Category Archives: Healthier Recipes

Easy Vegan Bolognese

Easy Vegan Bolognese is simple, healthy and really tasty! It is such an easy recipe to make and packed with nutrients it is definitely worth trying. 

If you are a regular to my blog, you’ll know that one of my aims this year was to eat less meat. So far I have made Vegan Lentil Chilli, Roasted Halloumi & Za’atar Tray Bake and Sweetcorn & Cavolo Nero Quesadillas. These have been popular which has lead me to come up with more veggie recipes.

Why not use Quorn?

Adapting a bolognese seemed like an obvious choice for me. As I have said previously, I’m not too keen on using meat replacements like Quorn. I know a lot of people use and love Quorn, but not using it lets me come up with more creative ways than swapping the mince for Quorn. Also I’m sure there are quite a few lovely recipes already out there using Quorn for bolognese. 

Using lentils instead of meat

As in my Vegan Lentil Chilli and Vegetarian Lentil Curry, I have used lentils in this Easy Vegan Bolognese. I am new to using lentils but have been really loving them! They help bulk out a dish and make it more filling. I think they also create a slightly meaty texture which helps if you are feeding non vegetarians!

In previous recipes I’ve used red split lentils which worked really well. This was my first recipe using green lentils. I wanted to use the green lentils for this Easy Vegan Bolognese because they hold their shape better than red lentils. 

Can I cook this in a slow cooker?

Yes this Easy Vegan Bolognese would work really well in a slow cooker. I haven’t tested it yet, but I would add all of the ingredients apart from the lentils. I’d cook it for 2 hours on high before adding the lentils and cooking for a further 2-3 hours. I would also reduce the amount of water to 200ml. 

Is this Easy Vegan Bolognese healthy?

The good news is yes! I didn’t set out to make this recipe, vegan or super healthy. But I am pleased that it ended up that way! Lentils contain lots of protein as well as fibre and other nutrients you can’t find in meat. On top of that, this Easy Vegan Bolognese is really low in calories too! 

4.88 from 8 votes
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Easy Vegan Bolognese

Easy Vegan Bolognese is simple, healthy and really tasty! It is such an easy recipe to make and packed with nutrients it is definitely worth trying. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword Vegetarian, Vegan, Bolognaise
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 126 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • ½ tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 carrots diced
  • 2 sticks of celery diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • tbsp tomato puree
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • tsp Bouillon powder
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 390g tin green lentils
  • 300 ml water

Instructions

  1. Add the oil to a pan over medium heat. Add the diced onions, carrot, celery, garlic and tomato puree and allow to soften for 10 minutes 

  2. Add the tinned tomatoes, dried herbs, mustard powder, salt, pepper, Bouillon powder and bay leaves. Stir to mix through completely 

  3. Add 200ml of water and stir through. Leave to cook partially covered with a lid for 30 mins on a low heat, stirring occasionally 

  4. Drain and rinse the lentils in cold water before adding them to the pan

  5. Add another 100ml water before partially covering with a lid and leaving to cook on a low heat for another hour. Stir every so often and add a little more water if needed 

Recipe Notes

When using tinned tomatoes, I like to fill the empty tin with water to add to the recipe. It catches the last of the tomato juice. 

If at any point it starts looking too dry, add a splash more water.

If it looks too watery towards the end of the cooking time, remove the lid and turn up the heat slightly. 

Nutritional information is given as a guide only. 

Nutrition Facts
Easy Vegan Bolognese
Amount Per Serving
Calories 126 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 5%
Sodium 770mg 32%
Potassium 1332mg 38%
Total Carbohydrates 71g 24%
Dietary Fiber 32g 128%
Sugars 8g
Protein 27g 54%
Vitamin A 156.6%
Vitamin C 23.6%
Calcium 11%
Iron 48.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Vegan Lentil Chilli

Delicious and comforting with a touch of spice. This Vegan Lentil Chilli is such an easy slow cooker meal that is packed full of flavour. You definitely won’t miss the meat!

Over the past few months, I have been making a conscious effort to step up what I am doing to help the environment.  I’ve always been an enthusiastic re-cycler (that phrase might catch on!) but I’ve been finding ways to do that bit more. As well as recycling I am trying to reduce the amount of plastic I use; especially single use plastic. 

Aside from recycling, Mr Curly and I have also decided to try and eat less meat. This will be a pretty big change, especially for Mr Curly. Up until very recently he would consider a meal to be missing something without meat. This meant that for lunch and dinner each day, there would be some kind of meat involved. I wasn’t sure how long he would last with wanting to eat less meat but so far we’re doing really well! 

