Delicious, healthy Chilli Con Carne with guacamole

Chilli con carne

“Next to jazz music, there is nothing that lifts the spirit and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili.” (Harry James)

Chilli con carne is one of my favourite comfort meals. This version is high in flavour, contains lots of protein(kidney beans are a virtually fat-free source of great quality protein), low on salt and low-fat. It is very easy to make and a really good dish for busy weeknights where you are short on time but still want to eat a tasty, healthy meal! To make this dish even more delicious and healthy have it with some guacamole, diced tomato and Greek Yogurt. Serve with brown rice to add some carbohydrate to the meal if you wish. Leftovers(if there are any) can be used to make a tasty tortilla wrap the next day or just re-heated in a bowl with some melted cheese on top!  Continue reading

Healthy cheat’s pizza

Pizza photo 2

This ‘pizza’ is the fastest, easiest meal you could ever make and so tasty as well. I use tortilla wraps as pizza bases and they make a lovely thin and crispy crust. They are also a whole lot healthier (and cheaper) than frozen or takeaway pizzas. I made this twice this week, varying it by using different cheeses. I used Buffalo Mozzarella on the one in the picture but goat’s cheese or cheddar cheese work really well also. They are great when you need to make something quickly and for using up leftovers as you only need small quantities of the toppings (depending on how many you are making of course!). Children and teenagers love ‘dressing’ their own pizzas – in my house everyone has different tastes so they make their own. My son, for example doesn’t like cheese so he makes his pizza with lots of peppers, salami, pepperoni etc. My own favourite is goat’s cheese, caramelised onion jam / marmalade, asparagus and rocket. You need to use two tortilla wraps to make the base firm enough. Once you top it with the tomato purée you can be as creative as you like. They take approx. 10 mins in an oven heated to 160°C / 325°F.

Ingredients for 1 pizza

2 tortilla wraps (preferably wholemeal)
Tomato purée or passata
Mixed peppers, diced
Black olives, sliced
Buffalo Mozzarella
Olive Oil
Rocket

  • Place two wraps on a baking tray
  • Spread with tomato purée making sure the surface of the wrap is fully covered
  • Scatter peppers, olives and torn mozzarella plus any other toppings on top
  • Drizzle with a little olive oil
  • Bake in the oven for 10 mins until the cheese is melted and bubbling
  • Serve with rocket scattered across the top and a further drizzle of oil (optional)

Flapjacks

 

Flapjacks 3

These tasty, healthy ‘back to school’ flapjacks are quick and easy to make and perfect for a lunch box or snack. I like to put these in my teenage daughter’s school lunchbox along with some cheese, fruit and a sandwich. They are great for anyone who has to eat ‘on the go’ and / or re-fuel after exercise when you want to try to avoid sugary snacks. You can play around with the basic recipe and add fruit, nuts and / or seeds depending on what you have available or just to vary them according to your own tastes. The recipe uses coconut oil which is a good, healthy source of saturated fat and oats which provide a slow release of energy.  Continue reading

Smoked Salmon with soft boiled egg and quinoa

 

Smoked Salmon & Egg Photo bw

If you haven’t tried quinoa before I urge you to buy some this weekend and include it in your diet from now on. Quinoa is a great source of protein, fibre and is rich in minerals, B-vitamins and vitamin E. It cooks in 15 minutes and is also wheat-free, gluten-free and contains anti-inflammatory compounds. I am a big fan because it is so versatile, adds protein and substance to salads to make them more filling and satisfying (fuller for  longer!) plus it’s a keeper i.e. cooked quinoa keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days. It doesn’t have a huge amount of flavour in itself(same as pasta or rice) but has a nice nutty flavour and fluffy texture. This quick lunch was made from some left-over white quinoa to which I piled on some beautiful Irish organic smoked salmon and a soft boiled egg. This would also make a great breakfast. It was topped off with some of my homemade mayonnaise (see previous post) to which I added some chopped dill. You will also find another recipe using quinoa in a previous post – Butternut Squash & Quinoa salad.

