Easy creamy pasta sauce

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

500g baby plum tomatoes 

2 small red onions or 1 large

5 garlic cloves 

Half a thinly sliced red chilli 

3 tbsp Olive oil

Handful of basil leaves 

A tin of chopped tomatoes 

For the pasta:

175g baby Spinach 

Two tablespoons Greek yogurt 

Salt and pepper

Oregano 

Heat a frying pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Dice the onions and crush the garlic cloves, once the oil has warmed up add the onions, garlic and red chilli along with a teaspoon of salt. Put a lid on the pan and allow the onions to sweat for about 10 minutes until they turn translucent in colour. 


Meanwhile, chop the baby plum tomatoes (I cut them in half so the sauce is a little chunky) and add the tin of chopped tomatoes. Let this simmer with the lid on for around 15-20 minutes. 


If the sauce seems a bit runny, put the gas on high still with the lid on to allow some of it to reduce and thicken. Once reduced, turn the gas off and stir in two tablespoons of Greek yogurt. This will give it a nice creamy and thick texture! That is all there is to it! The sauce is ready! 

It’s such a versatile sauce I use it for pasta, baked eggs and chorizo stew! If I use it for anything other than pasta I do not add the yogurt so it’s more tomatoey rather than creamy. 

Tonight I’m simply using it for pasta sauce so read on if you wish to know how the rest of the recipe goes. 

Place the spinach on top of the sauce and put the lid back on – this will allow it to wilt but not cook in the steam.
Meanwhile boil the pasta as per the instructions – I used fresh egg lumaconi pasta from sainsburys which boils into large shells. Turn the oven onto 200 degrees. 

Once the pasta is ready, drain and rinse with cold water this removes the starch and stops the pasta sticking together. Return the pasta to the saucepan and add the sauce to it. Mix it together and transfer to a non stick baking tray. Tear up a mozzarella ball and scatter on top. Sprinkle with some dried oregano and black pepper.


Place the tray in the oven for around 5-10 minutes until the mozzarella melts and begins to turn brown. Serve immediately with a green salad and some garlic bread if you wish! 

To try and inspire 💪🏽

My aim is to try and inspire you all! I want to inspire you to eat and cook healthy meals from scratch and show you that with the right ingredients in your kitchen and by planning what you eat you can lead a healthy diet and lifestyle.

I’m not a dietician or nutritionist nor am any kind of expert, everyone’s body is different, but here are a few tips which I fully embrace and have helped contribute to a happier and healthier me:

  • Weekly grocery shop – I do this because I find it easier than buying items as when needed. Saturday’s are my weekly grocery shop day and on most occasions l know what I am planning to eat for lunch during the week and what dinners I will be cooking. This saves me so much time during the week and keeps me organised.
  • Food prep Sunday – make Sunday’s productive, use the morning to put together your lunch for the week ahead at work. This might be as simple as a leafy salad, or a pasta salad, maybe even a batch of stir fry – a great way to save money! Whilst you are food prepping, marinate that chicken breast that you’re going to grill on Tuesday for your chicken fajitas. Or make that tomato sauce for Monday so when you get home you just need to boil some pasta!
  • Plan your meals – planning your meals stops you from binge eating. From breakfast through to dinner, plan what you are going to eat. Make it something exciting so you look forward to the meal ahead, this will stop you from snacking unnessarily and you’ll find you ‘save yourself’ for the next meal
  • Drink water – I cannot emphasise this one enough. Drinking water is so important in keeping your body functional. Keep a bottle at your desk or a glass full on the coffee table whilst watching TV. If you struggle drinking plain water try infusing it with fruit.
  • Healthy snacking – Snack on fruit and nuts. Keep a tub of mixed nuts at work for when you feel peckish. I just love fruit – any kind and I could eat it all day. I take up to 4 pieces of fruit with me to work everyday and my fridge is always full of berries (especially in the summer). Berries are great for snacking, they satisfy hunger and beat sweet cravings.
  • Eat whatever you want – this may seem like a strange tip after everything you have just read but I honestly do not believe in restricting what you eat. If you feel like snacking on a bag of crisps then you should do just that – but try putting a handful in a bowl and sealing the packet to avoid over eating. Everything in moderation is key to a healthy lifestyle. Cheat meals are just fine but cheat days are a step in the wrong direction.
  • Avoid fad diets – if you’re trying to lose weight dieting is not the way to do it. Change your habits and your lifestyle. You’ll often find that going on a diet and following a strict food regime is a lot of effort and you do not enjoy it – why should you put yourself through that misery? Make small changes to your lifestyle and you’ll start noticing a difference.

Vegetable fried rice

Ingredients:

Rice

1 pack mixed stir fry veg (pak choi, baby corn, mange toute, broccoli etc)

1 orange pepper

1 courgette

3 garlic cloves thinly sliced

Half a red chilli thinly sliced

One thumb size piece of ginger sliced into strips

A handful of chopped mint

A handful of coriander

A few roasted cashew nuts

3 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp fish sauce

1 teaspoon salt

This recipe serves 2

I find its best to cook the rice ahead of time so it’s completely cooled down when adding to the vegetables. I usually cook it the morning that I’m going to make this meal. Once cooked – set aside, no need to keep it in the fridge if it’s the day of cooking.

