Main Meal recipes

Cheat’s Quiche

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Dairy free, Gluten free, Vegetarian
I love a good quiche, but making the crust from scratch is too time consuming & fiddly for me. So I came up with an alternative to save time, but max taste.

Ingredients

  • 5 Medium Desiree potatoes (or 1 large sweet potato)
  • olive oil
  • 12 cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
  • 6 sundried tomatoes (cut in half)
  • 12 pitted olives of choice (cut in half)
  • 1 Large handful of baby spinach
  • 8 free range / organic eggs (extra large)
  • 2/3 cups milk of choice
  • 40g feta cheese (crumbled)
  • salt, pepper and fresh basil (to season - basil optional)

Directions

Preparing your tools
1. For this recipe you will need a medium sized casserole dish or standard quiche dish. You'll also need a chopping board, sharp knife, large mixing bowl, egg whisk (or fork) and your oven. A 'oil brush' would also help otherwise your fingers will do the trick.
Prepare the quiche
2. Oven goes on first, around 210 degrees so quite hot. Slice your potatoes/sweet potato into thin, round slices, as though you were making a layered potato bake. Thin and crispy is good!
Grease the base and the sides of your chosen quiche/casserole dish with oil using either your fingers or a brush. Then place a single layer of potatoes on the bottom and work your way up the sides with the sliced potato as well. This is instead of using pastry! Note: if you are using a really large dish your quiche will be more like a 'slice' and you may need extra potato to cover the surface area. If your chosen dish is deeper with less surface area then less potato will be required.
Once the entire dish is 'lined' bottom and sides with your 'potato crust' then throw this in the oven and it will cook for 10-15 minutes until starting to brown.
Prepare the rest and throw it together
3. Prepare your sundried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and olives as specified (cut in half basically).
Crack your eggs in the large bowl and add the milk and whisk together with a whisk or simply a fork.
Once the potatoes are done, remove the quiche dish from the oven and turn the oven down to about 160 degrees. Place your tomatoes and olives on the bottom, evenly spread across the base. Then add the large handful of baby spinach leaves. Then season well with salt, pepper and some chopped fresh basil as desired. Finally, gently pour over your egg mixture. Top with crumbled feta.
Place the prepared dish back into the oven and cook until the quiche is set and starting to brown on top - about 30 minutes.
Serve with a basic garden salad or some additional steamed greens.

Note

Egg based dishes are so versatile because they can be used for a variety of meals from breakfast through to supper. For meat eaters, it’s important to include a wide variety of proteins in the diet and chicken or beef shouldn’t be the basis of every meal. In fact, plants should be the bulk of all of our meals regardless of whether we are vegetarian or not. From there, you should be adding a palm side portion of protein of choice, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates.

This recipe ticks all of those boxes and it’s prepared in under 20 minutes (eggs/cheese=protein and fats, spinach, tomatoes and side=plant based, potato=complex carbohydrate). A big tick for my TBN criteria.

We all have buying power and we all have a responsibility for the footprint we leave on this Earth. This is a huge topic and warrants further research on my behalf and further blogging, but please consider your options when purchasing eggs. There is a big push to ban caged eggs in Australia and there are questions being put forward regarding the treatment and conditions of free range eggs as well. If you do have the option of purchasing organic then I do believe this is best. Consider that 2 eggs is 1 serve of protein which means, even if you are paying $8 for a carton, you are only paying $1.30 for a serve of quality protein. This is far less than you would pay for a meat based alternative.

Better yet, befriend someone who has well tendered chooks and take the excess off their hands!

It really doesn’t matter whether you use white or sweet potato and other vegetables like zucchini, pumpkin and eggplant would also work. Or a variety altogether! The humble white spud cops a lashing but in reality it isn’t inferior to its orange cousin – it’s just different. There is no reason why both can’t be included in the context of a healthy, balanced diet. Use what’s in season and what you have lying around this week. Again, a topic for another blog!

Of course, the options for ‘fillings’ here are endless and my recipe is merely one of them. It has a more Mediterranean feel. Next time I will fill this one with fried mushrooms, spinach, garlic and dried herbs maybe with a drop of truffle oil….. yummo.

Minestrone Soup

Serves 6
Prep time 15 hours
Cook time 2 hours
Total time 17 hours
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Dairy free, Dinner, Gluten free, Lunch
This healthy minestrone soup could more appropriately be called 'hug in a bowl.' Full of nourishing vegetables & complex carbs, it's a perfect winter meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (for cooking)
  • 6 rashes of bacon (remove skin, chop finely)
  • 2 Small onions (chopped or pulsed through food processor)
  • 4 cloves garlic (chopped or pulsed through food processor)
  • 3 Large carrots (diced or pulsed through food processor)
  • 3 celery stalks (diced or pulsed through food processor)
  • 4 Small zucchini (diced - or use 2 large)
  • 3 teaspoons dried mixed herbs or dried basil
  • 800g tinned, diced tomatoes
  • 800ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 can 4 bean mix (or use tinned beans of choice)
  • 250g pasta of choice (I used buckwheat spirals)
  • 4 Small desiree potato (or potato of choice - dice into 1/2 cm pieces)
  • 2 Large handfuls of baby spinach (or use finely chopped cabbage)
  • salt, pepper (to season)
  • fresh basil leaves (to taste - optional)

Directions

Preparing your tools
1. You will need 2 chopping boards (1 for veg 1 for bacon), 2 sharp knives for chopping, your food processor (if you have one) and a large, deep frying pan.
Get started
2. Place the pan over medium / high heat with the olive oil. Finely chop your bacon* as the pan heats up then toss it into the oil. As this fries off, chop or process your garlic and onion and add these to the pan. Cook for a further 4 to 5 minutes until onion is translucent and aromas begin to waft.... meanwhile prepare your veg.
Chop your vegetables
3. This process is QUICK if you can simply throw things in the food processor and pulse! If not, you will need to chop by hand. Start with the celery - add this to the pan as soon as its chopped up and stir the mixture evenly. Then do the same with the carrots and the potatoes. All 3 of these veg should be roughly the same size once diced up. You also add your dried herbs at this point. Lastly, chop your zucchini but set this aside as you won't need to add it just yet.
The slow version....
4. If time is on your side (i.e. you are doing this on a Sunday afternoon amidst other chores) then at this point you can add your tinned tomatoes and 1/2 the stock, turn the heat to low and cook slowly for 1 and a half hours. Over the hour and 1/2 simply stir the mixture a few times, keeping the mixture at just below a simmer. Add the rest of the stock about 45 minutes into the total cooking time. After 90 minutes, drain your beans and add them into your soup along with the pasta and zucchini. Turn the heat up and let the soup bubble for a further 30 minutes at a stronger simmer.
The short on time version...
5. From step 3, add all the tinned tomatoes and the stock and simmer on high for 20 minutes until your vegetables are cooked. Then add your zucchini, pasta and beans and continue simmering hard for another 15 minutes.
Final steps
6. Whether you have followed the slow cook or the fast cook version, the final step involves stirring through your baby spinach at the last minute, throwing in some fresh basil (optional) and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve
7. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with a little Parmesan cheese on top. Ladle leftovers into glass containers / bowls for lunches the next day.

Note

*Bacon is an ‘occasional’ food but it really does make this soup. I recommend you purchase high quality bacon from a butcher and if possible source a nitrate free option.

If you choose to use cabbage instead of spinach add the cabbage when you add the pasta, zucchini and beans as cabbage takes a little longer to cook.

