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7 Ways to Update Your Favorite Low Carb And Still Lose Weight With Chicken Recipes

Spanish chicken | Poached chicken with lemon sauce | Chicken crumble | Chicken curry | Grilled chicken with tahini sauce | Chicken meatloaf | Vietnamese chicken stir-fry

Spanish chicken

Dishes like this make me think of wonderful sunny Mediterranean holidays. Cook up some veggie couscous to serve alongside if you like and there’s supper sorted. You could pop in a bit of chorizo if you like but don’t forget it will add extra calories.

Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil

600g skinless chicken thigh fillets, trimmed of fat and cut into strips

2 red onions, cut into wedges

2 large red peppers, cut into strips

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

½ tsp saffron, soaked in 2 tbsp boiling water

300ml chicken stock

½ tsp sweet smoked paprika

50g pitted green olives, halved

25g capers, rinsed

zest and juice of 1 lemon

salt and black pepper

To serve

chopped parsley leaves

basil leaves

220 calories per serving

1 Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan that has a lid. Fry the chicken over a high heat until it’s browned on all sides. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and set it aside.

2 Add the onions and peppers and fry them briskly for a couple of minutes over a high heat, then turn down the heat, add about 50ml of water and cover the pan. Leave the veg to cook for 10 minutes until they’ve softened but are still keeping their shape.

3 Add the garlic and cook it for a couple of minutes, then put the chicken back in the pan. Add the saffron to the chicken stock, then pour this over the vegetables and chicken and season with the paprika and some salt and black pepper.

4 Bring the liquid to the boil, then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer and add the olives, capers, lemon zest and juice. Cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is well reduced. Serve garnished with lots of parsley and basil leaves.

Poached chicken with lemon sauce

This is one of my sister Caroline’s recipes. The children weren’t keen at first because the chicken didn’t look all golden and roasted, but once they’d tasted it they all went very quiet!!! Now it’s another family fave.

Serves 4

1 x 1.5–1.8kg chicken

1 bulb of garlic

2 thinly pared strips of lemon peel

3 bay leaves

1 large sprig of tarragon (optional)

1 large sprig of thyme

1.5 litres chicken stock or water

250g small carrots, peeled but left whole

2 turnips, cut into wedges

3 leeks, cut into rounds of 4–5cm

salt and black pepper

Sauce

1 thinly pared strip of lemon peel

juice of ½ lemon

50ml crème fraiche

leaves from a sprig of tarragon, finely chopped (optional)

386 calories per serving

1 Put the chicken in a large saucepan or a casserole dish – it should be a fairly snug fit. Break up the garlic and drop the unpeeled cloves into the pot, together with the lemon peel and herbs. Pour the stock or water into the pan and season with salt and pepper.

2 Bring the liquid to the boil, then turn the heat down to a fairly gentle simmer and cover the pan. Leave the chicken to cook for half an hour, then add the vegetables. Simmer for another 15 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat. Leave the chicken to stand for 15 minutes – it will continue to cook during this time.

3 Check the chicken is done – the juices in the thickest part of the leg should run clear. (If necessary, you can put the pan back over the heat for another 5 minutes or so.) Leave the chicken in the casserole dish, and ladle 400ml of the cooking liquid into a small saucepan.

4 Add the lemon peel to the reserved cooking liquid and boil until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the lemon juice and simmer for a couple of minutes to combine. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary. Whisk in the crème fraiche and simmer the sauce for another couple of minutes – it should be the consistency of single cream. Stir in the tarragon, if using.

5 Transfer the chicken to a platter, draining off any liquid that’s collected inside. Arrange the vegetables and garlic cloves around the chicken and serve moistened with a small amount of the cooking liquid and the lemon sauce.

Chicken crumble

This is totally amazing and such a perfect family supper. The topping is really crunchy and comforting but still low in calories so you can afford to help yourself to a generous portion. Love it.

