Chicken & avocado salad

 

 

This is a very simple salad, so feel free to add whatever you want. A little bit onion, mustard maybe a bit chilli or garlic. It’s very versatile and great the way it is or with something extra in it to give it an extra kick.
This afternoon I didn’t feel like anything spicy or garlicky so I made this salad quite simple and of course just using what ingredients I had lying around.

Ingredients, serves 2

1 chicken breast, cooked & cooled
1 tomato
Large handful of Romaine lettuce
1 ripe avocado
1 tbsp sour cream
1 tsp mayonnaise
Salt & pepper, to season
Parmesan, shavings to garnish
1/4 lime juice

Method

Dice the chicken in to medium sized strips and add to a large mixing bowl. Deseed the tomato and chop in to medium pieces along with the avocado and add to the bowl. Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, lime, salt and pepper and combine together. Roughly chop the lettuce and add to the mixture and combine. Garnish with parmesan & a little more pepper. Enjoy.

  

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Spicy carrot and angel hair pasta salad with roasted chicken drumsticks.

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I like this dish because it’s tasty, hot and very fresh tasting. I feel over the summer I have totally over indulged. Some people feel the sun makes them want to get fit and healthy and pig out in the winter, I kinda do both. The sun makes me want to eat nice food outside with friends and have a few glasses of vino and the cold weather in the winter makes me want to snuggle up with some cheese or carb related food. Of course I am still sensible and I’m not over weight at all but I seem to get to a point at this time of the year that I feel I’ve over done it especially because both our birthdays are in the same month and we seem to go all out with food and drink.
I don’t believe in diets because I don’t think they work on the long term. I much prefer to eat in moderation and exercise which when you’ve stopped for a while ( like me over the summer ) it’s hard to get back into it but once I’m past the hardest hurdle of getting out of bed and I have started I actually really enjoy exercise and you feel great after it. So here is my fresh and healthy spicy salad on a budget of course.

Serves 2/3

Salad:
2 carrots cut into fine strips with a peeler
1/2 small radicchio, finely chopped
1/4 small ice berg lettuce, roughly chopped
100g angel hair pasta or noodles
4 chicken drumsticks
2 tbsp Piri Piri seasoning
1tbsp olive oil

Dressing:
Zest 1 lemon & juice of 1/2
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 small fresh red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp Piri Piri seasoning
Salt to season

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. In a small baking tray mix 1tbsp of olive oil and 2 tbsp Piri Piri seasoning with a pinch of salt. Cut three little slices on the top of the chicken drumsticks and place them in the baking tray rubbing the seasoning all over. Roast for around 25-30 minutes turning occasionally until thoroughly cooked through. Meanwhile bring a small pot of water to the boil and cook your pasta until al dente around 5 minutes, drain, place in a bowl and add a dash of olive oil to stop it sticking together. Put all veg in a large bowl. In a small bowl add all the dressing ingredients and pour 3/4 over the pasta and stir until thoroughly combined. Once the chicken is ready pour the remaining dressing over the veg and stir them add the pasta and combine everything together before placing on plates with the chicken drumsticks on top. Lovely.

Breaded chicken cutlets with squash mash and pesto dressed spinach.

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This is such a comforting dinner whilst still being relatively healthy. Pesto again…have you noticed we love pesto? Sorry we seem to go through fazes of eating it a lot then not for a while. But this is a blog about what we love to eat, so there you are. It’s especially nice coated on spinach, just lovely raw spinach, so flavoursome and so healthy! I also love squash and it’s coming into season for it, so why not. It’s funny back in Scotland we were used to seeing most things in the supermarkets all year long whereas here in Italy if it’s not in season, it won’t be in the supermarkets. It’s a good thing I suppose, your eating what you should be at the right time of year and it’s going to taste the best it can be too.