This is comfort food at its best and yet it’s packed full of veggies and fibre rich carbohydrates (legumes). All of the ingredients in this recipe can be sourced easily and inexpensively demonstrating that real food eating is NOT expensive. If you have a large family and you still want the benefit of leftovers, you could double this recipe if you have a very large stock pot you can use on your stove.

I strongly recommend the slow cooked version as the flavours have more time to develop, but the alternative means that this soup can still be prepared and plated up mid week.

This is going to be one of my checkpoint meals in our upcoming Oxfam 100km trail race… I am blessed with an iron gut and I can handle a good meal even if I do have to run off just 15 minutes later. I am hoping the thought of this nourishing soup will draw me toward the 79km mark despite the pain I am anticipating. I’ll have to cook up something even more glorious to have at the end so I’m motivated to finish off the race ;).

Homemade Baked Beans

Serves 4-6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Breakfast, Main Dish
Misc Gluten free
By author Teresa Cutter - the Healthy Chef

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Large brown onion (chopped)
  • 1 Small red chilli (finely chopped - optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic (chopped - optional)
  • 1kg really ripe tomatoes (fruit and veg shops often sell slightly overripe toms by the kilo bag... that's perfect for this recipe)
  • 2 Medium capsicum (any colour - chopped)
  • 2 cans butter beans (rinsed and drained)
  • sea salt and pepper (to season)
  • 2 Large handfuls of baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 Large handful of chopped parsley (optional)
  • 2 Large free range or organic eggs (optional - serving suggestion)
  • parmesan cheese (optional - serving suggestion)

Directions

Preparing your tools
1. You will need a chopping board and sharp knife, a colander (to rinse and drain your canned butter beans) and a large, deep frying pan. Alternatively, you can use your food processor for chopping, this may save a little time.
Get chopping and fire up the stove
2. Begin by chopping your onion, garlic and chilli. This can be set aside in a small bowl. Alternately, you can whiz this in a food processor. Once these bits are chopped place your frypan over medium/high heat with the olive oil so this can heat up over 3-4 minutes. Once hot, add in your garlic, chilli and onion. Roughly chop your capsicum and add this in next. Once the capsicum is in, quarter your tomatoes and add these to the mixture in the pan. Stir well. Reduce heat to a slight simmer for about 8 minutes until the tomatoes appear to have 'collapsed.'
Add in the rest...
3. Next, add in your drained beans, honey and salt and pepper (to taste) and cook the mixture for a further 6-7 minutes until the beans have softened - taste to check. Lastly, you want to stir through your spinach and parlsey and the butter. The butter emulsifies the tomato sauce making it thicker and giving it a beautiful full flavour.
Egg variation
4. If you want to serve this with 'poached' eggs as you can see in the picture, you need to crack these on top of the mixture partway through step 3. Once the beans are added, stir the mixture so it is well combined and cook for 3-4 minutes only. Then add in your spinach, herbs and butter and mix everything well. Then make 2 little 'wells' in the mixture and crack your eggs into these wells. It is then best to put the lid on the frypan to seal the heat in as the eggs will poach quicker this way. You will know things are ready as the eggs will no longer be translucent, the white will appear cooked and the yolk is best served runny (in my opinion), This poaching process takes about 5-6 minutes with the lid on.
Serve
5. Serve in a large, deep bowl as is or with a dense sourdough toast on the side. Leftovers keep well in the fridge for 2-3 days although cook your eggs up fresh and add these each time as they won't keep as nicely as the rest of the mixture.

Note

There are a lot of reasons I like this recipe.
This is so much better than the Heinz version of baked beans in flavour, taste and nutrient status! I know baked beans are traditionally eaten for breakfast, but I love this one as an easy mid week dinner and the leftovers for breakie or lunch the following day.
This dish can be made a lot simpler – if you have a look above, this is an adaptation of Teresa Cutter’s recipe and hers was simpler. I just added some extra vegetables to tick a few more TBN criteria, but you can keep it simple too or change up the vegetables depending on what is in your crisper.
This is a dirt cheap recipe to create and a testament that real food does not have to cost the earth. Even without the eggs, the beans provide some meat free protein so the recipe is well balanced. You could easily make this vegan by adding coconut oil instead of butter.
Chill, garlic and parsley are completely optional and just add a little more depth to the flavour of the dish. Parmesan sprinkled over the top at the end of the cooking process makes for a lovely serving option.
Butter beans are actually lima beans, originally from Peru. I recall eating buckets of lima beans in a variety of ways when I was travelling in Peru in my early 20s. Any legumes are a good addition to the diet of both meat eaters and vegetarians. They contain both protein and carbohydrate. Like other legumes, lima beans are packed full of fibre which may assist with reducing cholesterol levels, sweeping clean the bowel environment and stabilising blood sugar levels. Lima beans contain a decent whack of iron and getting iron into a non-meat eaters diet can be a bit of a challenge. So this dish is a bit of an all-round champion for its nutrients, cost efficiency, taste and simplicity.
Note: replace 1kg of roma tomatoes with 1 x 800g tin of diced tomatoes plus ½ a 400g tin if necessary. If your tomatoes are not really ripe, then I recommend you use half tinned and half fresh as you may not get enough juice from your tomatoes if they aren’t ripe enough.
This is a homemade baked bean recipe that even the non-baked bean eater will love!

Salmon with warm orange and feta salad

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 35 minutes
Total time 50 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Dinner, Gluten free
A simple weekday meal that marries the tang of orange citrus, creaminess of feta and goodness of salmon into a healthy, balanced meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 salmon fillets (or chicken thighs if you are not a salmon lover)
  • 2 chicken thighs (for lunch the following day - read recipe notes)
  • 4 Large handfuls of lettuce / baby spinach leaves (a 100g bag would do)
  • 100g danish feta
  • 2 handfuls pepitas (or sunflower seeds)
  • 2 Large oranges
  • 1 cup brown rice (measured raw)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed or finely chopped)
  • handful coriander leaves (optional)
  • salt and pepper to season
  • macadamia oil (for dressing and cooking - or olive oil)

Directions

Preparing your tools
1. you will need a large salad bowl, a small saucepan, salad tongs, a large shallow fry pan, a shallow container or dish (for marinading), a chopping board and a sharp knife.
Cook your rice
2. Combine the brown rice with 2 and a half cups of water on the stove. Bring it to the boil and simmer for about 25 minutes until water has absorbed and rice is cooked. Then remove the saucepan from heat and leave the lid off so the rice becomes 'warm' not hot as you finish cooking. N.B. this is the most time consuming step although you can keep busy whilst the rice cooks.
Marinade
3. Lay the chicken and salmon into the shallow container. Finely chop both your garlic cloves and throw these over your protein. Then, cut 1 orange into quarters. Squeeze the juice of 2 quarters onto the protein. Add salt and pepper. Option - at this point you can also add some roughly chopped coriander stalks too. Once this is done place your protein in the fridge to continue developing flavour as it marinades.
Prepare the salad
4. The lettuce / spinach leaves need to be placed in the salad bowl. Take the remaining 1 and a a half oranges, cut these into bite sized pieces and add to the salad. Crumble the feta over the top and toss through the seeds and the coriander leaves. The brown rice should still be on the stove cooling off a little.
Cook your protein
5. Remove your protein from the fridge (it's probably only been in there for a few minutes). Heat your pan over medium/high heat with 2 tablespoons of macadamia oil. Place the protein in the pan and flip once the protein appears to be just over 'half cooked.' Cook the salmon to your liking. The chicken thighs may need a few minutes longer than the salmon. Remove both from heat once done.
Finish things off...
6. Now take the brown rice and toss it through the other salad ingredients. Also add 2 tablespoons of macadamia oil to the salad and some additional salt and pepper to taste. Divide the salad between 2 plates and 2 containers for lunch the next day. Serve the salmon fillets on top of the salad and divide the chicken among the 2 containers.