We’re not going too crazy, but trying to have vegetarian lunches and at least two vegetarian meals a week. So I had to come up with some really tasty vegetarian meals that wouldn’t make us miss the meat. I have never been a fan of Quorn so meat replacement products were not going to be my go-to.

One of the first dishes that come to mind was a chilli which is how my Vegan Lentil Chilli came about! My intention was to make a vegetarian dish, but once I was finished I realised it was vegan too which was an added bonus! I thought it wouldn’t be vegan because I was going to add dark chocolate. But when I was talking about this on Instagram, my sister and another blogger friend pointed out that dark chocolate is actually vegan. And if that wasn’t good enough, it is also gluten free too! 

I was slightly apprehensive about this Vegan Lentil Chilli because I’m not very experienced with vegetarian food. It passed my taste test which meant it was the onto Mr Curly. I served it up for him and when he’d eaten it I asked him what he thought. He told me he really liked it, but I confused him when I asked him if he missed the meat. His response of ‘there was no meat in that?’ gave the Vegan Lenil Chilli a big tick! If someone that was a massive meat fan can’t tell its meat free then that’s a huge plus. 

The final taste tester was my vegetarian friend Katie that I work with. Before the recipes had even finished cooking she was messaging me saying she thought she needed to taste test! So I took her some of this Vegan Lentil Chilli along with my tweaked Vegetarian Curry recipe. I am pleased to say she was a huge fan of both of them and has been hassling me to get the recipe written up ASAP. I think what she liked most about this was it has a bit of heat to it. 

If food is packed full of flavour, you definitely won’t miss the meat in my opinion.  I have used my favourite chilli powders for this Vegan Lentil Chilli as well as some chipotles in adobo sauce. You might have to look in a few of the bigger supermarkets to get these, but it really is worth seeking them out. And don’t worry you can use them in plenty of recipes already on my blog!

5 from 11 votes
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Vegan Lentil Chilli

Delicious and comforting with a touch of spice. This Vegan Lentil Chilli is such an easy slow cooker meal that is packed full of flavour. You definitely won't miss the meat!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican, International
Keyword Chilli, Vegetarian, Vegan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 217 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 1 onion diced
  • 400g tin kidney beans in chilli sauce
  • 400g tin black beans (rinsed)
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 peppers diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 garlic cloves diced
  • 1 tsp chipotles in adobo sauce (optional)
  • ½ tsp chipotle chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ancho chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ancho chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 red chilli sliced
  • 200 g red split lentils rinsed in cold water
  • 300 ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 30 g dark chocolate

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients apart from the dark chocolate to the slow cooker. Stir thoroughly. 

  2. Cook on high for 6 hours. Break the dark chocolate into chunks and add it to the slow cooker. Stir through and allow to cook for another 30 minutes to 1 hour until the lentils are completely cooked

  3. Serve with boiled rice 

Recipe Notes

I use a 3.5L slow cooker. 

If the chilli starts looking dry, add a splash more water. 

Nutritional information is given as a guide only

Nutrition Facts
Vegan Lentil Chilli
Amount Per Serving
Calories 217 Calories from Fat 828
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 92g 142%
Saturated Fat 24g 120%
Sodium 757mg 32%
Potassium 59271mg 1693%
Total Carbohydrates 3957g 1319%
Dietary Fiber 1451g 5804%
Sugars 2g
Protein 1477g 2954%
Vitamin A 23.8%
Vitamin C 15.6%
Calcium 451.1%
Iron 1948.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Skinny Slow Cooker Turkey Chilli

A delicious, healthier version of a Mexican Classic. My Skinny Slow Cooker Turkey Chilli is not only tasty and healthy, it is really easy too!

Chilli Con Carne was the first meal my Mum taught me to make as a child. It is still one I make often and really love. However I do like to try and adapt tasty recipes to make healthier versions. Obviously healthier recipes can’t compromise on taste and my Skinny Slow Cooker Turkey Chilli definitely doesn’t. 

When I was making this Skinny Slow Cooker Turkey Chilli, I knew I wanted to mirror most of the flavours in my traditional Chilli Con Carne but make some tweaks. Obviously the biggest change I have made is the meat choice. Instead of minced beef, I used minced turkey. Although I use 5% fat minced beef, with turkey you can buy breast minced meat which is 2% fat. If I was buying meat to use that wasn’t being used in a highly flavoured dish, I would opt for turkey thigh mince which is approximately 5% fat. This is because it provides more flavour and adds moisture. However with this dish, there are so many tasty flavours this isn’t necessary. However as always, use whichever you prefer. 

