Ifits Spicy Chicken & Chickpea Stew

Well, it’s been all change at Tidy Towers (or rather Tidy Towers has relocated three times) over the last year and half, and I’m kind of ashamed to discover that I only managed four recipes in 2016!

Now that I’m settled, let’s put that to rights with this proper winter warmer! It’s a true Ifits – I wanted to knock together something that was healthy, tasty, warming, and filling, so had a look in the cupboards and rustled up this beauty.
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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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Party (Chilli)Poppers

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So you know me by now. For my Christmas Menu I wanted something a little bit different that would still tie in with Christmas themes…. It also just so happens that the Jalapeño Chilli plants I grew from the seeds I was given last Christmas have only just borne fruit…. and so I give you my Christmassy take on jalapeño poppers – I’ve replaced the more traditional cream cheese filling with Wensleydale with Cranberry, and wrapped in Turkey rashers, just so you can be sure that they’re definitely 100% bonafide Christmas food! A dollop of Cranberry Jelly adds the perfect sweetening touch to lighten the fire of the chillies 😀

Feliz Navidad!


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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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Brisket Bunny Chow

IMGP3705No bunnies were harmed in the production of this blog! (Although I do plan to do a rabbit recipe in the near(ish) future!)

I haven’t been able to find a definitive answer on where the name comes from, but one plausible explanation is that the “bunny” part is an adaptation of “bun”…. now, given that this curried meat is served inside a hollowed-out loaf of bread, that’s not such a far-fetched idea, is it?

I fancied a break from the recent fat club posts (although bread aside, this is fat club friendly) and when I saw this online (courtesy of Christie) I had to give it a try. It’s quirkiness spoke to me, as she knew it would!

This originates from the Indian regions of Durban, South Africa, and its history is as disputed as its etymology. Some say that it originated as a way for Indian slaves to carry their meals out into the fields, others link it to the Apartheid era when Indian golf caddies weren’t allowed to carry cutlery, or in the same era when Indian people weren’t allowed in certain restaurants, so the bread bowls were used to serve them takeaway on the sly, from a back window.

We may never know the definitive history, but we do know it tastes delicious!


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Mushroom Tidy Fried Rice

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Whenever I order Chinese Takeaway, I almost always have Special Fried Rice. I love all the tasty little morsels of meat that they probably just couldn’t sell in dishes of their own…. so I was a little nervous to try this vegetarian version. I mean…. what would be the point? Well it turns out, the point is just wow. Nothing else. Just wow!

The mushrooms add a little bit of a meaty texture to this fat club recipe, from Slimming World‘s Veggie Deluxe book. Suspend your disbelief, and give it a whirl!


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Tidy Fajita Cups

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Hola! Well… I love fajitas. Always have. But they can be a bit risky when you’re fat fighting, so often I have to go without for long periods of time. Until, that is, I was convinced to pop into Aldi. Now. I’m not a snob, but…. I cannot abide that store. It’s disorganised and messy, and plays havoc with my brand of OCD.

HOWEVER…

They have some amazing(ly random) non-food stuff on sale.  And it just so happens that on this particular day, they had fajita sizzlers, those little keep-your-tortillas-warm things, and…. moulds to turn your wraps into bowl-type thingies. I’d seen this done before, but always thought it would be complicated… and here Aldi were offering to sell me moulds that would do the trick for me! I figured that if a normal sized wrap were to be turned into a bowl, I could fit a LOT more stuffing in there, thus cutting down on the number of wraps required (lets call them tortillas, because I’m not OK with calling a wrap a wrap if it isn’t gonna wrap anything) and thus save on fat club naughties.

Plus, it would look kinda impressive.

So here’s a nice little party centre-piece for you to try… the fajita spice blend is just my own mix of what I thought might be appropriate… it tasted pretty authentic to me.

So jump in! Give it a go!


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Wowzer Zingy Lemon Chicken

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I’m not gonna lie… this recipe is fantastic! It’s from Slimming World’s A Taste of Asia book, and I’ve been meaning to try it for ages but never quite got round to it. Well more fool me!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not exactly the same as Lemon Chicken from the takeaway, but it’s still amazing. I made it on a day that I was frustrated that my weight loss was slowing… it was meant to be cheat day, but I was so wound up at not losing any weight that week that I decided just to cook instead… and I was glad I did, as this was honestly better than any of the unhealthy options I had available on that night.

I can neither confirm or deny that I made it again three days later….

However, enough about me….. stop reading and get cooking!


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Ifits Crustless Quickie Quiche

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This is a real quickie this week! The plan was to blog something more substantial… but I had four eggs that needed to be used before shopping arrived and I figured an Ifits was overdue anyway!

This one is perhaps the strangest combination I’ve flung together…. but it worked in the main! Feel free to swap any ingredients you like (as with all Ifits recipes) and as ever, I’ve suggested some tweaks of my own!


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Sweet Potato Rosti with Goats cheese & Caramelised Red Onion

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I haven’t had it too many times in my life, but I seem to remember particularly enjoying rosti. I also particularly like sweet potato, and recently had a couple of baked sweet potatoes with goats cheese. They were nothing short of amazing, so I thought I’d blog them… then thought that maybe it was a little too simple for a full-on post…. so I got my thinking cap on, and decided to try a rosti version, with a few other twists!


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