Jemmas Chilli con Carne

Super Tasty Chilli con Carne
This delicious classic dish can be a real family favourite so I hope you enjoy it. Packed with immune boosting onions and garlic, iron rich beef and kidney beans to help keep your fibre intake optimal, this dinner ticks lots of boxes on the health front. This recipe serves approx. 4 adult size portions but I say double it, and get 4 extra portions in the freezer to get you through the predicted cold spell in the coming weeks! You can make this either on your hob or slow-cooker. Serve with some avocado slices and steamed rice.

• 1 tbsp olive oil/steamed coconut oil (no coconut taste)
• 2 large red onions, finely sliced
• 4 cloves of crushed garlic
• 2 tbsp mild chilli powder – reduce to 1tbsp if the kiddies don’t like the heat!
• 2 tsp ground cumin
• 2 tsp dried oregano
• 1kg minced beef
• 400g tin of chopped tomatoes/plum tomatoes
• 3 x 400g tins of red kidney beans, rinsed in a sieve
• 2 beef stock cubes
• 200mls of water
• 2 large red peppers, chopped
• 10 sundried tomatoes – optional but they do give amazing flavour

1. Heat your oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas 3. Heat the oil, preferably in a large lidded casserole dish, and fry the onions until soft. Add the garlic, spices and oregano and cook for 1 min, then gradually add the mince, stirring well until browned. Stir in the tomatoes, water and then crumble in the stock cubes and mix.
2. Cover and simmer gently for 30 mins, stirring occasionally. Stir in the peppers and sundried tomatoes, then cook for a further 30 mins. Then stir in the beans and simmer gently for 3-5 minutes, until the beans have warmed through.
3. If you want to use a slow cooker, fry your onions in a pan for 8 mins, then add your garlic, spices and oregano and cook for a minute. Tip all of the ingredients into your slow cooker, crumble in the stock cubes and mix well to break up the minced beef. Cook on Low for 8 hours, then serve.

 

The love affair with the slow cooker continues. Since I've gone back to full time work I'm just in awe of how people get dinner on the table day in day out. This is where the reliance on the slow cooker comes from. I'm an early riser. Is it from the farm alarm from years ago or is it from being a mother of four? I don't know. My family are all insomniacs so it's possibly just that. Throw in the worry wart gene and sleep alludes me. So getting up early is generally not a problem unless I've just gone asleep. Anyway, it's something I'm trying to improve. So to fire food into the slow cooker early morning is easy for me.  But for those who think they don't have time to do it in the morning, I promise you, what would take you half the evening, only takes five or ten minutes in the morning. Love it. So try this. You'll also love the smell when you get home and can light the fire while the rice is cooking. The cold is coming... Enjoy, the butchers wife xx


Chicken noodle soup

Perfect for our cold weather and light on the tummy too.

Something warm and comforting reading when you come in from the day!!

 

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients
4-5 chicken breasts
200gms or 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1.5 litres chicken stock (use my easy homemade stock, also made in the slow cooker*)
1 cup water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
300gms uncooked wide egg noodles/rice noodles
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions
1. Place whole chicken breasts on the bottom and top with carrots, onion, celery, garlic, olive oil, thyme and bay leaf.
2. Next add in chicken broth, water, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on low heat 6 – 7 hours.
3. Remove cooked chicken breasts and cut into bite sized pieces. Place chicken back in to the slow cooker.
4. Cook your noodles separately according to the instructions on the pack and add to slow cooker along with the parsley and stir. Serve and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Chicken Broth*
Ingredients:
* 1-2 chicken carcasses (from free-range birds)
* 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
* 2 large carrots, scrubbed clean and chopped
* 2 stalks celery with leafy tops, chopped
* 4 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
* 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
* Water to cover (about 15-20 cups)
* 6 tbsp apple cider vinegar (helps to draw the minerals out of the bones and into the stock)
* sea salt to taste
Directions:
1. Put all your ingredients into the slow cooker and cook on high for at least 12 but preferably 24 hours. The longer you simmer it, the more flavour some it will be, but keep in mind that it will reduce and you will end up with less.
When it has finished cooking, allow to cool a little and then sample your broth. Add sea salt to taste. Strain the broth, push some of the veggies through the sieve.
Your stock is now ready for use or you can package it up or use it to make your slow cooker chicken soup as above.

