6 Nations of Food – (Italian) Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower

Second instalment of my Six Nations of Food, it’s my take on the fantastically talented Jason Atherton’s Mediterranean Chicken which follows on from my Toad in the Hole with Onion Gravy and Champ. I couldn’t resist posting this one, Jason’s a chef I really admire and this is a cost effective easy to cook recipe.  You can find the original here, this recipe is ideal for cooking in batches and is really inexpensive to make.

I know we’re on the last week of the six nations but I’m going to extend our 6 Nations of Food for a week or so to fit in the other three nations.  I hope Wales beat Italy today, to gain a little self respect back after last week’s shocking game against England 😆

The Recipe

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower - Ingredients

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower – Ingredients

This recipe is simple, carrots, onions, chicken breast, garlic and tinned tomato and stock.  Of course the good old salt and pepper and that’s it, I’ve served mine with some boiled cauliflower but Jason serves his in the original recipe with potatoes.

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower - Chopping some of the ingredients

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower – Chopping some of the ingredients

Yep you’ve guessed it, chop up all the ingredients and set them aside for later lol.  Chop the onions and carrots and place them in a container for later, then chop up the chicken into bite sized pieces, when chopping up chicken remember to adhere to the guidelines.  I’m not going to lie, even though I’m a butcher’s son and nothing about meat makes me squeamish – chicken safety scares me…. don’t take risks, cook it thoroughly and follow advice.

I can’t stress how much easier cooking is when you chop everything up first, the chef’s call it mise en place which is French for “putting place”

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower - Heating the oil in a pan

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower – Heating the oil in a pan

Heat oil in a pan or a wok, I’ve used Rapeseed Oil but you can use olive oil or vegetable oil.

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower - Browning the chicken in the pan

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower – Browning the chicken in the pan

On a medium heat, fry the chicken pieces until they’re brown all over, don’t have the heat too high because you’re going to cook them again later.  You could say you’re sealing the meat, once you’ve done that set them aside later, use a slotted spoon to scoop all the chicken out.

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower - Frying the carrots and onions

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower – Frying the carrots and onions

Once you’ve taken the chicken out add the carrots and onions and a good grind of salt, if you’re using table salt add a teaspoon of salt and cook them for around 9 minutes.

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower - The carrots and onions as they start to soften

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower – The carrots and onions as they start to soften

Cook the carrots and onions until they have soften.  It’s going to be hard with the carrots to get them to soften but don’t worry because the process isn’t finished yet.  This stage usually takes around 7 – 9 minutes to carry out.

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower - Adding lazy garlic to the pan

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower – Adding lazy garlic to the pan

Because I have difficulty using a garlic crusher and I don’t have James Martin’s knife skills I use lazy garlic, add a couple of teaspoons to your dish, you can add more if you want to,, I’m a garlic fan so I added three teaspoons..

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower - Stirring the garlic through

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower – Stirring the garlic through

Give the garlic a good stir and cook for a few minutes before we move on to the next stage.

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower - Adding the chicken back to the pan

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower – Adding the chicken back to the pan

Add all the browned chicken back and stir thoroughly, make sure when you’re adding the chicken you add all the juices left on the plate back into the saucepan/wok.

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower - Adding tinned tomatoes

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower – Adding tinned tomatoes

Add a tin of tomatoes and stir thoroughly to combine.

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower - Adding chicken stock

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower – Adding chicken stock

Add the stock to the pan, if you’ve got home made stock use that if not, like me, use a stock cube with 250ml of water.

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower - Adding mixed herbs

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower – Adding mixed herbs

From the carosel I’ve used in previous recipes I added a good shake of mixed herbs, you could add fresh Basil, Parsley or Oregano to this recipe – as it’s Italian.

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower - Seasoning with salt and pepper

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower – Seasoning with salt and pepper

As you can see from the inset photo I’ve whapped a load of salt and pepper in this dish because I like it, most people could probably do with less salt but it was enough for us, and I love pepper.

