Creamy Broccoli & Cauliflower Soup


Creamy Broccoli & Cauliflower Soup all ready for tomorrow, lunch game is on point!  Continue reading

Velvety Smooth Cauliflower & Carrot Soup

  
There’s a distinct chill in the air the last couple of weeks that signals the end of Summer. We’re definitely not enjoying a balmy Indian Summer this year & that’s for sure. It’s time to dig out the coats, boots & woolly tights & it’s most certainly soup weather. You can expect an abundance of soup, stew & general winter warming recipes coming your way. Soup is a slimmers best friend, it’s so handy for lunches, filling, satisfying, tasty, warm & a meal in itself, consisting of vegetables & stock for the most part it’s extremely healthy & low fat too. Well I don’t need to sell the benefits of soup to you because if you’re on plan you’ll already know! This one is lovely & creamy from the cauliflower with the sweetness of carrot to lift it to the next level. It makes about 5 or even 6 servings & you can freeze it to boot. 0 propoints on all plans. Here’s the skinny:  
1 Large Onion Diced

5 Carrots Peeled & Diced

1 Head of Cauliflower 

1 Garlic Clove

1 Tsp Thyme (Dried or Fresh)

1 & 1/2 Pints of Vegetable Stock

Salt & Black Pepper 

  
Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat & spray with oil. Add the diced onion & fry for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the Carrots & continue to fry until softening approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Chop the cauliflower into florets & add to the pan with the stock & the whole clove of garlic. Season with the thyme, salt & pepper. Put a lid on the pot & continue to cook for around 30 minutes until everything is soft. Blitz well until smooth with a hand blender. Serve hot garnished with half fat creme fraiche & chopped chives if desired & enjoy!   

Comforting Cream Cheese & Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms with Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Mash & Baby Asparagus

  
I know how you feel, it’s Monday, it’s dreary, the rain is pelting down the window & it feels more like Winter than Autumn. Well here’s some comfort food dinner inspiration for you. This cost me just 3 propoints – yes 3 for the entire plate! Now that’s good points value. The cream cheese & bacon stuffed mushrooms would make a delightful starter for a dinner party on their own but I decided to revisit cauliflower mash which I haven’t made in quite some time, it’s a great substitute for mash if you’re low on propoints or just watching your carb intake. I roasted some lovely garlic to infuse some more flavour into the mash & the addition of stock serves this purpose also making for a yummy tasty comforting warm mash. This is 3 pro points (& just 2pp on F&H) and serves one. Here’s the skinny: For the Cream Cheese & Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms:

2 Large Mushrooms (stalks removed, chopped & reserved for the filling)

½ an Onion Finely Diced

2 Lean Bacon Medallions

1 Clove Garlic

100g Philadelphia Lightest Cream Cheese

A Handful of Chopped Chives

Salt & Black Pepper  Heat a frying pan over a medium heat & spray with oil. Fry the diced onion, chopped mushroom stalks & bacon for 8 to 10 minutes turning the bacon halfway through to cook both sides. Crush in the clove of garlic a minute before end of cooking time & fry for the remaining minute. Place the onion & bacon & chopped mushroom mixture in a bowl & set aside to cool. When cool break apart the bacon into small pieces. Add the Philadelphia, chives & season with salt & black pepper & mix thoroughly. Place your mushrooms cap side down on a baking tray lined with foil & stuff half the mixture into each mushroom. Bake the mushrooms for 20 minutes or until cooked through & the cheese & bacon is starting to brown.  

For the Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Mash:

½ Head of Cauliflower

A Few Tbsps Chicken/Vegetable Stock

1 Clove Garlic

Salt & Black Pepper

Spring Onion to Garnish (optional)

To Serve:

Baby Asparagus  Place the clove of garlic (keep the skin on the garlic) on the baking tray the same time as your cooking the stuffed mushrooms & bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile cook the cauliflower in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 minutes or until soft drain the water off & return the cauliflower to the empty pot, place the lid on & allow the cauliflower to steam dry for 2 or 3 minutes. Prepare a small mug of stock. Just before serving & while still hot, place the cauliflower in a food processor with a couple of tablespoons of stock, squeeze the now soft roasted garlic out of the skin into cauliflower & season with salt & black pepper. Blitz until smooth & the cauliflower takes on a smooth mash like consistency adding a tiny bit more stock to loosen if required. If the cauliflower doesn’t blend very well you may have overcrowded the food processor depending on the size of cauliflower used, simply remove some & blend in two batches mixing together well at the end. You can also use a hand blender to blitz the mash. Cook some baby asparagus in boiling water for about 5 minutes to accompany everything & serve the warm mash garnished with a few slices of sliced spring onion if desired, asparagus & stuffed mushrooms with some chives sprinkled over & enjoy!

Luscious Chicken & Mushrooms in a Creamy Tarragon Sauce with Delicate, Fluffy Lemon & Parsley Cauliflower Rice

 
I used to make a Beautiful Chicken & Tarragon Creamy Casserole when I was off plan but it had mountains of white wine & roasted chicken thighs with the skin left on, I shudder to even imagine how many pro points were in it! I was looking to replicate the creamy chicken & tarragon flavour without compromising on points & this does a perfect job of that if I do say so myself! Chicken & tarragon are a match made in heaven & mushrooms and cream go hand in hand so this was like writing a love story! Delicious, creamy & flavoursome, this certainly doesn’t feel like you’re eating diet food in any sense of the form & if you are following my blog long you will know that is always my aim with my recipes, big generous portions & real, tasty, home cooked food, no rabbit food here! This is also economical due to only using 3 Chicken Fillets to Serve 4 & the mushrooms really bulk it out nicely so everyone still gets a nice generous portion.   The cauliflower rice is a recent entry to my culinary repertoire & I always like to flavour it well, it suits for a day when you are short on points but hungry as all hell (like me yesterday) but most certainly serve it with some basmati or jasmine rice or even pasta or potatoes if you prefer you will just have to add the extra pro points for it. This Serves 4 and is 5 pro points a serving (2pp on F&H) Here’s the Skinny:  500g (about 3 Medium Fillets) Chicken Fillet Diced

