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Healthier Carbonara

carbonaraI have always loved a big bowl of spaghetti carbonara, but it has to be said…not the healthiest of meals. I know all Italians will read this and protest that it isn’t an authentic carbonara, but I have made a few swaps and additions to make one of my favourites a much less guilty pleasure, that’s lower in fat and higher in fibre.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1tsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
  • 140g dried whole wheat spaghetti
  • 150ml white wine
  • 90g peas
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5oml half fat crème fraiche
  • 50g pecorino
  • 1tsp black pepper
  • 1tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

Method:

Cook the spaghetti as per the packet instructions.

Cook the bacon under the grill or on a George Foreman until cooked to your preference (I like it really crispy!)

Whilst the pasta and bacon is cooking, fry the onion and garlic in the oil over a medium heat.

When the onions and garlic have softened add the frozen peas. cook for 3 minutes and add the wine.

Leaving the wine to bubble away, mix the egg, crème fraiche, pecorino and black pepper in a bowl.

When the wine has reduced so that only a small amount remains in the pan, turn off the heat.

By this time the pasta should be cooked; add this to the onion and pea mix and stir through the egg mix.

The residual heat of the pan should cook the sauce causing it to thicken and coat the pasta. If needed, turn the heat back on but keep it low because if its too high the egg in the sauce will scramble. Patience is the key here, it will take around 5 minutes before the sauce is of the right consistency.

Once you’re happy with the sauce texture, serve into pasta bowls and top with the crispy bacon and parsley. Enjoy!

 

Tomato & Roasted Veg Quinoa Risotto

img_9498If you have a bit of time to spend in the kitchen, this meal is a great choice! Its cheap to make, and can be easily adapted to suit the preferences of the family. Plus, it makes for a healthy leftover lunch the next day. This meat free meal provides two of your 5 a day, with ingredients such as the quinoa and asparagus offering a great a source of protein and iron. The asparagus, along with the tomatoes and squash are also packed with fibre and vitamins B and C.

Recipe Serves 4 adults

Ingredients:

  • 175g Risotto rice
  • 75g Quinoa
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • Couple of fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1litre of stock, I make my own but you could also use 2 veg stock pots in a litre of boiling water
  • 500g passata
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 200g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 courgette, cut into chunky slices
  • 250g asparagus
  • 150ml red wine
  • Small handful of fresh basil, roughly torn
  • 50g parmesan, grated (Use vegetarian option if you want the meal to be fully veggie)
  • black pepper

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (Fan).

Toss together the cherry tomatoes, squash, courgette, rosemary, some black pepper and ½ tbsp of the oil, then spread the veg across a baking tray. Leave to roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes.

Place the stock in a saucepan and heat until almost boiling, then reduce the heat and keep on a low heat.

Tip: Keep the stock hot! Adding cold stock to a hot risotto pan will reduce the temperature and cook the risotto rice much slower.

Whilst the veg is roasting in the oven, fry the garlic and onions in the remaining oil over a medium heat. When the onions are soft and translucent, add the risotto rice and stir until the grains have also turn translucent round the edges.

Add the wine, passata and quinoa, and stir until the liquids have been absorbed by the rice. Add 3 large ladles of the stock and stir to mix through. At this point I usually put the lid on the pan and leave it for 5-10 minutes, but some people may prefer to stand and stir it – your choice! Continue to add stock 1 ladle at a time until the rice has softened and the risotto is at a creamy consistency, this should take between 30-45 minutes. You will most likely have some stock leftover which is normal.

Tip: I use a large flat paella pan when I cook risottos, but a large saucepan can also work – ensure that the rice is stirred regularly to guarantee an even cook. 

Steam the asparagus for a few minutes – I use a microwave steamer for 2½ minutes but an oven top steamer will take a little longer.

When you are happy with the consistency of the risotto, stir through the roasted veg, parmesan, some black pepper and serve topped with the asparagus.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pesto Roast Chicken with green veggies 

2 of your 5 a day, a source of healthy polyunsaturated fats and high in lean protein 💚

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients:

  • Large bunch of basil
  • 150ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 50ml garlic infused olive oil or 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 25g pine nuts
  • 25g Parmesan or pecorino, grated
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1.6-1.8kg Whole chicken
  • 500g new potatoes, chopped in half
  • 1 courgette, use veg peeler to make ribbons
  • 200g green beans
  • 200g asparagus
  • 100g broad beans
  • 100g peas
  • 1tbsp plain flour

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees (fan)

Blitz the basil, oils, cheese, lemon juice and pine nuts in a blender until it forms a smooth sauce. You may need to add some more oil to get this consistency.
Place the chicken in a roasting tin and rub just under half of the pesto under the skin of the chicken. Put the used half of lemon in the chicken cavity, and place the tin in the middle of the oven.


