Creamy & Light Chicken, Bacon & Pea Orzo

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If you follow me on Instagram you will know this was in fact last night’s dinner, we’re having steak tonight, but this turned out so utterly delicious I decided to pop the recipe up for you all. My full intention was to make one of the many healthy risotto recipes I already have up on my blog but alas when I opened the press I had very little Arborio rice left but I did have a full packet of Orzo pasta so I had to think quick on my feet and with a few google searches later, an amalgamation of and tweak of several previous recipes and I had formulated my very own recipe using the ingredients I had available to me in the fridge. I cannot recommend this one highly enough, regardless of the fact it was thrown together rather haphazardly, it actually turned out to be the tastiest and best thing I have made in quite a little while (as is often the case) and that’s saying a lot because in my humble opinion my recipes are pretty darn tasty to begin with if I do say so myself. It isn’t unlike a risotto in texture and consistency so if you’re a huge risotto fan like me you will just adore this little spin on it. Continue reading

Cheats Healthy Creamy Chicken & Bacon Carbonara

You might have noticed the recurring theme this week is quick, easy and healthy. It has been one of those weeks it really has! But don’t worry we all have those kinds of weeks & I’ve got you covered with quick & easy tasty meals to make your life a little simpler if you’re having a hectic week too. Tonight’s dinner honestly couldn’t be more easy to throw together in a hurry. This serves 1 person at 11 Smartpoints (2sp no count) or Macros 573cal, P79, C45, F8. Continue reading

Creamy Hungarian Pork Paprikash with Wholegrain Basmati Rice

  

This simple delicious Hungarian recipe uses only a few key ingredients to create a flavourful and comforting dish with the spicy warmth of paprika accentuating the tender pork fillet, caramelised onions and sweet bell peppers. This is accompanied by a generous side of fluffy basmati rice to soak up the beautifully creamy flavour filled sauce although I have served it with pasta and it’s equally as gorgeous. This beautiful compilation will keep the chill out on these cool January nights. This serves 4 people at 13 Smartpoints per serving (paprikash 7sp, Rice 6sp – It will be 4 Smartpoints in total for a serving including both the paprikash and rice if following the No Count Plan, but could be lowered to 0 Smartpoints if you use Low Fat Natural or Greek yogurt in place of Crème Fraiche).   

400g Lean Pork Fillet Diced

1 Large White Onion Sliced

200g Mushrooms Sliced

1 Red Bell Pepper Sliced

1 Yellow Bell Pepper Sliced

1 Clove Garlic Minced

1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika

¼ Tsp Dried Cumin

1 Tbsp Tomato Purée

1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

200ml Chicken Stock

100g Crème Fraiche

Salt & Black Pepper

A Handful of Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley

240g Dried Weight Wholegrain Basmati Rice  

Prepare the rice according to the packet instructions. Take the crème fraiche from the fridge & measure it into a bowl which will allow it to come up a bit closer to room temperature for a while before using to avoid it splitting the sauce, place the remaining crème fraiche back in the fridge. Meanwhile heat a large frying pan over a medium heat & spray with spray oil. Fry the pork fillet pieces until sealed on both sides & cooked through approximately 8 minutes. Remove the pork & set aside in a bowl. Re spray the pan with spray oil & add the onion, peppers & mushrooms and sauté until softened about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 30 seconds to a minute. Add the pork back to the pan with the peppers, onions and mushrooms and sprinkle over the paprika and cumin, continue to cook for 30 seconds to a minute. Season with salt & pepper and add the chicken stock, tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce, mix well. Cover with a lid & simmer over a medium heat for about 5 minutes or so. Remove the lid & continue to cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the stock has reduced down to a more sauce like consistency. Remove the pan from the heat & gently stir through the crème fraiche, sprinkle with the torn fresh parsley leaves and serve immediately with the rice and enjoy!  

