Beef & Hash Brown Casserole

Beef & Hash Brown Casserole

Oh you are going to love this one! A cheeky little casserole dish that is full of flavour and great for the whole family. This is definitely a dish for my comfort food list.

Serves 4

500g Minced Scottish beef

1 Yellow onion, finely chopped

1 Tsp minced garlic

1/2 Tsp Cayenne pepper

Salt & Black pepper

2 Tsp flour

100ml Beef stock

150g Grated cheese

Handful of Frozen peas

4 Slices of smoked bacon, cut into bite size pieces

10-12 Small Hash Brown Waffles cut in half or quartered

  1. Preheat oven to 210 deg.
  2. In a fry pan add a little oil and fry the onions & bacon with the garlic, add the beef, season with salt & pepper and cook through until browned, add in the cayenne pepper and flour and stir then pour in the beef stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Fold in the peas and half of the grated cheese, transfer to an oven proof dish then top with the remaining cheese and hash browns. Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy!


Chicken & Kale Lasagne

Chicken & Kale Lasagne

My lovely neighbour came across with some fresh Kale the other day from her garden, so I decided to give a Chicken & Kale Lasagne a go, and this was delicious, full of flavour, nutritious and filling all at the same time. Another great wee recipe that the family can share.

Kale contains fiber, antioxidants, calcium, vitamins C and K, iron, and a wide range of other nutrients that can help prevent various health problems. Antioxidants help the body remove unwanted toxins that result from natural processes and environmental pressures. It’s low in calories, low in fat, high on protein and potassium too, so a good all rounder vegetable to add to you diet.

Recipe makes 2 portions

For the Filling:-

2 Chicken Breasts

1 Bunch of kale

1 Carrot, grated

1 Leek, thinly sliced

1 Clove garlic, crushed

1/4 Tsp Nutmeg

1/2 Tsp Smoked Paprika

200g Chicken Stock

Salt & Pepper to season

Lasagne Sheets

For the Sauce (or you can use a Bechamel instead if you prefer):-

300ml Creme Fraiche

150g Grated Cheese (of your choice, I used a mild cheddar) plus 50g optional for topping

  1. Season chicken breasts and place in a pan with the chicken stock, bring to the boil then simmer for about 45 mins – 1 hour, then shred with 2 forks. Most of the stock should have evaporated.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 180 deg.
  3. Blanch the kale in boiling water for about 1 minute, drain and slice into fine pieces.
  4. Add to the pan the leeks, kale & carrot along with seasoning, garlic & nutmeg, stir through until mixed and warmed, a few minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a separate pan mix on a low heat the creme fraiche & cheese to make a smooth sauce. Do not allow to boil or the creme fraiche will curdle.
  6. In an oven proof dish, layer your lasagne, chicken filling first then lasagne sheets, then more filling, then lasagne sheets. Pour over your sauce mix evenly and finish with extra cheese and little sprinkle of smoked paprika. Bake in an oven for 45 minutes or until topping is browned and bubbling.
  7. Serve & Enjoy.

Quick Porridge Pudding

Porridge Pudding

Who wants a pudding for breakfast? Oh yes….this little 2 minute pudding is perfect, nutritious, filling, tasty & quick to make, whats not to love!

I love my porridge in the morning as you may know, especially in the winter months. I love experimenting with different techniques & flavours and I just had to try this, the great thing is that you can add any flavour you like, making it your own.

Oats are gluten free and whole oats are rich in antioxidants making them great for you. A great source of fibre & good carbs too.

Makes 1 Cup

40g Porridge Oats

1 Medium Egg

120ml Yoghurt (whichever flavour you prefer, I used Raspberry)

1 Tbsp of raisins & dried Goji berries

1/2 Tsp Vanilla essence (or you could use cinnamon or any flavouring of your choice)

1 Tbsp of Chopped walnuts & seeds for topping (or you could use banana or blueberries etc)

1 Tbsp Yoghurt for topping

  1. Place oats, egg, 120ml yoghurt, raisins & berries along with essence into a mug and mix through until combined.
  2. Cook at 800w power in a microwave for 2 minutes, ensuring it doesn’t spill over, remove, loosen the edges with a spatula or knife and tip onto a plate
  3. Finish off with some yoghurt, nuts & seeds and enjoy!

Haggis, Leek & Beetroot Lasagne

Haggis, Leek & Beetroot Lasagne

The Noble Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish, it is positively celebrated especially on 25th January each year, the birthday of Robert (Robbie/Rabbie) Burns whose 18th century poem ‘Address to a Haggis’ was instrumental in ensuring the Haggis’s place in the nations hearts.

