Low Carb Pesto Chicken

This is a very simple chicken dish prepared and cooked in under an hour so perfect for a week night dinner. Equally though so smooth and delicious you could serve up at a special meal. At 8 g net carbs, why not add to your low carb life.

I served mine tonight with some left over Celeriac Dauphinois but tomorrow I’m planning on serving with mashed butternut squash.

Low Carb Pesto Chicken

Chicken breasts in a cheesy cream and pesto sauce

Course Main Course
Cuisine British
Keyword Chicken, Low Carb, Pesto
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 portions
Calories 634 kcal

Ingredients

  • 100 gm Cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp Green pesto
  • 175 ml Double cream
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 30 gm Unsalted butter
  • 4 med Skinless chicken breasts cut each into 3 even pieces
  • 8 Cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 medium Leek sliced
  • 1/2 medium Cauliflower (or I used frozen equivalent) cut into smal pieces
  • 50 gm Grated Cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • Tin foil

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven on 180 degrees C or Gas 4

  2. Melt the butter in a thick bottom pan and add the chicken. Sear for 3 minutes on each side. Do not overcook you are just sealing the meat at this stage.

    Line the baking sheet with the sealed chicken.

  3. Evenly distribute the vegetables over the chicken.

  4. Whip the pesto into the cream cheese and then add the cream and lemon juice. Add a little salt and pepper.

    Pour evenly over the dish.

  5. Sprinkle over the grated cheese.

  6. Cover with tin foil and cook for 20 minutes, remove foil and cook for a further 10 minutes.

    Check chicken is fully cooked through before serving.

Nutrional Information

Calories 634, Fat 64 g, Net Carbs 8g, Protein 42 g

Minced Beef and Spiced Creamed Cabbage

Let’s have a look to see what I have to use up in the fridge…

Beef and cabbage casserole! Really, how will that work? Well top it with a creamy spicy sauce and I have to say, it’s delicious. Easy to prepare, into the oven for 30 minutes  and hey ho, there you go.

I actually used Greek Yoghurt instead of double cream, as I wanted to use ingredients I already had in my fridge. The problem with yoghurt is it curdles easily, as you can see from the photos! Adding cornflour can help (but if you’re counting the carbs, it’s 7 g per teaspoon!). Not heating too quickly and adding hot ingredients to the yoghurt slowly are all things to try to avoid the curdling. Of course providing your yoghurt is fresh and in date, then it is safe to eat. Mine was delicious.

Minced Beef and Spiced Creamy Cabbage

A simple baked beef and cabbage casserole.

Course Main Course
Cuisine British
Keyword Beef, Cabbage
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 3
Calories 665 kcal
Author SharonBye

Ingredients

  • 200 gm Minced Beef
  • 60 gm Butter
  • 1 Medium Onion, sliced
  • 2 tsp All spice or a flavour you fancy. Could try Cajun or herbs
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning to taste
  • Half Chinese cabbage shredded
  • 400 ml Double cream
  • 50 gm Grated hard cheese
  • 250 ml Water
  • 1 tsp Xanthan Gum (thickening agent)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven on 180 degrees C or gas 4

  2. In a large microwaveable bowl, place the shredded cabbage, slice a third of the butter on top, season well with salt and cover. Cook in the microwave for 8 minutes, stirring half way through.

  3. Meanwhile, melt another third of the butter (half of the remaining) in a large frying pan, and sauté the onions without colouring. Add the beef and 1 teaspoon of allspice. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring as required.

  4. Once cabbage has finished, place half in a large casserole dish, cover with the mince and finish with the rest of the cabbage.

  5. Melt the rest of the butter in the frying pan, beat in the cream, water, xanthan gum and rest of spice. Taste and season as required. Pour over the cabbage. Sprinkle cheese over top.

  6. Cover and place in the oven for 20 minutes; uncover and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Nutrients. Calories 665, Fat 66 g, Protein 12 g, Net carbs 9 g

Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Dhal

This recipe is for my dear friends Karen and Colin. Colin tries out my vegetarian recipes and gives me feedback on any twists he has added. When I stumbled across this recipe I thought they’re going to love this. I bet they make it spicier than me, but then I cannot eat food that’s too spicy hot.