Note

Like all recipes that feature here, this one ticks all of the TBN criteria for a healthy meal.

Brown rice and orange provide high fibre and nutrient rich carbohydrates, the salmon and chicken cover off the protein portion and healthy fats come from the seeds / macadamia oil used in the salad and cooking process.

You could use olive oil instead, however macadamia oil does have a really lovely delicate flavour perfect for this dish. In addition, macadamia oil works better at higher heat than olive oil so you can get that crust on your salmon. Both macadamias/macadamia oil and salmon are extremely good sources of omega 3 fatty acids which the majority of Australians are now deficient in. We need omega 3 for brain health, heart health, reducing inflammation and healthy cell membranes. Supplemental omega 3 has been studied extensively in the management of depression and arthritis and is useful in cardiovascular conditions as well. Like any supplementation, you should consult a professional before taking to guarantee therapeutic dosage and quality. Whilst this dish won’t provide levels that are used therapeutically, including salmon and other sources of omega 3 in the diet will assist to maintain healthy levels long term.

This recipe could easily be made dairy free by omitting feta and including avocado instead. Goats feta would also be lovely. If you aren’t a seafood lover then simply use chicken thighs exclusively. This salad would also be a lovely side to good quality pork fillets and steak. Oh and if you are short on time, forget the marinade stage, salmon already has loads of flavour to offer!

Mexican Salad

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Allergy Milk, Wheat
Dietary Diabetic, Gluten Free
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Dinner, Lunch
Occasion Barbecue
A good salad is never boring and this one's no exception. Bring real Mexican to the table the way it should be - fresh, fast and full of flavour.

Ingredients

  • 500g Beef mince (free range or organic - quality mince please)
  • 1 onion (chopped roughly)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (I used 1 sachet of Leggo's individual tomato paste)
  • 1 chilli (finely chopped - optional)
  • 2 teaspoons Garam masala (2.5 if you really like a full flavour)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (1.5 if you really like a full flavour)
  • 1 can red kidney beans (washed and drained)
  • 1 cob of corn (kernels removed - or use canned)
  • 2 Large heaped handfuls of baby spinach (or any shredded lettuce)
  • 1 200g punnet of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 capsicum (roughly chopped)
  • 1 Large carrot (grated)
  • 12 snow peas (topped, tailed and chopped in half)
  • 1 handful chopped coriander leaves
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice (optional)
  • salt and pepper

Directions

Preparing your tools
1. You will need 1 large salad bowl, a large but shallow fry pan, a chopping board and a sharp chopping knife.
For the mince
2. Turn the stove onto medium heat and place the frypan over the top to heat up with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Chop your onion and throw this in, cooking for a couple of minutes. Add the garam masala, cumin and chilli if using it and stir til fragrant, about 1 minute. Then throw your mince in and cook it on medium/high heat until completely browned. Finally, throw in your tomato paste and the corn kernels (removed from the cob) and season further with a little salt and pepper. The mince will need another 7-10 minutes cooking from this stage. Once finished cooking, simply turn the heat off and let it sit whilst you prepare your salad. You need to let this rest for 10 - 15 minutes so it is still very warm but not piping hot before you throw it on your salad.
Assembling everything
3. Throw the shredded lettuce / spinach leaves into the bowl. Then add your capsicum, carrot, snow peas, coriander and cherry tomatoes. Toss everything well.
Throw your mince threw your salad and toss once again. Finally, throw on some extra olive oil (around 1-2 tablespoons) and juice of half a lemon. A final season with some salt and pepper, then eat and enjoy.
Leftovers work warmed up a little or simply served as a cold salad the next day.

Note

Serves 4 as a complete meal. Protein – beef. Carbohydrates – red kidney beans (although this is a relatively low carb meal). Lots of vegetables and healthy fats too from olive oil. Tick, tick, tick! For extra carbohydrate you could add a little brown rice depending on your individual needs. Please be mindful when buying mince – it is definitely something I recommend buying good quality, organic if possible. Even organic mince for this recipe could be purchased for around $10 and for 4 people, I do feel that is a very reasonable investment.

As you can see from the picture, I enjoy serving this with some guacamole on the side and a little parmesan. I have heated the salad the following day – not too hot as the spinach leaves wilt but it definitely does work. Alternatively, you could serve the leftovers cold. You could also pack the salad separately from the mince to take the next day and heat the mince up then toss it through… make sense? Just trying to make life a little easier J.

This recipe would also work with pork or chicken mince (again – quality).
Please #thebalancednutritionist or #tbn if you create this yourself and feel free to leave a comment. Happy cooking.

Orange soup

Serves 4
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 20 minutes
Allergy Egg, Fish, Milk, Soy, Wheat
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Soup
Misc Dinner, Lunch
An immune boosting soup that is just as tasty, nourishing and satisfying as a good old chicken soup!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed or finely chopped)
  • 2 Cm knob of ginger (thereabouts - peeled and finely chopped)
  • 1 Large onion (chopped)
  • 450g sweet potato (skin removed with peeler then diced small)
  • 550g carrot (diced small)
  • 1 can butter beans (drained and rinsed in cold water)
  • 800ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 can coconut milk (400ml)
  • sea salt and pepper (to season)
  • 1 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • fresh coriander (optional)

Directions

Preparing your tools
1. You will need a chopping board, sharp knife, a large deep frypan, a wooden spoon or similar for stirring. You will also need a food processor or stick blender unless you would prefer your soup really chunky.
Fire up
2. Place the frypan on the stove over medium heat with the 2 tablespoons of butter / oil so that things start to heat up and melt. Meanwhile, you need to chop your garlic, ginger and onion as that goes in first. Note: you will save considerable time if you simply throw these into a powerful food processor and 'pulse' until chopped finely.
Start cooking
3. Fry off the garlic, ginger and onion in the melted butter. Leave this for about 5 minutes to cook off. Meanwhile, chop the carrots and sweet potato. Again, you will save considerable time if you simply throw chunks of carrot and sweet potato into the food processor and whiz on high (Note: please take into account power and quality of your food processor first. Please don't break it and then hate me :)).
Add the carrots, drained butter beans and sweet potato into the frypan and stir everything through. Then add your 800ml of chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to simmer.
Simmer away
4. For a quick weekday meal, simmer on medium / high until the vegetables are soft. About 20 minutes. For a slower, Sunday meal when you can afford to let things happen at a different pace, turn the heat down really low and cook for up to 75 minutes. Just don't let the veg get too soggy!
Final blitz
5. Once everything is cooked, turn OFF the heat and allow the soup to rest about 10 minutes. This is important as you can not put boiling hot liquid into a food processor. If you can not afford to wait 10 minutes then add your coconut milk here to bring the temperature down quickly and blitz straight away.
You will be spooning most of the 'chunks' back into your food processor and whizzing this on a slow speed, gradually increasing to a higher speed until the mixture is smooth. This step may need to be done in 2 batches. I generally like mine to still have a few chunks so I'm not too pedantic about this step.
Final cook
6. Once at your desired smoothness, add the mixture back into the same fry pan. If you haven't already, you need to add your coconut milk now and also season well with salt, pepper and tumeric. Season to taste and bring back to hot. Then it's ready to serve. Divide into serving bowls and top with fresh coriander and even a dollop of sour cream and enjoy.
Optional - add some extra protein
7. As is, this soup does contain some protein from the butter beans and its a good vegetarian option or a light meal. However, to really make this a substantial meal you may wish to add some additional protein. I served this with some shredded chicken on top. Leftover or purpose cooked chicken breast or roast chicken either slow cooked, baked or pan fried will do the trick. Some Parmesan cheese wouldn't go astray either....

