Chilli Con Carne

I always make my chilli the day before as I think it tastes so much better the next day. The flavours are so much stronger and richer.

Serve it with rice, crunchy jacket potatoes or wrapped in a burrito with fresh lettuce and all the sour cream, guacamole, and salsa or simply in a bowl with jalapenos and loads of nachos to dip in.

It’s amazing with all the above dips as well as mango chutney which incidentally I’m obsessed with.

A lovely thick chilli that you can stand the wooden spoon up in on it’s own.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

750g steak mince

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 teaspoons paprika

4 teaspoons ground cumin

2 cloves garlic – minced

3 tablespoons tomato pureé

1 tin kidney beans in chilli sauce

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 red onion – diced

2 tablespoons chilli powder

100ml water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons Worcester sauce

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine.

Method

Warm 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan. I cook my chilli in a wok. Cook down the onions until they are nice and soft. Set aside on a separate plate.

Add another glug of oil and brown your mince.

Add all the spices, salt, pepper and garlic, then pour your onions back into the pan along with your tomatoes and kidney beans in their sauce, red wine, tomato pureé, water and worcester sauce.

Stir to combine all the ingredients and leave to simmer for 25 minutes or so.


Kung Pao Chicken

What a burst of flavour this was. So much better for you than the take away and you can probably make it quicker than it would take to pick it up. The sauce is so authentic and something you can knock up at home in minutes.

Serve with white rice, prawn crackers and a glass of chilled white.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 chicken breasts

1 red pepper – diced

1 green pepper – diced

2 medium onions

4 spring onions

Glug of sesame or chilli oil

Marinade

1 tablespoon plain flour

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

Sauce

200ml chicken stock

5 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons Chinese wine vinegar ( or rice wine or cider vinegar)

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

Half tablespoon ground ginger

4 cloves garlic – minced

Half teaspoon chilli flakes

Method

Dice up your chicken and rub over your marinade. Set aside while you chop up all your peppers and onions.

Pan fry your chicken in your hot sesame oil for 5 minutes, moving round the pan all the time.

Now add your diced peppers and onions and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Mix up your sauce, pour over and bring to the boil for a couple of minutes to thicken.

Tip: Serve with your white rice and prawn crackers. Pour yourself a nice glass of chilled white.


Chilli Salmon

Healthy can still be filling and delicious. I’m a little more mindful of what I eat in January in order to balance out the excesses of Christmas. Give or take the odd cookie ha ha. Salmon is a dish that features high on the menu.

Chilli helps fight off Winter colds and boosts metabolism. A tiny drizzle of honey adds a little sweetness and pairs perfectly with the chilli.

I serve with a beetroot salad to add a few antioxidants and a smidge of feta. Delicious!

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 salmon fillets

Teaspoon chilli flakes

1 red chilli – thinly sliced

Drizzle of honey for each salmon fillet

Juice of half a lemon

Method

Pre heat oven to 180c / 160c fan.

Place salmon fillets on a foil lined baking sheet.

Sprinkle over the chilli flakes, squeeze over the lemon and drizzle over a little honey. Top with the sliced red chilli and fold the foil around the salmon forming a little parcel with just the top of the salmon visible.

Pop in the oven for 12-15 minutes.

Serve with a salad. I like adding beetroot, feta, chilli and spring onion to mine.

Tip: Make double and have some for lunch the next day with a little white rice and salad.


Smokey Maple Chicken Skewers

Let’s change up chicken, rice and salad. Such a good option when keeping meals light. I love mine with lots of fresh lemon squeezed over.

Smokey maple chicken skewers are even better on the bbq so don’t forget to save this recipe for when the sun comes out later in the year.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 chicken breasts

2 tablespoons smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Juice of a lemon

2 tablespoons maple syrup

4 lemon wedges to serve

4 skewers – soak in water before cooking

Method

Pre- heat oven to 200c / 180c fan.

Firstly make sure your skewers have been soaked in water for few minutes if they are bamboo. This will stop them burning.

Cube your chicken and set aside.

