Claire Tansey http://clairetansey.com easy, fun, delicious Thu, 14 Dec 2017 16:38:12 +0000 en-CA hourly 1 RECIPE: Amazing Mashed Potatoes http://clairetansey.com/recipe-amazing-mashed-potatoes/ http://clairetansey.com/recipe-amazing-mashed-potatoes/#respond Thu, 14 Dec 2017 16:38:12 +0000 http://clairetansey.com/?p=1483

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It’s one of cooking’s truisms that the simplest things are sometimes to toughest to get just right. Proof: Simple pancakes, banana bread and guacamole are consistently the top 3 searched-for recipes. Here’s another: Mashed potatoes.

To me, there are three key moments in any mashed potato life journey (and you might be surprised that one of them isn’t adding cream or butter!):

  1. Potato choice: I always use Yukon Gold potatoes. Sometimes called “yellow potatoes” at the grocery store. They are my go-to, all-purpose potato. I use them for everything.
  2. Salt: The cooking water must be generously seasoned. Remember pasta cooking water? Make the cooking water taste salty.
  3. Gear: I rarely endorse a single-job tools. My beloved garlic press is one, and a potato ricer is another. It activates the potato’s starch while simultaneously aerating the mixture. Totally worth the purchase.

And that’s it! Sure, you can add cream, butter, truffle salt, roasted garlic to the mash, but at its simplest, this recipe is delicious, creamy, and silky-smooth. For many more mashed spud tips and ideas, watch this episode of the 20-Minute Cooking School.

RECIPE: Amazing Mashed Potatoes
 
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As mentioned during the cooking class, I make LOTS of potatoes. Leftovers are a boon.
Recipe type: Side
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 8 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Salt
  • ¼ cup butter or milk (or both or neither)
Instructions
  1. Peel the potatoes, cut each one in half and place in a large pot. Cover with lots of cold water and season with about 1 tsp table salt. Bring to a boil, then educe the heat, cover and simmer 20 min or until very tender.
  2. Pass each potato through a ricer and into a warmed serving bowl. Mix in butter or milk then taste for salt.
  3. To make these in advance, use a microwave-friendly serving bowl. Mash the potatoes up to 12 hours in advance, keep chilled, then reheat in the microwave, stirring often, until exceedingly hot. No one likes lukewarm mash.

PS: My no-fail, amazing banana bread will be in Uncomplicated!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links meaning that if you click over and buy something, we receive a tiny commission (at no extra charge to you) which helps keep the lights on in Claire Tansey’s Kitchen. We never link out to something we wouldn’t recommend. Thank you!

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RECIPE: Chewy Coconut-Lime Blondies http://clairetansey.com/recipe-chewy-coconut-lime-blondies/ http://clairetansey.com/recipe-chewy-coconut-lime-blondies/#respond Thu, 07 Dec 2017 15:35:40 +0000 http://clairetansey.com/?p=1474

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My first-ever really bad cooking injury was from blondies. I was 10, alone, and trying to make the Joy Of Cooking Butterscotch Brownies recipe, which starts with cooking butter with brown sugar. It smelled heavenly, so I dipped my finger into the hot mixture for a taste. Ouch. Sigh. Caramel is the cruellest.

That trauma may have scared me off blondies for a few decades, but I’m back, baby! These little beauties won’t endanger anyone’s fingers, but they are dangerous in their own addictive way. The combination of coconut, oil and brown sugar makes them gorgeously chewy with a nice little crisp crust. The lime tempers the sweetness and sets the coconut off into the flavour stratosphere. They’re pretty intense, so a small square is plenty.

This is the kind of seriously easy baked treat that I rely on, especially during the holidays, when it seems like there are endless parties to which I must want to bring something delicious. For more of my easy ideas and baking tips, watch this episode of the 20-Minute Cooking School. They aren’t the most pretty of treats, but are most definitely, as the Italians say, brutti ma buoni (ugly but delicious).

RECIPE: Chewy Coconut-Lime Blondies
 
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Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 2 cups (200 g) sweetened desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup (75 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup (packed) brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Zest of 3 large limes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-in. Square metal pan with parchment, leaving the paper overhanging on 2 sides.
  2. Combine coconut, flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Reserve. Whisk canola oil with brown sugar in a large bowl. Whish in egg, vanilla and zest. Stir in coconut mixture. Scrape into prepared pan. Bake 30 min or until puffy at the edges. Transfer to a rack to cool completely in the pan.
  3. Use parchment to pull blondies out of the pan. Cut into 16 squares. Keeps well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

 

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TIPS & TRICKS: How- And WHY- To Entertain Like A Pro http://clairetansey.com/tips-tricks-how-to-entertain-like-a-pro/ http://clairetansey.com/tips-tricks-how-to-entertain-like-a-pro/#respond Fri, 01 Dec 2017 19:13:45 +0000 http://clairetansey.com/?p=1467

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Oh the holidays! You might already have a full dance card, but hear me out: Host a party. Trust me, come January, you’ll be so glad you did. From latest CBC Radio column, here are my tips and tricks for the easiest–and most fun–parties of all kinds.

