Starting is often the hardest part. Of anything, really.
It’s the month where the New Year Resolutions are re-born (why we begin anything at this time of year is beyond me). Doom and gloom surrounds us with crappy weather and is it just me or does this feel like the longest month. Ever?!
Jumping on the NYR bandwagon, I joined Weight Watchers. No time like the present. This isn’t new to me, I have lived my life the Weight Watcher way for the best part of 10 years and have only recently strayed just that bit too far. I needed a kickstart, it’s worked before and it will work again. I don’t profess to be a dieting expert nor am I advocating anyone should do this, it’s about re-educating myself to live a much healthier lifestyle, make advantageous choices.
Being a foodie and knowing my usual adulterous cravings were banned, at least for a short time, I needed to mix things up a bit. It was essential my meals were damn tasty, almost celestial. Ok maybe not. However not through typically delving into diet recipe books but instead scouring any recipe book and tailoring the ingredients to suit a more profitable lifestyle.
- You don’t feel like you’re missing out
- You’re more aware of what you’re putting into that gorgeous body of yours
- The Nigella ninja passion remains intact
For me, cooking is a form of therapy. My way of creating something Nicci style and feeling a sense of pride in the end result. Now don’t get me wrong, this has taken some serious effort, time, focus and I hasten to add, money. Don’t let this put you off. Not all healthy eating regimes require this, it was my choice, to keep me interested in having a bash at some new recipes and to retain some kind of enthusiasm.
The banter was triggered at work, “So what do we have today then? That looks like it’s just come out of a drain!” (just a smoothie containing fruit and spinach, by the way), only fuelled my devotion even more. The jesting soon turned into intrigue at how you can actually make presentable and tasty dishes when you’re being healthy.
I know there will be some people reading this thinking yeah yeah ok so this is all well and good but it’s not that easy to… just.start. Especially in a dreary month like January but fear not, this is absolutely the best time! Noone wants to go out, it’s too cold! What a perfect opportunity to put those domestic god and goddess hands to work. Don’t bother reaching for recipes where you need to google ingredients to discover what the hell they are or you have to go on a market mission to get hold of them, keep it simple. It’s about making food you enjoy and making life easier for yourself. And all in the comfort of your own home.
Here’s why it’s better:
- You’re in complete control of the ingredients
- You can batch prep and freeze to make future lunches and dinners that are less time consuming
- You can use up all the leftover ingredients in your fridge!
So enough of all the talking, what have I made this week?
JAMIE OLIVER STICKY MANGO PRAWNS
150g deveined and shelled prawns
6 cloves garlic
1 tsp curry powder
1 heaped tbsp mango chutney
- In a non-stick frying pan, fry the garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil until crisp, then scoop out leaving the garlicky oil behind.
- Stir the curry powder into the oil then add the prawns. Fry for approximately 4 minutes or until the prawns are cooked through. Stir in the mango chutney, season with salt and pepper then you’re good to go.
- I served this with 150g of celeriac rice which you can get from Waitrose.
2 cubed skinless chicken breasts
1 onion, 1 red pepper, and 1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
165g can of drained sweetcorn
1 can of drained (and cooked) kidney beans
2 tbsp of fresh coriander
4 wraps (white or wholemeal)
100ml low fat soured cream
80g grated Mozzarella
- Using spray oil, gently fry the chicken until golden.
- Add the onion and pepper, cooking for 5 minutes, adding cumin and garlic towards the end.
- Stir in the sweetcorn and cooked, crushed kidney beans along with 200g Passata. Cook for a minute then add the coriander.
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC, fan 180ºC. Divide the chicken mixture between the wraps and roll up tightly. Mist a rectangular ovenproof dish and place the wraps seam side down.
- Spread the remaining passata over the top (adding sour cream if you wish). Scatter the cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Serve with extra coriander.
LEMONGRASS AND LIME HERBY CHICKEN KEBABS
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp finely chopped lemongrass stems
3 peppers, cubed
1 lime (juice & zest)
1 crushed garlic clove
2 tbsp fresh Coriander
4 medium chicken breasts cut into chunks
- Mix together the soy sauce, lemongrass, lime zest, garlic and chopped coriander. Add the chicken chunks and season with salt and pepper. Mix well, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to marinate. Then soak 8 wooden kebabs in hot water to prevent them from burning when cooking.
- Thread the chicken and peppers onto the soaked kebab sticks. Grill for 8-10 minutes, turning often. Make sure the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
- Serve with coriander, lime wedges, and flatbread thins (3 points each).
2 red onions, chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 sliced garlic clove
Small bunch coriander stalks and leaves chopped separately
2x 400g cans cherry tomatoes
1 tsp caster sugar
- Heat spray oil in a frying pan that has a lid then soften the onions, garlic, chilli and coriander stalks for 5 minutes until soft. Stir in the tomatoes and sugar, then bubble for 8-10 minutes until thick.
- Using a big spoon, make 4 dips in the sauce then crack an egg into each one. Put a lid on the pan, then cook on low heat for 6-8 mins until eggs are done to your liking. Scatter with the remaining coriander leaves and serve with flatbread thins.
So nothing groundbreaking here but they are just a few simple meals which may just encourage the beginner in you, like me.
I would love to hear about any healthy recipes you have to pimp up my weekly mealtimes! Please do share in the comments below.
So hey you, yes you…I want to thank you for reading my post. Whether you’ve stuck around since the beginning of my journey or whether you’re new to my blog, thank you for reading and supporting. I genuinely appreciate it.