HOW TO MAKE SIMPLE CHICKEN STEW

Are you stuck what to make for tea? Sometimes trying to think of new ideas to cook can be hard especially when you are busy and lots to do therefore read on to find out how to make simple chicken stew. If you plan your weekly meals you most certainly can eat healthy meals and it makes food shopping a lot easier and quicker when you have planned your meals. Make sure you have eaten before you go shopping because it can tempt you into buying more sweet treats.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2tbsp Olive oil

1 red onion finely sliced

1 carrot finely chopped

1 leek sliced

1 red pepper finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic crushed

150ml chicken stock

400g can chopped tomatoes

1tbsp sundried tomato paste

400g cooked chicken breasts chopped into small chunks

You may also like these Easy To Make Energy Balls or Roast Chicken, Potato And Chorizo Bake

Method

Heat the oil in a large frying pan.

Add the onion, carrot, leek and red pepper and cook for 5 minutes on a medium heat.

Add the crushed garlic, chicken stock, tomatoes, sundried tomato paste, stir well and bring to the boil.

Cover and simmer stirring occasionally until slightly thickened.

Mix in the cooked chicken pieces and heat through for 5 minutes.

Serve with pasta, rice or quinoa.

I choose to serve mine with quinoa.

I did all the preparation for this meal in the morning therefore it was quick and easy to make for tea. I did take the easy option of using the quinoa you can buy in a packet and only requires 2 minutes to heat in the microwave because it does save time if you are in a rush.

Hope you give it a try and enjoy it, my son enjoyed it and he can be a tricky customer!!

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Roast Chicken, Potato And Chorizo Bake

Roast chicken, potato and chorizo bake is a great choice if you are stuck for ideas on what to cook for tea because it tastes amazing and is easy to make.

I prepare it in the morning and leave it in the fridge so all you have to do is pop it in the oven when you get home from work.

I try to prepare most of my meals in the morning as I find it a lot harder to cook for scratch after a busy day. Not being prepared is when a lot of people tend choose processed foods that are quick to prepare.

Ingredients

500g baby Maris peer potatoes, evenly chopped.

2 peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks.

8 cherry tomatoes left whole.

2 red onions cut into small wedges.

200g cooking chorizo, skin removed and sliced into small chunks.

1tsp paprika.

1/2 tsp chilli powder.

1tbsp, rapeseed oil.

6 or more chicken breasts.

This is just before it goes in the oven

Method

Heat the oven to 200 / 400/ gas mark 6

Place the potatoes in a large roasting tin.

Scatter the peppers, tomatoes and onions around evenly in the roasting tin.

In a small bowl mix together the paprika, chilli powder and rapeseed oil.

Pour half of it over the ingredients in the tin and mix together to ensure it covers all of them.

Place the chicken thighs on top and drizzle the remaining oil over the top.

Cook in the oven for 1 hour and then serve.

You may also like Flatbread Pizzas With Chickpea and Basil Pesto

Hope you give it a try and enjoy.

Karen x

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How To Boost Your Metabolism

Your metabolism or the rate at which your body burns calories, is like an engine, for instance the more often you give it fuel the better it works. Here is some simple facts for you to consider on how to boost your metabolism. Make one or two changes a week so you don’t get overwhelmed and give up before you have started properly.