Let’s Nutrify – Jemma Tip
This divinely easy slow cooker chicken soup is such a nutritious boost for the immune system. If you choose to make it with the homemade broth, you’ll be getting a wonderful mineral and gelatin rich broth that is not only a useful cold fighter, but also supports good digestive health. I often add in some greens like a good handful of cabbage, spinach or kale approx. 10 minutes from the end of cooking time to increase the vitamin and fibre content of the soup. Enjoy!

Tips from the butchers’ wife.
Delighted that a soup was included in our slow cooker special. At the weekend I often cook up a batch of vegetable soup so we’ve something hot when we come in from activities. Without the added protein vegetable soup just wouldn’t sustain and keep you satisfied for long. This one, with the added addition of chicken, is a meal in itself and will be a great addition to our lunch boxes. I bought really handy food flasks in home store and more and we all use them for work and school. Remember the ratio of dried herbs to fresh. 1:3. Dried herbs are more intense than fresh so less of the dried!! Batch cook and use for a couple of days too!!

Yum... The butchers wife x


Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks

Low and slow if definitely the way to cook lamb shanks. This brings all sorts of memories back to me. My dad loved lamb shanks. I can smell them now.... we didn't have a slow cooker growing up so in the bottom oven cooking for the day. When Dad was sick and had lost his appetite this was one of the things he asked for to savour and entice the taste buds and it worked. Try Jemmas quick and straight forward method below or find the other lamb shank recipe on the website for a special occassion. Just try it...

Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks
Serves 4
• 4 lamb shanks
• 2 tbsp. butter
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 2 tbsp. tomato purée
• 250ml light red wine
• 2 tbsp. plain spelt/wheat flour
• 500ml stock, vegetable, chicken or lamb
• 2 carrots, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled
• 2 bay leaves
• Any other fresh/dried herbs you like – thyme or rosemary work well

Method:
Preheat your slow cooker. In a large pan add 1 tbsp. of the butter and brown the lamb shanks all over for approx. 10 minutes, then transfer them to the slow cooker. Add the remaining butter to the frying pan and fry the onion gently until it starts to soften, then stir in the tomato purée and flour and cook for one minute.
Add the red wine and bring it to a boil, stirring the flour and purée into the wine until you have a smooth sauce around the onion pieces and add to the slow cooker. Pour the stock into the same pan and bring it to a boil, then tip into the slow cooker. Add the carrots garlic, bay leaves and herbs to the slow cooker and put the lid on. Cook on low for eight hours or on high for four hours. Turn the shanks over at some point during the cooking. After eight hours the lamb should be tender and starting to fall off the bone.

Let’s Nutrify – Jemma’s tip

Slow cooked meats are just the best, in every sense! Nutritionally and on the taste buds too. Slow cooking meats in this way preserves more of the delicate healthy fats such as omega 3 fatty acids which are beneficial for immune and cardiovascular health. Lamb is a wonderfully rich source of these amazing fatty acids as well as minerals such as zinc and selenium. This dish is also packs a useful iron and B vitamins punch which help to lift flailing energy levels. Including some of the therapeutic herbs such as rosemary or thyme also increases the antioxidant compounds beneficial to immune health. Feel free to add in some extra veggies such as celery or red pepper 1-2 hours before the end of the cooking time to make sure you get your 7-a-day in!

Tips from the butcher’s wife.

