Chicken and Black Bean Enchilada Bake

I looovvvvveeeeee burritos and this recipe is like a cross between a burrito bowl and a healthy chicken enchilada. You can make this on a Sunday and then freeze the extra portions and use throughout the week! Tastes like burrito but without all the calories.

Ingredients:

Makes 6 servings

ingred

3 chicken breasts (with all visible fat removed)

1 can of black beans drained (approx 290g)

1 cup of homemade enchilada sauce (approx 240ml)

1 Tbsp chilli powder

half a jar of jalapeños

1 small red onion, finely chopped

170g quinoa (dry) and 1 tsp olive oil

50g low fat cheddar

50g feta cheese

2 sprays of frylight or a similar low kcal cooking spray

Methods:

Preheat a fan oven to 180°C.

First of all you will need to get all of your ingredients ready so you can ultimately combine them all:

INGRED 2

Homemade enchilada sauce: Click here for my homemade enchilada sauce. You can also buy an enchilada sauce, look out for brands that are low sodium and low sugar.

Onion and jalapeños: Finely chop and set aside

Black beans: drain, rinse and set aside.

Chicken: You can cook grill, bake poach or fry your chicken. I baked my chicken at 180 degrees celsius for 25mins. Once cooked, I cut it into cubes and set aside.

IMG_1693IMG_1701IMG_1702Quinoa: Over a medium heat, add 1 tsp of olive oil to a pan and then add your 170g dry quinoa. Stir the quinoa until it has absorbed the olive oil and then add 320ml boiling water. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Once it starts to boil, lower heat to the lowest setting and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pot stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Set aside.

all in the pan

sauce in the pan

Once all your ingredients are ready add your onions to a medium heat frying pan and cook until translucent.

Add all the rest of your ingredients to the pan, combine and cook on medium heat for about 5minutes until sauce reduces.

ready for the oven

cheese

Once sauce has reduced, add mixture to baking tray and cover with feta cheese and low fat cheddar cheese.

Bake in oven at 180°C for 10-15minutes and serve with salad and avocado.

Nutritional Information per serving (with quarter of an avocado):
335kcal; 26g protein; 30g carbohydrates; 12g fat

time to eat

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Homemade Enchilada Sauce

I haven’t been posting as often as I would like to because I am currently in the process of moving to London which is very exciting, if not a little bit stressful. Even though I haven’t been posting, I have still been cooking (of course) and I have lots of new recipes that I’ll be putting up in the coming weeks!! Hopefully I’ll be back to posting regularly by next week!

I know that I’ve called this an enchilada sauce but it can just as easily be added to pasta or other dishes that need a bit of a kick. This is a really basic recipe but I find that most people buy pasta sauces, instead of making their own, and there are usually lots of nasty surprises in those ready made sauces (mainly salt and hidden calories). You can make a batch of this on Sunday and have it in the fridge for the week or you can reduce the amount you make and make single servings. I will be using this sauce in the next two recipes that I post just to show you how diverse it is.

Ingredients:

Makes approx five 150g servings

enchilada sauce ingredientsTwo 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

Half a Tbsp of olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

4 Minced garlic cloves

2-4 Tbsp Cayenne pepper (keep tasting!)*

Black pepper

Pinch of salt

*NOTE: Cayenne Pepper is technically a chilli powder. It’s actually 100% chili powder, while labelled chili powders are often a mix of chili powder along with other spices. Those spices can include oregano or cumin, among many others. So the flavor of each can be unexpectedly different from one another. Depending on what flavour you’re going for (or how spicy you like your sauces) you can use chilli powder if you prefer.

Method:

Chop up your onion, peel your garlic cloves and cut your lemon in half, ensuring the pips have been removed. Don’t worry if your onion isn’t chopped finely, we will blend the sauce later.

enchilada sauce choppedAdd half a Tbsp of olive oil to a frying pan and heat over a medium heat. Once you can feel heat over the pan, add your onions, minced garlic cloves, pinch of salt and a generous amount of black pepper. Cook until onions are translucent.

enchilada sauce cookingLastly, add two tins of chopped tomatoes with the juice of half of the lemon. Stir until combined and then add 2-4 Tbsp of Cayenne Pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes. I keep tasting the sauce until I get the heat/spice I want from it. You can further add black pepper or another pinch of salt here if it’s not what you’re looking for.

enchilada sauce finishedLet your sauce cool and then transfer to a blender and blend until you get the consistency that you like. I like a chunky sauce so I usually only give it a quick whizz with the blender.

