Reidbury's Kitchen

Food thoughts, recipes and billowing smoke from a home cook's kitchen in London


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Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore, Weight Watchers

Chicken Cacciatore, Weight Watchers

So now I’m back from holidays I can track back through my previous recipes and work out what I’ve cooked! It did make me realise how much I rely on this blog to jog my memory on dishes I’ve cooked!

Keeping on track with Weight Watchers whilst I was in Spain proved very difficult, but here’s a recipe I cooked before I went – when I had got into a nice, smug point-counting routine! A very oddly titled Chicken Cacciatore – oddly titled because this is actually a spicy chicken pasta dish and I only realised that after committing myself to trying it. I’m actually really glad I tried it as, on paper, it’s not something I’d ordinarily go for. The full recipe is here

The picture on the website made this look really watery, but actually my version was like a rich tomato pasta sauce, and I packed it with chilli flakes to give it some welly. It turns out that if you’re on a diet it makes sense to whack chilli in everything – very healthy, very low calorie and peps up the flavour in any dish! Overall, a good ‘home from work’ supper.

KB rating 7/10. PR rating 8.5/10. Weight Watchers Pro Points – 8 per serving.

Chicken Cacciatore (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 225g pasta
  • 5 sprays of calorie controlled cooking spray
  • 2 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
  • Half a medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 medium pepper (ideally green), diced
  • 125g mushrooms, sliced
  • 450g chicken breast, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1.5 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • Half teaspoon of salt
  • Quarter teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 x 400g chopped tomatoes
  • (And optional, but I recommend – chilli flakes to taste)

Method:

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and cover with foil to keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat low fat cooking spray in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, pepper, and mushrooms and sauté for 4 minutes until vegetables are tender and mushrooms release juice. Add chicken and sauté for another 5 minutes until golden brown on all sides. Add the basil, curry powder, salt, and pepper and stir to coat.

Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

Transfer pasta to four shallow bowls and spoon chicken mixture over top.

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Chilli Beef Meatballs in Warm Pittas

Beef Chilli Meatballs in Warm Pittas

Beef Chilli Meatballs in Warm Pittas

One of the other challenges in cooking healthy food is keeping a very meat-loving boyfriend happy too! So last weekend I decided to try and find a happy compromise – hello Chilli Beef Meatballs in Warm PittasThere’s beef, there’s chilli, there’s bread. Although I have to admit, there wasn’t a huge volume of any of those items! These portion sizes are teeny weeny, and it’s quite panic-inducing when you see just how small the meatballs are. You make 6 out of 125g of beef so they’re proper wee. But somehow when you add the bread and salsa it isn’t too shabby for a lunch at all. Unfortunately because one of these pittas is 8 Weight Watchers Pro Points I couldn’t really do my usual trick and double up the portion size. But I would do that for Paul in the future – he said that if there were two pittas each he’d have upped his score to 9! Greedy bugger.

KB rating 8.5/10. PR rating 8/10. Weight Watchers Pro Points: 8 per serving

Chilli Beef Meatballs in Warm Pittas (serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 125g lean beef mince (10% fat)
  • Half small onion, finely chopped
  • 5g Medium Fajita seasoning
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme or parsley
  • 5 sprays calorie controlled cooking spray
  • 1 tbsp Sweet Chilli sauce
  • Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium pittas, white or wholemeal
  • Handful of spinach, to serve

For the red onion salsa:

  • Half a small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber, chopped into 2cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar

Method:

Mix together the beef mince, onion, fajita spice mix and the thyme or parsley. Season and then form the mixture into 6 evenly-sized balls.

Spray a non stick frying pan with cooking spray and add the meatballs. Cook for 12-14 minutes, turning occasionally. Add the sweet chilli sauce and cook for another minute, turning the meatballs over until glossy.

While the meatballs are cooking, make the salsa by combining all the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.

Warm the pitta breads in a toaster or under the grill. Split open and then fill each one with a few spinach leaves, 3 meatballs and the salsa.


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Baked Tuna Nicoise

Baked Tuna Nicoise

Baked Tuna Nicoise

Another day, another Weight Watchers meal to try. I’m actually really enjoying researching suitable recipes to eat on this diet that don’t compromise on flavour. I’d like to think that any of the recipes I try would be ones I’d be happy trying even if I wasn’t point counting. And my Pinterest boards can really testify to the amount of research I’ve done. A particular highlight being the revelation that making no sugar jelly and adding loads of fruit is a 0 point dessert! And I love jelly – I’m a child of the 80s after all.

So the latest recipe I wanted to try was Baked Tuna NicoiseI am a big fan of fresh tuna, and this recipe also included potatoes which I’ve been craving! Total Pro Points per person – 8. The recipe is really straight forward and all done using one pan, which saves on the washing up too. The flavours are obviously a classic combination and they still work really well together in a baked dish. I actually thought the red onions were the star of the show here – they went really soft and seemed to soak up all the lemon and caper flavours. Definitely a winner.

KB rating 8.5/10. PR rating 7.5/10. Weight Watchers Pro Points: 8 per serving

Baked Tuna Nicoise (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 500g potatoes (Vivaldi or Charlotte ideally), scrubbed and cut into large chunks
  • 10 sprays of calorie-controlled cooking spray
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 150g green beans, trimmed
  • 12 black olives, pitted
  • 4 large tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 fresh tuna steaks, 150g each
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp capers in brine
  • Pinch salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 sprigs fresh parsley

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C fan, 200C, 400F, Gas Mark 6.

Put the potatoes in a roasting tray and spray with the cooking spray, tossing to coat. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 mins.

