This is one of our favourite meals which cooks itself while I drive my kids to rugby or swimming practice. I usually make enough for two nights, the second night I serve this with basmati rice and it tastes a bit paella-ish. The red capsicums (sweet peppers) are rich in vitamin C, and high in antioxidants such as beta-carotene, helping to promote vision and support a healthy immune system.Read More
This is our new family favourite, midweek pasta meal. If you don't want pasta it is just as good over zucchini noodles. For a warm lunch the next day I like to put in a tin of drained cannellini beans to the sauce mixture to increase the fibre content and make enough for left overs. Depending on how much energy I have at dinner time I either serve with a big salad or stir a large handful of spinach leaves through the sauce at the end. I get four types of veggies into this dish, plus chicken thigh fillets which are a good source of iron.Read More
I adore chicken sates and gado-gado, both firm favourites from learning Indonesian at school and many many visits to our northern neighbour. I love gado-gado as a fantastic way of having a filling salad at dinner with plenty left over for lunch the next day. Here's my recipe, adjust it to suit your favourite veggies.
- 600 gm, chicken, cubed
- 1 onion
- 2 tab lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- sml knob of ginger peeled
- 1-2 fresh red chillis (seeded if you don’t want it too hot)
- 1/3 cup tamari
- 1 tab brown sugar
- 270ml coconut milk
- ½ cup 100% crunchy peanut butter
- 3 handfuls baby spinach
- 4 soft boiled eggs
- 6 new potatoes, boiled until soft, about 10 mins
- 2 carrots
- big handful of green beans
- 2 lebanese cucumbers, cut into long batons
- bean shoots
- In a food processor blitz the onion, garlic, ginger, chili. Mix in the tamari, lemon juice and sugar. Add to a ziplock bag with the chicken pieces. Leave to marinate for a couple of hours in the fridge. Soak 12 bamboo skewers.
- Prepare your gado-gado salad by assembling the veggies that you like, I’ve included a suggested list in the ingredients, but use the gado-gado to clean up your fridge. You can also include quickly fried firm tofu pieces.
- Remove the chicken pieces from marinade (reserve the marinade) and thread onto the skewers.
- Pour the reserved marinade into a saucepan, add the coconut milk and peanut butter. Bring to the boil and heat through until thickened. Taste and adjust for lemon juice, tamari and chili.
- Barbecue the chicken for 6 minutes or so until they are browned and cooked through. Serve sates with the gado-gado salad.
The weather is warming up in Sydney so I am making some quick chicken fajitas featuring lime and capsicum (peppers). This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson's "Kitchen". Capsicums (red peppers) are low in fat, carbs and calories and high in antioxidants such as beta-carotene a precursor to vitamin A, helping to promote vision and support a healthy immune system. Capsicum is also packed full of vitamin C and their sweet flavour means they are a favourite with kids.
- 2 skinless chicken breasts, sliced into long strips (or you can use precut stirfry chicken)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 tab extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 capsicums (red, yellow or orange) cored and cut into strips
- hot chilli sauce, avocado, baby spinach, coriander leaves, 4 soft wholegrain tortillas (to serve)
- Combine the chicken with the oregano, cumin and lime juice. Leave to marinade while you slice up the onion and capsicum. Pop the tortillas in a low warm oven
- In a frying pan, saute the onion over medium heat with a little olive oil and one crushed garlic clove for five minutes. Add the capsicum to the frypan and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and put in a bowl.
- Add the remaining 1/2 tab of olive oil and other crushed garlic clove to the pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and its marinade. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Check that the chicken is piping hot and cooked through, then add the onions and capsicum. Stir together, then transfer them to a serving dish.
- Take the warmed tortillas out of the oven and put them on the table alongside the chicken mixture, chilli sauce, avocado, baby spinach leaves and chopped coriander for everyone to assemble.
