Turkey, Butternut Squash and a Lentil Curry

Monday rolls around again! The weekend wasn’t too bad, not as good as it should have been but with a special meal and gathering in my house for a celebration to honour the memory of my sister on what would have been her 30th birthday. And a trip to the emergency room for me yestersay, I did better than it could have been under the circumstances!!

Today my meal inspiration came from this recipe on the Slimming World website. I made a few changes (what’s new!!) and the result was a very tasty, filling curry that is going to be made again!!

Turkey, Butternut Squash and Lentil Curry

Serves 4

Free on extra easy

450g turkey breast fillet, skin off and sliced into bite size pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 red pepper, sliced
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped into small chunks (not tiny!!)
2cm piece fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 tsp hot curry powder
2 tsp nigella seeds (these are not essential but they do really add to the flavour)
2 tsp garam masala
1 tin chopped tomatoes
600mls veg stock (I had no stock cubes at all so I just used water)

To serve: fat free yoghurt or fromage frais and fresh coriander

– in a large pot with spray oil, sauté the onion, pepper and squash for about 5 mins
– add the curry powders, ginger and garlic, stir well and fry for 2-3 mins
– add the tomatoes, turkey, nigella seeds, lentils and stock
– bring to the boil and then reduce and simmer, lid on for 35-40 mins or until lentils and squash are fully cooked
– serve with a spoonful of yoghurt on top and chopped fresh coriander

*I personally think that rice is not needed with this curry as it is so filling with the lentils, but if you are feeling extra hungry, basmati rice is free on extra easy!


Tikka Tikka Tuesday

I’m working my way through the Slimming World “FakeAway” Book

I tried the Lamb Dhansak recently and I don’t know what I did to it, but it wasn’t nice! I plan to try the Beef version Click Here next week

So, on Tuesday I wanted something yummy but curry like (the boys will eat curry and rice and not much else!)
I had chicken. I had no tomatoes, chopped or fresh or even passatta and I had no coconut milk. How was I going to make something that resembled a curry!

Fakeaway book to the rescue! Chicken Tikka Masala all I needed was fat free natural yoghurt and I had fat free Greek yoghurt so we were good to go! I also read the recipe at 2pm so had a good 3.5 hours marinade time!

I had no tikka powder I just used the hot madras curry powder I have so I did not add any extra chilli that is In the original recipe.

I served with onion and coriander cauliflower “rice” for us and basmati for the kids

This recipe is Syn Free on Extra Easy

Chicken Tikka Masala

Serves 4

Juice of 1 lime (I cheated and used 3 tbsp bottled lime juice)
150g fat free Greek yoghurt
4 tbsp hot madras curry powder (or 5tbsp tikka powder)
Salt and pepper
4 skinless chicken breasts chopped into chunks
1 onion finely chopped (recipe says grated, how exactly one is meant to grate an onion I do not know!)
4 garlic cloves crushed
2cm piece of ginger peels and grated
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
6 tbsp tomato purée
5 tablespoons fat free Greek yoghurt (original recipe says fat free fromage frais)
Fresh coriander to garnish

Cauliflower rice:
1 head cauliflower
Fresh coriander bunch
1 onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic crushed

– in a large dish mix the lime juice, 5tbsp yoghurt, 2 tbsp of the curry powder (or 3 of tikka). Season well with salt and pepper then add the chicken and mix well. Marinade in fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
I like to attack the chicken pieces in the marinade with 2 forks to poke lots of little holes in the chicken and really get that marinade in. You can skip this part but it’s quite fun.

– when ready to go, heat up the grill and spray a pan with lo cal spray. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cumin and the rest of the curry powder and fry for 2-3 mins.

– stir in the tomato purée and 300ml of water. Bring to the boil then reduce and simmer for 15 mins, stirring often

– meanwhile, thread the marinaded chicken onto skewers (use metal if you have them, if you are using wooden skewers, cover the ends with tinfoil because even though I soaked mine one of them still went on fire under the grill, oops)

– spray with lo cal spray and grill for 15 mins turning now and then until nice and deep golden coloured

– remove the chicken from skewers and stir into the sauce. Take off the heat then stir in the rest of the yogurt and scatter fresh coriander leaves (optional)

Coriander and onion cauliflower “rice”
– break the cauliflower into florets and blitz in processor until it resembles rice. Do in batches otherwise tends to get too mushy and over crowded, you need to just pulse it a few times to get a good consistency of not too small and mushy
– finely chop the onion and add to a frying pan with spray oil and the garlic and fry until golden in colour.
– finely chop the stalks of a good bunch of coriander and add them in along with the cauliflower. Stir well and add 5 tablespoons water and put a lid on to let it steam and cook the cauliflower through, about 10 mins
– season when cooked and scatter fresh coriander leaves over when serving



Friday “Fried” Chicken

This is from the Slimming World “Fakeaway” book, which has so far been one of my favourite go to recipe books.
I highly recommend picking it up at your group or online.

