The Slow Cooker Series – Parmesan Chicken

This dish can be made in the Slow Cooker if you’re lucky enough to have one on the Countertop or can also be done on the hob or even in the oven.
I will outline the alternative cooking instructions at the bottom of the post but the main method will be for the Slow Cooker.
Parmesan Chicken is a wholesome, comforting meal that will keep you feeling full for hours and satisfied.
Its healthy ingredients also ensure that you’re not straying far from your goals but also help you feel like you’re not eating too strictly either.
This dish is full of flavour and can be served with so many different sides that you can really make it your own.
It’s a great weekend dish and I made a huge portion so I was able to get a few lunches out of it too. All the ingredients came to less than €10 so you’re looking at about €2.50 a serve which is a serious bargain for such a wholesome meal.
Enjoy!

 

Ingredients

500 grams / 4 skinless, boneless Chicken Fillets
1 large Brown Onion, chopped
1 Clove Garlic, chopped
1 tin Chopped Tomatoes
500 gram Tomato Passata
1 cup Grated Parmesan
¼ cup plain flour/brown flour/almond flour/buckwheat (whatever you fancy)
1 Egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
6-8 Frozen Spinach cubes (optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Turn on the Slow Cooker to the Low Heat setting.
Cover the base of the Slow Cooker with Olive Oil.
Spread out the onion and garlic on the base of the Slow Cooker.
In a bowl, mix the flour and parmesan together.
In another bowl, dip the whole chicken fillets in the egg and then dip the fillet into the parmesan and flour mix.
Place the coated chicken fillets on top of onion and garlic layer.
Pour the passata and chopped tomatoes over the chicken and throughout the Slow Cooker until empty.
Add some salt and pepper to taste.
Pop the lid on and leave to cook for about 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
At the last half an hour, add the frozen spinach and stir through.
Serve piping hot with your desired side dish (I had mine with whole-wheat spaghetti and it was insane!)

Regular Pot Instructions

Heat some olive oil in a large pot and add onions and garlic.
When the onions and garlic start to brown, add passata and chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper and stir.
Prepare the chicken fillets as directed in the above instructions without the egg.
Reduce the heat to a very low heat and add chicken fillets.
Cover the pot and leave to simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Check your fillets to ensure they have been cooked through and return to the pot to cook further if they still need a bit more time.
Add the frozen spinach with about 5-10 minutes to go and stir through.
Once you’re happy the chicken is thoroughly cooked, serve and enjoy!

Oven Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees Celsius.
Drizzle some olive oil on the base of a medium – large casserole or lasagne dish.
Cover the base of the dish with the chopped onions and garlic.
Prepare the chicken fillets as directed in the above instructions without the egg.
Place the fillets on top of the onions and garlic.
In a separate bowl, mix together your passata, chopped tomatoes and seasoning and then pour over the chicken fillets.
Place the dish on the middle shelf of the oven and leave to bubble away for about 30-45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Add the frozen spinach with about 5-10 minutes to go and stir through.
Once ready, spoon out your delicious chicken bake from the dish with your side of choice.

 

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Chicken & Lentil Hot Pot

Last week was the week before pay day for me so there were slim pickin’s in the pantry.
I always to try to keep my budget meals as healthy as possible and not resort to giant bowls of pasta so I had a look at what I had and thought about what I fancied eating.
The result was this really hearty and wholesome hot pot or stew that I packed out with chunky veggies and lentils along with chicken thighs and it tasted great.
I used the right combo of ingredients to keep me feeling full for hours but I still found myself going back for more as it was just so yum.
This is a real Sunday kind of dinner or cold day dinner as it’s super comforting and full of flavour.
You can make up a bulk batch and freeze some off too.
The only thing I would say with this one is that it doesn’t keep for too long so decide before you start cooking what you’re going to do with the batch.
I would advise to keep it up to two days in the fridge or else freeze straight away after you’ve had you first serve.
Don’t be put off by this however as it’s highly unlikely the hot pot will last this long if you make it right, I even had it for breakfast the next morning!

