Healthy Couscous Salad

Healthy Couscous SaladSummer is coming and it’s always great to have some lighter meal ideas under your belt. I want a bit more from a salad than a bit of lettuce, tomato & cucumber though… I need some flavour! This gorgeous couscous salad recipe (adapted from Oh My Dish) does that by the bucket load. It’s packed full of goodness & it’s seriously tasty! I particularly love the addition of the sweet potato, it really kicks it up a notch.

Here is what you will need to serve 2 as a main or 4 as a side dish:

  • 150g Couscous
  • 300ml Boiling Water
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Sweet Potato, peeled & cubed
  • 1 Shallot, finely diced
  • 1 Garlic Clove, finely diced
  • 1 Aubergine, sliced *
  • 4 Sundried Tomatoes, sliced + the Oil
  • 8 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • Handful of Rocket or chopped Romaine Lettuce
  • Juice of half a Lemon
  • Salt & Pepper

 * I ended up picking out the aubergine but, even if you don’t like it, keep trying! It’s the only way to change your tastebuds. Trust me – I was the worlds fussiest eater as a child!

In a large glass bowl, add in the couscous, a generous helping of salt & pepper and about 1 tbsp of the oil from the sundried tomatoes jar.

Pour in the boiling water, stir with a fork and cover with cling film. Leave to one side whilst we prepare the rest of the dish.

Heat a non stick frying pan over a medium heat then add in about 1 tbsp of olive oil.

Dump in the cubed potato and fry for a few minutes.

Then add in the diced shallot & garlic and fry for about 10-15 minutes until the potato is golden and cooked. (Soft in the middle.) Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Healthy Couscous Salad

Healthy Couscous SaladIf adding aubergine – heat a griddle pan over a medium/high heat. Brush both sides of each slice with olive oil and grill on each side until nice charred lines appear.

When cooked, take out the pan and sprinkle with a little salt.

Healthy Couscous SaladBack to the couscous, which should be nice & plump by now. Remove the cling film & fluff up with a fork.

Healthy Couscous SaladNow all your ingredients are ready, add the sundried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and cooked sweet potato in with the couscous.

Season with a little more salt & pepper if it needs it. Squeeze over the juice from the lemon and add a good glug of olive oil.

Give it all a good stir and divide between serving plates. Top with slices of aubergine and a handful of either rocket or romaine lettuce.

Healthy Couscous SaladI absolutely love this salad. It only takes about half an hour to make, it’s tasty, satisfying & good for you too! In my opinion, it’s a perfect, bright & colourful Spring/Summer dish. Great if you want a bit of light, al fresco dining in your back garden or on the park!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies, until next time!

Miss KitchenMason

Baked Sweet Potato & Boston Style Beans!

Baked Sweet Potato & Boston Style Beans!Welcome to January 2015! With the undisputed return of exercise regimes and healthy diets, it’s time to abandon the December gluttony & adopt the resolution dominated New Year.

Honestly though? I think we’re all far too pressurized into being ‘healthy healthy’ in January and a lot of what we strive to achieve is, well, unrealistic to say the least. Personally I believe it’s easier to trick yourself by simply altering the hearty wintery foods we all love into healthier versions. That way, you’re more likely to stick to trying to eat better. The alternative? Eating a lettuce leaf for lunch then going home, giving in, and scoffing the entire kitchen! Be honest – we’ve all done it.

So! Here’s what I propose you start with. This surprisingly sensational, baked sweet potato topped with Boston style baked beans. Trust me – these beans are FAR superior to any you can buy in a tin and are well worth a little extra time & effort! Another bonus? It’s naturally gluten free so a great, tasty dish for you coeliac sufferers too.

Here is what you will need.

For the Beans – Serves 2-3

  • 150g Smoked Bacon
  • 600g Cannellini Beans
  • 2 x Small Onions
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 150ml Vegetable Stock
  • 50ml Runny Honey
  • 30ml Cider Vinegar
  • 30ml Mushroom Ketchup, optional
  • 30g Brown Sugar
  • 50g Tomato Ketchup
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Mustard Powder
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Coarse Black Pepper
  • Fresh Parsley to garnish, optional

For the Baked Potatoes – Serves 2

  • 2 Medium sized Sweet Potatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Additional Topping – Grated Cheddar Cheese, optional

 

Preheat your oven to 170°C/Fan 160°C.

To make the beans, prep your ingredients. Chop up the bacon, finely dice the onions & crush the garlic.

Preferably, use a large roasting pan that can also be used on the hob. Alternatively, just use a frying pan to start with and transfer to a roasting pan.

Heat your chosen food vessel over a medium/high heat then add in the bacon and fry until browned. (About 5mins.) No need for any oil, the bacon will create it’s own fabulous juices. If you used a frying pan, transfer the bacon & juices into a roasting pan.

Baked Sweet Potato & Boston Style Beans!Add in the beans, (including the juices) the diced onion & the garlic and give it a stir.