This so tasty. With lamb shanks on offer this week, try this or try the other lamb shanks recipe on the website www.molloysbutchersardkeen.com. It's a bit more faffing about but is really really tasty. You can also modify for the slow cooker. Just put it on low. I just love when the lamb is falling off the bone. Hearty and wholesome - ideal for this time of year. Yum x

Shane Dineen Fitness
A recent convert to the slow cooker thing – Shane is loving the advantage of a hot meal ready when he finishes training. This is what he had to say about this week’s dish.
Lamb shank is one of my new favourite dishes as I only tried it recently and I love it. I popped it in the slow cooker on top of vegetables along with pepper, ginger and garlic.
This meal is a perfect dinner as it contains all essential amino acids along with a high percentage of protein. Would defiantly recommend trying this one out”


Sumptuous Slow Cooker Roast Chicken

 

Boo – if you saw me now you’d be scared – I’m up since before the crack of dawn trying to get some work done before the children descend on me. They’ll all be flying high today. The butcher as usually is gone since the early hours but not without leaving a trail of destruction in his wake….

Yesterday in a last minute bid to embrace all that is Halloween I bought a few decorations with the kids. One is a fake mirror that is sensor operated and has a very scary skeleton reveal himself and say scary stuff as you pass. We hung it inside the front door and we were waiting with great excitement to see himself come home and jump out of his skin with fright. Of course, it was cheap, and the sensor didn’t work. You had to press a button to get it working.

So we pressed it when we passed and all we’re suitably scared. The butcher and I were the only two awake as he left this morning – and guess what. As he walked passed it, the sensor worked for the first time ever. It’s very loud. The front door closed and a few seconds later a tear stained Harriet peered around the door of the office. God love her. ‘I hate it Mammy, I hate it’. Ah Lord…it’s going to be a long day.

We’ve only two dressing up this year – two out of four. This makes me sad. Little indicators that they are growing up. Last year for book day, the three that are left in primary dressed up. They were all very excited. Our eldest boy who was in fifth class then dressed up as Asterisks. He’s a large, round and funny Viking type character and we had great crack putting the outfit together. So everyone was up early and got dressed up. We arrived at school and as soon as our son realised that little or no one was dressed up in his class he freaked out. He was very upset. I brought him home to change. He felt like a fool. I was gutted. I had been delighted with his excitement and I suppose maybe hanging on to the innocence a bit longer clouded my judgement and didn’t warn him that maybe his peers weren’t dressing up. But his excitement led me to believe they all were. I dropped him back to school in his uniform and drove away, tears rolling down my face. A little bit of innocence gone for him and a little bit of his confidence taken away.

So if the kids are dressing up. If there are clothes and fake cobwebs everywhere and you’re tripping over skeleton bones and the decorations. If there’s face paint smeared into the couch (aghhhhhhhh…) it’ll pass. And then they won’t want to dress up. My eldest isn’t dressing up this year. Won’t risk it.

I’ll stop now because I’ll blubber. Jemma has given me this fab recipe. Although the butchers wife tips says I haven’t tried it because I hadn’t at that point but since. I’ve actually made it twice or should I say the butcher stuck it on twice. That’s a big flashing light saying how say this is… His go to meal is Daddys’ famous toasted sandwiches. Try this, divine. We has it potatoes and carrots and with stir fried vegetables and rice Monday night.

Happy Halloween you all…. Enjoy it x

Sumptuous Slow Cooker Roast Chicken

Spice Rub
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
• 1 teaspoon garlic granules
• 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon thyme

Chicken
• 1 x Whole Chicken – approx. 1.6kg – 1.8kgs
• 1 x peeled onion, sliced into 3 x thick rings

Combine all of the spices together in a bowl and mix. Rub the chicken with 1 tbsp of soft butter to coat the surface of the chicken. This helps the spices to stick to the chicken but also creates a lovely brown skin by the end of the cooking time. Sprinkle the spices over the chicken and rub them so as all of the surface of the chicken is covered in the mix. (You let this marinade overnight if you have time for extra flavour) Lay the onion slices on the bottom of the slow cooker, add 100mls of water and then place your chicken on top. Cover with a lid and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Then allow it to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Enjoy!