Ingredients

400 grams boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs
300 grams Red Lentils, uncooked but rinsed
1 Brown Onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
1 Litre Vegetable or Chicken Stock or 50/50
3 Carrots, chopped
4 Celery Stalks, chopped
1 Tsp. Dried Ginger
1 Tbsp. Chili Flakes
1 Tbsp. Paprika
1 Tsp. Ground Coriander
Salt & Pepper to taste
(play around with your seasoning as much as you like, you don’t have to stick the above measurements)
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 handful of Fresh Coriander to serve

Method

Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the onions and garlic.
Once the onions and garlic are aromatic and starting to brown, add the chicken fillets to the pot and cook until seared.
Pour in the stock and add your carrots and celery.
Add your seasoning to taste and cook on low for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour in the rinsed red lentils and give the pot a good stir.
Leave the pot to bubble away on a low heat for another 10-15 minutes, doing taste tests along the way until your happy with the flavour.
(I wanted to go for a bit of an Asian flavour as it is Summer so see if you can get that too)
Once you’re happy with the taste and your chicken is thoroughly cooked, serve your stew with some fresh coriander sprinkled on top.
Delish!

Roast Garlic & Parmesan Quinoa

So you’re probably catching on to my obsession with quinoa but it’s just soooo versatile and ridiculously yum!
It’s such a good grain to use and is so filling so it’s a great substitute to other white foods you might be used to using like pasta and white rice.

This recipe is a good one as you can use it as a side to your protein for a main dish, have it as a snack or add some more ingredients to it to make it a main meal of its own.
Like I said, quinoa is a very versatile ingredient so don’t be afraid to get imaginative and see what you can come up with.

Ingredients

4 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
100 grams Quinoa, uncooked
300 ml Vegetable Stock
1/3 cup Grated Parmesan
1 Cup Baby Spinach, chopped (optional)
1 Tsp. Olive Oil

Method

Bring the vegetable stock to the boil in a pot.
Add uncooked quinoa and stir through.
Once bubbling, cover the pot and reduce the heat to simmer the quinoa for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the quinoa is cooking, heat the olive oil on a pan and add the chopped garlic.
Cook the garlic until brown and aromatic.
After the twenty minutes, remove the lid from the quinoa pot and leave it to stand for 10 minutes to absorb the remaining stock.
Use a fork to fluff the quinoa and then transfer from the pot to the pan with the garlic.
Heat up the pan again and add the spinach and parmesan and stir thoroughly until the mix has been cooked through.
Quinoa can be eaten hot or cold but this particular dish is best served hot.
You could maybe enjoy it with a grilled chicken breast or salmon darn and some steamed greens.
It’s all about personal preference for your serving suggestion!

Sweet Potato Scoops

Ingredients

1 medium Sweet Potato, washed
4 cubes Frozen Spinach
4 Tbsp. Low Fat Cream Cheese
2 sprigs Spring Onion, finely chopped
4 Bacon Rashers, diced
½ cup Grated Parmesan
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Method

Preheat your oven to 200 Degrees C and line an oven tray with greased parchment paper
Rub your squeaky clean Sweet Potato with olive oil, cut in half lengthways and wrap in tin foil.
Pop the potatoes on the tray and into the oven for 45 – 60 mins (keep an eye on them as you don’t want to overdo them, it will depend on their size how long they will take).
When they have been cooked through, remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and the tin foil and leave to cool for about 10 minutes.
While waiting for the potatoes to cool, throw your diced bacon rashers onto a hot pan and cook quickly.
Transfer cooked bacon to some paper towel to absorb any excess fat.
Once cooled, cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh into a bowl.
Put the potato skins to one side.
Defrost the frozen spinach and drain off any excess water.
Add the spinach, chopped spring onion, cream cheese and cooked bacon bits to the potato.
Mix up all the ingredients with a spoon until even and stuff the mix back into each of the halved potato skins.
Sprinkle each of your potato halves with the parmesan and grill until golden brown.
Serve piping hot.