There are already so many parties during this busy season, but you’re saying people should be hosting their own parties as well?

Yes! Tis the season to getting together with friends. People are generally in a celebratory frame of mind, and the more parties, the better we feel. Study after study has proven that social interactions and connections boost happiness, lower stress and lead to longer lives.

Well sure, but hosting a party sounds like so much work! I’ve got to shop and clean and cook….

That’s because you think it needs to be a sit-down party with table cloths and candles and a soup tureen. Not true! Picture this instead: Charcuterie boards that you serve as a meal.

Pop to your local Italian grocery store and pick up every kind of sliced meat. Add a few pieces of good cheese  (left at room temperature for at least 6 hours for maximum ooey-gooeyness), add lots of bread, crackers, olives, nuts and dried fruit and you’re done.  This is lazy entertaining at its best.

Your other option is to throw a “crappy dinner party.” This is ideal for good friends and weeknights. The rules are: no pre-cleaning allowed; dinner has to be simple (sometimes we order in!), and no hostess gifts or fancy outfits allowed.

Really, no cleaning?

When it comes to cleaning, do a “good enough” job. Clean the bathroom, tidy up the clutter…and then just dim the lights and make sure there’s plenty of wine.

What if I really do want a proper dinner party. Is there an easier way to do it?

For a small group, a sit-down party can be perfect for great conversations. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be fun and delicious.

To get through it without stress, just cook everything in advance. When your guests arrive you want to be doing nothing! Start with the fanciest potato chips you can buy. For the main course, serve a braised meat dish like beef bourguignon or osso buco that you make a day ahead and keep warm in the oven, but are still luxurious and delicious. Don’t worry about tons of side dishes,  good bread and a simple green salad are enough. A box of chocolates or great ice cream for dessert. And never serve a soup course.

What about for bigger groups?

When you have too many friends….or 40 cousins….my favourite holiday party is a festive open house. This is perfect for big groups of neighbours and friends, or for hosting all those pesky family members at once.

My kind of open house is a drop-in party with lots of good food and a very casual atmosphere. Kids get sent to the basement to get noisy while the adults hang out upstairs. I usually roast a big bone-in ham,  the kind that easily serves 40 and is delicious warm or cold. Set this out with lots of buns and condiments and let guests make their own sandwiches at their leisure. Add a few big bowls of popcorn, a large veggie tray and some platters of cookies or little sweets. It is also fun to have a big pot of mulled wine gently simmering on the stove — great for drinking and it makes the house smell fantastic.

When you go to someone’s house for a party, what’s the best host or hostess gift ?

If you’re coming to my place it’s Champagne, but here’s the secret: Bring it un-chilled and as you pass it over say “it’s not for tonight.”

Great coffee, artisanal granola or even a party game like Cards Against Humanity or Codenames  are all great gifts too.

Once the party is over, you can get people to leave?

Controversial! In theory if it’s your party, you should let people stay as long as they wish, but…..

Subtle cues can also work, like “Gosh, it’s been so great catching up, I hope we can do this again in the new year.” If you have young children, use them as an excuse, “oh, it’s time for Timmy to go to bed, I guess this is goodnight all!”

A dear friend of mine doesn’t beat around the bush, he just tells us, “Ok folks I’m going to bed, you’ve gotta go home.” There’s nothing wrong with unvarnished truth!

 

 

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RECIPE: Mincemeat & Cherry Tea Cake http://clairetansey.com/recipe-mincemeat-cherry-tea-cake/ http://clairetansey.com/recipe-mincemeat-cherry-tea-cake/#comments Fri, 01 Dec 2017 01:02:39 +0000 http://clairetansey.com/?p=1462

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overhead cake mincemeat loaf cherries

Here it is, the cake that has caused a bit of a sensation! I developed this recipe as an easy, festive baked good, something that you can make quickly and without any stress, and then carve up into slices. **Side note: Loaves and cakes beat cookies of any kind when it comes to bang for effort.

