Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Two Homey Favourites!

Today, I am giving you two recipes. I do this on my blog Jo on Food, Life and a Scent of Chocolate, all the time – I love to eat and I love to cook although at my advanced time of life it ain’t so easy any more.

Recently Liz mentioned camping dishes. I have only ever camped in a trailer never in a tent. I lived on a boat with my parents for many years so we didn’t go camping, but Matt (hubby) and I went camping in our trailer for several years, once we emigrated to Canada. However, this dish I invented many years ago mainly for my first husband who really liked canned corned beef. I don’t have any measurements sorry. For me it’s just one of those “cook by feel” recipes.

Jo's Corned Beef Mac & Cheese

First of all, you sauté some onions in butter, then add some flour and cook until it becomes a thick roux. You then remove the pan from the heat and gradually stir in some milk. You then put the pan back on the heat and stir continuously until the sauce thickens. When it is thicker you add grated cheddar cheese, salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, you cook some macaroni and in a large baking dish you put slices of canned corned beef, tomatoes, seasoned, top with macaroni and then pour your cheese and onion sauce over the top. It can be served as is or baked in the oven for a while to get a crisp cheesy top and to warm the corned beef and tomatoes.

This is a very easy recipe to make. The quantities are decided by the amount of people you are making it for. Matt, my husband, took a bunch of juvenile prisoners on a camping trip in the UK once and he cooked this for them on their campsite, although they had to help.

I have never made mac and cheese from a packet and when we came to North America I was horrified to see how many people did so. One friend showed me how she made a cheese sauce with cornstarch which meant she didn’t have to cook the flour in butter at the beginning to make a roux – but you loose the flavour if you do it that way. The white sauce basis should have a buttery taste before you add the cheese which makes it so much richer.

Good sauces are a fundamental basis for good cooking. I find it so sad that many people just can’t be bothered any more. France used to be the home of great cookery when I was young but I am told that today French women don’t bother to learn how to cook any more. I have a nasty feeling that, in the future, people will be eating food produced by machines and probably will neither know nor care how it should taste.

If you are the type who likes your recipes spelled out for you, this is a dish we have been cooking for many years and is a great favourite of ours.

Chicken Breasts with Lemon and Capers

1/4 cup Flour
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Paprika
2 Skinned, boned chicken breasts about 1 lb, halved and pounded to ¼  in thickness
5 tsp canola oil
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs Capers, drained

1. FLATTEN the chicken first by placing it between two sheets of Saran wrap and beating.

2. Combine the flour, pepper and paprika on a plate. Press the chicken breasts into the mixture, coating them evenly all over and shaking off any excess.

3. In a heavy 10 in skillet, heat the canola oil over mod high heat for 1 mins. Add the breasts and cook about 3 mins on each side, do not overcook. Transfer the breast to a heated platter.

4. Add the chicken broth to the skillet scraping up any browned bits on the bottom. Stir in the lemon juice and capers and heat through. Pour the sauce over the breasts and serve.

Servings: 2

Jo Wake has been happily married for almost 44 years, originally from the UK, living in Canada now. She's interested in cooking, reading and wildlife conservation.

Her blog is "Jo on Food, Life and a Scent of Chocolate" When she first signed up with blogger, they would not accept her last name for some reason, so she used a family name.

If you need any more info about Jo, a friend wrote a blog post about her some time ago. Although it claims she's interested in gardening, she's not really. She likes to look at gardens, that’s all.


  1. I made that chicken recipe for supper last night. It is so very easy and so quick to do. Thanks for being my hosts again ladies.

  2. You won't be surprised, but I didn't realize you could start with a roux to make mac and cheese. I will be trying this for sure. I may not have much culture (hehe), but I am a fan of good mac and cheese and the stuff in the box never quite cuts it. That chicken looks delicious too. I think I need lunch!

    1. No not terribly surprised Liz. I remember when I first lived alone, early 20's, very early, phoning my mother from a coin phone to ask her how to make a white sauce which is the basis for cheese or any similar sauce. Cost me a few pennies to get the instructions. You have to be very careful adding the milk as that is when it can start lumping unless you add very slowly and stir vigorously each time until it is well incorporated. The chicken is really easy peasy too.

  3. These sound delicious! I wouldn't have thought of putting corned beef in mac and cheese.

    1. Don't forget I am talking canned corned beef Shannon. My husbands loved it.

  4. Cook by feel. Yes! I do those all the time along with weight measurements for baking labs and test batches. But for for cookery, it is cook by feel.

    1. Most things I use a recipe Ivy, but many things I do cook by feel.

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