Thanksgiving Leftovers- how to create three meals out of one chicken

Yesterday I baked a very large chicken for my husband and myself.  I served it up with a sweet potato and mixed baked beans plus a side salad.  This was our British Thanksgiving meal.  I didn’t really fancy turkey even though I am American.  To be honest, chicken is my most favourite meat or white meat.  High in vitamin B, protein and very good for you as there is not much fat.

We ate half of the chicken baked with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste as well as fresh herbs and some garlic salt.  And, this evening I used the left over half to make a Kerala curry.  Yum! Yum!

What to do with the rest of the chicken?  Well, being that it has rained for two days (shocker), my three year old daughter, Bella and my Beagle pup, Buddy, went for a long, muddy walk in the woods and finished our day planting bulbs in the garden I felt inspired.  Oh, what a day.  Lovely as it is, tiring.  But, now that I am thegoodhomemaker I wanted to do something special.

Therefore, I filled a large pot half way with water.  I added salt, pepper and garlic salt.  I threw in chopped celery, the whole end stalk, chopped carrots, sliced red onions because I didn’t have any white, whole garlic cloves left over in our veggie box, fresh coriander, fresh basil and fresh thyme from my garden.  You can add anything you have in the garden or fridge.  One thing I love about making a homemade broth is that there are no rules. I love the rebellion!

I cut the chicken carcass into bits to fit inside the pot and I boiled it for about an hour.  After stirring, I added more water and then let it simmer on low heat for about 2-3 hours. I am going to pick out the good chunks of the chicken, celery and carrot then strain the rest.  I may need to strain it twice.  I am going to add pastina (or small stars or any bite- sized pasta you may like).  I am going to serve it up with a baked camabert and fresh baguette.  Romantic…lovely.

What a clever way to save money (I’ve made three meals out of one chicken), create a homemade winter, warming meal and share with my husband who thinks I am thegoodhomemaker.



The flavours of this broth are outstanding- I cannot wait for my Saturday afternoon lunch.  I am going to serve my broth


Can an Italian-American make a good ole’ English cottage pie? Hell, Yes!

This recipe does NOT take 5 minutes.  It actually took me a while to prepare this meal.  But, I must say myself it turned out quite good.

I have just eaten three portions to make sure it was worthy for a hungry husband!

For your shop
500g Organic minced beef
1 stalk of celery chopped
3 small carrots chopped
2 garlic cloves
5 large potatoes or 10 small potatoes peeled and boiled
Olive Oil
salt and pepper
fresh herbs (whatever you have around the house)
1/4 cup red wine (optional)
1 T of cinnamon
25g Presidente unsalted butter
130g grated white cheddar cheese
1 tsp of beef granules (dissolved in 200g of hot water)
3-4 T Lea Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
2 shakes of Emeril Lagasse Original Essence (if you can’t get this just use some paprika with a mix of cayenne pepper)

Organic Cottage Pie

Feeds a family of 5-6. It can be store in the fridge for 3 days.  I’m not one to do this, but money is tight so must is must.  If you want to be really be clever you can layer this dish in individual ramekins or oven proof pots and freeze them.  That way you’re not spending all day preparing this dish.


1. Peel and boil the potatoes. This is the most annoying part of the whole process, but once this step is done you are golden.  Drain and set aside.  The potatoes will be ready when you slice into and they fall off of your fork or knife.

2. 500g minced meat (obviously if you are going to use lamb mince it will be called a shepherds pie) cooked down with a Tablespoon of Olive Oil.  Then, drained.  Make sure you drain the meat.  A greasy pie is not a good-looking one. Set this to the side until step three.

3. Chop the veggies into cubes or go rustic (that’s me) celery, white onion, carrots.  All of this is going into a pot on the stove (low heat).  Add 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil and allow all of your veggies to cook down.  I am not the most orderly cook; therefore, after I cooked these down for a bit I added 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste, 1/4 cup red wine, three shakes of Lea Perrins (thank you the gorgeous James Martin).  Let that cook down on low heat.  Add the garlic (I used 2 for the whole lot and I used my ceramic grater for the garlic.  It tends to melt into the pan better and adds a buttery, warm taste to the dish). Have a little taste of the carrot.  If it’s not crunchy anymore.  You’re ready for the next stage.

