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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A New Kitchen Toy

Move over inner Nigella, I’m channeling my inner Jamie lately with my new favourite kitchen utensil – a 3 in 1 peeler!!  A long time ago, when I attempted lo-carbing for a while, I got to like “Zoodles” aka, courgette (Zukini) “noodles” – courgette sliced in very thin, julienne strips and used as a pasta substitute. Very nice, but a lot of work! A friend mentioned recently that she had purchased a Julienne Peeler and a quick google later I found this. I checked it out on Jamie’s Site and 5 minutes later had clicked “Buy”, my new toy arrived 2 days later!

 

The first dinner I made using my new peeler was a Chicken and Noodle Dish, First I peeled the carrot using the regular peeler attachment, then popped that out and used the Julienne Peeler attachment to peel the carrot into Julienne slices. They will come off the vegetable in one strip and then you just lift them apart in a big bundle after, really easy and kind of fun! Watch your fingers though, I cut myself twice by holding the carrot awkwardly!

Same for the courgette/zukini, but I didn’t peel it. I put the carrot strips into boiling water for 2 minutes, then added wholewheat noodles, cooked them for 3 minutes, then added the courgette and simmered for another minute. Drained all and kept to one side.

I stir fried chicken pieces, onion and pepper with some chilli, lemongrass, garlic and ginger, added the noodles and veg and splashed in some oyster sauce  (1 syn per tablespoon) at the end.

 

I am subscribed to an excellent blog, i’ve mentioned it before – Slimming Eats and this morning opened my email account to find an email with this Bruschetta recipe.

Perfect idea for breakfast! I had some over-ripe vine tomatoes in the fridge, and wanted to try the “soft fruit” attachment of the new peeler! Well, no more boiling and skinning tomatoes for me, the peeler works like a charm and so easy!

Feeling lazy, I just toasted some wholewheat bread (60g, Healthy B) and decided that I didn’t fancy garlic first thing in the morning. So while the bread was toasting, I de-seeded and chopped the tomatoes, added some fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil. As per recipe, I served the tomato mix on the toast and it was delish!! Will be even nicer made correctly as a starter.

*I accidentally ate ALL of the tomato  (it was just so tasty!) so had 4 Syns worth of olive oil (2 teaspoons)

Spaghetti Bolognese

The beauty of Slimming World is taking your favourite recipes, and altering them to suit the sw ideals!

With that in mind, this Spaghetti Bolognese by Jamie Oliver is absolutely gorgeous, I came across It as part of a food club I’m in on a forum. On this occasion I used an 850g pack of minced steak so I amended the veg quantities to match.

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First, I trimmed all visible fat off the smoked bacon (I used 5 medallions of smoked back bacon instead of streaky to keep the sun value of zero.

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While the bacon was in the pan, with the oregano (using fry light instead of oil), I prepared the veg, I added an extra onion, carrot, stick of celery and clove of garlic as was using more meat than in Jamie’s original recipe! It took a lonnnnng time to chop all of this, while kneeling on my wheelie chair…..I realised about 3/4 of the way through I should have just used my processor, but I was nearly done when I had that lightbulb moment!

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Sauté the veg, adding more spray oil or a little water to prevent sticking, then add the meat and brown, followed by the tomatoes and 1 tin of water, salt and pepper and finely chopped basil stalks. Bring to the boil, reduce and summer for an hour covered, then half an hour uncovered. Boil pasta. Stir in half the Parmesan and the basil leaves.

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I used whole wheat penne on this occasion, and served the plate 1/3 full with streamed green beans, mangetout, sugar snaps and brocolli (tesco do a handy microwave steam pack). The remaining half Parmesan can be used for sprinkling over the dish. This recipe made enough for 2 adults and 1 four year old x 4 dinners (I froze the remainder in bags of portions of 2.5)

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.