Cajun Spiced Chicken with Potato Wedges and Chive Dip


You could use this recipe for a BBQ when the weather is nice

It’s really easy to bring plain chicken to life with some spices or a marinade. Cajun Spiced Chicken with Potato Wedges and Chive Dip from the Hairy Dieters is a healthy, flavoursome twist on boring chicken and chips.

Don’t worry if you don’t have / or don’t want to buy cumin, paprika, thyme, oregano and cayenne pepper to make the spice rub – just use some regular cajun spice / seasoning which will create roughly the same effect. You can then use the cajun seasoning to make cajun dirty rice, cajun sweet potatoes, cajun prawn and kale salad or scrambled cajun eggs with spinach and kale. Basically, your cajun spice won’t go to waste! ;-).

Note, you can have this dish with a few home-made chips, the emphasis being here on a few to keep the calorie count low. The suggested portion size isn’t the biggest (boooooo!), so I’d recommend serving this with a green salad on the side, or some home-made coleslaw as I did – see sticky pork ‘ribs’ in barbecue sauce for the recipe.

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Tuscan Devil’s Chicken


Just 5 ingredients and perfect as a healthy option for BBQs when the weather is nicer

I’ve no idea why the Hairy Dieters named this recipe Tuscan Devil’s Chicken, presumably it originates from Italy, but it’s perfect hot or cold for lunchboxes or your BBQ when the weather turns nice again.

The only challenge is trying to find a suitable bag to marinate the 5 ingredients in. I initially tried a freezer bag but was a little too overzealous when shaking everything about and it split. Plan B was a carrier bag which was too big. I ended up placing the thighs in a plastic bowl and covering them in clingfilm, which sort of did the trick. A word of warning, do make sure you shake off any excess marinade before you cook them – the last thing you want is a mouthful of peppercorns in your gob. This meal is great with a side salad.

If you’re looking for more lunchtime inspiration with chicken thighs, have a gander at sticky chicken with coleslaw, jerk chicken, smashed up chicken or honey chilli chicken.

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Chipotle Pork Burger


You’ll think I cooked this on a BBQ, but I just left it on the griddle unattended too long

Burgers don’t have to be off the table when you’re on a ‘diet’. And when they taste as good as Chipotle Pork Burger from Pinch of Nom, you’ll wonder why you ever queued in a drive thru for a Big Mac or Whopper. I forgot to ‘dress’ my burger with salad before taking a photo, so the shot above doesn’t do it justice, but honestly, the flavours from the pork mince, chipotle chilli flakes, paprika and lime are divine.

If you’re in need of a burger fix, check out the exquisite satay burger, turkey burgers and chips, mediterranean beef burgers or spicy bean burgers if you’re going vege.

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Spicy Bean Burgers with Lime and Coriander Mayo


You don’t need a bun for these, but don’t forget the lime and coriander mayo!

Spicy bean burgers from Justine Pattison were a welcome surprise, and I say this as a hardened meat eater who would have previously dismissed veggie burgers as tasting of ‘cardboard’, or another tired cliché. But let’s be fair, I’ve tasted some frankly awful veggie burgers in other healthy eating recipe books, however despite their appearance Justine’s possessed bags of flavour owing to the chipotle paste, coriander and lime zest.

In fact, these are so good that you don’t need to add extra calories by having these burgers in a bun. Just some nice salad (little gem lettuce leaves and sliced tomatoes) and the accompanying, rather splendid lime and coriander mayo (see below) do the trick. And all for less than 200 calories and under a £1 per serving. Perfect for a ‘meat-free’ Monday or any day, for that matter.

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Mediterranean Beef Burgers – get the BBQ / ‘barbie’ on now!


Meditteranean beef burger

There’s a definite knack to making Mediterranean Beef Burgers by the Hairy Dieters, but once you master it you’ll never return to supermarket burgers again. Firstly, follow the recipe carefully and only use a small courgette otherwise your burger will be overpowered by too much of the green stuff! Secondly, after you’ve mixed the ingredients in a bowl, use a stick blender to blend everything together and then form your burgers with wet hands so nothing sticks.

Use good quality reduced-fat mozzarella rather than Cheddar or any other cheese for your topping, and don’t forget to include the sliced tomato, basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar which really enhances the flavour. Finally, cook your burgers gently and slowly in a frying pan, griddle pan or, like me, on your gas barbecue. If you’ve got time, pop them in the fridge to ‘firm up’ before you cook them. If you follow these instructions you’ll be left with a juicy, tasty and, above all, much healthier burger to savour.

Feel free to omit the ciabatta roll to save on calories and replace it with home-made chips if you like. Get the ‘barbie’/ ‘BBQ’ on now!! Continue reading “Mediterranean Beef Burgers – get the BBQ / ‘barbie’ on now!”

Sticky Chicken with Coleslaw – a big hit with the kids!


Sticky chicken

I can’t believe its taken me this long to feature Sticky Chicken with (homemade) Coleslaw from the Hairy Dieters on my blog as it’s a regular meal in my house. Coating the chicken thighs by combining ketchup, red/white wine vinegar, honey and Worcestershire sauce creates a wonderful BBQ sauce effect which adults and kids love in equal measure.

The other star of the show in this recipe is the coleslaw. Of course, you can save time by getting reduced calorie coleslaw from a supermarket, but for the little additional effort that is required I much prefer this homemade version. Any leftovers can do for accompanying a jacket potato for lunch the next day. Waste not, want not, folks.

You’ll find various ‘sticky’ diet-friendly recipes when browsing online or skimming healthy eating cookbooks. Check out Sticky Chicken Drumsticks and Sticky Pork Steaks on this blog. Continue reading “Sticky Chicken with Coleslaw – a big hit with the kids!”

Sticky pork steaks with coleslaw


Sticky pork steaks

Healthy-eating guru Justine Pattison is a genius at coming up with quick, tasty meals that are low in calories. Sticky pork steaks with coleslaw essentially involves the pork being coated with a barbecue glaze cleverly created by combining the ketchup, honey and Worcestershire sauce.

Fans of the Hairy Dieters (who Justine worked as a consultant on their early dieting books) will note that this recipe is very similar to the Hairy one’s Sticky chicken and coleslaw which you’ll find in their second book – Eat for Life. And if you’re really eagle-eyed, you’ll note that I decided to go with the Hairy Dieters’ home-made coleslaw recipe (white cabbage, carrot, spring onions, light mayo and natural yoghurt) instead of Justine’s as I’m not a fan of celeriac.

The pork steaks with the coleslaw is filling, but if you fancy a few home-made chips to go with it (it will add 119 calories) you can find the recipe in Justine’s Without the Calories – Comfort Food book. Continue reading “Sticky pork steaks with coleslaw”