Friday, February 24, 2017

The BEST Chicken Marinade

The Best Chicken Marinade- pinnable image

You're about to read about the BEST chicken marinade (in my humble opinion) and once you try it, I promise you'll keep going back again and again and again.

I'm not usually one to boldly proclaim that my recipes are the 'best ever' because there are so many amazing recipes out there and it really depends on personal preference. That being said- you must try this marinade! 

I keep trying to describe the flavour and just coming up with yummy, delicious, juicy (is juicy a flavour???) er delicious... and other hopeless descriptions. All I can really say is that it's the ultimate chicken marinade and you won't be disappointed if you try it.

I love marinated chicken. I have a couple of marinades on the blog already: Spicy Maple Chicken and Sweet Smoked Paprika Chicken and I quite often have a lot of fun playing about with different ingredients and seeing what kind of marinade comes out of it. One of these experimental marinades was frankly amazing and all those other hopeless descriptions I came up with earlier. The trouble was, as I had just thrown various ingredients into a dish and added chicken, I didn't really know what I had done! I knew what I had used, but I hadn't paid attention to the quantities so I had to try and recreate it. (Note to self- write experiments down!)

I finally cracked it and the recipe is recorded for posterity below. The ingredients are pretty simple. The only item you might not have readily to hand is onion powder. It's widely available in supermarkets though and it's a useful little pot to have in your store cupboard, so you might want to grab some next time you go shopping. The marinade recipe also comes in pretty light on the calories, which is an added bonus.

I tend to chargrill the chicken when I use this marinade because it adds so much to the flavour. I bought a chargrill pan a few years ago and I really love it. If you don't have one, you could could cook the chicken under the grill, or in a frying pan instead. It's perfect with rice or to top off a salad or on the side on a jacket potato. Today I served it with mini rosemary potatoes because I was a bit 'riced out'.

So next time you're staring at some chicken breasts in the fridge and wondering what to do with them- give this a try! You'll be hooked in no time.

If you are following a calorie controlled diet such as My Fitness Pal, this recipe has 260 calories per portion.


The Best Chicken Marinade- pinnable image

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Hazelnut Brownies

Hazelnut Brownies


It was half-term this week and, after a couple of days of enjoying my freedom and visiting family and seeing friends, I got the baking itch. I wanted to make something that would serve as dessert and as an afternoon treat to have with a cuppa. Brownies fit the bill perfectly!

I had a packet of crushed hazelnuts in my baking cupboard that I had been hoping to use for something, and brownies seemed to fit for that too. Chocolate and nuts is never a bad idea, so I threw them in with the mixture to add some extra texture. My husband is not a fan of nuts in any form, so I ended up doubling the mixture and only putting hazlenuts in half.

We were going away for a few days to Canterbury for our anniversary, so I packaged them up to take with us. I thought it might save some pennies if we had our own treats instead of buying cafe treats everyday. Unfortunately, even though we packed very light, there still wasn't room for an enormous tupperware of hazelnut brownies so, at the last minute I popped the tub in the freezer.

I've already defrosted them, ready to have warm with ice cream for dessert. 

I hope you will enjoy making a batch for your family too! You might also want to try my Cappuccino Brownies.




Hazelnut Brownies pinnable image




Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Mini Cheese and Onion Quiches

The Improving Cook- Mini Cheese and Onion Quiches pinnable image


When me and my sister were young, and my mum first went back to work, one of our standard after-school dinners was cheese and onion quiche with jacket potato and salad. It was also one of our first food technology lessons at secondary school- how to make cheese and onion quiche. I vividly recall a girl in my class dropping hers on the way to the oven and spending the whole rest of the lesson mopping up the eggy mess! We took our quiches home and had them for dinner. Mine wasn't half bad, but I probably didn't really eat quiche again until I was first teaching. That was when I first ate the (frankly amazing) quiche that the school caretaker makes for the staff training day lunches.

So, when someone asked me if I would make them a quiche last week, I wondered, why haven't I made one since school? Maybe it's trickier than I remembered? Well, I can tell you that it really isn't difficult at all and, if you use shop-bought pastry, it's even easier!  I made batch of mini cheese and onion quiches with this recipe and then one whole full-sized cheese and onion quiche. The mini ones are bite-sized quiches filled with cheese and onion deliciousness; little mouthfuls of melt-in-your-mouth heaven! If you do want to make a full sized cheese and onion quiche, all you need to do is double the quantities that I've given you and then increase the cooking time to around 25 minutes.

The mini cheese and onion quiches would be perfect for lunch boxes. Add some carrot and cucumber sticks and a yoghurt and you've got one delicious lunch! They would also make great savoury nibbles for an afternoon tea or a party.



The Improving Cook- Mini Cheese and Onion Quiches pinnable image


Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Valentine's Choc-Chip Shortbread Biscuits

Valentine's Choc Chip Shortbread Biscuits


Valentine's Day is just around the corner, so get ready to see hearts and flowers everywhere (if you haven't already!) This year, I am doing a Valentine's Day collaborative post with Danielle from Welcome 2 My Jungle with a focus on Valentine's baking for kids.

One of the easiest baking ideas to do with children is shortbread. It's very simple, only has 3 main ingedients, lends itself to small hands joining in and always turns out well. More importantly, shortbread is buttery and delicious! All the best biscuits come from the UK, in my totally unbiased opinion, and shortbread is number one.

For this Valentine's version of shortbread biscuits, I added chocolate chips and then dipped the tops of the biscuits in dark chocolate. I finished them off with pink and white sprinkles because, for kids, sprinkles are essential, right? They're the best bit! The biscuits look great when they are finished and would be perfect as little Valentine's gifts (if you can get them in a gift bag fast enough- they lasted one day in my house!) 

I used both a heart cutter and a standard round biscuit cutter, just to show you that they look great both ways. If you don't have heart cutters, you could make yourself a template with greaseproof paper or pop out and get  a set from M&S or Wilkinsons, who are both stocking them.

If you want another Valentine's recipe to make with your kids, pop over to see Danielle's Valentine's Day Cake with Buttercream Frosting. Great fun- get them involved in the decorating!




While, you're there, have a look through some of her other posts.  She blogs about parenting, DIY and the occasional recipe too. You can also catch her on Pinterest and Instagram.

Valentine's Choc Chip Shortbread Biscuits pinnable image


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