Note

I just couldn’t get past naming this soup ‘orange soup’ because… well… it’s just so orange! ‘Orange’ vegetables like carrot and sweet potato get their colour due to a high volume of carotenoids. A real powerhouse is beta-carotene specifically, which converts to vitamin A in the body. Yes it does help maintain vision health (we’ve all been told to eat carrots so we can see in the dark right?) but it’s also critical for maintaining mucous membranes. That sounds kind of gross but think about the lining of our digestive tract in particular and the membranes through our mouth and nose. In this way, vitamin A is really important for immune function and for protecting against funky allergic reactions and so on. The membranes are basically our first barrier against pathogens so adequate vitamin A is really important. I could go on… but let’s talk about the food now.

As with many of my recipes, you can make this fast or slow and either way it will work out just fine.

Soups are a great option for work lunches in the cooler months so why not batch cook this on a Sunday and portion it out for the week? The recipe can easily be doubled.

If you have any celery that needs using up you can chop this and add it at the same time as the onion, ginger and garlic.

I like to add a bit of shredded chicken as in the last step of the recipe as I find the extra protein nourishing and more filling especially during the winter months.

Substitute coconut oil for butter for a dairy free option and if you prefer a ‘less coconuty soup’ then sub cream in for the coconut cream – you won’t need quite as much so just start with a few dollops.

Note: ginger and garlic are also great kickers for the immune system and we all know turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties….

Lemon Mustard Chicken with Crunchy Quinoa Salad

Serves 4
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 50 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Peanuts
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Misc Dairy free, Gluten free, Lunch
Occasion Barbecue
A quick, easy weekday meal that you should master and include in your repertoire because it packs a punch in nutrients and taste. For a variation, try a juicy cut of pork loin instead of chicken breast. If you like a stronger flavour, double the herbs and add a bit of extra mustard to your marinade.

Ingredients

  • 550g Chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons Wholegrain mustard
  • 2 Lemons
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cups Quinoa (I used tricolour - you could also use white)
  • 3/4 cups Brown rice
  • 3 cups Cold water
  • 2 tablespoons Tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 Capsicum (Roughly chopped)
  • 1 carrot (Grated)
  • 25 Snow peas (topped and tailed)
  • 3 Shallots (chopped or use 1 small red onion)
  • 1 handful Roughly chopped coriander
  • 1 handful Roughly chopped basil leaves (you could also use thai basil for a stronger flavour)
  • 6 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 handful Pepitas (otherwise known as pumpkin seeds)
  • Quality sea salt and pepper to season

Directions

Preparing your tools
1. You will need a fry pan, a couple of small mixing bowls, a marinade brush (or your hands), an ice cream container (or marinade 'bowl'), 1 saucepan, a chopping board, a grater and a small glass jar for this recipe
Cooking your rice and quinoa
2. This is the only time consuming step in this recipe, but if you're organised you can simmer your rice and quinoa away on the stove whilst getting other things done. A good option to fill in the time is to 'baste' your chicken and then place this in the fridge to rest until its time to cook.
For this step, simply combine your rice, quinoa and cold water in a saucepan, bring to the boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes. Add a little extra water if necessary, you don't want your grains to burn and stick to the bottom. Once this step is done, toss the grains straight into a large salad bowl and proceed with the next steps as the grains are best warm not piping hot before adding your other salad items.
Baste and Cook your chicken
3. Combine your mustard, and the juice of 1 lemon with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small dish and gently whisk this with a small teaspoon until well combined. Chicken breasts can be quite thick so slice these in half to about 1cm thickness (maximum) and they can also be cut in half into smaller palm sized portions. This will increase the surface area for the marinade too. Place the chicken breasts, once cut to size, in an ice cream container or similar. Brush the chicken, all sides with the marinade or you can get in there with your bare hands if you prefer. The chicken can be left to rest OR it can be cooked immediately.
To cook the chicken, simply heat a medium sized fry pan over medium/high heat on your stove. Once the pan is quite hot, add the chicken breasts into the pan. Cook for about 5-7 minutes on one side; the chicken should look more than half cooked before flipping. Flip, and cook on the other side for a further 3 minutes until cooked through.
Note the nice caramel color that the chicken should turn thanks to the simple marinade. Turn off the stove and rest your chicken whilst you finish your salad.
Prepare your dressing and toss your salad
4. All of your salad ingredients should be chopped roughly as specified including your herbs. I leave my snowpeas whole, just top and tail them, but this is up to you. At this point, you can toss your salad ingredients onto your cooked grains, add your pepitas and mix to combine everything evenly.
The dressing is simple. Combine 4 tablespoons olive oil in your jar, along with the juice of 1 lemon, the tamari / soy sauce and a pinch of sea salt. Simply shake the jar to ensure the dressing is well mixed.
Pour the dressing over the salad and give one final toss.
Serve
5. Serve a heap of salad beside or underneath your portion of chicken and enjoy. This salad can also be enjoyed cold the following day as leftovers.

Note

Like all of the recipes I place up here for your tasting pleasure, this one ticks all of the TBN boxes (read more about that over here). Chicken is a source of quality protein, the grains contribute to a fiber rich complex carbohydrate content and the olive oil provides a source of quality fats. Bonus – we have a plant base, including fresh herbs – herbs are kind of like vegetables with added superpowers. Divided amongst 4 portions, this is a perfect TBN balanced meal.

The If you are following a much lower carbohydrate approach for a specific reason then you can scale back the brown rice and quinoa by half and increase the plant based salad items.

For an athlete who may require a little more food, you can increase the protein portion of this meal through extra chicken and roasted sweet potato makes for added complex carbohydrates, flavour (and nutrition).

Note the variations I have specified too – you can really make this recipe your own and vary it depending on what’s on hand in the crisper.
The real star here is raw garlic. Garlic has antimicrobial properties, meaning it fights infections in the body, both bacterial and viral. It is used in concentrated form in nutritional medicine for both acute and chronic infections. Including it in our food as often as possible does provide a little support to the immune system as well. This is particularly important with the recent cold snap and the cyclone that left us with flooded waters which no doubt contained a few germs floating around!

Pepitas are an awesome little pocket rocket full of zinc - another immune boosting nutrient to hold in high regard. Both zinc and garlic are effecting for supporting and boosting the immune system even in cases of viral infection. Remember that antibiotics are useless against viruses (they only fight bacterial infections) so nutritional medicine is a powerful tool here.

Please remember that ‘food as medicine’ means that a well body can be supported by real food with real nutrients. BUT during times of acute and chronic illness or high physical / mental stress, additional support in the form of conventional and / or nutritional medicine is a critical consideration. You won’t cure an acute virus with 3 cloves of raw garlic! However, if you maximise your nutrient intake on a day to day basis you may not end up with the flu in the first place.