4. Let’s happily marry all of the ingredients! So, the next stage is adding the meat and the veggies.  Put them back into the pan or get a fresh one if you’d like. So now you’ve got the meat and veggies all in one pan.  You are going to add your vino and your dissolved beef cube.  Give it a nice stir with a little bit of love.  Add some thyme (thank you once again gorgeous James Martin) and I also added some fresh basil.  I add that in everything.  It is the king of all herbs.  Once everything is mixed well take off of the heat and pour into an oven baking dish.  Let’s move on to the last step.

5. Let’s whip it! Whip it real good! Take my favourite Presidente unsalted butter and mix that into the peeled, boiled and drained potatoes.  I did not have a masher because like all things in a household with children and a husband it gets broken.  So, I whipped it.  I love whipped potatoes.  (try whipping sweat potatoes) Plus, it was so much easier to spread with my children’s spatula (because the other one was in the dishy).  Lastly, sprinkle the grated cheese all over on top.   And, bake until golden.  (oven temp. 200 C)

Now you are ready to throw some extra herbs (I know it’s odd but I used a handful of Cilantro- it’s all I had other than the king of herbs) on top and a dash of Emeril Lagasse’s Original Essence.  BAM! You’ve got a kick butt American Organic Cottage Pie that I think will make my English husband very happy tonight when he gets home from cycling in the wind and rain.  Woohoo! Score!

Serve with broccoli, fresh salad or for the caveman a chunk of fresh baguette.

Note:  if you have a dairy allergy this meal is great.  You could actually omit all of the dairy and it still would turn out really yummy.

The perfect homemade Italian salad dressing

Three steps to a perfect homemade Italian salad dressing.  You will never buy another pre-made dressing ever again.  Firstly, find a small gravy bowl, cream pitcher, or measuring pitcher.  Next, grab your extra virgin olive oil, basalmic vinegar from Modena (the best) and any mustard that you like.  The mustard can be whole grain, stadium mustard, English mustard, French mustard- whatever you fancy.

Then, pour the olive oil in first.  I would say 25ml of good qualiy olive oil.  Next, add your basalmic vinegar.  It must be from Modena if you are going to use basalmic vinegar.  It is where basalmic vinegar comes from.  It is sort of the if you’re going to drink champagne make sure it’s from France attitude.  2 Tablespoons of Basalmic vinegar and lastly one teaspoon of mustard (of whatever you have in your fridge).  Stir it up and serve.  Salt and Pepper to taste. For an extra twist add some fresh oregano.

3 Fish Kerala Curry

After meeting with the St. Albans cookbook club I gained inspiration with what to do with my packet of Tesco’s Fish Pie Mix that was 3 for £10 sitting lonely in my freezer.  My fish pie was a flop and to be honest, how much fish pie can you actually eat in the winter?  Well, what I experienced has not only made me ditch the forever boring fish pie, but has now been added to one of our weekly meals.  Good bye to expensive, greasy take aways! Say hello to my 5 minute version of Sheba Promod from Absolute Indian Cookery ( Three Fish Kerala Curry. This meal has been made for two.  A perfect date night meal.

What you need:

1 tsp whole mustard seed
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp tumeric (three shakes)
1/2 tsp Fenugreek (the mystery ingredient in Indian cooking)
4 tsp ground coriander
2 pinches of sea salt
8 Kaffier Lime Leaves (freeze dried because I didn’t have 15-20 fresh curry leaves)
1/2 white onion
2 garlic cloves (tip: one clove per person who will be eating the meal)
2 inches of fresh ginger
2T of tomato puree
400ml of Essential Waitrose half fat coconut milk
25g of Presidente unsalted butter
2T olive oil
Tesco mixed packet of fish, prawns, chicken (your choice of substitution, and any supermarket brand)
Fresh coriander (cilantro)- a handful for cooking and a handful for garnish

Let’s get started:

In a metal pan on low heat (preferably with a metal handle), put your olive oil (you can free pour- I never really measure things that is why I cannot bake)!  The thing that will help you make this recipe quick and easy is the fact that the spices are used with a teaspoon.  ADD one teaspoon of mustard seed to the warming olive oil.  Listen for the cracking.