Put the rest of the ingredients (minus the fresh parsley) into a jug, stir, then tip it all into the roasting pan. Mix it all up then pop it in the lower part of your oven and bake uncovered for about 60-70mins until the sauce has reduced down to a beautiful sticky sauce & the beans are soft.

Baked Sweet Potato & Boston Style Beans!

Baked Sweet Potato & Boston Style Beans!These beans will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days if you wanted to make them in advance. Alternatively, keep covered to one side then simply reheat when your potatoes are ready.

To bake the sweet potatoes, crank the oven up to 200°C/Fan 180°C.

Rub the potatoes in a little olive oil & some salt. Place on a baking tray lined with foil & put into the centre of the preheated oven for approx 45 minutes. When done, the skin should be nice & crispy and the insides soft & smooth.

Baked Sweet Potato & Boston Style Beans!When your potatoes are cooked, slice them down the middle and, if you like, add a little grated cheddar cheese. Then top with a generous helping of the beans & sprinkle with some freshly chopped parsley to add a little freshness.

Et vous voila! You got yourself a wholesome, hearty dinner that’s not only really good for you – but tastes incredible! And it’s only a stones throw away from the regular jacket potato with cheese & beans that we all know and love.

Seriously, you’ve got to give this a go. I promise it’s worth the extra bit of effort to make your own beans. I genuinely wish you could get these in a tin but, for now, I’m more than happy to make my own when they taste as good as this!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies.

Oh, and Happy New Year everyone! Until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

Paprika Pork & Sweet Potato Wedges!

Paprika Pork & Sweet Potato WedgesThis is a fantastically simple yet delicious recipe that I came across on the BBC Good Food website a few years back. It’s one I’ve made on several occasions but has had a recent revival in my kitchen with the purchase of some beautiful Spanish smoked paprika! If you are going to have a go at this I do recommend investing a couple of pounds in the good stuff, it makes a huge difference to the overall flavour. As an added bonus, this dish also happens to be naturally gluten free!

Here is what you will need to serve 2 hungry people.

  • 150g Pork Tenderloin Fillet (fat trimmed)
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Large Sweet Potatoes
  • 150ml Pot of Natural Yoghurt
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Chives (Fresh or Dried)
  • Portion of Salad, to serve

Preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C.

OPTIONAL ADVANCED PREP

If you want your wedges to go a little crispier, peel & slice the potatoes then place them in a bowl of cold water to soak for an hour. Before cooking, drain them, pat them as dry as possible with kitchen roll then proceed as per the recipe below.

In a small bowl, mix together the oil, paprika & a generous helping of salt. Rub the marinade all over the pork fillet. If you have the time, go one step further and leave to rest for a couple of hours to allow the flavours to develop. If you don’t, it’s fine to cook straight away.

When you are ready, heat a non stick frying pan over a medium heat. Sear the meat on all sides (including the ends) then place on a baking tray ready for the oven whilst we get on with the sweet potato wedges.

Paprika Pork & Sweet Potato Wedges

 

Paprika Pork & Sweet Potato WedgesIf you haven’t done the ‘Optional Advanced Prep’ – peel the sweet potatoes and cut into wedges. Then place them in a bowl, add 1 tsp of olive oil, a generous helping of salt and mix with your hands to coat well.

Paprika Pork & Sweet Potato WedgesLine a large baking tray with baking paper or better yet, a silicone baking mat. Then spread the wedges out over it. (If you overcrowd a baking tray they will steam instead of going crispy, not what you want!)

Paprika Pork & Sweet Potato WedgesPlace the wedges on the middle shelf and the pork on the bottom. Then cook for about 25-30 minutes until the wedges are crispy and the pork is cooked through. If necessary, turn the wedges once halfway through.

Whilst they are in the oven, make the dip. Take a small bowl and tip in the yoghurt. Stir in the garlic powder, fresh chives, salt & pepper then set aside until you are ready to plate up.

When the pork and wedges are ready, divide between two plates and serve with a side salad and a big dollop of the yoghurt dip.

Paprika Pork & Sweet Potato WedgesAnd there you go folks, a super easy, really tasty dinner for two! See how easy that was? Great food doesn’t have to take forever to make or be really complicated. It just has to taste great, and this dish does that and then some!

I love the sweet potato wedges too. It’s not something that I’d even heard of until a few years ago but now I regularly use them as a substitute for standard potatoes. They are actually healthier and take about half the amount of time to cook, bonus!

Until next time my lovelies

Miss KitchenMason

Spicy Cajun Chicken

I know I keep raving on about this book – but it’s bloomin’ fantastic! Jamie Oliver’s 15-Minute Meals cookbook has had me eating more vegetables than I have eaten in a lifetime AND I’ve been enjoying them! This is a revelation – trust me. This week I tried out this gorgeous Cajun Chicken recipe. (Adapted slightly to mine & the Mr’s tastes.)

Here is what you will need to feed 2 people. (Easily doubled.)