I have also added more vegetables to my Skinny Slow Cooker Turkey Chilli as firstly they help make the dish even more delicious. They also help bulk the dish out without adding more unnecessary fat. 

As with a lot of my recipes, you can easily adapt my Skinny Slow Cooker Turkey Chilli. If you don’t like sweetcorn, leave it out. If you really love peppers, add more. You can also play around with the heat depending on your taste. Obviously everyone’s spice tolerance is different, but I would say that this has a mild to medium rating. If you are making this recipe for children or spice intolerant people, you can add less. One advantage of this recipe is that you can taste it after an hour or so to see how the flavours are developing and then add a little bit more chile powder if needed. 

You will see why I called this my Skinny Slow Cooker Turkey Chilli when you see there are just over 200 calories per portion! This makes it a healthy meal as well as a tasty meal. The rice and toppings obviously iI often take this to work for lunch without the rice for a warm and filling lunch. 

I always serve chili with rice, salad and soured cream and my Skinny Slow Cooker Turkey Chilli is no exception. Add whichever toppings you like – avocado, coriander and onion would also be good toppings to use. I like to add a sprinkling of feta cheese because it is the closest to the cheeses traditionally used in Mexican cooking. It is also better for you that cheese like cheddar. 

5 from 1 vote
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Skinny Slow Cooker Turkey Chilli

A delicious, healthier version of a Mexican Classic. My Skinny Slow Cooker Turkey Chilli is not only tasty and healthy, it is really easy too!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Turkey, Chilli, Slow Cooker, Healthy
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 221 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 500 g 2% turkey mince
  • 1 onion diced
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 340g tin sweetcorn
  • 2 peppers sliced
  • 395g tin kidney beans in chilli sauce
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp cumin ground
  • ¼ tsp ancho chile powder
  • ¼ tsp ancho chile flakes
  • ¼ tsp chipotle chile powder
  • tbsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 red chile
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 150 ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp cornflour (optional)
  • spray oil

Instructions

  1. Brown the turkey mince either in the dish from your slow cooker (if it allows) or in a pan on the hob 

  2. Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker dish 

  3. Stir all of the ingredients together and cook for 5-6 hours on high or 7-8 on low. Stir every couple of hours if possible 

  4. An hour before the end of the cooking time, look to see if the sauce needs thickening. If it is thinner than you would like, mix the cornflour with water to make a slurry and add to the dish 

  5. Serve with rice and toppings of your choice

Nutrition Facts
Skinny Slow Cooker Turkey Chilli
Amount Per Serving
Calories 221 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 12%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 62mg 21%
Sodium 783mg 33%
Potassium 620mg 18%
Total Carbohydrates 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 7g
Protein 19g 38%
Vitamin A 10%
Vitamin C 66.5%
Calcium 4.9%
Iron 12.9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Chicken & Ham Hock Filo Pie

My Chicken & Ham Hock Filo Pie is a lighter way to enjoy a pie, perfect for #BritishPieWeek. A delicious creamy filling packed with chicken and ham hock and topped with crisp filo pastry. 

Pies are a British Institution. As a nation we do love our pies and this can be seen by just how many variations of pies there are. There are so many different pies out there with lots of variations of fillings and pastry used. 

Technically I think a pie is defined as a pastry lined dish usually topped with pastry. I however think pies can also just be topped with pastry. Apologies if this offends you but I’m still going to refer to my dish as a pie even though it isn’t pastry lined!

I do love a pie, they are comforting and delicious. I don’t associate pies with healthy eating however as the pastry is usually quite calorific. The fillings can also be quite rich which isn’t always what you’re looking for. 

This is why I came up with my Chicken & Ham Hock Filo Pie as a lighter way to enjoy a pie. Using filo pastry as a pie topping isn’t a new idea, but it is far lower in calories than a lot of other types. Not only is it healthier, but it is also far lighter and less dense than shortcrust pastry, for example. This makes this pie perfect for enjoying in spring and even summer. 

This pie is a great way to use up leftover roast chicken to make a completely new meal. If you don’t have any leftover chicken, you can do what I did and cook a few chicken thighs. The ham hock can be easily substituted to what you have to hand too. I love ham hock but haven’t found any to cook myself yet. Most supermarkets these days sell packs of cooked ham hock in the cold meat section. If you didn’t want to use ham hock, you could chop up some ham or add some cooked bacon lardons. 

