With the weather brightening up, I thought that I would give you a lovely Spanish inspired recipe to brighten up your week. That said, this recipe is basically a stew so it also works well in winter. Heck, you’ll want to eat this all year round it’s so easy! Subject to a few minor adaptations, you can make this in your slow cooker so that it’s ready for you when you get home from work.
If you don’t have smoked paprika you can use normal paprika. This will give the dish an earthier flavour which is also good but I do highly recommend that you use the smoked version as that smokey element really compliments the chorizo and is, frankly, delicious.
8 boneless chicken thighs (or however many are in the packet) I also like to use shredded chicken for this recipe
Chorizo cut into small chunks
1 red onion thinly sliced
1 red pepper sliced
1 yellow pepper sliced
2 cloves of garlic
1 carton of passata
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Fry the chicken thighs (if using) in olive oil for a couple of minutes on both sides
Add the onion and peppers and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened
Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes
Add the chorizo and cook for about a minute until it is cooked through
Add the smoked paprika and stir through, immediately add the passata, if using shredded chicken then add it now.
Pop the lid on the casserole (or saucepan if using) and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly.
My serving recommendations include rice, cous cous and diced, roasted potatoes. I also like to have a bit of fresh bread to hand because, trust me, you’re going to want to mop up that sauce!
Enjoy! Please let me know if you make this and what you think!
Honestly I don’t think that there is anything easier to make than roasted vegetables. Yet they are delicious, full of nutrients and fibre and filling – the perfect combination! I’ll often have roasted vegetables with salmon as a side dish with a bit of couscous or rice but I had bought some lentils and decided to experiment. The result was this delicious salad which is delicious eaten warm but also ideal cold in packed lunches.
This recipe serves four as a side or two as the main event! You can make it vegan friendly by taking out the feta (you may want to add in vegan cheese) and substituting the Greek yogurt for coconut yogurt.
1 sweet potato
Large handful of cherry tomatoes
1 red onion
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
100g uncooked lentils
feta cheese to crumble on top
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons harissa
Fry Light or oil of your choice
2 cloves of garlic (optional)
Chop up the vegetables into bite sized chunks – keep the skin on the sweet potato (just wash it well and cut the ends off). It tastes good, it’s edible and your gut bacteria love it!
Place the vegetables in a roasting dish and spray with a few squirts of fry light or oil of your choice. Add in garlic if using.
Bake in the oven at 180 decrees centigrade for about 25 minutes, or until cooked.
Put the lentils on to cook as instructed by the packet. I buy the ones that you don’t have to soak and take 25 minutes to cook.
To make the dressing, simply mix the Greek yogurt and the harissa together in a small bowl, set aside.
Once cooked, allow the lentils and the vegetables to cool slightly them mix them together in a large bowl.
Once served, crumble feta on top and dollop the dressing on the side.
I like to serve this salad on a bed of spinach with a chicken breast on the side.
There is something that I find really relaxing about making soup. I’m not sure why this relates specifically to soup but for me, if I’ve had a stressful day then this is my go-to activity. I especially love it when it’s cold outside and my kitchen gets all hot from the cooking and you feel all cozy.
The aromatic spices of this warming soup make you feel inside and out and its packed full of nutrients too. But best of all, the best thing about making this recipe is that it serves about four so you have delicious lunches for work or quick dinners. It also freezes really well.
700g Sweet potato peeled and chopped into small chunks
1 large/ 2 small onions finely chopped
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1-2 teaspoons garammassala
1 teaspoon corriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon medium curry powder (can substitue this)
I teaspoon chopped chilli (optional – I lke lazy chilli)
1/2 – 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger (again I use the lazy stuff)
1 litre vegetable stock
1 can coconut milk
a (very) generous squirt of lime juice (although this is optional)
Heat the oil in a large saucepan (I use a stock pot as this recipe makes a lot of soup). Once the oil is hot enough, sauté the onions until they are soft and then add the garlic, garammassala, corriander, cumin, curry powder, ginger andchilli if you are using. Mix these in with the onions.
Add the sweet potatoes and coat them in the spices. Now add the stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the potato is really soft (I stab mine with a fork to check).