For the Salsa

  • 2 Corn on the Cob
  • 1/2 bunch Fresh Coriander
  • 1/2 Fresh Red Chilli (Optional)
  • 2 Spring Onions
  • 1-2 Tomatoes
  • 1 Lime
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil

For the Potatoes

For the Chicken

  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • 1/2 tbsp Cajun Seasoning *
  • 1/2 tbsp Polenta
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Rasher of Smoke Bacon
  • 20g Feta Cheese

* You can buy your cajun seasoning OR you can make your own like I did. Simply mix the following ingredients together:

  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 1/4 tsp Oregano
  • 1 1/4 tsp Thyme
  • 1 tsp Chilli Flakes (Optional)

Prep: Get all your ingredients out so you know where you’re at. Get the kettle boiled, a lidded saucepan out, a frying pan on a medium heat and a griddle pan on a high heat.

Put the corn onto the hot griddle pan – turn occasionally until it’s nicely charred all over.

Roughly peel the sweet potatoes & thinly slice. Fill the saucepan with boiling water, season with salt then add in the potatoes & pop the lid on. Leave over a medium heat.

Preparing the Sweet Potato MashOn a large sheet of cling film – place the chicken & sprinkle with the cajun seasoning, the polenta & some salt. Rub it all in then fold over the cling film and bash with a rolling pin until the chicken is about 1.5cm thick.

Making the Cajun ChickenHeat the olive oil in the frying pan then put the chicken in. Turn over after about 4 minutes and cook until its got a nice colour & is cooked through.

Frying the Cajun ChickenDrain the sweet potatoes then add the sweet chilli sauce or jam to the pan. Mash with a fork then pop the lid back on and keep warm to one side.

Sweet Potato MashOnce the chicken is cooked, add the bacon into the frying pan and cook (turning occasionally) until nice and crispy. When it’s done, chop into small pieces.

Slice the kernels off the corn on the cob and place them in a bowl. Roughly chop the coriander, red chilli (if using), spring onions & tomatoes and add into the bowl. Squeeze over some fresh lime juice & some olive oil. Season with salt and toss to coat.

Making the SalsaPlate up the sweet potato mash and top with the chicken. Sprinkle over the bacon pieces & some feta cheese and devour along with a big portion of the corn salsa!

Spicy Cajun Chicken And there you go. Yet another quick, easy and tasty recipe from Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals, albeit not that pretty – but still, tasty. I must say, if my Mum & Dad saw me eating this there would have been some jaw dropping! Considering I was SUCH a bad eater as a child I think they would be staring on in utter disbelief. To be honest, I even surprised myself!

The seasoning on the chicken works really really well though & that sweet potato mash, wow. One I will be using again I think!

And on that note, Until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

Herb Crusted Fish & Crispy Chips

I’m not really brilliant with fish but I saw this recipe from the BBC Good Food site and thought, I’ve got to try that one! There’s an extra brucey bonus too as it’s low in calories!  Here is what you will need to make enough for 2 people.

  • 25g Fresh Breadcrumbs
  • Zest of 1/2 a Lemon
  • 1tbsp Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • 2 x White Fish Fillets
  • 8 Cherry Tomatoes, on the vine
  • 1tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Medium Sized Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 tbsp Corn Flour
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil

Advanced prep!!

If you have time, I highly recommend that you soak the sweet potato chips in water for a few hours once you’ve peeled & chopped them into thin sticks. You want to get rid of as much of the starch as possible. Starch helps to keep moisture in and when you are after a crisp chip, you want moisture out. 

Me and my other half were a bit greedy so we had 2 fish fillets each. Despite this, it still only came to 475 calories each for the whole meal! I chose to use Cod which, as far as fish goes, isn’t that “fishy”, which made me happy. Also, to help keep calories down, I used 1 slice of wholemeal bread from a smaller 400g loaf to make the breadcrumbs.

Preheat your oven to 200°C

Peel & chop the sweet potatoes into thin sticks. If you have time (as stated above) soak the chips for a few hours. When you’re ready, rinse the chips in water. You will notice that the water has become cloudy, this is the starch that was in the potatoes. Once rinsed, pat as much water off them as you can.

Put them in a bowl & add 1 tbsp of corn flour. Get your hands in there and mix until all chips are evenly coated. Next, add 1 tbsp olive oil and mix lightly again until evenly coated.

Space the chips out on a non stick baking tray. Try and get as much room between the chips as you can. If you put them too close or too many on the tray, they will steam and never go crispy. If necessary, use a second baking tray.

Put them in the oven for 20 minutes turning half way.

Blitz the bread in a food processor until, you guessed it, it resembles bread crumbs. Put them in a bowl and add the lemon zest, the parsley & plenty of salt & pepper. Mix well.

Top the fish fillets with the herb crust & put them on a baking tray.

Place the tomatoes on the same tray & drizzle everything with the 1tbsp of olive oil.

Put the fish & tomatoes in the oven for the last 10 minutes of the chips cooking time.

Then commence stuffing your face! Considering this is actually a very healthy meal, I was pleasantly satisfied! Not only was it very tasty but it was low in calories too. And if me and my other half hadn’t have been greedy and had 2 fish fillets each, it would have been even lower than 475 cals!

Hope you enjoyed the recipe!

Miss KitchenMason