These guys are such a treat and taste a lot naughtier than they really are.
You can have them as a main meal or use one half as a side to a main dish either, it’s totally up to you!
The filling’s ingredients are also not limited to what I have suggested, you can use any number of ingredients that you like to make your filling.
Enjoy Guys!!

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Zucchini Fritters

These guys are a great way to get some additional veg into your diet without chomping down on the same old salad every day.
There’s a little bit of preparation involved but they taste great and look great too.
Zucchini is such a versatile vegetable and is defo one of my faves so here is the latest creation I could think up for you guys.

Ingredients

1 large zucchini, topped and tailed
1 medium potato, peeled
1 brown or white onion, peeled and chopped
¼ cup wholemeal flour
1 egg, beaten
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees C.
In a large bowl, grate your zucchini and potato and mix together.
Transfer the mix to some paper towel and squeeze as much moisture as possible from the vegetables.
Dry them out as much as you can and pop them back in the bowl.
Add the flour to the mix to help absorb the moisture and throw in the onion.
Add salt and pepper and stir the mix thoroughly .
Add the beaten egg and cover all of the mix in the egg.
If the mix looks too runny, add a little bit more flour to help it solidify.
Heat the olive oil on a pan and take a handful of the mix in your palm to create a patty.
Pop the patty on the pan and repeat 3-4 times until the pan is full.
Cook the patties on each side for about 4-5 minutes and transfer to a foil lined oven tray.
Repeat this until all of the mix has been used up.
Pop the oven tray with all your patties into the oven and let them finish cooking in there for about 20 minutes.
Keep an eye on them though as you don’t want them to burn.
Remove from the oven and enjoy piping hot!

Zucchini Fritters can be used as a side dish in a main meal or as the main component also.
They can be eaten as a vegetarian alternative to a burger patty in a bun or whatever way you like to enjoy a burger.
They go great as a side with the Stuffed Peppers I posted about the other day too if you want to create a very fancy looking and really healthy dish.

*Tip: If you are lucky enough to own a Spiralizer like me, you can also spiralize the zucchini and potato and even the onion if you like instead of grating them.
Use the small noodle blade if you do go down this road.
Your fritters will look even extra awesome!

Turkey & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I’m always thinking of new ways to use my favourite lean ingredients for my main meals so that I don’t grow tired of the same food day-in-day-out and to keep myself interested in healthy eating.
I’ve been on the Turkey Burger train the last few months and as tasty as they are, I wanted to find other ways to use turkey mince so that I can mix it up week to week.
My other lunch staple is always Spinach and then I’ll always use whatever else is in the fridge to make some sort of meal out of these guys.
So my latest idea was to give Stuffed Peppers a try. They always look so pretty and when you break down the ingredients I figured you can make them to be good and healthy so I said I’d give them a go.
I was pretty chuffed with the finished product and again they’re quick to make and cheap to buy so 10/10 all ‘round.
Enjoy folks!!

Ingredients

400 grams Lean Turkey Mince
100 grams Quinoa, uncooked
300 ml Chicken Stock
4 large Peppers, halved and deseeded
4 cubes Frozen Spinach
25 grams Feta, crumbled
1 Tsp. Onion Granules
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
½ Tsp. Chili Flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 Degrees C and line an oven tray with greased tin foil.
In a pot, cook quinoa in the chicken stock as per the packet instructions.
While the quinoa is cooking, heat some olive oil on a pan and fry the turkey mice.
Pour some boiling water over the frozen spinach and leave to defrost for a couple of minutes.
Drain the spinach of any excess water and add to the turkey.
Add all of the seasoning and stir through.
Cook until the mince has begun to brown and leave to one side.
Making sure your peppers have been hollowed out, place them on the oven tray.
When your quinoa has been cooked through, transfer from the pot and add it to the turkey mix and stir in.
Use a spoon to scoop the turkey and quinoa mix from the pan and fill each of the halved peppers.
When all of the peppers have been filled, sprinkle the crumbled feta on the top of each pepper.
Place your oven tray on the middle shelf of the oven and roast the stuffed peppers for 10-15 minutes or until the feta has started to brown.
Remove the tray from the oven and serve immediately.

