Tracy’s back with some healthy dishes! You’ll remember before Christmas my good pal Tracy O’Meara wrote a few blogs with some lovely homemade treats – berry recipes and then some great ways to stock up for the festive season. Well, she’s here again with some healthy January recipes for you (and me) to try. One’s pizza, which I’ve featured on the blog before thanks to my brother’s yummy homemade breakfast pizza, but thought you might like Tracy’s lovely recipe too.
Here she is:-
Well, a Happy New Year. Bearing in mind we all tend to “live life to the full” over Christmas/New Year, I thought I would share with you a couple of quick, easy and low fat recipes – as the saying goes, a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips …
Can I also share with you my hot tip for an amazing website which offers a programme of clean and healthy eating and also online advice and guidance and home workouts. Perfect for the busy person! I’ve tried it and was impressed with the results – it really does work. Have a look at Evolve Fitness. Friendly, fun and factual! They are based in Edinburgh, but don’t let that put you off – all the programmes/advice/facts can be accessed remotely from the comfort of your own home but don’t think they won’t give you every support – it’s as though they are standing next to you!
In the meantime, here are my recipes for January:-
The healthy post-Christmas Pizza
(Makes 2 large thin crust pizzas) – takes c. 1hr 30 mins
There are loads of different pizza dough recipes out there and I’m sure they are all fabulous – this is just the basic one that I use and it seems to work pretty well.
For the dough:
- 225g of plain flour
- 1 x 7g sachet instant active yeast (or 15g fresh, or 2 level tsp dried yeast)
- 1 ½ x level teaspoons of salt
- 1 x teaspoon of sugar
- 150ml tepid water (just warm, not too hot)
For the Sauce:
- 1 x can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 x small onion very finely chopped (or if your eyes can stand it, grated!!)
- 1 x large or 2 x small clove(s) of garlic (grated)
- 1 x small glass of red wine (save some for drinking with your pizza!!)
- 1 x good squirt of tomato puree
- 1 good pinch each of salt and black pepper
- Olive Oil
- Handful of basil leaves and/or thyme leaves (don’t worry if you don’t have them)
- Put the yeast and warm water into a mug and stand for c. 10 mins until the yeast starts to work and make a froth on the top.
- Put the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the middle, pour in the yeast mixture and mix with a wooden spoon (or your hands lightly covered with olive oil are better if you don’t mind the feeling) until you have a soft, fairly wet dough.
- Dust a work surface very lightly with flour, turn out the dough and knead for 5 minutes until smooth. Clean the bowl out and then rub with olive oil, put the dough back into the bowl and cover in cling film.
- Leave in a warm place for about an hour until it has risen. Meanwhile make your sauce…
- Gently fry the onions and garlic in a large pan with a little olive oil until they are soft but not coloured (c. 10 mins), then add the remainder of the ingredients into a large saucepan and simmer gently until the sauce thickens . This sauce keeps for up to a week in a sterilised jar kept in the fridge.
- When your dough has risen to almost twice its size, rub some olive oil onto your fingers and slide them down the side of the bowl to release the pizza dough. Also now turn the oven on to its hottest setting.
- Divide dough into two and on a flour dusted surface roll out very thinly into a circle (or sort of circle – amazingly difficult to get exactly right I find!). Then top with the sauce (leaving c. 1 inch around the edge). Then add your toppings (see below). Remember – always thinly sliced stuff and the more you put on, the less crispy your pizza base will be – but that doesn’t really bother us.
- Pop into the oven and cook until ready (the time depends on how hot your oven is, so keep checking).
Toppings – thinly sliced onion is a must, and then add absolutely anything you like from mushrooms to peppers, from leftover vegetarian haggis (yes, I really did try this) to tuna. Now, I don’t like fish particularly, but I promise for those that don’t like it either, tuna on a pizza tastes meaty, not fishy at all (it can be canned or cooked fresh and added).
The only thing to remember is the more toppings you add on top, the less crispy the base will be as peppers and mushrooms etc do contain water which will come out during cooking. Mozzarella is lovely as it melts – not overly cheesy, so if you want that, add some finely grated cheddar, or parmesan or small dots of blue cheese (like St Agur).
Halo Chicken (it’s so healthy your halo will be shining all day)!
- 4 x Chicken breasts (skin removed) – this recipe feeds 4, but you can increase/decrease accordingly. (* see Vegetarian/ other alternatives below)
- 2 x tins tomatoes (chopped or whole – it doesn’t matter)
- 2 x thinly sliced onions
- 1 x fat or 2 x thin garlic cloves grated
- 4 tablespoons (or 4 good squirts) of tomato puree (or a small jar of sundried tomato paste)
- A small drizzle of honey (this is just to take away the acid sharpness from the tomatoes)
- A splash of soy sauce
- Basil and/or thyme leaves (not essential so don’t go dashing to the shops, but nice to have)
- (If you have any peppers lurking in the fridge, then feel free to chop and chuck them in – the more the merrier!)
- Pour all ingredients apart from the chicken into a large casserole dish and mix together. Then nestle the chicken breasts in so they are not quite touching the bottom of the dish and are covered by the sauce.
- Cover dish with tin foil and bake in an oven 200C for 30 mins. Remove the foil and put back into the oven for a further c. 20 mins to thicken the sauce.
(*For the vegetarians out there, swap the chicken for mushrooms. Just put a small knob of butter (or even healthier, a small spray of olive oil) and a twist of salt/pepper into the middle of four large Portobello or similar sized mushrooms and nestle into the tomato mixture leaving the open cap with the butter just above the sauce. Not quite so halo, but absolutely delicious!)
You can also use white fish steaks instead of chicken or even cooked pasta if you have any left over.