The recipe below is very mellow, if you want spicier you could use a hot curry powder or some fresh chillies. I have used a low fat coconut milk which worked perfectly, but of course you can choose to use regular if that’s what you prefer or have in the cupboard.

In my recipe I have added a bag of spinach, but you could easily use frozen spinach. Be sure to defrost it first.

Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Dhal

A mild vegetable red lentil dhal

Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings 5 Portions
Calories 397 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 3 medium Onions - chopped
  • 3 medium Sweet potatoes - cut 2 cm squares
  • 1 medium Butternut squash - cut 2 cm squares
  • 4 Tomatoes - chopped
  • 1 tin Chopped tomatoes
  • 225 gm Red lentils
  • 1 tin Low fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp Curry powder of choice
  • 1 tbsp Chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Garam masala
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • Pinch Pepper
  • 300 ml Water
  • 180 gm Spinach

Instructions

  1. Turn slow cooker on high.

  2. Add oil and onions and stir.

  3. Prepare ingredients in the order of the ingredient list and apart from the water and spinach, add to slow cooker, mixing in as you go. Thoroughly mix and leave to cook for 4 hours.

  4. Half an hour before serving, add the spinach and some water if the consistency feels a little too dry.

  5. Serve with plain boiled rice.

Recipe Notes

If you want to leave this to cook longer then cook for 8 hours on low heat.

Nutrients

Calories 397, Fat 8.7 g, Carbs 64 g,  Fibre 25 g, Protein 19 g

Quick Homemade Sweet Scones


Last week I had a new oven instaled in my kitchen, so I have been busy testing it over the weekend. My first successful test was when I cooked my Fruit Scones.  If you have cooked scones before you will know that they do not always rise straight upwards, but often can “fall” sideways. Of course this does not change the flavour but when baking for guests, it is nice to have them straight (ish).  My new oven certainly has achieved this.

I have used the same scone recipe for years, and rarely do I have a disaster; whether they lean over or not. I never replace butter for a vegetable fat. If you do, maybe drop me a note to let me know how it goes.

Quick Homemade Sweet Scones

Traditional English Scone recipe

Course Cakes
Cuisine British
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 12 scones

Ingredients

  • 100 gm Unsalted butter softened slightly
  • 450 gm Self raising flour
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 50 gm Caster or granulated sugar
  • 2 medium Eggs
  • 200 ml Milk
  • 50 gm Sultanas Optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven 200 C or Gas 6. Grease or line 2 baking trays with parchment paper or silicone.

  2. Cut the butter into small pieces and place in the bowl. Soften before adding the flour.

  3. Add the flour, baking powder and sugar and rub the butter into the dry ingredients. You do this by rubbing the butter through the flour with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Do not rush or leave big lumps of fat.

  4. Break the eggs into a measuring jug and beat lightly with a fork and then add the milk to make the amount of liquid 300 ml.

  5. Add some of the egg mixture into the dry mix and stir throughthe mixture. Gradually add the liquid and mix together until you have a slightly sticky dough. You will probably not need all the liquid for this stage.

  6. Lightly flour your work surface and turn the scone dough onto it and knead very slightly, adding in the sultanas as you lightly turn the dough. Do not overwork.

  7. Roll dough to about 2 cm think, cut using a pastry cutter and place on the baking tray. Brush with a little of the left over egg/milk mix. If you have none left then a little milk will suffice.

  8. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until well risen and a pale golden brown colour. To check they are cooked, tap the bottom and they should sound hollow.

  9. Serve with butter and jam or for a treat, clotted cream and jam.

Recipe Notes

Scones freeze very easily and can then be defrosted at room temperature and refreshed in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

Basic Quick Victoria Sponge

Okay so first of all, I will not be winning any baking awards with my Victoria Sponge; however I am sharing this very basic of basic recipes as it is quick and easy to make. The taste is as a Victoria sponge should be.  The sponge may not be quite so light and fluffy as when you introduce the ingredients individually, but it is still homemade and yummy!

