Metabolic Monday – Mexican Bean Chilli

This Bank Holiday Monday was about getting super productive in the kitchen for me. Trying to find the time and energy to cook up all the yummy ideas that have been swirling around in my head the last few weeks has been next to impossible so I promised myself I would take this Halloween Day and dedicate it to my darling little Countertop that I love so much.

It’s funny, I’ve missed being able to post fun photos and yummy recipes the past couple of weeks and I have had the best day just cooking away in the kitchen today, splashing sauce everywhere and stirring in all this love I have for cooking into the big pot on the hob.

It’s so great to enjoy something so good for you this much, I really do love creating and cooking these meal ideas and I especially love sharing them with you all. I’ve felt so guilty the last couple of weeks about how little time I could give to the Countertop so today really was a good day. I couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend the day off.

I wanted my theme of recipes today to keep us all hot and fired up now that “Winter Is Coming” 🙂 My grocery shop this morning had lots of chillis and peppers and metabolism-friendly vegetables and there was an array of yellows, oranges and reds covering my trolley – the perfect colour scheme for the last day of Autumn and of course, Halloween.

A cheeky weekend of fun and food requires a sincere apology to my gut-health and I thought what better way to say sorry but with a nice, spicy vegetarian chilli. Lots of plant-based goodness combined in a large pot with lots of spice and flavour – the digestive system’s dream!

If you fancy a meat free feast that will leave you all fired up then give this baby a lash!!

Ingredients

1 large Brown Onion, chopped
½ Red Chilli, finely sliced
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
50 ml Vegetable Stock in Water
½ tsp. Chilli Powder (personal preference here)
1 Tbsp. Tomato Puree
1 Tbsp. Paprika
1 400g tin of Chopped Tomatoes
1 400g can Red Kidney Beans
1 400g can Cannellini Beans
2 Carrots, sliced
1 Red Pepper, sliced
1 Yellow Pepper, sliced
Salt & Pepper to taste
Method

Heat the stock water in a large pot on the hob.
Saute the onion, garlic and fresh chilli in the stock water for about 5 minutes.
Add your tomato puree, paprika and chilli powder to the mix and stir for about two minutes.
Pour in the tin of chopped tomatoes, rinsed and drained beans and sliced vegetables.
Stir the whole lot until all the flavour are combined together.
Add some salt and pepper to taste to your liking (add more chilli if you’re like me and cant get enough).
Lower the heat on the hob, cover your chilli pot and let the mix simmer for about 20-30 minutes – until the veggies are tender.

This dish is absolutely packed with fiber and carbohydrate (don’t worry, it’s the good kind you get from your veggies) so I haven’t served it with anything – just chomping down on a nice big bowl of chilli here while I type this but if you do want to add a little something, I would recommend serving it with some brown rice.

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Almond and Red Pepper Sauce

No matter how healthy I eat, there is nothing that can stop my hankering for pasta when I’m feeling the effects of an alcohol-filled Saturday night with my girls. This weekend we celebrated the first girl of our group’s Hen Weekend, it’s hard to believe one of us will be walking down the aisle in a few weeks and oh did we celebrate!

So pasta was on the brain for most of today and as usual, I caved and fired up that fusilli. To ease the guilt somewhat, I decided to team it up with a healthy, homemade pasta sauce and I must say, I was pretty impressed with the end result. Adding almonds to the mix gave this sauce a really creamy finish and gave me the feeling I was seriously indulging in a cream-based pasta sauce when really it was nothing of the sort.

I’m really chuffed with this one actually and I’m sure you will be too if you give it a try. Very simple and really yum – here is my Almond and Red Pepper Sauce.

Ingredients

2 Red Peppers, deseeded and chopped
1 clove Garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
60 grams Almonds
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on a frying pan.
Once hot, add garlic and peppers to the pan and coo for about 2-3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let the peppers cool for about 10 minutes.
Add all of your ingredients including the garlic and peppers to a food blender, Nutribullet or you can use a hand blender and puree the entire mix until smooth and creamy.
Cook your pasta according to the packet instructions and drain.
Put cooked pasta back into the pot it was cooked in and pour in your pepper sauce.
Heat the sauce through until piping hot and serve.

This sauce can also be served as a dip too. I chopped up some carrots and had a dip and it was pretty delish!

Simple Sunday Tray Bake

This recipe occurred to me by total accident and extremely unfortunate circumstances last Sunday. I made it home to my home-house for the first time in months and was so excited about my mothers Sunday dinner. My darling mother could sense the anticipation and even made double the provisions so that I could take some leftovers back to Dublin with me for a yummy Monday lunch in work.

After our dinner, I soon hit the food-coma stage and decided I had better get on the road sooner rather than later before I get too lazy to go anywhere so I jumped into the car and headed home…FORGETTING THE LEFTOVERS!! By the time I realised, it was too late and words cannot describe the devastation I felt!

So, me being me, I had it in my head what I wanted for lunch in work on Monday and was adamant to replicate the Sunday dinner but in an easier (lazier) version as it would be late on Sunday evening after a busy weekend that I would be throwing this together and I wanted as little effort as possible.

