Very Easy Pesto-Parmesan Chicken Breast

I think everyone around me knows I’m a sucker for any recipe that is easy, cheap, filling and also seriously yum! This recipe seamlessly slips into all four of those categories. I made it for dinner last night and it took me all of about 10 minutes to prepare and 35 minutes in the oven and – BANG – dinner is done. It’s less than $6 a serving and packed full of protein.

All prices from Coles Australia and in AUD

  • Chicken Breasts (4 pack): $9.50
  • Pesto: $4.20
  • Tomato: $0.80
  • Parmesan: $6.70
  • Cous Cous: $1.75
  • Brown Onion: $0.50

Even if you begin this recipe with NONE of these ingredients in your current pantry or fridge, the recipe will only put you back $5.80 a serving (and you’ll have heaps of parmesan and cous cous left over for next time!).

Method (for one):

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C
  2. Trim any remaining fat off of the chicken breast (skinless breast usually has very minimal)
  3. Put your chicken breast into a size-appropriate oven-safe dish.
  4. Using a butter knife or the back of a spoon, spread the pesto over the whole top of the chicken breast.
  5. Slice tomato into 2 to 2.5 slices (enough to lay over the pesto) and place them on top.
  6. Grind or sprinkle some salt and pepper on top
  7. Grate parmesan cheese on top, try to avoid getting it on the baking dish. A couple of tablespoons will do but do this to your own taste.18641686_10211098535192065_101216545_o.jpg
  8. Put in oven for 30-35 minutes or until chicken is completely white inside.
  9. While its in the oven dice up half the small brown onion while boiling a kettle
  10. Fry/sweat onion on a low heat in a small pot.
  11. Pour in 1/2 a cup of cous cous, 1/2 cup of water and then cover, for two minutes.
  12. Fluff up cous cous with a fork.

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SERVE YOUR CHICKEN ON TOP OF THE COUS COUS AND ENJOY!

P.S – To make this Gluten-Free just swap out the cous cous for quinoa and follow the prep directions OR just buy gluten-free cous cous!

Eating Around the USA

Just thought i’d put a little gallery post together of a selection of the delicious meals I got to eat while travelling the west-coast of America last year. One of my best friends, Caitlin and I drove from San Diego, to LA, up to San Francisco and then took a bus to Las Vegas!

Top 5: Favourite Cooking YouTubers

If there’s one thing I know more about than the majority of people on this planet – its baking and cooking YouTubers. I will never be able to divulge the reason why I love these tutorial videos so much. I’ve decided to amalgamate my knowledge into one post to crown my top five favourite YouTube channels – and let you know a little why I find each one so individual, addictive and awesome.

5. Cupcake Jemma

Now, three-or-so months ago Cupcake Jemma would probably have sat just outside my top 5, but recently I have fallen in love with her channel. She is not as jovial or rehearsed as the other YouTuber’s in this group but her individual style and more casual approach is extremely endearing. Cupcake Jemma is the owner of Crumbs and Doilies bakery in London. She is trained in patisserie and its very obvious when you watch her videos that she is very comfortable in the kitchen. Recently cracking one million subscribers, I think people are starting to realise just how great Jemma really is!

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Cupcake Jemma

4. Rosanna Pansino

Rosanna Pansino’s channel shot to fame from her regular cooking show appropriately named ‘Nerdy Nummies.’ Whether its Super Mario, Candy Crush Saga or Pirates of the Caribbean, Rosanna will find SOMETHING to be inspired by, and bake it! She is methodical, clean and all of her bakes look flawless! One thing I love about Rosanna is she always dresses up in the theme of what she is baking for that episode. Some of my favourite videos of Rosanna (although they may not be cooking/baking) are the challenge videos, where her and a friend or fellow YouTuber will taste/try a variety of things blindfolded and compete to guess the most correctly. 8.3 million subscribers can’t be wrong!

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Rosanna Pansino

3. My Virgin Kitchen

Best known for his giant foods, food gadgets and mini foods, Barry Lewis is a no-frills British baker who loves a laugh. Barry is a self-taught cook, which is what inspired the ‘virgin’ in his name. Barry’s bakes my not be as technically perfect as those of Rosanna Pansino or How to Cake it, but his give-it-a-go mentality and positive nature really bring his videos to life. Although the channel started off as his own, his wife Becky (known as ‘Mrs Barry’) often gets involved and does some of her own videos too. Recently Barry has been getting his two young daughters involved more. The girls are unpredictable and confident and unforgivingly adorable! I definitely recommend giving My Virgin Kitchen a watch, Barry really knows how to brighten someone’s day.

