Posted by: makebakeandsew | June 16, 2010

Day 8 – Chicken & Prawn Jambalaya

Day 8 – Chicken & Prawn Jambalaya. I love this. You can make it as spicy or mild as you like depending on your families taste.  My partner always suggests dishing mis us last so he can load it with chilli!

One pot cooking is perfect for when you don’t want a mountain of washing up and lets face it, it’s just easier to stick everything in one pot.

Cost approx £2.60 per serving

Serves 4

3 Chicken breasts

12 King Prawns

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

1 fresh chilli

pinch of cayenne pepper

pinch of paprika

salt & pepper

2 sticks of celery

1 green pepper

1 onion

500ml chicken stock

300g long grain rice

Cut the chicken into approx 2 inch chunks and season with the paprika, cayenne, salt & pepper.  Heat in a pan with a little oil until browned a little.  Add the onion, celery, chilli and green pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes until softened.

Add the tinned tomatoes, chicken stock and rice. Simmer for a good 20-25 mins stirring occasionally so the rice doesn’t stick. Stir in the prawns for the last 3 mins to heat through.

Serve with warm crusty bread.


Posted by: makebakeandsew | June 14, 2010

Day 7 – Cod Goujons with Cheesy Mash

Day 7 – Cod Goujons with Cheesy Mash.

Kids wanted fish today and this is a great homemade alternative to standard frozen fish fingers as it’s good enough for adults too. Cheesy mash is pure comfort.

Cost approx £1.80 per person

Serves 4:

4 cod fillets

1 egg


4 large potatoes

75g cheese

Black pepper & salt

A little mustard (optional but gives the mash extra flavour)


Preheat oven to 200’C

Peel and chop the potatoes, place in a pan with water to cover them and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 20 mins or until tender.

While the potatoes are coming to the boil, cut the cod into 1 inch chunks.  Dip each piece into egg and then breadcrumbs. Place on a greased baking tray and cook for 15 mins turning halfway though until golden brown.

Drain the potatoes and mash with some butter and the cheese until smooth.  Season and add the mustard if required.

Serve with peas or tomato relish

Posted by: makebakeandsew | June 13, 2010

Day 6 – Mother’s Roast Lamb

OK OK, this is a bit of a cheat really as I didn’t cook it.  How could I turn down a Roast Lamb dinner cooked by my mother when my own effort would not be nearly as wonderful??

Lamb, mint sauce, real roast potatoes and veg. Yum.

Back on track tomorrow……

Posted by: makebakeandsew | June 12, 2010

Day 5 – Lasagne Al Forno

Day 5 – Poor Dean is stuck at work while the first England game will be on this evening so I have promised to cook his favourite lasagne so he can have a feast while he catches the highlights later.

Beloved broken lasagne dish has been replaced by smart new porcelain dish from Marks & Spencer so I can’t wait to use it .Yes I am that sad.

This will easily serve four.  I normally have a bit left over after dishing up for inevitable seconds or it will keep for a couple of days in the fridge.

Cost: approx about £1.50 per serving

For the bolognaise:

500g good lean mince beef

I red onion

1 green pepper

1 clove of garlic

fresh or dried basil

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon of tomato puree

splash of red wine

salt and pepper

9 Lasagne sheets (dried)

For the white sauce:

300ml milk

25g flour

25g butter

salt & pepper

Cheese and breadcrumbs for the topping

Preheat the oven to 200’C

Brown the mince in a pan with a little olive oil.  Finely dice the onion and green pepper and garlic and add to the meat along with the tomatoes and tomato puree, basil and salt & pepper .  Simmer for about 10 mins.  Don’t worry about cooking the vegetables fully or if the sauce hasn’t reduced too much as this will all happen in the oven.

While the meat is browning make the white sauce. melt the butter in a pan and add the flour.  Add the milk a little at a time and whisk. Cook for another minute or so then add a little salt and pepper and the cheese. Stir until smooth.

Layer the meat then 3 sheets of pasta and top with a layer of white sauce.  Repeat this process three times and your dish should be full and you will have ended on a layer of white sauce.  Top with some cheese of your choice and some breadcrumbs.

Bake in the oven for 30 mins until the cheese is bubbling. Serve with salad or some ciabatta and garlic butter if youre feeling naughty.


Seemed to taste even better out of the new dish! Not sure Toby even noticed what dinner I had cooked as he was too engrossed in the football – clean plate though so can’t have been too bad.

