Fish with Tomatoes and Tasty Breadcrumbs

Baked fish and tomatoes with tasty breadcrumbs

 

A simple fish dish, cooked on a bed of rice with buttery garlic and onion sautéed breadcrumbs.

 

Baked Fish with Tomatoes and Tasty Breadcrumbs
Prepares: 4 servings (picture shows 2)
 
  • Preparation time: 35–45 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes (oven)

  • Ingredients
  • ¾ cup rice
  • 4 × 140g (5 oz) white fish fillets, skinned (e.g. haddock)
  • fresh or dried thyme
  • ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 2 tomatoes
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 55g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (about 2 slices of bread)
  • 7g (¼ oz) fresh parsley, finely chopped (should yield about ¼ cup)
  • ½ lemon

  • To serve
  • Seasonal vegetables

  • Equipment
  • Ovenproof dish, greased. It should be large enough to lay the fish in a single layer.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) gas 4

  3. Bring rice to the boil in 360ml (12 fl oz) (1½ cups) lightly salted water. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. For brown rice, simmer for 15 minutes and for white rice simmer for 5 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, remove the skin from the tomatoes. Put them in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for one minute. Carefully, remove from the water and gently peel away the skin. (It should come away very easily.) Set aside.

  5. Lightly season the fish with thyme and pepper.

  6. Once the rice has finished simmering for the appropriate time, spread the rice and the remaining water from the pan in the ovenproof dish. It will not be fully cooked at this point. Then lay the fish on top of the rice in a single layer and sprinkle the wine over the fish. Slice the tomatoes and arrange over the fish.

  7. Melt the butter in a frying pan/skillet add the onion and garlic, and cook over a low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Mix in the breadcrumbs and parsley, then scatter over the tomatoes.

  8. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the topping golden brown.

  9. Cut the lemon into four slices and use to garnish.

Updated: November 13, 2017

Summer Tomato Soup

Summer Tomato Soup

 

With local tomatoes now in abundance, this is an ideal time to make a pot of summer tomato soup. This recipe produces a thin, flavoursome soup with just a hint of basil. Just right for a light lunch with some crusty bread.

 

Summer Tomato Soup
Prepares: 8 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 60ml (2 fl oz) extra virgin oil (¼ cup)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 16 large ripe tomatoes
  • 240ml (8 fl oz) chicken stock (1 cup)
  • handful fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnishing
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Equipment
  • large saucepan (a stock pan works well)


  1. Method
  2. Heat the oil in the pan over a medium heat.

  3. Add the onion and garlic. Stir to coat with the oil and then reduce the heat and cook gently for 3 minutes.

  4. Quarter the tomatoes and add to the pan. Increase the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally while also breaking down the tomatoes. A potato masher works really well for this.

  5. Stir in the chicken stock, basil leaves, and seasoning and let it simmer for a further 10 minutes.

  6. Remove from the heat and let it cool. Strain through a sieve, pushing through all the juice from the vegetables.

  7. In a clean pan, reheat the soup and serve garnished with a few basil leaves along with some crusty bread.

 

Quick Minestrone

Quick Minestrone

 

This quick minestrone is made up of a selection of vegetables cooked with cannelloni beans and small pieces of spaghetti. It makes for a satisfying lunch accompanied with crusty rolls.

 

Quick Minestrone
Prepares: 8–10 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20–25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 small carrots
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 x 400g tin (½ x 796ml/28 fl oz can) chopped tomatoes/diced tomatoes
  • 1.8 litres (3 pints) good chicken stock (7½ cups)
  • 85g (3 oz) spaghetti
  • 400g tin (540ml/19 fl oz can) cannellini beans/white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 140g (5 oz) frozen peas (1 cup)
  • fresh basil to garnish


  1. Method
  2. Peel the vegetables and dice into small pieces, about 0.5cm (¼ inch). Heat the oil in a large pan, add the vegetables and stir to coat with the oil. Cook, uncovered, over a medium–low heat until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Then stir in the tomatoes and stock, and bring up to a simmer. Break the spaghetti into small pieces and add to the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes.

  4. Finally, add the beans and peas, and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

  5. Serve garnished with basil leaves and accompany with crusty bread or rolls.

Updated May 21, 2017

Country Vegetable Soup

Country Vegetable Soup

 

This is a lovely smooth, thick vegetable soup. It’s quick to make and great for a winter’s day accompanied with soda bread.