Friday night and the desire to order a chicken fillet burger and bag of chips from the local Italian takeaway is strong!!

I’ve hurt my back and even walking around is painful but after having cake for lunch (how bold, but when a friend visits me with cake, how could it resist!!) I knew I needed a lo-Syn dinner!

This is the way I cooked it, I made slight changes but it’s almost the same. Eg the recipe states chicken thighs, I used chicken breasts.
It’s also supposed to serve 4 people, but himself and my friend fought over the extra portion that was supposed to be for sandwiches for lunch today!!

Also, I still can’t work out, is cayenne pepper the same as cayenne chilli powder??? I used cayenne chilli powder and there was quite the kick so if you like less spicy just use 1 tsp.

Recipe serves
Spicy Southern “Fried” Chicken

Serves 4

1.5 syns per person

100g passata
50g tomato purée
2 tsp cayenne pepper (makes it spicy!!)
1 tsp dried mixed herbs (I used Italian herbs)
2 tsp garlic salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 egg white
60g wholemeal bread
4 chicken breasts

For the garlic sauce:
8 tablespoons fat free fromage frais
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp mixed herbs

Potatoes (I prefer marks piper)

– cut the potatoes into chips, I like mine not too chunky, and I never bother to peel them!! I use an airfryer so I soak them in water for about 10 minutes then dry and spray with lo-cal spray and put on at 200 for 35 mins
– If you are using an oven, microwave them on a plate with a few tsp of water to create steam for 5 minutes then place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and spray, bake at 200 for 30-40 mins
For both methods, shake half way and re spray

– first blitz the bread in a processor to fine crumbs, it’s best if the bread is a bit stale or dry
– in a bowl mix the tomato purée, passata, garlic salt, herbs and black pepper
– whisk the egg white in another bowl until stiff peaks form then fold into the tomato mix
– put the breadcrumbs on a plate
– cut the chicken fillets in half lengthways and I like to butterfly the thicker pieces as well
– dip the chicken pieces into the tomato mix holding the very tip with one hand then use the other hand to sprinkle bread crumbs on, If you place the tomato covered fillet onto the plate of crumbs then sprinkle and pat down crumbs onto the side facing you, it’s a lot less messy
(I got fed up being tidy half way through and just put all the chicken into the tomato sauce and mixed it up then dunked them in breadcrumbs, the first half were a lot neater to be honest)
– place these on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper, spray with lo cal and bake at 200 for 25-30 mins, turn half way and re spray

– garlic sauce
– grate the garlic into the fromage frais and stir in the herbs

In the book this is served with coleslaw which would give you the superfree portion and the recipe is in the book but I just ate a bowl of grapes while cooking 🙂


Cauliflower – don’t knock it!

The humble cauliflower. Until recently the only way I would eat cauliflower is baked with cream and cheese!! Still my favourite dish but having tried a few different eating styles over the years, one of the tricks I’ve kept with me is using cauliflower instead of rice or mashed potato!

One of my favourite recipes is Cauliflower Pilaff from a great paleo site Clothes make the Girl
I leave out the raisins as I don’t like them and depending on how I feel that day, will half the oil used, or use low calorie spray oil.

Here are 3 recent meals I’ve made using cauliflower. I tend to make up a big batch and use it for the next couple of days.

No.1 Baked Salmon with Chilli and Lime Butter (courtesy of Supervalu! But easy to recreate!)
Served on a base of click here for recipe cauliflower pilaff that I tossed through with fresh coriander and some grilled asparagus


No.2 Fried Striploin Steak served with Garlic Butter and Cauliflower Pilaff and asparagus (again)
(The garlic butter melted into the cauliflower taking it to a whole new taste level – mmmmm)
I simply brought the steak to room temp, seasoned with salt and lots of black pepper, rubbed with some olive oil and fried 4 mins each side.
For the butter – 30g butter, grate in a clove of garlic and a sprinkle of dried mixed herbs, roll into a sausage in some greaseproof and freeze for half an hour to allow to cut into nice slices – or don’t bother and just spoon it on 🙂


No.3 Spiced Pan Fried Chicken With Garlic rice mash
For this I seasoned chicken fillets with cayenne chilli powder, salt and pepper and bashed writhing cling film to flatten slightly. Pan fried until golden and cooked through.
Meanwhile process the cauliflower until fine crumbs texture. Sauté a finely chopped onion and clove of minced garlic in a frying pan until soft and add the cauliflower. Cook until soft.
Served with some fried (in the chicken pan deglazed with some water) asparagus (notice a trend) and some garlic butter to melt into the chicken


Lentils??? Yes!!