What happens when you deprive your body of food

  • Your metabolism slows down to hang on to the energy to preserve it.
  • A slowed metabolism makes it far more difficult to lose weight and much easier to gain weight.
  • An irregular eating pattern, for instance not consistent in calories and nutrition intake will lead to a more rapid loss of muscle because the body is forced to take its energy from elsewhere.
  • Muscle loss is ageing.
  • Never skip breakfast because it gives your metabolism a boost.
  • Eat to keep your energy up and your blood sugar levels on an even keel. By doing this you will avoid overloading your system and in addition you should not feel hungry and therefore shouldn’t affect your performance.
  • Chew your food slowly because this enables more nutrients to be released and in addition helps to digest food.
  • Eating slowly helps you feel fuller faster and will help prevent overeating. When you eat too quickly your stomach doesn’t register that it is full until too late.
  • Replace normal dinner plates with a smaller one this will enable your portion sizes to go down, but your plate still looks full.
  • Try not to eat on the run. Sitting down to eat a meal means you enjoy your food more and you avoid upsetting your digestion.
  • Go to bed early because people who don’t have enough sleep have lower levels of leptin, a hormone that tells your brain you are full and higher levels of ghrelin a hormone that triggers hunger.
  • It takes 20 minutes for the stretch receptors in your stomach lining to send a message to your brain registering food.
  • You may also find this helpful. Are You Always Feeling Hungry?
  • Or this is easy to read information to help start you on your way to a healthier you The Basics Of Healthy Eating

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Are You Struggling To Lose Weight?

The first step on the path to losing weight is to recognise that what works for someone else may not suit you. Becoming stressed out about sticking to a punishing diet because some celebrity endorses it is not going to get you anywhere, not at least because feeling ravenous, light-headed and grouchy seriously affects your ability to cope with the demands of a busy life. I know I get really grumpy if I am hungry and have not eaten enough.

Stressed out busy people tend to turn to food and drink as their main source of relaxation at the end of a frantic day. I think most people are guilty of this including myself. If you are trying to lose weight try to build a more life affirming activity into your evenings such as mediating, yoga, exercise, reading or phone a friend for a chat. The more you make your life well rounded the less you will want to take solace in food. The best thing you can do for your body and mind is to exercise. I find putting headphones on while exercising helps as you can totally switch off to anything else going on around you or doing yoga as you have to concentrate and switch off to other things because if you don’t you will lose your balance!!

Rather than becoming fixated on achieving a particular weight, the crucial thing is to stay positive by envisioning your body looking slimmer and healthier. How you feel in yourself is far more important than how much you weigh. Be realistic your body is likely to be an apple or a pear shape and although you can become a slimmer apple or pear you will probably never be able to switch. Record your dimensions this allows you to focus on your change in shape, which is what a lot of us care about. How your clothes feel are they becoming loser? I judge off my clothes a lot of the time.

Some people use diet pills and appetite suppressants to help lose weight, yes they can help you lose weight initially, but they are not a long term solution and they can be damaging to your health. People who lose weight very quickly, tend to put it back on and more once they stop the pills. Yo-yo dieting is certainly not good for you. One of the easiest and best ways I find to start with is to do a food diary, but you must be completely honest or you are just cheating yourself. Many people are shocked by how much they are actually eating. It means writing down every snack and every drink. It can be as simple as that for you to understand why you are not losing weight. People snack when they are bored, learn to recognise the different signs are you actually hungry?

Chew your food slowly and concentrate on its flavours and textures it will also increase your sense of satiety, unlike shovelling down a sandwich while you are on the phone at work, so choose something you will enjoy eating and take the time to savour it. Losing weight takes time there is no quick fix, it is a life change. Set your yourself small achievable goals. Don’t start wanting to lose 5 stone as it will feel like it is impossible break it down and choose rewards when you reach a goal, preferably not a huge meal. Aim to lose half a stone at first.

Remember the body recognises thirst and hunger as similar sensations. Before you grab something to eat have a drink of water and wait 20 minutes to see if you still feel hungry. This will also help you stop overeating.

Focus on what you want to achieve and don’t give up if you have a set back. If you have a bad day with food tomorrow is a new day.

You can achieve want you want!!

Karen x

The Basics Of Healthy Eating

Smart Nutrition can make all the difference

There is so much nutrition and healthy eating advice around and it can get confusing and overwhelming. I always try to keep it simple. I tend to judge mine off that I must be doing alright as I very rarely get ill, my weight generally stays about the same which I do think gets harder as you get older. I think my skin and hair tell a lot. I have had problems with my hair falling out in the past and that has linked to when I have had things going on in my life oh and the years of straightening which I am currently trying to correct with the curly girl method. Anyone with naturally curly hair will feel my pain!! When you turn 40 you get the lovely little letter in the post asking you to go for a health check. I must admit I did feel a bit nervous about this as it was kind of a way of proving if what I say and practice works. I passed with flying colours and don’t have to have another until I am 45 so a bit to go yet.

