Thai Green Chicken Curry – Tom Kerridge style


Thai green chicken curry

I’m a fan of Tom Kerridge, but on occasion I do think he makes his recipes unnecessarily faffy or ‘cheffy’. After a day at work I almost sacked off making his Thai Green Chicken Curry when looking at the long list of ingredients and method to make it. In the end, I used chicken breasts (which I diced and stir-fried for a couple of minutes first) instead of pissing about poaching a chicken crown and cutting off the meat. This saved some precious time in the kitchen.

As for the end result, well fair play to Tom, like most of his meals this did taste very good and the serving size was huge. I did make the mistake of substituting the 100ml full-fat coconut milk for 200ml half-fat coconut milk, mainly because I had a half-tin lurking in my cupboard and couldn’t see the point in opening a regular sized tin to only use 100ml. But this did make the curry runnier and as a consequence of having to simmer for longer some of the vege went soft. Would I eat this meal again? Yes, definitely. Would I make it again? Pass.

If you’re wanting a Thai curry fix, the Hairy Dieters do a simpler version for approx 150 calories less here. Continue reading “Thai Green Chicken Curry – Tom Kerridge style”

Cauliflower (and chicken) Pilaf


Cauliflower pilaf

Some dishes don’t turn out as well as they look in a book and sadly Cauliflower (and chicken) Pilaf from the Hairy Dieters was a disappointment to me. Undoubtedly, some of this was down to ‘user error’. I used a stick blender rather than the recommended food processor to blend my cauliflower rice which was a complete disaster. Pomegranate seeds, which you can buy in packs from supermarkets, were a poor substitute for an actual pomegranate, and my son couldn’t get to grips with removing some of the whole spices in the dish which aren’t supposed to be eaten.

Overall, both cooking and eating this after a day at work proved stressful, partly due to my own incompetence and also a lack of patience – it proved far too faffy and the suggested 30 minute time to have this on the table seems unrealistic. I wouldn’t write this recipe off entirely, there are a lot of powerful flavours within it, so perhaps you’ll fair better than me if you try it. Continue reading “Cauliflower (and chicken) Pilaf”

Chicken Chasseur with celeriac purée


chicken chasseur

Chicken Chasseur is a French classic dish which slowly cooks chicken, tomatoes and white wine in one pan. You may also have heard it referred to as ‘Hunters Chicken’. In this healthy version, The Hairy Dieters suggest serving it with celeriac puree as a lower-cal alternative to mashed potato.

Overall, it worked pretty well, apart from me having to use red wine instead of white because I’d downed a bottle of white wine the night before whilst bemoaning everything associated with COVID-19. In my hazy state, I figured that my teenage son Will wouldn’t notice if I substituted celeriac for his preferred mash as the juices and sauce would mask the taste. It was a case of wishful thinking due to celeriac having such a distinctive flavour and Will’s palette being more sensitive than a vegan on Facebook. Continue reading “Chicken Chasseur with celeriac purée”

Southern-Style Jambalaya – a one-pan feast from Louisiana


Southern style jambalaya

Southern-Style Jambalaya, heralding from Louisiana USA, not Essex, is a proper feast from the Hairy Dieters that combines loads of protein and vegetables in one-pan. It contains some of my favourite food – chicken, chorizo and prawns, and pays homage to some lesser regarded items such as celery and green peppers which help to bulk this filling meal out.

While there a lot of ingredients in this, a number of them are spices, which you’ll use over and over again if following a healthy eating plan. And even if you’re not, just make this anyway because it tastes absolutely fantastic. Continue reading “Southern-Style Jambalaya – a one-pan feast from Louisiana”

Moroccan-style chicken with vegetable couscous


Moroccan chicken

If you like a bit of ‘punch’ to your food you’ll love Moroccan-style Chicken with Vegetable Couscous from the Hairy Dieters. The harissa paste, spices, honey and yoghurt really bring it to life, and accompanied by the vegetables and couscous makes for a delicious lunch or Spring evening meal.

