Courgetti and Strawberry Salad

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Since starting my blogging journey, I’ve been inspired by (and in awe of!) the many fabulous health food bloggers out there, creating amazing recipes with deliciously fresh ingredients, and sharing drool-inducing photos of their creations.  It was while perusing some of these awesome foodies’ websites and salivating over their culinary endeavours that I came across spiralizing. Clearly, I am way behind the times – how have I missed all the hype about fruit and veggie ribbons and spaghetti styled courgettes??  I wondered if the spiralizer was just the latest kitchen gadget: something I would use once and then retire to the cupboard over the fridge, which is rarely opened: I need a stool to reach it!

I reasoned that I use my mandolin regularly and love Japanese food.  Surely something food-related originating in Japan can’t be bad?  So after a little research on the various brands and models I purchased a spiralizer online and eagerly awaited its arrival!

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I’m certainly not giving up on my yummy homemade pasta (mon Dieu!) or carbs altogether.  I think they are an important part of a balanced diet, especially for children.  However, I am bursting with ideas for new recipes using my spiralizer and it is a fun way to introduce kids to new ways of eating fruit and veg.

So here is the first of my spiralizer creations……[drum roll!]

I’ve made this salad both with and without chicken and it’s as tasty either way so if you’re vegetarian just simply leave out the chicken.

Serves 2 adult & 1 child portion.

The what:

2 large (3 smaller) chicken fillets, diced

handful of spinach leaves, stems removed

12g flaked almonds

150g strawberries, topped and quartered

2 courgettes, topped and tailed

3 tbsp natural yoghurt

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For the dressing:

juice from 1/2 an orange

juice from 1/2 lime

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

a pinch of ground black pepper

Tip: If you don’t have a spiralizer, a mandolin or julienne peeler are just as good for thinly slicing the courgette. If using a julienne peeler, you may find it easier to slice the courgette length-ways.

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The how:

Marinade the chicken in the yoghurt for a couple of hours / overnight.

You can also prepare the dressing in advance: just give it a good shake / stir again before using as the oil will have settled on top.  Add all the ingredients to a jar and shake well.  Taste test with a spinach leaf.

Pre-heat the oven to 220 (200 fan) and back for about 8 minutes and then flip the chicken pieces over, draining off any excess liquid and bake for a further 8 minutes.  Be careful not to let the chicken dry out.

Meanwhile slice the courgettes, either using a using a spiralizer to make courgetti, a mandolin or a julienne peeler (see tip above).  Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a pan and cook the courgette on medium heat for a couple of minutes to soften.  If you have used a mandolin and have very thin courgette slices, cook on a lower heat and stir and toss continuously in the pan to avoid too much browning, or burning.  Take of the heat and set aside.

toast the almonds in a dry saute pan on medium heat for about 1 minute, tossing regularly, and again being careful not to burn!

To assemble the salad, add the courgetti / courgette slices to your salad bowl.  Place the spinach leave on top and then add the chicken and strawberries. Sprinkle the almonds over the salad and pour the dressing on top.

Enjoy!

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Chicken and sweet potato in tomato sauce

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Little Coco got her first tooth recently:  a central incisor.  Judging by growing sparkle when she smiles it looks like this little tooth will shortly be joined by another two.  In the meantime we still need to blend certain foods for her (can’t wait be rid of the blender!), although I am gradually introducing more texture. It’s amazing how strong and sharp baby gums can be!

If you chop the vegetables finely, you won’t need to blend this dish much, if at all.  The sweet potato can be mashed and the chicken shredded with a knife and fork once cooked.

Makes 6 portions

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The what:

250g sweet potato, peeled and chopped

150g carrots, peeled and finely chopped

150g chicken fillets, diced

2 spring onions, finely sliced

200g plum tomatoes in natural juice

5 basil leaves, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely sliced

1/4 tbsp olive oil

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The how:

Place the sweet potato and carrots in a saucepan of boiling water. Bring back to the boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until soft.  Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the garlic and onions for 1-2 minutes.  They should be soft but not browning.  Then add the tomatoes and cook for 8 minutes stirring occasionally.

Remove the sweet potato and carrots from the saucepan using a slotted spoon and set aside.  Add the chicken to the cooking water in the saucepan and poach for 2-3 minutes.  Check the chicken is cooked through before removing from the heat.

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Mash the sweet potato and carrots and add the shredded chicken (or alternatively mix all three together and puree using a hand-held blender).  If blending, gradually add the tomato sauce – to minimise “splashage”. You may also want to wear an apron for this bit!.  Otherwise just stir the sauce into the mashed potato and chicken.  Coco loves this dish, although there isn’t much she doesn’t like!  Her tastes aren’t quite as selective or sophisticated yet…..

Happy weaning xx

 

Homemade take-away curry

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OK, I know it’s a contradiction in terms!  But you can cook take-away style food at home.  It’s quick, much healthier and you can serve in take-away boxes for a really authentic experience!  It’s also much cheaper than ordering a take-away.

I wanted to introduce Coco and Lentil to some gentle curry flavours and spices without creating too complex or piquant a first dish.  As this recipe is really easy and quick to make it’s perfect for a midweek dinner.  The mango chutney adds a refreshing element.

 

Makes 2 adult and 3 child portions.

The what:

600g chicken fillet, sliced into bite-sized pieces

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp turmeric

6 tbsp natural yoghurt

60g raisins

2 small red onions, sliced

1 tbsp olive oil

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For the mango chutney:

1 mango, skin removed and finely chopped

1 red onion, finely chopped

lime juice

1 clove garlic, finely sliced

2 small apples, peeled and finely chopped

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The how:

Add the spices to a large bowl and mix in the yoghurt to make the marinade.  Stir in the diced chicken, mix well ensuring all the chicken is coated and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

To make the chutney, simply add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix well.  Cover and place in the fridge until needed.

When the chicken is ready to be cooked heat the olive oil in a large saute pan, add the red onion and cook for 2-3 minutes to soften.  Next add the chicken and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the raisins and cook for a further 10 minutes. Make sure the chicken is cooked through before removing from the heat.

Serve with rice (brown if you’re feeling very healthy) and the mango chutney.

Enjoy!

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Buttery Buttermilk Chicken

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Lentil Is going through the painfully slow process of getting his back teeth at the moment which can affect his appetite for days at a time.  Having endured a few days of very little eating, mealtimes becoming a bit of a battlefield, I was delighted when he devoured this little dish!

Makes 3-4 portions

The what:

10g unsalted butter

3 mini chicken breasts, cubed

50ml buttermilk

6 mushrooms, sliced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 onion, chopped

a squidge of tomato puree

4 tbsp creme fraiche

1 tsp lemon juice

a tbsp parsley, finely chopped so the little ones don’t spot any big green leaves they don’t want to eat!

pepper to season

Serve with about 25g per portion of pasta or rice.

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The how:

Marinade the chicken in buttermilk for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile saute the onion, garlic and mushrooms in the butter on medium heat.  Remove from the pan and set aside.  Turn up the heat and cook the chicken for 7-8 minutes until it is cooked through.  Next re-add the onions, garlic and mushrooms and stir.  Add the tomato puree, creme fraiche and lemon juice and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Season with pepper and mix in the parsley.

Serve with pasta or rice.

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ABC: aubergine, barley, chicken

The barley takes a bit of time to cook but it’s pretty straight forward and the rest of this recipe is really easy and quick.  You just throw everything into the pot and leave it to bubble away!  The harissa spice is a gentle way of introducing your little one’s palate to some different flavours and spice.

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