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

Ingredients: 

Lentils: 

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)

Chicken:

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)

 

Method:

– 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.

 

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Risotto

I’m sure that an Italian may gasp in horror at my risotto, not a drop of butter or oil in sight!! Still, it’s one of my most favourite meals, comfort food and so versatile!

I used asparagus, white wine and topped mine with some crispy bacon.

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Risotto

ingredients

250g risotto rice
Pack of asparagus tips, cut in bite size pieces
1 pint hot chicken stock
125ml white wine
1 clove garlic, crushed
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan
1 small onion, finely chopped

– sauté the onion and garlic with spray oil until softened
– add in the rice and stir for 1 min
– add the white wine and stir until absorbed
– add the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring in between until absorbed, then add another ladle, etc
– after about 10 mins add the asparagus
– when the rice is softened to taste, remove from heat and stir in some grated Parmesan (as much or as little as you like, and some fresh ground black pepper)
– I served mine topped with some crunchy grilled bacon, which I broke up and stirred through the rice

I was feeling generous so hubbie had his topped with a salmon fillet that I brushed with pesto, wrapped in Parma ham and baked for 15 mins!

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Salmon and Asparagus Salad

A rainy day here and the Last thing I wanted to eat was salad but I bought a “healthy grill” in tesco last night and wanted to test run it!

2 grilled salmon fillets later and salads assembled (husband has no choice but to be on a Slimming World trend too!)

Rocket, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, blueberries and tablespoon of honey mustard dressing (2 syns) with the grilled salmon and steamed asparagus. Delish!

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Lunch Ideas

As i’m following the Slimming World plan, I will add syn value in where I can, and hope i’m accurate in my calculating 🙂

Food is so important to me, I need it to look appealing and taste just as good. I don’t want to be on a “diet” eating diet muck, processed or otherwise…so I try to cook from scratch as much as possible while following the plan suggestions. I hate feeling deprived and I like to enjoy my food, I haven’t bought into the “food as fuel” idea just yet.

I try most mornings to have fruit for breakfast, sometimes with a “hifi” bar or sometimes with a slice of wholemeal bread. If I know i’m going to have a breadroll at lunch or whatever, I will just snack on fruit all morning to keep any hunger pangs at bay!

Some recent lunches i’ve had are as follows:

Salmon Fillet topped with a sprinkle of garlic powder and dried thyme and baked in the oven (wrapped in tinfoil) at same time as syn free chips (par boil or microwave with a few tsp water for 5 mins, then spray with fry light, onto baking paper on a tray and into the oven) and a salad of rocket, tomato, beetroot and balsamic vinegar (Syn Free)

 

Leftover Syn Free Bolonaise (Jamie Oliver Recipe) with asparagus and rocket and fat free vinegarette, and a sprinkle of fresh parmesan (about 5g)

 

Homemade Chicken Goujons (chicken fillet cut into goujons, dipped in egg and wholemeal breadcrumbs), served with salad and homemade coleslaw (shredded white cabbage, carrot, spring onion and a mix of extra light mayo and fat free natural yoghurt). Salad tossed with fat free vingerette and sprinkled with parmesan (5g)

 

Leftover Smoked Salmon Pasta (wholemeal pasta, smoked salmon, homemade pesto (3.5 syns) and a tablespoon ex.light garlic and herb philidelphia, served with rocket, spinach and watercress mix bagged salad, drizzled with balsamic vinegar

 

Chicken Salad – chicken breasts sprayed with a little fry light, sprinkled with cajun spice mix and under a hot grill, with sweetcorn, rocket and chopped tomatoes. I used Honey & Mustard Dressing that I diluted with a little bit of water to make it go further and had this with 50g of a wholemeal bread roll as my healthy B option.