Although this pie has a lovely creamy sauce, it is actually less than 400 calories per portion. For a creamy pie, personally I think this is pretty good. You can serve this with whatever you like, but I served it with tenderstem broccoli and rainbow carrots I saw in M&S. I wish I could get these carrots in my local shop because they were so delicious and gave the dish some lovely colour. 

 

5 from 1 vote
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Chicken & Ham Hock Filo Pie

My Chicken & Ham Hock Filo Pie is a lighter way to enjoy a pie, perfect for #BritishPieWeek. A delicious creamy filling packed with chicken and ham hock and topped with crisp filo pastry. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine British
Keyword Chicken, Pie, Healthier Pie
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 391 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large leek sliced
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 250 ml chicken stock
  • 250 ml semi skimmed milk
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • ¼ tsp mustard powder
  • 150 g cooked chicken shredded
  • 100 g ham hock
  • 5 sheets filo pastry
  • Spray oil

Instructions

  1. Add the vegetable oil to a frying pan of a medium heat and add the sliced leek. Stir for approximately 10 minutes until soft

  2. Remove the leeks from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, add the olive oil and the flour. Stir to create a paste and cook for a minute 

  3. Slowly add the chicken stock whisking to make sure it is all absorbed before you add more

  4. Once all of the stock has been added, gradually pour in the milk and whisk to combine

  5. Add the thyme, wholegrain mustard, salt, pepper and mustard powder and simmer for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens 

  6. After the sauce has thickened, add the cooked chicken, ham hock and leeks. Stir though to make sure everything is coated in the sauce

  7. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan or 200ºC non fan assisted). Pour the pie filling into a dish

  8. Unwrap the filo pastry and crumple each sheet on top of the pie filling – this doesn’t have to be neat

  9. Once the pie is completely covered with the filo pastry, spray thoroughly with oil and put in the oven for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown

Recipe Notes

I use a baking dish approximately 20x20cm and 4cm deep

Nutrition Facts
Chicken & Ham Hock Filo Pie
Amount Per Serving
Calories 391 Calories from Fat 351
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 39g 60%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 56mg 19%
Sodium 2236mg 93%
Potassium 564mg 16%
Total Carbohydrates 195g 65%
Dietary Fiber 7g 28%
Sugars 4g
Protein 43g 86%
Vitamin A 1.9%
Vitamin C 0.4%
Calcium 12.2%
Iron 69.9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Skinny Creamy Chicken Sausage Pasta

Creamy and delicious pasta but without the guilt. My Skinny Creamy Chicken Sausage Pasta is full of flavour and lower in calories than you would expect!

Pasta is a food many people love for its versatility and speed. It can be used to make so many tasty dishes. Some of the most delicious pasta dishes can be quite calorific which isn’t ideal if you are trying to eat more healthily. 

Growing up I didn’t really enjoy eating pasta. A lot of the time my Mum made it for us as a quick meal when we were children. A lot of the time this was pasta with a tomato based sauce which wasn’t my idea of a tasty meal. Then when I went to uni, unlike most of the people I knew, I still didn’t eat much pasta at all. 

Since then I have realised that there are so many really tasty dishes you make with pasta and these definitely don’t come out of a jar. I know jars of pasta sauce are really popular, but they tend to have quite a lot of sugar in them as well as not being the healthiest option. 

My Skinny Creamy Chicken Sausage Pasta is a great way of getting your pasta fix and even enjoying a delicious and creamy sauce, but with fewer calories. Would you believe me if I told you this recipe comes in at less than 450 calories per portion? For a pasta dish with a creamy sauce and meat, I think that is pretty good! And the really good thing about it is that it doesn’t taste ‘healthy’. It tastes like it is an indulgent, rich and creamy pasta dish. 

I have used HECK Chicken Italia Sausages for this recipe. I am a bit obsessed with HECK sausages and eat them frequently due to them being low in calories and great taste. This isn’t a HECK sponsored post, I just really like them. If you don’t want to use them, you can use another type of chicken sausage or leave them out completely. 

I used frozen basil in this recipe because my and fresh basil don’t seem to be friends. I like it, but it goes limp on me and dies. Because of this I don’t tend to buy it fresh very often because it doesn’t always last as long as I want it to. This is why frozen basil is a great freezer staple for me. It doesn’t pack as much flavour as fresh basil, but I think it is great to have. 