I like mincemeat, and am always looking for more ways to use up the remainder of the jar I buy to make mince tarts. I love glacé cherries too (not the lurid green ones, just the lurid red ones!). Put the two together in a simple tea loaf batter, add a glaze and voila! easy festive sweet. This loaf-shaped cake is so tender and moist and packed with festive flavours that just one bite will get you carolling. It has–to date–converted at least three former mincemeat haters….and it’s still early days.

I had no idea that a) tons of people think there is meat in mincemeat and so b) most people steer clear of mincemeat. Gang, there’s no meat in mincemeat anymore. Five hundred years ago, yes, there was some minced meat in there. Today, there are raisins and other dried fruits, candied citrus peel, spices and sugar. Proper mincemeat contains suet,which is delicious, non-meaty-tasting beef fat, but there are also lots of vegetarian mincemeats on grocery shelves. Use whichever one you prefer for this.

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
RECIPE: Mincemeat & Cherry Tea Cake
 
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Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 2 ¼ cups (340g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup (75g) canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup (280 g) prepared mincemeat
  • ½ cup (105 g) glacé cherries, coarsely chopped
  • Glaze:
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan well with baking spray (or grease and flour it well).
  2. Whisk flour with baking powder, allspice and salt in a small bowl. Reserve.
  3. Whisk sugar and canola oil together in a large bowl. Whisk in egg and almond extract. Add flour mixture and milk alternately, stirring gently until almost incorporated. Fold in mincemeat and cherries. Scrape into prepared pan. Bake 60 to 70 min or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack 10 min.
  4. Whisk milk and icing sugar together in a small bowl until smooth. After 10 min, remove cake from pan and place right-side-up on a rack over a baking sheet. Drizzle with glaze. Let cool completely before slicing.

 

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RECIPE: No-Knead Bread http://clairetansey.com/recipe-no-knead-bread/ http://clairetansey.com/recipe-no-knead-bread/#comments Thu, 23 Nov 2017 22:29:46 +0000 http://clairetansey.com/?p=1450

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round loaf bread

I straight-up love bread. It’s as close to a perfect food as I can imagine, and I can’t think of an application in which I don’t adore it. I love the way it has shaped the world we live in (yay, beer!) and its role in history (boo, war!).

I used to make bread in the usual way–with much kneading and careful shaping…and a touch of carpal tunnel syndrome to boot. The Lahey no-knead method changed everything, and now I hesitate to even call this “making bread” since it’s just too easy. Stir up a bowl of batter, let it sit on the counter for 12 to 36 hours, then whack it into the oven. My fingers never even touch the batter!

The Lahey method has just one annoying step, the tea towel second rest. You’re meant to transfer the very wet dough to a tea towel to rest for an hour before baking it. This is all fine except the dough gets stuck to the tea towel and makes a heck of a mess. Depending on how quickly you can deal with the batter-ed tea towel, it’s likely that the towel shall be forever ruined.

So, I tried skipping that step and the results are identical. Easy bread is now even easier. To get the full how-to, watch this episode of the Twenty-Minute Cooking School.

 

5.0 from 3 reviews
RECIPE: No-Knead Bread
 
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You can make this with 100% all-purpose flour, but I usually like to add up to ⅓ whole wheat for flavour and nutrition.
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 225 g all-purpose flour (1½ cups), plus more for dusting
  • 175 g whole-wheat flour (1⅓ cups)
  • 1 teaspoon table salt (or 1 tablespoon kosher)
  • heaping ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 350 g water (1½ cups)
Instructions
  1. Stir the flours, salt and yeast together in a large bowl. Add the water and stir really well. Scrape down the sides, cover the bowl and leave it at room temperature for anywhere from 12 to 36 hours.
  2. Place a 8- to 9-inch round casserole pot with a lid in the oven, then heat the oven to 450F. Once the oven is preheated, sprinkle the batter liberally with flour and scrape it down the sides of the bowl. Take the pot out of the oven and quickly scrape the batter into the pot. Clamp on the lid and pop the whole set-up back into the oven for 30 min. Take off the lid and bake for another 15 min. The bread should be gorgeously browned.
  3. Transfer the bread out of the pot and onto a rack to cool. Don't slice into it for at least an hour. I know -- waiting is the hardest part of the whole recipe!

 

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RECIPE: Snuffle-Stifling Tomato Soup http://clairetansey.com/recipe-snuffle-stifling-tomato-soup/ http://clairetansey.com/recipe-snuffle-stifling-tomato-soup/#comments Fri, 17 Nov 2017 21:08:35 +0000 http://clairetansey.com/?p=1443

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tomato soup white bowl cheese toasts

I always used to think that orange juice was the best thing to drink when you had a cold. Vitamin C for the win, right? That’s only half right. For sure, a hit of vitamin C is never a bad idea, but when you’re phlegmy and snuffly, orange juice actually increases the gunk. The best thing to drink is tomato juice. Tomato anything, really. It’s also high in vitamin C (plus other good stuff) but it somehow manages to clear your throat.