While daydreaming about food (as usual), I took the wrong exit off the motorway and ended up outside a Supermarket that was open late, “it’s a sign” I thought so I ran in and grabbed some provisions for my vision!

I eventually got home, turned on the oven and the result was actually a masterpiece – and took little or no effort whatsoever! Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner – Literally!!

This one is barely a recipe but brilliant all the same so give it a go next Sunday and reap the rewards of a really yummy and easy Sunday dinner.

Ingredients

8 Chicken Thighs (on the bone is better for flavour but it’s up to you)
900 grams / 1 large head Brocolli
750 grams baby potatoes, washed
250 grams Basil Pesto (homemade or ready-made depending on energy/hangover levels)
Olive Oil Spray
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
In a large oven dish, place your chicken thighs and spray with some olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Place dish in the middle tray of the oven and leave to bake for 40-50 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown.
About 20 minutes into cooking the chicken thighs, take out the tray and pour the baby potatoes onto the tray, distributing them evenly with the chicken thighs.
Spray and season the potatoes and pop back in the oven to cook.
Put a pot of water on the hob to boil and add the broccoli florets to the water to cook for about 3-4 minutes.
Strain the broccoli and leave to one side.
When the chicken and potatoes are almost cooked with about 5/10 minutes to go, add the broccoli to the tray and pour the pesto over the whole tray.
Place the mix back in the oven and finish cooking for about another 10 minutes.
When you’re satisfied that the chicken and potatoes have been cooked through, remove the oven dish and serve!

Simple…As…That!


 

Honey Soy Chicken

So we are well into Autumn at this stage and I have lots of new recipes I want to share with you all. I’ll admit I have been a bit neglectful of my Countertop as life has been pretty hectic the last couple of weeks. But the dust has now settled and I am back sharing with you all my latest flavour favourites.
We all associate Autumn and Winter with big steamy bowls of stew and soup and as much as I love these kinds of dishes and have shared my take on some of these with you already, I thought I would take a little detour and share with you one of my top ten favourite meals. I know my Aussie readers will like this one as Japanese food is so popular on that side of the world and you guys are also just coming into your Summer months and wont be cooking any soups any time soon! We are not jealous at all over here are we??!! 

It’s clear to you guys by now that I am a bit obsessed with Asian food. The flavours are amazing and they’re usually very easy and economical to cook so for me, it makes so much sense to love this food!
Although I have yet to master Japanese dishes, this one I found to be so easy and just so good to taste! Honey Soy Chicken or Teriyaki Chicken upholds the Japanese cooking ethos perfectly with clean, basic flavours and ingredients that combine to give you an amazing fusion of flavour and taste with the finished product. I was so pleasantly surprised when I started researching this dish at how simple and minimal the ingredients were.

It makes for a great meal prep dish as it has a great balance of protein, carbs, fats and lots of veggies. I made 5 portions and froze them off, taking one out each night for a week of work and it was such a nice lunch! Plenty of envious faces in the canteen.

This is a good one for newbies at the meal prep game or even the Asian cooking game as the flavours are not too overpowering or spicy.

All in all its just a fab dish and you just have to try it out for yourselves!!
As always, I would love and feedback you might have or photos of your finished product so don’t be shy!

Ingredients

450 grams skinless, boneless Chicken Breasts
1 clove garlic, crushed
200 ml Soy Sauce
90 ml Honey
3 Tbsp. Sesame Seeds
2 cups Brocolli Florets
1 Green Pepper, sliced
1 Red Pepper, sliced
1 Brown Onion, sliced
200 grams Brown Rice, uncooked
100 grams Red and Black Quinoa Mix, uncooked
Dash Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

In separate pots on the hob, follow the instructions on both the brown rice and quinoa mix and cook both accordingly.
Heat the olive oil on a large frying pan or wok.
While waiting for the oil to heat, dice your chicken fillets into nice, bite size pieces.
Add the chicken to the frying pan and start to cook, stirring consistently.
Add the crushed garlic, salt and pepper to the chicken.
As the chicken starts to brown, add the soy sauce, honey and sesame seeds to the pan and stir to evenly distribute.
Continue to cook until chicken is cooked thoroughly.
Using a tongs, remove your chicken pieces but keep the honey soy sauce in the pan.
Reduce the heat to low.
Check your rice and quinoa, how are they doing?
Add your peppers, onion and broccoli to the pan and toss through the sauce to coat evenly.
If the chicken drank up a lot of the sauce, feel free to add a dash more of both the soy sauce and honey.
If the pan you are using has a lid, cover your pan and leave to steam/simmer for about 5 minutes.
If it doesn’t have a lid, transfer the whole mix to a pot that does have a lid and then steam/simmer for about 5 minutes.
The trick is to cook the veg for as little as possible to retain as much nutrition as possible.
As soon as they soften, remove from the heat.
Your rice and quinoa should be also done by now.
Add the quinoa with some salt and pepper to taste to the rice and mix thoroughly.
Quinoa and brown rice are a brilliant combination of carbs to keep you feeling full of fiber and energy.

The quantity of ingredients above should get you about 4-6 portions of this delicious dish.
Fill either your plate or lunchbox with ¼ rice, ¼ chicken and ½ veg and you have got yourself a well balanced and seriously tasty meal.