Chicken Pesto Salad

Normally you can attribute the success of a dish to a particular ingredient. This however lets every ingredient share the stage. You can leave out one or more of the ingredients but each one adds its own voice to the choir.

Using my last salad post as a base, (Check it out HERE) make it a full lunch or dinner with these other amazing flavours. Grilled Chicken gives this the protein to fill you up. Pesto adds a whole new dimension to the original flavour of the salad. Then, my favourite bit, toasted cumin seeds and pine nuts. That flavour from the fennel seeds really boosts the overall outcome of this pretty healthy, quick lunch or dinner.

What do you need

1x chicken breast

1tsp cumin seeds

25g pine nuts

1 tbsp pesto

1x lemon

Handful of spinach or rocket (or both)

1x pre cooked beetroot

5 sun dried tomatoes halved

40g feta cheese

What you need to do

Bash your chicken breast between some cling film to make it nice and even, around 1 cm thick would be good. Season it with a little salt and pepper and then drizzle it with a little olive oil. Add the breast to a hot pan and cook for around 4 minutes on each side (this can obviously vary, just make sure your chicken is white all the way through and there are no pink bits left inside).Once it is cooked through remove it to a plate and leave it to rest.

While the chicken cooks away heat another small pan and add the cumin seeds and pine nuts. Toast them for around a minute. You are not trying to cook them and you don't want to burn them so keep an eye out. All this does is release the aromatic oils and smells out of them both to make them taste amazing.

In a small bowl mix the pesto and lemon juice together.

Now to plate up just toss the spinach and rocket onto a plate and scatter over the beetroot, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts and cumin seeds. Crumble the feta cheese over everything. Slice your chicken breast into strips and lay on top and drizzle over the lemon pesto.

Sun Dried Tomato, Beetroot and Feta Salad

Bored of lettuce, tomato and cucumber salads? Me too. Try this.

Beetroot, its the vegetable equivalent to Marmite. And like Marmite, I absolutely love it. Couple that with one of the best flavours in the world, sun dried tomatoes, and you have an amazing salad. Spinach and rocket make the bed, on top of that bed lay the super sexy sundried tomatoes and beautiful beetroot. Adorning the top is a scattering of fabulous feta which is by far my favourite cheese at the moment. Drizzle a little olive oil and a touch of salt and pepper and you have a salad that will knock the socks off your usual, dull, lifeless bowl of iceberg, tomato and cucumber.

Chorizo, Tomato and Egg 

So I have been away for a while. The reason being we have lapsed into some old habits. Eating habits. Long story short I am now on a health kick. I need to lose a good couple of stone, at least. So, now I am eating good, healthy, fresh food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This lunch surprised me it was super tasty and actually filled me up till dinner. Which is surprising considering it is basically a tin of tomatoes and a couple of eggs.

The main reason this works and tastes amazing is it has chorizo in it. Not a lot (I am being healthy after all) but enough to flavour the tomatoes and give that rich flavour that comes from cooking it down and getting all those lovely juices. I cooked the eggs in the tomatoes and they were amazing I broke open the yolk in the bowl and it was still runny which added a whole new flavour. I think next time I will add some fresh herbs. Probably basil or parsley. Maybe a bit of Worcester sauce. The chilli powder gave enough heat to warm everything but I think I will add some more next time.

This, I worked out was around 500 – 550 calories. I know that sounds a lot but I am over 17 stone now so I have given myself 1800 calories a day. All of which will hopefully be good wholesome food. I had a home made fruit smoothie for breakfast that was only around 350 calories so that still left me 900 calories for dinner and milk for my coffee.


Ingredients (serves 1)

1 Tin chopped tomatoes

50g Chorizo chopped (I used the cured sausage not the sliced sandwich chorizo)

1 Shallot finely chopped

1 handful of spinach

2 Eggs

30g Parmesan Cheese grated 

Half a tsp of Chilli powder


How to Cook

Cook your shallot and chorizo in a small pan with a small amount of olive oil for a few minutes. Long enough for the chorizo to release all the fat and oil. Add your chilli powder and mix it in for a minute.

