Sunday, December 10, 2017

Chicken and Sweetcorn Pasta Bake

Chicken and sweetcorn pasta bake pinnable image

Well, well, well! It's snowing here, and not just an ickle bit of snow dusting the pavement. It's a full on deluge (well, by British standards anyway) of 12+ cms!

It's seems timely then (and almost like I planned it) that I am posting a lovely, warm, comforting pasta bake recipe today. A good pasta bake is just the thing on a cold winter's day. It's easy, pretty low cost and it can be made in bulk, all persuasive arguments for having several yummy pasta bake recipes up your sleeve.

This chicken and sweetcorn pasta bake is essentially a chicken twist on tuna pasta bake. Pasta, chicken and sweetcorn smothered in cheesy, creamy sauce. It's great for using up leftover roast chicken. If you don't have any, stick a couple of chicken breasts in the oven to roast and you've got everything you need.

If you are looking for more pasta bake recipes try these:

Bolognese Bake (my favourite!)
Macaroni Cheese with Bacon

Chicken and sweetcorn pasta bake pinnable image

Monday, December 04, 2017

Puff Pastry Mince Pies with Whipped Cream

Pinnable image of puff pastry mince pies with whipped cream

Prepare yourselves for the wonder that is puff pastry mince pies with whipped cream. They are something special and I am really excited to share the recipe with you. It's so simple- anyone can make them!

It's now officially mince pie season. I know they've been in the shops since late September, but for me, all things Christmas really begin on December 1st. There's such an array of mince pies these days, that trying to choose which ones to buy can be a bit of a challenge.  I thought that my husband, top mince pie-lover that he is, had tried every different type available. Then my mother-in-law bought him a kind of mince pie that I have never seen before- puff pastry mince pies with whipped cream inside. They were an absolute revelation and we spent the next couple of weeks trying to find them again! (Morrisons in case you don't fancy making them yourself).

Home-made mince pies will always top anything you can buy and until I made these puff pastry ones filled with whipped cream, I loved to make mince pies with a frangipane topping, most of all- recipe here: Ultimate Mince Pies Sorry, Ultimate Mince Pies, but I have a new love! The soft, flaky puff pastry, with the sweetness of the mincemeat, cut through by the whipped cream... Mmmmm!

Puff Pastry mince pies look pretty impressive, especially when they have the whipped cream inside, but they are really very simple to make, especially if you use ready-made pastry, as I tend to do. Give them a whirl and become addicted like I am!

Pinnable image of mince pies filled with whipped cream

Monday, November 06, 2017

Asian Salmon with Noodles

Asian Salmon with Noodles pinnable image

I have been trying to share this recipe for a simple Asian marinaded salmon for about three weeks now. In the meantime we have eaten it at least 3 more times and I have enjoyed it more each time.

It's a very simple salmon marinade with some classic Asian flavours- soy, ginger, garlic, honey. It's delicious when used to top off noodles, but if you're more of a rice fan that works too. I choose to pan fry it because crispy skin is delicious! 

It's a great meal for packing in some veggies- peppers, onion, broccoli, beansprouts, cabbage, whatever you fancy will add some lovely crunch against the soft salmon and noodles.

If you have sesame oil, or can get some, then it's worth using for both the salmon and the noodles because it gives a more authentic flavour overall. If you can't, don't worry, your usual oil will be fine.

Asian Salmon with Noodles long pinnable image

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Spiced Pumpkin Cake

Spiced Pumpkin Cake pinnable image

It's that time of year again, in the build up to Halloween and Thanksgiving, that we all start searching for 'pumpkin recipes' and 'things to make with pumpkin'. There's always the stand-by classics of Pumpkin Pie and Pumpkin Soup, but if you're bored of those, or looking for something different, then this Spiced Pumpkin Cake might do the trick. It's traybake style, so it's perfect for sharing at a Halloween or Thanksgiving party.

You might have bought a pumpkin this year, for carving, and are wondering whether you can use the flesh from inside to bake with. The answer is- not usually. The pumpkins that are sold for carving, tend to be the types with thinner skins, which makes them easier to carve. They are not known for having good flavour and texture for cooking or baking with. You can usually tell as they will be labelled with 'Carving Pumpkin' or something similar.

