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.

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Bangin’ Blackbean Burgers

The idea for this recipe came from a few different sources over the past couple of weeks.

My sister and I visited The Happy Pear café in Greystones, Co. Wicklow a few weeks ago where they were being served and although I didn’t order one on my visit, I saw plenty of other people get them and they didn’t last long on their plates.

I’ve also been looking into ways to introduce new sources of protein other than chicken and turkey onto my plate and plant-based proteins and legumes kept popping up in my research.

This research also ties in with the new list of foods I can and can’t have due to my extensive food allergies and it ticks all the boxes!

Several Food Bloggers that I admire and take inspiration from have also tried their hand at this recipe so I figured I’d review several versions of this recipe and create my own.

 So I had the packet of black beans sitting in the pantry for the last couple of weeks and just couldn’t seem to find an appropriate time to try these bad boys out. The last few weeks and especially weekends have been pretty hectic for me with work and social plans and I wanted to dedicate my whole self to this experiment. The perfect opportunity came up at the weekend when a long lost friend made last minute plans for a flying visit and I decided to treat her to something special and homemade instead of heading out for dinner. I spent most of the Saturday morning prepping and tasting and setting and they were ready to cook just in time for my dear friend to arrive.

 We enjoyed the burgers with a lovely spiralized salad, sweet potato fries and a cool, crisp glass of white wine while we caught up with each other.

They were absolutely delicious if I do say so myself and I had a really strong feeling of fullness when I was finished, which is always a good sign!

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Ingredients

200 grams dried black beans, rinsed and strained
1 Litre of boiling water
Dash of Olive Oil
1 medium – large brown onion
1 clove Garlic
2 Carrots
½ cup almond flour, rolled oats, breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
1 Tsp. Ground Cumin
½ Tsp. Ground Coriander
½ Tsp. Chili Flakes
¼ Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
Salt & Pepper to taste

To Serve:
Sliced tomato, grated cheddar, gem lettuce leaves, red onion, burger bun or whatever other condiments you like to serve with a burger patty.

Method

Add rinsed black beans to a large pot on the hob, add water and cook the black beans according to the packet instructions.
While waiting for the black beans to cook, chop the onion and garlic very finely and place to one side.
Shred or grate the carrots and also place to one side separate to the onion and garlic.
Combine herbs and spices in a small bowl and mix together.
Heat olive oil on a frying pan and once hot, add the onion, garlic, salt and pepper.
Once the onion is translucent, add shredded carrots and spice mix and cook until carrots are soft.
Remove pan from the heat.
When the black beans are cooked, rinse and drain and pour into a large mixing bowl.
Mash the black beans using a potato masher and add the contents of the frying pan.
Also add the soy sauce and almond flour/rolled oats and combine the entire mix thoroughly and evenly.
Create 4-6 burger patties depending on how big you want them by taking a large chunk of the mix and forming the patty in your hand.
Wrap each patty in cling film and place in the fridge for about 1 – ½ hours or in the freezer for 30 minutes to set.
When ready, heat some oil on a frying pan again and cook each patty for about 4-5 minutes each side.
Once cooked and heated through, remove from the heat and serve as desired.

Hot Salmon Salad

I have been eating copious amounts of chicken recently so I wanted to switch over to something lighter for a change and I thus thought of salmon fillets. Salmon is one of the only fish I can now have on my new list of allowed foods so I wanted to play around with it a bit and not just steam it with some veg every day.
Salmon is such a great protein to put on your plate with its vast amount of nutritional value and super health benefits. Salmon’s high omega 3 content is one of its most notable attributes. Omega 3 fatty acids contribute to the healthy function of our brain with salmon being commonly referred to as “Brain Food”. This can also assist with the healthy function of the cardiovascular system, bone joints and an overall feeling of wellness.
Oily Fish that are high in omega 3 such as salmon are also said to contribute to the reduction of heart disease, cancer, depression, high blood pressure and arthritis.