Drink Lots Of Water

Anyway back to the basics of healthy eating. One of the things I go on and on about is drinking water. This is the easiest and cheapest change you can make. I don’t drink bottled water so just turn on the tap. Dehydration will impact your performance in your daily life and if you work out in the gym – research indicates that 5% dehydration can lead to 30% drop in function. This can also affect the way your body stores fat and repairs muscles. Water benefits your body so much, I will go into that more another time so moving on.

Eat Your Greens

Try to include some colourful vegetables in every meal. There is no such thing as too many vegetables. They are packed with vitamins, phytochemicals and fibre and will fill you up without sending your calories soaring. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage and cauliflower are ideal, although dark green leafy vegetables like spinach are also excellent. Regardless of what else you are eating your plate should be about half full of vegetables at every meal. If you have a child that isn’t keen on vegetables hide them in sauces by blending them. Its amazing what you can get away with by hiding them in a tomato based sauce. Mash a bit of swede in with your potatoes. Fruit is also excellent for you, just be aware of the sugar content (fructose) I would try to limit to two or three pieces a day.

Pack The Protein

Protein is one of the most important components of the diet – it’s crucial to building muscle, keeps you feeling full, helps repair tissue and the immune system. It also provides energy. Aim to eat a wide variety of protein foods to get the full range of muscle-building amino acids – lean meat, fish, eggs and dairy produce are excellent sources of protein. Protein can also be found in nuts, seeds and beans. Include a fist-sized amount of protein at every meal.

Include Energy Fuelled Carbohydrates

This is always quite a hot topic as many people who are trying to lose weight want to massively reduce their carbohydrate intake. It is your choice, but I personally really like my carbs and its all about which carbohydrates you consume. Carbohydrates form the foundation of a healthy diet, providing a readily available source of energy. Carbohydrates are broken down by our bodies into glucose for energy and they come in two forms – complex carbohydrates which are known as the slow releasing form. Foods containing these are whole grains, vegetables and fresh fruit. These slow down the release of the sugar/glucose into the blood stream. Simple carbohydrates known as the fast releasing ones are found in sweets, biscuits, cakes and refined flour, white pasta. So it is about choosing the right ones and I am not saying never eat cake again as I couldn’t do that, its about moderation.

Don’t Avoid Fats

Although it might seem contradictory to eat fat when you are trying to lose fat, dietary fats are by no means bad. The ones to avoid or reduce are trans fats, aim to keep your saturated fat intake low. This means being aware of how many cakes, biscuits, red meats and cheese you have. The fats you need are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, found in olive oil, nuts, seeds and oily fish. These include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which have been proven to aid strength and aerobic training, protect the body from injuries and help it recover from wear and tear.

Stay Natural

This is the simplest rule when deciding what to eat, keep it natural. Processed foods – biscuits, cakes, ready meals, fizzy drinks, crisps are mostly high in calories, but low in essential nutrients, so they are poor at refuelling, but good at increasing your weight and zapping your energy. Try to avoid foods containing preservatives and things you can not spell is an easy way at looking at it or things that you wouldn’t keep in your kitchen. Eat things that will rot eventually, so you know they are fresh. As a general rule, if it grows in the ground or used to have a face its fine. If it comes in a packet be wary. Don’t beat yourself up if have an odd ready meal I am realistic and understand how busy some people are. This is when preparation works well.

To Conclude

As you can see it isn’t difficult I don’t count calories, but I am aware I do need to burn off what goes in and if more goes in than what I burn off then my weight will go up. I try not to eat late and I do try to do some form of exercise each day and some days this can be just 10 minutes hula hooping or 15 minutes of yoga. Every little bit counts. I am not into gyms and never have been, but some people going to a gym gives them focus and motivation it’s whatever works for you.

Karen x