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Thursday, 19 February 2015

Happy new year - Chinese that is!

19th February 2015
It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.

Oh ma'an it's morning apparently, little bit tired still this morning, my bed was a bit like a bad habit this morning, easy to get into but really hard to get out of.  However I am drinking the best cup of tea ever and I'm going to follow it up with another one, or possibly a coffee to bring me round.  Add to that a pint of water and I'll be ready to go in an hour or two.

My meals gone mixed up yesterday as I realised one had a use by day so breakfast was banana muffin as planned, that was delicious and will be eaten again!  Lunch was Breton chicken, 11pp it was a ready prepared meal that just needed throwing in a pan and cooking was really tasty (Fresh chicken breast in a handmade creamy mornay sauce with cheese, leeks, lardons, Dijon mustard and fresh parsley) if not a bit too overpriced, we had it with grains and vegetables so it was 16pp in total, quite high really for what it was, wouldn't buy again purely because of price and ProPoints, although I think I could make something similar myself for less, actually I think I have in the past, hold on....

Yep, this would taste quite similar if I added a bit of Dijon mustard and some leeks, you could make it almost completely F&H and use medallions instead of lardons.

Chicken Fricassee
Serves 2, 9pp each

100g brown rice (10pp)
low fat cooking spray
2 x 125g skinless boneless chicken breasts
300ml chicken stock (use 1½ chicken oxo cubes)
110g carrots, peeled and cut into thick chunks.
150g button mushrooms, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
75g low fat soft cheese

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the rice according to the packet instructions.  Drain well and leave to cool.  Meanwhile, lightly coat a deep, lidded, non stick frying pan with low fat cooking spray and heat until hot.  Add the chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes until browned all over.  Add the stock and carrots.  Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until tender.  Meanwhile, lightly coat another small non-stick frying pan with low fat cooking spray.  Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until the juices have been released and evaporated.  Add the garlic and rice and cook for a further minute, until hot.  Divide between two plates.  Remove the chicken and carrots with a slotted spoon, reserving the stock.  Place the chicken and carrots on top of the rice.  Keep warm.  Return the pan with the stock to the hob.  Boil quickly for 1 minute.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in the soft cheese.  Pour the sauce over the chicken. 

I do like to read the ingredients on a packet and see if I can make the same thing myself, especially if the original is too high in ProPoints.  

I'm curious to try today's meal though, it's the one I mentioned yesterday Ras El Hanout chicken drums and thighs with preserved lemon and apricot, you can oven bake it as it is or add a tin of chopped tomatoes to make a sweetly spiced tagine which is what I plan to do, it works out at 9pp per quarter packet and sounds delicious.  I've just looked online and it's £5.49 but when I bought it in store it was only £3.69 so maybe it was on offer.

I suppose I should be having something Chinese tonight as it is Chinese New Year, I had mine on Monday, I do love Chinese food though, you can't beat beansprouts and chow mein, mmm, sweet and sour too is delicious!

A really simple meal you could knock up that would celebrate by Chinese new year and national chip week is;

Chinese meatballs
serves 4 – 11pp each

1 x 220g water chestnuts
500g extra lean pork mince (19pp)
½ tablespoon Chinese 5 spice powder
low fat cooking spray
2tbsp cornflour (4pp)
3 tbsp dark soy sauce (1pp)
1 red chilli deseeded and diced
400g Oven chips

Put oven chips to cook as per instructions.  Drain water chestnuts and chop 1/3 finely and mix with the pork mince and Chinese 5 spice powder.  Shape into 20 meatballs.  Lightly coat non stick frying pan with low fat spray and cook meatballs for 12 – 13 minutes over a medium heat, turning to brown them evenly.  Meanwhile, mix cornflour and soy sauce together in a measuring jug then add 300ml cold water and the chilli.  Slice the remaining water chestnuts in half and add these to frying pan, along with soy sauce mixture.  Simmer for 2 minutes until the sauce is thickened and clear.  Serve immediately.

They're really easy to make and tasty, the kids could make them for you, keep them entertained with it being half term, better still have rice instead of chips and give them chopsticks to eat with, now that would be amusing to watch and fun to do. 

Chinese New Year - a second chance to make a new year resolution maybe?  Mmm now there's a thought....

Well the first cuppa tea has worked, I'm feeling almost alive, hope I fancy lying in tomorrow like I did this morning, bet I don't!

Here's to having a terrific Thursday BeYOUtiful, here's to #FeelGoodFebruary, that sun may not be hot this week but it's shining and that'll do me!

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