My basil plant is looking very healthy at the moment and as soon as I brush past and smell it I immediately think of pesto. A huge bowl of pasta topped with an oily pesto isn't a great dinner, but in his "15 minute meals" Jamie Oliver has a wonderful pesto pasta served with chicken and a wide variety of veggies which is a much better balance for dinner. I have changed this recipe around a bit as I find in the 15 and 30 minute meals Jamie jumps all over the place and I need to cook in a more orderly fashion! This is a meal that my children adore and I like to serve it the night before a cross country carnival or rugby comp. I often add in some zucchini noodles along with the pasta. Green beans and spinach are a wonderful source of dietary fibre which help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels and helps prevent bowel cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Best of all fibre helps you feel fuller for longer, helping you manage your weight more easily. Chicken breast, almonds and parmesan are all good sources of protein which keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
Rosemary chicken with pesto pasta
Adapted from Jamie Oliver 15 Minute Meals, Serves: 4-6
2x 200g skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tbsp olive oil
4- 5 cloves of garlic
punnet ripe cherry tomatoes
Pasta & Pesto
250g green beans
1 big bunch of fresh basil
50g blanched almonds
50g parmesan cheese
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic
250g dried pasta, pappardelle is nice
200g baby spinach
Put the basil leaves, almonds, parmesan, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice into a food processor and blitz until smooth. You might need a spoonful of pasta cooking water (see step 5) to loosen.
Cut the chicken breast horizontally in half so that it is butterflied out. Season your chicken with salt, pepper, fennel seeds and rosemary leaves over greaseproof paper and then bash to flatten with a rolling pin. Put it in to the frying pan with your olive oil and the bashed, unpeeled garlic cloves. You will need to turn it after about 4 minutes and cook until golden.
Cook your pasta in a large saucepan according to packet directions. Trim your beans, and add them to the pasta for the last 5 minutes.
Halve your cherry tomatoes, add them to the chicken and shake the pan. Stir the spinach into your pasta pan and drain but reserve a little of the water.
Return everything to the pan, pour in your pesto and splash in the water until smooth and silky. Slice your chicken breasts in half and serve with the tomatoes on top.
Rachel is a university qualified Clinical Nutritionist based in Balmain. She is also the busy working mum of two teenagers, so is practical and realistic with her advice . Rachel offers in person or online consultations to improve your family's health and well-being. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram for more healthy tips and tricks.
This soup needs to be cooked when you have a bit of time on your hands as it takes about an hour to put together but you can just taste how nourishing it is. I cooked it on a hot summer day in Sydney that had started off with a cool, overcast morning, can't wait to enjoy it on a cold winter's day. This soup was based on a recipe by Jane Strode.
Chicken, barley and lentil soup
1 hour 15 mins
⅓ cup (80ml) olive oil
2 brown onions, finely sliced
6 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 cup pearl barley
1.5L chicken stock
1 cup French green (puy) lentils
6 dried bay leaves
20 sprigs thyme
4 chicken thigh fillets, sliced
2 handfuls baby spinach
Sear the chicken until browned all over for about 5 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside. Place oil, onions and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat. Season with pepper and cook until soft and starting to colour, about 20mins.
Add barley and stock, bring to a simmer and cook a further 10mins. Add lentils, bay leaves and thyme; cook a further 20mins or until lentils and barley are tender. Add chicken and season with salt. Cook a further 5mins or until chicken is just cooked through.
To serve, warm soup over medium heat, add spinach and cook until just wilted. Garnish with a dollop of pesto (see note).
Place leftover soup in small zip-lock bags and freeze – the single serves are convenient for work lunches or a quick dinner. Add extra spinach and pesto just before serving. Will keep for up to 6 weeks.
To make pesto, place 1 cup basil leaves, ½ cup pine nuts, ¼ cup grated parmesan and 2 cloves garlic in a food processor and blend to a smooth paste. Gradually add 1/4 cup (70ml) extra virgin olive oil, processing to combine. Place in a clean container, cover with a little extra oil and refrigerate. Will keep for up to 4 weeks.[br]Prep: 20mins. Cooking: 1hr 5mins. Makes 2L.