A few weeks ago I experienced something completely new. I was ready to stop cooking all together.
I’d just finished photographing and videoing the new recipes for my Tired & Hungry Dinners program. As much as I was proud of the work I’d done, I was over having to think so hard.
Now don’t get me wrong.
I love my job. Normally I find creating in the kitchen energizing and fun. But the little ‘bun’ in my proverbial ‘oven’ was making me feel otherwise.
Luckily there was enough energy left for one good idea…
I made November my month of ‘outscourcing’ thinking about what to have for dinner.
So I’ve been using my Soupstones Meal Plans for the past two weeks.
And I’ve LOVED how easy it’s been to download the shopping list, get my ingredients and then just walk into the kitchen each night, check the meal plan and start cooking.
But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing.
Like last week when the meal plan included Steamed Fish with Soy & Ginger. I found myself not ‘feeling like’ steamed fish for dinner.
However I had the ingredients, so I made it anyway. And it was delicious!
How about you?
If you’re happy with your current meal planning system then skip down to the recipe below.
BUT if you’d like to stop having to think about dinner so much, then listen up!
I know this time of year may seem wrong to be starting something new. But it’s actually times like now when we get busy that the ‘wheels tend to fall off’ our everyday healthy eating.
Now is actually when we need the most help.
For more details go to:
5-Ingredient Chicken Caccitore
At the moment I’m finding myself turning to dishes like this that you can just pop in the oven and practically let dinner ‘cook itself’. I’m especially fond of chicken drumsticks because they’re super economical plus you get all those lovely bones to gnaw on. The other thing I love about this dish is the way the olives bring an exotic complexity to such a simple lineup of ingredients.
enough for: 4
takes: 60 minutes
8-12 chicken drumsticks
1 jar tomato passata (puree) (700g / 3cups)
4 tablespoons butter
2 handfuls black olives
2-3 medium zucchini
1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F). Place chicken, tomato and butter in an ovenproof dish large enough to hold the chicken in one layer.
2. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
3. Remove the foil, turn the chicken, add the olives and bake uncovered for another 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Taste and add extra salt if needed (the olives will bring some so you may not need it).
4. While the chicken is cooking slice the zucchini into ribbons using a vegetable peeler, mandoline or spiralizer. Season with salt and allow the ‘noodles’ to stand at room temp to warm up and soften slightly.
5. To serve divide zucchini noodles between 4 plates and top with chicken, olives and sauce.
vegetarian – replace chicken with large mushrooms and serve with some shaved parmesan or crumbled feta for some extra protein.
carnivore – these flavours are also lovely with lamb shanks, beef short ribs or osso buco but you’ll need to cook covered for 4-6 hours at 150C (300F). Uncover and add the olives for the last 30 minutes of cooking.
carb lovers / more substantial – serve with hot buttered pasta or egg noodles (and skip the zucchini if you like).
more veg – add chopped onions, garlic, carrots and/or red capsicum (bell peppers) to the sauce before cooking. Serve with chopped parsley or basil on top. And add a green salad on the side.
paleo / dairy-free – replace butter with coconut oil or olive oil.
bone free – If you don’t share my love of bones, use chicken thigh or breast fillets. You’ll need to reduce the cooking time to about 30 minutes or so depending on their size.
other chicken – also feel free to use a whole chicken chopped into 8 pieces instead of the drumsticks. Or chicken thighs on the bone or chicken marylands (thighs + drumsticks).
tomato-free – replace tomato passata (puree) with chicken stock and add a halved lemon to cook in with the chicken. Squeeze lemon juice into the sauce before serving.
ps. And a quick clarification…
Last week I wrote about my best decision ever. The decision I described was my best career decision. My overall best life decision of course was marrying a certain Irishman and having our family!