Spanish style Chicken, Chorizo and Butter Bean – 370 kcals

Over on the 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Recipes from Around the World group on Facebook, there is a Spanish theme going on. So this week I thought I would share one of my Spanish-inspired recipes.  

Chicken, Chorizo and Butter Bean

Key flavour ingredients are the lovely smoked paprika and a little robust flavoured chorizo. You can use other beans instead, but I am particularly fond of these, so big and soft and buttery. I buy them ready to use in glass jars. If using dried beans, you will need to soak them overnight, then drain and put in a pan, cover with fresh water, add some herbs like bay leaves and thyme. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until tender.

Chicken, Chorizo and Butter Bean

The addition of the beans and chorizo makes this a substantial dish with robust Spanish flavourings.

Serves 2

  • 300g chicken breast fillet 330 kcals
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 4 kcals
  • 30g chorizo 105 kcals
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 9 kcals
  • 150g courgettes, sliced 30 kcals
  • 200g tomatoes, peeled and chopped 76 kcals
  • 120g cooked butter beans 97 kcals
  • 2 tsp olive oil 84 kcals

To garnish

  • Some chopped coriander or flat parsley leaves

Trim the chicken breast and sprinkle all over with the smoked paprika.

Peel the skin off the chorizo and cut into slices.

Heat the oil in a heavy pan and add the chicken and chorizo, turning and frying until the chicken is sealed on all sides and the chorizo is starting to release oil.

Add the garlic and courgettes and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the tomatoes, parsley and butter beans and add a couple of tablespoonfuls of water.

Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is tender.

Garnish with chopped coriander or parsley.

This looks good served in a cazuela, a flat earthenware dish used extensively in Spain.

Per serving: kcals 368
Carbs 19g Fat 11g Protein 45g

This is on Page 122 of 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life

Chicken, Chorizo and Butter Bean

Serve with Cauliflower and Caper Salad (page 42) 73 kcals Cauliflower and Caper Salad 
and Cabbage, Green Pepper and Raisin Salad (click on the link or look on page 50) 70 kcals 

Cabbage, Green Pepper and Caraway Saladwhich works out to just slightly over 500  (adjust portions slightly for 500/600), or simply with Cauliflower Rice (page 84) at only 25 kcals for 100 grams.



First Anniversary Fast Day – Leek and Crunchy Carrot Gratin

It is now a year since we started following 5:2 Intermittent Fasting. Wow. I remember how strange it felt that first day, going without lunch. Well nowadays, more often than not, I go without breakfast too and find it makes no difference to how hungry I feel in the afternoon. I still tend to get a dip, and a rumble or two mid-afternoon, but it doesn’t interfere with whatever else I want to do. I just have another cup of something and carry on.

For my first anniversary fast day dinner, I’m going to use up some ingredients that I have in the fridge, which includes fresh leeks and carrots and an assortment of cheese. I also have piles of gorgeous nuts, which I love to have around the house at Christmas time. Some of these are walnuts from our own garden, which was a good crop this year. It is worth buying caraway seeds to use in this, they add a great flavour to the dish. They are handy to have with all kinds of cabbage dishes as well, they reputedly help with reducing flatulence!

Leek and Crunchy Carrot GratinThe recipe in my book serves 5, so I’ll probably freeze a couple of portions for another time (before cooking), as it’s just me for this meal. But I won’t mind eating leftovers!

I have a lovely basket of small satsumas from Corsica that caught my eye when I went shopping, so dessert will be one of those, together with some of my first batch of home-made kefir yogurt. More about that another day.

This is one of the recipes that I have included in 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life which is now available in print and kindle editions from Amazon.

Leek and Crunchy Carrot Gratin

Leek and Crunchy Carrot Gratin

This is a very flavourful vegetarian main which is low enough in calories to have on a 5:2 Fast Day or as part of a calorie-counted healthy eating plan. It would also work well to serve as a side dish with sausages (baked in the oven at the same time)

With the vegetables, milk, cheese, breadcrumbs and nuts, this has a good balance of ingredients. I used oddments of cheese that I had left – a little cheddar, some Comté and some crumbled blue sheep’s cheese, which worked fine, but you can use any hard cheese really. The caraway seeds add a really interesting flavour.

Serves 5

  • 500g leeks, cut into chunks 155 kcals
  • 150ml vegetable stock or water 12 kcals
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds 7 kcals
  • 250ml semi-skimmed milk 113 kcals
  • 10g unsalted butter 70 kcals
  • 1 tbsp plain flour 52 kcals
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the topping

  • 60g fresh wholewheat breadcrumbs 127 kcals
  • 2 medium carrots, grated 50 kcals
  • 75g grated hard cheese 312 kcals
  • 15g chopped walnuts 98 kcals

Preheat the oven to 180c (fan).

