One-pot chilli and garlic rice with chicken…

  

We love mexican food, and in the past I have brought the Kits from the supermarket. The problem I have with the kits, as nice and easy as they are is the fact you don’t know exactly what goes into your food. Plus, they contain preservatives and quite frankly they are expensive for what you get. So, I decided to attempt my own version of the chilli and garlic rice meal by old el paso.

  

  • 2 Diced chicken breasts
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp chipotle paste (or chilli powder to taste)
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tin, drained, sweetcorn
  • 2 peppers, sliced
  • 5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 mug rice
  • 2 mugs water
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp oil
  • handfull of parsley, chopped
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp honey

Heat the oil in a large pan, and add the chicken. When browned, Stir in paprika, chilli, garlic and vegetables. When starting to soften(about 5 minutes), add the rice and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Add tomato puree, and season. cook for a further 2 minutes stirring all the time. add remaining ingedients, stir well and cook for approximatly half an hour until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is has some bite. Serve with a little sour cream.

serves 4-6

Hope you like it!

Emma-Jayne xx

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Scallop, asparagus and tomato pasta…

IMG_3640Until a few days ago, I had only had scallops in Coquilles St. Jacques, from Marks and Spencers… we had them last valentines day, and really enjoyed them but having heard horror stories about how difficult it is to get scallops right we didn’t attempt to recreate the dish at home. fast forward a few months, and I was in Tesco and noticed that they had fresh scallops that weren’t too expensive. They then sat in my freezer for a little longer as I wondered what to do with them until I watched an episode of the pioneer woman cooks and noticed she paired them with tomato pasta. This recipe, is a pretty simple tomato sauce jazzed up with the mushrooms, asparagus and scallops. If (like in my house) someone doesn’t eat mushrooms, cook them in a seperate pan to the sauce in a little butter. These scallops are Lillee approved so this dish is looking to become a new family favourite in our house!

  • 1 pack of fresh scallops (about 300g)
  • asparagus (3-4 spears per person)
  • carton of passata
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 10 mushrooms, sliced
  • pinch of sugar
  • olive oil
  • Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 300g pasta
  • 1tsp mixed herbs

Cook pasta according to packet instructions. Meanwhile, soften the onions in a large pan with a little oil. When translucent, add the garlic, herbs and mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes and stir in the passata, Worchestershire sauce and sugar. Leave to simmer on a low heat. Heat a griddle pan or frying pan, and add the asparagus. Cook until lightly browned on one side before turning over and browning the other side. it should take 5-10 minutes. When the pasta is cooked, drain and stir into the tomato sauce. Heat a frying pan with a small amount of oil. When hot, add the scallops cook for 1-2 minutes until starting to brown. Turn over and cook for another minute. Serve on top of the pasta with the asparagus.

Serves 4.

Hope you enjoy it!

Emma-Jayne xx

Lentil and sprout top shepard’s pie…

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So, a little while ago I found this amazing recipe for a lentil and kale Shepard’s pie, the first time I followed their recipe, and it was amazing. I’d defienetly go and check it out If I was you! Anyway, dan wanted cheesy mash for dinner and I remembered this recipe before I discovered we didn’t have some of the ingredients.

This is my take on it, but you can find the original here.

•1 onion, chopped finely
•1 cup of green lentils
•1/2 cup of red split lentils
•1 sprout top finely sliced
• handful of mushrooms sliced
•1 carton passata
•pinch dried thyme
• 2tsp honey
• few shakes Worcestershire sauce
• pinch dried rosemary
•1 clove of garlic finely diced
•1kg potatoes peeled and in chunks
•200g mature cheese
•100ml milk
•50g butter

Boil the potatoes until tender, when done mash with the butter and milk and a little seasoning. Stir in the cheese.

Meanwhile boil the lentils until soft and drain when done.

Soften the onions and garlic in a little oil, and add the mushrooms and sprout tops. Cook for a few minutes before adding the herbs, honey and Worcestershire sauce. Stir through then add the passata and cooked lentils.

Layer in a baking dish, the lentil mixture at the bottom and mash on the top. Indent with a fork (to make more crispy bits!) and drizzle with olive oil before baking for about 40 minutes at 180c

My whole family loves this recipe, and it I love how it is meat-free. Personally, I think we eat far too much meat in our house so this makes a really nice change!

