RECIPE: Creamy Chicken, Chorizo, and Tomato Pasta Bake

423517445_9266e2083b_z

Pasta dishes are some of the simplest and quickest to make. That makes them perfect for busy families who want something delicious and nutritious for their tea but don’t have hours to spare for food preparation. This creamy chicken, chorizo and tomato pasta bake is really tasty and very simple to make. Here is how to make creamy chicken, chorizo, and tomato pasta bake.

Ingredients for Creamy Chicken, Chorizo and Tomato Pasta Bake

  • 10oz/ 300g dried penne pasta
  • 3 diced chicken breasts
  • 3 1/2oz/ 100 g chorizo, chopped
  • 400g chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 5oz/ 150 g chopped mozzarella cheese
  • 3oz/ 75g soft cheese
  • 3 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 oz/ 30g torn fresh basil
  • Salt and black pepper

How to Make Creamy Chicken, Chorizo and Tomato Pasta Bake

  1. Prepare all your ingredients.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220 C/ Gas mark 8.
  3. In accordance with the instructions on the packet, cook your pasta in salted boiling water.
  4. In a large frying pan, cook the chorizo for 3-4 minutes over a high heat until the oils from the chorizo are released.
  5. Next, add both the chicken and the crushed garlic to the pan. Cook for a further five minutes.
  6. Add the chopped cherry tomatoes and tip in the can of chopped tomatoes. Bring the mixture to simmering point.
  7. Add the soft cheese and stir until the cheese has melted into the sauce and has a creamy consistency and appearance.
  8. Add half the oregano and three-quarters of the fresh basil.
  9. Drain the cooked penne pasta and transfer to the mixture.
  10. Stir well to make sure the pasta is thoroughly coated in the sauce and the chicken and chorizo are evenly distributed.
  11. Season with black pepper and stir through.
  12. Transfer everything from the frying pan to an oven-proof dish.
  13. Sprinkle over the chopped mozzarella, the parmesan and the remaining oregano.
  14. Put the dish in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the mozzarella and parmesan topping is bubbling and golden.
  15. Serve onto plates or into pasta bowls and sprinkle over the remaining basil to garnish.  

TIPS

  • Switch the meat– this dish works just as well with diced turkey if you prefer this to chicken.
  • Pasta alternatives– this recipe uses penne pasta, but most other varieties of pasta will work just as well.
  • Fresh pasta– If you prefer, you can make fresh pasta. However, you will need to adapt the cooking time as this cooks in just minutes.
  • Serving suggestion– This is fantastic with a tossed side salad and crunchy garlic bread.
Advertisements

Cooking Tips for Students on a Budget

14114471388_f4b64191b8_z

When people leave home to become a student, it is the start of a new chapter of their lives. Along with the freedom and independence come additional responsibilities which require the development of new life skills. Two such skills are cooking and budgeting. The majority of students will have limited funds and will need to cover bills in their new accommodation as well as making sure they eat a healthy and nutritious diet. To achieve this on such limited funds can be tricky, but it is manageable with a little thought and planning into shopping and the preparation of food. Here are some ideas of some staple foods that every student should buy and some ideas for student meals on a budget.

Pulses

These are a much cheaper source of protein than meat. They can be used to make vegetarian alternatives to meals or to bulk up a meal if only a small amount of meat can be afforded. Chilli con Carne is one such meal where meat can be entirely replaced, or kidney beans and haricot (or baked) beans can be used to bulk up the meal using only a small amount of minced meat.  Beans on toast are also a really quick snack or meal to eat that is cheap and packed with nutrients. Opt for tins with low salt and sugar content.

Rice

Rice is usually really cheap to buy and you can buy it in large bags to store for long periods of time, thus avoiding wasting money and food. You can use rice as a side dish to accompany another item, such as a curry, or to create a dish on its own. Adding spices, small amounts of meat or fish and as many vegetables as you like are quick, easy, cheap and tasty ways to use rice. Rice is also an ingredient that you can experiment with a little as it will absorb the flavors of the other ingredients with which it is served.

Pasta

Similarly, pasta is inexpensive and you can but it in large quantities that store for long periods of time. There are countless ways of serving pasta.  One really easy and cheap option is to simply add a tomato sauce to the pasta.  You can do this either by using a jar of pasta sauce or making a homemade sauce using fresh tomatoes and some herbs. A simple ratatouille added to the pasta is another option for a cheap, tasty and nutritious dish. There are many variations of this but frying courgette, tomatoes and peppers together is really easy even for an amateur cook. Other options with pasta include tuna pasta bake, pasta carbonara (adding cheese, ham and mushrooms) or spaghetti bolognese. 

Experiment

Finally, the best advice that can be given to a student is to experiment with the food you create. Buy lots of things that store well and try out different combinations of ingredients together. Keep a stock of dried herbs and spices in the cupboard so you can get experimental with flavours in your cooking.