As I said at the start, you can keep your sauce in the fridge for a week and keep using it for whatever dishes need a bit of  kick!

 Nutritional Information (per 150g sauce – 1 serving):

48kcal; 7g carbohydrates; 2g fat; 2g protein; 1g fibre

Almond, Vanilla and Cranberry Granola

I LOVE granola…..LOVE IT! But I can never eat it without feeling slightly guilty as it usually contains a huge amount of sugar  and calories. This is my version of basic granola that won’t break the calorie bank.

granola side

Granola is basically cooked muesli so oats, nuts and berries are obvious ingredients. I’ve used almonds, cranberries and vanilla for this one but you could, for example, use unsalted roasted peanuts, raisins and cinnamon instead. Play around with a few variations until you find your favourite and then you can make it in big batches and store for up to a month in an airtight mason jar.

GRANOLA INGREDIENTS

Makes 680g (17 servings) 

One serving = 40g

Dry Ingredients:

 300g oats

100g almond flakes

50g milled flaxseed

4 Tbsp chia seeds

30g sunflower seeds

100g dried cranberries

50g desiccated coconut

Wet Ingredients:

2 Tbsp of rapeseed oil (vegetable oil)

1.5 Tbsp of dark molasses (or 2 Tbsp of honey)

125ml pure maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla essence

NOTE: Molasses are a by product of the refining sugar process. Molasses have a high mineral content and are a good source of magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron and vitamin B6. 

Method:

  •  Preheat your fan oven to 150 degrees celsius. In a bowl mix all of the dry ingredients, except the coconut and cranberries.

GRANOLA 2 DRY INGRED

  •  In another bowl mix up your wet ingredients – honey, maple syrup, vanilla and rapeseed oil.
  •  Combine the wet ingredients with the dry and thoroughly mix until all the dry ingredients are slightly wet and sticky.

GRANOLA 3 DRY AND WET

  • Split the mixture and spread evenly onto two baking trays/dishes so that there is lots of room for the granola to bake. If you overfill a container and then bake it, you won’t get a crispy granola (this is a mistake I have made many times). Bake your granola for 15minutes.

GRANOLA 4 BEFORE OVEN

  •  After 15minutes, remove your baking trays from the oven and then add your cranberries and coconut.

granola 5 berries

  •  Bake for a further 15minutes.

GRANOLA KILNER

  • Once cool, store your granola in airtight jars and it will keep for up to a month.
  • Serve with your choice of milk or yoghurt. I like to have a bowl of this with a small banana, pomegranate or a pear.

Nutritional Information per 40g bowl with 150ml slimline milk:

270kcal; 30g carbohydrates; 11g fat; 11g protein; 

This recipe is a good source of omega 3 and 6 fats and contains a good source of potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron.

granola finished

Chocolate Banana Bread

This is SUCH an easy recipe to make and it’s a bit of a twist on the traditional banana bread. I tend to make a batch of this when there are black bananas in the kitchen and they’re about to be thrown out. The more ripe the bananas are, the sweeter they will be.

Ingredients:

Makes 10 slices

BB start

120g wholemeal flour

1 tsp baking soda

30g cocoa powder (unsweetened is best)

3 medium ripe bananas (the riper, the better!)