The secret of this being lower in calorie is really down to the sauce. You wouldn’t think cream a few tablespoons of cream cheese, some milk and flour could make a sauce this creamy, but they can! Parmesan is also a great calorie saver as it has far less calories than other cheeses such as cheddar. It also has a strong flavour so you need less to achieve a cheesy flavour. 

You can use any shape of dried or fresh pasta for this recipe, it really is up to you. Personally I like to use a pasta shape that will help catch the tasty creamy sauce, like conchiglie. Plus they look pretty too! 

For other healthy pasta dishes, check out my Ravoli LasagneSkinny Chicken Pasta Bake and  Skinny Chicken Fajita Pasta.

Serves 4

300g pasta
350g HECK Chicken Italia sausages, de-skinned
½ tsp sunflower oil 

3 tbsp low fat cream cheese
1 tbsp plain flour
80ml semi skimmed milk
250ml chicken stock
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp frozen or dried basil 
pinch of black pepper

20g parmesan, grated 

  1. Cook the pasta as per the packet’s instructions 
  2. Remove the casing from the sausages and split each sausage into roughly four pieces. Roll each piece between your palms to make little balls 
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium high heat and add the sausage. Cook until crisp and brown on the outside and cooked through 
  4. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside

  1. Mix the cream cheese, milk and flour together in a mini food processor 
  2. Turn the pan onto a low heat and add the cream cheese mix to the pan along with the stock and whisk to combine. It will look a little lumpy, but keep whisking and it will come together. Keep whisking until it thickens slightly 
  3. Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder and basil and stir through 

  1. Add the sausage back to the pan and add the drained pasta

  1. Stir through and allow everything to heat through for a couple of minutes
  2. Add the grated parmesan, stir through and serve 

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Store Cupboard Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole

My Store Cupboard Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole is a warm and comforting dish which doesn’t require any fancy ingredients, just things you’ll find in your fridge and cupboard. 

I chose a short and catchy name for this recipe!

I have made quite a few chicken casseroles in my time. They are so versatile as they can be eaten with potatoes and vegetables as a simple and warming dish or topped with some puff pastry for a quick and delicious pie. Although a lot of the recipes I have followed in the past have been delicious, they tend to need some forward planning.

I think there is nothing more annoying than wanting to make a recipe but realising you’re missing a vital ingredient. It can’t just be me that writes numerous lists and will still always forget something when you go to the shop?! When I was at uni, my housemate and I found a delicious chicken casserole/pie recipe that we would make; but the recipe used creme fraiche which isn’t something I tend to have in my fridge. And then once you have used the small amount you need for the recipe, the rest goes to waste as it sits in the fridge because you don’t know what else to do with it.

I decided I wanted to come up with a chicken casserole recipe that was minimum effort and used mainly ingredients I (and other people), tend to already have in their cupboards or fridges. Obviously you can substitute ingredients still but this recipe will provide you with a deliciously comforting chicken casserole without needing a long shopping list!

You can use chicken breast or thigh; or even a mixture of the two for this Store Cupboard Slow Cooker Casserole. Personally I prefer using thighs because I am a fan of dark meat anyway, but also because I think they are more juicy. This lends them to slow cooking because you don’t want your chicken to become dry during the longer cooking times. 

I have used carrots and leeks because they are vegetables I like that can withstand long cooking times. As I have mentioned before, I am not a massive fan of onions and the leeks in this recipe provide a similar taste so I have left out the onion. If you’re a normal person and like onion, feel free to add one in. 

I think mushrooms would work well in this recipe but I would cut them quite big so they don’t disintegrate to nothing. Unfortunately Mr Curly doesn’t get mushrooms because I don’t like them! I have added new potatoes to this casserole before and it works well as a one pot dish. I must say the potatoes don’t freeze very well and once defrosted they have a grainy texture. I would recommend leaving the potatoes out of the casserole unless you aren’t planning to freeze it.  

This chicken casserole freezes really well. When you reheat it, the chicken tends to break up slightly but I don’t mind this at all! I usually serve this with small baked potato and vegetables. I also freeze smaller portions to eat for my lunch which is very tasty. 