After 45 minutes, add the potatoes to the roasting tin and cover the chicken in another tablespoon of the pesto. Put back in the oven for another 45 minutes.


Removing the chicken from the oven, check the juices of the chicken are clear and the meat is no longer pink in the middle, then leave to rest under tin foil.

Steam the green beans and asparagus for 3 minutes (in a microwave steamer – will take longer on the hob) then add the peas and broad beans for a further 2 minutes. Tip these into a bowl and add the courgette to the steamer and leave in the microwave for 1 minute, then add to the bowl with the rest of the veg.


Mix the flour with some cold water to make a paste.

Stir the remaining pesto into the chicken juices in the roasting tin, heat this on the hob and add the flour paste to thicken the sauce.


Add a tbsp of the pesto sauce to the vegetables and toss to cover.

Carve the chicken and serve with the potatoes and veggies, adding a spoonful of the pesto sauce to finish! Enjoy! 

Huevos Rancheros

This recipe is my version of a traditional Mexican breakfast. With beans, chorizo, avocado, tomatoes and topped with a fried egg, this breakfast is hearty, tasty and full of goodness!

This meal provides you with 2 of your 5 a day whilst being low in fat and high in protein AND its also a great source of folate, B vitamins and fibre.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 wholegrain tortilla wraps
  • 75g chorizo, diced
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 150g cooked Borlotti beans (Kidney beans or black beans would work just as well. I buy dried and cook them, but you can buy tinned that just need draining and rinsing)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp jalapeños, roughly chopped
  • 20g Low fat mature cheddar, grated
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Handful of tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • Small handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • Sriracha to serve

Method:

Add the chorizo, onion and garlic powder to a frying pan and cook on a medium heat until the onions have softened and the chorizo is releasing its oil. Then add the coriander and beans to the pan for a few minutes.

Leave the mix to heat through in the pan and put the tortilla wraps under the grill to lightly toast.

Once toasted, put the tortillas on a plate and top with the bean and chorizo mix and the jalapeños, avocado and tomatoes.

Fry two eggs in the pan that you cooked the bean mix in, and once cooked to your preference place these on top of everything else on the plate.

Serve with a sprinkling of cheese and the sriracha sauce.

Enjoy!

Mexican bean burgers

2 of your 5 a day, high in fibre and a great source of protein… and vegetarian!

Makes approx 6 burgers

Ingredients for the burgers:

  • 2x 400g tins of kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 red chilli, diced
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 2tsp garlic powder
  • 100g natural breadcrumbs (not golden or panko)
  • Black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp rapeseed oil

For the avocado salsa:

  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 200g tomatoes, diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Black pepper

For the yoghurt dressing:

  • 150g plain natural yoghurt
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Small handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Method:

Throw all of the burger ingredients into a food processor and blend until all ingredients are mixed together. Alternatively you can mix using your hands. If you do it this way, mash down the kidney beans a bit first.

Tip: The recipe makes about 6 burgers but any you don’t want to use can be put in the freezer for another day!

Add the oil to a pan and fry the burgers over a medium heat for approximately 10 minutes; flipping them midway through.

While the burgers are cooking you can make the salsa and dressing. Chop everything as per the recommendations in the ingredients list, mix them together and the accompaniments are ready!

Serve the burgers on their own or in wholemeal Pitta breads stuffed full of the salsa, lettuce (optional) and the dressing.

Enjoy!

Prawn, Beetroot & Quinoa salad

prawn-and-quinoa

Serves 2

Dressing:

  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh dill
  • 1tbsp Dijon mustard

Salad:

  • 90g White/red quinoa (cooked as per packet instructions)
  • 165g raw king prawns
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • Handful baby plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 70g olives, roughly chopped
  • 100g cooked beetroot (not pickled)
  • small bunch of parsley, finely chopped

prawn-and-quinoa-ingredients

Method:

Put all of the dressing ingredients into an old jar and shake to mix. This can keep in the fridge for 3 days.