What do you think?

Emma-Jayne xx

Spicy tomato and butternut squash soup…

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After an unseasonably warm October, November is here and it is freezing! We’re all full of cold and in need of something to warm us up. Obviously, this means it’s a perfect time for soup! I love soup. I’m pretty sure I could live off soup… However, if you want something a little different, this recipe also makes a fantastic pasta sauce…

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Serves 6

•1 butternut squash
•6 tomatoes
•2 peppers
•2 carrots
•1 large onion
•1 courgette
•6 mushrooms
•2 sticks of celery
•garlic
•2 chillies

Roughly chop all the veg, and roast at 180*C for approximately an hour or until soft.
Remove the skin from the squash, an blend all the vegetables with hot water, until it is as thick/thin as you want it.

Don’t worry too much if you don’t have the exact ingredients, pretty much any combination of the vegetables listed will work and if I don’t something I leave it out! The squash can be replaced with pumpkin, and the chillies with chilli powder. Also, to make a more tomatoey soup either add more tomatoes or a tin of chopped tomatoes.

This soup is so easy and good for you! Let me know what you think…

Emma-Jayne xx

The snug…

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A few months ago, a new coffee shop opened near where I live. As soon as I heard about it I wanted to go!

It isn’t your run-of-the-mill coffee shop, it has a vintage vibe to it and everything is served on mismatched china which adds to the charm. The decor was beautiful, and each table had comfy chairs and little vases of flowers.

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There were so many different types of tea to choose from, with a mixture of bagged and loose leaf. I just had English breakfast tea, but next time I’d be tempted to try something else! They also serve a selection of coffees, milkshakes, smoothies and cold drinks.
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We also treated ourselves to some cake. Lillee chose a cupcake, and Dan and I split a piece of carrot cake and a piece of chocolate orange cake. It was so delicious! Obviously homemade, moist and full of flavour. The chocolate orange cake even had a swirl of orange curd running through the middle of it, and a chocolate flower on the top, which dan gave to me. Isn’t he a lovely husband? I think, I would be tempted to go again just for the cake. The wasn’t a huge selection of cakes, but having seen pictures of when others have been in I know they rotate them depending on the day.

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We are planning on going again for lunch soon, and hopefully will be booking afternoon tea for during august as I know my mom wants to go too so that should be good!

If you’ve been to the snug or go in the future, let me know what you think and what kind of cake you had!

Emma-Jayne xx

Going on a health kick…

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So, I have to be honest I LOVE fresh fruits and vegetables. I have been known to eat an entire 500g bag of sliced cabbage and leeks to myself. (Cooked in with a tiny bit of oil and some garlic. Delicious) broccoli is among one of my top 10 foods to eat, but even so recently I’ve noticed the weight has been creeping up. A few pounds here, a few pounds there and now I’m at least half a stone heavier than I was at the wedding. Not that I managed to loose weight for I in the first place.. So that got me thinking. What is it I’m doing wrong? I live fruit and vegetables, i prefer chicken to red meat most of the time and I rarely eat bread, pasta or rice and when I do it’s the wholewheat kind. But, let’s be honest here, that’s not ALL I eat. We have ice-cream in the freezer, cheese in the fridge and this week I know I’ve eaten crisps, biscuits and pizza. Not that any of these things are bad in moderation, but that’s the key to it isn’t it? In moderation. So actually, when I think a little harder, I’ve Been indulging a bit too often. And as for water? Not very long ago, I was pretty much only drinking water. At the moment I’m lucky if I get one glass of pure water in a day. So really, when I get down to it I’m not really that healthy am I?

Well, after this revelation, what’s a girl to do? For a start, I need to put down this glass of wine and actually do some exercise! I think I’ll say it in a whisper so I don’t shock my system. I rarely do proper exercise. I take Lillee to and from school during the week but honestly? These days that’s about as good as it gets. I am aware that housework and walking are good alternatives to exercise but I have to be honest here, I don’t do anywhere near enough to actually be able to count it as doing my recommended level.