0 from 0 votes
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Store Cupboard Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole

My Store Cupboard Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole is a warm and comforting dish which doesn't require any fancy ingredients, just things you'll find in your fridge and cupboard. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine British
Keyword Slow Cooker, Chicken, Crock pot, Casserole
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 492 kcal

Ingredients

  • 500 g chicken breast or thigh
  • 500 g carrots peeled and sliced
  • 300 g leeks washed and sliced
  • 400 g tin cream of chicken soup
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 350 ml semi skimmed milk
  • Chicken stock pot
  • Spray oil
  • ¼ ground pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp cornflour mixed with water optional

Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken into cubes. Brown the chicken in batches in a pan or in your slow cooker on the hob (if your slow cooker allows this) using some spray oil
  2. Once all of the chicken is browned, add it all to the slow cooker dish. Add the sliced carrots, leeks and the rest of the ingredients apart from the cornflour. I add the soup and then use the tin to measure the milk and then fill nearly to the top with recently boiled water. Not only does this give you the correct measurements but it also rinses out the tin too!
  3. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8
  4. Once the casserole has finished cooking, check to see if the sauce is the right consistency. If it is too thin, use the cornflour and add enough water to make a slurry. Add this to the casserole and allow it to cook for another 30 minutes
Nutrition Facts
Store Cupboard Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole
Amount Per Serving
Calories 492 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 32%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 100mg 33%
Sodium 825mg 34%
Potassium 902mg 26%
Total Carbohydrates 27g 9%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars 13g
Protein 28g 56%
Vitamin A 447.9%
Vitamin C 22.3%
Calcium 21.2%
Iron 19.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Couscous Salad

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Fresh, colourful and versatile. This cous cous dish is delicious as well as being healthy.

Growing up I didn’t like cous cous. Well I told myself I didn’t as the only time I had come across it was when my Mum made her version of Tabbouleh. This was never going to be the best cous cous dish for me to try as it is packed with herbs such as parsley, mint and coriander – all of which I can’t stand. After years of thinking I didn’t like it, my Mum made a version with no herbs and very similar to what I make today and I realised I did actually like cous cous!

Along with my Mum, my sister and I have been making this recipe for years but with different variations. This recipe is great for adding things you like and leaving out anything you don’t. My Mum and sister make theirs using tomatoes and spring onions as well as the ingredients I use. I like tomatoes but I don’t seem to have them in my fridge every week whereas I always have the other ingredients. So please feel free to add anything else you fancy. I decided to call is Cous Cous Salad because I tend to use basic ingredients that I’d put in a salad – imaginative I know!

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The versatility doesn’t end with the ingredients in the cous cous, you can also add a whole range of ‘toppings’. We usually have this cous cous with marinated chicken, but we have had it with chorizo, grilled halloumi and my new favourite; chicken sausages.

This is now my boyfriend’s favourite recipe to make for his lunches during the week. If he can make it, then you can too!

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Serves 4
350g cous cous
750g boiled water
1 tbsp chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 peppers
1 x 340g tin of sweetcorn, drained
¾ of a cucumber, diced
20g butter (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. De-seed and slice the peppers. Put them on a baking tray and roast in the oven for around 30 minutes, turning half way. You want them to get slightly blackened
  2. Put the cous cous in a large bowl. Add the chicken stock, olive oil and water to the cous cous. The water should just cover the cous cous by around 1cm. Stir with a fork and then cover with cling film
  3. While the cous cous is cooking, dice the cucumber and drain the sweetcorn
  4. After around 15 minutes the cous cous should have plumped and cooked. Test it is ready by trying it, if it is still a little hard recover for a few more minutes

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  1. Once the cous cous is cooked, add the butter if you are using it and fork through to fluff up the cous cous2016-07-12 19.12.52
  2. Remove the peppers from the oven and slice up. Add to the cous cous along with the sweetcorn and cucumber and fork through to mix

 

Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken

Melt in your mouth chicken packed with loads of delicious flavours; this Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken is quickly becoming a new favourite!  
            

My sister has been trying to convince me to get a slow cooker for a long time. I was reluctant because in my head I thought it was cheating and taking out some of the fun of cooking. Obviously I was wrong! She bought me one for my birthday after finally giving in and saying I would give one a go – and now I love it!

The first thing I attempted to make were cinnamon rolls. They really didn’t turn out well at all! However this wasn’t the slow cooker’s fault but mine as the part of the recipe that specifically warned me to be very precise, I wasn’t. I decided to leave the desserts alone for a while and focus on savoury dishes.

I’d seen a few recipes using chicken and Mexican flavours so used them to create my own interpretation which I decided to call Fiesta Chicken! My main inspiration came from one of my favourite bloggers over at Skinny Taste. I tweaked her Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken recipe.