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My Virgin Kitchen

2. SORTEDfood

Apart from being irresistibly charming and cute, these five boys (men) host their cooking channel with complete class. The videos have the perfect amount of information, witty humour, and a little bit of stupidity (okay, sometimes a lot). The premise of the channel is basically one of the guys, Ben is a trained chef, as is his friend James, the other three are what they like to refer to as ‘normal’ (just means un-trained). My favourite episodes are the ‘Ultimate Battles’ where the three non-chefs cook-off in a three way battle based around a specific theme. These boys are hilarious, and if you don’t mind a bit of British humour and some serious food-porn then you’ll love this channel just as much as I do!

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SORTEDfood

  1. How to Cake it

Oh Yolanda, how could you not be my number 1… back to where my YouTube baking obsession began. Every video ‘How to Cake it’ releases is well produced, edited and always sports high-quality content. Yolanda is genuine, natural and funny in front of the camera… and not to forget, seriously talented. She’s a self-taught baker who produces some of the most life-like flawless creations, all using fondant, candies, her perfect Italian meringue buttercream and of course… cake! She’s best-known for her cakes that look like common foods; among others she’s made sushi, a burger, spaghetti and meatballs and even an avocado! She has new videos every Tuesday, so if there’s one thing you do this week in your spare time, check her out!

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How to Cake it

Honorable Mentions: 

My Cupcake Addiction, Emmy Made in Japan, and Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking.

Let me know if you watch any of these channels as religiously as I do!

A Celebratory Carrot Cake!

I made my first two-tiered cake for Mum’s 50th Birthday and I’m over the moon at the result.

Its a two-tiered gluten-free carrot cake (RECIPE) I tripled the recipe and stacked, filled and built the tiers using cake boards and dowels. I have watched many a cake-tutorial on YouTube but I guess you never really know if you can replicate the instructions until you actually try it! I have always wanted to create a baking-tutorial channel on YouTube with the things I have learned so far in my baking endeavours… maybe one day.

Anyway – check it out! And any queries just shoot me an e-mail at thomas.jenna94@hotmail.com – I’m always happy to help out fellow bakers!

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Me with the cake 

Cake Topper HERE

More than a ‘salad’

Cous cous, pumpkin and sweet potato salad with spinach, walnuts, chorizo and parmesan.

Have you ever set out to make one thing… and ended up creating something else all together?! I set out to replicate a recipe my friend made me for dinner recently, but soon realised I had only remembered to buy half of the ingredients (and had some random extras in the veggie-drawer that needed using). With some educated flavour choices and a bit of ‘Masterchef Mystery Box’ magic, I created something pretty damn delicious!

So I’m not exactly a ‘salad’ enthusiast. Never really loved the raw vegetable thing. Roasted veggies on the other hand are just phenomenal. I love the sweetness that roasting brings out in veggies and the colours that roast vegetables add to a dish really pop! This salad is hearty yet healthy, colourful and flavoursome. It really fills you up and pumps you full of good vitamins and minerals… Oh, and it has chorizo in it, need I say more?

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Cous Cous
  • 1 cup Vegetable stock
  • 2 small Sweet potatoes
  • 1 half Butternut Squash
  • 350 grams Spinach
  • 3-4 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1-2 Garlic cloves
  • 1/2 to 3/4 of a Chorizo
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 12 Walnuts
  • 50g Parmesan

NB: All ingredients can be adjusted to taste just remember when cooking cous cous the ratio is 1:1

Method:

  1. Preheat Oven 160 C
  2. The first step is roasting the vegetables, cut and peel the sweet potato and butternut squash into approximately 3cm pieces.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and spray with canola cooking spray until lightly coated.
  4. Cook until just tender (mine took about 30 minutes)
  5. Meantime cook the cous cous. Heat the stock until boiling and pour over cous cous and cover and let sit.
  6. Cut the chorizo into circular slices and cut these in half and fry them in a pan
  7. When the Chorizo begins releasing oils chuck in some chopped walnuts and let them lightly toast and all coat in the oil.
  8. Put into a bowl and set aside.
  9. Put the finely shopped glove of garlic into the leftover chorizo oil and fry for 30 seconds, pour the garlic and the oil into a small bowl to create dressing
  10. Pour the olive oil in with the chorizo oil and the garlic (this is your dressing you may add more oil if you like)
  11. Cool everything for about 15-20 minutes the fridge (the chorizo, cous cous, roast veggies.
  12. Shave some parmesan using a peeler.
  13. Combine all the ingredients in a large salad bowl with the spinach and toss with the dressing
  14. Sprinkle more parmesan over the top and serve.

