Well it’s taken me a while to get back into blogging again and I have done so on one condition – I had to join Slimming World.
You see, for every recipe on this blog, I make and test it three times. Now my hubby doesn’t eat desserts or cakes and I don’t want to be giving them to my kids every other day so ….. Well you guessed it. I was eating my fair share and giving the rest away to my hubby’s co-workers. Not the ideal way to live a healthy lifestyle.
So Slimming World it is for the foreseeable future and hopefully more healthy meals on the blog with the occasional treat (or two).
This recipe for a one pot chicken chilli is a delicious family dinner and so tasty. It is one of those meals that gets the juices flowing as it simmers away on the stove top. It is hard to resist and that comes from someone who had to resist while taking these photos.
I love using spices when I am watching the calories and one of my most pinned recipes is my chickpea and spinach curry so I thought this chicken chilli would be a good one to share with you.
I have stated that each portion is equivalent to 2 Syns and that is because I choose to use olive oil to fry the onions and peppers. I just find it easier than trying to use the low calorie spray. I do use it for browning the chicken though.
If you have more success with the Fry Light oil then you could leave out the olive oil and use the low cal spray and the chicken chilli would be completely Syn free.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
1. The reason the preparation time is so long on this recipe is because I use chicken thighs which tend to have quite a bit of fat on them. I take the time to trim this all off but if you wanted to save some time you could use chicken breasts which are much leaner. You would however compromise on the taste and tenderness of the meat.
2. I would try and get as much colour on the chicken in the browning process because chicken thighs can look a bit dull and grey if you leave this process out.
3. I have stated 300ml of chicken stock (I use 1 stock cube) but this will depend on the pan you use, if you use gas or electricity and how fast your simmer rate is. If the sauce looks too dry towards the end of cooking time – add more water. If there is too much liquid – take the lid off and simmer for a couple more minutes until you get the correct consistency.
4. How spicy do you like it? This is a difficult one to put down in a recipe because there are so many different varieties of chillies out there. I use a medium strength chilli but if you’re not sure then try with one less and add more the next time you make it.
I am very honoured (and proud) to have two guest bloggers today. They are Sean, who is 7 years old and Kirsty who is 5 years old and as you can probably guess they are my children.
It is half term holidays at the moment and the weather has been so bad that the kids have been stuck indoors for the last couple of days. It was while I was cooking lunch that my son asked if he could make dessert and then put it on my blog. At first I said no but then thought why not. It would give them something constructive to do and pass a couple of hours. I often make these pink and white fruit kebabs as they are perfect for after a heavy meal, they’re healthy and look pretty on the plate too. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making your own strawberry sauce then just use 120g pureed strawberries and mix with 90g of strawberry yoghurt and 2 tblsp of double cream.
While I was getting everything ready, my son came up with the idea of doing a video. I have no idea how to edit videos so this is the original unedited version.
Just a bit of fun on a cold and wet day.
PS Apologies to my kids for cutting their heads off at the end of the video.
I’m off to count how many times my son says ‘pop it’ 🙂
Half term is over and Spring is just around the corner. I’m already starting to think of lighter, fresher meal options and this chickpea and spinach curry is one of my favourites. It’s packed full of flavour and is so quick and easy to make. A perfect mid-week meal – although I must admit that my kids are not yet convinced that ‘ the green stuff’ is edible.
Yield: 4 portions if served with rice or 2 portions if served without rice
1 tblsp ghee or sunflower oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
a small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 tsps. curry powder
2 tsps. garam masala
1 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tin (380g) chickpeas, drained
1 tin (390g) chopped tomatoes
4 medium sized (300g) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
400 - 500ml vegetable stock
½ tsp salt
100g fresh spinach
Heat the ghee/oil in a large pan. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until softened.
Add all the spices and cook for a further 1 minute.
Add the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas, potatoes, salt and about half of the vegetable stock. Stir well and simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked adding more stock as needed.
Add the spinach and cook for a further couple of minutes or until the spinach has wilted.