Juicy Plump Sun-Dried Tomato & Soft Buffalo Mozzarella Linguine with Sweet Fresh Basil & Cream Sauce

  
Happy World Pasta Day! The perfect excuse to whip up one of my favourite pasta dishes, not that I ever need an excuse to have pasta, I absolutely adore the stuff and would eat it every day if I could get away with it! I love linguine it’s flatter than spaghetti and holds a creamy sauce much better. This gorgeous recipe features juicy plump sun-dried tomatoes and creamy mozzarella with basil and a real fresh cream sauce, yes cream, light cream but cream nonetheless! This is filling, comforting and remarkably healthy at just 10 propoints per serving (if you use wholewheat spaghetti instead you can have it for 5 propoints on filling and healthy). Here’s the skinny:  
184g (cooked weight) of linguine

50g sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil

35g light mozzarella

1/2 a red onion diced

1 clove garlic

30ml light cream

Fresh basil leaves

A small sprinkle of chilli flakes

Salt and black pepper

  
Cook the pasta according to packet instructions in boiling salted water. Rinse the oil off the sun-dried tomatoes if desired and chop into small bite-size pieces. Spray a medium saucepan with oil and fry the onion for approximately five minutes until soft. Crush in the garlic clove and cook for further 30 seconds. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and heat through for one minute.   Add the cream and chilli flakes and season with salt and pepper. Loosen the creamy sauce with a couple of tablespoons of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta and stir into the sauce mixing well. Tear in the fresh basil leaves and stir through the mozzarella torn into chunks and serve immediately. Enjoy!  

Simple, Filling Potato & Leek Soup

 
Soup is my ultimate go to lunch, it is the best filling meal by miles for very little points indeed. Variety is key when it comes to soups as if you eat the same one constantly you are going to get very bored of it very quickly. This particular soup is especially filling due to the potatoes. A perfect lunchtime stop gap to erase the hunger pangs and it’s lunch sorted for several days in one go! Happy days! This makes 4 to 5 servings at 2 propoints (it’s free on filling & healthy). Here’s the skinny.  
400 g potatoes peeled and cubed

2 leeks sliced and washed

1 onion finely diced 

1 clove garlic

1 chicken stock cube

1 1/2 pints of boiling water

142mls skimmed milk

2 bay leaves

Fresh thyme 

Salt and pepper  Fry the onion & leeks in a saucepan sprayed with oil over a medium heat for approximately five minutes until softening. Add the crushed garlic and continue to fry for 30 seconds. Add everything else except the milk to the pot, season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves. Blend with a hand blender and pour in the milk stirring well. Return to the heat, if serving immediately, for a couple of seconds to gently heat through the milk. This will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3/4 days, it is also suitable for freezing. Enjoy!  

Comforting Bacon Leek and Chicken Pie

  
Does comfort food get any better than pie! I fancied pie for Sunday dinner and that’s exactly what I had. Pie doesn’t have to be calorie laden, you can skinny it up and still enjoy it on plan. I didn’t even make the pastry I bought light ready rolled pastry. Who has time to make pastry, am I right? This fabulous version has a gorgeous home-made mustard and parsley sauce infused with onion, bay leaves & peppercorns. It can be yours for just 11 pro points (or 6 on filling and healthy) how good is that! I served mine with mashed carrots and steamed greens. This makes 4 very generous portions. I won’t lie there are a few steps to this one & it takes a little time but it is so totally worth it!  

400g Chicken fillet diced

4 Bacon Medallions chopped into small lardons

2 Medium Leeks Sliced (discard the very hard bit at the top of the leaves)

200g Jus Roll Ready Made Light Pastry

1 Egg Yolk

For the Sauce:

1 Pint of Skimmed Milk

½ an Onion

2/3 Bay Leaves

Black Peppercorns

½ Tsp Dijon Mustard

30g Flour

30g Low Fat Butter (I use Connacht Gold)

