Two meals are better than one, indeed they are. I enjoy cooking and I like pottering about in the kitchen making everything from scratch, but I’m a busy person, with a lifestyle that seems to be getting more hectic by the day. I also enjoy healthy eating, I have done the hard slog and am now happy with my weight. But I want to keep it this way, so this means I have to plan and prepare as many meals ahead of time as possible. If I don’t plan, I just reach for the easiest thing, which is usually a calorie/fat laden quick fix and although it will do the job, when I eat like this it makes me angry. Yes, actually angry. There’s nothing worse than an angry busy person, believe me.
A few years ago I watched a television show called Gastronomy Economy, it really struck a chord with me. The general idea is that you cook a huge batch of one thing, a giant leg of lamb for example, and this forms the basis for another three meals, in the guise of Roasted Lamb with Cannellini Beans, Slow Cooked Moroccan Lamb and Baked Potato with Lamb and Lebanese Beans.
I really liked the idea, so I bought the book with the recipes from the series (I’m a serious cook book hoarder) and began my quest for wholesome, delicious, time saving recipes. The book has 100 recipes to get you started. Fast forward a couple of years I decided to lose some weight and armed with the ethos of the original book idea and the confidence in the kitchen that I didn’t really have before, I decided to start creating my own recipes, or at least stripping back a recipe bulking it up with healthy stuff and omitting the less healthy things, that’s not to say I don’t enjoy the odd pudding or bag of chips!
So here is my first double up recipe. It’s for Raspberry Jam Chicken. Each recipe serves four. You will easily get enough out of it to make two meals or three if you’re feeling frugal or have a small appetite (neither of which generally apply to me, unless it’s January).
This recipe is a great Summer staple. I am aware Raspberry Jam Chicken may not sound at all appealing but believe me it is the perfect combination of salty, sweet and sticky. Go on, try it, you won’t regret it!
8 Skinless Boneless Chicken Thighs
3 Garlic Cloves Crushed
2 Teaspoons Red Wine Vinegar
2 Teaspoons English Mustard
7 Tablespoons Raspberry Jam
4 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
Put all of the ingredients into a small pan and heat gently.
Be careful as there’s lots of sugar in Jam and when it’s hot it’ll be like sticky molten lava! Once it’s starts to come together and bubbles into a silky thick sauce remove it from the heat and allow it to cool, thoroughly.
Next you need to mix the chicken into the cold marinade. The easiest way to do this is to tip the chicken into the marinade, get it all covered and then decant into containers for refrigerating or freezing. I like to use foil containers (like the ones you get from the Chinese Takeaway) for freezing, because I can write on them with my nice Sharpie, there is nothing more satisfying than labeling things with a Sharpie.
Or save cash and use re-usable Tupperware, just make sure it’s non-metallic and the lid will stay on. One of the best and most frugal options is a large sealy bag. My glass bowl below is for the fridge for Monday’s Dinner and the foil container is for the deep freeze and will be a mid-week after work BBQ. I generally try to eat it within a month of freezing.
So back to the Chicken in the fridge, leave to marinade for an hour at least, but basically the longer the better. When you are ready for your meal just place your chicken in a roasting tin, and cook in a preheated 180oC oven for 30 mins but keep an eye on it and turn each piece if it looks like it is starting to burn (remember the hot jam can be super-burny). After 30 mins insert a skewer and if the juices are clear then the chicken is ready to serve.
I put a bag of Frozen Butternut Squash in the oven on a separate oven tray with spray oil, garlic and Italian herbs on and I served it with salad.
I cannot tell you how delicious this punchy chicken recipe is just like this with simple veg, perfect for a summer evening.
Now then, fast forward a few weeks (yes I forgot about my chicken festering, I mean marinating in the freezer). Defrost your chicken it’s time for recipe number two… Sticky Chicken Skewers (I served mine with Butternut Squash Pasta).
Pre-heat your grill or BBQ. Soak some wooden skewers and chop up some veg into cm size pieces. Anything you have lingering in the fridge will suffice, peppers, courgettes and corn work especially well. I had none of these, so onions, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms had to do. Chop the chicken into chunks, four bits from each thigh will be fine. Thread alternate veg and meat onto each skewer and grill or BBQ for 20 minutes, don’t forget to turn them carefully.
I boiled some pasta and once cooled I mixed it with some rescued Roasted Butternut Squash and a sprinkle of grated cheddar. I stirred in Balsamic Dressing and some Italian herbs.
Once the chicken only seeps clear juices when you insert a skewer you are good to serve. This was so good I didn’t get a chance to photograph the plated up version! Just for the record the frozen version that was used as skewers was far more tasty, I think it was because it marinaded for longer and hey a BBQ version is always going to be better right?!
I hope you enjoyed the recipe and would love to know if you give it a go!