Then add the tin of chopped tomatoes, careful it may splash up at you as it hits the hot oils in the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Heat it all through. then add your spinach until it has all wilted. You may need to do this in a couple of batches.

Now try and make a small indent in the tomatoes with a spoon and then crack an egg into it. Now do the same with the other egg. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top and then put a lid on the pan. Cook until all the egg whites have cooked but the yolks still runny.

Carfully transfer it all to a bowl.

Sprinkle with some Basil or Parsley if you have any.

 

Beef Meatball Goulash With Rice

Originating from medieval Hungary, Goulash is a deep, rich, belter of a dish. Back in the 9th century goulash was eaten by Hungarian shepherds. They would take cooked, seasoned meat and dry it in the sun to preserve it. Then they would store it in bags made from sheep stomachs. When they wanted to eat it all they would have to do was add water to the bag and they had a meal.

In terms of ingredients I can’t say how close this was to the traditional dish. For sure it would have used paprika (Hungarian paprika is renowned to be some of the best in the world). Not only does it give lots of flavour, it adds that deep red colour that makes it so appealing.

The use of fresh herbs really kick this one up a notch. Those rich flavours are contrasted with the freshness of the parsley. 

Red Onion, chop it into thin half moons

Green pepper, slice it as thin as you can

Garlic, grate it

Parsley, roughly chop it

Cook the onion and pepper till soft in a pan with some oil. Season with salt and pepper. Once soft add half of the garlic, dried thyme and ground coriander. Also add all of the paprika.

Cook this mix for a couple more minutes and add the tomato purée and chopped tomatoes. Bring to the boil and then add the stock pot and water. Mix it all up, lower the heat to simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.

While that is simmering, put the basmati rice in a pot and add 500ml water. Bring to the boil and then pop a lid on the pan, lower the heat to medium and leave for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes remove the pan from the heat and leave the lid on till you are ready to serve.

While the rice is cooking, put the mince into a bowl with some salt and pepper, then add the remaining garlic, dried thyme and coriander. Mix in the panko breadcrumbs. Make into enough balls for 3 each. (Don’t compact them too much, just enough to keep them together. Half submerge the meatballs into the sauce. Pop a lid on the pan and cook for 10-12 minutes, turning halfway through. 

Once the meatballs have cooked add the spinach to the pan and put the lid back on for a couple of minutes until it has wilted. Season if you need to and then remove from the heat and stir in two thirds of the sour cream.

Fluff up the rice and serve as a bed for your sauce and meatballs sprinkle over your parsleyand a dollop of sour cream.

Grilled Chicken With Saffron Spiced Freekeh and Zahtar Dressing

This dish received a lot of hype before I cooked it, it looks and sounds like it was going to be packed with flavour. However, it wasn’t the case. I really enjoyed it and would happily recommend it. My wife and brother on the other hand were left underwhelmed.

By the time I plated this up I was practically dribbling into the bowl (I gave that one to my brother). The dish looked amazing and smelt delicious. The flavour on the other hand was.. different to what we were expecting. Now I really liked it, it was very citrusy and spicy. There were some issues, I didn’t see the need for the saffron, I can’t say I really tasted it. Also the Freekeh wasn’t as flavourful as it has been before in other meals. I will try this one again one day. I am sure it was my cooking that let the end result down. It is hard to look at that ingredients list and not get a fantastic tasting meal. 

Firstly get your grill on medium high, prep the chicken by putting it on a tray with a bit of salt and pepper mix up some olive oil and lemon zest and massage this into the chicken. Put it to one side while you carry on prepping.

Shallot, c it into thin half moons

Garlic, peel it, grate it.

Red pepper, slice into strips.

Add your shallot to a pan with some oil and cook for 5 minutes to soften. Then add your pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Next add your garlic and saffron and cook for 1 minute. When ready add 750ml of water and bring to the boil. Once boiling add the Freekeh with salt and pepper and reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes.

While the Freekeh is cooking, whack your chicken under the grill, probably for around 10 minutes each side depending on the size of your breasts.