Serves 4

600g boneless, skinless chicken thigh or breast fillets, trimmed of fat

1 tbsp wholemeal spelt flour

1 tbsp olive oil

15g butter

500g butternut squash, diced

3 leeks, sliced

1 tsp dried sage

550ml chicken stock

1 tbsp crème fraiche

salt and black pepper

Topping

100g quinoa, well rinsed

250g cauliflower

10g butter

15g Parmesan cheese, grated

2 tbsp finely chopped parsley

471 calories per serving

1 Cut the chicken into chunks and dust them with the flour. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the chicken until it’s all well browned. It’s best to do this in a couple of batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Set each batch aside when it’s ready.

2 Melt the butter in the pan, then add the squash and leeks. Stir until the vegetables are coated with butter, then sprinkle in the sage and season with salt and pepper. Pour in 300ml of stock, reserving the rest for cooking the quinoa.

3 Bring the stock to the boil, then turn down the heat and leave it to simmer for 7 minutes. Add the browned chicken and cook for another 5 minutes. By this point the vegetables should be almost tender and the chicken will be cooked through.

4 Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and vegetables to an ovenproof dish. Bring the cooking liquid back to the boil and continue to cook until it’s reduced by half. Add the crème fraiche and simmer for a few minutes until you have a sauce with the consistency of single cream. Pour this over the chicken and vegetables in the dish. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas 6.

5 For the topping, put the quinoa in a saucepan and toast it over a medium heat. Pour over the reserved chicken stock and season it with salt. Bring the stock to the boil, then turn the heat down, cover the pan and leave the quinoa to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the quinoa to stand for 5 minutes.

6 Divide the cauliflower into florets and blitz them in a food processor until they resemble breadcrumbs. Heat half the butter in a large frying pan. Add the cauliflower and the cooked quinoa and fry them for at least 5 minutes, until everything starts to turn a light golden brown. Stir in the Parmesan and parsley, then check the seasoning.

7 Sprinkle the topping over the chicken filling, then dot over the rest of the butter. Put the dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes until the topping has browned round the edges and the filling is piping hot.

Chicken curry

I’d never thought of putting ground almonds into a curry but they work brilliantly and give it a nice mild sweet flavour. A good yellow curry powder is fine here or if you have 5 Weeks to Sugar-Free, use my spice mix recipe.

Serves 4

1 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil

1 onion, finely sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tbsp mild yellow curry powder or spice mix

50g ground almonds

600g boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, trimmed of fat and diced

300ml chicken stock

2 bay leaves

200g butternut squash, cut into large dice

100g green beans, topped

50ml Greek yoghurt

salt and black pepper

To serve

lime wedges

a few coriander leaves

337 calories per serving

1 Heat the oil in a large casserole dish or a saucepan. Add the sliced onion and cook it over a low heat until it’s soft and translucent, then add the garlic and cook for another minute or so.

2 Add the curry powder or spice mix and ground almonds and stir for another couple of minutes, then add the chicken. Stir to coat the chicken with the spice and almonds, then add the chicken stock, bay leaves and butternut squash. Season with salt and pepper.

3 Cover the dish or pan and simmer for about 10 minutes, then add the green beans. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, still covered, then remove the lid and stir in the yoghurt. Simmer for another 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly, making sure it doesn’t boil.

4 Serve with lime wedges and a sprinkling of coriander leaves.

Grilled chicken with tahini sauce

Butterflying chicken breasts just means cutting them in half through the middle so they are thinner and cook quickly. Easy peasy. If the chicken breasts are large you may find that two is enough to feed four, particularly if you’re serving something on the side. Love the tahini sauce – tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds and you can buy it, and pomegranate molasses, in supermarkets.

Serves 4

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

juice of 1 lemon

salt and black pepper

Tahini sauce

100g tahini, well stirred

juice of 2 lemons

1 tbsp pomegranate molasses (optional)

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp ground cumin

small bunch of parsley, finely chopped

small bunch of coriander, finely chopped

To serve

parsley and coriander leaves

pomegranate seeds (optional)

320 calories per serving

1 First butterfly the chicken breasts. Put one on a flat surface, then, keeping it steady with one hand, hold your knife parallel to the work surface and cut through the breast from one side to the other, stopping short of cutting right the way through. You will then be able to open out the breast like a book and press it flat along the join. Repeat with the other breasts and put them all in a shallow dish.

