Chicken on the bone is one of my favourite ways to eat meat and so I’m always trying to think of new ways to cook it. Last night, after my OH took chicken thighs out to defrost, a colleague at work mentioned the old crème fraiche and mustard combo. I previously done this with pork and thoroughly enjoyed it so I decided a bit of free styling on this recipe would be worth a try.
I have salad most days for lunch at work so to make sure I don’t get bored, I like to change it up every now and then. As I’ve mentioned before, I often bring in my ingredients on the Monday and make my salads fresh every lunchtime, but there are just some days when I don’t remember to bring everything in from home. This is my go to salad for one of those days. Tesco have got a great range of salad ingredients and accompaniments so I know that if I’m short, I can pop out and pick up their edamame bean and pea salad and chick pea and aubergine salad quickly and that it will make a satisfying and healthy lunch. When I buy these two together, they last a good three days and added with feta and the other salad ingredients, it makes for a nice change from my regular cous cous and chicken staple. The feta goes so well with it that I don’t even mind that it’s actually a veggie recipe!
Serves 1 = 6pp
Large handful of mixed leaves
1 spring onion, finely sliced
2 small salad peppers, sliced
Large piece of cucumber (however much you fancy), halved and sliced
Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
Glug of balsamic vinegar
65g Tesco Finest Edamame and Pea Salad
70g Tesco Finest Roasted Aubergine & Chickpea Salad
40g light feta cheese, crumbled
Pop the salad leaves in the bottom of a large bowl (or lunch box if like me, you want to take it to work). Add all of the salad vegetables on top of this and add a glug of balsamic vinegar and toss a little.
Next pop in the edamame and chickepea salads as well as the feta, top with a little of the dressing that comes with the bean salad, combine and season with salt and pepper.
I love a good cooking programme but often find that the recipes that some of these TV chefs come up with are rather indulgent on the calorie front. This Gino D’Acampo recipe was no exception with over 100g of butter in the original. Nevertheless my mouth was watering as I watched Gino cook up this treat.
I love a risotto and love to find new ways to use sausage meat so I knew I had to give this recipe a go by adapting it. The original recipe can be found here however as I say, Gino uses rather a lot of oil and butter, as well as Italian sausages and radicchio, neither of which I could find in my local Morrison’s (use them if you can find them!) so I made a few of my own adaptations and additions.
The result was outstanding, easily the nicest risotto I have tasted (and better than the one I paid £9 for on Saturday night!). The key to this recipe is to find some high meat content, good quality flavoured sausages. Your local butcher is often a good place to start but failing all else, Sainsbury’s have a great selection.
Serves 4 = 14pp per person
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp butter
4 Spanish sausages, skins removed (check your butchers for the best quality sausages, but if all else fails, Sainsbury’s have a pack of 6 Chorizo Style Sausages which are perfect for this recipe, the points include the nutritional info for these sausages).
1 onion, very finely chopped
2 celery sticks, very finely chopped
240g Arborio rice
100ml white wine
1.3 litres hot vegetable or chicken stock
110g frozen peas
80g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Pack of Asparagus Tips
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Spray a large heavy based frying pan with 1kal and place on a high heat. When hot, add the sausage meat and fry, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat into small pieces. Continue to fry until the sausages are a nice golden brown, then transfer to a plate.
In the same pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil and once hot, cook the onion and celery for 2 minutes, then add the rice and fry for 3 minutes on a medium heat, allowing the rice to toast into the hot oil. I don’t usually allow oil in my cooking however in risotto I think it’s essential to ensure you get the right texture for the rice. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon. Pour the wine over the rice and continue to cook for a further minute to allow the alcohol to evaporate.
Add a couple of ladles of stock and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook and stir until all the stock is absorbed. At this point keep an eye on the pan as you need to keep stirring with a wooden spoon to make sure nothing sticks to the pan. Pour in the rest of the stock a little at a time, cooking until each addition is absorbed.
You will know the rice is cooked when all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked but still has a slight bite. This takes around 20 minutes (and be careful, you may not need all the stock).
When the rice is cooked, add the peas and simmer for a few minutes until the peas are cooked through.
