January has killed my (albeit limited) creativity in the kitchen. I’ve been working long hours in the studio and life outside it has been pretty crammed as well. These days, with busy lives, no one wants to get home and cook for hours before they can eat dinner. Especially during winter. This month, I’ve realised it’s crucial to have a few super-fast time cheat dinners in your repertoire.
Having a few healthy recipes in store is a tactic that definitely steers me away from ordering a takeaway.
Fry a chopped lean chicken breast, and add chilli, lime and crushed garlic. Squash half an avocado onto a seeded wrap, place some sliced roasted red pepper onto each and then top with the chicken mixture.
Add cooked brown rice to a pan with two tablespoons of vegetable oil and heat through for a minute. Stir in two large eggs until cooked, and then add coleslaw mix, edamame, soy sauce and chilli-garlic sauce. Serve topped with peanuts and cilantro.
Cook 10 oz of couscous according to packet instructions. Meanwhile, pan fry a chopped onion before adding a can of chopped tomatoes, green olives, ½ cup of white wine, salt and pepper. Add the cooked prawns and cover for four to five minutes. Serve on a bed of couscous.
Cook broad beans in salted water for two minutes and then drain. Fry chorizo and the drained broad beans in a little oil until the chorizo is crisp and the beans are covered in spicy oil. Serve with bread.
Gently boil prepared tortellini of your choosing for four minutes. Meanwhile, fry garlic, red onion and shiitake mushrooms before adding one large chopped tomato. Add cream and then place this on top of the boiled tortellini in a baking dish. Cover with mozzarella and Parmesan and bake for a few moments to brown the cheese.
Ailments kicking about in your system this winter? There’s a smoothie that can help you with that. I love smoothies. As well as satisfying my sweet tooth, they give me a real energy boost if I’m feeling particularly run down. Here are my favourites that are seeing me through the January blues.
Let’s start off with something totally different – this smoothie is not a smoothie as you know it (it’s warm and comes in a bowl), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious! It also contains two servings of vegetables and some sensational spices to give it that kick you need to get you through the colder days.
This winter smoothie mixes it up – in the best possible way! The fibre, healthy fats and warming spices keep you going in the coldest of temperatures. The coconut milk and coconut oil both contain lauric acid, which helps to boost the immune system. I find this a great one for fending off any nasty winter bugs – I pop its ingredients in the blender as soon as the cold/flu feeling hits and it usually does the trick.
When it comes to winter comfort food, can anything really beat apple pie? Well, I’ve certainly been giving it a try with this smoothie! It’s a bit of a twist on the classic dessert, with added cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla extract (all of which contribute to physical wellness). I often add an extra dash of ginger for a bit more of a kick to the immune system.
Nuts are a great source of protein, something you need a great deal of during the colder winter months. Add some oats and vanilla protein powder to the mix and you’ll be raring to go – plus, it’s absolutely delicious!
If carrot cake is your favourite, you can’t really go wrong with this fabulous smoothie. I’m loving smoothies that taste like desserts at the moment (great if you’re on a health kick and avoiding puddings!), and this one is perfect for beating the January blues as it’s packed full of goodness. To lighten the calories, you can opt to use coconut water instead of non-dairy milk.
ADULT DISCLAIMER: It took me 10 months to switch the oven on for the first time in my new home.
If you're also juggling life, work, parenthood, plus maintaining a (vague-shadow-of-what-used-to-be-an-active) social life, you might enjoy my lifestyle blog. Having it all? Yeah, I manage that. Except it's an extremely fine balance & usually achievable one category (per month) at a time...