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Vacuum Packing

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Well what can I say, I am so excited and in love with my new toy. Yes it’s a vacuum machine! It arrived just after New Year so off I popped to Costco, stocked up on my meats and off I went.

So, Why vacuum pack? What are the benefits?

Vacuum packing is a method in which the air is removed from the packaging prior to sealing. By removing the oxygen it extends the shelf life of your foods but also reduces the volume and allows you to stock or store more as it uses less space. Frozen food that is vacuum sealed lasts an average of 2-3 years, while it will last 6-12 months, on average, stored in other ways. Most vacuum sealed foods will last in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks, which is much longer than the typical 1-3 days food will last when stored conventionally in a refrigerator.

You can also use to store dry foods such as lentils, beans, coffee, nuts, cheese or cured meats. Also great for vegetables too. The list is pretty much endless.

Other benefits include:-

Stop Freezer Burn:– When foods are frozen without preparation, freezer burn can occur. It happens when the surface of the food is dehydrated, and this leads to a dried and leathery appearance. Freezer burn also ruins the flavor and texture of foods. Vacuum packing reduces freezer burn by preventing the food from exposure to the cold, dry air.

Sous-Vide Cooking:- Vacuum packaging also allows for a special cooking method, sous-vide. Sous-vide, French for under vacuum, involves poaching food that is vacuum sealed in a plastic bag.

Food Structure and Flavour:– You can also season or marinade the food before vacuum sealing this allows the seasoning to penetrate into your foods and gives a greater flavour. With vacuum sealing the meats also have nowhere to go so all the fibres in your meats stay rather than relaxing therefore the structure is perfect once cooked.

Here is a rough guide to show shelf life:-

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ALL · chicken · dinners · Healthy Eating Ideas · Meat Dishes

Taco Pulled Chicken Wraps with Homemade Salsa

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Delicious little Saturday night dish (or any night for that matter)  I also used corn tortillas and made my own salsa to keep the fat and calories lower. I am on a mission this year to eat a little healthier and try new ideas and flavours. This is packed with flavour and filling too.

You could of course use Tacos instead of wraps.

 

Makes enough for about 6 wraps

For the chicken:-

2 large chicken breasts

1 tin chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp Taco Seasoning (see below)

For the Salsa:-

2 tomatoes – chopped

1 onion – chopped

1 lime juice of

2 tsp dried coriander

1 tsp sea salt

*

Sour Cream to taste

Taco Seasoning:-

1 tbsp chilli powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp paprika

1 tbsp cumin

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

Add all above to a little jar and mix. Store in cupboard.

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  1. Place a little oil in a pan on medium heat
  2. Coat the chicken with the Taco Seasoning about 1 large tbsp per breast and gently colour the chicken in the pan.
  3. Add in the tin tomatoes to the pan with the chicken, cover and slow cook on a low heat for about 4 hours.
  4. Meanwhile make the salsa by adding the chopped tomatoes, chopped onion, salt, coriander and lime juice in a bowl and mix together. Store in fridge until needed.    20190112_161740
  5. About 1/2 hour before about to serve, take 2 forks and shred the chicken in the pan. Continue to cook uncovered for about 1/2 hour, this helps thicken the sauce.              20190112_181543
  6. Warm up your tortillas as per instructions on packet, place on a plate.
  7. Spread a thin layer of sour cream, place some shredded chicken on top, then some tomato salsa then another little dollop of sour cream, wrap and devour! Yummy!

You could also add in a little avocado or some grated cheese.

 

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ALL · dinners · fish · Healthy Eating Ideas · Meat Dishes · One Pot Wonders · Soups and Stews

Curried Cod

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This is a tasty little dish and so healthy too. I’m always trying to get more fish into my meals (hard when my partner isn’t a fish fan!), but even he loved this one. Result!

Easy to make and full of protein and iron.

Makes 2 portions

1 tsp oil

1 onion, chopped

2 tbsp curry powder

1 tsp ground mixed spice

2 garlic cloves or 1 tsp dried garlic

1 x 400g chopped tomatoes

1 can chickpeas (optional)

1 packet of fresh green peas

2 cod fillets

zest of 1 lemon

handful of chopped coriander to serve

 

  1. Heat oil in a large pan and cook onion & garlic over a high heat until softened and slightly browned. Stir in the curry powder and mixed spice, mix through.
  2. Add in the tin tomatoes, chickpeas and green peas with seasoning to taste.
  3. Cook for about 10 minutes until sauce starts to thicken slightly.
  4. Add in the cod and cover, continue to cook for another 10 minutes until fish is cooked through.
  5. Squeeze on the lemon zest and coriander then serve.  Yummy!