Heat the sesame oil in a wok or deep frying pan, once warm add the sliced red chillies, ginger and garlic. You don’t want to cook them but once they start to sizzle keep stirring it until they start to turn brown this will infuse the oil.

Add the vegetables – apart from the pak choy, spinach (if adding), coriander and mint. Stir fry the vegetables on a medium heat so they start to cook, you don’t want to over cook them just enough so the vegetables are slightly tender but still have a crunch to them. Once they have got to this stage (after around 10 minutes) add the mint, spinach and pak choy. Stir fry and allow the pak choy and spinach to wilt.


This will only take a couple of minutes then add the fish sauce, cashew nuts, salt and a sprinkle of black pepper followed by the rice, coriander and soy sauce. Mix it all up and make sure the rice is thoroughly heated before serving.


You can add anything you like to go with this rice, I find its great as a meal topped with a fried egg or you could grill some chicken breast or fish,  you could serve with a couple of spring rolls or drizzle it with sweet chilli sauce.

Spicy herbed chicken with beetroot, fennel and orange salad 

Ingredients:

A whole corn fed chicken cut into quarters and skinned

1 coriander bunch

1/2 mint bunch

2 small red onions

6-7 large garlic cloves

2 thumb size ginger pieces

2 red chillies

2 tbsp Natural yogurt

Olive oil

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp ground cumin

Juice of 1 lemon

For the salad:

4 beetroots, peeled and cut into eighths

Half a fennel bulb

1 med orange

Juice of half a medium orange

Few sprigs fresh dill

Feta cheese

Handful of roughly chopped walnuts

This recipes serves two portions

Firstly, the chicken. I get mine from the butchers and ask them to cut it into quarters and remove the skin, however if you prefer to keep the skin on then that is fine too. Wash the chicken and cut slits into the meatier parts to allow the marinade to soak through.


Pick the leaves off the coriander and mint, wash and drain. Place both the red onions, garlic cloves, ginger, chillies, coriander and mint into a chopper and whizz them up until they resemble a pasty like texture.

Transfer to a bowl, add the salt, cumin, pepper, lemon, yogurt and a few glugs of olive oil.


Using your hands, massage all of the marinade into the chicken and the slits you created making sure it is completely covered. If the skin is left on make sure you massage marinade under the skin too. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in the fridge for a couple of overs or overnight.


Remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes before placing in the oven to allow it to warm to room temperature.

Turn the oven on to 220 degrees. Grease and line a baking tray and place the chicken quarters onto the tray. Keep them slightly apart which will stop juices running, you want the chicken to be dry and slightly charred when serving. It may seem like there is too much marinade but coat the excess on top of the chicken.


Place the chicken in the oven – this will take around 45 minutes to cook (depending on the strength of your oven).

Check the chicken is piping hot before serving and if you unsure on whether it is cooked poke a sharpe knife into the thickest part of the meat – if the juices run clear it is ready.

Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

For the salad

Turn the oven on to 200 degrees. Trim, peel and cut the beetroot into eighths. Place in a non stick baking tray and drizzle olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and the juice of the orange. This is ready to go in the oven.


The beetroot should cook in around 30minutes. Toss it half way through cooking, once it starts to caramelise and is tender to poke with a fork it is ready to remove from the oven.

Whilst the beetroot is cooking peel and segment the orange and cut the segment lengthways and then in half.

Slice the fennel into thin slices and pick and wash the dill leaves.

Remove the beetroot and transfer into a salad bowl, toss the orange in along with the walnuts, crumbled feta cheese, fennel slices and dill leaves. Serve the salad warm with the chicken.


You can make this meal as filling or as light as you want – you can add roasted new potatoes to the salad or serve with some warm naan bread.

Clementine, yogurt and chia seed breakfast pudding 

Ingredients:

1 clementine

3 tbsp natural Greek yogurt

1 tbsp chia seeds

Almond milk for soaking

Honey

Mixed chopped nuts

Vanilla essence
Soak the chia seeds in almond milk and a drop of vanilla essence overnight or atleast a couple of hours before eating.

Tip: chia seeds grow to the liquid surrounding it and form a gel like consistency. You can never have too much milk but pour enough to atleast the cover the seeds and you can always add more after.

Peel and segment the clementine and cut the segments lengthways so they open into flat rounds. Stick these to the sides of your glass (if you want to be fancy).

Add the yogurt followed by drizzles of honey and then pour the chia seeds on top, they will just float on top of the yogurt.

Finish off with a sprinkle of mixed nuts and your ready for breakfast!

This recipe can be varied in so many ways

  • Swap the yogurt and chia round so you have more chia pudding and just a topping of yogurt
  • Mix berries into your yogurt
  • Add muesli on top instead of nuts
  • Puree some fruit and have this as a topping
  • Have it for dessert by mixing cacoa powder and dark chocolate shavings
  • Add desiccated coconut

I could go on! I think you get the idea – below are some of the ways I tend to have them for breakfast

Almond milk chia pudding, yogurt, strawberry and blackberry puree, passion fruit and walnuts
Yogurt, almond milk chia, chopped mixed berries and cherries
Dorset cereals nutty museli, chia, yogurt and indian mango pulp
Recipe as above