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower - Putting the lid on for it to simmer

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower – Putting the lid on for it to simmer

Cook it until you’re sure the chicken is cooked and the sauce is to the consistency you want it.

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower - Ready to eat, served with boiled cauliflower

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower – Ready to eat, served with boiled cauliflower

Jason served his with potatoes, I’ve served mine with Cauliflower, why I hear you ask… wait and see!

Low Carb Diet

I’m on this Low Carb diet for a fortnight, to try and lose weight, I’m not going to eat pasta, rice, bread or potatoes for a fortnight.  Now you know me not eating potatoes is going to kill me….  but onwards and upwards.

I don’t know if it’s going to make a difference but we’re going to give it a go, that’s why I’ve moved to the ole’ Cauliflower instead of Jason’s spuds.  Anyone got any help????

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower

6 Nations of Food – Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower

Coming up we’ve got Eggs in pots (oeufs en cocotte) from Rachel Khoo, they’re French don’t you know lol.  Hopefully soon we’ll have some free range eggs from Gemma’s eggs, they taste fab!

6 Nations of Food – Eggs from Gemma's Chickens

6 Nations of Food – Eggs from Gemma’s Chickens

Give this recipe a go, it’s really flavoursome, the herby garlicy sauce is excellent, I’m suddenly loving chicken again and I genuinely love cauliflower, it’s one of my finds from the decade of 2010’s but it doesn’t replace potatoes sadly – do you feel my pain?

I’ll be back on Tuesday with my Time-Saving Tuesdays review of Weight Watchers Hunters Chicken.

Remember to get in touch, you can visit our social media pages below, or subscribe to the blog for regular updates.Wheelie Good Meals Social NetworkingEnjoy the rugby today, see you Tuesday

New Time-Saving Tuesdays Logo

Time-Saving Tuesday – Tesco Italian Spaghetti Carbonara

Time-Saving Tuesday – Tesco Italian Spaghetti Carbonara in it's packaging

Time-Saving Tuesday – Tesco Italian Spaghetti Carbonara in it’s packaging

Here’s something I wouldn’t normally eat, it’s Spaghetti, I’m not a lover of the long strands of pasta, they don’t go well with my fear of choking 😀 . But I bought this to try and overcome that fear…. How brave am I lol

Time-Saving Tuesday – Tesco Italian Spaghetti Carbonara, nutritional information

Time-Saving Tuesday – Tesco Italian Spaghetti Carbonara, nutritional information

The nutritional information is clear, the whole packaging was clear and easy to read, although it was black and white some people with certain medical conditions may have difficulty reading it. Personally I feel the calorie content of 762Kcal, 37.8g Fat and 19.4g Saturated Fat is high. I decided to look in to the recommended levels of these ingredients. According to the NHS.UK website…

  • the average man should eat no more than 30g of saturated fat a day

  • the average woman should eat no more than 20g of saturated fat a day

The website also went on to say about the different levels, this dish would be considered high because it had more than 5g of Saturated fat per 100g. There was a red marker on the front of the package, all the key figures of this dish were high, now I feel like I probably shouldn’t have eaten this lol. I’m going to look into this more and maybe see if I can make it myself and hopefully reduce the bad elements.

Time-Saving Tuesday – Tesco Italian Spaghetti Carbonara, ingredients

Time-Saving Tuesday – Tesco Italian Spaghetti Carbonara, ingredients

The packet described the product as:

Spaghetti and beech smoked bacon in a creamy cheese sauce.

The ingredients list is straight forward enough, things you’d expect to find in a Carbonara. I don’t quite know what the purpose of the Pork Gelatine in the ingredients were, so I asked Tesco? I sent them a tweet eight days ago…. no reply as yet 😡 will let you know when I do get one though.

Time-Saving Tuesday – Tesco Italian Spaghetti Carbonara, cooking instructions

Time-Saving Tuesday – Tesco Italian Spaghetti Carbonara, cooking instructions

The cooking instructions were great, they were clear to understand and although not displaying times for my microwave it was easy to work out the correct time.