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I’m having mine this week with fresh spinach and steamed asparagus and its delish!

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The Slow Cooker Series – Nepalese Lentil Curry

This curry takes a bit more work than most of my recipes but its one I really want to share.
I went to Nepal in 2015 and as amazing as the views and the people and everything else that the country had to offer were,
the recipe for this dish is one of the best things I took away with me from that trip.
Known as Dahl Makhani in Nepal, this lentil curry is a staple dish to the people there and it just so happens its one of the most delicious dishes I have ever tasted.
I made it my mission when I came home last year to perfect this dish and create something special to keep with me from my short time spent there.
I use my Slow Cooker for this dish as I just think curries do so well when cooked over a long amount of time – slow and low.
If you don’t have a slow cooker don’t worry, I’ll put the regular temperatures and times at the bottom for your reference.
This dish really is so special and I really urge you to give it a go!

Remember this is a Sow Cooker recipe so you might want to make it in the morning or afternoon so that it’s ready in time for dinner (6-8 hours).

Ingredients

2 cups Black Lentils / Black Dahl
6 cups water
1/2 cup tinned kidney beans, rinsed and drained
150 grams tomato puree
2 Tsp. Cumin Seeds
1 Tsp. Coriander Seeds
1 Tsp. Black Pepper
1 Tsp. Garam Masala
1 Tsp. Fenugreek Seeds
2 Dried Red Chilis
3 cloves Garlic, crushed
4 thumb piece of Ginger
2 Tsp. Salt
2 fresh Green Chilis
30 gram Real Butter
100 ml Greek Yogurt

Method

IMPORTANT: You need to soak your lentils overnight. Rinse them until the water runs clear and leave to soak in a bowl overnight.
Add the soaked lentils along with 6 cups of water to the Slow Cooker and cook on low for 4 hours until soft.
Once soft, mash the lentils with a potato masher of give them a quick whizz with a hand blender to break them up until they give a creamy texture.
Using a pestle and mortar, food processor or coffee grinder (I use my Nutriullet milling blade), grind your cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, black pepper and dried red chillies into a finee powdery paste.
When you’re happy with that, add your spice mixture to the lentils and stir through.
Back in the food processor or pestle and mortar; add the garlic and ginger with about a teaspoon of water and combine to make a paste.
Pour in your rinsed kidney beans and your garlic and ginger paste to the slow cooker along with the tomato puree, salt, butter and fresh green chilis (cut in half).
When everything has been stirred together, add enough water so that there is about 1/2 an inch of water covering the mix.
Dont worry if it looks too watery, the curry mix will drink it up.
Leave the curry to cook away on low for about 2-4 hours depending on how much time you have, everything is pretty much cooked by now and you cant overcook a curry this way – the longer the better!
Check in on it maybe every 30 minutes to an hour for a quick stir.
Do a little taste test each time to determine if you need to add a little bt more of anything.
About 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve, stir through the Greek yogurt and maybe a little bit more butter if you like.
This dish goes really well with basmati rice or naan bread but serve it with whatever you fancy.
You should have enough for about 8 serves so it’s a great meal prep dish or else you can show off to your friends if they’re over for dinner.
I’ve made this for quite a few people now because I’m so eager to share it and it’s been empty bowls all ’round.

