Tag Archives: chicken

Thai Chicken and Quinoa Cakes with Sweet Chilli Salsa

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finalWell if there is one thing for sure…summer is definitely on its way! With temperatures up in the high 30’s yesterday I could think of nothing worse than slaving away in a hot, sweaty kitchen for hours to whip something up for my parents who just happened to be passing through town! As it turns out, this little recipe creation turned out to be the perfect solution to my dilemma!

Fast, fresh and super healthy, these Thai Chicken and Quinoa Cakes can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes and require minimal cooking time, keeping the heat out of the kitchen and essentially making them the perfect choice for these balmy (almost) summer nights! Not only are they ridiculously easy to make, but they are also gluten free, packed full of high quality lean protein and loads of veggies to further boost their nutrient profile and fibre content.

Thai Chicken and Quinoa Cakes with Sweet Chilli Salsa

(Serves 4 people)

What you need..

– 500g chicken breast, roughly chopped

– 1 large carrot, grated

– 1 large zucchini, gratedIMG_5726

– 1 egg, whisked

– large handful coriander, chopped

– 4 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped

– 1 clove garlic, minced

– 1 tsp ginger, grated

– 1.5 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

– 3/4 cup quinoa, cooked and drained

– extra chilli flakes or fresh chilli (if desired)

– sesame seeds for rolling

For the salsa:

– 2 roma tomatoes, deseeded, dicedIMG_5728 2

– 1/2 lebanese cucumber, diced

– 1/2 red onion, diced

– 1 tbsp sweet chill sauce

– handful coriander, chopped

– juice of 1 lime

– 2 tsp fish sauce

What to do…

Throw all the ingredients for the chicken and quinoa cakes, other than the quinoa and sesame seeds into a food processor and blend until well combined. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir through the cooked quinoa. Place in the fridge until ready to roll and cook.

For the salsa, chop the tomatoes into quarters and discard the soft centre parts. Dice the tomatoes and add to a small serving bowl along with the other salsa ingredients. Stir to combine.

When ready to cook, place a large non-stick fry pan on medium heat and add a drop of olive or peanut oil. While the pan is heating up roll the chicken mixture into pattie shapes and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Add a batch of the chicken and quinoa cakes to the hot pan and squish them down with a spatula so that they cook quickly and evenly. Once cooked, remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining mixture.

Team these bad boys with a light summer salad and the zesty salsa and you have yourself one ridiculously tasty, light summer meal in minutes!

Enjoy!

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Pesto Chicken Zucchini Pasta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Pine Nuts

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Trying to cut down on carbohydrates but just can’t seem to give up those delicious big bowls of steaming pasta? Well, now you don’t have to, thanks to this simple culinary creation transforming the humble old zucchini into a nice pile of nutritious noodles!  Gluten free, “paleo-friendly” and packed full of flavour, this meal is a winner all round!

Zucchini Noodles with Pesto Chicken and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Serves 4 people

What you need:Image1_Ingredients

–        4 medium zucchinis

–        500g chicken breast, fat trimmed

–        250g tub cherry tomatoes

–        1 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted

–        2 cloves garlic, finely sliced

–        Extra virgin olive oil

 

For the pesto:

–        2 cups packed fresh basil leaves

–        2 cloves garlic, peeledImage2_pesto

–        ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

–        2 tbsp water

–        1/4 cup pine nuts

–        1/4 walnuts

–        juice of 1 lemon

–        salt and pepper

 

What to do:

To make the pesto, simply place all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until well combined. Check the balance of flavours and add extra seasoning or lemon juice or olive oil as required. Cover and set aside.

NOTE: Although your regular basil pesto is usually just made on pine nuts or cashews, I also added some walnuts into mine to add some extra heart healthy omega 3 fats without compromising on flavour! I also left out the parmesan cheese to cut down on saturated fats and calories, and I can promise you, you wont even notice the difference! 😉

chickenPre-heat oven to 180 degrees. Next take a large baking dish, line with baking paper and fill with the chicken breasts and cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle over the sliced garlic and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and cover with alfoil.

Place in the oven to cook for about 20 minutes. Remove the alfoil and cook for another 5 mins or until the chicken is cooked through and the tomatoes are soft and are starting to blister. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting into thin slices.

Next place a large saucepan of water on the stove and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, use either a peeler, julienne peeler or mandolin to prepare your zucchini noodles. For wide fettuccini style “pasta” use a standard vegetable peeler. Spaghetti-like noodles can be achieved using a julienne peeler or mandolin.

Whichever you choose, cut the ends off the zucchinis and start peeling lengthways. When you boiling noodlesapproach the seeds, turn the zucchini and continue slicing. Discard the middle section with the seeds, as they will prevent the noodles from holding together. Once you have finished, pop the noodles into the boiling water to blanch for 1 minute and then drain.

To serve, divide the noodles into pasta bowls and top with the sliced chicken breast, cherry tomatoes and pesto.

Garnish with the toasted pinenuts and some fresh sprigs of basil. You could also add a sprinkling of good quality parmesan cheese for a slightly more authentic Italian experience.

 

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Chilli Chicken, Pumpkin and Cashew Stir-fry

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chilli chicken cashewGetting home late from work last night I needed to come up with something fast, nutritious and tasty based on what i had lurking in my fridge and this is what I came up with! And I’m not going to lie..it certainly did pack a nutritional punch without skimping on flavour!