In a large bowl mix together the cooked quinoa, tomatoes, olives, beetroot and parsley.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic.

When the shallots and garlic have softened, add the prawns and cook for 3-5 minutes until pink and just cooked through.

Plate up the quinoa mix and top with the prawns and a drizzle of the dressing. Enjoy!

Chicken, Chorizo & Butterbean Casserole

butterbean-stewThis recipe came about by accident one evening after a long day in work when I just fancied a bowl of something hot and cosy. Providing you with 1 of your 5 a day, and a healthy source of fibre and lean protein its also great the next day for lunch!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 300g skinless, boneless chicken thigh, diced
  • 100g spicy cooking chorizo, chopped
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 vegetable stock pot – made up into 400ml stock
  • 100ml red wine
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 orange pepper, sliced
  • 2tsp smoked paprika
  • 400g tinned butterbeans, drained and rinsed
  • handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 loaf of sourdough bread

Method:

Fry the chorizo in a casserole dish for 4-5 minutes until it has started to crisp and some oils have been released. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the chicken, onions, pepper and garlic to the pan. After a couple of minutes add the paprika. Fry until the chicken is golden on all sides and the onion and pepper softened.

Add the chorizo back into the pan along with the wine, tinned tomatoes and stock. Cover and leave to cook on a medium heat.

After 10 minutes remove the lid, add the butterbeans and continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the sauce has reduced to a soup-like consistency.

Stir through the fresh parsley and serve with the sourdough. Enjoy!

Asian marinated chicken with Egg fried rice

img_7329Ready in under 30 minutes, this meal is full of flavour whilst being low in fat and 1 of your 5 a day. This recipe also includes ginger and garlic which both boast potent immune powers. Ginger has proven anti inflammatory effects, and garlic has been used across the world to help fight infection for hundreds of years.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts, diced
  • 1tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1tbsp honey
  • 1tbsp fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 200g dried brown rice and quinoa blend (Quinoa is optional, but I buy a mixed bad of rice and quinoa from Tesco)
  • 1tsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 red peppers, sliced
  • 1 bunch spring onions, sliced
  • 300g fresh or frozen edamame (soya) beans, outer pods removed.
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into thin batons
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp toasted sesame oil
  • black pepper
  • 2tsp sesame seeds

Method:

Put the chicken in a bowl with the soy sauce, honey, ginger, chilli and garlic. Mix and leave to marinate whilst you chop the other vegetables.

Add the sesame seeds to a dry frying pan and leave to toast until fragrant and golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Cook the rice as per packet instructions. ( I chose to cook mine in a microwave steamer for 23 minute).

Fry the peppers, onions and carrots in the rapeseed oil for 3 minutes until they have softened slightly, add the edamame beans and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the chicken to the pan along with the marinade and cook for 5-8 minutes stirring regularly, until the chicken is cooked through.

By this point the rice should be cooked. Mix the two eggs in a bowl with the black pepper and add to a separate frying pan until its starts to cook. Add the rice and sesame oil, stirring to combine the egg with the rice. Remove from the heat when the egg is cooked.

Add the vegetables back into the pan with the chicken and stir to mix.

Serve the rice into pasta bowls and top with the chicken, veg, and toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!

TIP: If you want a vegan alternative, swap the chicken for tofu (and reduce cooking time to 3-4 minutes) and serve with plain rice instead of egg fried!

Orange & Mustard salmon with beetroot and lentils

orange and mustard salmon.JPGSalmon is a versatile and easy to cook fish. This simple dish provides a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamins A and C and zinc. Making this a perfect dish to give a boost to the immune system.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 large red onion sliced into wedges
  • 1tsp rapeseed oil
  • 2tbsp marmalade
  • 2tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 200g cooked beetroot
  • 1 x 250g pack ready-to-eat puy lentils ( I like Merchant Gourmet)
  • 1tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°c/gas mark 4.

In a small roasting tin, toss the onion wedges with oil and roast for 15 minutes until tender and softened.

Whilst the onions are cooking mix 1tbsp of the marmalade and 1tsp of the mustard and brush over the salmon.

Mix the remaining marmalade and mustard with the orange juice, red wine vinegar, and some black pepper. Add the puy lentils and beetroot, then stir to combine.

Add the lentil mix to the roasting tin, stirring in the onions. Then place the salmon on top.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through.

Plate up and sprinkle over the fresh parsley. Enjoy!