IMG_8753I was lounging about feeling miserable yesterday, sore throat, sore head, sore everywhere. And I flicked onto Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals on the GoodFood channel.

He was making Spiced Chicken, Bacon, Asparagus and Spinach Lentils. Himself (husbag) was beside me, he said “That looks lovely, will you make that” so I said, ok, I’l try!

Now, i’ve never been a big fan of lentils, but i’m being converted, i’ve even started sneaking them into curries, bolonaise and (shock!!) my famous Taco Fries!! Half the calories of meat and just as filling – yes please!

I’ve changed a few little bits from the original recipe in Jamie’s Book, and I used dried red lentils as Tesco across the road had no tinned puy, but I would like to try it again with the correct lentils!

As usual with a meal with so many flavours, it reheats beautifully and leftovers today were so good!!

I used streaky Bacon, but you could substitute with trimmed lean bacon to keep it free on SW plan, apart from that it’s Syn free.

Husband strongly approved of this meal, said he would keep me a bit longer, I think he wants the same again tonight but beans on toast is my limit today 🙂

ps. This took me slightly longer than 15 minutes to prepare and cook!!


Spicy Chicken with Bacon, Asparagus and Spinach Lentils 

Serves 4



1 onion

2 carrots (original recipe uses 1)

2 sprigs fresh rosemary (leaves removed)

120g dried red lentils (or as per original recipe, 2 x 400g tins puy lentils)

2 ripe tomatoes

150g baby spinach

1 tsp red wine vinegar (I used white)

4 heaped tbsp fat free natural yoghurt (optional)


4 skinless, chicken breasts

1 tsp cayenne pepper

4 cloves garlic

1 handful fresh thyme, rosemary and/or bay leaf (I used 1 tsp dried thyme, fresh rosemary and 2 dried crumbled bay leaves)

6 rashers of streaky bacon  (jamie’s original recipe calls for 4 rashers of smoked pancetta)

1 bunch of asparagus  (I used 2 packs of asparagus spears, I love asparagus)



– If you are using dried lentils, bring them to the boil  and simmer for 10 mins until just softened, then drain and remove from the heat. If you are using tinned, just open the tins!

– Peel and quarter the onion and carrot and blitz in processor with the rosemary leaves until fine.

– put in the pan with (spray oil) olive oil and toss regularly

– on a sheet of clingfilm or greaseproof, sprinkle the chicken with the cayenne, salt and pepper, then fold over the clingfilm and take out some aggression on it, very satisfying, until 1.5 cm (ish) thick

– put this into a warmed frying pan with (spray) olive oil,  the unpeeled garlic cloves and the handfuls of herbs, and turn every 3-4 mins until cooked through and gold in colour. Remove the chicken to a plate and keep warm

– add the lentils to the onion and carrot along with the tomatoes (chopped roughly) and put the lid on. Finely chop the spinach and add to the mix, along with the vinegar, stir and heat through until the spinach is wilted. Season to taste.

– add the asparagus and bacon to the frying pan and fry until crispy and golden (the 2 extra slices of streaky bacon are to test, to make sure it’s ok and crispy enough).

– Roughly stir the yoghurt through the lentils (or serve on the side if you prefer), top the lentils with the asparagus sliced chicken, 1 fillet per person and a slice of bacon, cut in half. (Jamie serves all of this on a platter)

– It is suggested to serve this with crusty bread, warmed through in the oven.




Chicken Biriyani

While I was in an Indian restaurant recently, I tried a chicken biriyani for the first time and fell in love! Tender spicy chicken surrounded by flavoured rice, what’s not to love!

So I decided to give it a go myself. I cheated slightly and used a pataks paste (1.5 syns per tablespoon) but I’m going to research a spice mix to try myself next time.

Any vegetables will work here I’ve listed out what I used! Hope you like it!

Chicken Biriyani

Serves 4
(2.5 syns per serving, excluding almonds)

175g basmati rice
1 brown onion chopped
1 carrot finely diced
100g green beans, halved (I used frozen)
100g petit pois
3 chicken fillets sliced in approx 6 pieces
6 tablespoons pataks biriyani paste
2 tablespoons natural yoghurt (I used fat free liberte Greek yoghurt)
1 tin tomatoes