Of course, if you’re sick, you also want something cozy and comforting. So marry the two concepts–tomato juice and comfort food–and you get this, a simple, rich, flavourful soup that’s easy enough to make while shuffling around the kitchen in your jammies.

If you’re not feeling too mucusy (sorry for all the gross in this post — you get what I’m talking about!?) feel free to stir in the cream (anything from 10% to 35% works, just don’t ever re-boil the soup again unless you use 35%).

RECIPE: Snuffle-Stifling Tomato Soup
 
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Recipe type: Main
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ⅛ teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
  • 2 796-mL cans whole tomatoes
  • 900 mL vegetable broth
  • ½ cup cream (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-low. Add onions and salt and cook, covered, stirring occasionally and reducing heat to low as required to prevent burning, about 10 min or until onions are translucent and very tender. Add garlic and thyme and cook another 1 to 2 min.
  2. Stir in tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 15 min. Purée then stir in cream if desired. Serve with cheese toasts.

 

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RECIPE: DIY Instant Ramen Jars http://clairetansey.com/recipe-diy-instant-ramen-jars/ http://clairetansey.com/recipe-diy-instant-ramen-jars/#comments Fri, 17 Nov 2017 14:47:50 +0000 http://clairetansey.com/?p=1431

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ramen noodles vegetables mason jar recipe

Winter is here. Sitting at my desk all morning means I’m often deeply chilled by lunchtime, and my usual Giant Salad just isn’t cozy enough. I now demand a Hot Lunch. I created this recipe for Cityline, but it has quickly nestled into my weekly rotation.

I tried all kinds of noodles for this — because I didn’t want to have to pre-cook anything, but they still have to get tender just by soaking in hot water for a few minutes. Udon and Mr Noodles didn’t work, but rice vermicelli are ok. The puck of dry noodles from a cup-a-soup turned out the best. Next time they’re on sale, buy a bunch and stash them in the cupboard. Don’t forget to chuck the seasoning packet!

Besides the noodles, you can wax as poetic as you like here. Get some protein in there to make it satisfying (tofu/ rotisserie chicken/ cooked anything/ chick peas), add some deeply concentrated flavour (bouillon concentrate/ miso paste/soy or fish sauce) and veggies that will soften or wilt in hot water.

4.0 from 1 reviews
RECIPE: DIY Instant Ramen Jars
 
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Recipe type: Main
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup cubed tofu
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon miso paste
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 65 g instant noodles, broken up a bit
  • ¼ cup grated carrot
  • ¼ cup baby spinach
  • 2 to 3 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • Freshly-grated ginger
  • Sriracha (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place tofu in a 500mL jar. Top with soy sauce, miso and sesame oil. Layer with noodles, carrots, spinach, mushrooms and ginger. Add a squeeze of sriracha. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat. To serve, add boiling water and let stand 3 to 5 min. Stir well before eating.

 

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RECIPE: Sautéed Apples with Brandy-Butter Caramel http://clairetansey.com/recipe-sauteed-apples-with-brandy-butter-caramel/ http://clairetansey.com/recipe-sauteed-apples-with-brandy-butter-caramel/#respond Wed, 15 Nov 2017 18:57:42 +0000 http://clairetansey.com/?p=1426

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sliced apples caramel vanilla ice cream recipe

Long title, but here’s the short description: YUM.

When I was young, my mother would often make a quick weeknight dessert she called Bananas Foster. Based on a real recipe, it’s bananas sautéed with butter and brown sugar, although Mom made it in the toaster oven and obviously omitted the rum.  We would have it plain, or with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s both special and quick, which, on a weeknight, was win-win for all parties, plus it used up the dangerously-close-to-overripe bananas we always had around.

These days we don’t seem to have as many bananas perpetually over-ripening on the counter. Apples, though, I buy by the peck and stash them in the fridge, where they stay crisp and sweet for weeks. So when the time comes for me to whip up a quick weeknight dessert, I turn to apples, and use Mom’s basic formula. After all, anything + butter + brown sugar = delicious, right?

And what about TYPE of apples? I’m asked that question all the time, “which type of apple is best for pie/sauce/crumble?” As I explained in this episode of the 20-Minute Cooking School the happy, Uncomplicated answer is: they’re all good. Different apples lend different textures and tartness to a dish but nothing is ever going to be outright bad. If you like the eat them, they’ll be tasty cooked as well.

