Chicken and chorizo hotpot

Chicken and chorizo hotpot

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.

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Provencale kingfish

Provencale kingfish

I love this time of year with the hint of spring starting.  Here is a favourite recipe adapted from an old delicious magazine  that I have made with salmon, snapper and kingfish.  Easy, fresh and perfect for topping up your omega-3s

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Tray Baked Salmon with Green Beans and Salsa Verde

Tray Baked Salmon with Green Beans and Salsa Verde

With the arrival of spring in Sydney I've had a craving for this Jamie Oliver inspired recipe.   Salmon is a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids which are inti-inflammatory and extremely beneficial to your health - they can help lower cholesterol, reduce high blood pressure,  and may reduce symptoms of arthritis and depression.  I've accompanied the salmon with salsa verde and some lovely roasted veggies.

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Product review - HIT 100

As a nutritionist people often come to see me for weight loss, glowing skin or extra energy.  These might be a measure we can see on the outside but  I believe it is far more important to invest in your internal health and do everything you can to reduce the risk of lifestyle diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.  Around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes, including silent, undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.  I wrote about pre-diabetes and insulin resistance here.  With more than 100,000 Australians having developed diabetes in the past year it is likely that you know someone living with diabetes.   

I first came across Hit100 when researching a university assignment looking at strategies for managing diabetes and insulin resistance.  Hit 100 is a meal delivery service catering specifically for people living with diabetes.  The meals have been developed by dietitians and prepared by chefs and are aimed at improving blood sugar levels. Hit100 were kind enough to offer me a few frozen meals to try.

We tried:

  • chicken tikka marsala

  • hearty beef stew

  • pumpkin and ricotta lasagna

There are plenty of other choices on the hit100 website including some great looking breakfast and lunch options like corn fritters and oat and berry pikelets.

What are they?

The Hit100 meals are based on the latest healthy eating guidelines containing non-starchy vegetables, good quality carbohydrates, healthy fats and lean proteins.  These are the guidelines we all should be following - whether or not we have insulin resistance, diabetes or not.

If you have diabetes you don't need to avoid carbohydrates - carbohydrates play an essential role in your diet as they are the main source of energy your bodies rely on to function optimally. Many carbohydrate based foods are also a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals, which all act together to keep us healthy. 

How did they taste?

I heated the dishes in our oven (microwave for 5 mins is also an option) for 35 minutes and tried the meals with my two teenage kids.  We enjoyed all the meals with the favourite being the hearty beef stew closely followed by the chicken tikka marsala.  What I loved was the generous serve of veggies on the side.  I was concerned that the veggies would not heat up well in the oven but they had a delicious lemon salsa on them and were all eaten up.  

I liked that the meals had a decent amount of protein (17 for the lasagne to 29 for the beef stew) and you could see real pieces of chicken and beef.  The sodium levels are less than 120mg/100g which means they are considered as low in salt.  The portion size was ideal for a woman, an active teenager or man might like these for lunch or need some extra veggies at dinner.

When would I use these?

While I am a big fan of cooking and believe you can put together a quick healthy dinner in less than 20 minutes, I realise not everyone likes cooking and also sometimes even 20 minutes is too much to ask.  These are a great option to have in the the freezer and much much healthier than takeaway pad-thai.  I also think they would be a great option to get for an older parent or friend who might not enjoy cooking for themselves.  

Want to know more?

You can head over to the Hit100 website and try an introbox.  

Want to know more?

You can head over to Hit100's website and try an introbox - which is a great taste tester of what they're all about.  For $69.95 you’ll get:
+ 5 main meals
+ 2 mini meals
+ 2 breakfasts
+ 2 yoghurts

Enter coupon: ‘racheleagleton10’ at checkout to receive this exclusive $10.00 discount (valued at $79.95)!

* As mentioned Hit100 provided these meals free to me for my review.  I only post reviews of products that I like and am happy to use. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely mine. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

 

Diwali Masala Ginger Prawn Curry

Diwali Masala Ginger Prawn Curry

Happy Diwali!  Diwali is  the Indian festival of lights - and signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.  Let's celebrate by sharing a meal together - here's a beautiful prawn curry that I learnt how to make  when I lived in Singapore. The flavours are very fresh with a beautiful pop of mint.