 

If you want to make it VEGETARIAN or VEGAN – omit the chorizo and parmesan, swap in some chickpeas for protein and add some roasted carrots for extra substance.

If you want to make it GLUTEN FREE – swap the cous cous for Quinoa or Freekeh

I could not be more in LOVE this salad. I will be making it in bulk for my Mum’s 50th party in two weeks so i’ll get some more pictures!

 

 

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Success Story

I’m not usually an advocate for the gluten-free lifestyle (unless of course you’re a coeliac!) About two years ago my Mum read an article that convinced her she’s gluten intolerant. She then convinced my younger sister the same and now they both believe gluten is satan. I believe everything in moderation and that gluten free bread/cake tastes like crap! But honestly – this just doesn’t!!

For Mum’s 50th birthday party, which I am BEYOND excited for – she has entrusted me to make her cake. She specifically requested carrot cake and obviously (from my initial rant) it must be gluten-free. I was skeptical on recipes and in the end found one I liked and tweaked it and fine tuned it a little to make it work for me. This was just a practise as the real thing is going to be a two-tiered cake with autumn-coloured flowers on the top and and ’50’ cake topper.

This cake absolutely does NOT taste gluten-free. You know what as a matter of fact it tastes even better than any normal cake i’ve ever tasted. Its fluffy and moist and nicely spiced with cinnamon. It definitely has my tick of approval!

Ingredients
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2.5 cups grated carrot
  • ½ cup sweet coconut flakes, (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 C
  2. Grease two (18-centimetre) cake tins, line the bottom with a circle of grease-proof paper
  3. In a large bowl combine the oil, sugars, and eggs. Mix well and set aside.
  4. In another bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk.
  6. Mix until combined (do not over-mix)
  7. Fold in grated carrot, coconut and vanilla extract.
  8. Pour batter evenly into the two prepared tins.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes until centre is set and springs back when touched.
  10. Wait for the cakes to cool slightly before turning them out onto a cooling rack.
  11. Wait to cool completely and then use a cake leveller (or a knife and your eye) to trip the cakes to both the same size (this stage is optional if you’re not looking for a completely perfect finish)
  12. Make the frosting I used THIS recipe because I believe swiss meringue buttercream is the best, smoothest and tastiest. But THIS Betty Crocker one will also do you fine.
  13. Put a small amount of frosting on the cake board to stick the cake down.
  14. Put your first layer on the board.
  15. Put a thick and even layer of the frosting on top of this and sprinkle it with copped walnuts.
  16. Put the next layer of cake on top and roughly ice the whole cake using a bench scraper to scrape down the sides and make it smooth.
  17. I chose to go for a semi-naked cake as i’m doing a two tiered semi-naked for Mum’s birthday but there’s more than enough frosting to ice the entire thing (remember to do a crumb coat and then refrigerate and then do a second coat to ensure your icing is clean and free of crumbs).
  18. Pipe the butter cream with any flower tip around the bottom edge and the top and place whole walnuts on alternate flowers.
  19. VOILA!

THE FINISHED PRODUCT

Back to Black(smith)

So recently I did a post on my new favourite Perth cafe Blacksmith! Believe it or not i’ve already been back! Part of me really did regret not getting that hummus toast that I decided against! This time I went on a Sunday – a little hungover I must admit. It was packed! Every table was full, families, couples and friends all sitting around enjoying their weekends. I must admit it was a little loud for me, too many children (and my head was pretty fragile). Because of the playground and a kids room out the back its a hub for young trendy families.

I ordered the hummus toast ($16)

Once again it came out in good time, especially for the busy morning. Honestly, it was delicious, and extremely filling (almost couldn’t finish it but I can’t leave good food unfinished)

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NB: I must say, although it was delicious, if I’m not feeling very adventurous when I go back again – i’ll probably stick with the omelette!

See my other post (and the omelette and the breakfast pan!) here