The calorie count for this meal is just 305 per portion and it really fills you up too. Do take the time to marinate the chicken in the fridge (the book says 30 minutes, but try and leave it for longer if you can) and you’ll be delighted with the end result. Continue reading “Moroccan-style chicken with vegetable couscous”

Chicken and Mushroom Risotto


Chicken and mushroom rissotto

If you’re on a tight budget, or simply want to make your ingredients go further, then Chicken and Mushroom Risotto from the Hairy Dieters is an excellent recipe to try. It requires just 2 chicken breasts, half a pack of chestnut mushrooms and the normally calorific creamy risotto rice is made slimming friendly by stirring in a couple of tablespoons of crème fraiche. I’ve never typically gone for traditional risotto-based dishes so I can’t tell the difference, except to the benefit of my waistline!

Reducing the chicken stock is quite a laborious task, but personally I didn’t mind as all you need to do is keep an eye on the pan and it’s not as if you have to faff around doing extra chopping or prep work. A word of warning, the portion is quite small so you might want to bulk it out by adding some green vege. I opted for peas in this instance. Oh, and if you can’t / don’t want to get any expensive wild mushrooms, don’t worry. They do add an extra ‘earthiness’ to the dish but frankly you can take them or leave them.

If you’re wondering what to do with any spare chicken breasts or mushrooms, give Pollo Pasta with Pesto from Justine Pattison a go. Continue reading “Chicken and Mushroom Risotto”

Chicken stir-fry – 20 ingredients for under 200 calories


Chicken stir-fry

A LOT goes into Chicken Stir-Fry from the Hairy Dieters, 20 ingredients in fact, yet surprisingly this comes in at just 196 calories per portion. That’s because it’s full of the good stuff (vegetables) and other stuff which helps to bulk the meal out (water chestnuts and beansprouts) but doesn’t necessarily add a lot of flavour.

The addition of the soy sauce, rice wine, chicken stock, curry powder and sesame oil did up the ante somewhat for my critical tastebuds, but it still didn’t run my local takeaway close in terms of flavour. However to add perspective, if you want a healthy, filling weeknight dinner for under 200 calories then this is one to try. Continue reading “Chicken stir-fry – 20 ingredients for under 200 calories”

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!”

Herby chicken traybake – frugal feeding


Herby chicken traybake

Ok, so as the photo shows I’ve unceremoniously burnt my potatoes, so why am I publishing this? Well, I want this blog to be honest, down-to-earth and, above all, relevant. These are frugal and uncertain times we find ourselves in so Jamie Oliver’s Herby Chicken Traybake fits the bill when we can no longer pick and choose what we want to eat.

This recipe uses just 5 base ingredients and can be prepped in less than 10 minutes. Chicken legs are cheaper than breast and I had some potatoes lurking at the bottom of my fridge and a lonely lemon. It wouldn’t be my first choice of meal, but it was probably one of the most satisfying ones I’ve made recently, even if my spuds were a little too ‘well done’. Continue reading “Herby chicken traybake – frugal feeding”

Penang chicken and sweet potato curry – Thaitastic!


Penang chicken

Several healthy eating cookbooks contain ‘fakeaway’ chapters – reduced-fat recipes of our favourite takeaways – but none better than Justine Pattison who has dedicated an entire book to them. Penang chicken and sweet potato curry is a sumptuous Thai fakeaway that I’d be delighted to have served to me in a restaurant. The beauty of this is that you can enjoy restaurant quality food for just over 400 calories providing you follow the simple cooking method to the letter.

The sweet potatoes mean that you don’t need to add extra calories by having rice or bread, and the accompaniment of the stir-fried broccoli with chilli and garlic adds some extra zing and class for only 48 calories more. This is a really special dish to cook on a weekend ‘date night’. So crack open some vino, tuck into this and get ‘love is in the air’ blasting out by John Paul Young and you’ll be sorted :-).

If you love this, why not try another of Justine’s fakeaway crackerjacks – Ginger Chicken with Udon Noodles. Continue reading “Penang chicken and sweet potato curry – Thaitastic!”

Spanish-style chicken bake


Spanish chicken

The Hairy Dieters’ Spanish-style chicken bake may take over an hour to prep and cook but the flavoursome juices from the chicken thighs, chorizo, tomatoes and garlic, combined with the smoked paprika and oregano, make this a joy to devour once ready.

Do take the time to ensure the chicken and new potatoes are cooked through and tender, and it’s also worth taking the trouble to drizzle the chorizo juices over the chicken as part of the final stage of cooking. The end result is a fabulous, colourful plate of food that doesn’t resemble being on a ‘diet’ at all.

