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Food Bite: Kinda-Mexican Stew!

Okay, I’m completely at a loss as to what to call this recipe. It has hints of paella, hints of risotto, some elements of Mexican, and a sense of a stew. It’s really just another step in my experiment of “How many meals can I make with the stuff in my cupboard!”

It’s actually based on another recipe I made a while ago, only I used basmati rice that time (Doesn’t really clarify what the dish IS) but as I don’t have basmati but have lots of risotto rice, I decided to use that instead! It worked well, I really like the dish, but it’s meat and spice and tomatoes and Quinoa and rice…what’s not to really like?!

I always cook for one, but being aware a lot of people don’t, I try to alter the recipes to serve 4. Take this with a pinch of salt though as I’m not sure how ‘normal’ my one-person serving size is!

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Ingredients

1 Large Onion (red or white, depending on preference!) Diced.
2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
4 Turkey breasts Sliced/400g Diced Turkey Meat (Chicken works equally well!)
2 Tins Chopped Tomatoes
3 Peppers (red, yellow, orange…)
160g Quinoa
120g Rice (Any rice really, but this recipe uses Risotto and cooking instructions are tailored accordingly)
100g Sliced Jalapenos (Less or more depending on spice preference!)
Paprika (One again, Hot if you like it spicy, or smoked gives a lovely aroma and depth!)

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To Cook

  • Sweat onion in a pot until softened. Add garlic on low heat and cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Add Quinoa to pot and add 480ml cold water to pan. Bring to boil.
  • In a separate pan, brown off the turkey pieces until semi cooked.
  • Add Risotto rice to pot and mix. Add a little boiling water if the pot is running dry.
  • Add turkey to the pot.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, peppers and jalapenos to the pot and mix. Season and spice.
  • Contuinue to add about 100ml water every time the rice and Quinoa absorbs it all. Keep it fairly liquid but not swimming in water.
  • Simmer away for 20-30 minutes, adding water as you go.
  • When rice and Quinoa are tender and cooked, and liquid is absorbed take off heat and serve!

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Alright, I will admit I’m not very good at giving recipes, as I’m very much a ‘play it by ear’ kind of cook! I sort of just throw things in and mix stuff up and I never really cook from recipes, I just use my instincts and play around.

Anyway, this makes a lovely spicy, warming stew-come-risotto type dish. I really enjoy it and I hope that anyone who dares to try it out does too! Once again, it’s super healthy, using clean, fresh ingredients and I have it with lots of fresh veggies! I never cook with oil – when sweating or ‘frying’ I use water to ‘lubricate’ and it has never failed me!

By my rough calculations, this should be about 440cals per serving, depending on brands and amounts etc…but there we go, very clean, very fresh, packed with nutrients and anit-oxidants and super low in fat!

Play around with basic ingredients and see what you can do! Once you understand the basics of any ingredient, cooking technique, style or flavour group, you can go any direction you want! This recipe has hints of Mexican, elements of Italian and then a whole bunch of other sources that come into play, but if you know what you like, and you have a basic understanding of cooking, you can do whatever you want!

Enjoy a nice, hearty and warming dish, packed with nutrients and lovely warming spices this Autumn!

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Food Bite: Autumn Comfort Food Slimmed Down!

IMG_0097So following on from my rather long and self-indulgent rant, I’ve decided to post a couple of my absolute favourite recipes for Autumnal comfort food – with a twist. I’m forever searching for ways to make my favourite indulgences cleaner and leaner! I’m always experimenting and playing around with ingredients, as I believe in taking care of my body, nourishing it whilst keeping an eye on the old figure!

So today, I have two recipes for you! They’re both super super simple but satisfying and perfect for this time of year. it’s getting a bit colder, we’re all getting a little down in the post-summer slump and comfort food is in order!

A couple of my all-time favourites for a healthy diet and for keeping the calorie/fat content low in meals are Quinoa and Oatbran.

Quinoa is gorgeous, low in calories and really really high in protein so it’s great for veggies, vegans and a general healthy and balanced diet! Now avaiable at all health food stores and pretty much most supermarkets, it’s becoming a favourite in the dieting industry and I think it’s perfect for getting carbohydrates and protein in the diet whilst keeping the saturated fats and calories of a meal on the lower end of the scale.IMG_0165

Oatbran is another newbie, but I’ve been eating it for a good three years now. It’s sort of the outer ‘groat’ of oats and is often discarded in the milling process, but it’s super high in fibre, low in calories, has pretty much zero fat and is also proven to help lower cholesterol and remove toxins (and excess calories, so I’ve been told) from the body, by absorbing them in the intestines. As this is a food post, I’m not going to put anyone off by going into too much anatomical detail here!

Anyway, using these two ingredients I have come up with (As I’m sure many others have too) a couple of ways to slim-down some of my favourite Autumn comfort foods.

Recipe 1: Oatbran Morning Porridge For One

Simple as simple can be really;

  • Add 45g of Oatbran to a non-stick saucepan and add 2-3 tsp of Stevia sweetner and 300mls of water.
  • Place over a low heat on the hob for about 5 minutes.
  • Slice up a medium banana.
  • When the oatbran mixture is bubbling away and thickening, turn up the heat and stir gently.
  • Add 1tsp of cinnamon and some vanilla (I use a little bean paste, but essence or preferably extract work fine too) to taste and mix in.
    Let it bubble away and play with the heat so that all the liquid is absorbed and the mixture nice and rich and thick.
  • Pour into a bowl. Sprinkle the banana on top.
  • *Optional* Place under the grill for a couple of minuts to caremalize the bananas a bit. It’s lovely!

And there you have it. Tasty, filling, warming, comforting…all things an Autumnal breakfast should be! And only about 230 calories to boot!

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Recipe 2: Quinoa Mushroom Risotto (Serves 4)

Still about as easy as possible short of buying it ready made;

500g Chestnut Mushrooms, sliced150g Quinoa
150g Risotto Rice
1.5l Stock (I use chicken, but vegetable is fine)
200g Brocolli cut into small florets.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Fresh thyme, if you’re feeling fancy!

  • Sautee the mushrooms with a little water and some pepper in a non-stick pan for 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in the Quinoa and brocolli.
  • Add a little stock and stir until absorbed.
  • Add the risotto rice and some more stock. Stir until absorbed.
  • Repeat until all the stock is absorbed and rice and quinoa are cooked and tender. OR, if you don’t want to wait around, I just dump all the stock in in one go and leave simmering for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and until the mixture is cooked and liquid absorbed!!
  • Stir in the salt, pepper and thyme to taste and serve piping hot!IMG_0092

There we go, my lovely and delicious alternative to a proper risotto. What’s mroe comforting and luxurious than a thick, steaming plate or mushroom risotto on a chilly Autumn evening? Divine! Oh, and about 380 cals per portion…and they’re generous portions!

So there we have it. Two super quick and super easy (and pretty darned cheap to make too…) but warm and luxurious Autumn comfort food meals. If you are watching your weight this October, or just want to eat cleaner and healthier, these are great recipes and I’m pretty much addicted…!

Finding new ingredients and alternatives to traditional, high-fat products is a great way to still enjoy the food you love, without having to demolish the diet! By experimenting with new ingredients and recipes, as well as alternative flavours is a great way of slimming down your favourite comfort foods without having to sacrifice tase or portion size! I eat massive portions…I just make sure that what I’m eating is clean and healthy!