Haggis is made from the meat & insides of sheep consisting of the heart, liver and lungs then combined with onions, oatmeal, suet, seasoning & spices. The mix is then stuffed into the sheep’s lining of the stomach and boiled. Haggis, Neeps & Tatties is the most common dish but I have been experimenting with what more we can do with this traditional food. This dish is definitely now on my Top list of comfort dishes, so filling, so satisfying & full of flavour.

Serves 2 large/ 4 small portions

450g Haggis, chopped into bite size pieces

300ml Creme Fraiche

150g Tangy White Cheese, grated

1 Leek, sliced

150g Cooked Beetroot (not pickled) – (dry with kitchen paper and using a kitchen glove, grate it coarsely)

Lasagne Pasta Sheets

Cracked Black/ Rainbow Pepper

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg c.
  2. Combine the creme fraiche and half the cheese, warm through in a pan on low heat to form a smooth sauce (do not boil as it will cause the creme fraiche to curdle), set aside.
  3. Put a little spray oil in a pan and gently fry the leeks until softened. Add in the haggis and beetroot, mix through until combined and warmed through.
  4. Pile half the haggis mixture into an ovenproof dish, arrange the pasta sheets on top, then the remaining haggis onto the pasta sheets and then another layer of pasta sheets. Cover the top with the white sauce, season with pepper and sprinkle over the remaining cheese. Bake for about 35 minutes until bubbling and golden. Remove & Enjoy.

Quinoa Vegetable Bowl with a Coriander & Lime Dressing

Quinoa veggie bowl

I had the pleasure of attending a live cooking session with Chef Ann Nolan (training chef with Whirlpool Cooperation) recently, the session was very informative and I learned a few tricks that I never knew! ‘Everyday is a school day as they say’, One of the recipes was this delicious Vegetable Quinoa Bowl and I just had to share with all of you as it was absolutely mouthwatering, so refreshing on the palate. The great thing about this recipe is that it is simple to make and if you don’t like an ingredient it is easily changeable to something you do. We all love the simple things in life, do we not?

Quinoa is higher in nutrients than most grains with protein & fibre being the highest and only contains 2g of fat per 100g, so very nutritious and not fatty at all. Quinoa is a good source of several minerals, including manganese, phosphorus, copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Quinoa may reduce blood cholesterol, blood sugar, and triglycerides. It’s weight loss friendly, gluten-free, and has been shown to increase the nutrient and antioxidant value of gluten-free diets.

Serves 4

For the Quinoa:-

125g Raw Quinoa

350ml Vegetable Stock

1/4 Tsp Salt

1/4 Tsp Black Pepper

1 Tsp Olive Oil

For the Coriander Lime Dressing:-

Handful of coriander, washed, keep stem

6 Spring Onions, roots removed, washed & cut into thirds (use the white part)

1/2 Large Avocado, peeled and diced

3 Limes, squeezed for juice only

1 Tsp Kosher Salt

60 ml Olive Oil

For the Vegetable Toppings:-

1 Red Onion, cut unto 1/4″ slices

2 Red Peppers, cut into 1/4″ slices

400g Tin of Black beans or Red Kidney Beans (you could also use chickpeas)

8-10 Cherry Tomatoes, quartered

1/2 Avocado, diced

4 Eggs (1 egg per portion)

Spray Oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

  1. Place the quinoa into a saucepan with the vegetable stock, seasoning & oil, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid and simmer for about 15-20 mins until quinoa has absorbed the stock, take off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Do not stir while simmering, just leave it, fluff up with a fork after the 5 minutes resting time.
  2. Meanwhile, lets make the dressing…..place all of the ingredients (except the oil) into a food processor and blend together, then slowly drizzle in the oil scraping down the sides as you go along. Keep adding oil until you get the consistency you like, whether that be thick or thin, it’s up to you. Move to the side for later.
  3. Heat a little spray oil in a saute/ fry pan on medium to high heat, add the red onions & red peppers with seasoning and cook until slightly softened and browned, leave in pan.
  4. Heat the beans in a small pan on medium heat, 4-5 mins until warmed through.
  5. In a non stick fry pan (with lid) spray a little oil and bring to a medium heat, crack the eggs into the pan & season, let the egg become opaque then add about 4 tablespoons water, put the lid on and steam cook the eggs, no need to turn. Check after about 1-2 minutes, when the egg is white it’s ready, take pan of heat until ready to serve.
  6. To plate, distribute evenly the quinoa, then peppers and onion, sliced avocado and then the beans and tomatoes, drizzle over your dressing then add the egg to the top….ENJOY!