Never thought I would get into this Football, but – Come on England!

Posted by: makebakeandsew | June 11, 2010

Day 4 – Pork Loins with Feta Crumb and New Potatoes

Day 4 and Friday World Cup Opening ceremony supper!

Just made this one up as I’m writing so have no idea if this will work out.  I think I’ve had a similar Feta Crumb in a Greek dish years ago which was nice so though I would give it a go on some Pork Loins I had in the fridge. 

Cost Approx approx £1.80 per person

Serves 4:

4-6 Pork Loins

100g of Feta Cheese

50g bread crumbs

Some fresh/dried parsley, oregano and thyme

pinch of salt

500g new potatoes

a little butter for the potatoes

Side vegetables – I am using sugarsnap peas and broccoli

Put the new potatoes in a pan and bring to the boil.  Simmer until tender. While you grill the pork loins prepare the feta cheese crumb.

In a bowl mix the breadcrumbs and feta with some parsley, thyme, oregano and a little salt.  When the pork is nearly cooked top with a good coating of the feta crumb and grill for a further 5 mins.

When the potatoes are cooked, drain and toss in some butter and fresh parsley and mint.

Serve with greens

The Verdict:

Turned out alright for a first go at this! Will be doing it again, I really enjoyed it.  Children weren’t that keen on the Feta crumb but I think it’s the first time I’ve given them Feta so I’ll definitly try it again to get them used to it, just so I can eat it again!

Posted by: makebakeandsew | June 10, 2010

Day 3 – Thin and Crispy Pizzas with Pancetta or Spicy Beef

Day 3 and I must admit the children are absolutely loving us eating at the dinner table together every night and I’m really enjoying the cooking.

Tonight – Thin and Crispy Pizzas.  I’m making two pizzas, one with green pepper and spicy beef and the other with pancetta and red onion.

This recipe will make two medium to large size thin pizzas.  Great for sharing:

Cost approx £2.00 per pizza.

For the bases you will need:

600g White bread flour

1 7g sachet of dried yeast

Just under half a pint warm water

1 teaspoon of caster suger (golden if you have it)

1 teaspoon of salt

2 Tablespoons of Olive oil


4  heaped tablespoons of Tomato Puree

1 Ball of Mozzarella Cheese

Half a green Pepper

About 75g spicy beef (I’m using some from Tesco which was in the cooked meats isle)

100 g Pancetta

Half a red onion

Olive oil

Pre heat the oven to 225’C

The bread mix for this is really quick and simple.  In a bowl mix the bread flour, salt, sugar and yeast together.  Add the olive oil and warm water and combine into a ball off dough and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and stretchy .  Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with cling film and leave for about 15 mins in a warm place if you can while you prepare your toppings, this helps the yeast work and makes the dough easier to roll. Separate into two balls of dough and roll out into large thin rounds to fit on a baking tray.  Don’t worry if they are not perfect circles – I think they look better this way.

Smear 2 large tablespoons of the tomato puree over each base and top with some cubes of mozzarella. Add green pepper and spicy beef to one pizza and pancetta and onion to the other.  Bake for just 12-15 mins and eat hot.


I love these.  The base is great, thin yet still light and doughy. I think much nicer tasting than those really thick stodgy bases.

Dean: on a par with many resturant pizza I’ve had but as cheap as a frozen pizza

Posted by: makebakeandsew | June 9, 2010

Day 2 – Homemade Babybel Beef Burgers with Salsa

Day 2 of my challenge to cook 30 different family dinners in 30 days. Early Dinner tonight as I’m off to watch Sex and the City later – woohoo.

I haven’t done this recipe a long long time but it’s a great one to get the kids involved in and keep them from pestering you for a MacDonalds!

The homemade burgers have the cheese oozing inside thanks to the babybels and I’m serving on cheese topped rolls (greedy on the cheese I know but I couldn’t resist) with some homemade oven baked rosemary chips and a fresh salsa.

Makes 4 quarter pounders:

500g mince beef

Half an egg

1/4 of a red onion

4 babybels (I’m using cheddar ones today but any will do)

4 burger buns or rolls – brown if you are feeling extra healthy

3 large baking potatoes

Some olive oil and dried/ fresh rosemary

For the salsa:

4 fresh tomatoes

rest of the red onion

1/4 cucumber

1 small chilli (optional)

Splash of balsamic vinegar

Oil and fresh/dried coriander

Pre heat the oven to 200’C

Prepare the potatoes first.  Leave the skins on and chop into sizable chips.  Place on a large oven tray and drizzle with a good glug of olive oil and sprinkle with Rosemary. Cook for a good 45 mins, until golden and caught at the edges.