1 medium egg

120g natural yoghurt

1 tsp vanilla essence

Topping:

30g peanut butter

10g walnuts/cacao nibs

Method:

dry and wet

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C

Mix all the dry ingredients together in one bowl and in another bowl, mash the bananas and add the rest of the wet ingredients

Combine wet and dry ingredients

wet

Grease a loaf tin and add your ingredients. Spread evenly in the tin.

bb before

Bake for 45mins-1 hour. When you can prick the bread with a toothpick and it comes out clean, you know that it is ready. This is a very wet mixture so the toothpick may come out gooey but that’s fine.

bb after

Let the bread cool on a rack for 10-15minutes and then spread 30g of peanut butter on top. You can use either chopped up walnuts, unsweetened desiccated coconut or cacao nibs as a topping.

bb finisged

BB finished cut aerial

Nutritional Information per slice:

120kcal; 18g carbohydrates; 3g fat; 3g protein; 

This recipe is a good source of potassium.

bb ready to eat

HEALTHY Chicken and Broccoli Bake

When I got in the door from work last night, I was cold, wet and miserable. All I wanted to do was to curl up in bed and sleep until summer. Chicken and Broccoli Bake is my definition of comfort food and it was exactly what I needed last night. Unfortunately, the traditional C&B bake is high in fat and calories. Instead I have lowered the calories and fat but kept the flavour! This is a great dish if you’re trying to watch your calorie intake but still want to feel satisfied.

Ingredients:

This dish serves 4

CB1

400g chicken breast/ 3-4 chicken breasts (remove all visible fat)

100ml reduced fat milk (I used Avonmore Slimline Milk)

150ml reduced sodium chicken broth

3 Tbsp wholemeal flour/ ~45g (you can use plain flour if it’s all you have)

One head of broccoli (~250g)

3 Tbsp Light mayonnaise (I used Tesco healthy living)

120g mushrooms

1 small onion

100g feta cheese

1 tsp (5ml) olive oil

Method:

  • It’s easier to have all of your ingredients ready – chop your onions and mushrooms, dice your chicken CB2breasts, measure out your feta and milk and break off the broccoli florets from the stalk.
  • Once everything is ready to go, heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a pan over a medium heat and add your chopped onions once you can feel the heat, until they become translucent.
  • Mix in your mushrooms to the onions and cook for 1 or 2 minutes, then add your diced chicken and cook until the chicken is visibly white. CB3
  • Measure out 150mls of boiling water into a heat-safe jug and add your reduced sodium stock cube, stirring until all lumps disappear. Then slowly pour this into your pan with the mushrooms, onions and chicken. Turn up the heat high and wait for the liquid to reduce. You can stir once or twice but not too often as it will take longer for the liquid to reduce.CB4
  • While you’re waiting, steam your broccoli until bright green and then run under cold water and drain (you can boil for about 1 minute however steaming is better to reduce vitamin losses).
  • When your chicken mixture has reduced, add 3 tbsp of light mayo to your pan and stir until creamy
  • Slowly add your 100ml of reduced fat milk and stir, cooking on a high heat for about 3  minutesCB6
  • Once the milk has reduced a little, add 3 tbsp of wholemeal flour and stir until creamy. You are looking for a yoghurt consistency – not too thick and not too runny. You can control this by adding more milk to thin or more flour to thicken.
  • Once you have your mixture, add in broccoli and combine.CB7
  • Grease a Pyrex/oven-safe dish and pour your mixture into the dish.
  • Crumble the feta evenly over the top and bake at 180°C for 10-15 minutes.

 

 

This dish is high in protein and is a good source of iron

 

 

CB8CB10Nutritional Information per serving:

273kcal; 15g carbohydrates; 8g fat; 29g protein; 11mg iron

CB11

Chocolate Overnight Oats

CHOCOLATE for breakfast!!!

This is a recipe that I make every week. I can’t ever see myself getting bored of it as there are endless variations that you can experiment with. If you have never heard of overnight oats, the recipe is basically a thicker, fluffier and more satisfying version of porridge. The base for this recipe is oats and milk but they are soaked overnight in the fridge. Because you prepare this the night before, it is the absolute perfect recipe if you’re running out the door in the morning and need something healthy and satisfying to grab on the go. A serving of this always keeps me going until lunchtime!

