Tidy Carbonara with Chicken Meatballs

About this time last year, I shared a recipe for Baked Meatballs with Penne in Arrabiata Sauce. It’s become one of my firm favourites, but when I was presented with some Chicken Meatballs in a recent Musclefood order, I wondered if I could do anything a bit differently.

I’d have to agree with any accusations that a lot of my recipes are on the spicy side, and I also have a tendency towards tomato-based sauces, so I thought that a  Carbonara would fit well, and might also make a nice change to the blog.

Lo and behold, Slimming World’s Little Book of Sauces contained a Carbonara sauce, so this week’s recipe is my (very similar) take on that.

Read on, for a healthy take on the Italian classic!

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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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Beef & Peanut Kari Kari

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This Christmas, the mothership bought me loads of cook books (there were five, in total) including a one-pot & slow cooker one. I’m a big fan of one-pot cooking, because it means less washing-up! I’d never owned a slow cooker, though, but when Tesco are selling them for a tenner, it’s rude not to, right?

So when I ordered the slow cooker, I had a scan through the book to see what recipes to order food for, and the absolute winner was this beef & peanut stew recipe. Apparently, it’s an Estofado, which was taken by the Spanish to the Philippines, where they renamed it Kari Kari.

Although it’s not a fat club recipe, it’s actually pretty light on calories and fat (helped by using fry-light instead of oil) so if you’re looking for something healthy that still tastes indulgent, get stuck in!


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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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BBQ Chicken Skewers

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Back to healthy recipes this week, with one that’s originally intended for the BBQ, but I’ve adapted for the oven (because living in the UK, the opportunities for BBQs are slim!)

Despite the relatively lengthy ingredients list, this is actually super-easy to make, but do prep in advance!

Although the barbecuing concept has a summery feel, the flavours themselves are also satisfyingly robust for the cooler, darker, autumn evenings.

But don’t take my word for it, get stuck in!


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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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Fantabulous Feta Pasta Lunch

IMGP3588Good day, Munchkins!

Today’s recipe is a an attempt to reverse engineer a Feta & Semi-Dried Tomato Pasta that I found myself purchasing almost daily from Tesco. At £2 a pop, it’s not exactly a bank-breaker, but I was sure I could make a saving by recreating it myself! Especially as I was actually adding it as a part of their £3 meal deal.

The fact that I was eating it almost every day should be testament to the quality of the original version, but I’m pleased to say I mastered it on my second attempt! (Although the third wasn’t as good muahahahaha!)


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Sergeant O’Leary’s Chicken Cacciatore

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Well hello there, Munchkins!

It’s been a while, and I’ve been naughty! I’ve been eating lots of lovely food (and lots of not so lovely food) and very little of it has been healthy. Although that’s not always important at TidyMunch, my return to healthier eating has also brought me back to blogging. I’ve been super-busy (not just lazy) but now have time to both cook and write again! Yay!

Tonight’s recipe is adapted from a Fat club one again (or at least the sauce is) and I have to say it surprised me! I’ve seen a few recipes for cacciatore, and I have to say they’ve all looked quite different from one another! This one seemed pretty straight forward though, so I figured I’d chuck in some chicken, and give it a whirl!

I suggest you do the same, pronto!


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Chips, Cheese, & Curry Sauce

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Time for a Tidy Flashback Fakeaway!

Everybody has a guilty pleasure: your go-to snack on the way home from a ridiculously messy night out. For some it’s a Kebab, others crave a slice or two of pizza. Chips are pretty universal, and I was always a fan of Chips & Cheese.

Then, when I moved to Dundee for Uni, some friends had a thing for Chips & Curry Sauce. One drunken night after the Student Union (More than likely a  Mono night) the two were somehow combined, and most nights thereafter it became Chips, Cheese, & Curry Sauce!

Well… the other night, I was craving Chinese, and got myself in a bit of a spiral about wanting to continue with my weight loss but also really really wanting a good Chinese curry! So I googled a recipe for Chinese style curry sauce, and had it with some rice. It was pretty good, but as I was eating it I had a flashback to those chips, cheese, and curry sauce nights. The sauce would’ve been too hot to be authentic, so I made some tweaks and came up with this! The colour’s a little on the dark side, but I’ve made it mild enough to taste pretty close to the mark!

So, if you were ever in that queue at Istanbul on the Nethergate, waiting for your post-Mono munch…. this one’s for you!


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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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