Food for thought.

Rainbow Buckwheat Pasta

Serves 5-6
Prep time 25 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 45 minutes
Misc Dairy free, Dinner, Gluten free, Lunch

Ingredients

  • 250g Buckwheat pasta (available in supermarkets)
  • 1 Large sweet potato (chopped into 1cm cubes)
  • 2 Large beetroot (chopped into 1cm cubes)
  • 3 Medium carrots (chopped into 1cm cubes)
  • 1 bunch asparagus (chopped into 1cm pieces)
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 1 Large brown onion (chopped roughly)
  • 3 Medium chicken thighs (chopped roughly into 1cm cubes)
  • 2 Large dessert spoons of easy pesto (OR store bought pesto)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (for cooking)

Directions

1. Firstly, brush your chopped sweet potato, carrot and beetroot with some olive oil and place onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake these in the oven at 200 degrees for about 20-25 minutes until these vegetables start to brown.
2. Once these veg are in the hot oven then you can bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add your packet of buckwheat pasta. Instructions are to cook in simmering water for 8.5 minutes. Be careful, if you overcook buckwheat pasta it is a little gluggly.
Once this is cooked then drain it in a colander and rinse with cold water. Place the pasta in a large salad bowl whilst you complete the next 2 steps.
3. Once these veg are in the hot oven then you can fry off your chicken pieces in a little olive oil. Adding your onion after you have cooked the chicken for about 2-3 minutes. Once the chicken is completely browned then add your asparagus and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. The asparagus should be brightly coloured still and the chicken should be cooked through. Once this is done you can add these to your salad bowl of pasta.
4. Toss your baby spinach leaves through your pasta mix. They will wilt nicely but not overcook. Remove the roast veg from the oven as they should be done by now. Toss them through as well and add in your heaped dessert spoons of pesto. You may prefer to add a little bit more pesto than this but I find 2 heaped spoonfuls sufficient. Serve up and enjoy this warmed Buckwheat pasta dish and package your leftovers for lunches.

Note

This is a very versatile recipe.

Note that buckwheat is not wheat at all - it is not even technically a grain. So it is gluten free and easy on digestion. It contains lots of fibre and is relatively high in protein especially compared with ordinary wheat pasta.
You could easily use other vegetables - simply use up what you have in the fridge. I have done this with roasted broccoli and cauliflower and it has also worked well.

My easy pesto can be found here. 

This is delicious hot or cold. It can be made vegetarian by omitting the chicken - you could add a few handfuls of almonds in this case to bump up the protein.

Enjoy. Its a colourful recipe for the eyes and the palate and once you have made it once you will see that it is quite simply.

Thai Style Patties

Ingredients

  • 500g Chicken mince
  • 500g Pork mince
  • 1 handful roughly chopped coriander (generous handful)
  • 1 handful roughly chopped thai basil (generous handul)
  • 1 Large grated carrot
  • 2 stalks finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 Small finely chopped red capsicum
  • 1 handful finely chopped spinach
  • 3 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Tamari / soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 finely chopped red chilli
  • 2 eggs (roughly whisked)
  • 1 cup LSA
  • coconut oil for frying

Directions

1. Finely chop all the relevant ingredients
2. Combine all chopped ingredients with mince and mix well with a wooden spoon in a large bowl until evenly combined.
3. Add in the 2 eggs and the sauces and combine. Then start with 1/2 cup of LSA and mix - you are after a firm but not dry 'rissole' texture. Add more LSA as required. 3/4 to 1 cup should be adequate.
4. Once everything is well combined and the texture is right, mould into patties, about 1 heaped dessert spoon of mixture at a time. Place on an oven proof tray (lined) and then put into the fridge for 15 minutes minimum to rest. This helps the mixture bind and will make for patties that don't crumble as you cook. However, if you don't have time to rest them then simply cook immediately.
5. Fry patties in a large saucepan until browned and partially cooked then flip until cooked through. These can be served as healthy, Asian style burgers with salad and burger buns or good quality bread. Alternatively you could simply use them as a protein topper for any basic salad or they would also work alongside steamed fresh greens.

Note

This makes about 15 patties - serves 6 people generously. Or 2 with leftovers for a couple of lunches. You can vary the vegetables depending on what you have on hand, but the more the better. Don't skimp on the herbs, this is what makes these patties so lovely.

You can use plain flour in place of LSA if you would prefer.

For even better economy of time, double this recipe and freeze half the mince mixture for another time.

Spinach and Ricotta Pie

Serves 4
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Dietary Vegetarian
Misc Breakfast, Lunch

Ingredients

  • 350g Spinach (I used frozen spinach)
  • 250g Ricotta cheese
  • 100g Feta cheese
  • 2 Extra large free range eggs
  • 1 Large onion
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 2 Mountain bread wraps
  • Macadamia oil / butter
  • 1 handful Pine nuts
  • Good quality salt and pepper

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Fry off your onion and garlic in a pan with oil or butter. If using fresh spinach you can wilt the spinach in this same pan after the onion and garlic have cooked off a little. If using frozen spinach, I recommend blanching the spinach in a saucepan of boiling water for 3-4 minutes (follow the cooking instructions on the pack.
2. Drain the spinach through a strainer so most of the water runs off. If you fried your spinach with the onion and garlic you won't need to worry about this step.
3. Place the spinach, onion and garlic in a large bowl with the 2 types of soft cheese. Mix well. Crack the 2 large eggs into the bowl and mix these through as well. Finally add in the pine nuts and season well.
4. Grease a medium sized casserole dish with some oil or butter. Line the base of the dish with 1 mountain bread wrap. Add the spinach and cheese mixture over the top and spread this evenly. Add the second Mountain Bread wrap on top and brush the top with a little extra oil which will make it go a little crispy on top.
5. Bake in the oven about 15 minutes until the top is starting to brown a little.

Note

Double the quantities for a large family. As you do need a lot of spinach for this recipe, it may be more practical to purchase it frozen. This is a great meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner in fact.

Cottage Cheese Pie

Serves 4
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Allergy Wheat
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Meal type Breakfast, Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Gluten free, Vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 3 Large Free range eggs
  • 500g Tub of full fat Cottage Cheese
  • 1 cup Grated strong Cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 1/4 cup Polenta
  • 300g Mushrooms (chopped roughly)
  • 1/2 head Kale (chopped roughly)
  • 1 handful Dill (chopped roughly)
  • 2 handfuls Spinach (chopped roughly)
  • 1 handful Parsley (chopped roughly)
  • Salt, pepper (for seasoning)
  • Olive oil

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees.
Over medium to high heat, cook mushrooms and chopped kale in olive oil until mushrooms are cooked and kale has wiltered (should still be a bright green colour)
2. Meanwhile, put the cottage cheese into a large mixing bowl. Separate the eggs, adding only the egg yolks to the cottage cheese. Add 1/2 a cup of the grated cheddar cheese. Add the baking powder and the polenta. Add all of the chopped herbs and spinach. Season really well. Add a dash of olive oil (about 1-2 tablespoons should be sufficient) if the mixture appears dry.
3. Whilst the mushroom and kale finishes cooking, whisk the egg whites until peaks start to form. Add the cooked kale and mushroom to the cottage cheese mix and ensure everything is combined well. Add the egg whites as the final step and fold these into the mixture.
4. Scoop the mixture into a greased and lined casserole dish (medium sized). Bake in moderate oven (160) for about 40 minutes.