Alternative options to try:-

*Roasted mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, spring onions, garlic dressing

*Cucumber, chickpeas, tomatoes, Olives, yogurt dressing

*Tofu, carrots, peas, sweetcorn, coriander & sesame dressing

*Roasted Chicken, tomatoes, red pepper, red onion, roasted red pepper & chilli dressing


Creamy Italian Chicken Pasta

Italian Creamy Chicken

I’m feeling all Italian this week….lol! Do you ever get days or weeks where you just have certain cravings? This week it was Italian for me, with Bruschetta at the start of the week (check my classic recipe here https://theweecaledoniancook.com/2021/11/08/classic-bruschetta/ ), and now this fab little pasta dish, I am feeling all Italian Inspired. I even made a cheeky Limoncello Cocktail to finish off (you can view my recipe here..https://theweecaledoniancook.com/2021/07/31/limoncello-spritz-cocktail/ )

This recipe is so easy to make and is packed full of flavour, great one for the whole family, especially as you can adjust your own Chilli portions. I made it a lighter option too with the lower fat Philadelphia and it tasted delicious, you would never know it wasn’t full fat.

Serves 2

2 Chicken Breasts, diced into bite size pieces

100g Wholegrain Pasta

1 White onion, diced finely

1 400g Tin Tomatoes

1 Red pepper, diced

150g Philadelphia Cream Cheese

1 Tsp crushed red chilli flakes

1 Tsp of Italian Seasoning

Handful fresh Basil to serve.

  1. Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook your pasta until soft (about 8-10 minutes)
  2. Meanwhile, in a fry pan on medium heat, season with salt & pepper the chicken and brown, add in the onions and peppers & cook until softened (few minutes). Next add in the chilli and mix.
  3. Pour in the tin tomatoes and Italian seasoning and mix though, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Next add in the cream cheese and mix through until melted, then when pasta is ready, drain and add to the pan, mix through until coated and simmer for a few minutes.
  5. Serve with some fresh basil. Enjoy!


Classic Bruschetta

Bruschetta

I do love Bruschetta, in fact anything Italian, it has to be my 2nd favourite cuisine, next to Scottish Cooking, of course!

This is a classic recipe that never fails to satisfy the taste buds. Bruschetta is an antipasto starter consisting of toasted bread with oil and garlic, topped with tomatoes & basil. It’s light & refreshing, a perfect snack, starter or party food dish.

Serves 10-12

1 Baguette or any crusty bread- sliced diagonally (try Tiger bread, its delicious too)

250g Cherry Tomatoes – sliced into quarters

1-2 Garlic Cloves – crushed

Fresh Basil leaves – chopped or 2 tsp dried basil

30ml Balsamic Vinegar (use a good quality one – you’ll taste the difference)

60ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil (use a good quality one)

1/2 Small red onion – chopped finely

1 Tsp Sea salt

1 Tsp Cracked Rainbow Pepper

  1. Place the diced tomatoes, red onion, garlic, basil, balsamic vinegar & olive oil into a bowl & mix through. Season with salt & pepper. Cover & refrigerate for 1 hour to allow flavours to infuse.
  2. When ready to serve, brush the bread with a little olive oil & garlic, grill lightly under a medium grill heat until lightly toasted.
  3. Spoon mixture onto the bread, sprinkle a little basil & serve. Enjoy!


Braised Scottish Steak with Root Veg Mash

Braised Scottish Steak with Root Veg Mash

I am always looking for healthier options but without compromise on flavour and enjoy sourcing locally. I started growing my own vegetables last year too and plan to grow more next year, so this recipe uses up homegrown tatties, onions and carrots from my garden (my swede are not quite ready yet).

My local butcher Forbes Raeburn in Huntly provided me with some delicious diced beef this weekend, my initial plan was to make a steak pie for Sundays dinner but having vegetables to use up, this little recipe was the outcome and definitely one I will make over and over again. End of summer is fast approaching and the colder days to set in soon, this recipe is a sure winner for all the family to warm you up from the inside. Very nutritional too as it’s high in protein, low in saturated fat and packs in your vegetable count.


Serves 4

For the Stew

1 Medium Potato, diced small

2 Celery Sticks, chopped small

2 Garlic Cloves, crushed

750g Diced Beef

1 Beef Stock Cube

1 Large Onion (or 2 medium)

1 Carrott, diced small

1 Tsp Dried Thyme

1 Tbsp Tomato Puree

2 Tsps Brown Sauce

2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

Salt & Black Pepper to taste

For the Mash

1 Large Potato, chopped & peeled

1 Small Swede, chopped and peeled

3 Large Carrotts, chopped & peeled

Pepper to taste

  1. Preheat your oven to Fan 160 deg.
  2. Spray a casserole pan with low calorie oil on medium heat, add the celery, garlic and 3/4 onions and fry for about 10 minutes or until slightly caramelised. Meanwhile in a fry pan heat spray oil on medium heat, season the beef cubes and fry until browned.
  3. Remove the casserole pan with the veg and add in thyme, tomato puree, brown sauce, Worcestershire sauce, beef stock cube with 700ml boiling water. Puree using a stick blender then add to the casserole pan the beef, potato chunks, chopped carrot and rest of the onion, bring to the boil then cover and transfer to the oven to cook for about 1.5-2 hrs until tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile make the mash, put the potato, swede & carrot into a pan of water and bring to the boil, reduce to simmer and cook for about 45 minutes until tender. Drain and mash then season with pepper.
  5. Serve on the side with the beef stew mix. Enjoy.


