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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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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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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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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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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Lamb Steaks in Masala Sauce

IMGP3328It’s a bit of a collaboration today, from Mama’s kitchen, as I’m visiting Scotland again this week!

I never really cook with Lamb, but I’ve been determined to give it a go lately because I love it! Today’s recipe comes from Weight Watchers, and no matter how I tried I couldn’t get the sauce to look anything like the one in their picture… it still tasted pretty good though!

This one’s really quick and straightforward, as well as being super-satisfying. Get going!


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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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