This is of course the most basic of sponge mixes and you probably even made them at school. Sometimes it is good to get back to the basics. I am old enough to have used imperial weights and measures. A sponge mix was easy to remember as all the ingredients were double the egg amount.  eg. 3 eggs, 6 oz sugar, flour and margerine (or butter).  It was only very recently I found out that 1 egg = around 50 gm; therefore for every egg, you use 50gm of all the other ingredients and 50 gms is roughly 2 oz. There, a useless fact for you!

I have used strawberry jam in my “sandwich”; however choose whichever jam you prefer.

Basic Quick Victoria Sponge

The most basic vanilla sponge mix.

Course Cakes, Snack
Cuisine British
Keyword Sponge
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 portions
Calories 408 kcal

Ingredients

Sponge

  • 3 medium Eggs
  • 150 gm Soft Margarine
  • 150 gm Self raising flour
  • 150 gm Caster sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla essence

Icing

  • 50 gm Soft Margarine
  • 100 gm Icing sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla essence

Other

  • 2 - 3 tbsp Jam of choice

Instructions

Sponge

  1. Pre-heat oven on 150 fan, 4 Gas

  2. Line the cake tin with greasproof paper (if not using silicon trays).

  3. Place all the sponge ingredients in a large bowl and whisk for several minutes until all the ingredients are combined and lighten in colour and appear smooth.

  4. Divide the mixture evenly between the cake tins and bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes.

  5. Check they are cooked by inserting a skewer or knife into the sponge and if cooked it should come out clean.

  6. Cool on a cooling rack.

Butter Icing

  1. Place all the icing ingredients in a bowl and whisky until light and smooth.

Construction

  1. Once the sponge is completely cool, spread jam on the bottom side of one sponge.

  2. Then on the bottom of the other sponge spread the butter icing.

  3. Sandwich them together. Voila!

Spicy Creamed Parsnip Soup

Another soup. Well yes but I whipped this up for my lunch today to have with the Olive Bread I made (cheating in my bread maker). It was so delicious I simply had to share. Similar to my recipe for Curried Butternut Squash Soup.     

However this recipe uses milk as well as stock, which obviously makes the soup much more creamy. I used skimmed milk; however I think almond milk would work wonderfully too.

Unlike the curried soup which has a chilli pepper added into the base flavour; I popped in chilli powder when I added the stock.

Spicy Creamed Parsnip Soup

A warming spicy soup

Course Soup
Cuisine British
Keyword homemade soup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 portions
Calories 259 kcal
Author SharonBye

Ingredients

  • 25 gm Unsalted butter could use half oil/half butter
  • 1 medium Onion Roughly chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic Chopped
  • 1 inch Grated fresh ginger or ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala
  • 3 large Parsnips peeled, cored and cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 400 ml Milk your choice
  • 600 ml Vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp Mild red chilli pepper powder
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter and add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook for 5 minutes without browning until soft. Add a little water if it dries out, or a little more butter but this will affect the calorie count.

  2. Add the garam masala and cook for a further 2 minutes.

  3. Add the parsnips and coat in the flavours.

  4. Add the milk, stock, chilli powder and season slightly with salt and pepper.

  5. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the parsnips are soft. Let this cool slightly.

  6. Blend with either a hand blender or in a food processor being careful it is not too hot.

  7. Adjust the seasoning. Serve with some nice fresh bread.

Recipe Notes

When blending hot liquids, take care. If using a food proccessor, the steam can build up and pop the lid off and you could end up with soup on your ceiling! Ideally let the mixture cool, otherwise, only fill the jug half way, place a towel over the lid and hold it down tight. Use on the slowest speed.

Nutrients per portion

Calories 259, Fat 6.3 g, Carbs 46.7 g (36 net), Protien 6.5 g.

Huntsman Barbecue Chicken

Huntsman Chicken, what’s not to like?  Chicken and bacon baked in a homemade barbecue sauce topped with cheese.  Delightful!

The recipe below will give lower fat version; however if you wish you can replace spray oil with olive oil to cook the onions and sugar instead of sweetener to give the sauce its sweet and sour taste.

Served with oven cooked chips or saute potatoes and vegetables or salad of your choice.