The very basic recipe is, as I said above, your average porridge oats (40g) soaked in your favourite milk (150-200ml) overnight. However, I’m not going to start with the basic recipe. I’m going to start with Chocolate Overnight Oats because it’s January, it’s cold, dark and miserable and this is exactly what I need to get me out of bed in the morning!

start

Ingredients:

This recipe serves 2

150ml milk (I used Avonmore Slimline Milk but you can use soya, almond or whatever else is in your cupboard)

80g porridge oats

22g of cocoa powder (unsweetened cocoa powder is best but I used Options Belgian hot chocolate powder)

1 medium banana

2 tbsp of chia seeds (If you don’t have these in your press you can just leave them out of the recipe)

Method:

  • Add all of your dry ingredients into a bowl or jar (this will go into the fridge overnight so it’s better to be able to cover it with a lid or cling film)

banana and mix

  • Mash up your banana and add to dry ingredients along with the milk

mix 1mix 1

  • Give your oats a good mix and then pop into the fridge overnight, or for at least 4 hours. Remember that this recipe serves 2 so if you want you can split it before it goes into the fridge or split it in the next day, whatever suits!
  • Serve in the morning, hot or cold!

fin 1fin 2

Nutritional information per serving:

300kcal, 11g protein, 6g fat, 51g carbohydrate, 10g fibre,

Jalapeño and Feta Turkey Burgers

This is a healthier version of the traditional burger with with all the taste! The recipe below makes 8 servings, you can freeze whatever you don’t use and have dinner made for the week ahead!

Makes 8 burger patties

 One serving = 1 turkey burger patty

startIngredients:

450g lean turkey mince

80g porridge oats

1 garlic clove (minced)

70g feta cheese

pepper (no need for salt)

2 egg whites

200g spinach

20g of Jalapeños – you can add as much as you like if you’re a fan of spicy food or just leave them out of the recipe if you’re not.

Method:

  • Chop spinach into small pieces and remove any stalks as these will stick out of your burger patties and make them harder to form.
  • Once the spinach is chopped, combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix together with a fork or with clean hands.

prep

  • Start to shape the burger patties by scooping up a handful of the mixture to form a ball and then pressing them flat. Don’t worry if they look a bit messy, they will combine when cooked.

patties

  • To cook the burgers, I used a George Forman for about 7minutes. You can use your oven grill if you don’t have a George Forman but it might take a little longer.
  • Serve immediately on a whole-wheat bun or you can chop into pieces and have a burger bowl (salad).
  • I had mine in a round whole-wheat pitta with tomato relish and lettuce with spinach, rocket, 50g beetroot and 70g sweet corn on the side (337kcal; 52g carbs, 6g fat and 26g protein).

final

Nutritional content per single turkey burger:

130kcal; 8g carbs, 3g fat, 17g protein.

Healthy Banana Ice-Cream

MY FIRST RECIPE!!!!!

This is one of my favorites. It might sound a bit odd but it is the PERFECT substitute for a bowl of ice-cream when you’re craving something sweet:

164kcal/serving and 3.5g of fat/serving (with no toppings) vs. 270kcal/serving and 17g of fat if you were to go for a small bowl of vanilla Häagen-Dazs ice-cream.

The base for this recipe is frozen bananas. I’ve added 2 teaspoons of crunchy peanut butter this time to the frozen bananas but you can add whatever toppings you like. Just remember, the more toppings you add, the more calories the recipe will add up too.

Ingredients : Serves 2

100ml of any reduced fat milk, I chose Avonmore fortified slimline milk (40kcal/100ml serving)

2 medium frozen bananas   (105kcal/serving)

2 teaspoons of Peanut butter (59kcal/10g) – The best peanut butter to use is the Meridian brand as the only ingredients are dry roasted peanuts and salt. If you look at commercial peanut butter there are usually a lot of sugar, preservatives and palm oil added. Unfortunately all that was in the press was Kelkin but it will do for now.

5g Cacao nibs (19kcal/5g) – Not everyone will have cacao nibs in their pantry but I like the crunch they give and their bitter taste. If you don’t have cacao nibs you can try the optional toppings listed below or just have the recipe plain.