So what am I going to do? Well, I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, and although I’ve said it before and then slowly backslid. Especially when things like gü puddings end up it the trolly.. I NEED to change my diet. But I don’t want to go on a diet because then I’ll get fed up. And really, who wants to be counting calories or syns or points for the rest of their life? I know I don’t. So obviously, the answer here is to start making better choices. To eat more “clean” foods. I don’t want to stop having treats but it’s gotten quite clear that it’s not really a treat if you have it every day is it? Therefore, starting today.. well, technically it’ll start tomorrow as it’s now 10pm and I’ve already eaten for today I’m planning in upping my levels of fruit and veg, looking into things like chia seeds and flax seed which I’ve heard so much about but never tried and Definitely drinking WAY more water! As for exercise? Well, in theory I will start doing maybe 3 workouts a week.. But I think that will probably start to come in a little later once I have the food locked down.

Although I’m hoping I will loose some weight, this isn’t really the main reason for doing this. I want to improve my health and especially my fitness levels. Plus I want to jump on te opportunity while Lillee still prefers strawberries to chocolate and she asks to drink water if she’s thirsty. I really need to start taking life lessons from her!

Wish me luck!

Emma-Jayne xx

Good Food Show…

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So, last Sunday we went to the good food show in Birmingham!

We had an amazing time, and we spent the day browsing the stalls, tasting and subsequently buying some pretty yummy food and drink. I did Vlog during the day, so check out the video here.

On the way to the NEC, we had to go through Birmingham international train station. While we were there, we went into the toilets and this sign was above one of the toilets…

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I have to be honest, it really amused me hence why I decided to post it on here! There were so many things there, that it wasn’t possible to taste everything or buy everything.. Or at least not for us anyway! But, some of my favorite purchases are…

  • Scarlet angel salad dressings. We brought two lemon and black pepper, and one sweet pepper and chilli. Because we brought 3, we also got a free little jute bag to bring them home in which I have to be honest is super cute. They are made in wales and all organic. and we love them, so much that I’m already wishing we brought more…
  • Belvoir fruit cordials in elder-flower, raspberry and lemon and raspberry and rose. I’ve had the elder-flower cordial before, and also the elder-flower pressé
    as well as the raspberry lemonade. The raspberry and rose was new to me but so delicious I had to buy some! The entire range of cordials is also currently available from ocado.
  • We also got some amazing vintagey shabby-chic items from one of the stalls. unfortunately, I’m not sure of the name but we got a wicker picnic basket with a handle that reminded us of something little red riding hood would carry, some hooks for Lillee’s room which I’ll post a picture of once they are up and a hanging candle holder in the shape of a heart with a little bird on for my mom and dad’s silver wedding anniversary on Tuesday. I could have spent so much money on that stall. I just had to try not to look to hard!

We brought and tried so many other things, which I wont list but I would definitely recommend going if you want a foodies day out!

Our ticket price also included a seat in the super theater. Originally, I wanted to see Paul Hollywood. However, it turned out he was only there on the Thursday and Friday which we couldn’t go to as Dan was at work. So, instead we saw Tom Kerridge proper pub food. It was funny, and his food looked tasty. I have also brought his book but I haven’t had a chance to properly sit down and read it yet. I have tried one recipe, which was the lemon posset. I liked it but personally, it was a little sweet so i’d cut down on the sugar and I don’t think I left it in the fridge long enough to set properly. I do recommend eating strawberries with it though! They went together so well and I will be trying it out again although with less sugar next time.

We are planning on going again to the winter good food show at the end of November. So, hopefully I’ll be able to get some more amazing food items!

Emma-Jayne xx

*Disclaimer. This was not a sponsored post. Just a day trip we had and really enjoyed.*

Stuffed Marrow…

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I was in tesco, and there were some marrows reduced to about 40p. I’ve never had marrow before, never mind cooked with it, but I figured that price it wouldn’t hurt to try especially as we like courgette. Isn’t marrow pretty much just a big courgette?

So anyway, I googled it. Read a few recipes, then came up with my own. Essentially it’s marrow stuffed with bolognese and covered with cheese.. But it was pretty tasty!

Although Lillee didn’t like the marrow she ate the pasta and sauce telling me she doesn’t like hot cucumber..

Here’s the recipe if you want to try it!

