Monday, 4 June 2012

Meals Under $10 - Chicken & Corn Soup and Apple Pie with Cream

Three course dinners just don't happen as an everyday occurrence in our house and even two courses are fairly rare unless it is an easy dessert like a fresh fruit platter, fresh fruit juices or ice-cream.

However for an inexpensive meal sometimes you can go straight from starters to dessert and completely skip the main course.

I have often served up a hearty soup with crusty bread and then finished the meal with a home cooked dessert.  The two courses are filling enough that no-one ever leaves the table hungry.  There is usually enough for seconds of the soup if they are starving.

This weekend has been cold and windy so we are having Chicken and Corn Soup followed by Apple Pie and Cream.  Good home-made comfort food.

This country style soup is quick and easy to make if you already have some stock made and frozen or have a store bought one in the pantry.

Chicken and Corn Soup (Cost Approx $5 - $6)

1 onion, finely diced
1 cup sweet corn kernels
2 potatoes, diced into 1 cm cubes
1 or 2 rashers bacon
1 cup shredded chicken (I pull the meat of the bones from a chicken roast)
4 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups milk or 1/4 cup cream

Heat oil in a pan and add onion and bacon.  Gently fry for a few minutes until soft.  Add corn, potato, chicken stock and shredded chicken. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down and simmer until the potato is cooked and falling apart.  The potato helps to thicken the soup.

Place half the soup in a blender or food processor and puree with the milk until smooth or if using cream just puree the soup and stir through the cream at the end.  Add this mix back into the soup and stir until well combined.

Serve with crusty bread. ($1 on 'end of day' special at supermarket)

Apple Pie (Cost Approx $2.50)

Filling Ingredients
6 Granny Smith Apples
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Pastry Ingredients (Basic Shortcrust Pastry)
1 1/2 cups plain or all purpose flour
125gms butter
1-2 tsp iced water
1/4 cup sugar

Add all flour & butter to food processor and pulse until they resemble fine breadcrumbs.  Add the water and process until the mix just comes together. Wrap the dough in plastic film and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.  This gives the pastry time to relax.  Peel, core and thinly slice apples. Simmer the apple slices together with the sugar, cinnamon and a small amount of water until apples are just tender.  Leave to drain while you finish the pastry base.

Take the dough from the fridge and  cut in half. Place on a lightly floured surface and roll out to fit the base of your pie dish. Line the dish then repeat with the other half of the dough to make the top of the pie crust.  Hint: Roll dough between two sheets of greaseproof baking paper so it is easier to handle.

Spoon apples into the pastry base then carefully place the other rolled out dough on the top.  Press the edges together decoratively and cut some small air holes into the top crust.  Brush the pie top with milk and sprinkle lightly with some extra sugar.

Serve warm or cold with cream, ice-cream or custard.

My pastry was slightly tough because I over processed it in the food processor when the blade became lodged and I was trying to free it.  The pastry should only be processed until it just comes together to avoid this.


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