But you might want to leave consuming the whole pieces of garlic if you’re going on a ‘hot date’, or better still, cook this for your ‘date’ and get them to scoff the garlic with you. Sharing is caring ha ha! Continue reading “Spanish-style chicken bake”

Fast Chicken Fajitas – TGI Fridays on a diet


Chicken fajitas

TGI Fridays was a regular destination for me when I lived in Sheffield, but as much as I loved the food it didn’t love my waistline or wallet! Fast Chicken Fajitas from the Hairy Dieters is about as close as I can get to re-creating the TGI effect when watching my weight and can be rustled up for around £2 per person.

This recipe is perfect for a Friday night when you’re fancying a ‘treat’ without resorting to a takeaway and only takes about 10 minutes to cook. I recommend prepping the ingredients in advance and then you can literally throw everything into the pan.

Fancying a Mexican love-in? Why not incorporate Breakfast Omelette Burritos and Chilli Con Carne into your weekly menu? Continue reading “Fast Chicken Fajitas – TGI Fridays on a diet”

Pollo pasta with pesto – Friday night sorted


Pollo chicken

If I’m going to cheat on my diet then I’m most susceptible on a Friday night when I’m tired after work and can’t be arsed cooking. Pollo pasta with pesto from Justine Pattison is a great fallback option when I’m on the verge of calling Just Eat, can be on the table within half an hour and tastes fantastic. Even better, it costs just over a quid per serving to make!

Calories wise this recipe is quite high at 498, but you’ll save a few if you omit the single cream and remember this is still much better than scoffing a takeaway. I’ve always got chicken, mushrooms, pesto, pasta and sundried tomatoes to hand so this meal has become one of my favourite ‘store cupboard saviours’. Continue reading “Pollo pasta with pesto – Friday night sorted”

Low-cal chicken tikka masala – worth stripping off for!


Chicken tikka

It’s January. I’m skint and that, combined with my need to sift some post-Christmas ‘timber’, means that Indian takeaways are firmly off the menu for now. Thankfully, low-cal chicken tikka masala from the Hairy Dieters is a brilliant ‘plan B’. In fact, it tastes so good that this could become ‘plan A’ going forward.

Do take the trouble to marinate the chicken overnight if you can as the flavours, particularly the ginger, intensify which makes the end result really satisfying. Personally, I left the salt out of this dish because I’m not a fan and I don’t think the recipe needs it but see what you think. Please note, the calories listed below DO NOT include rice or naan. A small piece of bread satisfies me when mopping up the sauce and the dish will still come in at under 500 cals.

Prep does take a while but this is a doddle to make. The only ‘health and safety’ precaution I need to make is to momentarily ‘strip off’ when blending the sauce with a stick blender as I tend to get it all down my top and up the walls if I’m not careful. It’s not just me, right? Continue reading “Low-cal chicken tikka masala – worth stripping off for!”

Creamy chicken and tarragon pots with rosemary potato wedges


chicken tarragon

Mmmmmmmmm. There’s not much more to say about Creamy chicken and tarragon pots with rosemary potato wedges – it’s just soooooo good! The dish appears in the Hairy Dieters’ Good Eating book and the recipe was sent in by one of their readers, Amy Huyler, who is the brains behind this sumptuous meal. Take a bow, Amy!

In Amy’s own words, “a tasty, tempting pot of creamy deliciousness with all the yum factor of a Great British chicken pie, but none of the calories of puff pastry or double cream”. I couldn’t put it any better myself so I’m not going to try, except for saying give the rosemary potato wedges a go as they also taste fantastic accompanied with some tenderstem broccoli, perhaps.

Fans of the Hairy Dieters might recall that this recipe is similar to chicken and ham tangle pie which appears in their inaugural diet book (How to Love Food and Lose Weight), but crucially (I don’t know why I said ‘crucially’) takes a little longer to make and is slightly higher in calories due to the addition of the filo pastry topping. But that’s another cracking dish which I’ll try and feature on this blog at some point in the future. Continue reading “Creamy chicken and tarragon pots with rosemary potato wedges”

Sticky chicken drumsticks for 61p per serving!


drumsticks

Sticky chicken drumsticks from the Hairy Dieters are a fab weekend lunch dish and ridiculously cheap to make at a cost of about 60p per serving! My only slight bone of contention (excuse the pun) is that I don’t believe this meal is particularly ‘fast’ to make, as per the Hairy Dieters’ billing in their ‘Fast Food‘ book that most of the recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less. I’m not exactly lightening quick in the kitchen though so perhaps so you can rustle this up in no time.