•250g small pasta shapes
•400g chopped tomatoes
•Worcestershire sauce approx 1tbsp
•1tsp mixed herbs
•2 tbsp tomato purée
•1 onion, diced
• 3 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 bay leaf
•300g minced beef
•200g grated cheese
•1 marrow sliced into inch thick pieces, middle removed and chopped.
•1 large carrot, diced
•2 beef stock cubes
•100ml red wine(optional)

Pre-heat the oven too 200*C (180*C fan) Place the slices of marrow into a baking dish in a single layer. I actually used too so I could freeze one. In one pan, cook the pasta following packet instructions and drain when tender. In a seperate pan, sauté the onion, carrot, garlic and herbs until softens and the onion is translucent. Stir in the mince and continue to cook until browned. Stir in the tomato purée, stock cubes and Worcestershire sauce. Cooke for a few minutes then add the wine. Allow to reduce down before stirring in the tomatoes and the centre of the marrow. Simmer for as long as possible on a low heat to infuse the flavours. When ready, stir in the cooked pasta and spoon into the marrow. Put any extra on or around the marrow pieces. Cover with foil and place into the oven for half an hour. After half an hour, remove to foil and top with the cheese. Return to the oven for approximately 20 minutes until the marrow is soft, and the cheese is melted and golden.

Serve one slice per portion (approx 6-8 depending on the size of the marrow)

Hope you enjoy it!

Emma-Jayne xx

Lighter Lasagne…

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I love lasagne, but I’ve always hated how high in fat it is. Soo I’ve tried something new! Since Christmas, weightwatchers have introduced simple start and I found that it was basically fruit and veggies, lean meat and fish, low fat dairy and whole grains along with treats. I actually found this worked really well for me and I lost 2lbs in my first week following the plan. Anyway, Dan decided that he wanted lasagne and it got me thinking. Why not try and make it fit into the filling and healthy/simple start guidelines? So I did! First, I swapped out the oil for fry light, and made sure it was lean mince. I changes the pasta sheets to a whole wheat version, and then wondered how to make the topping. Then I remembered seeing something on the pioneer women about using cottage cheese, and there it was! So here is my lighter version of lasagne…

•medium onion diced
•2 cloves of garlic crushed
•a carrot diced
•500g lean beef mince
•2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
•2 tbsp tomato purée
•3 beef stock cubes
•100ml red wine (optional)
•2 Tins chopped tomatoes
•2 bay leaves
•1 tsp dried mixed herbs
•1/2 tsp sugar
•fry light (or 1 tsp oil)
•100g mushrooms
• no-cook whole wheat lasagne sheets

•300g cottage cheese
•1 egg beaten
•1/2tsp mixed herbs
•100g cheese grated (I used a mixture of chedder and mozzarella)

Soften the carrots and onion in a large pan with the fry light, add the garlic, herbs and mince and contain to cook until the mince is browned. Add in the tomato purée and cook for a further 2 minutes then stir in the stock cubes, Worcestershire sauce and wine. Reduce down, then add the tomatoes and sugar. Bring to the boil and reduce the temperature to low. Leave to cook for at least 30 minutes, but the longer you can leave it the better. Stirring occasionally. Mean while, stir together the cottage cheese, egg, herbs and a little seasoning. When the mince is ready, layer half the mince into a baking dish. Cover with a single layer of lasagne sheets, and then repeat. Finally, too with the cottage cheese mixture and sprinkle the cheese over. Bake in a pre-heated oven (180*C) for approximately 45 minutes, until the top is browned and a knife easily passes through the layers.

Contains approximately(please use these figures as a guide, but they may not be exact.):

9 Propoints,

350 Calories,

1 extra treat/ 2 weekly points on simple start/filling and healthy.

Enjoy!

Emma-Jayne xx

Chicken hotpot…

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This is a variation on the hairy dieters chicken and ham tangle pie, but using the potatoes instead of pastry makes a nice change!

•500g cooked chicken
•2 cloves crushed garlic
•pot of creme fraiche
•2 leeks, slices
•sliced mushrooms
•teaspoon of mustard
•150ml chicken stock
•3 medium potatoes thinly sliced

Soften the leeks and garlic in a little oil, then add the mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes. Stir In the stock, creme fraiche, mustard and season to taste. Put in a large ovenproof dish, and too with a layer of sliced potatoes. Bake at 180*c until the top is browned.

Serves 4.

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Hope you enjoy it!

Emma-Jayne xx