RECIPE: Warm Apples with Brandy-Butter Caramel
 
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Use any type of apples. Do use salted butter -- if not, add a nice pinch of salt along with the brown sugar.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 3 medium apples
  • ¼ cup butter, divided
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brandy or apple juice
Instructions
  1. Peel the apples and cut into thick slices. Melt about half of the butter in a medium frying pan over medium. Add the apples and cook gently 3 to 6 min or until the apples are tender but not mushy or falling apart. Scrape the apples into a dish to reserve.
  2. Add the rest of the butter to the pan, then add the brown sugar and stir to combine. Boil 1 to 2 min. Stir in the brandy-- careful! it's going to splatter. Once the sauce smooths out a bit, stir the apples back in. Let cool a little before serving.

 

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STUFF I LOVE: Half Sheet Pans http://clairetansey.com/stuff-i-love-half-sheet-pans/ http://clairetansey.com/stuff-i-love-half-sheet-pans/#respond Fri, 10 Nov 2017 01:15:31 +0000 http://clairetansey.com/?p=1416

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Metal sheet pan

Voici the hardest-working pan in my kitchen. I’d guess 85% of the food I make is cooked on this or my cast-iron frying pan. It’s called a half-sheet pan, which refers simply to its size (they also come in full, quarter and eighths). It’s sturdy, long-lasting, versatile, inexpensive, attractive (I love the patina on mine, it photographs nicely) and slips easily into a drawer. It’s the exact width of most rolls of aluminum foil and parchment and silicone baking mats. I can’t recommend anything more highly!

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of recipes I cook on this pan:

  1. roast chicken
  2. roast cauliflower
  3. all kinds of vegetables
  4. pizza
  5. roast beef
  6. tuna melt
  7. granola
  8. cookies
  9. baked tofu
  10. scones
  11. sheet pan chicken
  12. sheet pan salmon
  13. sheet pan steak
  14. rolled meringue
  15. Martha’s slab pie
  16. broiled fish
  17. homemade tortillas
  18. baked chicken wings
  19. calzone
  20. toasted cheese sandwiches

OK, I’ll stop there. You get the idea. If you don’t have one, you might want to get one — in fact, get 2. I guarantee you’ll be happy. Here’s a little more about this pan from the Twenty-Minute Cooking School.

 

 

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links meaning that if you click over and buy something, we receive a tiny commission (at no extra charge to you) which helps keep the lights on in Claire Tansey’s Kitchen. We never link out to something we wouldn’t recommend. Thank you!

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RECIPE: One-Pan Fajita Chicken & Veg http://clairetansey.com/recipe-one-pan-fajita-chicken-veg/ http://clairetansey.com/recipe-one-pan-fajita-chicken-veg/#respond Thu, 09 Nov 2017 17:43:35 +0000 http://clairetansey.com/?p=1411

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Sheet pan, chicken, vegetables, recipe, dinner

I love a one-pan supper so much. Really, who doesn’t?? Easy prep, easy clean-up, versatile and so delicious. There are tons of variations on this theme, but here is a simple, tasty chicken and vegetables dinner that my family adores (even 5-year old Thomas, who recently said of this recipe, “[sigh] I wish we could have this every night.”).

A few tips for the easiest, most delicious sheet pan suppers:

  1. Turn on the oven before you start prepping. This recipe comes together so quickly that it’s often ready for the oven before the oven is ready for it!
  2. Use a sturdy half-sheet pan. The rim keeps the juices on the pan (and not on the bottom of the oven) and the pan is big enough to accommodate enough protein and vegetables for 3 to 4 portions.
  3. Line the pan with foil or parchment for one-step clean-up.
  4. Spread all the ingredients out in a single layer. If the veg piles up it will steam, not roast.

Get all the intel on my favourite sheet pan, plus a how-to of this recipe on this episode of the Twenty-Minute Cooking School.

RECIPE: One-Pan Fajita Chicken & Veg
 
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We usually eat this on it own, but sometimes I serve it over rice or with warmed tortillas for a bigger meal. If you don't have shallots, no worries, use one medium onion.
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 red or yellow peppers, thickly sliced
  • 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into medium florets
  • 6 - 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Fresh lime wedges (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment or foil.
  2. Stir oil with chili powder, oregano, salt and garlic powder. Place all the vegetables on the baking sheet and pour about half of the spice mixture over them. Toss well then spread into an even layer.
  3. Place the chicken on the baking sheet and drizzle it with the remaining spice mixture. Toss it a bit to coat it then arrange the chicken evenly throughout the vegetables.
  4. Bake 25 to 30 min or until chicken is springy when pressed and cooked through. Serve with a squeeze of lime juice if you like.

 

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