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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Cheesy Chorizo Brunch

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I am a classic yo-yo dieter. I’m either flat-out dieting, or fat-out eating aaallllllll the food.

Like almost every other 18-40 year-old with an interest in living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a balanced diet, I bought Joe Wicks’ Lean in 15. There are lots of amazing recipes in there, but of course, I was drawn to the Chorizo ones!

Wicks uses chicken in his recipe, but I forgot to defrost some, so tweaked the recipe, slightly. I’ve also made another tweak which I’ll explain in Tidy Tweaks.

Either way, the end result is amazing…. and the bonus is, it’s quick and easy! So get stuck in!


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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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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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Beef Goulash for the Soul

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Well, the nights have started drawing in, and isn’t it that little bit colder most days? I keep hearing rumours of an Indian summer, but every hint of it seems just to be a tease before the chill sets in again. I’m sat on the couch today, under a blanket, because I refuse to believe it’s time to put the heating on!

In any event, it’s definitely time to switch to your autumn wardrobe (which to me means cracking out the Autumn/Winter/Spring jumpers) and trade the light summer salads for those good old-fashioned hearty stews. Something a bit more comforting, and well… soul-warming!

I promised back in January that not every recipe would be a fat club one, but it turns out that most of them have. I can only apologise for that, whilst hoping that you haven’t found them to be lacking. You’ll be glad to know that this one isn’t from Fat Club…. but I’m still fat fighting, and it just turns out that this particular recipe is still pretty healthy, and would be considered “free” at Slimming World… just a coincidence, though!

I loved this recipe – not only was it super tasty, but it definitely warmed me up. It doesn’t have the spice you might expect from me, just a nice warmth and depth that left me feeling comfy-cosy!


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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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Bacon, Squash & Sweet Potato Stew

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It was my birthday last week, and suffice to say I over-indulged. For a whole week. I’ve been very proud of my weight-loss success since joining Fat Club between Christmas & New Year, but in the space of this week, I put on half a stone! Oops!

As we’re getting closer to Summer Holiday time, here’s one to kick-start the beach body regimes! It’s very very slightly adapted from a Slimming World recipe.


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Turkey Cannelloni

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Hello, children! Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin.

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, the rulers of the fair United Kingdom (and some of their counterparts in the neighbouring kingdoms) got themselves all in a tiz over how ill some of their moocows had become. They were really worried that if the people of the land ate the moocows, then they would become ill, too.

One day, Good Mother Nell, decided that she’d feed her family something different, so that Prince Charming might grow up big and strong, and not become a mad moocow (20+ years later, the Jury’s still out!)

She travelled far, she travelled wide, in search of good nutritious meat to keep the family fighting fit and healthy, and eventually stumbled across a farm owned by a kindly old farmer and his wife. They had no children of their own to care for, and so when Good Mother Nell told them of her plight and quest, they took pity, and slaughtered one of their very own turkeys for her.

She promised one day to repay their kindness, and hurried off home to prepare a fine feast for her fair family. She ground the meat of the turkey to make a mince, which she cooked in a lovely, rich tomato sauce, a little like a bolognaise or lasagne. She used the mixture to stuff tubes of Cannelloni pasta, which she later baked in the oven with some béchamel sauce and cheese.

She presented the dish to her husband and son (and took some back to the kindly farmer-folk, because she’d promised to repay their kindness etc. etc. yada yada yada) and they were mightily impressed with the tasty tasty goodness.

After many  years went by, the moocows of the kingdom became well again, and Good Mother Nell reverted back to cooking with beef instead of turkey, but Prince Charming never forgot those days when a humble meal, made out of love and desperation, delighted him so much.

And so he decided to chronicle the details of the culinary adventure so that other families could also enjoy the tasty tasty goodness.

And they all lived happily ever after, forever and ever, amen.


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Feta, Spinach, and Corn Wraps

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I’ve never made any secret about the fact that my favourite restaurant in the whole wide world is Wahaca. I love their Mexican street food so much that I bought their founder’s book, and it’s amazing! Every recipe made my mouth water, and the way it’s put together is nothing short of beautiful.

I’m also facing the conclusion of my second week of fat club, and wondered if I could adapt something to fit in with the Slimming World ethos, without skimping on flavour.

This recipe started life as Thomasina Miers’ Summery Spinach and Feta Tacos, and the filling remains pretty true to her recipe. All I’ve really changed is the cooking and serving methods (and of course the name, ever so slightly!).

The feta and fresh mint in this recipe did make it as Summery as the original title implies, and I found it delightfully tasty! Served up with some paprika & garlic sweet potato wedges, two of these wraps were enough to fill me up, and totalled 13 syns (that’s Slimming World’s points system, and I’m allowed up to 15 a day). See the Tidy tweaks section for ways to bring that down even further!


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Tidy Big T Tapas

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So the last time I went home to the Big T (otherwise known as Tranent) I spent a lot of time cooking. It’s traditional that whenever I’m home (or whenever we’re together anywhere, actually) that the mothership and I go for tapas. Since the good ship TidyMunch set sail somewhere between that visit and the one before it, I decided that instead of going out for tapas, I’d just make my own.

And so I present to you: Croquetas de jamón with alioli, Chorizo al jerez, and Patatas Bravas.

There’s quite a bit to do in these recipes, so unless you fancy spending an entire day in the kitchen (if you’re as slow as me) I’d recommend making the Croquetas and the alioli a day ahead!

Of course, there’s no need to serve them all together, you can pick and choose as you please. It’s quite the feast if you do make the effort, though!


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