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Homemade real Mayonnaise

Mayo b1 photo_opt & wtrmrkd

I always thought for some reason that making your own mayonnaise was difficult. Then recently I was in Ballymaloe Cookery School where Rory O’Connell showed us how to make it as part of his ‘How to Cook Well’ course. I couldn’t believe how easy it was and I made a promise to myself never to buy a jar of mayonnaise again. I am hoping that when you read this that you will have a go and do the same.  Continue reading

Roasted Butternut Squash & Quinoa Salad


I absolutely love this salad, it’s colour, taste and texture not to mention all the nutritious goodies it contains. The recipe is one from Derval O’Rourke’s book “Food for the fast lane”.Quinoa is the real deal in terms of plant-based protein and is both gluten-free and low GI. The pomegranate seeds are like shiny ruby-red jewels scattered over the top of the salad – how could you not love it. (Having said that I still haven’t mastered the art of getting the seeds out of the pomegranate without the red juice squirting over my clothes!)

I don’t really need an excuse to make this but I find it a really good lunch option as the protein content leaves you feeling really satisfied. It is also a very good meal to have after exercise  / training of any sort. The fact that it doesn’t take much time to prepare is a ‘clincher’. The salad can be served either warm or cold so it works as a great healthy lunch-box option too.

Handy Tip:  Cooked quinoa keeps well in the fridge so I always make enough for 2/3 days. I also roast the full butternut squash as this keeps well also and means tomorrow’s lunch is sorted too!

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Green Pea & Feta cheese omelette

This is fast good food at it’s best. I always have these ingredients in my fridge / freezer which means that I can make this healthy, quick and substantial meal any time. Don’t consider leaving out the mint – it absolutely makes the dish. It is best to use a good non stick pan for cooking this as it makes it so much easier in that you don’t have to worry about the omelette sticking to the pan. Continue reading

Quick (sugar-free) Chocolate chip cookies

This is a recipe from Derval O’Rourke’s cookbook ‘Food For The Fast Lane’ and is great for using up very ripe bananas that have been abandoned in the fruit bowl.  There are only 4 ingredients so the cookies are very simple and quick to make as well as tasty.  If like me you are trying to cut back on sugar these cookies are a great guilt-free alternative and are delicious (and filling) with a cup of tea!

Sugar-free cookies final wtmrk

(Makes 6 cookies)

Ingredients

2 bananas peeled and mashed

50g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) chopped

40g porridge oats

25g desiccated coconut

Method

Preheat the oven to 160˚C/325˚F/gas 3. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silicone baking sheet.

Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and use your hands to  mix everything together. The bananas will bind the mixture so make sure to give them a good squeeze with your fingers. When the cookie dough has formed, roll it into balls, and place them a few centimetres apart on the prepared baking sheet. Use your hands to flatten the cookies slightly.

Bake for 15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the tray before removing to a wire rack. These are best kept in the fridge where they will last for 2/3 days.

 

 

 

Super-quick grilled salmon

This is great “fast’ food – it makes a super tasty quick lunch or dinner. It uses simple ingredients and contains those Omega 3 fatty acids that are so good for your heart! I served it with green beans which were steamed, then tossed in a little butter and some toasted flaked almonds. It is so tasty and looks a picture plus it gives the impression that a lot more work and effort has gone into making it.

Grilled Salmon final wtrmk

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Chicken Breasts with honey & mustard

This is one of my fall-back recipes when I don’t have much time as it is quick, easy to prepare and very tasty. You only need a few ingredients one of which is Dijon mustard – don’t be put off by this and think that the chicken will taste of mustard, take my word for it, it doesn’t.

Tip: I often cook an extra piece (or two) of chicken as it tastes just as good when it is cold, in a sandwich or in a salad, the next day. You can cook potato wedges (see separate recipe) at the same time to have with it.

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 skinless chicken breasts
4 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Turn on the oven to 180°C

Method

Mix together the honey and mustard in a large bowl.

Add the chicken breasts and mix well with the honey & mustard

Put the chicken in an oven proof dish (or foil tray if you want to save on the washing up!)

Drizzle with olive oil

Season with salt & pepper.

Pop into the oven for 30 / 40 mins

Slice each chicken breast and serve with any green veg and mashed potatoes or potato wedges