So, if you want to make something with pumpkin, your best bet is to find an eating pumpkin (quite tricky here in the UK), or use butternut squash as an alternative, or (my preference) buy the tinned pumpkin. It's available now in the UK from Sainsbury's, Tesco, Ocado and Amazon at around £1 per tin for the 'Baking Buddy' brand. If you do want to make your own puree with butternut squash or an eating pumpkin, there's a very simple method to try here: Make your own pumpkin puree

Whichever puree you use, it will make your Spiced Pumpkin Cake beautifully moist. To spice it, you could use mixed spice, but I personally prefer to use the individual spices of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg so that it tastes more balanced. You can use this as a dessert and serve it warm with custard (absolutely delicious comfort food), or ice it and serve as a cake.

I have used a cream cheese icing because cream cheese and pumpkin is a match made in heaven, but you can easily switch for plain vanilla buttercream. For UK readers- cream cheese is a bit of nightmare due to the UK version having a very high water content.  The general consensus is that full-fat Philly or the Lidl own brand (also full-fat) are the closest to the US version and the least likely to give you runny slop!

Spiced Pumpkin cake pinnable image

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Roasted butternut Squash and Bacon risotto

Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Risotto

I'm continuing my love affair with butternut squash with this recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon risotto; a very comforting dish.

It's perfect for an autumnal risotto as it provides a lovely, smooth, creamy texture without using any indulgent ingredients (like actual cream, for instance!). The sweetness makes a nice contrast to the salty bacon too. As there is a lot of salt from the bacon, it's best not to cook the risotto in stock, as you normally would, or the salt levels will become overwhelming and you won't taste anything else.

When the risotto is served up, it doesn't look like a very large portion but it's incredibly filling. I was tempted to serve it with a salad, but I don't think I could have fitted it in, to be honest!

Roasted butternut squash and bacon risotto is syn-free on Slimming World if you use bacon medallions and spray oil. It's around 520 calories if you are managing your calories.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Risotto

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Turkey Chilli and Butternut Squash Rice

Turkey chilli with butternut squash rice topped with yoghurt and spring onion

I used to eat a lot of minced turkey back in the day, mainly because I didn't like red meat. Since I started eating red meat again, I have sort of forgotten about it, which is a shame as it's delicious and can be used for pretty much anything that beef mince can.

Turkey chilli was one of my favourite recipes for turkey mince and I remembered why as soon as I tasted it. It has all the flavour of beef chilli but it's lighter, not as rich. Turkey mince is lower in calories than standard beef mince, although not as low as the extra lean mince that's widely available now. It's a great alternative for those who don't like red meat or are trying to cut back on it a little. You can also get lean turkey mince in some supermarkets, to cut back an extra few calories. That's what I have used in this recipe.

Instead of serving it with traditional plain rice, I added roasted butternut squash to make it even more filling and to reduce the amount of rice required. That has the advantage of reducing calories without reducing the bulk of the meal, plus you can't beat the sweet, nutty flavour of butternut squash- gorgeous! If you like a lot of rice, I would advise increasing my suggested 40g to 60g per person. I topped mine off with a tablespoon of fat free greek yoghurt and some spring onion. The greek yogurt is also great for anyone who doesn't like their chilli as spicy as you do, because it cools the spice a little.

Turkey Chilli and butternut squash rice is syn-free on Slimming World if you use spray oil and is around 600 calories for a pretty decent portion if you are using MyFitnessPal.

Turkey chilli pinnable image

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Creamy Salmon Pasta

So the summer holidays are nearly over, it's not long until we are back to school, and its definitely time for me to get back on the MyFitnessPal wagon! To try and get things started with a bang, I wanted to make something new. I served up this Creamy Salmon Pasta dish, which is also syn free on Slimming World, and comes in at around 500 calories (less if you're not as big of a pasta monster as I am!) 

The creamy sauce is achieved with fat-free Greek yoghurt, which gives it a really nice tang. I personally like the Liberte brand because I find it thicker and creamier than others, but any plain, fat-free yoghurt would work. Mixed together with stock, veg, salmon and your favourite type of pasta, it makes a quick and delicious dinner. I could easily have eaten a second bowl, but that would have defeated the object! It has definitely earned a place on our regular dinners list.

Creamy salmon pasta is around 500 cals (depending on how much of a pasta fan you are) and is syn-free on Slimming World if you use spray oil.

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