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Quinoa Tabouli

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Did you know that quinoa is a complete protein which means it contains all the essential amino acids?  It's  also a rich source of B vitamins, a good source of carbohydrates and easy to digest.  For these reasons  it is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration human occupied space flights! If you've had a quinoa fail before it might be because you haven't washed off the bitter tasting saponins on the outside of the quinoa.  Lightly rubbing the quinoa under running water gets rid of the saponins and improves the flavour.

With the lovely warm weather we've been enjoying a tabouli salad most nights.  I cook a cup of quinoa and use about 2/3 in the salad and then use the leftover quinoa for quick salads for lunch.

I like to serve the salad for dinner with some seared lamb loin fillets marinated in a little lemon and olive oil, perhaps a touch of sumac or smoked paprika. For a portable lunch the next day the salad is delicious with some feta or almonds.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1.75 cups of water
  • pinch of salt
  • generous handful of parsley, leaves picked, roughly chopped
  • generous handful of mint, leaves picked, roughly chopped
  • two big handfuls of baby spinach
  • 4 spring onions, white part only, chopped
  • 2 lebanese cucumbers, halved lengthways and chopped
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Seeds from half a pomegranate (optional)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (optional, if you don't have it omit, do not substitute!)

METHOD

  1. Soak the quinoa for 15 minutes in plenty of water. Drain in a fine wire colander and gently rub the seeds to remove any saponins.
  2. Combine the quinoa with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt.
  3. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes, partly covered. The quinoa is cooked when the grain starts to spiral.
  4. Drain any remaining water.
  5. Leave in the saucepan with a clean tea towel or paper towel between the saucepan and the lid for 5 minutes or so. You'll need about 2/3 of the cooked quinoa for the tabouli, the rest will keep in the fridge for 48 hours.
  6. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of black pepper. Add half of the dressing to the quinoa.
  7. Put spinach, herbs, spring onion, tomatoes and cucumber in a salad bowl. Add the quinoa. Toss and add remaining dressing. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds to serve.

Serves 4

Thai style beef salad

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This is how I like to eat in summer - a big salad topped with delicious steak.  I discovered this salad when I was pregnant as I was trying to increase my iron stores and eat lots of leafy greens.  It's now a firm family favourite and perfect for my teenage children who need zinc and iron for growth, energy and immunity.

GF, LF, FF - see below for notes

ingredients

  • 400 g lean beef (I like sirloin or porterhouse)
  • plenty of black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 2 large handfuls asian salad mix or baby spinach leaves
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 20 green beans, sugar snap peas or snow peas, blanched
  • 2 red capsicums,sliced
  • 2 Lebanese / Japanese cucumbers sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 small bunch coriander picked
  • 1 small bunch mint picked
  • Cashews to sprinkle over

Dressing

  • juice from 2-3 limes
  • 1 sliced red chilli (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoon palm sugar (or castor sugar)

METHOD

  1. Season the steak with the pepper and cook in a hot pan with a little olive oil until medium rare. Remove from the pan, cover loosely and allow to rest for about 5 minutes then slice thinly.
  2. Combine the salad leaves, tomatoes, green beans, capsicum, cucumber, onion and herbs.
  3. Add the sliced beef.
  4. Make the dressing by mixing the lime juice, chilli, fish sauce and sugar.
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix through. Top with a small handful of cashews.
  6. Divide between serving bowls and enjoy. Lean chicken breast, grilled fish or grilled firm tofu can be used in place of the beef.

