Dec 6, 2017

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner.

I love it when a plan comes together.  Especially if it relates to Christmas shopping a mere 20 days out from the big day.

All you really need to buy at Dan's really.  Didn't even need to write it down but it felt good doing it.

My strategy involved this hastily cobbled together series of handwritten lists with checkboxes next to each item which I had brilliantly grouped by store.

Feeling the serenity on level P2 of ye olde Westfield.

It also involved getting to the shops early.  Like 0745 early.

So that I could do important stuff before the gift shopping.  Like finding the perfect 10am banana from the artful hanging display at Harris Farm.

And doing some weights to the Flex Zone playlist on Spring Moves.  So much colourful language...  The founding fathers of hip-hop would be mortified if they could see the kind of fortysomething women bopping along to their work as they pumped iron (in the lower range 5 - 6 kilogram weight range as well...).

Your eyes are not deceiving you.  This was an actual shelf at Coles today.  And it was actually fully stocked with that unicorn Christmas pudding - the Gingerbread and Butterscotch one with the gold bits on top.  All is nearly forgiven, Coles.  I just have to track down a carton of your gingerbread ice-cream.

Target was a similarly gracious host with 20% off all the big names in toys.  So I crossed off pretty much all the month's birthday and Christmas gifts right then and there.

I've also been casting a beady eye over any battery requirements for Preschooler SSG's share of my target haul.  So that there'll be no unpleasant surprises on the day.

Buying Bonds for pending new arrivals among my friends is always a joyous and misty-eyed experience for me but there's something extra special about summer babies.  My memories of having a summer baby are selective, I know but gee the clothes were objectively good.  Colour, prints, short sleeves or none.  The lack of multiple layers and jackets made dressing baby so easy.  Even for clueless first-time mothers like me.

This summer, the Bonds baby girl is embracing both the vivid tropical print as well as the more feminine yet edgy tutu and wings combination. I wish that gold striped T came in my size.  And the wings...

It then took the better part of the afternoon to get out the parking lot.  Just joking.  It was the gift wrapping that got me.  I used up a roll of sticky tape and several rolls of birthday and Christmas paper.  All the hidey holes in my wardrobe are also full.  There's no more room at the inn.

Then this happened at Dan's.  Can you see it?  Can you?  It's that other Christmas unicorn... the Sydney edition of Veuve's Cities tins of champagne.  It was definitely one of those 'one for you and one for me' moments because there were actually at least a half dozen Sydneys in the display.

On a day that was full of 'winner winner chicken dinner' moments, we pretty much had to have a winning chicken dish for dinner.  The dish I speak of is the fabulous Nagi (aka Recipe Tin Eats) 'Ultra Lazy Healthy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake'.  It's a one dish wonder that cooks entirely in the oven.

The pasta bake sauce is made from scratch with milk, butter and chicken stock.  Because I was using some leftover rotisserie chicken, I added the thyme that Nagi uses to marinate the chicken in the sauce instead.  I also used extra creamy, full fat milk which may possibly negate the 'healthy' part of the dish's title but it's (nearly) Christmas.

I added my cooked and chopped up chicken in with the cheese after the initial baking time.  I also used broccolini instead of broccoli.

Cheese wise I went with two polar opposites of the supermarket cheese world.  Half a round of Margaret River Club Cheddar and some of that plastickly low fat grated tasty cheese.

It ended up being a match made in heaven because the combination of cheeses added so much flavour to the sauce as well as giving the top a bit of a crunchy crust.

The broccolini cooked to a slightly crunchy texture which I like.  I imagine broccoli would have softened completely.  Following Nagi's tips, I used non tubular pasta so the flour didn't glug up during the cooking process.  My sauce thickened up nicely and the pasta was perfectly cooked too.

This is another 11/10 dish from Nagi for me.  It's going to be on high rotation around here. I can't bring myself to use chicken pasta bake sauce again anytime soon.  This recipe was just too easy.


  1. Oh that does sound easy - I will have to give it a go! I'm feeling a bit uninspired in the kitchen and realising I need to try some new things! Although tonight's effort went horribly, I'm chalking it up to baby boy being unwell and suspecting his big brother is coming down with it!

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