Chicken & Bean Bagel Nachos

Chicken & Bean Bagel Nachos

A Healthier Twist to your normal Nacho dish. I had some Bagels left and decided to give this a shot, it worked perfectly adding that little bit of crunch to the bake. Easy to make to & just 30 minutes to bake in total which makes this dish a great quick family meal. I served it with a refreshing homemade spicy salsa which was a great accompaniment.


Serves 4

2 Large Chicken Breasts, cut into bite size pieces

2 Bagels, cut into bite sized pieces

Small head of Broccoli, cut into small pieces

400g Tin of mixed beans (or baked beans)

200g Tin of tinned tomatoes

2 Tsp Smoked Paprika

2 Fresh Tomatoes, diced

1/2 Red Onion, diced

Small handful or chopped coriander

1 Chilli, diced

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 Lime

1 Avocado, diced

100g Mature Cheddar (lighter option to make it healthier)

2 Tbsp Oil or spray oil

  1. Preheat your oven to 190 deg. Drizzle the bagel pieces with 1 tbsp oil and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 15 minutes tossing halfway to brown. Remove from oven.
  2. Meanwhile, spray a fry pan with oil and heat to a medium heat, season the chicken and coat in the paprika then add to warm pan to brown, 10 minutes. Add in the broccoli and mix through for a few minutes. Next add in the beans and tin tomatoes, stir through. Transfer to a baking dish.
  3. Top the chicken mixture with the baked bagels then top with the grated cheese. Place into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes until cheese is melted.
  4. Meanwhile to make the salsa, put the diced tomatoes, chilli, onion, avocado, coriander into a bowl and mix, pour 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar along with half juice of lime and mix through.
  5. Once ready serve with salsa and enjoy.


POTATO HASH WITH POACHED EGG

Potato Hash with a Poached Egg

This quick and hearty brunch or lunch brings the best out of a good Scottish Tattie (potato). Fluffy potatoes are only made better by the perfectly poached egg sitting on top. Sometimes I like to keep things simple and with this dish I didn’t add too many flavours as a good Scottish Tattie is flavoursome in it’s own right. With the warming flavour of cayenne pepper and a dash of Tabasco sauce, this is sure to keep you satisfied all day.

Cayenne Pepper is also said to be medicinal as capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne peppers, is what gives them their medicinal properties. These peppers boast an impressive nutrition profile, which includes a variety of antioxidants that are beneficial for your health.

One tablespoon (5 grams) of cayenne pepper contains the following:

  • Calories: 17
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 3 grams
  • Fiber: 1.4 grams
  • Protein: 0.6 grams
  • Vitamin A: 44% of the RDI
  • Vitamin E: 8% of the RDI
  • Vitamin C: 7% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 6% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 5% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 5% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 3% of the RDI
  • Riboflavin: 3% of the RDI

It also gives them their hot taste. In fact, how hot a cayenne pepper is depends on its capsaicin content. The more capsaicin it contains, the hotter it is.


Serves 2

4 Medium Potatoes, (peeled or unpeeled it’s up to you) diced into bite size pieces

1 Large or 2 Medium Onions, sliced into wedges

1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper

Salt to taste

1 Tbsp Olive Oil or Spray Oil

2 Large Eggs

Tabasco to taste

  1. In a fry pan heat the oil, medium to high heat, add in the onions and cook for a couple of minutes to soften.
  2. Add in the diced potatoes, season with salt & cayenne pepper, mix and place a lid over pan reduce to a low heat and cook for about 30 minutes until potatoes are softened. Give the potatoes a stir every 10 minutes.
  3. 5 minutes before potatoes are ready, bring a pan of water to the boil then reduce to a medium heat, crack in the eggs and poach through.
  4. Serve potatoes and onions onto a plate, place the poached egg on top and sprinkle a few dashes of tabasco sauce over, season if required. Enjoy!

If you prefer a bit more flavour, below are a few choices that I have tried.

  1. Smoked:- Add chopped spring onions and some smoked back bacon.
  2. Mediterranean:- Add some spinach, handful tomatoes with 1 tsp all spice, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp dried coriander.
  3. Spanish: Chopped chorizo, sweet potatoes, 1 tsp cumin, spring onions.