Note

Serves 5-6 with a side salad for lunch. Also works well for breakfast. Keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days. This is a vegetarian recipe (not dairy free), with reasonably high protein content from eggs and cottage cheese. You could easily use other vegetables and herbs to change the flavours.

Crunchy Quinoa Salad

Serves 4-5
Prep time 25 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 45 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Meal type Gluten free, Lunch, Main Dish, Salad, Side Dish
Misc Dinner, Gluten free, Lunch, Vegetarian
Website Inspired by Cyndi O'Meara's salad with slight variations.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Quinoa (measured dry)
  • 1 Medium Capsicum (chopped roughly)
  • 15 Snow peas (approximately)
  • 1 handful Raisins (or substitute with 1 roughly chopped apple)
  • 1 Large Carrot (grated)
  • 6 shallots (finely chopped, or sub with red onion)
  • 2 cups Sweet potato (roasted, or substute for pumpkin)
  • 1 Large Handful of coriander (chopped)
  • 1 Large Handful of basil (chopped)
  • 1/3 cup Olive oil (or sub for macadamia oil)
  • 3 tablespoons Soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped or crushed)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger (finely chopped or grated)
  • juice of half a lemon (can be omitted)
  • 2 handfuls Nuts or seeds (such as cashew nuts or sunflower / pumpkin seeds)

Directions

1. Firstly, I recommend cooking your quinoa the evening before or at least an hour before you prepare the rest of the salad so it cools somewhat. I tend to cook mine the evening before and simply leave it in the fridge overnight. To cook the quinoa, measure 1 cup dry, add 2 cups water and bring to the boil. Then simmer it on very low for about 20 minutes until all water is absorbed and it appears fluffy.
2. When ready to make your salad, firstly chop your pumpkin or sweet potato into rough cubes and coat with olive oil. Roast on 200 degrees until starting to brown (this will take about 15-20 minutes). Meanwhile, roughly chop your capsicum, herbs and snow peas and grate the carrot. Add these vegetables into a large bowl with your precooked quinoa. Then, toss your raisins and nuts / seeds through the salad. (If you are using nuts and they are 'raw' I highly recommend lightly roasting them for a couple of minutes in a hot oven before adding them to the salad as it will enhance the flavour and the crunch.)
3. To make the dressing, combine the oil, tamari, lemon juice, garlic and ginger in a small glass jar and shake to combine. Please note that the dressing is still lovely and the dish tastes complete even without the lemon juice. Pour the dressing over the top of the salad and toss through the warm roasted pumpkin / sweet potato once it is cooked.
4. Serve this salad as is for a light meal or as a side salad to a protein source. Its a great addition to a summer BBQ. My favourite way to enjoy this salad is by tossing smoked salmon through at the end with the pumpkin. This makes it perfect after a workout as its packed with omega 3 and a balance of protein, fats and carbohydrates.

Note

Serves 4-5 as a main meal. Would serve more if used as a side dish. As specified, I like to toss 200g of smoked salmon through this salad and it yields dinner and lunch the following day for 2 people plus extra leftover.

As you can see, there are plenty of variations on the ingredients which means you don't need to panic if you don't have all the exact ingredients. This dressing is lovely and once you have made it once you may want to make a bigger batch next time and use it on other salads. It keeps well in a sealed jar in the fridge for over a week. What makes this salad so nice is the sweetness from the raisins / apple with the sharpness of the ginger, the crunch of the vegetables and the deliciousness of roast vegetables and quinoa.

Salmon with Winter Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 2 pieces Salmon
  • 1 Small sweet potato (roughly chopped)
  • 2 Medium carrots (roughly chopped)
  • 2 Medium zucchini (roughly chopped)
  • 1 Medium red capsicum (roughly chopped)
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • olive oil
  • cracked pepper and good quality salt
  • 1/4 cup honey (melted for 20 seconds in the microwave)
  • 1 Medium red onion (roughly chopped)

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 220 degrees. Roughly chop all of the vegetables approximately the same size as they will cook evenly (for the onion, you will need to cut it into wedges and it will further divide into layers from here, which is fine.) In a large bowl, toss all of the vegetables until combined, pour over the melted honey and a generous glug of olive oil (start with 1/3 of a cup) until the vegetables are evenly coated with liquid. Then season well with pepper and salt and spread on a tray lined with baking paper. Bake in the oven on 220 degrees until the vegetables start to brown. They will take about 15-20 minutes to cook.
2. Once the vegetables have been in the oven for about 10 minutes, heat a small amount of olive oil or coconut oil in a pan over medium/high heat. Add the salmon, skin side down and cook on this side until the fish is 2/3 cooked through (you will be able to tell by the fish's colour change). This will take 5-8 minutes. Then flip the salmon and finish for a further couple of minutes until just cooked through. Rest the salmon on a board.
3. Remove the vegetables from the oven and place these back into a large bowl. Toss the vegetables with spinach leaves until the leaves have nicely wiltered. Serve the salmon atop the vegetables and add sliced avocado as a garnish and for extra flavour if desired (as pictured).

Note

Leftover roast vegetables can be tossed with lettuce and other salad ingredients for lunches the next day. These vegetables work well as a side to many meats and seafood, not just salmon. Other vegetables you may like to include that roast well are potatoes, pumpkin, squash and green beans.

This is such a simple dish using fresh ingredients and done with less than 15 minutes preparation time. 1 pan, 1 tray, 1 bowl and 2 plates. Food doesn't need to be complicated. Just real. This is a staple in our house.

Versatile (Basic) Meatballs

Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Dietary Diabetic, Gluten Free
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Snack
Misc Gluten free, Lunch, Snacks
Occasion Barbecue

Ingredients

  • 1kg Beef mince
  • 500g Lamb mince
  • 500g Chicken mince
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 150g Polenta (add a touch more if the mixture appears too wet)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • cracked pepper and salt (be liberal with seasoning)
  • 3/4 teaspoons Hot chilli flakes or powder (or substitute for fresh. Omit if you prefer no spice)
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika (can be omitted altogether)
  • 375g Ricotta cheese
  • 1 Large onion (chopped finely or processed)
  • 4 cloves garlic (chopped finely or processed)
  • handful Parsley leaves (can be omitted altogether. Or sub for dried herbs)

Directions

1. Remove the mince from the fridge about 10 minutes before making these if possible for better mixing. Combine the minces, finely chopped/processed onion and garlic, polenta, ricotta cheese, olive oil and 3 cracked eggs in a very large bowl. Mix well until everything is evenly combined. Whilst mixing, continue to season with salt and pepper and add the herbs and spices.
If the mixture appears to be really dry, add another cracked egg or some more olive oil.
Roll into meatballs of desired size and bake in the oven on 200 degrees. These will take 20-30 minutes to cook depending on size. They will start to brown on top when they are ready.