ADD your sliced half of onion, and your grated garlic and grated ginger.  Squeeze your tomato puree into the pan.  I used two big wallops.  Next, grab your teaspoon.  Add 1/2 chili powder, 1/2 Fenugreek (I couldn’t find the ground one so I just crunched up the whole seeds, which gave the meal more texture which we liked.  It should not lumpy, you can use your pestle and mortar to get the powder like consistency, or a big bowl and rolling pin- much more my style).  This is the first time I have ever used Fenugreek in Indian cooking.  And, after I opened up the spice jar I had an ‘aha’ moment.  This is the spice that marries all of the flavours, this is the spice that you smell when you walk into a curry house, this is the spice that we are going to use from now on in our curry cooking!

Next add 4 teaspoons of ground coriander and 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric.  I couldn’t be bothered to locate my measuring spoons and plus, this meal is supposed to take 5 or so minutes to pull together so three shakes of the turmeric and I am on my way.

Make sure the heat is low- burning is a no, no! You can take the pan off of the heat if you’re stuck in wine and conversation.

Next, pour the 400ml (the whole can) of coconut milk into the pan.  Give it a nice twirl with your wooden spoon.  Because I am Italian I am all about cooking with the wooden spoon.  Taste with a separate metal spoon and double dipping not allowed!           

Next, put the lime in the coconut and then you mix it up.  Throw your Kaffir Lime Leaves in with the mix, grab a handful of fresh coriander (cilantro they call it in the states) and stir.  Add your 25g of butter to the sauce and your done.  You can use any brand of butter; however, I have been using Presidente unsalted butter for years and it truly is my favourite.

For the next stage you are going to ensure that you put your fresh fish packet into the pan.  Ensure that they are not frozen, however;  to be honest my fish was only partially defrosted.  I gently let the sauce warm up the fish carefully not cooking them, only warming them.  These fish pieces are chunky so they were not going to flake or break down in anyway.  I am using the Tesco Fish Pie Mix which has salmon, smoked haddock, white fish (

The next thing I did was put the pan in the oven.  I didn’t cook it right away because I had to clean up after the kids dinner, bath them and put them to bed.  As it was getting nearer to my husband’s arrival I put the whole pan into the oven on low heat.  I would probably say 100C for an 45 minutes to an hour.  I checked it gave it a light stir, tasted it.  And, thought oh my this is amazing.  It taste better than take out and is so much healthier.

I was going to pop the Tilda brown rice into the microwave, but instead I only served it with garlic nan bread.  We use the Waitrose brand in the refrigerator department.  It is over by all of the exotic premade foods.  This is by far the freshest and best tasting nan.  It taste authentic.

When my husband arrived and we served up the three fish Kerala curry he said it was awesome.  It was the best tasting curry he has ever had and that we should use this base for all of our curries.  It was spicy, smooth- just right.  It was the right blend of tomato and coconut.  Not too sweet, not too spicy.

When you bite into the fish you taste the perfect marriage of Indian spices and slowly a little warming from the chili pepper.  I can honestly say I am never going to order a take away on Friday night again! I think I have just saved us £30 a week learning how to make this dish on our own.  Thank you so much, Sheba! @AbsoluteIndianC

We loved it so much we are going to make it again tonight.  After all, once you have the majority of the spices in your cupboard the meal is very inexpensive.  I still have one more packet of fish left in the freezer.  I only need to get some more nan bread for tonight! Result!

Crikey! What is it about those Conkers?

Conkers is a traditional children’s game in Britain and Ireland played using the seeds of horse-chestnut trees – the name ‘conker’ is also applied to the seed and to the tree itself. The game is played by two players, each with a conker threaded onto a piece of string: they take turns striking each other’s conker until one breaks. BUT, who knew they would be so valuable within the home?!