To serve:
25g sliced almonds, toasted (optional)
Fresh chopped mint

– mix 2 tablespoons yoghurt with 2 tablespoons of the paste
– marinade the chicken in this mix for 2-3 hours at least
– cook the rice in salted water until just underdone, then drain and remove from the heat
– meanwhile, seal the chicken pieces until nicely coloured, remove to a plate
– sauté the onions and carrots until softened then add the paste, mix well, then add green beans, peas and tinned tomatoes and stir
– mix the rice into the veg and add 1 cup of water
– in an oven proof dish – place half the rice and veg mix on the bottom
– place the chicken along the top of this
– then top with the remaining rice, ensuring the chicken is totally covered
– wrap carefully with tinfoil then make at 180 degrees for half an hour
– serve topped with a spoon of yoghurt and sprinkled with almonds and mint


Chicken Stir Fry with Lime, Garlic, Chilli and Soy

Came up with this last night, trying to recreate a favourite from a local Thai takeaway. Wasn’t quite the same as theirs but it was delicious

(If you don’t have kaffir lime leaf don’t worry, just add an extra splash of lime juice!)

Serves 2

Stir fry with lime, garlic, chilli and soy

2 chicken fillets
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 fat cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger finely diced
1 red chilli, finely diced (remove seeds for less heat)
1 tablespoon mirrin (rice wine) or 1tsp sugar
4 spring onions, finely sliced, green parts reserved for garnish

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
Juice of 1 lime
4/5 kafir lime leaves crushed (optional)
1 onion sliced
1 red pepper sliced
1 courgettes in chunks

To serve: boiled rice, lime zest, sliced spring onions (green part)

– mix the light soy, half the garlic, half the ginger, mirrin or sugar and 1 tablespoon of lime
Juice together
– finely slice the chicken and add to the marinade. Cover and leave for 1 hour

– heat a wok to smoking and add a dash of oil (or low calorie spray)

– add the remaining garlic and ginger along with the chilli and spring onion and fry for 1 minute to release flavours then add the chicken

– stir fry quickly for 4/5 mins until chicken is just done and remove to a bowl
– get the heat back up, and throw in all the veg; loosen the bottom
Of the pan up with a splash of boiling water to get all the flavour going
– when veg is fried to just done, add the chicken back in
– add dark soy, sesame oil and lime juice, kafir leaf if you have it and stir fry for 2 mins

– serve with fluffy rice. Topped with the chopped green of spring onions, slices of chilli and a sprinkle of lime zest

This recipe is Free on Slimming World plan if you omit any oils, or 1.5 syns if you include the sesame oil.
And works out about 500kcals including 1 cup serving of rice.

Chicken – 3 Ways

Not cooking 3 meals at mealtimes is being stretched a little bit lately!

Cue Sunday dinner, himself had requested chicken with black pudding stuffing on “cheat day” the previous day but we ended up out instead!
So on Sunday I had to come up with something else, using chicken and black pudding!

Since he is following The Pain in my backside diet I came up with black pudding fried up with mushrooms, onion and garlic for him and stuffed flattened chicken fillets – verdict – more of the same please!!


For myself: a recreation of a meal I had in a carvery recently, but Slimming World altered.
Flattened chicken fillet, stuffed with fried onion and bacon pieces, and low low mature chedder with black pepper spread.
I had no breadcrumbs or smash powder so I improvises with couscous, and then realised when I was eating it that I should have soaked it before using it as a coating!

Verdict- delish, will make again, the filling was so good and would work with plain low fat cheese spread too


And for the little people? Chicken nuggets of course – no.1 told me that “these crunchy nuggets are just the best” oops, poor child, raw roast couscous, lesson learned!


Two diets, One meal

So, myself and himself follow 2 different diet plans. I stick (sort of!!) to Slimming World and he a slow carb/low carb sort of paleo plan type of thing involving yuck like butter in coffee and way too many egg whites for my liking!

I digress. As a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids) I don’t want to have to cook different meals for us all so unless I know the kids really won’t eat what we are having and they have a fish finger meal, I try to adapt what we have for us all.

Yesterday I took left over turkey breast and fried it up in nandos hot sauce for himself and made a salad dressing for myself (recipe below)



For dinner last night we had leftover chicken rogan josh. I had “normal” rice and made him cauliflower “rice” stir fried with mushrooms, coriander and garlic. My husband has the best wife ever 🙂


Peri Peri Salad Dressing

(I used Nando’s sauce but you could google a recipe to make your own sauce)

1 tablespoon Nandos Medium Peri Peri Sauce
5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Juice of half a lemon

Mix it all up and pour a few spoons over your salad. It’s got quite a kick 🙂

Mushroom & Garlic Cauliflower Rice

A small head of cauliflower, broken into florets
2 cloves garlic chopped
7/8 mushrooms, sliced
Fresh coriander
Coconut oil or oil of your choice

Steam the florets until just about cooked
Meanwhile fry the mushrooms and garlic in hot oil
Roughly mash the cauliflower and tip into the pan, mix well and add fresh chopped coriander