Salmon is also crazy high in protein so it is an excellent choice when filling your plate with a healthy meal that will fuel you and keep you full for hours. There are 20 grams of protein in every 100 grams of salmon which is pretty awesome!
I have to say, in this recipe I cooked up 250 grams of salmon and had to divide the finished meal into two portions as I was absolutely full to the brim half way through! Anyone who eats with me will tell you that’s pretty hard to accomplish!

So with all my recipes, I wanted to get a bit creative but make sure I would be satisfied and full after I’d eaten. I also had to be mindful that I had to stick to the list of allowed foods to make this a dish I could share with you all but also enjoy myself as part of my diet.

The end result was my Hot Salmon Salad that was really delicious, easy to make, cheap to shop for and kept me full all evening – everything Clodagh’s Countertop is about! Hope you like it 😉

Ingredients

125 gram approx. fresh Salmon Fillet
100 grams dried Quinoa*
300 ml Vegetable Stock
1 ½ cup Frozen or Fresh Spinach
½ Fresh Red Chili
1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste

*I actually used the Tesco 60 second microwavable pouch of red quinoa and bulgur wheat for this and it worked perfectly but use the above size portion if you are cooking from scratch.

Method

In a pot, bring 300 ml vegetable stock to the boil and add the dried quinoa.
Cook quinoa in the stock as per packet instructions until all the water has been absorbed.
While the quinoa is cooking, steam the salmon fillet until cooked through.
I use the microwave steam bags for about 4 ½ minutes with some lemon juice but you can also use the more conventional method of using the steam pot on the hob.
To do so, add some water to a pot and place the steam pot over the water.
Carefully place the salmon fillet on the base of the steam pot above the boiling water and place a lid over the steam pot.
Steam the salmon fillet for about 5 minutes or until cooked through fully.
If using frozen spinach, add this to a pot of boiling water on the hob and cook through for about 3-4 minutes. Drain.
If using fresh spinach, also add to a pot of boiling water but only cook for about 1-2 minutes and drain.
In a bowl, add the cooked quinoa, salmon and drained spinach.
Add soy sauce and seasoning and toss until evenly mixed.
Thinly slice the red chili and deseed then garnish your salad with it.

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This can be enjoyed immediately and piping hot and can also be eaten later when warm or even cold – whatever you fancy!

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 Salad Bar – Tomato & Chick Pea Salad

This is such a good On-The-Go salad to have made up or it can be used as a side dish to a main meal.It takes 5 minutes to put together and tastes fab. Its super filling and packed with fibre too.

Ingredients

1 tin Chick Peas
6 small – medium Tomatoes
1 Tbsp. Turmeric
1 Tbsp. Cracked Black Pepper
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Sprig of Fresh Parsley

Method

Empty the tin of chick peas into a colander and rinse thoroughly.
Leave to one side and let the excess water dry off.
Chop the tomatoes into quarters and add to a large mixing bowl.
Finely chop the fresh parsley and add to the bowl along with the pepper and turmeric.
Add the chick peas and the olive oil to the bowl now and then mix it all up so that your seasoning and oil covers the
tomatoes and chick peas evenly.
Easy Peasy!

Soulful Soup

Soup. The epitome of comfort food. A centrepiece in the Irish family home. You really can’t beat coming home to a steaming bowl of fresh homemade soup. It’s the ideal dish to maximise your veg intake and keep your fridge clean. Almost any combination of vegetables will fuse to create a tasty and fresh pot of homemade goodness for you to enjoy.

The key to a good soup is down to the stock and the seasoning. Using the right balance of each will help you blend together all of your ingredients and drink up your dish down to the last drop. I love the concept of homemade soup as part of a fresh, wholesome diet as you can make it in bulk to freeze off and meal prep and you can keep going back for more without feeling guilty as the core components are water and vegetables. Its Win Win!

