The beauty of this dish is that it’s all cooked in one-pot so you have minimal washing up to do. It’s super tasty as well. Protein, carbohydrate and vegetables are all combined to make this a complete meal. Make it as spicy as you like. Vary the vegetables. Make it your own.
4 boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into chunks
4 tsp curry paste (choose your favourite)
4 handfuls basmati rice
400ml chicken stock
frozen mixed vegetables
frozen leaf spinach
Heat the oil in a frying pan, then cook the onion for 5-6 mins until softened.
Add the chicken pieces, cook for a further couple of mins just to colour the outside, then stir in curry paste and rice. Cook for another minute.
Pour in most of the chicken stock and throw in any larger bits of frozen veg. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, then cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 10 mins, adding more stock if needed.
Stir in the remaining veg. Scatter over the spinach, cover, then cook for 10 mins more until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is tender.
Give everything a good stir, season to taste.
Salmon and Brown rice salad
This dish could be whipped up really quickly if you use a pouch of easy cook rice and ready cooked salmon fillets. The chilli adds a real zing to this salad. Leave the seeds in the chilli if you like hot food otherwise take the seeds out. Just be careful not to touch your eyes after handling raw chillis as they contain an oil that can burn. The heat of chillis is measured on the Scoville Scale with ordinary peppers measuring 0 and the Trinidad Scorpion "Butch T" over 1 1/2 million! Not one for the faint hearted! I think I’ll stick to the ordinary ones you get at the supermarket.
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped, deseeded if you like
2 tsp light soy sauce
Cook the rice following pack instructions and 3 mins before it’s done, add the soya beans. Drain and cool under cold running water.
Meanwhile, put the salmon on a plate, then microwave on High for 3 mins or until cooked through. Allow to cool slightly, remove the skin with a fork, then flake.
Gently fold the cucumber, spring onions, coriander and salmon into the rice and beans. In a separate bowl, mix the lime zest and juice, chilli and soy, then pour over the rice before serving.
In case you hadn’t noticed I use lentils quite a lot in cooking and in this recipe they are simmered until they are velvety soft and make a fantastic, relatively cheap sauce. This amount of sauce would do for two meals for two people so you could freeze any leftovers or serve it one day with pasta and another with jacket potatoes.
In a large pot heat the olive oil and cook the onion, carrot and celery on medium heat until soft and fragrant. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook for another two minutes.
Then add mushrooms, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, oregano, Worcestershire sauce and lentils. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
Fill another pot with plenty of water and bring to the boil. Add salt to the water and then add spaghetti ensuring that it doesn't stick together. Cook until al dente and then drain but do not rinse.
By then the sauce should be ready-add some salt and pepper and taste it first. Once it is seasoned, stir the sauce through the spaghetti and serve with grated parmesan cheese.
Mexican bean burger
These burgers are packed with flavour. The mix is very versatile and can be made into “meatballs” and served with a tomato sauce and rice/pasta. They also freeze really well so why not make double the quantity.
Pulses are a great source of protein, zinc, iron and folic acid. They also contain soluble fibre and this is boosted in this recipe by adding oats to the mix. Soluble fibre is often more gentle on the bowel than insoluble fibre and may be helpful to relieve constipation, common during recovery, along with fluids and fats (eg olive oil, avocados, oily fish).
burger buns, guacamole, tomato salsa, sour cream to serve
Grate the onion into a large bowl.
Add the garlic, Cajun spice and the beans. Roughly mash leaving some beans whole.
Add the oats, coriander and salt and pepper then mix to combine. Add enough egg to bind together.
Wet your hands lightly, then shape the mixture into 2 large patties. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up
Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add the burgers and cook for 3–4 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
Serve in toasted buns topped with guacamole, salsa and sour cream.
Spanish chicken bake
This is a hairy bikers recipe. I love their no nonsense cooking and this is one such recipe. Throw everything in a roasting tin and let it get on with it. The chorizo adds a great smoky, spicy flavor typical of Spanish cooking, it’s a real favourite in our family.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6.Put the onions, potatoes, garlic and tomatoes in a large roasting tin and season with sea salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Toss everything together lightly and roast for 20 minutes.
While the vegetables are roasting, skin the chorizo and cut the meat into thin slices. Put the chicken thighs on a board and carefully slash each one 2 or 3 times with a knife. Season all over with black pepper. Mix the paprika and oregano together and set aside.
Take the roasting tin out of the oven, scatter the chorizo over the veg and turn everything a couple of times. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and chorizo and sprinkle with the paprika and oregano. Season with a little salt and return to the oven for 20 minutes.
Take the tin out of the oven. Holding one corner carefully with an oven cloth, lift the tin a little so all the juices run to the opposite end, then spoon and drizzle the juices back over the chicken. Tuck the pepper strips loosely around the chicken and vegetables.
Turn the oven up to 220°C/Fan 200°C/Gas 7. Put the tin back in the oven for another 20 minutes or until the peppers are just softened and the chicken is golden and crisp. Squeeze the garlic out of the skins using the back of a spoon and mix into the veg.