Baked Meatballs with Penne in Arrabiata Sauce

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You know me: always on a diet, but a greedy boy with a big appetite! Well, no surprise that I’m always on a diet, then! The problem is, most people associate diets with rabbit food, and that’s really just not my scene. So when I heard all the gym-bod meat-heads of the interwebs buzzing about this new phenomenon called Muscle Food, I thought I’d give it a go. Basically, they sell high protein products (mostly very lean meat) mainly marketed at those who are trying to bulk up through excruciating gym routines, but also with an eye on those like me who just wanna watch what they eat.

So first order made, I got their New Year Hamper which included tonnes of chicken breasts, steak, and the like. I was also intrigued to see they’d included giant meatballs. I was a bit wary, but a quick check of my Slimming World app informed me the meatballs were only half a syn each. HALF a syn! I’m allowed 15 a day, and there were six of these beasts! For only 3 syns the lot, I was damn sure I was going to find a recipe to use them in.

Pasta seemed an obvious choice (and I always have some) so then I just wanted a sauce to go with it. I was thinking of something tomato based, as I always have tinned tomatoes and pasata in the house as well. My first thought was an Arrabiata, but I thought I’d have a look through my Slimming World Little Book of Sauces first, just in case…. and then it turned out that I already had all the ingredients I needed for an Arabiatta sauce anyway, so that won…. and am I glad it did!

I thought it was a bit of a boring fail-safe, but it turns out it packs quite a kick! I can’t rave enough about how good this meal was (only regret is eating it all in one sitting, so there was no more left for later!)

Don’t take my word for it though…. get your cook on!


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Lime Chilli Chicken

IMGP3747Well, you know how sometimes you just try something and it works first time? This wasn’t one of those occasions. It’s not unusual for me to have a kitchen disaster on the way to finding something I consider blogworthy. What is unusual, though, is for me to have two failures, yet still stick with it! I’m glad I did stick with it though…. it hasn’t turned out quite as I had imagined it, but tasty none the less!

So why had this one caught my imagination so much? Well, it all started last Christmas, when my Auntie & Uncle gave me a “grow your own chilli plants” kit, containing Scotch Bonnet, Jalapeño, and Cayenne Pepper seeds. There have been many adventures over the last 10 months, but it’s only recently that actual real-life chillies have started to grow, and only very recently that any have ripened. Well. First was this monster Cayenne that I really wanted to use in a recipe

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He was huuuuuuuuge! For a small person, I don’t have particularly small hands, so you get the idea. I eagerly chopped him up to try in this recipe… of course I had to try a bit raw. It wasn’t overpowering, but there was a pleasant “background” heat, and an unexpected fruity quality that I’m putting down to the freshness. Very pleasant overall. So I was gutted when the recipe failed, and the amazing chilli was gone forever!

The second attempt, with super-market bought Scotch Bonnet, also bombed, but now I’m proud to present the third attempt, with store-bought Habaneros.


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Home-made Hunter’s Chicken

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Hunter’s Chicken is one of those pub favourites that I know I can always rely on. Almost every menu carries it by one name or another, and if there’s nothing else I fancy then I’m pretty sure it will be there for me!

It’s has a really decadent feel to it, so it must be really unhealthy, right? Obviously. I mean… barbecue sauce, with all that sugary goodness/badness?! Well you know I love a challenge, so I’ve fat-clubbed it! My first attempt used a Slimming World BBQ sauce recipe that I’d found on their website, but all I could taste was red wine vinegar. So I decided just to try chucking some things together, based on what I remembered from the very naughty OMG BBQ Pulled Pork recipe, and came up with this. I’m not gonna lie, I think I’ve outdone myself.

So here you have it. A Healthy version of Hunter’s Chicken! Dig in!


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Ifits Spicy Baked Rice

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Well it may be a little soon for another fits, but the truth of the matter is I had a week away, and when I came back I couldn’t be bothered shopping! And isn’t that the whole point of Ifits recipes?

This one is a bit on the spicy side, and may not exactly contain ingredients that everybody has lying around… but you know, when you write a food blog, you tend to pick up a few interesting bits and pieces….


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Ifits Stuffed Peppers

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I love couscous. I literally can’t get enough of it. It’s not always easy to find interesting ways to serve it, though, so I tend to serve it as an accompaniment to interesting dishes. When I decided it was time for another Ifits recipe, though, things quickly pointed towards the two peppers I had in the fridge, and rice seemed like too obvious a choice – so it had to be couscous!

I found this both tasty and filling, despite it’s healthy appearance! Go on, give it a try. I dare you!


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Saffron & Rosemary Chicken

IMGP3284Just look at that! Isn’t it beautiful? It’s the combination of a couple different recipes I stumbled across in Sabrina Ghayour‘s Persiana. It’s another beautiful book, that I’d spent hours reading as if it was a novel.

Every recipe looked awesome, but I was surprised to see that many of them could be easily tweaked to create a healthier option. All I needed to do with these was swap oil for frylight, and the job was done!

So what we have here is Saffron & Rosemary Chicken, with Turmeric & Cumin Roast Potatoes. I served them on a Watercress, Spinach & Rocket salad, with balsamic and pomegranate seeds… but you don’t need a recipe for that part!

The end result is a low-fat, healthy meal that will fill you right up. Oh, and did I mention that it’s pretty damn tasty, too?


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Where There’s Smoky Chunky Chilli There’s Fire

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This Chilli is so smoky that for 24 years, it’s been living next door to Alice. Don’t let that middle-of-the road, easy-listening 70’s Soft-Rock Ballad analogy fool you, though… where there’s smoke there’s fire, and this is no exception! This smoky-fiery chilli will make your nose run and your forehead sweat. It’s illegal to wear a wooly jumper whilst eating this dish.

I’ve often said that every man should have a robust chilli in his repertoire, so I guess it’s somewhat surprising that after over 25 recipes, one hasn’t featured yet on TidyMunch. The honest truth of the matter is that until now, I haven’t had such a chilli! With the weather turning bitterly colder this week, I was determined to fix this with a proper winter warmer. And I’ve certainly achieved that!

Don’t worry – you can always adjust the spices if you prefer a little less heat – the smokiness still makes this a hearty and tasty plateful for cold winter nights!


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Spicy Baked Eggs with Tomato & Bacon Sauce

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I found this simple little beauty in a book called Man up Your MealsIt’s one of those types of books that costs pennies (OK, pounds but very few of them) in those bargain books kinda stores, and doesn’t have the author’s name on the front. Given my well (self)documented large appetite, I’m sure you can figure out why it appealed to me.

There’s a wonderful, earthy-smokey flavour to this dish that’s very satisfying, but I couldn’t help but feel there was one (just one) thing missing. So I added cheese, and my life was complete.

It doesn’t look particularly appetising I have to admit (sweetcorn does that) but the taste more than makes up for it.

So what are you waiting for? Get your Cook on!


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