Add the red onion and green beans to the potatoes, stir well and bake for another 1o mins. Remove the pan from the oven.

Stir the potato mixture and add the olives and tomatoes. Arrange the tuna steaks on top. Sprinkle over the lemon juice and capers and then season.

Return to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. Serve, scattered with plenty of chopped parsley.


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Teriyaki Turkey Burgers with Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

Teriyaki Turkey Burgers with Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

Teriyaki Turkey Burgers with Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

It’s not even been a week on this Weight Watchers diet, but by mid-week I was desperate for something that felt like a treat. And then I saw this recipe and knew it was exactly what I needed. Bread. Chips. Burger. YES! And all for 13 points (double portion of the wedges – I still can’t get down with the teeny portions just yet). In the great scheme of things that’s healthy, but in my new Weight Watchers world that’s half of my daily points. So I really hoped it was good, otherwise what a waste!

Turns out it was wonderful. The burger is packed full of flavour and it really doesn’t feel like a compromise when you bite into it! Great Asian flavours and despite being turkey, they’re really juicy and yummy. The consistency of the burgers looked a bit gloopy before they were cooked but, despite my fears, they held together really well and kept their shape. I opted to use a non-stick frying pan rather than a griddle pan and I think I made the right choice.  The grilled spring onions are a great addition in terms of flavour and texture, and the sweet potato wedges are a perfect match as a side dish.

KB rating 8.5/10. PR rating 8/10. WW points 13.

Teriyaki Turkey Burgers with Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges (serves 4, but I doubled up on the potatoes so they served 2)

For the potatoes:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, washed and patted dry
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Quarter tsp salt
  • Quarter tsp dried rosemary (I used fresh rosemary instead, a few sprigs dotted around)

For the burgers:

  • 500g turkey mince
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 70g teriyaki sauce
  • 25g spring onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg white
  • 5 sprays cooking spray
  • 8 medium spring onions, root ends trimmed
  • 4 hamburger rolls

Method:

Preheat the oven to 220C (425F or Gas Mark 7. Cut each potato into 8 lengthwise wedges and place on a nonstick baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and rosemary and roast for 15 mins. Then toss and roast the potatoes until they’re tender (about another 15-20 minutes).

Meanwhile make the burgers. Preheat a grill pan (or frying pan) to medium-high; cover to maintain heat.

In a large bowl mix together the turkey, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, teriyaki sauce, chopped spring onions, coriander and egg white. Combine thoroughly then make 4 burgers – about 3.5 inches across and just under an inch wide.

Place the burgers on a nonstick baking tray. Coat with cooking spray, then flip and coat the other side with spray.

Put the burgers onto the heated grill pan, flipping once, until fully cooked – about 5-7 minutes on each side. A few minutes before the burgers are done, add the whole spring onions to the pan and let them go bright green and charred – about 2 mins.

Remove the burgers and spring onions to a plate. Lightly toast the rolls and then serve each burger on a roll topped with 2 spring onions. Serve alongside the potato wedges and a little extra teriyaki if needed (note this would add to your points if you’re Weight Watching!)


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Lemon & Courgette Chicken Skewers

Lemon Chicken and Courgette Skewers

Lemon Chicken and Courgette Skewers

So I’m going to be a little bit virtuous over the next few weeks in the food that I cook. I’ve decided to join Weight Watchers to kick start my healthy eating regime. I’m pretty surprised I joined actually, as ordinarily I’m a big believer in ‘everything in moderation, including moderation’, but a friend recommended it to me and she’s quite similar to me in terms of food, cooking and health! At first I was a little bit concerned that my healthy eating might make this blog a little dull, but I’m actually thinking it might be a nice challenge. Can I find recipes that are genuinely good for you (and low in points!) but that still pack a punch in terms of flavour? It’s early days, but there are certainly recipes out there that seem to strike that balance. In fact, the Pork Bun Cha I made here is a really good example – massive flavour, and only 11 points. To the non Weight Watcher, that’s quite good for a dinner! The one thing, though, that I’ve realised quickly is that portion size is critical. So bear in mind that the servings guide is pretty strict…if you’re not fussed about calorie counting, take those with a pinch of salt!

The first Weight Watchers recipe I tried was Lemon & Courgette Chicken Skewers and, on the whole, was a great success. The flavours are lovely and light, it’s really quick and simple to make for a midweek dinner and it’s good for you. I served with couscous and the recommended portion size for this was 30g per person! That’s about half of what I’d usually do, which looked quite stingy on the plate but actually did fill me up! But you only get 1 skewer per person – I cheated and had two, but even with the extra skewer the total points for dinner were 7. Good stuff! They do ask you to thread the chicken onto rosemary stalks as skewers – erm, no. Not my idea of fun so I stuck with my metal skewers to save my sanity!

KB rating 7/10. PR rating 7.5/10

WW Points: 2 points per skewer.

Lemon Chicken with Courgette Skewers (serves 4 but see note above)

Ingredients:

  • 2 x 125g skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 2 tbsp 0% fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • 1 tsp clear honey
  • Juice half a small lemon
  • 8 rosemary sprigs (leaves stripped) – if using, see note above
  • 3 large spring onions, cut into thick diagonal slices
  • 1 small courgette, peeled into ribbons (use a peeler or mandolin)

Method:

Put the chicken into a bowl with the yogurt, mint, honey and lemon. Turn to coat and season.

Thread onto the rosemary sprigs (if using), alternating with the spring onion and a ribbon of courgette. Barbecue or griddle over a low heat for 10-12 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through.

Serve with couscous.