30 Minute Challenge – Chicken and Chorizo Paella

It was a little crazy to try and get back into blogging at 40 weeks pregnant but saying that I need some distraction from this slow waiting game of wondering when she will come. Between an anxious toddler who doesn’t understand why her sister isn’t here now, a sick hubby and my own body struggling with the issues of the uncomfortableness of being 40 weeks pregnant I am starting to unravel a bit at the seams. So blogging is actually something I am trying to use to keep me slightly sane.

In continuation with my 30 minute challenge this month I decided to attempt some homemade paella. Until I moved to the UK I had never tried paella, although it is similar to Jambalaya. Paella is more commonly eaten with mixed seafood but since working in the food market world for the past 2 years I have been introduced to chicken and chorizo paella which I have fallen in love with. Traditionally this would be cooked in a wide, shallow, flat-bottomed paella pan but I found it worked out well in a deep, frying pan. The flavour in this dish is fantastic and while the toddler found it too spicy hubby and I were in love.

Chicken-and-Chorizo-Paella

Chicken and Chorizo Paella

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, diced in 1/2-inch pieces
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried parsley
113g (4 oz) chorizo, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 onion, chopped
1 red sweet pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
300g (1-1/2 c.) Paella Rice*
750mL (3 c.) chicken stock
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1 generous pinch saffron threads *optional
150g (1 c.) frozen peas, defrosted
1 lemon, juiced
*I used Arborio rice this time and it worked out well
Adapted from Healthy Delicious

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Paprika Roasted Chickpeas

While it is never good to have the goal of losing weight when you are pregnant I am determined that I won’t put on any unnecessary weight during this pregnancy. Not only am I motivated to stay healthy and keep a healthy weight gain for reasons that I don’t want to have a lot of weight to loss after the baby is born but it helps ensure a healthier pregnancy and birth. So in order to make sure I am able to stick to my goals I have been loading myself up on lots of high protein, lower fat snacks. I am a big stove top popcorn lover and while that is already a lower fat snack I wanted more ideas so I don’t get bored and get tempted to indulge on less healthy options. These roasted chickpeas have very quickly surpassed my love for popcorn, which is saying something because I am a big lover of popcorn. They are crunchy and full of flavour and just perfect for movie night.

Did you have any health goals for your pregnancy?

Paprika-Roasted-Chickpeas

Paprika Roasted Chickpeas

2 500g tins (15 1/2 ounces each) of chickpeas
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp hot or sweet paprika

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Preserving the Harvest with Flavoured Butters #SundaySupper

So now that summer has finally come to the UK it seems my garden, which has stalled slightly with our rubbish Spring and suddenly hit overdrive. While we are starting to finally reap the benefits of our garden our thoughts now draw on ways to preserve our harvest to ensure that we utilize every bit of our home grown goodness. Ever since I started my business California Taco I have been elbow deep in canning every week. And while I feel I have mastered the technique and I have tons of ideas to share on that front I decided that to throw in a blog canning recipe in the middle of an already busy work canning week was unrealistic. So I instead wanted to share with you a simple way to preserve herbs. I have been using this trick for a long time as I not only find it a great way to preserve my herbs which grow too fast for me to keep up with, but it is also a easy way to spice up a recipe without a lot of work. For example I add my lemon and mint butter to peas to spice up what can be a dull side dish. And the paprika, oregano and garlic butter is my standard for buttering corn on the cob to throw on the grill. Another simple meal I do is I cook fish in individual parcels and add a tsp of my chilli butter for amazing flavour without any fuss.

They are simple to make and can be kept for ages in the fridge or even in the freezer. There are hundreds of different kinds of flavoured butter combinations. These are just a selection of some of my favourites.

What are your favourite flavour butter combinations?

Flavoured Butters

Lemon and Mint Butter

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
zest of one small lemon
small handfull of spearmint, chopped
113g (1/2 c.) butter

 

Paprika, Oregano and Garlic Butter

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
113g (1/2 c.) butter
1/4 tsp salt

 

Chive and Garlic Butter

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh chives
Zest from one lemon
113g (1/2 c.) butter

 

Chillie Butter

1-2 chillies, chopped (depends on how hot your chillies are)
1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1/8 tsp salt
113g (1/2 c.) butter

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Bacon Meatballs

Can you believe that there was once a time when I didn’t like bacon? Now there is a sensible reason why I went off liking it, I once worked in a kitchen where every Sunday I had to cook 20-30 lbs of bacon for Sunday Breakfast and after a while just the smell of bacon made me feel sick. So for almost 15 years I couldn’t stand to even have it cooking in my house.

My poor husband.

But I gave bacon a try again for the first time last year and my eyes were opened back up to the taste I have been missing all these years. Although I will say I prefer English bacon over American streaky bacon which has a much higher fat content. But I am finally back on the dark side and loving it.

Bacon Meatballs

250g (1/2 lb) bacon, chopped
250g (1/2 lb) minced beef
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 egg
1 courgette (zucchini), grated
Favourite Tomato Sauce

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Shrimp with Garlic, Tomatoes, and Feta Cheese #WeekdaySupper

Sunday Supper Movement
Sunday Supper started with a mission to encourage people to come back to the family dinner table at least once a week. But that is not what we are all about, there is so much more. So this year we started a Weekday mission where every day of the week someone posts a simple week day meal recipe.

On the surface it might seem like I have it all together when it comes to meals and planning but trust me I don’t. There are some weeks I am so busy that I get to the end of the day and have no idea what is for dinner. So I too need inspiration for quick, simple meals for the craziness of the week.

This week I am so excited to share with you what is now a new family week day meal favourite. I created last week and for the first time in years we have actually repeated a meal 3 times a little over a week. It is so simple to throw together and the flavours in this dish work incredibly together.

Shrimp with Garlic, Tomatoes, and Feta Cheese

750g (1 1/2 lbs) shrimp (or prawns), peeled and deveined
1 tsp fine salt
1 tsp paprika
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved*
1/4 cup white wine
(6 oz) feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
chopped fresh basil
*I have done this twice now, ones with regular tomatoes quartered and it does work best with cherry tomatoes

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