I served with some curry roasted parnsips and carrots.

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ALL · Cakes and Biscuits · Desserts

Chocolate & Walnut Cake

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OMG, this was so yummy! We had a soup ‘n’ pudding kinda day and this is what I decided to try.

Serves about 8

110g plain flour

2 tbsp cocoa powder

110g golden caster sugar

50ml olive oil

50ml walnut oil

55g dark chocolate, chopped

55g chopped walnuts

2 large eggs

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt

100g melted chocolate for topping

30g chopped walnuts for topping

 

  1. Preheat oven to fan 170 deg. Grease a baking tin (approx 12″)
  2. Blitz the walnuts until fine. Transfer to a bowl and add in the sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt then mix.
  3. Add in the caster sugar, oils, chopped chocolate, eggs and vanilla extract and mix until well blended.
  4. Spoon the batter mix into the baking tin and bake for approx 25 minutes.
  5. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
  6. Melt the chocolate in a microwave and spoon on top of the cake, crumble the remaining walnuts on top. Serve. Yummy!

 

ALL · chicken · Detox Plan · dinners · Healthy Eating Ideas · Hotpoint Oven & Combi Oven Recipes · Meat Dishes · One Pot Wonders

Butterfly Chicken Pizza

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Friday night is mostly pizza night in our house, but as I’m on my Detox this week it was finding an alternative for me and why not Butterfly chicken? I have to say this dish was so delicious and very healthy and nutritious too. Win, win for me!

 

Makes 2

2 x Chicken Breasts

1 onion – chopped

handful of sweet peppers – chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

1 tsp Italian herbs

1 tbsp tomato paste

Salt & pepper to taste

30g Goats Cheese

 

  1. Butterfly your chicken and flatten the thicker part so it will cook evenly. 20181130_171848
  2. Add the chopped onion, peppers, chilli flakes, olive oil and all seasonings into a food bag and make sure all are coated.
  3. Take 1 tsp and spread onto each chicken breast evenly                                        20181130_180704
  4. Next add the onion & pepper mix and spread evenly
  5. Preheat your Crisperplate for 2 minutes on crisp setting then place the chicken breasts on and cook for 5-6 minutes (depending on size of your chicken)                                                                                                      20181130_181046
  6. Remove crisp plate and crumble on the goats cheese evenly, put back into the oven and cook on crisp for a further 3 minutes.                                                      20181130_181803
  7. Serve. Yummy!

(If you don’t have a crisper plate, bake in oven at 200 deg for about 15-20 minutes)

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ALL · Detox Plan · dinners · Healthy Eating Ideas · One Pot Wonders · superfoods

Curried Butternut Squash, Red Lentils & Spinach

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This was so delicious and filling. Best of all very healthy & nutritious.

I think I am starting to enjoy this Detox week….lol!

 

Makes enough for 4 portions.

1 onion

200ml vegetable stock

2 tsp dried garlic

1 tsp dried chilli

1 tbsp ginger

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp coriander

1 tsp turmeric

1 tbsp olive oil

1 can chopped tomatoes 400g

300-400g butternut squash – peeled and chopped into chunks

200g Red lentils – cooked

200g Spinach

 

  1. Blend onion, veg stock, garlic, chilli, ginger, tomatoes, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric and coriander into a paste.                                                          20181126_141731
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and cook the paste for about 5-10 mins.
  3. Add in the butternut squash and cook on a medium heat for 20 mins.          20181126_143545
  4. Meanwhile cook the lentils as per pack instructions.
  5. After 20 mins mix in the lentils and spinach to the squash mix and heat for a further 5 minutes.                                                                                  20181126_145023
  6. Remove and serve. Yummy!

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ALL · Detox Plan · dinners · Healthy Eating Ideas · Hotpoint Oven & Combi Oven Recipes

Stuffed Peppers

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These were delicious and very healthy too. My Hotpoint oven has automatic cooking programmes, so I used the Stuffed Pepper setting and these baked to perfection.

 

Makes 3-4

2 onions – chopped

6 Sweet Peppers – chopped

1 can chopped tomatoes (400g)

3-4 large peppers – colour to your choosing.

200g kale

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 tbsp olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

 

  1. Heat oil in a pan
  2. Add all ingredients to the pan except the large peppers and cook for 5 minutes  20181126_154609
  3. Cut the tops off of the large peppers and de-seed. Place in a roasting tin.
  4. Fill the peppers with the mixture and place the tops back on.                          20181126_155213
  5. Select Auto recipes, side dishes then stuffed peppers and bake for approx 35-50 minutes (depends on size of peppers)                                                  20181126_155425
  6. Serve. Yummy!

 

 

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