Mix up your marinade in large mixing bowl and place all of the chicken cubes in it. Mix to coat all the chicken fully. Leave for as long as you have but 20 minutes or so will be fine, overnight all the better.

Thread your chicken cubes onto your skewers. Place on a lined baking tray on the middle shelf of the oven for approximately 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and with lots of fresh lemon squeezed over. Can be served hot or cold.


Healthy Chicken and Vegetable Curry

Such a great mid-week meal to cheer up January. It’s healthy but won’t leave you feeling hungry.

Tomato is the base of the sauce to keep it on the lighter side. Coriander, cumin, garlic, chilli and ginger bring the flavour. Bulk it out with as much veg as you like to pack in the vitamins and fill you up. I like peas and courgettes. Lentils for added texture and protein. This is one I make on repeat.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 chicken breasts

1 cup of frozen peas

1 onion – diced

Thumb size piece of ginger – grated

1 red chilli – thinly sliced

Half tablespoon ground coriander

Half tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon medium curry powder

1.5 tins of chopped tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon mango chutney

1 courgette – sliced into discs

Pinch of salt

Carton of ready cooked lentils – drained 230g

Half cup of water

Glug of ground nut oil

Method

Cook your diced onions in the glug of ground nut oil until they start to soften. Now add your ginger, chilli, garlic and 2 tablespoons water along with your spices, salt and chicken cubes and courgette.

Continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so, stirring all the while.

Pour in your tomatoes, peas and lentils and simmer for approximately 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the courgette is tender.

Stir in your mango chutney to add a little sweetness and your water to loosen. Stir to fully combine and serve with white rice, chapatis and extra mango chutney.


Chicken Schnitzel

We eat chicken quite often and I never tire of thinking up different ways to serve it. Chicken schnitzel is a delicious recipe that’s so versatile and I serve it with cheese and bacon potato skins, salad and a sour cream and chive dip. It’s lovely in a brioche bun with mayonnaise or in a wrap with some green salad and chilli jam.

It smells amazing when the rosemary in the breadcrumbs is sizzling away in the pan. Imagine how chuffed I am that it’s rosemary growing in my garden especially since it’s the only surviving herb in sight!

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 teaspoon onion granules

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon rosemary

2 slices brown bread

Cup of plain flour

1 egg – beaten

2 chicken fillets – flattened

2 tablespoons olive oil

Method

Add your onion granules, salt, pepper and mix to fully combine.

Whizz up your bread snapped into pieces and your rosemary in a separate mixing bowl with a stick blender or pop in your blender. Add your onion granules, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.

Wrap each chicken breast in cling film or wax wrap and flatten with a rolling pin.

Heat your olive oil in a frying pan.

Remove cling film or wax wrap and dip the chicken into the flour, then the beaten egg and lastly the crumbs mixture making sure every inch is coated.

Pan fry turning every now and then until fully cooked through.

Serve when they are golden and crispy.


Chicken Bhuna

I can’t get enough curry recipes into my repertoire. We all love curry in our family even the children so I’m forever making it and experimenting with new versions. It’s such an easy dinner to make and share when you have a get together.

This chicken bhuna is rich, spicy and packed with flavour. Serving with mango chutney is compulsory along with some fluffy naan breads and basmati rice. I leave it all on the side and everyone helps themselves. Some more so than others!

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 medium onion – diced

4 chicken breasts – chopped into pieces

3 cloves garlic – minced

Tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato pureé

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons chilli powder

Glug of ground nut oil

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Method

Pan fry your diced onions in ground nut oil for a minute over a low heat. Add your spices and garlic. Cook your onions low and slow until fully softened. This part really helps enhance the flavour of the curry.

Add your tomatoes and tomato pureé and simmer for half an hour or so. Add your chicken pieces and simmer for another 20 minutes until fully cooked through.


Cajun Salmon Nicoise

Cajun salmon nicoise salad is a favourite in our house. Fresh, crunchy and healthy but still filling. Who says you can’t have salads in the Winter? I grew up eating salads all year round.

If I’m keeping it low calorie I’ll do it this way otherwise I might add in a few baby potatoes to change it up a bit. I drizzle it in a dressing made from extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, wholegrain mustard and salt and cracked black pepper. It’s absolutely divine.