Take the soup off the heat and if you’re sensible you’ll let it cool down a bit (for safety – not culinary- reasons). Once it’s cool enough, blend the soup until it is really smooth. I’ve used both a hand blender and a proper blender, I prefer a hand blender because there’s less washing up but it does take a little longer.
pour the soup back into the pan, if you used a blender, and put it back onto a low heat. Stir in the coconut milk and make sure that it is properly mixed in. Add in the lime juice if you are using.
I like to serve this with a dollop of Greek yoghurt because it it makes it even creamier and crusty bread because, who doesn’t love warm crusty bread!
So you’ve decided to count your macros (or perhaps your PT is making you) and you’re struggling to hit your protein goals. The struggle is real. I think that anybody who has transitioned from just eating whatever to eating a high protein diet has struggled with this, and I know that I really did to start with. I remember texting my friend to ask whether it was acceptable to drink four protein shakes in one day (not to be recommended btw).
So I thought that I would share my tricks and tips for hitting your protein goals, I hope you find it useful.
Eat Protein for Every Meal
It might seem a bit obvious but I say it anyway. You want to eat protein at every meal. Not only is this better for maintaining muscle (your body will thank you for a constant stream of protein), but it’s better than getting to 6pm and realising that you need to eat seven chicken breasts for your dinner to hit your goals. If you have a meal with little protein in it, you’re going to struggle to catch up the rest of the day.
You will need to base your meal around a lean protein source and then balance the rest of your meal around it. It is hard to start with but it does get easier with time. Eventually, you’ll be able to look at the things that you most commonly eat and know roughly how many grams of protein it contains.
Here is your official permission to snack! The chances are that you are not going to hit your protein targets through three meals alone, so why not have a couple of protein-rich snacks to see you through. I like skyr yogurt for this as some tubs contain up to 25g of protein without being proportionally too high in the other macronutrients. A boiled egg works well too (but stinky!). I would try and avoid shop bought protein bars because they tend to be high in sugar and calories, which would affect your balance of macros, but if you can fit them in then they’re okay for the odd treat.
One of the easiest ways to reach your protein goal is to use protein powder. This is generally a lower calorie way of getting between 25-50g of protein in in one go. Once upon a time, protein shakes were only used by bodybuilders and gym fanatics and they were chalky and claggy. I’m glad to say that things have come on a long way since then and there are some really good protein powders on the market. I would advise you to shop around and have a look at the nutritional information as they do vary in quality. Also beware of the ‘diet’ trap and the ‘woman’ trap. Often brands try and get you to part with more money by selling diet versions of their protein but read the label carefully, sometimes these diet versions are actually higher in calorie than the ‘normal’ version and are more expensive. And as regards ‘women’s’ protein? Unnecessary. Again, these are inevitably more expensive and are no more benefits. Total calories and protein calories per serving are what you want to concentrate on.
Just remember that supplements are just that, they are there to suppliment your diet and not be the main event. Try to get as much protien in as you can and then top yourself up with this. They can also be handy if you’re out and about and you need a snack as they’re just so convenient.
Add Extra Protein to Things
Rather like when your parents squashed up green vegetables and snuck them into your mashed potato, you should add extra protein to things that you are eating anyway.
One of my favourite things to do is to mix in protein powder to Greek yogurt (or even Skyr, one of the higher protein yogurts) and then maybe add some berries. Top tip, if you’re using chocolate protein powder then half a teaspoon of cocoa powder is going to make this richer and more like a chocolate dessert without messing your macros up. This is such a delicious treat that tastes really indulgent, but it’s really high in protein and can be relatively low in carbs and fats depending on the type of yogurt that you use.
You could also make an omlette with a couple of whole eggs and a couple of egg whites. This is going to increase the protein content of your omlette without adding too many additional carbs and fats. I would say though to make sure that you at least have a couple of yolks in there because a) life is for living and b) a lot of the vitamins and minerals that are found in eggs are actually found in the yolk.
But overall I just want to say, stick with it. Dietary changes are hard to start with and going from 20g of protein per day to 160g (just an example – don’t do without working out your protein requirements) is going to be a massive leap. If you are struggling, then you may want to consider bringing your protein goal up gradually. Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t hitting it straight away, follow these tips, keep learning what your food is make up of and you’ll get there eventually.
Do you have any tips for getting more protein in to your diet?