Other toppings suggestions:

  • Frozen Mixed berries – 80g (26kcal/80g)
  • 10g Cocoa powder – The best to use is unsweetened (23kcal/10g) but I use Options Belgian hot chocolate cocoa powder (40kcal/10g)
  • Chopped almonds / walnuts (Per 10g approx: 63kcal; 6g fat; 2g protein)

Method:

  • Peel 2 medium bananas and freeze overnight.
  • Once bananas are frozen, take them out of the freezer and place into your blender with peanut butter and milk. I use the Nutribullet but I have also tried this recipe in my cheap, 15 euro blender from Argos and it worked perfectly.
  • 20150109_210025
    20150109_210232Blend to the consistency that you like. I try to get it as close as possible to the consistency of ice-cream, takes about 2mins in the Nutribullet, but if you like it more runny, you can add some more low-fat milk.

 

  • Serve immediately with a choice of toppings. I’ve listed my favourite toppings above and the calorie content per one serving.

Nutritional information per serving (recipe serves 2):

164kcal; 32g carbs; 3.5g fat; 4.5g protein; 3.7g dietary fiber.

 This recipe is low-fat, high in dietary fiber and a good source of potassium.

20150109_210540

Introduction to the Irish Healthy Eating Guidelines

new year, new meNearly half of Irish people plan to make a New Year’s resolution with health, weight loss and well-being top of their list of aspirations, according to a new Ipsos MRBI poll undertaken on behalf of Motivation Weight Management (MWM). Listening to the talk around the office this week I can see that statistic in action. The buzz words in the canteen are “paleo”, juicing, “carb free”, dairy free and gluten free.

Paleojuicing

 

 

 

 

While it is absolutely fantastic to have health at the top of your agenda, I think first and foremost you need to understand what it is to eat healthy so that you can then feel empowered to make healthier choices for yourself rather than relying on a temporary diet for guidance. Instead of reading magazines and becoming an expert on fad diets, why not have a look at what the healthy eating guidelines are and become an expert at maintaining a well balanced diet combined with an active lifestyle. Once you have done that there should be no need for you to banish food groups, take nutritional supplements or to drink a vat of lemon water every morning with a spoonful of cider vinegar to “kick start your metabolism”.

I am not condemning a gluten or dairy free diet if that is what suits you, or of course if it is medically indicated. I am rather advocating a sustainable, inclusive diet that does not risk nutrient inadequacies by excluding food groups or does not require you to spend extortionate amounts of money on gluten-free foods, organic foods or food alternatives. If you are on a weight loss diet you might be interested to know that in future blog posts I will go into the scientific evidence for the different weight loss/health diets that are popular in the media and the benefits or disadvantages of each.

Healthy eating guidelines are developed to explain how to get all of the essential nutrients such as fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals in the correct amount to maintain optimum health. In Ireland, the Food Pyramid is used to communicate the healthy eating guidelines developed for the healthy Irish population, with the most up to date version published by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) in 2012. Following the Food Pyramid as a guide will help you get the right balance of nutritious foods within an appropriate calorie range for your age, gender and physical activity level.

The Food Pyramid

Screenshot_08_01_2015_22_58

How many calories do you need a day?

Your daily calorie requirement will depend on your age, body size, gender and the intensity of activity that you do each day. For example, men will generally need more calories than women, taller/bigger people will require more calories than smaller people and of course younger people will also need more calories and nutrients than older people, especially during growth spurts. Have a look at the table below to find out what calorie range you are in.

calories

active

sedentary

NOTE: If you are looking to lose weight, you should include at least 60-75 minutes of moderate activity every day. I will write about weight loss in the coming weeks.

Following the Food Pyramid serving recommendations will help you to eat within your calorie range as well as providing you with the correct amount of nutrients (this excludes those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or who are sick). Have a look at the table below to see how many servings/day of each food group you require:

Serving sizesDaily serving sizes

butter

For reduced fat spreads and oils, the recommended portion size is a single serving size that you would be given in a café. Use one packet for two slices of bread.

200ml cup

The FSAI recommend the use of a 200ml disposable plastic cup to guide you in the serving sizes, examples of servings below use this 200ml cup as a measure. There is no harm in having one of these in your kitchen to help you measure out your servings.

palm of hand

For meats, fish and poultry, it is recommended to use the palm of your hand, excluding finders and thumb, to guide you in a serving size for the day. Most of this sizing should be used as your main meal, with the remainder for your light meal.