Time-Saving Tuesday – Tesco Italian Spaghetti Carbonara

Time-Saving Tuesday – Tesco Italian Spaghetti Carbonara

This wasn’t a bad ready meal in all fairness, it wasn’t my favourite but itI don’t have any doubt that some people would really enjoy it. The pasta was ok, it was a little chewy but I’m not daft that was probably the way I cooked it. The sauce was creamy but slightly claggy, the pasta was stuck together too, I did stir it but it didn’t seem to make a difference. The sauce didn’t really have the smoky flavour to it that I was expecting and the bacon was pointless, they weren’t really big enough to taste.5 stars

I’d award this five stars, the packaging was clear, the instructions were straightforward and the taste wasn’t too bad. It’s not the best meal I’ve had from Tesco but it’s not the worst. Maybe some more garlic and a bigger hit of smokiness and we’d have been ok.Wheelie Good Meals Social Networking

As always you can get in touch using the social networks above, I’d love to hear from you. How are your Christmas preparations going, are you all ready? I’ve done all my shopping and they’re all wrapped so just bring on the festivities. On the weekend I’ll be sharing with you my take on Rachel Khoo’s Cauliflower Cheese Burgers, they’re totally veggie and great as a starter or main course… or even as a snack!wheelie-good-meals-christmas-door-web-

I’d like to thank Greg (for his company, on our trips away and his photography and not to mention his driving), my mother Mags (for being my sous chef and chief taster, and for putting up with me), Chris (for his technical help), Melanie (Melanie’s Food Adventures for listening to me moan and for her guest posts, which have been some of the most popular posts to date), Alice and Heather (for their ideas), Dave (for his fantastic artwork), Kirsty (for her photography) and Sharon (for the glass). Thanks also to everyone who hosts the linkies I’ve linked up with over the past year, and I’d especially like to thank you all for your support and for stopping by week after week to read the posts.

I doubt I’ll be posting anything until after the new year, so just in case I don’t I’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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The Bolognese Sauce served with Pene Pasta and topped with Cheddar Cheese

Fuss Free Bolognese Sauce

Ingredients for the Bolognese Sauce

Ingredients for the Bolognese Sauce

Utensils and other items needed to make the Bolognese Sauce

Utensils and other items needed to make the Bolognese Sauce

This recipe what I would call one of my mothership recipes, once you’ve mastered this (and trust me it won’t take long) you can make a number of different dishes. This recipe will be suitable for:

  • · Lasagne,
  • · Chilli Con Carne
  • · Canelloni
  • · Bolognese

The recipe I use is as easy as it comes, I put this together in half an hour. Of course, the longer you take the more flavour you get in your dish so don’t rush things…. I was just hungry!

Making this also marks a first for me – I’d never knowingly tried celery before I made this for the blog. I don’t normally use it I just use onions and carrots but I wanted to do things properly and the Italians use a Soffritto as the base to most of their dishes which is finely diced Celery, Carrots and Onions.

An Italian Soffritto (diced Celery, Carrots and Onions)

An Italian Soffritto (diced Celery, Carrots and Onions)

You can serve this with Rice, Pasta, Mashed Potatoes – or just on it’s own… My friend Chris and I (photographer extraordinaire both felt it was good enough to eat on its own, maybe with a bit of crusty bread to mop up the juice (now we’re talking!) If you’d like to make this recipe please feel free to download the step by step instructions here.

The Bolognese Sauce bubbling in the pan before the pasta is added

The Bolognese Sauce bubbling in the pan before the pasta is added

The Bolognese Sauce served with Pene Pasta and topped with Cheddar Cheese

The Bolognese Sauce served with Pene Pasta and topped with Cheddar Cheese

Get involved at Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Google+ and Pintrest, share your ideas, photos and recipes with us and watch our blog develop.  If you have any questions you’d like to ask about either myself or the Wheelie Good Meals concept please feel free to drop us a line on enquiries@wheeliegoodmeals.co.uk.  Come back again soon and, together, we’ll make more Wheelie Good Meals!

See You Soon

Richard's Signature

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