Huntsman Chicken

Recipe uses a homemade barbecue sauce to use as a marinade or as an accompaniment to your BBQ food. Perfect for Huntsman Chicken

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 people
Calories 321 kcal
Author SharonBye

Ingredients

BBQ Sauce

  • Spray oil
  • 1 medium Onion - finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Tomato puree
  • 1/2 tsp Chilli powder
  • 2 cloves Garlic - finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Fennel seeds - lightly crushed
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 can Chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Sweetener
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 4 tbsp Water

Rest of ingredients

  • 4 Chicken breasts
  • 8 Smoked bacon medalions
  • 40 gm Low fat cheddar cheese this is the healthy a allowance for slimming world

Instructions

BBQ Sauce

  1. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat a little spray oil plus a little water and add the onions. Cook for a couple of minutes and add the tomato puree and the spices and simmer for another 2 minutes.

  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix everything together, bring to the boil and cook for about 10 minutes.

  3. Cool down slightly before blitzing in a food processor. Leave to one side.

  4. Pre-heat oven to 170, Gas 4.

  5. In a frying pan, spray oil and seal the chicken on all sides for a couple of minutes each side. Lay in a casserole dish.

  6. Cover the chicken with the bacon medalions and then pour the barbecue sauce over each parcel. Sprinkle with cheese.

  7. Cook for 25 minutes. Check chicken is cooked fully before serving.

Nutrients per portion

Calories 321, Fat 7.5 g, Carbs 7.5 g, Protein 51 g

Mediterranean Fish Stew

In an attempt to vary my weekly menu and to keep my January diet on track, today I made a Mediterranean Fish Stew. It was delicious and so I am going to share it with you.

All the herbs and spices are ones generally in our cupboards. Some of the ingredients in this recipe replace others in the originally recipe.  For example the original recipe uses Saffron threads, but I used turmeric and lemon instead. Not as flowery as Saffron, but an enjoyable end result.  To make this recipe more accessable for everyday cooking, I have used dried Italian herbs in place of freshly chopped parsley and dill.

As I am cooking this to be low fat as part of a low fat diet, I cooked the fish and onions in one cal spray oil and a little water as opposed to olive oil. Of course if you are on a low carb diet, you could use olive oil in the fry pan.

Mediterranean Fish Stew

A herby tomato based white fish stew

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword Fish Stew
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 3 portions
Calories 258 kcal
Author SharonBye

Ingredients

  • One cal oil or Olive oil
  • 500 gm White fish, skinned cut into 3 cm pieces
  • 1 medium Onion Chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic Chopped or crushed
  • 400 gm Chopped tomatoes
  • 12 Chopped black olives
  • 2 tbsp Flaked almonds roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 Lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Italian dried herbs
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven on 170 degrees or Gas 4.

  2. Heat the frying pan with the one cal spray and a drop of water (3 tablespoons).

  3. Cook the fish in 2 batches for just 30 seconds on each side to seal. Place in the casserole dish.

  4. Add some more one cal spray and water to the pan and add the onions and cook without colouring for 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.

  5. Add the chopped tomatoes, turmeric, lemon and Italian herbs and cook for 5 minutes.

  6. Stir in the almonds and the chopped olives and add to the fish in the casserole dish.

  7. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes and serve with new potatoes and a vegetable or salad of your choice.

Nutrients per portion

Calories 258,  Fat 7.5 g,  Carbs 6.4 g  (5 net),  Protein 34 g

Everyday 14 day diet plan

Something different today.

Before you read or use this post, please be aware, I am not a trained dietician or nutritionalist.  I am just excited to share with you how I have lost 7lbs in weight since starting my New Year diet. This equals a 4cm (1.5 inch) loss around my waist.

I am drinking plenty of water.  Alcohol and fizzy drinks are currently off the menu.  As I would struggle without coffee I am using skimmed milk. Skimmed milk is not my normal choice of milk but I am trying to achieve losing near a stone by the end of January. Some sacfrices are worth it.

