Easy & Light Comfort food Beer Chicken Casserole

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As we slowly but surely approach winter, the days are getting colder and the coats thicker. Covering ourselves a bit more is a tempting occasion to overindulge and let the kilos pile up until next May, when we will peel off the layers and cry. Cry for help! A personal trainer, a fad diet, a electro stimulation machine… ANYTHING will do when the bikini is coming back.

Well this might sound revolutionary to you, but what about instead of pigging out on pumpkin spice lattes and cheese all the way to xmas only to pig out on sweets & treats all the way into new year, we practice a bit of mindful eating? This is as simple as moderating your food on a constant basis. Choose good foods as soon as possible, and have the odd treat when you really feel like it. If 80% of your diet is clean and nutritious the 20% that you let yourself enjoy a few sugary and fatty foods, will have little to none effect on your body!

Of course you want to enjoy delicious food not once or twice a week but all the time! So do I, and so does everybody else! Being nice to yourself and nice to your body means making the right choices but not torturing yourself by denying yourself pleasures and living in misery, but learning to enjoy what healthy food has to offer. I can promise you that there is very little difference in you cook things right.

Today I wanted to share with you a recipe for a casserole, which normally has a questionable reputation as healthy, since traditionally it was cooked with too much oil and came accompanied by potatoes. This recipe is low fat and low carb, with only some veggies to accompany it, and a sauce made of beer.

Don’t be afraid of cooking with alcoholic beverages, once they boil most of their alcohol has evaporated and they have little to no impact on the caloric content on a meal.

Enjoy this lovely pot of comfort food in good company this weekend.

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 onion

1 clove of garlic

1 carrot

1 chicken in pieces

1 beer (33 cl)

1 lemon

Salt & pepper

How to do it…

In a non sticky cooking pot (I keep using my Le Creuset like there is no tomorrow) fry the chicken pieces in no oil at all. Chicken is very high in protein and its meat is very lean, but it does contain a fair amount of fat in the skin. you can remove part or all of the skin before cooking or leave it on. Turn the chicken around so it doesn’t burn too much, basically allowing it toast a bit for 5 to 7 minutes. Take out of the pot and reserve. Bear in mind the chicken will probably have to be done in batches.

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On the same pot, cook the onions, carrot and garlic in medium heat and let them caramelize and become brown. I like to put the salt on them at this point too so they loose the water and cook better. Once this is done, incorporate the chicken back into the pot and mix well. Let it all heat up and then squeeze the juice of one lemon in the pot to deglaze (this means melt the burnt food at the bottom of the pot to incorporate back into the sauce). Stir a couple of times, add a beer and cover with the lid. Let cook for about 15 to 20 minutes on low heat. Open the lid and let cook for another 5 to 10 to reduce the sauce and give it consistency.

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I always recommend this dish the day after it has been prepared, since the flavours will be stronger and better integrated… this is if you can wait of course!

I have served mine here with some Brussels sprouts but any green leafy veggie will do, best with anything within the cabbage family (cauliflower, broccoli…)

Enjoy!

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The Miraculous Delicious Slimming Breakfast

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This is the ultimate slimming breakfast. Some might say that not having breakfast would be even more slimming, for those of you late to join the “how your metabolism works” wagon, this couldn’t be less accurate.

When fasted, your body naturally reduces your energy consumption, this is a survival technique that us humans have developed through evolution to make us as efficient as possible, if the fasting goes for too long, or if the caloric intake is too low for our needs, it also has the nasty habit of going into something called starvation mode which has a very serious way of messing with your weight loss, fat shredding or fitness goals.

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A healthy breakfast kick starts your day filling you up with long lasting energy and giving your body permission to burn energy on a continuous manner.

A breakfast should be composed of good fats, slow carbs (low GI) high in fiber as a good dose of protein.

This beauty today is a take on a traditional Spanish rice pudding but swapping the rice with oat bran, a much healthier and lighter alternative for those on a weight loss journey and all I have done is to substitute ingredients with their healthy counterpart in order to preserve the flavour as much as possible. I promise you, this breakfast is so delicious that you would feel like you are cheating, and it only has 180 calories.

If these were not reasons enough, it is dead easy to make and takes 5 minutes to make portions for a few days because I can be made and kept in the fridge for all week!

Ingredients (serves 3)

90 gr oat bran thick cut

600 ml. Alpro light soya milk (or an alternative of your choice)

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp sucralose sweetener (or your preferred non calorie sweetener)

1 Lemon rind

How to make it…

In a cooking pot, heat up the milk together with the cinnamon stick, the lemon rind and the ground cinnamon, on a kitchen scale, weigh the desired amount of oat bran, 30 gr is normally a good portion for ladies, so for 3 days, 90 gr.

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When the milk is hot, add the oat bran, stir well and bring to a boil, beware of the boiling milk since it is very treacherous. Turn off the heat and keep stirring for a couple of minutes. Remove the lemon rind and the cinnamon stick and add sweeter to taste together with a dash of cold milk if the mixture is too dense. Taste and correct the amount of sweetener.

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Sucralose loses the sweetening power when heated, that is why I prefer to add it a after boiling.

Distribute the mixture in individual containers and sprinkle with a bit of ground cinnamon for decoration and taste.

Cinnamon is also a fantastic spice for keeping your blood sugar levels under control so it helps control appetite and therefore maintain weight loss!

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I strongly recommend you change your breakfast for this for a couple of weeks if you are trying to lose weight and let me know how you go!

Super Light Detox Veggie Bowl

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This soup is specially designed for the following occasions:

  1. When feeling sick and nothing solid really appeals
  2. After xmas: when you feel that just about anything you put in your mouth will make you explode
  3. After any holiday when you have maybe overdone it a bit with the chips
  4. Before any holiday that requires you to show off the bikini body (and of course you are not ready just yet)
  5. In winter when you are starving to warm you up and fill you up so you don’t eat too much of any other thing on the table

The original name of this soup is Julianne Soup due to the way in which the veggies are chopped (Julianne style) and it is honestly the simplest soup you can possibly make, very difficult to screw up and genuinely yummy.

It has only super low calorie ingredients it is almost virtually fat free and the only ingredient that could be higher GI is the carrot (high GI when is cooked) which you can totally leave out and it will be just as nice.

Ingredients (serves 6)

1/2 white cabbage

1 large onion

1 leek

2 carrots (optional)

250 gr of mushrooms

2 tomatoes seeds removed

Handful of spinach

Salt

2 Vegetable or beef stock cubes

Ground coriander

Fresh ground pepper

Chop all the ingredients in fine stripes (see picture) and clean and peel the mushrooms, discard the pods (you can use them in an omelette later on) and chop them too.

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In a good cooking pot (I use Le Creuset, but any good anti adherent one would do) and grease the base with an olive oil spray. Cook the onions alone for about 5 minutes in medium heat and then add the other vegetables except the mushrooms and the spinach. Add a pinch of salt and let them “sweat” to get rid of the water, stirring occasionally for another 5 minutes.

Boil 1.5 liters of water in a kettle and add to the vegetables with the 2 cubes of stock. If you want a vegetarian/vegan option stay away from the beef flavor but it is entirely up to your personal preference.

Let it boil on low heat for 45 minutes and season to taste with the spices and then the mushrooms. Turn off the heat and let it sit for another 5 to 10 minutes.

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This soup can be kept in the fridge for about 4 to 5 days and it is perfect to cook once and then just grab and reheat. Great for school nights and it comes at about 90 calories per portion, with a very filling result. WINNER!