Healthy Chicken Lime, Chilli, Ginger, Garlic and Soy Stir Fry

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So it’s that time of year when you want to get healthy but you don’t want to be eating salads everyday just yet, it’s just not quite warm enough. Stir fry is the perfect solution, not only does it provide you with a great opportunity for mindfulness whilst chopping your vegetables, but it takes very little time to cook.

Now I know you can buy those lovely little packs of prepacked vegetables from the supermarket and they make the purchase all that more exciting by adding a free sauce to the mix, but there are a couple of reasons why this may not be your healthiest option. Did you know cutting vegetables increases the surface area where oxidation (contact with air) and nutrient loss can occur. Also, cutting a vegetable is “damaging” to the plant and some of the plant’s nutrients get used up in an attempt to repair the damage. These nutrients will then not be available to you anymore when you consume the plant. SO if you buy a prepackaged stir fry you may be eating vegetables that which are not as nutritious as you would want. 

As for those little packets of sauce provided so generously by your supermarket, just have a quick look at the ingredients, particularly the sugar content…not so healthy now hey!

So here is my simple recipe for Healthy Chicken Lime, Chilli, Ginger, Garlic and Soy Stir Fry

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1 inch fresh ginger, grated

3 cloves garlic, chopped

juice of half a lime

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

pinch of dried chilli flakes

2 small chicken breasts diced

 

 

Grate the ginger on the side of the grater that you would grate nutmeg, use a knife and ease all the juice and pulp into the bowl with the diced chicken.

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Chop garlic into really small fine pieces, add to chicken, add a pinch of dried chilli flakes, the soy sauce and squeeze over the lime juice, mix well and set to one side for about 20 minutes. This will give you a chance to chop your vegetables.

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Now with stir frys the key is to have lots of vegetables and lots of variety of vegetables, otherwise you will be bored when eating and starving about an hour after dinner.

Start by adding a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil to your wok and heat on a medium to high heat, add the chicken and keep moving it around the pan until it is almost cooked through.

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Add the vegetables and keep stirring, make sure you flip the bottom contents with the top regularly so you can ensure everything is piping hot and that the sauce mixes with the vegetables.

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Now I did buy fresh noodles from the supermarket and added these straight to the wok so they pick up the flavour of the chicken and the chicken. It will take a good 3-4 minutes with rapid tossing and turning to ensure they are cooked through.

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Once cooked through stir straight away. This is quick, healthy and moreish. Happy eating xx

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Homemade Vegetable Stock

2 Litres of Vegetable Stock

2 Large Onions

2 Large Carrots

4 Stalks of Celery

2 Large Clove of garlic or 6 Small Ones

1 tbsp vegetable oil

Coarsely grate all the vegetables and garlic (use the food processor if you can it will save you fingers)

Put oil in a large saucepan and gently sauté the grated ingredients, cover them and let sweat for about 5 minutes until they are soft

Then add 2 litres of boiling water, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer without the lid for 5 minutes.

Strain the stock and then it can be used immediately or frozen in smaller batches for use in soups, stews and gravies later.

 

 

Lentil and Squash Veggie Shepherds Pie

The trick to this recipe is the fine chopping so put on some good music and treat it as meditation/relaxation time as you chop and dice.

The base of this dish can be used for pies, pasties and just as a base for a shepherd’s pie with mash. As our days get cooler its nice to be able to have a warming and filling dish with multi purposes so we can decide what we feel like.

veggie shepherds pi

 

Lentil and Squash Filling

1 tbsp Olive Oil

1 small Onion finely chopped

1 Celery Stick finely chopped

1 Carrot finely chopped

1 Garlic Clove finely chopped

100g green or brown lentils

300ml Stock I use veg stock but you may want to use chicken if you are not a veggie

250g Butternut Squash 1 cm diced

1 Bay Leaf

2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar

2 tsp English Mustard

Salt and Pepper

Heat the olive oil in a pan,  add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and some salt and pepper. I always add the onion to the oil before it is properly hot that way you dot burn the onion  but slowly sauté it.

Cook gently for 15 minutes until all the veg is soft and glossy.

Add the lentils and stock. Season well and add the bay leaf. Give the pan a really good stir and cover, let it simmer for at least 10 minutes.

Add the squash and simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils and squash are tender, I tend to cook until you can squish the lentils between your fingers. If you think you have too much liquid in the pan take out a couple of spoonfuls of lentils mash them and add them back to the dish to thicken it.

Stir in the balsamic vinegar and mustard and decide if you want to add more seasoning.

You now have the base for shepherd’s pie, baked potato filling or make small pasties with some of the filling. Pasties are great as they can be frozen and taken to work to eat hot or cold.

So what do we eat in our family?

So I am going to try and be as comprehensive as I can with my list of family friendly recipes. Everything from cheese-less pizza to cakes, soups to main courses, all the things my family love to eat. Now some of these recipes hold another of my favourite tricks, how to get your family to eat their vegetables without noticing they are there…neat trick if you can pull it off and 9 times out of 10 I do. So I suppose recipe time it is, if there is a particularly good ingredient I think you can use that is dairy free I will let you know what it is and where you can buy it, that way you won’t have to do the legwork or eye straining that I have done. Interestingly enough when I asked my family what dishes they particularly like of mine they came up with the same things Beef Cobbler and Roast Chicken Dinner. Hhhhmmm, very helpful family. I think they are forgetting the biscuits they munch and the cakes they devour on a regular basis.

Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup

Alternative to carrot in this recipe is sweet potato, which my husband prefers as he finds carrots too sweet for his taste. You will need to grate the sweet potato. The soup o the right is Spiced Carrot the soup on the left is Leek and Potato

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Serves 4

Prep time 10 mins Cook time 15 mins

2 tsp cumin seeds

pinch chilli flakes

2 tbsp olive oil

600g carrots , washed and coarsely grated (no need to peel)

140g split red lentils

1l hot vegetable stock (from a cube is fine just check the ingredients have no hidden nasties)

Heat a large saucepan and dry-fry the cumin seeds and chilli flakes for 1 min, or until they start to jump around the pan and release their aromas. Scoop out about half of the seeds with a spoon and set aside. Add the oil, carrot, lentils, and stock to the pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 mins until the lentils have swollen and softened.

Whizz the soup with a stick blender or in a food processor until smooth (or leave it chunky if you prefer).

This soup is delicious served with

Garlic and Herb Flatbreads

Makes 4

175ml warm or tepid water

7g sachet of fast-action yeast

1 tsp brown sugar

A generous pinch of salt

200g plain flour

50g self raising flour

3-4 tbsp chopped herbs of your choice

1 clove of garlic, mashed

2 tbsp olive oil

In a bowl, mix together the water, sugar and yeast. Set this aside until frothy.

In a large bowl put the flours, herbs and salt and mix. Tip in the frothy water mixture and bring together at first with a spoon and then by hand. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.

Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover and put in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes.

Once the dough risen divide dough into four balls and gently roll them out into circles. Brush a little oil onto a thick stainless steel frying pan and cook each flatbread, one-by-one, over a medium heat. When the bread springs back when pressed it is ready for the garlic oil.

Mix together the garlic with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Let flat breads cool slightly and  brush them with the garlic and oil. Serve immediately.

Leek and Potato Soup

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, sliced

225g/8oz potatoes, cubed

2 medium leeks,sliced

1.2 litres/2 pints vegetable stock

salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onions, potatoes and leeks. Cook for 3-4 minutes until starting to soften.
  2. Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Season well and simmer until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Whizz with a hand blender or in a blender until smooth. Reheat in a clean pan, heat through and serve.