Serves 4

GF - check fish sauce,

FF (FODMAP friendly) - substitute green tops of spring onion for onion, limit portion of snow peas to five pods, substitute peanuts for cashews

 

 

Cauliflower and broccolini fried rice served with pickled cucumber

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A vegetable hack I've been using a lot lately is to mix in half cauliflower rice with our brown basmati.  Tonight I'm sharing my cauliflower fried rice which is a huge hit. I serve it with quickly pickled cucumber, a fried egg and some tamari almonds. I did wonder how the "rice" would be received - see picture below, but mixed in with aromatic ginger and coriander plus the colour somewhat disguised by turmeric no-one gave it a second thought!

cauli2

Cauliflower is a fantastic vegetable being a source of cancer-fighting agents (glucosinolates).   I've been using a lot of turmeric in my recipes recently as the active ingredient -curcumin - as it has been linked to warding off dementia and preventing cancer.  The AIS is investigating the anti-inflammatory properties for use as a sports supplement.

(I am listing this a vegetarian, but you'll need to take out the ham)

Cauliflower and broccolini fried rice with ginger and turmeric

Serves:

4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower

  • 1 bunch broccolini

  • 200g packet of pre-cooked brown basmati rice

  • 2 french shallots

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 2 cm piece of ginger

  • 1 red chilli (seeds removed)

  • 1 bunch of coriander

  • 100g ham

  • 2-3 tab tamari

  • 2-3 tsp tomato sauce (I use sugar free)

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • shallots to serve

  • fried egg to serve

  • cucumber pickle to serve

method

  1. In a food processor or by hand pulse together the cauliflower florets and broccolini. Remove and set aside.

  2. In food processor or by hand chop the shallots, garlic, ginger, chilli and coriander.

  3. In a heavy bottom frypan or wok fry the processed shallot mixture in a tsp or so of coconut oil or olive oil. Stir fry for 3 minutes then add ham and fry for another minute or so.

  4. Add pulsed cauliflower, broccolini and rice and fry for another minute.

  5. Add turmeric, paprika, tamari and tomato sauce and fry for a few minutes.

  6. I like to serve with a fried egg, some pickled cucumber, a squeeze of lime and some tamari almonds

  7. Make a quick cucumber pickle by slicing up 2 cucumbers, pour over a little rice wine vinegar, a squeeze of lime juice and a tsp of sugar.

Have you been thinking for a while that you would love to find out more about your gut health or why your weight won’t shift no matter what you do? Or maybe you just want to feel less bloated, have more energy and understand what food you are meant to be eating?

I’m offering a free 15 minute call to work out a nutrition action plan to get you feeling your best. There are no commitments just a friendly chat so we can work out if I’m the right person to help you reach your health goals.

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 private online or in person consultations to improve your family's health and well-being. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram for more healthy tips and tricks. 

Simon's baked beans

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Having a rustle around in the freezer I found the ham bone I had saved from Christmas.  I asked my husband to make his amazing baked beans and he also wrote down the recipe as we can never quite remember how he makes them.  These make a delicious breakfast, lunch or easy dinner.  You can cook an egg in the bean mixture as well.  If you don't have a frozen ham bone left over from Christmas then you can get a ham hock from the butcher or make a vegetarian version. A diet rich in legumes such as cannellini beans  is associated with lowered blood sugar and reduced harmful LDL cholesterol.   They’ve been linked to reduced risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon and other cancers, as well as improved weight control.  Plus my kids love eating them!

Ingredients

  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 red onions roughly chopped.
  • Splash of olive oil
  • Ham bone (frozen from after Christmas) or ham hock.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 x 400gm tin of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp of smokey paprika
  • 1 tsp of dried chilli flakes (this gives it just a hint of heat but up to you)
  • 1 tsp of dry mustard powder
  • 4 x 400gm tins of Cannellini Beans (drained and rinse beans from 3 of the tins, but use liquid and beans from 4th)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 160 deg C.
  2. Fry up garlic, onions and oil over a medium to high heat (choose a big pot that is also able to go in oven). Whack in the ham bone. Pour in 2 tins of tomatoes and the bay leaves. Then add the maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, and spices.
  3. Drain the beans in a sieve and rinse off the briney liquid from 3 of the tins, but chuck liquid and beans from the 4th. Give it all a stir.
  4. Check seasoning but probably could do with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Cover and put the pot in the oven for a 1 1/2 hrs.
  6. I like to cook it the beans long enough so that the meat has fallen off the ham bone but not so long the dish becomes too dry. I switch off oven and just leave the pot in until I'm ready to serve.
  7. Dish it up with crusty bread and green salad

You can also cook this in the slow cooker on low for 4 hours.  