Fresh Parsley  

Place the milk in a medium saucepan over a medium heat, add in the onion half sliced in two, some black peppercorns & the bay leaves and bring to a gentle simmer. Add in the diced chicken & poach the chicken gently in the milk for about 10 minutes until fully cooked through. Remove the chicken to a bowl with a slotted spoon & strain the milk into a jug through a sieve to remove the onion, peppercorns & bay leaves. Cover the milk with cling film so it doesn’t form a skin & set aside. Meanwhile fry the leeks in a large frying pan sprayed with oil for about 5 minutes until soft. Remove from the pan & fry the bacon pieces for about 5 minutes until cooked through & add the chicken & leeks back in, season with salt & black pepper & take off the heat. To make the sauce melt the butter over a low heat & add the flour, stir until the mixture forms a smooth paste, cook for 2 minutes to remove any floury taste & very gradually stir the milk in a little at a time whisking continually to avoid any lumps. Keep whisking until the sauce eventually thickens (this does take quite a while same as packet sauces so don’t lose heart it will thicken. Mix the mustard & chopped parsley into the sauce. Set the sauce aside to cool & cover with film so it doesn’t form a skin. When cool pour the sauce over the leek, chicken & bacon mixture. Turn out into an ovenproof dish. Whisk the egg yolk in a cup & brush onto the edge of the dish so the pastry sticks. Carefully roll the pastry out a tiny bit with a rolling pin so it’s just big enough to cover the pie dish with a small edge. Don’t roll it too hard or it will stick to your table! Carefully lift it up & cover the pie filling crimping the edges around the edge of the pie dish. Brush the remaining egg yolk evenly over the pastry so it goes beautifully brown when baked. Cut a small incision in the middle of the pie to allow steam to escape whilst it’s cooking & place in a preheated oven at 200c for 40 minutes. If your oven is a slight bit uneven as mine is turn the pie halfway through the cooking time to ensure it browns evenly. Slice into 4 large portions & serve with vegetables of your choice, I served mine with mashed carrots & tender stem broccoli & enjoy!  

Creamy Spicy Cajun Chicken Tagliatelle

  

You know one of those days when you open the fridge stare blankly inside, close it & repeat the process about 3 more times? Well that was me today. I had a small bit of chicken left over from the chicken coconut curry I made last night 
& was wondering what the heck I was going to make with it. Well this is what the heck I made with it! How would you like to try this gorgeous mountain of food for just 10 propoints? (1 on F&H if you use brown pasta) Yummy! Serves 1. I hope your Sunday is great x 100g Diced Chicken Fillet

60g Dried Weight Tagliatelle 

1 Small Red Onion Diced

1 Small Red & Yellow Pepper Diced

1 Clove of Garlic

65g Philadelphia Lightest Cream Cheese

2 Tsps Cajun Seasoning (I used my own blend you can find it under my Jambalaya recipe or use shop bought)

Fresh Basil

Salt & Black Pepper   Prepare the pasta as per packet instructions. Place the diced chicken in a bowl & coat well with the Cajun seasoning. Heat a medium saucepan and spray with oil. Sauté the onion and peppers for approximately five minutes until soft. Add the chicken and cook for a further 5 to 8 minutes until fully cooked. Crush in a clove of garlic and cook for a further minute. Season with salt and black pepper. Add in the Philadelphia and a small amount of pasta cooking water and stir well until the Philadelphia is melted into a sauce. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce stirring well until fully coated. Tear in some fresh basil leaves and serve immediately. Enjoy!  

Simple Super Healthy Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Dip

 
I love dips, they’re just perfect for nibbles whilst you’re thoroughly engrossed in a weekend movie & a must if you’re entertaining company. This one is simple & tasty with a wide variety of choices you can prepare to use for dipping. There’s a beautiful depth of flavour that comes from roasting peppers & a lovely undertone of roasted garlic & shallots will have you going back for more & more of this gorgeous dip but that’s ok because it serves 4 & is a big fat zero pro points per serving & just 2pp for the whole bowl. A healthy & guilt free weekend treat!   
4 Large Red Bell Peppers

1 or 2 Cloves of Garlic

2 Shallots

100g Quark

Salt & Black Pepper 

A Selection of Raw Veggies

Crackers/Naan/Pitta Breads/Tortilla Chips for dipping (you will need to add points for your chosen quantity of these).  

Preheat your oven to 250c. Wash & dry the peppers. Peel the outer skin from the shallots. Leave the garlic cloves in their skin. Line a baking tray with tinfoil & lay the whole peppers, shallots & garlic (in the skins) on top. Bake for approximately 30 minutes until the peppers are starting to char black in places & the skin goes wrinkly. Remove the baking tray from the oven, cover the whole lot with tinfoil & leave to cool. Remove the stalks from the peppers & deseed. Peel the peppers & place in a food processor with the shallots and some of the juice that the peppers have released. Cut the end off the garlic & squeeze the softened garlic out into the food processor. Add the quark & season with salt & pepper. Blitz until smooth & place in a bowl. Chill for a couple of hours before serving. Serve with your choice of raw crudités (carrots, cucumber & peppers are good choices) or Crackers/Naan/Pitta Breads/Tortilla Chips for dipping (you will need to point your chosen quantity of these). This will last 3/4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. It’s very versatile you can use it to serve with chicken or fish as well as a dip. 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!