Note

Obviously, 2kg of mince makes a lot of meatballs! Adjust the recipe ingredients if using less mince. If making for the first time, perhaps start with 1 kg of mince and half the other ingredients. I cook a big batch of these because they are extremely versatile and I then pop them in the freezer (cooked) and take them out as I need them. I use them for lunches alongside a big salad or for dinner with lots of vegetables and perhaps some potato mash. They will also be going in a soup recipe I am making later in the week... stay tuned for that one. Please note the following variations:

-you could really use any variety of mince and 1 type is fine (e.g. you could use all beef mince)
-try to buy your mince from a good butcher or a higher quality grade if purchased in the supermarket. My butcher has a range of preservative free, grass fed minces which I prefer.
-to keep this recipe super simple, omit the spices and herbs. It couldn't be more easy.
-I used polenta to keep this recipe gluten and wheat free. You could sub for plain flour if this is easier for you.
-if you have young children and you need to 'hide' vegetables in their food include finely chopped/processed carrots, celery and capsicum as well as meat. Add extra egg/s and extra ricotta cheese to ensure the mixture is wet enough.

Take home message: Make it work for YOU!

Zucchini Slice

Serves 5-6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Dietary Diabetic
Meal type Breakfast, Dairy free, Lunch, Main Dish, Snack
Misc Breakfast, Dairy free, Dinner, Lunch, Snacks
Occasion Casual Party
Website Originally adapted from Women's Weekly

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Spelt flour (or organic self raising flour if no intolerances)
  • 2 teaspoons Baking powder (omit if using ordinary self raising flour)
  • 4 Medium zucchinis (grated or pulse in food processor to save time)
  • 4 Rashers Bacon (roughly chopped)
  • 1 Large Onion (roughly chopped)
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese (grated - a strong vintage is ideal but any hard cheese is fine)
  • 5-6 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Macadamia oil
  • Himalayan salt and pepper (to season)

Directions

1. Set your oven to about 150 degrees. Combine all the chopped/grated ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Roughly scramble the eggs and pour these into the bowl with the oil and flour and mix again. Pour mixture into lined baking dish - a medium sized casserole dish is ideal, can be square or rectangular. Season well with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven until browned on top, about 30-40 minutes.

I generally double this recipe as it can be portioned up and frozen. It works for any time of the day. Eggs, bacon, cheese, veggies... what could go wrong?

Note

I have tried to make this recipe completely gluten free by using almond flour but the taste was altered and it wasn't nearly as enjoyable. I suggest you make it into more of a frittata if you are celiac or strict gluten free. If you do find an alternative that works well, please feel free to leave a comment.

This recipe works for young and old alike. It's a great one to take to a morning or afternoon tea for a savoury option too. Minimal prep time and yields about 5-6 servings.

Nourishing Chicken Soup

Serves 5-6
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 12 hours
Total time 12 hours, 20 minutes
Dietary Diabetic, Gluten Free
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Soup
Misc Dinner, Lunch
By author Adapted from Sally Brouwer's recipe 'Chicken and Chickpea soup'

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Free range chicken
  • 2 Medium onions (Finely chopped)
  • 3 cloves Garlic (Finely chopped)
  • 3 Carrots (sliced finely)
  • 3 stalks Celery (sliced finely)
  • 1 Medium Zucchini (sliced finely)
  • 1 Medium Potato or small sweet potato (sliced into small cubes)
  • 1 can Chickpeas
  • 1 can Diced tomatoes
  • 1l Chicken stock
  • Dried herbs, salt and pepper to season well

Directions

1. First, you need to cook your chicken. The simplest way to do this and the most appropriate for this recipe is to simply wash the chicken under a running tap and then place it into your slow cooker. That's it. No kidding this works! Turn the slow cooker to low and cook for around 6.5 hours (for a large chicken). The resulting meat will be very moist and pull away easily from the bone. Plus you are left with about 150ml of beautiful chicken stock at the bottom.
If you don't have time to do this step, then simply buy some chicken breasts (about 800g-1kg for this recipe), bake in foil and shred this chicken meat through the soup towards the end of its cooking time.
2. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the slow cooker. Place all of the other ingredients into the slow cooker - as is. So, really the only prep involved in this recipe is chopping - it is that simple. Make sure you drain and wash your chickpeas before popping them in your slow cooker bowl. Do NOT remove the lovely juices left from the cooked chicken - this is a beautiful broth rich in minerals and it will add so much flavour and nourishment to your soup. Do not add all of the 'extra' chicken stock - start with about 750ml and add more over the next few hours if necessary.
3. Cook all of this on low for about 3.5 - 4 hours. Then, add back in the shredded chicken meat, you have removed from your slow cooked chicken. Cook for a further hour on low and then season well.
All slow cookers vary, therefore times listed is general advice only, but this does work in my Breville slow cooker.

Note

Obviously the cooking time is significantly reduced if you are using pre cooked chicken, or you are baking chicken breasts and adding these at the end. The soup could also be made on the stove top in under an hour. Slower is better in my opinion but this depends on your personal schedule of course.

Again, vary vegetables in this if you have others that need using up. A lovely soup in the cooler months and one that can be packaged up for following days lunches.

Chilli By Carl

Serves 5-6
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 2 hours
Total time 2 hours, 30 minutes
Dietary Diabetic, Gluten Free
Meal type Breakfast, Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Breakfast, Dairy free, Gluten free, Lunch
Region South American

Ingredients

  • 600g Beef mince (no need for low fat)
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 2 Medium Brown onions
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1-2 Fresh chillis
  • 2 teaspoons Ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Ground garam masala
  • 2-3 Carrots
  • 2-3 Stalks of celery
  • 1 Capsicum
  • 2 Small Potatoes
  • 1-2 tablespoon Organic tomato paste (not critical)
  • 1.2kg Diced tomatoes (3 x 400g tins)
  • 1 can Red kidney beans
  • 1 can Chickpeas
  • Water / stock
  • Salt, pepper, dried spices, fresh coriander (optional seasoning)

Directions

1. Brown the onion, chilli and garlic in the butter over medium to high heat. Add the mince, stirring until the meat is mostly browned too. Then, stir in the spices and tomato paste until fragrant. Add the tins of diced tomato (or use Passata), turn heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, roughly chop all of the vegetables into 'even' sizes - about 1 x 1cm cubes. Handy tip: if you have a great food processor, throw all of the vegetables into this and 'pulse' until chopped evenly.
Add the vegetables to the mince mixture. Drain the kidney beans and chickpeas, wash these well and add them next. Turn heat to low and cook for 2 hours, stirring every now and then. Add more spices if you desire a stronger flavour.

Please note the vegetables in this dish can be varied. This is a great dish to cook to use up leftovers - it will always be a bit of a surprise! Other vegies that work well include mushrooms, zucchini, pumpkin and silverbeet. Feel free to experiment and find your own winning combination.

Note

Cook as long and slow as possible – 2 hours works well. Short on time, then turn the heat up and cook it in an hour, although the flavours will not be as rich. This recipe freezes well, great 1 to make at the start of the week as it will give you a few days worth of lunches. It also works well for breakfast with a poached egg on top and a side of sourdough bread. Or, get creative and stuff it into some capsicums or field mushrooms - the possibilities are endless! It is a complete meal because it contains lots of vegetables, meat, and complex carbohydrates from the legumes and potatoes. Diabetics may need to reduce the legume content and use less starchy carbohydrates, depending on your individual management plan of course. If you have a larger family, you may like to double this recipe to make it go further.

