Ellie's Asian Chicken with a Simple Side of Quinoa Salad

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One night I rocked up at my sister's house to pick her up, maybe for the Keith Urban concert? Or maybe it was before we went to Zumba?  In any case, it was dinner time for her family and she had whipped up this beautiful chicken dish which I tasted on the way out the door!  It was delicious and I immediately wrote the 'recipe' in my phone.  Last night, I was thinking about what to cook and I remembered ....

She didn't give me any measurements, just ingredients so last night I wrote down what measurements I used.  I think that you could do them to any measure and it would be good but here's what I did to serve four of us.

2 chicken breasts, sliced

Marinate in:
Soy sauce, 4 Tablespoons
Honey, 2 Tablespoons
Lime, juice of one
White wine or sake, 4 Tablespoons
Garlic, 6 cloves

When you are ready to cook, dredge chicken in flour and fry in batches.  I shallow fried in grapeseed oil.

Trying to use up some of the veggies that are leftover at the end of a weeks worth of cooking, I make this simple side to go with it.  It's not got many strong flavors, really it's just the fresh taste of veggies and a little bit of lime juice.  You could totally dress it if you wanted it a bit more punchy. 

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Again, there are no real measurements for this salad.  I'll tell you what I did but you can add whatever you like, really!

1 cup quinoa, cooked (I used a tri colored one)
2 roma tomatoes, finely diced
2 spring onions, finely dices
1/2 a red capsicum (bell pepper), finely diced
1/2 a yellow capsicum (bell pepper), finely diced
1/2 an avocado, finely diced
a large chunk of cucumber, finely diced
juice of half a lime 
sprinkle of sea salt

mix all ingredients. serve.

Savory Muffins: Mexican

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The kids, finally, talked me into letting them take sandwiches to school for their lunches.  At the beginning of the school year, I relented ... instead of leftovers, they could make sandwiches.  I guess they grew tired of them real quick because now we are looking for other options!! (just not leftovers!) I have been thinking that savory muffins might be a good bet.  Jono is home sick today and has taste tested these and given his thumbs up.  We will see what Alia thinks when she gets home in a bit. 

I tried to make these a bit 'mexican' ... will play around with different flavors and ingredients in subsequent batches.  I think the options will be endless!

what i used.
'dry' ingredients
4 cups self raising flour
1 cup chopped ham
1 cup grated cheese (I used half mozzarella and half tasty (white cheddar))
1 spring onion, chopped
1 cup canned corn, drained
1 (4oz) can green chiles
1/2 cup sliced green olives
a hand full of fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped

 'wet' ingredients
3/4 cup olive oil
2 cups milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten

what to do.
Pre-heat oven to 180C/375F.  Line muffin tins with cupcake papers ... or grease.  Whichever is your preference.  I use the papers. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients.  Then add the wet ingredients to the dry.  Gently stir until just combined.   Don't over mix or your muffins will be tough.  (but make sure you get all the flour down at the bottom ... no one likes a bite of unmixed flour in their muffin!)  Bake in oven until golden.  Mine took 25 minutes.  In hindsight, I'd probably leave them another 5 minutes next time ... they are cooked but only just! 

I'm going to freeze these in individual ziplocks so they are easy for the kids to grab when they pack their lunches!

Roasted Bell Pepper Salad

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I tried this recipe ages ago ... I'm pretty sure I clipped it out of a magazine.

It's another of those with no real measurements.  

Roasted bell peppers (capsicum), I love all three colors but here I just used red and green.  Sliced.
Red onion, thinly sliced
Black olives, sliced
Feta cheese, crumbled
Olive Oil
Sherry Vinegar
Sea Salt

Spread the bell peppers on a plate.  Top with red onion, black olives, feta cheese.  Drizzle with the oil and vinegar.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Let set for 30 minutes. 


Moroccan Quinoa in Cucumber Boats

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Preparing for a Moroccan Tapas Night that we hosted at church, I googled something like Moroccan finger food and this recipe immediately caught my eye.   I'm glad it did ... it was delicious!  There are no real measurements on her page so I imagine it's a pretty forgiving recipe.  I did mine pretty much like hers but I couldn't find the Sambhar curry powder she calls for so I made substitutions.  Here's what I did.  You can adjust each element to taste.  I'm not kidding, I tasted after each ingredient I added! Also, I cooked this for 100 people to have one each.  When I make it again, I'll probably 1/2 the amount of filling and just eat whatever is leftover.  This amount filled four long continental cucumbers.

I used ...

4 big continental cucumbers
1 cup quinoa (I used a tri-colored one)
3 cups water
2 preserved lemons
4 or 5 sun dried tomatoes
2 spring onions
1 small jalapeno that I picked out of my garden
a small handful of fresh mint
1/4 of a bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro)
handful of pine nuts
olive oil
sea salt
moroccan seasoning
cumin, ground

What I did ...

Cook quinoa.  I did it according to the package instructions which said one part quinoa to three parts water.  Bring to the boil, cover and cook until water is gone.  It took about 20 minutes.

In the meantime ... finely dice the preserved lemons and sun dried tomatoes.  Chop the spring onions small.  Get rid of the seeds and membrane in the jalapeno and finely dice it.  Chop herbs.

After quinoa is finished and has cooled a little bit,  add all of the above that you've just chopped/diced to it.  Drizzle with olive oil and then season with sea salt, moroccan seasoning and cumin.  (or the Sambhar curry powder if you can get it.  I'd love to try that as it is cinnamon based and I think it would really change the flavor .... ) Season to taste ....

For the cucumber boats ... peel down the outside of the cucumber (as you see in photo above) in long strips.  Cut into 3/4 inch 'slices'.  Scoop out the centre with a melon baller and then fill the hole with quinoa mixture.