With most of my recipes, you will see that I suggest using pretty much whatever is available for general dishes, it’s always fun to experiment. The same definitely goes for soup. Here I just want to share with you some of my favourite soup recipes and hope to inspire you to try your hand with what’s in the vegetable drawer and have some fun with it.

Use my recipes more so as a guideline and don’t be afraid to add a bit more or a bit less of ingredients like garlic, chili, water content depending on how thick / thin you like your soup etc. I often stray from the recipe and am always happy with the end result.

Green Soup

This is my personal favourite at the moment as it is a combination of some top Superfoods and tastes surprisingly amazing.

Ingredients

1 head broccoli, chopped
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 bag baby spinach leaves
1 bag kale leaves
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 brown onion, chopped
2 vegetable stock cubes
Salt & Pepper to season
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
750ml – 1 litre water (may vary)

Method

Heat olive oil on a hot pan and add garlic and onion until it starts to brown.
Add the cooked onion and garlic to a large soup pot and then pop your broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and kale in too.
Crumble in both stock cubes and add some salt and pepper to taste.
Boil the kettle and pour in enough water to just cover your vegetables and stir.
Bring the pot to the boil, stirring occasionally.
Once the soup has been brought to the boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer
for about 10 minutes or until the broccoli and cauliflower have softened.
Whip out your trusty hand blender and get to work blending your vegetables to your desired consistency.
If you prefer a thinner soup, gradually add some more hot water as you blend until your happy with the consistency.
Do a taste test and decide what seasoning you want to add more off, if any.
I’m big on flavour so would likely add some more black pepper and crumbled stock.
Once you’re happy with the taste, let the soup simmer away for another few minute so it has evenly heated through.
Some recipes advise leaving soup to simmer for up to 30 minutes but I like the idea of the vegetables being as fresh as possible so I remove it from the heat and serve once I’m happy with the taster and am sure it’s hot throughout.

Green soup is so nutritious and a nice, hot alternative to a green juice in the colder months. It is packed full of vitamins and minerals and will leave you feeling full and satisfied after a nice big bowl.
Again, don’t be afraid to vary the recipe by adding any other green veg you might like or have on hand. It will taste good and nourish you either way.

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Carrot & Coriander Soup

Ingredients

4 carrots, peeled and chopped
400 grams butternut squash, peeled and de-seeded
1 large brown onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 litre vegetable stock
2 tspn. ground coriander
1 tspn. ground cumin
1 tspn. ground cinnamon
1 tspn. sweet paprika
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup Greek style yogurt
Coriander leaves, to serve

Method

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan.
Add onion and garlic and stir until they start to brown.
Add ground coriander, cumin, cinnamon and paprika and stir for about a minute.
Add carrots, butternut squash and stock and bring to the boil.
Once bubbling, reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes and remove from the heat.
Using your hand blender, whizz your ingredients until you reach the consistency you desire.
Return the pot to the heat and stir in the honey and greek yoghurt.
Cook on a low heat for a couple of minutes adding any extra seasoning you think will work and do a taste test until happy.
Sprinkle some fresh coriander leaves on each serving and enjoy!

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Spicy Tomato Soup

Ingredients

6 large tomatoes, chopped
250 grams cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 large brown onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 litre vegetable stock
2 tspn. ground coriander
1 tspn. cayenne pepper
1 tspn. cracked black pepper
1 tspn. sweet paprika
1 tspn. chili flakes
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup greek style yoghurt
Basil leaves, to serve
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan.
Add onion and garlic and stir until they start to brown.
Add ground coriander, paprika, cayenne pepper, cracked black pepper and chili flakes and stir for about a minute.
Add your fresh tomatoes and tin of tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil.
Once bubbling, reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes and remove from the heat.
Using your hand blender, mix it all up until you reach the desired thickness
Return the pot to the heat and stir in the Greek yogurt.
Do a taste test and decide if there is anything extra you would like to add with regards to herbs, spices or seasoning.
Once certain that youre the best soup chef ever, serve with a sprinke of fresh basil leaves and a bit more cracked black pepper.

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