Welcome back to all the wonderfully supportive readers who read my first post, and hi to any new readers! If you haven’t already tried it, check out my Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe. From the feedback I received, I’m delighted to hear that the recipe was a big success with children and adults alike. I definitely welcome any comments and suggestions, and have already had plenty, so thank you! One request was for some vegetarian options, and I think tonight’s meal could easily be adapted to accommodate non-meat eaters or anyone wanting to serve up a veggie dish to their kids.
In my mind, this recipe is a pretty safe option, after all, what child doesn’t like pasta, chicken and vegetables, especially when accompanied by a dollop of sweet, red tomato sauce?? Only kidding! Of course some kids take more persuasion that others, and if you have that very child at home, then don’t despair and just keep trying different meals, as one day they may just surprise you by cleaning their plate.
Tonight I cooked chicken, pasta and vegetable muffins with a homemade tomato sauce. The ‘muffin’ part comes from the shape as they are cooked in muffin tins. Now, this being Hong Kong, I appreciate not everyone has a built-in oven, but these will do just as well in a table top oven, although you may need to play about with your quantities or cook in batches to fit.
As I mentioned, this can be a good vegetarian option as you can easily leave the chicken out or swap for tofu. Alternatively, you could substitute ham for the chicken if you prefer, and as for veg – anything goes! Smaller vegetables fit in the muffin tins more easily, but the choice is endless, so use old favourites or sneak in some new ones. I knew that my kids would want to smother anything pie-shaped in tomato sauce so what better time to try a homemade version?
The leftovers can be popped into a school lunch box, or even into the freezer for another day.
Chicken, Pasta and Vegetable Muffins
- 1 chicken breast
- 1 cup of macaroni
- ½ cup grated carrot
- ½ cup grated zucchini (courgette)
- ½ cup frozen peas and corn
- 3 eggs, lightly whisked
- 200ml single cream, (I used Sour Cream because I had a container open)
- 1 teaspoon of chicken or vegetable stock powder
- Olive oil for frying.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
- Cook the pasta according to directions on the packet then drain. It is better to choose a smaller-sized pasta like macaroni or little shells; otherwise they won’t fit into the tin very well.
- Cut the chicken into small cubes of about 1cm then fry in 1 tablespoon of oil. You want some colour on the chicken, but it does not need to be cooked completely through at this stage as it will cook further in the oven. About 5 minutes is long enough for small cubes of chicken.
- Once the chicken is browned, transfer it into a mixing bowl. Mix the cream and eggs together. Add pasta, vegetables, egg and cream mixture, and stock powder to the chicken, and mix well to combine.
- You’ll need to grease the muffin tin to ensure your pies can be removed as easily as possible. Use the same oil that you cooked the chicken in, or as I did, spray the tin with a light coating of oil.
- Spoon the mixture into the muffin tins. Unlike a cake, you can fill the tins up to the top, as the mixture won’t expand in the oven. Just to give you an idea of quantities, my muffin tin holds about half a cup of mixture, and I made 10 muffins.
- Bake in the oven for 20 mins. You could easily add a sprinkle of cheese on top before baking (my kids already had their dairy serves for the day so they missed out!)
- Allow to cool for 5 mins, then slide a knife around the edge of the tin and ease the muffin out.
- Serve with homemade tomato sauce.
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes
- ½ onion diced finely
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Heat the oil in a pan over low heat, add the onion and cook for 5 mins or until the onion has softened and become translucent, stirring occasionally. This step is really important to get a sweet sauce.
- Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring all the time.
- Add the tomatoes, sugar and salt.
- Allow the sauce to cook for about 15mins until most of the juice has evaporated. During this time, the tomatoes will break down, the sauce will thicken and the flavours will intensify.
- Remove the sauce from heat and blend until you get a smooth consistency.
- Serve it with the chicken and pasta muffins.
Success rating: 2 clean plates.
Hmmm. In truth, I was a little surprised that the meal was not devoured, with requests for ‘more, more, more!’ What was not to love, with all their favourites being served up in a cute little muffin-shaped meal?? Having said that, that the youngest did finish her meal, albeit with some encouragement from me. So only a 2-plate rating this time as I think that for a meal to be a true success, then no encouragement, coercion or bribery should be needed!
So back to the drawing board for my next recipe, but perhaps you’ll have better luck? I can’t wait to hear if you went for a vegetarian option, and what combination of veg you snuck in so feel free to fill me in using the comments form below!