Autumn is here and what’s not to love. Lovely sunny days, crisp fresh evenings, the gorgeous colours all around us and this rich, warming Burgundy chicken casserole served with a dollop of buttery mash and a glass of red wine.
This rather delectable Chicken Casserole ticks all the boxes for a warm and comforting Autumnal meal. I could go on and on about the gorgeous aroma, the delicious sauce and the juicy, fall off the bone chicken but it’s probably much easier to just say that it’s been a firm family favourite for at least the past 20 years and never fails to please.
Blossom on the trees, fresh green leaves making an appearance, pinks, purples, gorgeous yellows, warmer weather, longer days, lighter days ….
Well, that’s the theory. I’m still in hibernation – hesitant to switch off the heating, peering out my windows through the toxic smog which has descended upon London, jackets, scarves and gloves still at the ready and still craving warm, hearty food.
And let me tell you these curried lamb shanks are just what the doctor ordered. Slow cooked lamb in a spicy tomato based sauce until the meat is so tender it falls off the bone. Served over a bowl of rice with a generous helping of naan bread on the side to mop up all that lovely sauce.
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.
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.
Way back in September I can remember wondering what I would do with all my time now that both kids are at school. Two months in, and I can honestly say that I have not had one day where I’ve had nothing to do. In fact I seem to have less time to do ‘my’ things like blogging. On Monday I decided I would spruce up the guest bathroom by giving it a quick lick of paint. It is now Thursday and my small job has turned into a complete over haul with me painting the walls, the woodwork, removing the old tiles and putting up new ones, varnishing the floor and fitting all new accessories. I do love the whole process of DIY but everything else gets put on the back burner including cooking and housework. This is where my freezer becomes my best friend. First thing in the morning I can take out a precooked meal and half an hour before hubby is due home it is in the pot getting heated up. A perfectly good home cooked meal on the table in less than half an hour and I’ve managed to spend the day decorating the house.
One of my standby meals for the freezer is this Durban Lamb Curry. It is just a good, no nonsense spicy curry which originates from South Africa and in particular the area of Natal which is where I was born many years ago. I have toned down the spices ever so slightly so that my hubby can eat it and even my five year old daughter enjoys ‘that spicy meat stuff’. A real family favourite in our house.
Well that’s enough sitting around, coffee break over, it’s back to the painting….