This recipe is really flexible. Add more of what you want, less or none of what you don’t and make it your own. I happened to have some chicken thighs and a couple of breasts in the fridge so I decided to chuck them both in. I love chicken thighs as they have so much flavour but until recently I have always tended to buy breasts. Since I’ve got a chest freezer I now go a little crazy and buy thighs in bulk and have a mass de-boning session. Last week I de-boned approximately 80 thighs ready for BBQ’s. They are definitely my favourite cut of chicken but use whichever you fancy!

I used a combination of chilli powders that I buy from the Cool Chile Co. They have a store in Borough Market but you can also order from their website and they have great service (I just genuinely like their products, they aren’t paying me to mention them). Don’t let not having different chilli powders put you off making this dish. Use whatever you have – chilli powders, cayenne pepper, paprika etc. and add more if you like a bit of heat. The quantities in the recipe below are more to add flavour than heat, so adjust as you wish. This also depends on the heat rating of the chille powder you decide to use, for example chipotle chilli powder is hotter than a guajillo chilli. I would always veer on the side of caution and then give it a little try when you add the shredded chicken back in. You can always add some more chilli at this stage if it needs a bit more of a kick.

I added a tin of flame roasted mild green chillies which I bought from Tesco maybe a year ago. I’d seen a few American recipes where they included tinned tomatoes with mild green chillies, so when I saw the tin of chillies in the World Food’s aisle I bought them. This recipe was finally a reason to use them! You’ll notice I haven’t included them in the recipe though as since making this dish, I haven’t been able to find them anywhere. I’ve even searched online for them and it seems you need to order them from America which isn’t the cheapest option, so I decided it was better to miss them out, however sad this made me feel.

I was so impressed with how tasty this recipe was and it was such minimal effort. I did find that there was too much liquid when I made it so I have reduced the amount slightly. That is the only thing I have found with slow cookers, because you are cooking with the lid on, they keep all of their liquid and it doesn’t evaporate. If you want to try and thicken the dish without using cornflour (or as well as) just take the lid off for the last 30 mins cooking to help some of the water evaporate.

Serves 6 using a 3.5L slow cooker

approx 500g chicken
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 ½ tbsp Mexican oregano
3 tsp chilli powder (I used a mixture of ancho, guajillo and chipotle)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 x 400g tins tomatoes
400g tin of black beans, drained and rinsed
340g tin sweetcorn, drained
2 peppers, sliced
300g chicken stock
3 spring onions, sliced
1 tbsp cornflour (if needed to thicken)

  1. Sprinkle the chicken with 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, oregano and the chilli powders

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  1. Add the tomatoes, black beans, sweetcorn, pepper, stock and spring onions to the slow cooker and stir to mix
  2. Lie the chicken on top of the ingredients and put the lid on the slow cooker

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  1. Cook for 10 hours on low or 6 hours on high
  2. 30 mins before serving, remove the chicken onto a board and shred using two forks. Return to the slow cooker and stir through

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  1. If there is too much liquid, in a glass mix the cornflour with just enough water to make a liquid and add this to the slow cooker and continue cooking for the 30 minutes
  2. Serve with rice sprinkled with grated cheese and spring onions  

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Vegetable & Red Lentil Curry

What this Vegetable & Red Lentil Curry lacks in beauty it makes up for in taste! Deliciously comforting curry packed with loads of vegetables makes this a tasty and healthy all in one dinner.

This recipe is so flexible and really lends itself to being adapted to what vegetables you like and how spicy you like it. It is a perfect meal to make when you have a few vegetables left over in your fridge that may not be at their peak freshness but you want to use them in a dish. You can use whatever vegetables you like, but for me the staples are potatoes, courgettes and cauliflower. My Mum used to make this for us and those were the vegetables she always used.

Although these are the staple vegetables for me, you can add any number of other vegetables that you like. Peppers and green beans are vegetables I almost always have in the house so I like to add these. I’ve also added in fresh tomatoes just because I have had them to hand. You could add sweet potato if you fancy it or spinach right at the end of cooking. It really is so flexible not only with the vegetables you can use, but also because the quantities of each are also really flexible. 

The first time I made this curry for Mr Curly I wasn’t completely sure how it would go down. He very much likes his meat so a vegetarian meal was almost unheard of to him! He said he really liked it but chicken would make it that little bit better. If you are cooking this Vegetable & Red Lentil Curry for meat lovers, you can easily add some diced chicken in after you have added the vegetables. 

Mr Curly and I are now trying to eat less meat so I won’t be adding chicken to this going forward! Instead, I updated this recipe by adding some split red lentils. Lentils are not something I have eaten or cooked with previously. So they were an ingredient I wanted to use more this year. They work so well in this curry because not only do they help bulk out the dish and make it more filling; they also help thicken the curry too! 