Ever since I cleared away the conkers from our window sill in the kitchen there has been a congregation of spiders both large and small throughout the house! I wondered if this myth were really true or not and admittingly I must concur that this old wives tale is true!

On tomorrow’s list of things to do:  send kids out to gather more conkers.  Even though spiders are a ‘good’ bug i.e. they eat other unwanted bugs, we live in a 10 room house.  Therefore, if we allow one or two spiders in each room to dangle around doing their thing then that would be more than 20 spiders in one house!

Now, I am not Arachnophobic however, the thought of one of those little critters running up and down my heated blanket at night when I am asleep gives me the heebies!

Note:  conkers are poisonous.  DO NOT EAT them!

Fitness Camp & Health Motivation

Tips for YOU on health, fitness, nutrition, motivation….Steps for everyone to make their Lifestyle a HEALTHY one! heart

LIVE HEALTHY! Treat Your Body Like the Temple Is Is!

My name is Andrea. I’m a 35 year old working Mom of 2 boys, part-time Beachbody Coach, part-time Realtor & full-time office manager. Throw in there girlfriend, football mom, soccer mom, counselor, taxi…and I wear many hats!

I love being healthy & staying active. Teaching my boys the best food choices is a must. Kids will be kids so of course they like junk food. But they know Mom RARELY buys it. They do get snippy about it here & there, but I’m fine with that. As long as I know they are healthy. wink

My fav activites are TurboFire, Insanity, jogging, kickboxing & boxing. I’ve also completed the RevAbs program. TurboFire is most definitely my “soulmate workout” though…in Chalene’s words. Lol.

About Coach Andrea:
Andrea has been a Beachbody Coach since April 2012. She has completed 1 round of RevAbs, 4 months of P90x & is currently in Round #1 of TurboFire. She is helping people with just about every single goal possible, from women looking to tone up, to skinny guys looking to gain mass, to the overweight looking to lose a significant amount of ‘baggage’! Whatever your fitness goals are, commit yourself 100% and Andrea will help you.  Twitter:  @iacovettaday

Meet the Ceramic Glazed Plate Grater

This grater will not mess your newly manicured nails or cause any trouble.  It is so easy to use. 

Ceramic Garlic Ginger Cheese Grater Plate has a special design that makes it quick, and easy to Grate Garlic and Ginger. The possibilities are endless!

3 Pcs Set inlcudes:
      Ceramic Grating Plate Size about 5″ in diameter.
      Gathering Brush.
      Rollon Garlic Peeler.
The Ceramic Glazed Grater Plate grates food much finer and easier.  The Gathering Brush makes it easy to dispense the grated food onto your dish, and gather together the grated food.  The special roll on Garlic Peeler makes it easy to peel garlic, by just placing the garlic inside the roll and rolling a few times.
Grater Plate grating action keeps the flavor stronger than most other methods, and grates with desired consistency for sauces, gravies, marinades, dips, etc.  The brush makes it easy to brush onto meats, fish and other foods, or to just dispense from the plate with ease.
You can find this easy to wash grater on Amazon or other online stores.  It is a stocking stuffer must this Christmas!

Midweek Warming Baked Ziti

This recipe will take you 10 minutes to prepare.  It is warming, delicious and it’s something that your kids will eat as well.  Plus, it won’t break the bank!

Feeds 5 with left overs!

What to get:

1 bag fresh penne or ziti (yes- 1 bag can feed a whole family)

2 tubs (small) or 1 (large) of ready-made tomato sauce with basil (right above the fresh pasta in your local grocery store)

2 small bags of fresh Buffalo mozzarella

sea salt, pepper, fresh herbs (whatever you already have around the house), drizzle of olive oil

What to do:

Spoon some sauce on the bottom of the pan.  Move it around evenly.

Open the bag and toss the penne or ziti into a large baking pan.  You could use anything from tin to a Le Creuset baking dish.