2 Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then dilute the lemon juice with the same amount of water and pour it over the chicken breasts. Leave them to stand for a few minutes.

3 Preheat a griddle pan until it’s very hot, then grill the chicken breasts for 3–4 minutes on each side until cooked through and marked with brown char lines. Leave them to rest for a few minutes.

4 To make the sauce, put all the ingredients in a blender and season with salt and pepper. Add 100ml of water and blitz until the sauce is fairly smooth and flecked with green.

5 Serve the chicken with a drizzle of the sauce and a sprinkling of herbs and pomegranate seeds. A salad on the side is nice and perhaps some braised barley.

Chicken meatloaf

Many meatloaf recipes contain sugary tomato ketchup which I prefer to avoid – unless it’s the sugar-free sort I have a recipe for in 5 Weeks to Sugar-Free. This version is made with tomato purée instead, but I put a special maple syrup glaze over it that the children love. You can also make this meatloaf with turkey mince.

750g chicken mince

1 small onion, finely chopped

100g white or chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

200g cooked quinoa

1 tsp dried oregano

2 tbsp finely chopped parsley

4 tbsp tomato purée

50ml chicken stock

1 egg, beaten

dash of Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp maple syrup

50g Cheddar cheese, grated

salt and black pepper

393 calories per portion if serving 4; 262 if serving 6

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas 4. Line a 1kg loaf tin with foil and spray the foil lightly with olive oil.

2 Put the chicken mince in a large bowl. Add the onion, mushrooms, garlic, cooked quinoa and herbs, and season with salt and pepper.

3 Mix 2 tablespoons of the tomato purée with the chicken stock, then add this and the egg to the chicken mixture. Mix thoroughly – it’s best to do this with your hands. Pile the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth it down, then bake the meatloaf in the oven for 30 minutes.

4 Mix the remaining tomato purée with the Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup and grated cheese. Take the meatloaf out of the oven, spread it with the maple syrup mixture, then pop it back into the oven for 10 minutes.

5 Serve in slices with some vegetables or salad. Some home-made tomato sauce goes really well with this too.

Vietnamese chicken stir-fry

Get everything chopped and sliced and trimmed, then this is so quick to make – and tastes amazing. You could add some noodles for anyone who’s not calorie and carb counting. Fish sauce and lemongrass might sound a bit exotic but you’ll find them in all the supermarkets now.

Serves 4

600g skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, trimmed of fat and thinly sliced

zest of 1 lime

juice of 2 limes

2 lemongrass stalks

1 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

10g fresh root ginger, finely chopped

½ tsp ground turmeric

200g button mushrooms, halved

100g green beans, topped and halved

200g sprouting broccoli, trimmed and cut in half

1 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)

salt and black pepper

To serve

2 spring onions, halved and shredded lengthways

2 red or green chillies, deseeded and sliced into rounds

handful of coriander leaves

handful of Thai (or regular) basil leaves

handful of mint leaves

223 calories per serving

1 Put the slices of chicken in a bowl and season them with salt and pepper. Add the lime zest and half the lime juice, then stir briefly to combine. Peel the outer layers off the lemongrass stalks and slice the white inner core into thin rounds.

2 Heat the oil in a wok. When the oil is very hot (you can tell, as it starts to shimmer slightly) add the lemongrass, garlic and ginger.

Stir for 30 seconds, then drain the chicken and add this too. Stir-fry the chicken slices for a moment to brown them, then sprinkle in the turmeric and add the mushrooms, green beans and sprouting broccoli.

3 Continue to stir-fry until the vegetables are just cooked and the beans and broccoli are still fairly crisp. Check for seasoning and add the remaining lime juice and the fish sauce.

4 Sprinkle with the spring onions, chillies and herbs before serving.

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