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 salmon fillets

1 teaspoon cajun seasoning

1 teaspoon paprika

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

1 gem lettuce

4 tomatoes

2 eggs – boiled

Handful of green beans

Few slices of cucumber

10 olives of choice

Juice of half a lemon

Dressing: 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, half teaspoon wholegrain mustard, squeeze of lemon, pinch of salt and cracked black pepper.

Method

Pre heat oven to 190c/ 170c fan

Chop your salad and dress it with the dressing. Meanwhile, put 2 separate pans on to boil your green beens and eggs. I boil the eggs for approximately 4 minutes in boiling water and leave to rest for a couple of minutes. The green beans only need 5 minutes or so in boiling water as its nice to have them crunchy.

Drain the eggs in cold water and peel and slice in half.

Drain the green beans and leave to cool a little as you don’t want them to wilt the salad.

Place your salmon in a parcel of tin foil and sprinkle over your paprika and cajun seasoning. Season with salt and pepper and squeeze over your lemon juice. Drizzle over a teaspoon of olive oil over each salmon fillet and gently cover over with the foil.

Bake in the centre of the oven for approximately 12 minutes. Once it’s fully cooked remove from oven and set aside for a moment while you place your salad, green beans and eggs on a plate.

Top with your salmon.

Tip: This dinner is perfect with an ice cold glass of sauvignon blanc.


Ham and Pineapple Pizza

We are definitely in the lover camp when it comes to pineapple on pizza. Have you ever made your own pizza’s with fresh pizza dough? Trust me when I say they are delicious you will be over the moon if you try it. Of course feel free to make your own pizza dough but some of the shop bought ones in the chiller at the supermarket are great.

It’s the easiest thing ever to knock up and tastes so fresh and full of flavour. A great lunch to make with the kids.

Ingredients

1 pack of ready roll pizza dough

1 cup of tomato sauce ( you can use any pasta sauce)

2 slices of ham (cut into small pieces)

3 pineapple rings – chopped into small pieces)

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

Half a bag of grated mozzarella

Method

Pre heat your oven to 200c / 180c fan

Take a baking sheet and roll out your pizza dough onto it. Lots of the dough packs have a greaseproof paper under the dough and if so you leave this under the dough while it’s cooking to make it easier to remove from the tray. Check your instructions first though.

Spoon over your tomato sauce, sprinkle over your grated mozzarella and add on your toppings. Season with salt and cracked black pepper.

Place in the centre of the oven for approximately 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven at the end of cooking time when the cheese is bubbling and it’s cooked through.

Slice and enjoy.


Chicken, Leek and Asparagus Pie

Tell me it’s Autumn without telling me it’s Autumn! Filled with chicken, leek and asparagus with a puff pastry lid and hint of thyme for extra delight, this pie is divine.

I make only with a puff pastry lid to keep it lower in calories not that it should be a factor when making a pie but I can’t help a habit of a lifetime.

I serve with lots of fresh veg and smother in delicious gravy. Feel free to add a pastry bottom and buttered new potatoes for a bit of extra Autumn comfort.

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts or 500g left over chicken

1 pack of ready roll puff pastry

200ml chicken stock

100ml double cream

Half teaspoon of dried thyme

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

5 asparagus spears – chopped into four

2 leeks – sliced into discs

Beaten egg to glaze

Dusting of flour to roll pastry

Method

Pre heat oven to 200c / 180c

Add your hot stock to a large saucepan with your chopped chicken, chopped leek and chopped asparagus. Simmer until the chicken pieces are cooked through ( approximately 15 minutes). You can add your chicken in after 10 mins if you are using left over roast chicken.

Allow to cool and swirl in your double cream and thyme. Season according to your liking.

Meanwhile, roll out your puff pastry on a floury surface.

Add the filling to your pie dish and allow to cool, then place the pastry on top and crimp around the edges.

Brush with beaten egg and bake in the centre of your hot oven for 20 minutes. When the pie looks golden, remove and serve with delicious gravy and vegetables of choice.