*If you dont have a Slow Cooker you can still create this dish on the hob in a large pot.
Cook on low (1 or 2) and just cook for half the time of the Slow Cooker e.g 4 hours on the Slow Cooker is 2 hours on the hob.
Instead of adding 6 cups of water to the lentils at the beginning, add just enough to cover the lentils by about an inch but be sure to keep an eye on them adding a tipple of water now and then when neccessary.
The same applies for after you add the spice mix and kidney beans until the last hour or so when you just add a trickle and the water is almost fully absorbed before you add the yogurt.
Make sure you dont let it get too watery but if you do, just take some of the water out with a ladle or something – get creative (I had to do it plenty of times until I perfected it so dont panic).

I’d love to know your feedback on this one if you do attempt it so make sure to leave a comment!

Clo’s Bolognese Sauce

Ingredients

250 ml Passata
2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
2 clove Garlic, crushed
1 medium brown Onion, finely chopped
1 punnet Field Mushrooms
2 Carrots, diced
1 Red Pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Mixed Dried Herbs
½ Tbsp. Chilli Flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Heat the olive oil on a pan and add both your onions and garlic.
Once they begin to brown, add the carrots, mushrooms and peppers and stir continuously.
As the veg starts to soften, pour in the passata and mix it through.
Reduce the heat and let the sauce bubble for a couple of minutes.
Add your seasoning and balsamic vinegar at this stage and stir through evenly.
Leave the sauce to simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
This sauce goes great over Zucchini Pasta as well as regular pasta and you can pour it over some turkey meatballs too.

If you want to make this a mince Bolognese, add your mince before your vegetables and cook through before continuing with the rest of the instructions.
When I’m making a mince Bolognese, I crumble a beef stock cube through the mince as it’s browning for some extras flave.
I usually use either 500 grams turkey mince of 500 grams lean beef mince.

This sauce stores really well so you can use it for a few days or freeze some off for next time.

Lean and Mean Turkey Burgers

These bad boys are all the rage these days and with good reason. Turkey is low in fat and high in protein and will keep you feeling full for hours.
Turkey burgers are a great meal prep food too, they don’t take long at all to make and won’t take up too much space in the freezer either.
Serve them with a salad or chop it up through an omelette and you’re on to a winner.

Ingredients

500 grams Turkey Mince
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 Tsp. Paprika
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/2 Tsp. Pepper
(I sometimes like to add a dash of Frank’s Hot Sauce too for some extra bite)

Method

In a large mixing bowl, add all of your ingredients and mush it all up!
Once evenly mushed, take a handful of the turkey mix and compress tightly in your hands to get rid of any air pockets and roll into a ball.
(You can stop at this stage of you want to make turkey meatballs)
Once you’ve made a nice tight meatball, place it on the countertop and press down with the palm of your hand to make a patty.
It’s up to you how thick you want your party to be at this stage, I personally like mine quite thick but just be sure you cook them all the way through if you do choose to have them this way.
Continue this step until all your mix has been used up.
500 grams usually gets me about 6 burgers.
If you’re meal prepping, only cook for about 2-3 days worth of the batch.
You can freeze the rest and take them out the night before your midweek meal prep.
I prefer to cook mine under the grill for about ten minutes but if you want to oven cook them, do so at about 160 Degrees C for about 12-15 minutes.
Keep an eye on them though as turkey tends to dry out quickly once it starts to be over done.

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If you’re having meatballs, try cooking them on the pan or in the oven with the same instructions as above. The meatballs go great with my bolognese sauce, I’ll be posting this recipe later in the week.

Seasoning is key with these guys too so play around with what you want to add to make your own special flave.

Brocquettes

One of my favourite kitchen hobbies is to try and make healthy food as appealing as possible as this helps create the illusion that you’re indulging when really you are still eating mindfully.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of the cheat meals but I also love to find ways to transform healthy food into those old Friday night favourites.
These baked broccoli croquettes are a brilliant example of this and taste great with a range of dips and sauces. Enjoy!