If this recipe appeals to you, then check out my previous blog on fusion tandoori chicken drumsticks (also from the Hairy Dieters), which is equally as tasty and less ‘faffy’ to make as once the drumsticks have finished marinating you can simply bang them in the oven. Continue reading “Sticky chicken drumsticks for 61p per serving!”

Chicken biryani- a flavour-bomb fakeaway


chicken biryani

When compiling a list of my favourite Indian curries that I wanted to try as a ‘fakeaway’, Chicken Biryani didn’t immediately spring to mind. But I’m so glad I decided to make this reduced-calorie version from the Hairy Dieters as it’s literally bursting with flavours which made for a fabulous surprise.

Some healthy eating books regularly throw in the claim ‘this is better than a takeaway’ almost to the point of it becoming a cliché, however this was exactly the conclusion I came to after demolishing this chicken biryani meal. There a lot of ingredients, but as long as you follow the method to the letter it will turn out brilliantly.

A lot of ‘fakeaway’ recipes give you the calorie count for the meal WITHOUT rice, so if you’re not careful what seems like an ultra healthy dish on paper can be potentially misleading. This chicken biryani meal INCLUDES rice and comes in at just under 400 calories (based on serving 5 people) so you don’t need to worry whether this is a healthy choice for your diet! Continue reading “Chicken biryani- a flavour-bomb fakeaway”

Chicken and broad bean pilaf


Broad beans

Chicken and broad bean pilaf from the Hairy Dieters contains a wonderful mix of flavours – chicken, vegetables, rice, spices and herbs which combine together to form a really satisfying dish for just 310 calories. And despite the long list of ingredients it’s very cheap and simple to make in just one pan.

This meal can be rustled up in under half an hour but definitely plan ahead by getting the chicken thighs marinating and ‘double-podding’ the broad beans, which can be a labour of love. If you’re vegetarian, or planning to have a ‘meat-free Monday’, you can leave out the chicken and still enjoy a brilliant recipe for only 218 calories. Continue reading “Chicken and broad bean pilaf”

Chicken Bhuna – fab ‘fakeaway’!


Chicken bhuna

You’ll find lots of cracking Indian ‘fakeaway’ dishes throughout the Hairy Dieters’ books and Chicken Bhuna is right up there with the best of them. In fact, if my 13-year old son didn’t despise peppers I’d probably make this more often than I do. Perhaps it’s time to show the boy some tough love and make him eat this belting curry more often? I digress…

I really like the simplicity of this recipe. Unlike the majority of Indian dishes which require lots of spices, this one only uses mild curry powder and garam masala. The addition of the fresh ginger, garlic, chopped tomatoes and chilli powder work their magic to produce a fantastic sauce and hey presto, job done.

The calorie count is 305 calories but do keep in mind this is WITHOUT including rice and/or naan bread. But if you do succumb to these extras this meal is still far healthier than a standard takeaway, and a damn site cheaper and dare I say it, tastier too! Continue reading “Chicken Bhuna – fab ‘fakeaway’!”

Smashed Up Chicken – simply smashing!


Smashed up Chicken

The Hairy Dieters’ Smashed Up Chicken is a household favourite in my home and combines some cracking flavours to give this dish a creamy, luxurious feel which is soooooo yummy to eat. It’s definitely one of the ‘Hairy Ones’ finest recipes which has been adapted and ‘slimmed down’ from one of their earlier books, but the end result feels more like restaurant food rather than ‘diet’ food.

There’s a fair few ingredients here and you’ll need three different pans, so if you’re making this on a week night after work I suggest you prep and get all the ingredients out in advance so you don’t feel flustered. However, this is a cinch to make but I tend to cook it on a weekend when I’m less pushed for time. If you have sufficient willpower (and hey I’m not judging if you don’t), you can save any leftovers for lunch the next day.

If you’re a huge pasta pan, and let’s face it who isn’t, then why not try the Hairy Dieters’ Pasta Puttanesca and Tagliatelle Carbonara which are featured elsewhere on this blog. Continue reading “Smashed Up Chicken – simply smashing!”