Throw the bag of fresh pasta into the pan (you don’t need to boil it- it’s fresh!).  Slice the Buffalo mozzarella (using one of the bags saving the other until the end) and evenly disperse the cheese into the pasta.  TIP:  keep and use the water that comes in the bag of the Buffalo mozzarella (this will bring a buttery flavour to the meal as well as help the fresh pasta cook).  Next,  cover all of the pasta with the sauce to ensure that no pasta is peeking out (so you don’t dry it out).  Take the second packet of Buffalo mozzarella, slice, and top the dish with the cheese.  A little love from a drizzle of good old fashioned extra virgin olive oil.  Pinch of sea salt and pepper to taste.  Chop fresh herbs such as oregano, basil or thyme.  Don’t go out and buy herbs for this recipe.  Use whatever you have around the house!

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes on 200C or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

Serve with garlic bread or fresh homemade salad.

Homemade Salad- romaine lettuce, sliced red onion, beet root, goat cheese, cherry tomatoes.  Homemade dressing Olive Oil, balsamic vinegar and one teaspoon of Grey Poupon mustard.  Mix vigorously and pour on top of salad.  Magnifico!  You can add fresh herbs to this dressing as well.  I usually use sea salt and pepper to taste and fresh oregano.

Plant your tulips in the month of November

Yes, it’s tulip time!  Hopefully, you have already planted your daffodils last month (October) and have waited to put your tulip bulbs in the ground (or in your pots).  If you’ve waited until November to plant your tulips in the garden the chance of your tulips getting disease or green flies will reduce significantly.

Tulips are very popular to an extent that during the 17th century, most of Europe particularly Holland, was gripped in a craze for Tulips that as a result, many had to even sell off their fortunes. It was popularly known as the Tulipomania.

Tulips are considered one of the most popular perennial spring flower.  There are so many species of tulips that they are divided into 15 categories.

The categories are Single Early, Double Early, Triumph, Darwin Hybrid, Single Late, Lily-flowered, Fringed,Viridiflora, Rembrandt, Parrot, Double Late, Kaufmanniana, Fosteriana, Griegii and Wild Tulips.

They are all different from one another in terms of time of blooming and flower shape.

PLANTING TIPS FOR TULIPS: Underplant rose bushes with tulip bulbs for an early spring, or late winter show of color when roses are dormant and not leafed out yet. Be sure to buy some early tulip varieties. Tulips are perfect companion plants for roses that come back every year.   Plants lots of these tulips among your roses.  Plant your tulips 6-10 inches deep.  Potting tip- plant tulip bulbs and hyacinth in a really large pot.

Fantastic Friday Fish Pie

This recipe is so good, you won’t need to save it just for a fish Friday! This meal serves four.

Stuff you need to get from the shops:

1 block of white cheddar cheese, 250g- grated

4 large potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed

1 packet of Tesco mixed fresh fish (cod, salmon, smoked haddock)

75ml of single cream

5 pats of non- salted Presidente butter

chopped chives

handful fresh or frozen spinach

handful of fresh parsley

pinch of nutmeg

pinch of paprika

salt and pepper to taste

*Tablespoon of corn flour to bind the cream sauce

The only thing you need to do:

Peel the potatoes.  Boil the potatoes.  Mash the potatoes.  Don’t add anything to them!

In another pan, warm on low heat the cream and butter, corn flour, fresh herbs (save the chives for the top) and seasoning until nice and smooth.  Add the fish.  Technically, you can add any sort of fish such as prawns and mackerel; however, the fantastic three (cod, salmon, smoked haddock) are the fish mostly used.

After you sense great harmony coming from your pan- or you’ve finished your glass of wine, pour the contents of the pan into a decent baking dish.  Next, add the mash on top.  Take a large spoon and wallop the potatoes on top of the fish and cream mixture.  Sprinkle with cheese and top with the chopped chives.  Season with salt and pepper and add a punch of paprika for colour and a bit of love.

Bake for 40 minutes or until browned in a pre-heated oven temperature 220C.

When cool enough to enjoy, slop it in a bowl, grab a spoon and tuck in!

Serve with a side salad (for the more refined), a big chunk of baguette (for those who are not watching their carbohydrates) and plenty of red wine (for those who are freezing their socks off in this damp weather)!


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