While the chips are cooking, finely chop on quarter of the onion and mix into the mince meat. Split the mince into four equal pieces and mould around each babybel so it is fully sealed. Grill the burgers until brown turning half way through.

Finally prepare the salsa by finely chopping the remainder of the onion, tomatoes, chilli, cucumber and coriander and mixing in a small bowl with a little oil.

Serve the burgers on cheese top or brown rolls with a little extra salad if you wish.  The salsa goes great either on the burgers or with the chips as a dip.

The Verdict:

Collectively ‘Definitely better than Mac Donalds!

 I Couldn’t ask for better could I?

Posted by: makebakeandsew | June 8, 2010

Day 1: Spanish Chicken


Spanish Chicken:

To get me into the swing I’m starting with a something I have cooked in the past.  I fact I don’t know why I don’t do it more often as it always seems to go down well…but I guess that’s the point here.

The chicken is the biggest expense here.  Most of the other items you will probably already have in your cupboard – apart from maybe perhaps the chorizo. I like to load it up with chicken and then just serve with greens but you can do less chicken and serve with potatoes or crusty bread if you wish.  Actually garlic pan fried potatoes would go down a treat.

Serves 4:

4 or 6 chicken breasts (depending on appetite and your choice of side. Chicken legs and thighs are also great in this but as my son is only five I though it best not to include any boned meat in my recipes).

2 tins of chopped or plum tomatoes

small handful of chopped chorizo sausage

1 red pepper

1 red onion

clove of garlic

1 teaspoon of paprika

a few dried crushed chillies or fresh chilli (optional)

Dried or fresh thyme

Cost: approx £2.40 per serving

Pre heat the oven to 180’C and heat some olive oil in a frying pan.  Pan fry the chicken breasts either whole or in smaller fillets until they have a slight golden brown tinge (it is possible to skip this step and put the chicken straight in the oven with all the other ingredients but in my opinion fry ing the chicken first gives it a nice authentic taste).

While the chicken is cooking chop the pepper and onion into nice chunks and lay them in the bottom of a large glass roasting dish – I have had to use  roasting tin here as I dropped my beloved glass dish a couple of days ago while cooking a lasagne. Once the chicken is golden lay on top of the pepper and onion.

In a bowl mix the tomatoes with the chorizo, paprika, chopped garlic, thyme and chilli.  Pour this over the chicken and cook for approx 30 mins in the oven. Once done the tomato juice should have cooked away and started the blacken round the edges of the dish giving an even better flavour. Don’t remove it from the oven before this point or you’ll be missing out!

Enjoy with potatoes, crusty bread or veg and a nice glass of Rioja. Yum

The Verdict:

Toby, 5: Yummy yummy in my tummy!

Kate, 6:  The most fantastic dinner ever. (Might be a little over enthusiastic I think)

Dean, 30: Everytime you cook that one it gets better.

I’m pretty pleased with that for day 1! Clean plates all round!

Posted by: makebakeandsew | June 8, 2010

Thirty days, thirty family dinners…….

Some days I find cooking for my family filled with guilt – am I giving them enough fruit and vegetables? Am I buying enough fresh foods?   Am I feeding the too much/too little? And then there is taste.  After considering all of the above and spending what seems like all of your day off in Tesco, you are then expected to produce a meal that looks/tastes/smells fantastic, costs almost nothing and caters for everyone’s taste. Oh and god forbid you fall into the trap of cooking the same things all the time.  Yes, we all have our favourites but if you offspring are anything like mine then the phrases ‘Not again’ and ‘There’s never anything to eat in this house’ are whined fairly regularly.

So, for the next 30 days.  I will attempt to cook 30 different family friendly dinners.  I will use as much fresh foods as I can reasonably manage, try to keep the cost as low as possible per portion and never cook the same dinner twice.

I am no professional chef so most of these dinners will be made up of my families favourites, a couple of recipes I have adapted over the years, one or two borrowed from generous friends and some I have just plain made up.

I’ll update each day with pictures, ingredients and my families feed back.

Wish me luck……..

Posted by: makebakeandsew | June 8, 2010

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