Parsley, chop it

Mint, chop it

Red chilli, finely chop it. 

In a bowl mix up the Zahtar spice, a squeeze of lemon juice, a quarter of the parsley, all the mint, and some olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and then add as much of the chilli as you fancy.

When the Freekeh is cooked drain any excess fluid. Mix in the rest of the parsely and some lemon juice.

Slice the chicken and lay it on a Freekeh bed. Top with the Zahtar dressing and sprinkle any leftover herbs and chilli.

 

 

Cheats Lamb Moussaka

Lamb, just using it instead of beef gives you such a rich flavour. Soft aubergines and a mouthwatering creme fresh and Parmesan topping will have you wishing you made enough for thirds.

When I think of Moussaka I think of Greece. It does however, like most dishes, have many variations. Across the Balkans for instance it is more likely to see potatoes instead of aubergine, and to use pork mince over lamb. In Turkey the dish is not layered instead the eggplant, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and minced meat are sauteed together and served with pilaf and tzatziki. Across the Eastern Mediterranean the dish varies so much it can become unrecognisable. The Greek version has three layers cooked separately then assembled and baked together.

Cook the onion in some oil for a few minutes before adding the carrot and grated garlic. Before the garlic browns add the lamb mince and cinnamon stick. Cook the Lamb until it has browned, then add your chopped tomatoes. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes adding a little seasoning and a little sugar if you are feeling a bit naughty. While it is cooking, drizzle some olive oil over your aubergine slices and season Grill them for around 10 minutes on either side. 

This is where we assemble the moussaka, Remove the cinnamon stick from the lamb mixture and pour into an oven proof dish. Spread your grilled aubergine slices over the top. Then spoon on the Creme fraiche and spread it evenly over the top. Grate over the parmasan and grill it until you get that amazing brown crispy top. Remove it from the grill and then cut the last garlic clove in half and rub it over your sliced ciabatta. Grill it till nice and crisp. While it is grilling toss the rocket in some Extra Virgin Olive oil and salt and pepper. Serve together and enjoy these amazingly simple flavours.

This meal was from our HelloFresh box www.hellofresh.co.uk

Pan-Fried Sea Bass, Butternut Squash Wedges and Garlicky Bacon Kalettes

Five ingredients, that’s it, five. Proof that if you want good food you just need good quality food.

Sea Bass, what I would call a fishy fish, flavour wise (i know I should be a food critic with descriptions like that). It is though a nice change from the over used cod. The skin was nice and crisp, i used a small sprinkling of pepper to give it a little kick. The flesh was flaky and soft as it should be. It has reconfirmed that I do like fish. I never eat it, I will always choose meat over fish but I think things may change.

Onto the squash, such an amazing flavour. Roasted squash has become one of my favourite flavours. I have always skinned them though no matter how I have cooked them. My mind was blown when I read that you can roast them with the skin still on. I thought they would be tough and chewy but like always I was wrong. They were soft and sweet and the best part of the dish.

Kallets? Never heard of them? Don’t worry I hadn’t either, they are a cross breed between kale and Brussels sprouts. I am going to do a post about them so I wont go into to much detail here. I will say they were lovely. I am not a fan of Brussels sprouts so I wasn’t to eager to try them. Thankfully they are sweeter and taste more of kale than of Brussels sprouts.


Slice your squash into some form of wedges, toss in some olive oil with salt and pepper and put into a pre heated oven for thirty minutes at 220C. Cut the tough bottoms off the kalettes, like you would to your sprouts. Grate your garlic and chop your bacon. Cook the bacon for a few minutes in a pan with a splash of oil, then add the kalettes and cook for another five minutes stir in the garlic and keep it on the heat for another thirty seconds. Remove the mixture from the pan and into a bowl, cover with tinfoil to let the kalettes steam till the rest is cooked. Wipe out your pan and when your squash is nearly done add some oil and cook the sea bass skin side down for three minutes, turn it over and cook for another three minutes. Once everything is cooked plate it up and enjoy the great flavour of simplicity.

This meal was from our HelloFresh box Www.hellofresh.co.uk