This is a recipe I made up tonight, on the spur of the moment. I'd initially decided not to cook dinner, having had a late lunch (recipe for that, tomorrow!). But by 10 pm, it became obvious that hunger pangs were looming on the horizon...a quick scan of the pantry shelf and fridge revealed macaroni, mushrooms, boneless chicken....and a new recipe was born!
I think this dish is perfect for all those evenings/nights when you return home tired and weary, don't feel like eating or ordering out, and yet don't want to do any elaborate cooking either-but still want a substantial meal with the right amount of carbs, proteins, and vegetables!
To serve 2 hungry, impatient souls:
- 200 g elbow macaroni
- 1 chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces (or 100 g boneless chicken, cut likewise)
- 50 g button mushrooms, cut into similar-size pieces
- 1 large onion, chopped fine
- 1 green chilly, chopped fine
- 1 small tomato, diced roughly
- 1 teaspoon crushed red chillies
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon fresh cream (I used Amul)
- 1 tablespoon cheese grated (or half a cube of Britannia cheese)
- 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
- Salt and pepper (freshly ground) to taste
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter
- In a saucepan, boil water and add the macaroni, with salt. When cooked, drain the water and keep the macaroni aside, drizzled with a little oil to keep it from sticking (or just follow instructions on the pack for cooking if you're not sure).
- In a pan, heat the oil/butter.
- Add the chicken pieces, salt and pepper and stir-fry on high heat for 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat and add the mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes. Cover and cook till both mushrooms and chicken pieces are well done.
- Now add the onions and green chillies and saute on low heat till the onions soften.
- Then add the tomatoes and stir around till well mixed.
- Season with the crushed red chillies and oregano.
- Now add the macaroni, cheese and cream and combine everything well.
- Taste for salt and pepper and add more if necessary.
- Garnish with the coriander leaves and serve ASAP!
If you've read the TimeSavers/Tips section (tip #4), you'll know that I buy button mushrooms in bulk (at least half a kilo), saute them in oil with a little salt, covered on low heat, until all the water has evaporated, then cool and store it in airtight containers in the fridge. This way, they can be added to dishes instantly and do not require cooking from scratch each time, as they are already cooked. This is great if you are a mushroom-lover like me and like adding them to omelettes, pizzas, pies, noodles, or use them as toppings on toast, or even just curries. This can halve the cooking time considerably, as it did for me when cooking this dish!
While the macaroni is boiling, start frying the vegetables, chicken and mushrooms so that it will be ready by the time the macaroni is cooked.