Serves 2-3

2 free range chicken breasts
300g squash, cut into cubes
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
2 large handfuls or spinach, washed
60g plain flour, on a plate
1 egg, beaten in a bowl
80g fine breadcrumbs, on a plate
Knob of butter

For the pesto:
25g Basil
1/2 garlic clove
Small handful of pine nuts
Squeeze lemon juice
30g finely grated parmesan
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Place your chicken breasts one at a time in between two sheets of cling film and beat with a rolling pin until they are roughly 1/4 inch thick. Cut them into decent sized strips then dip them into the flour. After they are covered in flour, give them a shake so they are just dusted in flour and dip them into the egg then the breadcrumbs. Make sure they are thoroughly covered in breadcrumbs and set aside. Now put a large pot of water under a high heat and bring to the boil. Meanwhile make your pesto by adding all ingredients into a bowl and blitz with a hand blender, set aside. Add your potato and squash to the water and boil for 20 minutes until soft. Meanwhile fry your chicken cutlets in a little olive oil until crispy and golden on each side, because they are so thin they don’t need very long to cook through. Around 2-3 minutes on each side. Once your potato and squash is ready, drain and then place back into the pot. Add a knob of butter, salt and pepper to taste and roughly mash with a fork. Place your spinach in a large bowl and add the pesto, toss until totally covered. Serve a couple chicken cutlets on a plate with a large spoon of mash and your spinach, Enjoy.

Spicy chorizo, chicken and vegetable bake with pesto dressing.

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Spicy, paprika oil coated over beautifully cooked vegetables and juicy chicken. It’s delicious. It’s very easy to assemble and there’s not much cooking involved so you can chop everything up put it in the oven and it’s ready. I love this when I have had a busy day or I’m tired and want something that’s easy but tastes so good. The pesto dressing and feta give a burst of flavour so although it’s so easy to make it’s really delicious. You can also use chicken thighs in this and put them in to the tray along with the potatoes and veg. There’s no need to brown them first and they are so tender when they are ready. I have to say I usually use chicken thighs when I make this as they are so cheap and much more succulent but we had chicken breasts in the fridge so we used them. This dish is all about using up what you have. The main ingredients I would always use in this is the chorizo, feta and pesto. Other than that you can chop and change your veg to what suits you.

Serves 4

1/2 chorizo picante sausage
2 chicken breasts
2 large potatoes
1 large yellow pepper
1 large red pepper<a
1 fennel bulb
8 cloves of garlic
1 red onion
4 large mushrooms
100g Feta

For the pesto:
Small handful of basil
2 tbsp olive oil
Small pinch of pine nuts, around 6 or 7
1/2 garlic clove
Small handful of grated parmesan

Set the oven to 200 degrees C. Roughly chop the peppers, red onion, fennel and potatoes and place in a large baking tray. Add the garlic, unpeeled into the tray and tuck away behind the veg so it’s hidden. Season with plenty salt and pepper and drench in plenty olive oil. Place this in the oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile roughly chop your chicken breasts and cook them in a small frying pan for 2 minutes just to brown but not cooked through. Set aside. Roughly chop your chorizo and slice your mushrooms. After 20 minutes add the chicken, chorizo and mushrooms to the tray with a little olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. Now add all the pesto ingredients into a bowl and blitz with a hand blender until smooth, season with salt and pepper. Add the feta then cook for a further 5 minutes. Let it cool for 5 minutes drizzle with the pesto then serve. Delicious and easy.

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Spicy chorizo, chicken and vegetable bake with pesto dressing.

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Spicy, paprika oil coated over beautifully cooked vegetables and juicy chicken. It’s delicious. It’s very easy to assemble and there’s not much cooking involved so you can chop everything up put it in the oven and it’s ready. I love this when I have had a busy day or I’m tired and want something that’s easy but tastes so good. The pesto dressing and feta give a burst of flavour so although it’s so easy to make it’s really delicious. You can also use chicken thighs in this and put them in to the tray along with the potatoes and veg. There’s no need to brown them first and they are so tender when they are ready. I have to say I usually use chicken thighs when I make this as they are so cheap and much more succulent but we had chicken breasts in the fridge so we used them. This dish is all about using up what you have. The main ingredients I would always use in this is the chorizo, feta and pesto. Other than that you can chop and change your veg to what suits you.

Serves 4

1/2 chorizo picante sausage
2 chicken breasts
2 large potatoes
1 large yellow pepper
1 large red pepper<a
1 fennel bulb
8 cloves of garlic
1 red onion
4 large mushrooms
100g Feta

For the pesto:
Small handful of basil
2 tbsp olive oil
Small pinch of pine nuts, around 6 or 7
1/2 garlic clove
Small handful of grated parmesan

Set the oven to 200 degrees C. Roughly chop the peppers, red onion, fennel and potatoes and place in a large baking tray. Add the garlic, unpeeled into the tray and tuck away behind the veg so it’s hidden. Season with plenty salt and pepper and drench in plenty olive oil. Place this in the oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile roughly chop your chicken breasts and cook them in a small frying pan for 2 minutes just to brown but not cooked through. Set aside. Roughly chop your chorizo and slice your mushrooms. After 20 minutes add the chicken, chorizo and mushrooms to the tray with a little olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. Now add all the pesto ingredients into a bowl and blitz with a hand blender until smooth, season with salt and pepper. Add the feta then cook for a further 5 minutes. Let it cool for 5 minutes drizzle with the pesto then serve. Delicious and easy.