While the peas are cooking, pop a griddle/frying pan onto a high heat and spray with 1kal. Pan fry until cooked to your liking, seasoning well with salt and pepper. We like them crunchy so I usually give them 3-4 minutes. Chop up the majority of the asparagus, reserving a few tips per person to garnish and mix the rest through the risotto. Pop the sausage back into the asparagus frying pan for a minute to heat through and then add three quarters of the sausage to the risotto mix.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and Parmesan. Season to taste.
Serve the risotto in nice big bowls and top with the test of the sausage, the asparagus left over for garnish and a twist of freshly ground black pepper.
For some reason this week I’m finding myself rather peckish come around three o’clock so rather than snack I thought it would be better to try a more filling lunch that is still nice and low in points! This is a lunch I haven’t had for quite a while as I thought it might be quite pointy however after further investigation, I found that it is a more than acceptable 6pp!! It’s lovely and filling and so quick and easy to make and it also makes a lovely quick evening meal if you add the suggested additions (see method!).
Serves 1 = 6pp
200g Salad Potatoes, cut into bitesize chunks
1 tablespoon extra light mayonnaise
½ tsp red pesto
Splash of balsamic vinegar
½ clove of garlic, crushed
Sprinkle of crushed chillies (optional)
Sprinkle of paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 spring onion, finely sliced
¼ pepper, finely chopped
Handful of salad leaves
Salt and Pepper
Boil the potatoes in some salted water for around 15 minutes. While they are boiling, make your dressing. Pop the mayo in a large bowl, add the pesto, balsamic, garlic , chillies, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and give a good mix. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain and add to the dressing bowl and toss the potatoes in the dressing so they are nicely coated. Add the chopped vegetables and again, toss so the vegetables get a nice coating of the dressing. Before serving stir though your salad leaves and finish with a twist of black pepper.
You can have this hot just after you’ve made it or (once the potatoes are cooled) whack it in the fridge for later. I usually make it the evening before and have it for lunch the next day. It’s also delicious with some ham and cheese or some cooked chicken. If you are going to have either I usually halve the amount of potatoes so that it’s the same amount of points. If you are going to have ham and cheese you can have 4 slices of cooked wafer thin ham with 20g half fat cheddar and if you are having chicken you can have 60g of cooked chicken breast and they will both still be 6pp. If you fancy having the extra potatoes and the other extras it goes up to 8pp each.
I love a good meal in an Italian restaurant and there’s nothing better than some oozing, cheesy cannelloni however its always off the cards these days as it is just no good for the old waistline. That’s why this week I decided to try and make a low point version of this delicious treat that was bursting with flavour yet not too heavy on the points. The result was delicious. The cannelloni was stuffed full of goodness as well as cheese and chorizo and the sauce on top really set it off.
Instead of using cannelloni tubes, I used fresh lasagne sheets as they are half the hassle and really cheap. A 250g pack of fresh lasagne (which is enough to feed 4-6 people) is just £1.
I served this with some fresh salad leaves and a tea spoon of balsamic glaze on top. If you are a vegetarian, this would be equally as delicious without the chorizo. Simply leave it out and the points work out at 7pp per person.
I’m a huge fan of Chinese duck pancakes but often find the standard shop bought hoisin a bit plain and dull. This recipe (an adaptation from a good food recipe) spices things up a bit and takes hoisin to a whole new level, The mango slaw adds a whole new element to the mix and really was a revelation, such a low propoint accompaniment and so fresh and delicious, it will become a regular in our house with many dishes from now on. I served this dish with 2 Chinese pancakes per person (you can buy these in Waitrose, 10 for £1.19, 1pp each) but as my OH likes his carbs I also bulked the meal out with a little rice.
I got a Chinese cookbook a while back and I pick it up at least once a month with the intention of giving something a whirl. This week I actually did it and had a little trip to the Chinese supermarket to get in all the supplies I didn’t have. The Chinese supermarket was great, everything was in much bigger portions and MUCH cheaper than a normal supermarket (especially for sauces and herbs and spices!!). A lot of the ingredients listed are store cupboard lovelies, so whilst you may have to buy a few things to start off with, they will last you a good while! I really fancied a new oriental dish and tastes totally different to anything else I’ve made before so if you are a fan of a good old Chinese takeaway, this is one for you!!