2 Shallots Finely Diced

430g Mushrooms (approximately 10) Peeled & Quartered

1 Clove of Garlic Crushed

1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce 

125 mls Chicken Stock

120 grams Half Fat Crème Fraiche

1 ½ Tbsps Fresh Tarragon Leaves Chopped Finely

Salt & Black Pepper

For The Cauliflower Rice:

½ a Cauliflower Chopped into Florets

Juice & Zest of Half a Lemon

A Handful of Fresh Parsley Chopped Finely

Salt  

Preheat a large pan & fry off the chicken pieces in spray oil over a medium high heat until cooked through & brown on all sides (approximately 12 to 15 minutes). Remove from the heat & set aside. Add the chopped shallots & quartered mushrooms to the same pan & fry until the mushrooms are browning & softening (approximately 8 minutes). Add the crushed garlic & continue to fry for a minute until the garlic is fragrant. Re add the chicken pieces to the pan, season with salt & pepper, add the Worcestershire sauce, pour in the stock, sprinkle in the tarragon & bring the stock to the boil. Reduce the heat slightly & simmer for a further few minutes until the stock reduces slightly & the mixture is bubbling slightly. Add in the crème fraiche & stir to combine for a few seconds. This should be served immediately. Meanwhile for the cauliflower rice, blitz the cauliflower florets in your food processor until it resembles couscous. Spray a pan with oil & heat over a medium heat. Add the blitzed cauliflower & fry whilst stirring through for approximately 8 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Add a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice a sprinkle of zest (don’t be too heavy handed with the juice or zest or it might end up too lemony), add the parsley & season with salt, stir through to mix well with the cauliflower rice & serve with the chicken, mushroom & tarragon creamy sauce on top & enjoy! Easy peasy!

Fabulous Grilled Thyme & Lemon Marinated Chicken & Halloumi Skewers with Harissa Spiced Cauliflower Couscous

  
Tonight’s Lower Carb Dinner. Fabulous Grilled Thyme & Lemon Marinated Chicken & Halloumi Skewers with Harissa Spiced Cauliflower Couscous. Oh My Gosh Just 5 Propoints for all of this! (3 on F&H!) This is the first time I’ve tried Cauliflower Rice or Couscous & I won’t lie I was very sceptical of trying it, I dislike substitute food in general I like real food but made healthy but I have to throw my hands up & admit I was very impressed, it’s a keeper and I imagine a lifesaver for those days when your propoints just won’t stretch. Now I did season the shish out of it with harissa & lemon but the texture was all there & it was filling, I can not give testimony on how it tastes plain (I’d imagine rank but I probably stand to be corrected again!). The halloumi really really makes this dish but if you’re even more desperate than me before trying to fit into a lovely dress to attend a family wedding then you can double the chicken & omit the halloumi to make it free free free on the filling & healthy plan. Don’t say I’m not good to you! Anyway I’m rambling slightly so here it is in all its glory:  
For the Harissa Spiced Cauliflower Couscous:

1 Cauliflower 

1 to 2 tsp Harissa Paste (depending on how spicy you like food)

1 Lemon

1 Handful Soft Herbs (I used Basil)

Black Pepper (add salt if you wish, I’m avoiding it this week)

For the Lemon & Thyme Marinade:

Juice 1 Lemon

Juice 1 Lime

Black Pepper 

1/4 Tsp Dijon Mustard 

Handful Fresh Thyme Leaves

  
For the Grilled Chicken Halloumi Skewers:

1 Medium Chicken Fillet 

80g Halloumi Cheese 

Red Pepper 

Yellow Pepper

Red Onion

Courgette

Cherry Tomatoes 
Mix all the marinade ingredients well in a bowl together. Dice the chicken into largish chunks & toss into the bowl coating well. Cover, refrigerate & allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes or as long as you can spare on the day. Soak 4 wooden skewers in a large baking tray of water, this stops them from burning whilst cooking. Chop all the skewer vegetables except the courgette into equally sized medium chunks. Slice the courgette lengtwise with a vegetable peeler. Arrange the chicken, halloumi & veg chunks onto the soaked skewers & concertina the courgette into a fab shape before skewering onto 4 skewers. You should get approximately 3 medium chicken chunks & 2 medium halloumi chunks per skewer depending on the size you’ve cut them. Sprinkle over some more thyme & black pepper & set aside covered & refrigerated until ready to grill. Heat a large griddle pan & spray it with oil. Grill the skewers for 15 to 20 minutes turning occasionally or until the chicken is cooked & the halloumi is roasted (If you’re not familiar with halloumi you can grill this cheese it doesn’t melt & holds its shape) Meanwhile place the washed chopped cauliflower florets into a food processor (you may need to do this in batches) pulse until fine like couscous. Heat another pan & spray with oil. Gently fry the cauliflower cous cous for 5 to 8 minutes until heated through & add the harissa & the juice of a lemon (as much as desired to moisten & flavour the couscous, add half & if still a bit dry add more) Mix well over the heat for a few minutes & add the chopped basil just before serving. Plate up the couscous & top with two skewers per person, add a lemon quarter for garnish/squeezing over & Enjoy!