Posted in beef, comfort food, cooking, filling food, Food, low calorie

Week 9 – Chilli Salad Bowls

So I begin this weeks post with a wistful sigh – I do not have a picture to share this week – you will have to be content with looking at an image I have shamefully stolen from the world wide web. I lost my phone in the back of a taxi over the weekend and haven’t seen it since. Luckily its insured but whilst I’m waiting for the cheque to clear I feel utterly bereft. Everyone keeps telling me ‘after a couple of days you’ll feel liberated’ but I genuinely believe that I’m not that enlightened as a person – I need my phone. Anyway, I did have some great pics of this weeks dinner but as I said we’ll just have to do without – next time I make it I’ll reblog this with my own pics!

Update 11/3/13 – I just plugged in my new phone and amazingly the chilli salad bowl photo’s had backed up so happily I can update today with my own pictures!

Chilli Salad Bowls


Mr Gem and I are on something of a health kick but I really wanted something tasty and not overly salad based. I’ve been watching a lot of The Hairy Dieters so when I was looking for a new recipe I went straight to BBC food to see if I could find something tasty but healthy. And I did – these healthy chilli salad bowls are a real treat – you can find the recipe here. I loved the idea that you make an edible chilli bowl and using a tortilla – such a simple idea!

The recipe was simple to make – preheat the oven and make a ball out of tin foil to mold your tortillas around. To cook the chilli add the mince, onion, and garlic over a medium heat until the meat browns, then add the spices and cook for a couple of minutes. Finally stir in the puree and sugar and stock and then leave to simmer over a low heat.


Whilst the chilli is simmering away mold your first tortilla over the tinfoil ball and cook in the oven until its slightly crispy and holds its shape. You need to keep an eye on it as they turn really quickly. In between cooking the tortillas prepare the salad in a large bowl, mixing it all together with the lime juice and set aside.


Once the tortillas are all cooked you can layer it all together. Add a layer of salad at the bottom of the tortilla ‘bowl’ then a layer of hot chilli, then top with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese and a dollop of half fat creme fraiche! These little dishes are absolutely delicious and really filling – I had just one and it was fine for a main meal – although Mr Gem had two but he’s a growing boy!

Health wise they are around 375 calories per bowl.

I would definitely recommend giving these a try – I just love the fact that you get to eat the bowl! I also think that they’d be good party food, if you made them with little tortillas they’d be great snacks for a party or movie night.

Posted in baking, cakes, chicken soup, coconut milk, cooking, filling food, low calorie, oats, rice

Week 9 – Malaysian Chicken Broth and Apricot Oat Bars

So I’m writing week 9 as I’m about to enter the 10th week of my 2012 challenge and I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. I was wandering round Asda today doing the weekly shop thinking about what I’ll be cooking this week and to my surprise I came away from the shop with my usual trolley load plus an aubergine and some trout fillets. I don’t even like aubergine and I haven’t the first idea of what to do with trout – but I’m going have to find something to do with both of them – although potentially not in the same recipe! By the end of this year I’ll have tried so many new foods that I wouldn’t have tried before and I just find that so exciting! Anyway I’ve digressed, you’ll have to come back next week to find out what I do with this weeks shopping, but read on to see how I got on in week 9! 
Apricot Oat Bars 
Try as I might I can never find an oat bar or granola bar that is quite how I want it to be. I came pretty close to one that I had on Sunday in Costa Coffee but although it was delicious it was tiny, had over 300 calories in it and I felt guilty ALL day afterwards. 
After a hard days house hunting with Mr Gem I needed to clear my head so headed to the kitchen to do some baking and come up with a recipe for an Oat Bar that I will really enjoy eating and won’t cause my waistline to expand too rapidly! 

I couldn’t find a recipe online that a) I had all the ingredients for and b) I liked the look of so after a bit of reading around I decided that the best way to make the bars would be to make a cake mix as a base and then add in my own ingredients – so instead of providing a link to somebody else’s recipe, for the first time in Kitchen Gems (albeit short) history here is how I made them:
Basic Mixture 
150g Self Raising Flour 
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
75g Soft Brown Sugar 
150g Porridge Oats 
2 eggs whisked
2 Tbsp Clear Honey
1 Tbsp Butter
Any fruit and nuts you want to use – I used 25g Walnuts, 25g Mixed Raisins and Sultanas, 25g Dried Apricots chopped up and half a banana mashed up. 
Mix the dry ingredients (including the nuts and fruit) together whilst you melt the butter in the saucepan. When all the dry ingredients are well mixed add the melted butter, eggs and honey and mix until all combined. 
Pour into a lined square baking tin and cook on 180 degrees for about 20 minutes or until firm to the touch. Done! 
I got 12 bars out of this recipe and they work out at about 150 calories each so as well as being very tasty they are filling and won’t break your calorie limit, but the best thing about these is, you can use whatever fruit and nuts you have in the store cupboard, add chocolate, yoghurt etc – they’re a really versatile snack. 
Mr Gem was quite fond of these as a snack and all 12 were gone before the week was out. I’d give these a 7.5 out of 10 – give them a whirl, I’d love to hear of any variations on the recipe that work well.
Malaysian Chicken Soup
My second new recipe for this week was a real winner. I found the recipe in Sainsburys free magazine – but I can’t find a similar recipe anywhere online. 
For two good sized portions you’ll need olive oil for frying, an onion (really thinly sliced) diced red chilli, 2 tsps lemongrass paste, 75g easy cook brown rice, 1/2 tin of light coconut milk, 600ml chicken stock 1 tbsp fish sauce, cooked chicken breast, shredded, 5 spring onions, 75g sugar snap peas cut into thin strips and a lime.
Fry the onions and chilli until softened and then add the lemongrass paste and stir til the onion and chilli are coated in it. Add the rice, stock and coconut milk and bring to the boil, turn down the heat and let simmer for about 20 – 25 mins. Add the chicken, spring onions and sugarsnaps and heat through for another 5 mins. Squeeze half a lime into the sauce and mix. Divide the soup between 2 bowls and serve imediately. 
It was a really fresh and flavoursome soup but with the rice and chicken it was so filling. 
This was a definite winner in the Kitchen Gems household, Mr Gem has already requested it again soon! Its also another meal that is so satisfying without being highly calorific – just 418 calories per serving. I’d give this meal 8.5 out of 10, simple but effective.