Serves 8

Salmon, mussel and fennel stew

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I love a fish stew and this is my simple one.  After watching a documentary last year about the fish farms in Vietnam I only buy Australian fish that has been sustainably farmed.  You can buy cleaned bearded mussels in the supermarket.  Mussels are a good source of omega -3 fatty acids.  These fats have many beneficial effects, including improving brain function and reducing inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis. Mussels are also a great source of vitamins such as zinc which helps build immunity.  Plus they are fun to eat, the kids love them! http://gty.im/175816512

Salmon, mussel and fennel stew

Author: rachel

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 10 mins

Total time: 20 mins

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 bulb of fennel

  • 1 red onion

  • ½– fresh red chilli

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • olive oil

  • 125 ml white wine

  • 700 g passata

  • 1 small bunch of fresh basil

  • 400 g mixture of fish fillets, scaled and pin-boned. I used salmon but snapper or whiting would be good. Cut into large chunks

  • 1kg mussels scrubbed, clean and debearded

Instructions

  1. In a large, deep frypan (with lid) heat a splash of olive oil. Finely slice the fennel, onion, chill and garlic and add to the pan. Saute for 5 to 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened.

  2. Add the white wine and let it simmer for a couple of minutes then add the passata and most of the basil (chopped). Simmer for a few minutes.

  3. Add the fish and simmer for a couple of minutes

  4. Add the mussels. Put the lid on the frypan and allow the mussels to open. When the mussels have opened (throw away any that remain closed), the fish will be cooked through (roughly four minutes).

  5. Serve with crusty bread and a big green salad.

3.3.3077

 

Oven baked sausages with ratatouille

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This is a fabulous recipe for a night where you are tired - the oven can do all the work.  Our oven has a reliable oven timer so I often pop this on to cook while I am driving around to pick the kids up from rugby practice etc.  It won't spoil if you leave it in the oven for 10 more minutes.  You can vary the veggies depending on what the team will eat and also add a tin of cannellini beans to make a cheats' cassoulet.

LF, GF

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion

  • 1 whole head garlic

  • 1 medium eggplant

  • 2 zucchinis

  • 2 red capsicums

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 x 400g tins canned tomatoes

  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme and rosemary leaves

  • sea salt

  • black pepper

  • 6 good quality pork sausages

  • 1 x 400g tin cannellini beans (optional)

  • 12 kalamata olives, unpitted

  • fresh rosemary and thyme for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200C

  2. Cut the onion into quarters, and the head of garlic in half crosswise.

  3. Cut the eggplant into half and then rounds, the zucchinis into diagonal slices and the capsicums into thick slices, discarding core and seeds.

  4. Arrange in a large oiled baking tray, burying the garlic halves cut-side down. Add the canned tomatoes and their juices, and a dash of water.

  5. Tuck in the pricked sausages, drizzle with olive oil and scatter with thyme and rosemary, sea salt and pepper.

  6. Bake for 30 minutes, then add the zucchini and turn the sausages. Cook for another 15 minutes, until the veggies are cooked and sausages are browned.

  7. To serve, scatter with olives, rosemary and thyme. Squeeze the roasted garlic on top, and drizzle with the pan juices.

Serves 4

Calories: 290 Fat:16g Saturated fat:4 Carbohydrates:28g Fiber:9g Protein:12g

 

Roasted tomato and white bean soup

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Today I've got two sick children so I'm making soup for dinner.  Soup, particularly vegetable based soups are a great option nutritionally as they combine lots of key nutrients including vitamins and minerals for relatively few calories.  Tonight's soup is full of tomatoes, my son is happy to eat this although he will "never, ever eat a tomato". Tomatoes are a wonderful source of vitamin B6, C, K, beta-carotene, potassium and manganese. The lycopene in tomatoes has been linked to lower rates of heart disease and cancer.

Ingredients

  • 1kg tomatoes, quartered or halved depending on size. I like a mixture of truss and romas.

