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Sophie Gray's recipes for under $10 - 30 March

Recipes are from 100+ Tasty $10 Meals by Sophie Gray
Published by Random House NZ, 2 April; $29.99

Chicken Chicken Cacciatore with Penne

Penne - or short chunky pasta tubes - are good for this dish, but large shells or spirals will also work well.

Serves 4

1 large boneless chicken breast, skin removed and cut into small strips
1/4 cup plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
400 g can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
pinch of dried basil
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 cup chicken stock
penne or other dried pasta for 4 people
salt and pepper to taste
handful of olives (optional)
chopped parsley to serve

Toss the chicken strips in the seasoned flour, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a pan and fry the chicken in batches, adding a drop more oil as required until the chicken is lightly golden.

Add the onion and garlic to the pan with the remaining oil and fry gently until soft, then stir in the tomatoes, herbs, sugar and chicken stock, and simmer gently for around 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly and the chicken is cooked through.

While the sauce is cooking, boil the pasta according to the packet directions.

Season the sauce with salt or pepper if desired, and stir in the olives, if using. Spoon over the prepared sauce, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Pork and Peanut Noodles

Lean pork mince and mildly spicy noodles make for a delicious and easy mid-week meal.

Serves 4

300 g noodles (fresh, dried or frozen)
2 tsp sesame oil
250-300 g pork mince
1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin strips (julienned)
3 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
1/2 tsp chilli flakes, or a red chilli, seeded and chopped
3 tbsp kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce available in supermarkets and Asian grocery stores; see Cook's Tip)
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 cup green beans or peas or snow peas, or a combination
1 cup bean sprouts
handful of fresh chopped coriander
squeeze of lime juice (optional)

Prepare the noodles according to the packet directions.

Heat the oil in a wok or sturdy frying pan and add the mince. Press it down with a fork or potato masher to break it up into pork crumble. Add the carrot and continue cooking until the meat begins to brown and all the liquid is evaporated.

Add the peanut butter, chilli, kecap manis, and stock, and stir gently so the ingredients disperse evenly throughout the meat. Add the beans and simmer gently until cooked.

Add the noodles, bean sprouts, coriander and lime, if using, and fold through.

Serve in bowls.

Cook's Tips: If you don't have kecap manis, use regular soy sauce and add 1 tbsp of brown sugar.

You could substitute sweet chilli sauce for the chilli flakes; the dish will be sweeter so you may want to use soy sauce instead of kecap manis. Taste and add brown sugar only if you feel the dish needs extra sweetness.

Lamb Biryani

One-pan dinners are a lifeline on a busy night. Adjust the seasoning at the end to suit your palate and serve with chutney.

Serves 4

2 tbsp oil
300 g lamb stir-fry or lamb mince
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch of cinnamon
250 g long-grain white rice (I like jasmine rice in this dish)
750 ml beef stock
3-4 cups chopped vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower or use frozen peas, beans or mixed vegetables or a combination (fresh or
1/2 tsp salt

Heat the oil in a pan and cook the meat until sealed (you'll notice the colour changes). Add the onion and garlic, and cook until softened. Add the remaining ingredients, stir and cook for 20 minutes or until done.