 

teaspoon

A regular 5ml teaspoon should be used as a serving size for jams, marmalade, peanut butter or honey.

 

 

The Food Pyramid Groups

  • High fat, high sugar foods: Foods in this group are your sweets, cakes and biscuits. We all know that we should limit consuming from this category as these foods are high in calories, fat, salt and sugar. Excessive consumption of these foods can contribute to cardiovascular disease, overweight and obesity along with the associated consequences.
  • Reduced fat spreads and oils: Fats are necessary in the diet in small amounts. All types of fats and oils are very high in calories. While it is true that some fats and oils help to protect against heart disease, they are just as high in calories as other more harmful fats and oils. Choose reduced fat monounsaturated and polyunsaturated spreads and when cooking boil, bake, steam or grill your foods.
  • Protein: Protein is needed to maintain the body and support growth. Lean red meat and poultry and oily fish are the best options. Oily fish is a rich source of vitamin D and is the only food that provides two special Omega-3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA protects against heart disease. DHA is also important during pregnancy for the baby’s brain and eye development. The best types of oily fish are salmon, mackerel, herring and trout.

Screenshot_09_01_2015_00_27

  • Dairy: Milk, yoghurt and cheese provide protein and calcium which is needed alongside vitamin D for good bone health. As products from this group can be quite high in saturated fat, it is better to choose low fat varieties of milk, cheeses and yoghurts, with no added sugar.

Screenshot_09_01_2015_00_11

  • Fruits and vegetables: these are nutritious low-fat, low-calorie foods and eating more helps to achieve the nutrient intakes within the calorie goals. This is the one group where MORE is better!

Screenshot_09_01_2015_00_46

  • Carbohydrates: These foods should provide the main source of calories and carbohydrates in the daily diet. It is recommended that 45 to 65% of daily calories should come from carbohydrates. Brown is best – Choose wholemeal where possible. High fibre foods help protect against bowel diseases such as colon cancer.

Carbohydrates

General tips for Eating Healthy:

  • keep-calm-and-eat-healthy-22Portion sizes – watch that you are not overeating. Use the portion size reference given above for the different food groups as a guide.
  • Variety makes things interesting so make sure you have lots of choice of foods from the five groups.
  • Plain wholemeal breads, cereals, pasta, potatoes and rice provide the best calories for a healthy weight. Base your meals on these with plenty of fruit, vegetables and salad.
  • Eat plenty of coloured fruit, salad and vegetables – Aim for at least 5 a day.
  • Choose lean meat and poultry including fish (oily fish is best). Remember, peas, beans lentils are a good alternative source of protein
  • Read your food labels – I will post on this next week so you can easily read food labels and understand what you are putting in your shopping basket
  • Don’t be distracted while you are eating, e.g. watching TV, pay attention to when you are full. You don’t HAVE to clear the plate.
  • Drink plenty of water, 8-10 200ml cups of per day (1.5-2Litres of water today) and more if you are exercising. This will keep you hydrated and ensure that your body does not think it is hungry when it is just thirsty.
  • Be physically active! Find something that you love to do – walking your dog, swimming, a team sport.
  • Always have breakfast – Those who eat breakfast regularly are more likely to snack less throughout the day and are more likely be a healthy weight.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation! I will write a post on what ‘moderate alcohol consumption’ is very soon.

In the next few weeks I will be following up this post with advice on calorie consumption, portion control, how to read food labels, exercise recommendations, sports nutrition and I will also start a specific page on weight loss. The healthy eating guidelines and serving sizes above are suitable for everyone including those who are overweight.

Hopefully you found this introduction to healthy eating helpful! If you are interested in reading more of more posts pop your email address in the bar below to receive a notification when a new post is published on à la Maude.

References:

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/losing-weight-is-big-new-years-resolution-for-2015-30869478.html

Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) 2011: Scientific Recommendations for healthy Eating Guidelines in Irealand.

https://www.indi.ie/news/108-new-national-healthy-eating-guidelines.html

Healthy Eating and Active Living for Adults, Teenagers and Children over 5 Years– A Food Guide for Health Professionals and Catering Services