Creamy Bacon and Corn Chowder

Serves 6
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 20 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Dairy free, Gluten free, Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Dairy free, Dinner, Gluten free, Lunch

Ingredients

  • 4-5 Bacon rashers (roughly chopped)
  • 2 Medium brown onions (finely chopped)
  • 3 cloves Garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 Cobs of corn (chop the corn off the cobs)
  • 700g Potatoes (Roughly chopped into about 2-3cm pieces)
  • 1/2 Cauliflower (chop roughly or pulse in a food processor)
  • 1l Chicken stock
  • 3-4 stalks Celery (Finely chopped)
  • Salt pepper and dried herbs
  • Thick lovely cream (amount depends on your personal preference)

Directions

1. Onions, garlic and celery can be finely chopped by hand or in a food processor to save time. Once chopped, fry them off in about 2 tablespoons of butter on medium heat in a large, deep saucepan. Add the chopped bacon once the onions start to turn translucent and fry a further 4-5 minutes.
The add the chopped potatoes and the finely chopped cauliflower to the pan. Stir in the chicken stock - there should be enough liquid to just about cover the ingredients. Turn the heat to low or medium - cook it on low for longer if you have time, otherwise you can turn the heat up and get the job done faster.
Once the potato and cauliflower and nice and soft the soup is ready to be put through a food processor or blended by hand. In batches, blend the soup until it is quite smooth, but still a little chunky. Use personal preference here.
Return the soup to the pan and add in salt, pepper and dried herbs to taste - I use lots of these. Then, stir in the cream. How much is up to you again - I use a few dollops (as in heaped tablespoons) of Maleny Dairies Guernsey Cream* which creates a nice creamy soup. Serve and enjoy.

Note

For a dairy free version, replace the cream with a can of coconut milk - this is a lovely variation. For a lower carbohydrate option (for those with insulin resistance or diabetes), reduce the quantity of potatoes used and increase the amount of cauliflower.

This is such a basic recipe and with the corn and bacon it is difficult to get wrong - so experiment and find your favourite variation.

Butter Chicken

Serves 4-5
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 20 minutes
Dietary Diabetic, Gluten Free
Misc Dairy free, Dinner, Gluten free, Lunch
By author Pete Evans (chef)

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons Coconut oil
  • 2 Onions (brown) (finely chopped (or pulse in processor with garlic))
  • 4 cloves Garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 quarts Garam Masala (ground)
  • 1 teaspoon Cardamon (ground)
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander (ground)
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger (ground)
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin (ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup Chicken stock
  • 1 1/4 cup Coconut milk
  • 800g Chicken thigh / breast or a mixture (Chopped into bite sized pieces)
  • Chopped coriander to serve

Directions

1. Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium – high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3 – 4 minutes or until translucent. Turn the heat down to medium and stir in the garlic, and spices. Mix well and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the salt and tomatoes paste, cook for a further 1 minutes then add then lemon juice, chicken stock, coconut milk and mix well.

Turn the heat up to medium and bring the sauce to a simmer. Add the chicken and stir until well coated with the sauce. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on very, very low stirring occasionally, for up to an hour, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Garnish with the coriander and serve with either steamed rice or cauliflower rice or steamed vegetables also works.
Note that if you are running short of time, simply cook at a higher heat for shorter time. I find the longer and slower, the more authentic this one tastes.

Note

I suggest doubling this recipe and using it for lunches over following days. It also freezes very well.

I have tried many, many homemade curry recipes and this is honestly the nicest one that I have come across. Do not stress if you are missing 1 or 2 of the spice ingredients - I have made this casually a few times and been missing 1 or 2 spices. I generally replace with something else - what I am never sure... I give the old spices a bit of a sniff and think 'that smells about right' and generally things work out well.

Cauliflower Bacon Bake

Serves 4-6
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 5 minutes
Allergy Milk
Dietary Diabetic
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish
Misc Dinner, Lunch
By author What Kate Ate - Nutrition for Life

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves Garlic (Finely chopped)
  • 50g Butter
  • 50gg Plain flour
  • 6 bacon shortcuts
  • 500ml Milk
  • 500g Broccoli (finely chopped or pulsed through food processor)
  • 100g Mature cheddar cheese
  • 700g Cauliflower (cut into florets)
  • 2 sprigs Fresh thyme (finely chopped)
  • 25g Flaked almonds or any finely chopped nuts (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees.
Cook the garlic and butter in a medium pan over a medium heat. When the butter has melted, stir in the flour for a minute to make a paste, then gradually add the milk, whisking as you go, until lovely and smooth.
Add the broccoli and simmer for around 20 minutes, or until the broccoli is cooked through and starts to break down, then mash or blitz with a stick blender (optional - you can leave it like this if preferred). Grate in half the cheddar and season to perfection with pepper and good quality salt. Whilst sauce is simmering, pan fry bacon until it starts to brown. Then set this aside.
Arrange the cauliflower in a baking dish, sprinkle over the bacon pieces, then pour over the broccoli white sauce and grate over the remaining cheddar. Sprinkle the thyme and nuts over the cauliflower cheese and bake for 40 mins - 1 hour, or until golden and cooked through.

Meaty Eggplant Lasagne

Serves 6-8
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 3 hours
Total time 3 hours, 40 minutes
Dietary Diabetic
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Dinner, Lunch

Ingredients

  • 1kg Beef mince (grass fed)
  • 2-3 Carrots (finely chopped (or pulse in food processor together with other vegies and garlic))
  • 2-3 Celery sticks (finely chopped (or pulsed))
  • 1 Capsicum (small) (finely chopped (or pulsed))
  • 800g Passata or diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Organic tomato paste ((optional - this does add more flavour to mince))
  • 3 cloves Garlic (finely chopped (or pulsed))
  • Cracked pepper, salt and dried herbs (For seasoning the mince)
  • 1 Medium - large Eggplant (Chopped into think slices (as thin as possible))
  • 50g Butter
  • 50g Plain four
  • 500ml Milk
  • 100g Cheese (for browning)

Directions

1. Firstly, feel free to use your own Italian mince recipe for this lasagne or use mine. It is important to include lots of vegetables in your mince - as you can see this recipe includes carrot, celery sticks and capsicum.

To make the mince fry off the onion and garlic in a large pan in some butter or coconut oil. Add the mince and the tomato paste and keep stirring until the mince is mostly browned. Add the additional vegetables now along with the tomato passato or diced tomatoes. Turn heat to low and cook for as long as possible. I tend to leave mine on very low for a few hours - especially if it is a large batch. Season every half an hour or so with some pepper, dried herbs and salt to your taste.

When the mince is almost ready, take the thinly sliced eggplant and fry over medium heat in a generous swig of olive oil. Fry on both sides until both sides are browned. Please note that eggplant rapidly absorbs oil and 'squeaky' eggplant is not pleasant to taste - so you do need to use generous amounts of good quality, virgin, cold pressed olive oil. Cook all the eggplant slices in batches in this way and then set aside on a plate.

To make the white sauce, melt the 50g of butter in a saucepan. Stir in the plain flour for a minute to make a paste, then gradually add the milk, whisking as you go. The sauce will thicken as it heats up and you will end up with a silky smooth white sauce.

You now have all the components done so you can begin layering your lasagne. In a medium - large sized casserole dish. start with a layer of meat, then add a layer of eggplant, then pour over a layer of white sauce. Repeat this process. You should get 3 layers out of the above quantities, depending on the size of your casserole dish. At the end, sprinkle grated cheese generously all over the top of your final layer and bake in the over on 160 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Serve with a simple side salad. Whilst this is a little more fiddly then most of my recipes, it makes a large dish and it is worth the extra effort. Feel free to times this recipe by 1.5 or even double it for a larger family. It can be used for lunches for following days and it will freeze cooked.

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