Hubby is the king of sandwiches (or, as he likes to call them, sammiches…). I suspect this is an American thing – I’ve yet to see anyone in an American show or film make a sandwich with less than what looks like the entire contents of their fridge! He also has a bit of a condiment fetish (understatement!) which means it’s rare for him not to have some flavour or other lurking in the fridge that is a must for the sandwich he’s making. Not that I’m complaining! Not when his sandwiches look, and taste, like this!
I will admit to being a little sceptical (understatement again!) when he said he was putting grapes in a sandwich, but they totally work with the chicken and their sweetness is a lovely compliment to the slightly smoky roasted pecans.
The other thing I love about this sandwich filling is that it’s not the laden with mayo version. Thanks to a clever substitution using 0% greek yoghurt this is actually a relatively healthy sandwich filling, honest!
And if you’re a packed lunch person then this is a great night-before make 🙂
Chicken Salad Sandwich
A fully loaded sandwich filling with sweet grapes and roasted pecans, made healthier by subbing greek yoghurt into the dressing.
Start by preheating your oven to 180C (160C if fan-assisted).
Poach the chicken first (if you're making to eat straight away then allow at least an hour for this). You can poach in white wine, white wine or cider vinegar, lemon juice etc. Top up with water to cover and then bring to a low boil. Boil, uncovered, for 15 minutes and then remove heat. Cover and set aside for 40 minutes.
While the chicken is doing its thing, spread the pecans out on a baking tray in one flat layer and pop in the oven for 7 minutes.
When the pecans are roasted, remove them from the tray and give them a few minutes to cool. Once cool, roughly chop (or place in a bag and lightly smash with a rolling pin), keeping the pieces big.
When the chicken has had its 40 minutes, lift out of the poaching liquid and dice into medium-sized cubes.
In a mixing bowl, mix the greek yoghurt, dijon mustard, and honey. You can add a teaspoon of salad cream here for a rounder flavour, but it's completely optional.
Add the diced chicken to the yoghurt mixture, season with salt and pepper and stir until well coated. Now add the halved grapes and the roasted pecans. Give everything a good mix and refrigerate for a few hours, or ideally overnight. This will allow the yoghurt to soak into the chicken and the flavours to mingle and settle.
Serve on a nice bread with some leaf lettuce and a few slices of tomato.
As the weather finally hots up (and not before time!), mealtimes start to be less about comfort and more about avoiding spending much if any time near a hot flame, but without skimping on taste. This old favourite ticks ALL of those boxes and is relatively well behaved to boot! It’s also a one pan cooking dish which always makes me happy 🙂
To be honest, there isn’t much that’s Mexican about this recipe… The only thing it has in common with actual fajitas is that they are both wrap based and hand held… There’s not even any guacamole or salsa in sight! But don’t let that dissuade you from trying this because what it lacks in Mexican authenticity it more than makes up for in tastiness.
The trick to this dish is to get that chargrill thing going. It might look like it’s never going to happen, but have faith and persevere (and drain off excess liquid if you have to!). The rewards are a sticky charred deliciousness of big big flavours thanks to the lime and chilli flakes, which marries perfectly with the sweetness from the peppers.
Chicken & Lime Fajitas
Wok charred chicken and peppers with zingy lime, all wrapped up in warm tortillas, that taste far more sinful than they actually are.
2 large skinless boneless chicken breasts, sliced into 1cm strips
1 yellow pepper, cut into 1cm lenthways strips
1 red pepper, cut into 1cm lengthways strips
1 red onion, cut into thick strips
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp crushed chillis
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 limes, 1 zested and juiced, 1 quartered for serving
4 flour tortillas
150ml 0% fat Greek yoghurt
salt and pepper
Coriander for garnish
Start with a large mixing bowl, into which place the chicken strips, peppers and onions, oregano, chilli, vegetable oil, and the lime zest and juice. Season well before giving everything a good toss-about until the chicken and veg is well coated with the herbs and lime.
Place a wok (or large non-stick frying pan, the deeper sided the better!) over a high heat until its just starting to smoke. When it's good and (fiercely!) hot, tip everything out of the bowl into the wok and cook for about 6-8 minutes, turning only occasionally until its looking cooked through - this is to ensure that everything gets good and brown with a lightly charred effect.
If there's too much lime juice or liquid, you might need to drain some of this off otherwise the chicken and veg will broil rather than char.
Turn the heat off and let the chicken rest in the work while you warm your tortillas in the microwave, or in a dry frying pan.
Pile the chicken and veg in the middle of your tortilla, top with some coriander (if desired), a dollop of yoghurt and a squeeze more lime juice if you like it properly zingy, and scoff!
Summer feels like it’s on the way out already – boo hiss – but I’m not quite ready to break out the winter warmers yet so here’s a dish from Hubby that’s perfect for inbetween the seasons and, in a very rare departure for me, carb-less. Left to my own devices I’d happily stockpile rice or pasta for every dinner, but this dish does that magical thing of making the missing carbs unmissed! It is, quite honestly, the only meal with no carbs that I actually look forward to as opposed to the usual pouting.
So what’s to love about it? The saltiness of the Teriyaki is perfectly tempered by cool crisp lettuce, with additional crunch and texture brought to you by water chestnuts and toasted cashews. It also reminds me a little (a lot!) of something we used to order at a Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong (that was confusingly!) called the American Restaurant. Then again, as its the American in our house who cooks all the Asian food and not the half Chinese, maybe it wasn’t such a daft name after all…
We like to use turkey mince for this (thigh or breast are both good), it’s super lean and lets us feel smug for one meal for eating well, but it works just as well with pork or beef mince 🙂
Start by preheating the oven to 200C and roasting the cashew nuts - spread the nuts out on a baking tray and pop in the oven for about 8 minutes.
While the nuts are roasting, rinse the spring onions before topping and tailing, and then chop (or snip with scissors) all the way down, separating green parts to one side and white parts to another
Tip the mince into a medium sized mixing bowl, or any bowl of an equivalent size that will give you enough room to mix everything up. Toss in a handful of the white bits of spring onion, add the minced garlic, 2 tbsp Terriyaki sauce, sprinkle over 1 tsp sugar and then 1 tsp corn starch. Season with white pepper before mixing thoroughly. Leave to marinade for about 20 minutes
While the mince is marinading, drain and rinse the water chestnuts. Roughly chop and then stir into marinading meat mixture.
Also while the mince is marinading, take the roasted cashew nuts and crush roughly. Hubby likes to pop them in a freezer bag before taking a rolling pin to them - it's mess-less and very theraputic apparently!
Place a wok over a medium flame and add 2 tsp vegetable oil. When the oil is heated add the marinaded meat and give it a good toss around the wok before leaving it to cook through - this should take a couple of minutes.
Add the crushed cashew nuts to the wok and tossing everything around again before turning the heat up to high.
Add the shaoxing/sherry and ketjup manis/soy and cook for about five minutes, or until the meat is browned through.
While the meat is finishing cooking, separate the lettuce leaves and then wash and drain them - or give them a good shake - and then pile them up on a plate.
When the meat is browned and looks ready, add another 100ml (1/3rd cup) terriyaki and then taste and season or add more sugar if required. Cook for a further five minutes, until most of the cooking liquid has absorbed.
If you still need to thicken the sauce then add 1 tsp corn starch to 3 tsp water and mix into a paste before adding to the meat and stirring through. Keep it on a high heat for about a minute to thicken.
Plate up the mince and scatter the green bits of spring onion over it just before serving with the lettuce leaves.
That rarest of things, a carb-less dish that I actually look forward to!