Let’s Nutrify – Jemma’s Tip
So this is what will be cooking in my kitchen next Wednesday for a Halloween dinner. I’m already filled with dread at the thoughts of all of the sticky, sugary sweeties that my kiddo’s will collect after some “Trick or Treating”. So the secret is to get a hearty, protein rich dinner into them an hour or 2 before trick or treat time to prevent mega-sugar highs and lows (that and disposing of 9/10’s of their sweetie haul when they go to bed that night, but shhh! Don’t tell them that!). This fits the bill. I can pop this in the slow cooker around 9am and look forward to a scrumptious roast chicken dinner by 4pm. I often pop in some whole, peeled carrots and parsnip about 1-2 hours before the end of cooking time and that’s the veggies taken care of. Or you can serve with roast veggies and steamed baby potatoes.

Tips from the Butchers Wife
I’m really excited about the upcoming slow cooker recipes. Have I mentioned I LOVE MY SLOW COOKER – how has it come to this – I used to have a life. Honestly I did. But now I am busy…. Busy busy busy and anything that reduces the stress and feeds me well I love. My needs are simple. I would definitely marinate this the night before – take it out of the fridge in the morning and stick it on – haven’t tried this yet but Halloween is coming and I’ve a list of recipes to try. I must admit I’ve been rolling out the old reliables. So want a stock of new easy slow cooker recipes. I’ll let you know how I get on. Just a question for Jemma – by dispose of the junk do you mean eat them yourself. That’s how I interpret that – it’s for the good of the children after all!!


Winter Warmers

Winter Warmer Slow Cooker Beef

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb/680gms. diced beef, cut into 2" pieces
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, sliced thinly
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
8 oz/225 gm sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup/85gms. pearl barley
900mls chicken stock
1 tbsp. soy sauce
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Method:
1. Put the beef in a large mixing bowl, and pat it dry with paper towels. Season generously with salt and pepper.
2. Preheat a large cast-iron or heavy pan over a high heat. Drizzle with olive oil and sear meat on all sides until golden brown with a crust, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer meat to the slow cooker. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, onions, carrots and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Scrape the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen all browned meat bits and cook 3 to 4 minutes. If needed, add a splash of water to fully deglaze the pan and then transfer to your slow cooker.
3. Add mushrooms, barley, stock and soy sauce; cook on low for 6-8 hours. The meat should be very tender.
4. This would be delicious served with some steamed broccoli and basmati rice or baby potatoes.

Let’s Nutrify! Jemma’s tip
Slow cooking is not just an easier, tastier way to cook but it also a very wholesome way to cook too. Cooking at lowered heat over longer periods of time reduces potential damage to the delicate healthy omega 3 fatty acids contained in the meat and can also increase the release of antioxidant compounds such as beta carotene from the carrot also.

Tips from the butchers wife.
I can’t tell you how much I love my slow cooker. I just bought another one because I wanted a bigger one – It was €60 and you can put the pot on the hob so there’s no extra frying pan to wash. I usually cook in the morning (before I shower so I don’t smell like dinner all day). You could also put it on at night if the cooking in the morning proves a step too far but I find in the morning you just fly through it because there’s no time for faffing. No big tip this week except to say, get a slow cooker. Coming home to a warm dinner is just bliss!!

Shane Dineen fitness
Although this dish might take a few minutes longer to cook, it is a perfect pre workout if you are planning on training at a steady state aerobic session, as your body will use the fats as it’s main energy source. Along with that you are also getting huge recovery and health benefits from the large amount of vitamins and minerals. On a cold, wet night this is definitely one of my favourites.

So why not give this a go..... the slow cooker is a life saver. Warm nutitious meals after a long day.

Enjoy,

The butchers wife

xx