In the past I have attended all manner of slimming groups and indeed I began blogging due to being on a Low-Carb diet and seeing the opportunity to share recipes. Low Carb was much more of a complete life style change than a particular diet. There were times when I struggled to stay on track with that lifestyle. More recently I attended Slimming World, which is where I found more comfort with food choices for me on a daily basis. Personally I think whichever you choose is about making some lifestyle changes.  Alas maintaining those tends to be my downfall!

I have included what I think the Syns are for each dish (Slimming World term); however if this is important to you, please work this  out for yourself as I do not have a calculator for SW.

You will see that I repeat my meals, this is purely due to the fact that I live alone but generally cook enough for 3 or 4 portions. In the menu below however, you will find 6 main courses published to help give you enough variety for one week. In the next few days I will be putting together a second fortnight to share with you. I do hope this is helpful and would love to hear from you.

Click on this link to open Fortnight One Diet Sample Menu

I exercise daily which is generally in the form of walking. I enjoy walking and so will walk for a couple of hours at least and walk for around 6 miles on average. If I do not manage to get out to walk then I will exercise at home using low impact You Tube videos. Generally exercising for 30 minutes to an hour.

 

Smooth Butter Chicken Curry

 

As I am sure by now, if you regularly visit my recipe blog, you will see I like a curry. Of course my favourites may not necessarily be the most health conscious choice whilst dieting! However do give this gorgeously smooth butter Chicken curry a whirl sometime.

This is a meal I made a while back and had not got around to publishing yet, but I am so keen to share  it with you, as it is absolutely delicious. As with all recipes I produce for you;  it is important to me to cook, photograph the dish and taste before I share. If I don’t like the look or taste of a dish, it will never appear on here.

Indian Butter Chicken is a very easy to eat mild curry but with a  creamy butter sauce. You will need to let the chicken marinade in a spicy yoghurt sauce, for at least an hour but overnight preferably.

To make this recipe healthier, you can do so by adding fat free plain greek yoghurt instead of double cream, but just be sure not to heat it up too quickly as it may curdle. You could cut down on the olive oil and butter, but of course this is the essence of the dish so the result will be marred. I may try it some time and let you know the results.

For a slightly more euthentic taste, add fenu greek in place of the teaspoon of dijon mustard; however I find fenu greek  loses it’s flavour quicker than I can use it, hence the replacement element of mustard.

I serve with boiled basmati rice and spinach. For a lower carb meal (the curry is only 9 net carbs portion), you could serve with cauliflower rice.

Butter Chicken Curry

A mild creamy, buttery flavoured curry recipe

Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Chicken, creamy,, mild curry
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 527 kcal
Author SharonBye

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 1 kg Diced skinless chicken meat breast or thighs
  • 3 tbsp Plain greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala, Turmeric, Ginger paste and salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin, Coriander and Mild chilli powder
  • 2 cloves Chopped or minced garlic

Butter Sauce

  • 30 gm Butter
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 medium Finely chopped white onion
  • 1 inch Grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp Ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Cumin and Garam masala
  • 400 gm Tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp White sugar
  • 200 ml Double cream
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Instructions

Marinade

  1. In a large bowl place all the marinade ingredients and stir to fully coat the chicken. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight.

Butter Sauce

  1. In a large saucepan heat the butter and oil and once hot, cook the chicken cubes in batches. Do not cook too much at once, maybe in 4 batches; cook for about 3 minutes on each side and browned. Leave to one side until sauce is finished. Do not clean the saucepan.

  2. Add a small amount of water (2 tablespoons) or oil into the saucepan and add the onions. Mix in the residue from the chicken and add the lid and sweat the onions without colouring for about 5 minutes.

  3. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, then add the coriander, cumin and garam masala.Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

  4. Stir in the tomatoes, chilli powder and salt and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.

  5. Blend the ingredients with hand blender or food processor until smooth. Add the cream, dijon mustard and sugar and blend into the sauce.

  6. Return the sauce to a saucepan and add the chicken to the smooth sauce. Cook for 10 minutes for the chicken to absorb flavours and to complete cooking.

  7. Serve with simply boiled Basmati Rice.

Nutrients per portion as per recipe

Calories 527, Fat 28g, Net carbs 9g, Protein 55g