I love cooking spaghetti for dinner. So simple and easy, yet loved the world over. Served in the classiest restaurants and the cheapest little cafes – it’s one of the best staples money can buy.
I probably love it too much. I can easily put away as much as Chris (my 6ft husband), and served with a rich tomatoey and chicken sauce too? Just give me the pan and a fork.
So you might know that I’ve been struggling with eating too much lately. I’m still just managing to fit into my UK size 12’s, but they’re getting tight.
I had a little go at a ridiculous diet earlier in the year, with good (if temporary) results. I’ve also been gym-ing it, and practising a little mindful eating. However, the Summer holidays have meant less time for the gym, and far too many treats with the kids.
It’s time to tackle this thing head on. Otherwise I’m going to be hitting Christmas looking like a snowman (err snowlady?) in a tent.
So last week I signed up to Slimming world (eek!). I’d like to lose 14 or 15 pounds, but not spend the whole time miserable, grumpy and fantasizing about a large Cadbury dairy milk. I’m hoping this diet will work with those key requirements….
The good thing about Slimming World is you have loads and loads of free foods (that you can eat as much as you want of). We’re talking pasta, rice, potatoes, lean meat, fish, fat-free yogurt, eggs, fruit and most veg. You have a limited about of bread/cereal type food and a limited amount of dairy each day. Then you also get 5-15 ‘syns’. These can be used for treats (such as chocolate yay!!), or other things you might want to add to your meals – like oil, cream, flour etc.
So you will be seeing more healthier meals on here for a while, but when you consider this chicken and pasta meal is completely syn-free (so you could eat as much of it as you want to on Slimming World), I think you’ll agree that this eating thing is still going to be fun, tasty and filling.
Of course I’ll still be making some naughtier things too – for those days I’ve saved my syns up, or for things I make for the kids.
Hey, if you’re an everything-evolves-around-food and chocolate-addicted person like me – and you want to lose a few pounds, then come along and join me! Drop me a comment and let me know how you’re getting on. I’d love to hear any tips you might have too!
Wish me luck!
and enjoy the pasta whether you’re slimming or not! xx
The Chicken and Red Pepper Pasta Recipe:
Chicken and Red Pepper Pasta
- 300 g dry spaghetti (gluten free if required)
- 10 sprays fry-light or other 1-cal per spray oil
- 500 g boneless chicken thighs (any skin and visible fat removed), cut into chunks
- large pinch salt and pepper
- 1 large brown onion peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 red pepper chopped (seeds discarded)
- 2 portobello mushrooms sliced
- 1 chicken stock cube or 1 tsp bouillon for gluten free
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 800 g tinned chopped tomatoes
- Handful of small basil leaves to serve
- Heat a large frying pan and spray with the fry-light. Add in the chicken and cook for 8-10 minutes until the outside of the chicken starts to brown (if you don't move it around to much it will brown a lot quicker).
- Add in the onion and cook for a further 5 minutes until softened. Add in the garlic and red pepper and cook for 2 more minutes, then add in the mushrooms. Crumble on the stock cube (or bouillon), add the tomato puree and oregano and stir to combine. Add the tinned tomatoes, stir and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Whilst the sauce is simmering, fill a large pan with boiling water from the kettle and add the spaghetti. Cook for 10-12 minutes until al dente.
- Drain the spaghetti and mix in a few tbsp of the tomato-ey sauce - just enough to coat the pasta. Then divide between 4 bowls. Top with the chicken and sauce and sprinkle on the basil leaves before serving.
Can I make it gluten free?Yes, use gluten free pasta and gluten free stock cubes.
Can I make it ahead?I don't recommend cooking the spaghetti ahead, but the sauce can be made ahead, then quickly cooled, covered and refrigerated. Reheat in a pan, stirring occasionally until piping hot throughout (about 7-8 minutes). You can also reheat in the microwave if you prefer. Reheated at the highest setting and give it a stir every minute. It will take 5-8 minutes, it's done when it's piping hot throughout.
Can I freeze it?You can freeze the sauce (I don't recommend cooking and freezing the spaghetti). Make the sauce, then quickly cool, cover and freeze. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat as per the reheat instructions above.
Nutritional information is per serving - including the spaghetti.
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