Obviously my views on work aren't quite that simplistic of course...being a working mummy is bloody hard work. I have to be able to switch from work-Ali to mum-Ali and back again within seconds at any given moment throughout any given day. I have to be able to get out the door before 6:30am three days a week and still be able to get a healthy meal on the table for everyone come 5:30pm, with a full day's work and a drive in and out of central London in between. On my working-from-home days you can remove the commuting part but add in the school run.
Feeding the family requires some good planning and organisation - everyone needs to like it, it needs to be baby-suitable too, it has to be healthy and every penny counts so every meal has to be economical. Believe me when I say there is no food waste in this house! Everything gets used, nothing gets chucked out.
Recently a Dunelm Mill opened about a 3-minute drive from my house. Yes, 3 measly minutes! I shall be bankrupt by Christmas I tell you, I love that shop. And when they got wind of the fact I was going back to work and could do with some extra cooking equipment to help with the preparation of good value and healthy family meals which I could cook and freeze (I love my freezer but that could be a whole other blog post) in advance they came to the rescue. They sent me a selection of their cookware to try out and review*...and I have been happily testing all of it since returning to work.
So today I am going to share with you a humdinger of a recipe; my mum's Super Duper Chicken Casserole. This is SO tasty and so simple, you literally throw everything together in one pot and that's it. Perfect for making the night before, or to freeze ahead, or to just throw together when you walk in the door.
I asked my mum if I could share this and she was more than happy for me to do so, she adapted it from a cookbook in the 70s, and I have adapted it to make it cheaper and more lazy (that's me, cheap and lazy.)
Mum's Super Duper Chicken Casserole
- 4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized portions
- A cup full of plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper (omit the salt if, like me, you are going to mush this up for a baby too!)
- 50g butter
- 2 small onions (I know it says 3 in mum's recipe above but trust me that's too many), finely chopped
- 2 green peppers, deseeded and chopped
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes (see, lazy)
- Salt & peppper
- Half a pint of chicken stock (I use the extra low salt stuff you get in the baby isle, or real stuff if I have any ready)
- Roll the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour (I usually use scissors to cut them up straight into the flour) until completed coated.
- Melt the butter in a pan and brown the chicken pieces. Place into a casserole dish.
- Add the onions and peppers to the pan and fry gently for about ten minutes to soften (I usually add a little more butter or olive oil for this bit)
- Add the tomatoes and the chicken stock and give everything a good stir before adding to the chicken in the casserole dish.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Cover and cook in the centre of a moderate oven (about 180c) for one hour.
Absolutely delicious with hot crusty bread, or new potatoes, or even rice. Mmmm! Anyone else hungry now?
In order of appearance:
Cookshop Two Tone Collection Casserole Dish - a really good size dish, handled the chicken casserole for four people with room to spare and looked great on the table.
Red casserole dish - smaller than the blue one but still a good size and was perfect for chicken and chorizo gumbo for two!
This Morning by Prestige Almond Round baker dish - this is such a versatile and useful dish, we have used it so far to make bread, casserole, pasta-bake, soup and even a cake! Plus the shape of it is so gorgeous you can just leave it sitting out, it's almost decorative!
Jamie Oliver bread knife - goodness me was hubby delighted when I presented him with a new bread knife. To me a knife's a knife, but hubby assures me this one is far superior to our old bread knife :)
Lock and Lock food containers - I have never felt the need to spend money on tupperware before, I usually just reuse the plastic tubs leftover from Chinese takeaways. But these are The Business. They microwave, they freeze and they don't leak, they really are complete air-tight and have been a revelation for our packed lunches!
Purple Jewel Large Rectangular Roaster - we have used this for lasagne, toad-in-the-hole and roast chicken and it is the perfect size. You can get a medium to large chicken in this plus your roasties and a load of veg if you are so inclined.