What you need… (for 2 people)

350g chicken breast, sliced

2 tsp chilli flakes (or 2 dried chillis)

1 tsp grated ginger

3 cloves garlic, finely diced

1/2 large brown onion, finely sliced

handful of snow peas

large handful green beans, halved,

1/2 small capsicum, sliced

1 cup broccoli florets

1/4 small pumpkin, cut into thin strips

rice bran or peanut oil

For the sauce:

1 tbsp light soy sauce (or tamari for GF version)

1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2 tsp fish sauce

1 tbsp kecap manis

juice of half a lime

 

What to do…

Add all the sauce ingredients to a small mixing bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside.

Secondly throw a handful of cashews into a small non-stick fry pan and lightly toast. Remove from the heat and set aside.

For the pumpkin, steam it for 3-4 mins in the microwave then allow to drain.

Meanwhile, heat a small amount of oil in a wok and add the sliced chicken. Once cooked through, remove from the wok and set aside.

Add a smidge more oil to the wok and then saute the onion for 2-3 mins or until soft. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli flakes and cook for another 1-2 mins.

Add the mushrooms and capsicum and cook for 2 mins before adding the remaining veggies and then the chicken back in.Pour the sauce over the top, add the chopped corriander and then mix well to combine. Remove from the heat once the veggies are cooked to your liking.

 

Nutritional Breakdown:

Pros:

Low carb, Low fat/calories, high in good quality protein and packed full of nutrients!….

The chicken breast provides a perfect lean source of protein with about 20g of high quality protein per 100g. The cashews on the other hand are not only high in magnesium which is essential for nerve and muscle conduction but they are also made up of 75% oleic acid, the same heart healthy fat found in olive oil.

Meanwhile the mixture of veggies all add their own unique nutritional qualities to the dish. All veggies contain different types of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so the more colour on your plate, the better better off you will be from a nutritional perspective! Studies also show that the more variety in colour on your plate the higher your satisfaction levels will be with your meal! Interesting huh?

Firstly, broccoli is hard to beat when it comes to its nutritional qualities, as it is not only a great source of iron, magnesium and folate but like all green cruciferous veggies broccoli contains high levels of “isothiocyanates” which are compounds that help to generate mitachondria (the part of our cells responsible for converting glucose to energy (ATP)…Making them a serious powerhouse when it comes to energy production!

Capsicum is a great source of vitamin C and beta-carotene whilst the snow peas are super low in calories, high in fibre and contain important vitamins and minerals like vitamin C,  B Complex vitamins and folate.

Despite its starchy texture and sweet taste, pumpkin is actually quite low in carbohydrates so is a great alternative to high carb veggies like sweet potato and corn! It is also contains impressive amounts of essential vitamins and minerals like beta carotene, vitamins A, E and K and potassium and phosphorus!

So moral of the story? This dish just about covers all bases from a nutritional perspective!

Cons:

Welllll correct me if I’m wrong but I cant really think of any! 😉

Enjoy!

A

Paella Paella Paella!!

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paella8Espana Espana Espana! Having visited Spain a couple of times myself, Spanish food has quickly become one of my FAVOURITE cuisines and if you hadn’t guessed it already….Paella is one dish that really appeals to me! I just love the idea of sitting down around a big table amongst family and friends to share in a huge paella pan filled with delectable spanish flavours of saffron, rice, fresh seafood and other tastey meats and veggies!

As I seem to have incredible difficulty in following recipes, this dish is a take on Jamie Oliver’s traditional Paella and is perhaps a sllllightly healthier version! By swapping the pork belly he usually includes for a couple of chicken thighs (fat removed) and by cooking the chorizo seperately before adding to the dish, I have significantly reduced the amount of saturated fat in the dish. I perhaps could have made this dish even healthier by omitting the chorizo altogether but we are all entitled to the occasional treat right?! Not to mention the chorizo just really adds another dimension of flavour to the dish! But if you are trying to cut down on those extra calories at night, omitting things like processed meats and choosing leaner cuts of meat such as chicken are great solutions!

What you need… (enough for 4 people)

1.25 cups Spanish paella rice (Aborio rice is a great alternative if you can’t find spanish rice)paella2

2 cups gluten free chicken stock

1 lg brown onion (diced)

3 cloves garlic (crushed)

1 tin crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)

bunch parsely

2 chicken thighs (sliced & trimmed of fat)

300g green sustainable banana prawns (peeled)

150g scallops (halved)paella3

1 gluten free chorizo (sliced)

1/2 red capsicum (chopped)

1/2 cup frozen peas

pinch of saffron

1 tsp paprika

1 lemon

olive oil

What to do…

Firstly, slice your chorizo to a small fry pan and pan fry it until crisp and golden brown. Set aside.

Add your onion to the paella pan with a good drizzle of olive oil and saute until the onion has softened. Then add your garlic and capsicum and cook for a further 2 mins. Finely chop half your parsley (including the stalks) and then add it to the pan along with a pinch of saffron and a tsp of paprika and stir through for 1-2 mins. Add in your chicken thighs and cook for 2-3mins. Add your chorizo and then your rice, stirring for 1-2mins.

Add your tin of tomatoes and then your stock and wine and stir it all through til well combined. Season with salt and pepper then leave the pan on low heat for around 15-20mins or until the rice is almost cooked but still slightly crunchy to the bite. Try not to stir your rice during this time so that your dish develops a beautiful crust on the bottom of the pan. Then add your peas, prawns and scallops and push them down into the remaining fluid. (sometimes you may need to add a little extra stock at this point if your rice is looking a bit dry). Turn the seafood over if necessary to ensure they cook through. Once cooked sprinkle over the rest of your chopped parsley and serve up at the table with a few wedges of fresh lemon and some homemade aoili! (I just stole my aoili recipe straight off the net!) And there you have it..the perfect dinner party dish that will unite any crowd of hungry troupes!

Hasta la vista chicos y chicas!

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