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Ingredients

250 grams of broccoli florets
1 finely chopped spring onion
70 grams grated cheddar cheese
30 grams bread crumbs
2 beaten eggs
Salt & Pepper to season

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Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line a baking tray with some greaseproof paper.
Steam or boil the broccoli for 2-3 minutes, rinse under cold water and leave to drain.
Chop the broccoli until very fine then mix in the scallion, cheddar, breadcrumbs, eggs and seasoning.
Mix thoroughly until even.
Taking a small handful of the mix, shape into little cylindrical bite size pieces and place on your baking tray until all the mix has been used.
Bake for about 18-24 minutes until golden brown and serve with your favourite sauce.

If, like me, you want to stay away from bread wherever possible,
you can also use some breadcrumb alternatives such as milled almonds or milled oats.

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Feature Fit Food #1 – Carb Curbing Cauliflower

Rosemary and Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

The simplicity of this dish makes it all the more tempting to try!

Ingredients

1 Large Cauliflower Head, chopped
80 gm Low Fat Cream Cheese
2 tbsp. Real Butter
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. Fresh Rosemary

Method

Bring a pot of water to the boil and pop the cauliflower in to cook for 10 minutes. Once cooked, remove and drain.
Leave to cool for a few minutes and then add all of your ingredients to a food processor or blender.
Whizz until it reaches a smooth and creamy consistency.
Scoop out and serve as a scrummy side to any main dish.
I’m a big fan of roast chicken, steamed greens and cauliflower mash for a homey Sunday dinner.

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Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice is a ridiculously quick and uber-nutritious alternative to grain rice. And it couldn’t be easier to make!
All you need is a head of cauliflower and a cheese grater, whether it’s your standard box grater or the grater blade in the food processor.
Simply grate the head of cauliflower to create a rice-like consistency.
Heat some oil on a pan and sauté the cauliflower rice for a couple of minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste.

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Crack an egg in and make yourself some egg fried rice either. I like to add a dash of soy sauce and some frozen peas to mine and it’s my own little fake-away!

Cauliflower Pizza Base

Another great way to use cauliflower as a healthier alternative is for a tasty pizza base.
Again, it’s quick and easy to make and replaces your usual white bread pizza base.
Just follow this simple recipe and then add your favourite pizza toppings for a tasty treat.

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Ingredients

1 Head Cauliflower
1 Egg, beaten
½ cup Parmesan
¼ cup Grated Mozzarella
1 Tbsp. Salt & Pepper
1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp. Mixed Herbs

Method

Preheat the oven to 260 degrees C.
Using a food processor or blender, whizz the chopped up head of cauliflower until it reaches a floury consistency.
Pop the processed cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 4 minutes.
Once cooked, leave to cool for about 5 minutes.
Transfer the cooled cauliflower from the bowl to some kitchen paper and squeeze as much liquid as possible from the flour.
It is important get as much moisture as possible squeezed out through the kitchen paper.
Once fully squeezed, pop the flour in a mixing bowl with the egg, parmesan, mozzarella and seasoning.
Mix it all together with a wooden spoon or with your hands until the mix reaches a dough-like consistency.
Once dough-like, roll the mix out on some parchment paper into a pizza base shape.
Bake the base for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.


Remove pizza base from the oven and add your favourite pizza toppings.
Pop back in the oven until the toppings have cooked.
Remove, slice and serve!

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Winning Weekend Chicken Dippers

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Ingredients

500 grams boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Cup Almonds, milled
1 Tbsp. Smoked Paprika
½ Tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tsp. Ground Cumin
1 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 Tsp. Black Pepper
1 Tsp. Salt
2 Eggs, beaten
Olive Oil Cooking Spray

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Method

Preheat oven to 190 Degrees C.
Slice chicken breasts into long strips about an inch wide.
Mix together milled almonds, smoked paprika, garlic, ground cumin, cayenne, pepper, and salt.
Dip chicken pieces in egg and then coat with almond spice mixture.
Place on parchment paper greased with cooking spray.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden
Serve with a yummy dipping sauce and maybe with some sweet potato fries or my Cheesy Broccoli Tots for a Friday night treat.