This chickpea and spinach curry is a substantial and delicious meal but it is also an extremely low cost main meal option which I am going to submit to this month’s Credit Crunch Munch challenge which is run by Camilla over at Fab Food 4 All and Helen of Fuss Free Flavours and which is being hosted by myself this month. I’m also going to submit to Recipe of the Week over at A Mummy Too
As this is also a healthy, low fat meal I am going to submit the recipe over to The Spice Trail’s latest challenge which is Temple Food.
Normally I do my blogging on a Thursday or Friday when I’m at home by myself. Not so this month as both kids are at home on holiday. They are both quite good at entertaining themselves but nevertheless it is still just a bit more hectic than usual. I had a small window of opportunity this morning before I had to take the kids to swimming lessons and thought I would quickly rustle up these delicious little treats of avocado and chocolate truffles. All went to plan – kids playing contentedly outside while I played with melted chocolate and dusty cocoa powder inside. That was until the kids popped their heads indoors and spied the bowls of melted chocolate. By this time I was taking my photographs and was quite engrossed in what I was doing and gave a few vague nods when asked if they could lick the bowls. Kids quiet – I carried on with my photos. Most of my photos are taken next to an open door in the dining room and what I hadn’t realised was how windy it was today. Dusty cocoa powder sprinkled over a board with a gust of wind equals dusty cocoa powder all over cream floor tiles. By this time I’m starting to watch the clock so no time to clean up. Another dusting of cocoa powder is added to my board and off we go. Kids run outside – barefoot – through the cocoa powder. Next time I looked at the clock we had exactly 10 minutes to get ready. The kids were called in from the garden only for me to discover they were covered in chocolate and cocoa powder. A quick wipe over, toilet check and we were out the door in 10 minutes. I patted myself on the back for arriving on time, got the kids changed, another toilet check and made our way out to the pool past the wash hand basin with the mirror placed conveniently above it. What! What did I just see? I stepped back to take another look in the mirror and was horrified to find that I had a generous helping of cocoa powder on my face and through my hair. “Why didn’t you tell me?” I shrieked at the kids. “Well, you always look like that” was the response. There is not much you can say to that. I found myself a little corner and hoped nobody would notice as I sat and picked and wiped away chocolate from head to foot.
Reminiscent of watching a chimp in a zoo, I’m sure.
I first came across the idea of combining chocolate and avocado from one of my favourite blogs, Strands of My Life. I have adapted Suzanne’s cupcake topping slightly by adding the melted chocolate to make a lovely rich truffle mixture which is much healthier that the traditional full cream version. The only downside to using avocado is that the mixture doesn’t keep for very long – a couple of days at the most.
Melt half (75g) of the chocolate in a microwave or over a pan of boiling water.
Remove the flesh from the avocado and place in a small food processor.
Add the melted chocolate, cocoa powder, honey and vanilla essence and blend to a smooth consistency. (**Note** make sure to taste at this stage. You should not be able to taste the avocado and if you do you will need to adjust the amount of chocolate you are using. It will all depend on the size and variety of avocado you use.)
Place in a shallow dish and refrigerate for 20 minutes or until the mixture is firm enough to handle.
Just before removing the mixture from the fridge, melt the remaining chocolate as before.
Using a teaspoon take enough mixture and roll between your hands to form a ball. You might find it easier to dust your hands with some additional cocoa powder to stop the mixture sticking to your hands.
Dip in the melted chocolate and place on a baking tray which has been lined with baking paper.
Decorate with sea salt flakes, chilli or drizzle with white chocolate.
I’ve spoken before about my love for hot, spicy food and this lamb kofta curry is one of my favourite midweek curries.
The kofta mixture is very versatile – make small meatballs, shallow fry them in oil and serve with chutney or a yoghurt dip as an appetiser, mould them on to skewers and char-grill and serve as a starter or cook them in this curry sauce for a more substantial meal.
I always make this quantity and then freeze any surplus meatballs and sauce separately, ready for a quick homemade meal when I don’t feel like going to too much trouble.
When served with the curry sauce, they are quite spicy but it is easy enough to tone down the chilli if you prefer.