Put the leeks in a saucepan with the stock or water and seeds.

Bring to the boil, cover and then simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, until the leeks are softened.

Remove the leeks with a slotted draining spoon and transfer to a baking dish.

Pour the remaining liquid into a jug and make up to 300ml with milk.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.

When it starts to froth, add the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon to make a roux.

Remove from the heat and gradually add the liquid, beating well after each addition, to make a smooth sauce.

Return to the heat and simmer the sauce for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time, to make sure that it doesn’t burn and there are no lumps.

Check the seasoning.

Pour over the leeks.

Mix all the topping ingredients together and sprinkle over the top.

Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, until golden.

Serve with some fresh green vegetables, such as steamed broccoli.

Per serving: kcals 199
Carbs 20g Fat 10g Protein 7g

Leek and Crunchy Carrot Gratin

Something for the weekend – Baked Citrus Chicken

This is a super way of cooking chicken and a perfect winter warmer or family meal, that is low enough in calories to have on a Fast Day! All you need to add is some steamed green beans and carrots and some wilted spinach. This has become a firm favourite since I first cooked it last February and is now my preferred way of cooking a whole chicken. The citrus-flavoured gravy is delicious.

This is one of the recipes that I have included in 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life which is now available in print and kindle editions from Amazon.

Baked Citrus Chicken with Pumpkin, Parsnips and Peppers

Baked Citrus Chicken

The idea here is to have the enjoyment of a roast chicken, but by using citrus juice instead of fat, the whole meal is lighter and healthier. When there are just the 2 of us for lunch, I can get several meals from an average sized bird, and then there is the carcass to make stock with for a tasty soup and leftovers to have with salad. A great alternative to a traditional Sunday Roast!

Serves 4

  • 1 whole chicken (1.5kg) 917 kcals
  • 2 oranges 40 kcals
  • 1 lime 20 kcals
  • 500g pumpkin or butternut squash 170 kcals
  • 1 med-large (200g) parsnip 150 kcals
  • 1 red bell pepper 37 kcals
  • 1 red onion 44 kcals
  • 1 red chilli 6 kcals
  • 1 tbsp jerk seasoning
  • 1 tsp Bisto gravy powder (optional) 5 kcals
  • 300 ml vegetable stock or water

Heat the oven to 180C (fan).

Remove any visible fat from the chicken.

Peel the pumpkin or squash, the parsnip and the red onion. Trim the pepper and chilli and remove the seeds and pith. Cut all the veggies into wedges and put into a roasting tray.

Make slivers from some of the orange and lime peel (no pith) and reserve.

Lightly grate the remainder over the veggies.

Squeeze the juice of the fruits and pour half over the veggies.

Put the chicken on top and brush the remainder of the juice over, then rub in the jerk seasoning.

Bake for 1 to 1.5 hours, until the chicken is cooked through, basting regularly with the juice.

Put the chicken to rest on a warm serving plate and keep the veggies warm while you make the gravy.

If there is any visible fat in the pan juices, strain it off.

Add stock or water to the pan together with the orange and lime rind.

I like to use a little Bisto mixed with water to make the gravy a little thicker, but it will have a good colour anyway from the jerk spices.

Bring to the boil and simmer for few minutes whilst steaming other veggies to serve with it.

Serve slices or portions of meat without skin, the wonderful coloured vegetables alongside and gravy with some of the peel to bring the whole dish together.

You could use sweet potato or beetroot instead of parsnip.

Based on a recipe in an old Good Housekeeping cookery club book “Healthy Eating”, 1995.

Per serving: 349 kcals
Carbs 30g Fat 9g Protein 38g

Serve with steamed vegetables such as julienne carrots, broccoli spears and peas.

a great alternative to a Sunday Roast - Baked Orange Chicken with Pumpkin, Parsnip and Peppers

Baked Citrus Chicken with Pumpkin, Parsnip and Peppers

Monday Fast Day Meal Plan

Today’s fast day menu is going to be

_MG_0197 Stuffed Salmon Fillet with Steamed Vegetables _MG_3300

Moroccan Cauliflower Soup – 87 kcals
Salmon stuffed with Pinenuts and Herbs – 186 kcals
Mixed Steamed Vegetables – 42 kcals
Cinnamon and Citrus Pineapple – 135 kcals

for a total of 450 kcals.

Graham has some porridge and prunes for breakfast and a slightly larger portion of fish to bring his intake up to 600 kcals.

All these recipes are in my book 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life

If I get time today, I will add them here too.