This Vegetable & Red Lentil Curry is not only vegetarian but vegan and gluten free too! I love dishes like this that naturally cater to a lot of people’s diets. Just make sure that you check your curry paste to check it meets your dietary needs first. 

Another great thing about this recipe is you make a big batch and freeze it. I freeze it in dinner sized portions for a quick week night dinner; but also individual lunch sized portions which are perfect for me to defrost and take in to heat at work.

I always serve this Vegetable & Red Lentil Curry with mango chutney because I think it is one of the most delicious condiments ever made! As you have the potatoes, you don’t necessarily need rice. I do like to serve it with some poppadoms to dip into the delicious and comforting  soft vegetables in the curry.

Updated January 2019

5 from 3 votes
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Vegetable & Red Lentil Curry

What this Vegetable & Red Lentil Curry lacks in beauty it makes up for in taste! Deliciously comforting curry packed with loads of vegetables makes this a tasty and healthy all in one dinner.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, British
Keyword Vegetarian, Vegetable Curry, Lentils
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 296 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 4 tbsp curry paste
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 500 g potates peeled and cut into chunks
  • 400 g courgette sliced
  • 1 cauliflower cut into florets
  • 1 large pepper cut into chunks
  • 250 g green beans
  • 2 x 400 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 800 ml vegetable stock
  • 250 g split red lentils rinsed in cold water
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • chopped fresh coriander

Instructions

  1. Add the oil to a large pan over a medium heat. Once the oil has warmed, add the onion and garlic and allow to sweat for a couple of minutes stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn't burn
  2. Add the curry paste and stir to coat the onions

  3. Add all of the vegetables and stir again to coat them in the curry paste. Add the tomato puree, tinned tomatoes, vegetable stock, lentils, salt and pepper

  4. Let the stock come to the boil and then reduce the temperature to medium and allow to gently bubble away covered with a lid

  5. Stir the soup every 20 minutes or so to make sure the curry isn't sticking to the bottom of the pan.  If it is sticking or becoming too thick before the vegetables and lentils are cooked, add some water

  6. Cook for around 2 hours or until  all of the vegetables and lentils are soft and the stock has reduced and thickened

  7. Serve sprinkled with coriander

Recipe Notes

Add up to 500ml more water throughout the cooking process if needed.

Nutritional information is given as a guide only.

Nutrition Facts
Vegetable & Red Lentil Curry
Amount Per Serving
Calories 296 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 1384mg 58%
Potassium 723mg 21%
Total Carbohydrates 18g 6%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars 9g
Protein 4g 8%
Vitamin A 55%
Vitamin C 96.9%
Calcium 8.4%
Iron 9.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Skinny Lemon & Poppy Seed Cake

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This tasty zesty cake is perfect as an afternoon treat, especially as it is a healthy version too!

I’d wanted to make a lemon and poppy seed cake for a while because I liked the look of the cake dotted with tiny black poppy seeds. I haven’t made as many cakes recently because I’m trying to eat more healthily and if I make cake, then I have no self control and I end up eating the cake.  I then found this recipe for a skinny lemon and poppy seed cake on Pinterest so no longer had any excuse not to give it a go! Even though it was a healthier cake, I managed to give most of it away to my family so I didn’t end up eating it all.

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When I was making this cake, I was dubious. It looked thick as I was mixing the ingredients and then once it was baked it looked quite dense so I did fear the worst. I’m pleased to say it wasn’t dense or dry and was very tasty. My Mum liked it but she wasn’t massively keen on the poppy seeds as she said they got stuck in her teeth. I didn’t find this surprising as she doesn’t like jam where the fruit has the seeds in as she says the same happens then. So if you’re a little bit fussy like my Mum, this maybe won’t be your favourite cake but I do recommend giving it a go otherwise.

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For the cake
1½ cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp fine salt
¾ cup caster sugar
1 lemon, zest finely grated
½ cup low fat Greek yogurt
¼ cup semi-skimmed milk 
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
1 tbsp poppy seeds

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 2lb loaf tin
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl
  3. In another bowl, mix together the sugar, lemon, yogurt, milk, olive oil, vanilla, egg and egg whites and poppy seeds until combined
  4. Add the flour mix to the wet mix and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean

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  1. Let the cake cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely

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For the glaze
1½ cups icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp milk

  1. Once the cake is completely cooled, make the glaze by whisking together the icing sugar, lemon juice and milk. Pour the glaze all over the cake