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Chicken Caesar salad with fresh pickled anchovies.

imageI absolutely love this salad it’s a take on a traditional Caesar salad, very fresh, very simple to make and of course very delicious! I also love the iceberg lettuce that many people tend to push to the side or regard as ” tasteless” it gives the salad a very fresh taste, great texture and works really well with the dressing and fresh anchovies. The anchovies you will find in the deli section of most supermarkets. They are not salty like the ones you find in jars or tins but very fresh, shinny sliver skinned and slightly pickley, just delicious. Perfect alternative to adding the salty version into the sauce and adds so much flavour to this salad.

Serves 2/3

2 large chicken breasts
1/2 large iceberg lettuce, washed
100g crusty bread, cut into cubes
80g fresh pickled anchovies
4 large tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp capers, finely chopped
2 baby gherkins, finely chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard
150g parmesan, shaved
Salt and pepper, to season

First of all set your oven to 200 degrees C. Put your bread on a baking tray with plenty salt and pepper and drizzled in olive oil then place in the oven for around 6-7 minutes until they are starting to turn golden. Now add a pinch of salt and pepper to your chicken breasts and cook on a medium heat in a pan until cooked through,around 4 minutes on each side, be careful not to over cook and set aside. Leave both the croutons and chicken breasts to cool slightly while you make the rest of the salad. Roughly chop the iceberg lettuce and place in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, capers, gherkins and salt and pepper. Add the dressing to the lettuce along with the chicken, anchovies and croutons and mix well until thoroughly coated in the dressing. Place the salad on a large plate and top with the shavings of parmesan, pinch of pepper and drizzle of olive oil and serve. Delicious!!

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Spiced chicken salad

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Since moving to Italy we have realised how loyal the Italians are to their food. No one can understand why you would eat anything else so finding certain spices or any food that is not Italian is almost impossible. The internet is an amazing thing but we have found the cost of delivering different foods to Italy can be ridiculous and not something we do often.
Early this summer my mum came to visit us from Scotland and brought us four spices, cumin seeds, turmeric, coriander seeds and cayenne pepper. Four great ingredients for spicing things up when we feel like it. In Scotland we eat all different types of food from all different nationalities, cultures and countries although most of our cooking back in Scotland was Italian. Since moving here, there is so much to choose from and you can’t go wrong with the quality of ingredients available either but I have to say I do sometimes crave a Spanish chorizo sausage or a spicy curry from time to time.
In this recipe we basically used things we had in our fridge and cupboards already. So that’s why I’ve used a handful of green olives, sun dried tomatoes and artichokes. For this recipe you can add as much and as less of what you like and what you have. I feel all the ingredients in this salad work so well together and with the spicy chicken it’s just delicious.

Serves 2/3

For the marinade:
2 chicken breasts
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 dried chilli pods
1 garlic clove, grated
A little olive oil
Pinch of salt

For the salad:
80g Rocket salad
5 large plum tomatoes, cut into quarters
Large handful green olives, cut in half
5 or 6 large sun dried tomatoes, chopped
5 sliced artichoke hearts, chopped
80g Feta cheese, cut into cubes
Squeeze of lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste

Firstly put all the spices into a pestle and mortar and grind them up. Rub them all over the chicken along with the grated garlic, salt and a tbsp of olive oil, set aside. Now for the salad, place the rocket on a large plate. Add the tomatoes, olives, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, feta and toss. Now heat a pan under a medium heat and fry the chicken until cooked through. Set aside on a plate to cool for a minute then cut into slices. Add a squeeze of lemon to the salad and a little salt and pepper. I did not need any more oil in this salad as the sun dried tomatoes and artichokes are oily from the jars they were in but add a little if you feel you need it. Now place the chicken on top of the salad, toss and serve. Enjoy.

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