 

Country Vegetable Soup
Prepares: 6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 45 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 55g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 large potato, chopped
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes (½ × 796ml can diced tomatoes)
  • 600ml (20 fl oz) good beef stock (2½ cups)
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • salt and pepper


  • To serve
  • Chopped chives or celery leaves to garnish


  1. Method
  2. Melt the butter in a large pan, add the vegetables and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.

  3. Add tomatoes, stock, tomato purée, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

  4. Remove from the heat, cool slightly, then purée in a blender.

  5. Pour into a clean saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes.

  6. Check seasoning and serve garnished with chives or celery leaves.

Updated: May 7, 2017

Teriyaki Steak

Teriyaki Steak

 

Slices of steak are marinated in a teriyaki sauce and then sautéed with mushrooms and tomatoes. Serving on a bed of flavoured brown rice for a very tasty dish.

 

Teriyaki Steak
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Marinading time: 1–2 hours
  • Cooking time: 50 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 575g (1lb 4 oz) sirloin or rump steak, fat removed
  • 4 tbsp medium-dry sherry
  • 6 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar/white sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 225g (8 oz) button mushrooms, sliced (3 cups)
  • 1 tsp cornflour/cornstarch

  • For the rice
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 200g (7 oz) brown rice (1 cup)
  • 475 ml (15 fl oz) chicken stock (2 cups)
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds

  • To garnish
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • parsley


  1. Method
  2. Pour the sherry and soy sauce into a large bowl. Add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved.

  3. Cut the steak into 1.25cm (½ inch) slices and add to the bowl. Turn the steak to coat, then cover the bowl, refrigerate, and leave to marinade for at least an hour.

  4. Remove the bowl from the fridge just before preparing the rice to enable the steak to come to room temperature.

  5. For the rice
  6. Put the onion, rice, stock and cumin seeds into a large pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 35–40 minutes until the stock has been absorbed by the rice.

  7. When it is cooked, leave to rest for 10 minutes while cooking the steak and vegetables.

  8. For the steak
  9. First, cut the tomatoes in half and then each half into thirds.

  10. Drain the meat, reserving the marinade.

  11. Blend the cornflour/cornstarch into the marinade and set to one side.

  12. Heat the oil in a large frying pan/skillet over a medium heat. Add the steak and stir fry for 2–3 minutes, turning frequently, until lightly browned.

  13. Add the mushrooms and stir fry for a further minute.

  14. Add the tomatoes and stir in the reserved marinade. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 1 minute.

  15. To serve
  16. Divide the rice between four plates, spooning it around the edge of each plate to form a circle. Now divide the steak and vegetables into four portions placing each in the centre of the rice and spoon over any sauce remaining in the pan.

  17. Serve immediately, garnished with a little parsley.

 

Beef and Bacon Bolognese

Beef and Bacon Bolognese

 

This bolognese is loaded with wholesome ingredients. The beef and bacon are cooked in a sauce of tomatoes, chopped onions, diced carrots and celery, garlic, herbs and red wine.

 

Beef and Bacon Bolognese
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30–35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 55 minutes hob

  • Ingredients
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 115g (4 oz) smoked bacon rashers, chopped (about 4 rashers)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes (½ x 28 fl oz can diced tomatoes)
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) beef stock (⅔ cup)
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) red wine (⅔ cup)
  • 4 tbsp tomato purée/tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp mixed herbs (basil, marjoram and oregano)
  • salt and pepper
  • 340g (12 oz) lean mince beef/ground beef
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped
  • 115g (4 oz) mushrooms, rinsed and sliced (6 button mushrooms)

  • To serve
  • serve with fettuccine

  • Equipment
  • Large frying pan/skillet
  • A deep sided frying pan or sauté pan


  1. Method
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan/skillet over a medium heat. When hot, add the onion, carrot, celery, bacon and garlic Stir to coat in the oil and then cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Stir in the tomatoes, stock, wine, tomato purée/tomato paste, bay leaf, herbs and seasoning. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

  4. Heat the remaining oil in a deep frying pan or sauté pan, over a medium heat and, when hot, add the beef with the pepper. Fry for about 5 minutes to brown the meat.