  • 1 red onion, peeled and quartered

  • 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 tab maple syrup

  • 400g tin cannelini beans, drained and rinsed

  • 250 - 500 ml water to taste

  • Pesto to serve

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200degrees.

  2. Put tomatoes, garlic and onion in a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup. Season to taste.

  3. Roast for 45 minutes or until vegetables are soft

  4. Squish garlic out of skin, and discard skin. Add all vegetables and juice to saucepan.

  5. Add the canellini beans and process the mixture with a stick blender.

  6. Add water (I tend to use closer to 250 ml as I like a thick soup) and heat through gently.

  7. Serve with a dollop of pesto

Click here for more simple, healthy and family friendly recipes

 

Cauliflower and potato mash

Cauliflower and potato mash

It's not that I hide veggies from my children, it's just that they haven't asked what's in my mash!  By adding in some cauliflower into my mash I can get an extra serve of veggies in with our dinner.   Potatoes have been given such a bad rap, but they are a great source of fibre and a range of vitamins and minerals.  Cauliflower is high in antioxidants and a great source of vitamin C.

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Jamie Oliver's green curry of prawns

Jamie Oliver's green curry of prawns

We were lucky enough to see Jamie Oliver present at the Sydney Opera House on the weekend.  One of the delicious dishes he prepared was a beautiful fresh green curry.  Green curry is one of Australia's most popular take away dishes.  Jamie's version which I made last night took about 20 minutes (quicker than take-away!) and included lots of beautiful green vegetables.

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Baked eggs, spinach and ricotta in prosciutto cups

eggproscooked

These make a delicious brunch and are perfect for lunch boxes.  My children enjoy them after an early morning swim squad or netball session and I love knowing I've got them in the fridge or freezer for an easy lunch.

Baked eggs, spinach and ricotta in prosciutto cups

Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs

  • 6 slices of prosciutto

  • baby spinach

  • ricotta

  • chopped herbs - parsley, basil and oregano (or herbs of choice)

  • sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

  • muffin liners - optional but does help with cleaning up

method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

  2. If using, line 6 muffin pans.

  3. Cut each slice of Prosciutto in half and wrap into each cup to hold the egg mixture.

  4. Put a few baby spinach leaves on top of the prosciutto

  5. Crack in an egg to each muffin cup. Add a heaped teaspoon of ricotta.

  6. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and chopped herbs.

  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until done.

Calories: 188 (792kJ) Fat: 12 Saturated fat: 5 Carbohydrates: 3 Sugar: 0 Sodium: 776 Protein: 19

eggprosciuttobefore

Lamb with lentils, feta and mint

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IMG_4519

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Given the choice I am sure everyone in my family would be able to eat at least 4 or 5 lamb cutlets at a go.  However they are expensive and we just don't need to be eating such large amounts of protein at the expense of vegetables and pulses.  Lentils are a great way to balance out the proportion of meat to non-meat on your plate.  This is a delicious quick dinner and if you are having vegetarian guests you can increase the lentil salad size.  While you are prepping dinner you can add another tin of lentils and increase the quantities of tomatoes, cucumbers and feta and prepare a quick lentil salad for lunch the next day.

Lamb with lentils, feta and mint

Author:

rachel

Prep time:

10 mins

Cook time:

15 mins

Total time:

25 mins

Serves:

4

Ingredients

  • 250g punnet cherry tomatoes

  • 2 tab olive oil

  • 12 kalamata olives, pitted

  • 12 lamb cutlets, frenched

  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

  • 400g can lentils, rinsed, drained

  • 1 lebanese cucumber diced

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 50g sheeps' milk feta, crumbled

  • 2 tablespoons mint leaves

  • 200g baby spinach

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C.

  2. Toss tomatoes in 2 teaspoons oil, season and place on a baking tray. Roast for 15 minutes until soft.

  3. Meanwhile, rub lamb with rosemary and 2 teaspoons oil. Season, then cook in a frypan over medium-high heat for 4 minutes or until browned. Turn and cook for a further 3 minutes for medium-rare, or until done to your liking.