  5. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 3 minutes.

  6. Stir in the sauce, bring everything to the boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

  7. Serve with fettuccini.

Updated March 29, 2017

One-Dish Lamb Pasta

One-Dish Lamb Pasta

 

Simple to prepare, this tasty pasta dish gets cooked in one pan in just under 30 minutes. Lamb is cooked in a red wine, tomato and thyme sauce with farfalle (bow-tie pasta). Great served with a leafy salad, and crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

 

One-Dish Lamb Pasta
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 27 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 450g/1 lb lamb mince/ground lamb
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes OR
  • ½ x 28 fl oz can diced tomatoes
  • 150ml/5 fl oz/¼ pint red wine
  • 1 heaped tbsp fresh thyme leaves OR
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 600ml/20 fl oz/1 pint vegetable or chicken stock
  • 170g/6 oz farfalle
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • fresh Parmesan to garnish

  • To serve
  • a leafy salad and crusty bread

  • Equipment
  • large sauté pan
  • 4 × pasta dishes


  1. Method
  2. Hear the oil in the pan and add the onion and lamb. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to separate the lamb.

  3. Stir in the tomatoes, red wine, thyme, tomato purée, seasoning and stock. Bring to the boil, then cover and reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

  4. Stir in the pasta and simmer, uncovered, for 12 minutes, until just tender. Stir occasionally.

  5. Stir in a dash of Worcestershire sauce.

  6. Divide between the four dishes and top with a little grated Parmesan cheese.

  7. Serve with the salad and crusty bread to soak up the tasty sauce.

 

Chicken Hunter’s Style

I have two recipes for chicken cacciatore. One I have already posted (see Chicken Cacciatore) and this one I call Chicken Hunter’s Style. We like both recipes although they are slightly different. As cacciatore means hunter in Italian, it seemed an appropriate way to be able to identify the two.

 

Chicken Hunter's Style

 

Chicken Hunter’s Style – breasts of chicken are cooked with diced bacon and onions, sliced mushrooms and plum tomatoes in a seasoned tomato sauce.

 

Chicken Hunter's Style
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 chicken breasts, each cut into two
  • 3 back bacon rashers, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 110g/4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • salt and pepper
  • 120ml/4 fl oz/½ cup white wine
  • 400g tin/½ x 28 fl oz can whole tomatoes

  • To serve
  • 275g/10 oz peas
  • pasta, penne works well

  • Equipment
  • large sauté pan with lid
  • medium sized serving dish


  1. Method
  2. Heat the oil in the pan over a medium heat, add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove and set to one side.

  3. Put the bacon in the pan and cook for 1 minute, then add the onions, mushrooms and garlic.

    Reduce the heat a little and sauté until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.

  4. Return the chicken to the pan and sprinkle with parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Stir in the wine and tomatoes.

  5. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, turning the chicken half way through.

  6. Remove the chicken to a warmed serving dish and pour over the sauce.

  7. Serve with pasta and peas.

 

Chicken Cacciatore

I have two recipes for chicken cacciatore. One I have already posted (see Chicken Hunter’s Style) and this one is called Chicken Cacciatore. We like both recipes although they are slightly different. As cacciatore means hunter in Italian, it seemed an appropriate way to be able to identify the two.

 

Chicken Cacciatore

 

Chicken is sautéed and then cooked with chopped onions, sliced mushrooms and chopped tomatoes in a seasoned sauce. Rocket/arugula is then stirred through before serving.

 

Chicken Cacciatore
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: About 35 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 chicken breasts, skinned
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 225g/8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 x 400g tins/1 x 28 fl oz chopped/diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 140ml/5 fl oz/¼ pint chicken stock
  • large handful rocket/arugula

  • To serve
  • seasonal vegetables or crusty bread to mop up the juices

  • Equipment
  • deep sided sauté pan


  1. Method
  2. Heat half the oil in the pan over a medium–high heat, add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside.

  3. Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining oil to the pan and sauté the onion and mushrooms for 8 minutes, until beginning to soften.

  4. Stir in the tomatoes, oregano, bay leaf and chicken stock, then return the chicken to the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, turning the chicken halfway through, until the chicken is cooked and the sauce has thickened.

  5. Remove the bay leaf, then season well and stir through the rocket/arugula.