  4. Rest the lamb, covered loosely in foil, while you warm lentils in a small pan of simmering water for 5 minutes. Drain lentils and toss with diced cucumber, lemon juice and remaining tablespoon of oil. Season.

  5. To serve, place baby spinach on platter, scatter lentils on top, top with slices of lamb and scatter with feta, tomatoes, olives and fresh mint.

Calories:

405 (1704 kJ)

Fat:

25

Saturated fat:

7

Carbohydrates:

13.7

Sodium:

382

Fiber:

6.3

Protein:

29

3.3.3077

Rosemary chicken with pesto pasta

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.

taken from Jamie Oliver's 15 minute meals

taken from Jamie Oliver's 15 minute meals

Rosemary chicken with pesto pasta

Adapted from Jamie Oliver 15 Minute Meals, Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 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 lemon

  • 1 clove of garlic

  • 250g dried pasta, pappardelle is nice

  • 200g baby spinach

METHOD

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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. 


Lamb cutlets with chili and black olives

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Today I thought I'd share another gorgeous Nigella recipe from her Express Kitchen cookbook.  I marinate these in 2 bags, one with chili for the adults and one without for the kids.

 

Lamb cutlets with chili and black olives

Author: rachel

Ingredients

  • 12 lamb cutlets

  • 1 x 15ml tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons for frying

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • Zest and juice of 1 small lemon

  • 1 teaspoon Maldon salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt

  • 15 black olives, pitted and sliced

  • 1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. Layer the lamb chops between clingfilm and flatten gently with a rolling pin or mallet. Unwrap and place the chops in a large dish, so that they all fit in a single layer.

  2. Pour the 4 tablespoons of oil over the chops and add the sliced garlic, chilli flakes, oregano, lemon zest and juice. Sprinkle with the salt and the olives, then turn the rib chops in the marinade so that both sides are coated.

  3. Cover and leave the lamb to marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature.

  4. Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large heavy-based frying pan, and add the chops, scraping off the marinade before you put them in the pan. (Reserve the marinade.) Fry them for a couple of minutes a side on quite a high heat so that they take on some colour.

  5. Turn the heat down to medium and pour the reserved marinade into the pan over the now coloured chops. Add 2 tablespoons or so of water and cook for about 5 minutes for rare cutlets or a little longer if you like your lamb well done (this will also depend on the thickness of the chops).

  6. Transfer the chops to a serving plate, pour over the juices from the pan and sprinkle with the chopped red chilli, should you feel like enhancing the dried chilli with the pep of fresh.

3.5.3208

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NIgella's moonblush tomatoes

Here's a Nigella Lawson recipe that I use to turn supermarket tomatoes into gorgeous tomatoes.  I love to serve them on some salad leaves with slices of chevre and a few basil leaves.  Or delicious on the side of some grilled fish.  They take no time to prepare but it's best to make them the day before (or the morning before) you plan to eat them.  However I've had great results just from 30 minutes in the oven rather than overnight.

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Ingredients

  • 500g (about 24) on-the-vine cherry or other baby tomatoes

  • 2 teaspoons Maldon salt or 1 teaspoon table salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 x 15ml tablespoons olive oil

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7.

  2. Cut the tomatoes in half and sit them cut side up in an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with the salt, sugar, thyme and olive oil.

  3. Put them in the oven, and immediately turn it off. Leave the tomatoes in the oven overnight or for a day without opening the door.

 

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White bean puree - a mashed potato substitute

This is a very easy to make white bean puree which the whole family enjoys.  We have it with quickly cooked steaks and grilled asparagus.  It works as a mashed potato substitute and I am always happy to find ways  to use more legumes.

photo by Liz Parsons

White bean puree - a mashed potato substitute

Serves:

2 (generous)

Ingredients

  • 1 can cannelini beans (I always use the italian ones - they seem softer and also don't contain additives)

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1/3 cup chicken stock

  • 1 slice lemon rind

Method

  1. Simmer the beans,garlic and lemon rind in the stock for about 5 mins.

  2. Remove the lemon rind and puree with a stick blender. Once blended add 1/2 tab olive oil and quickly whiz again.