Lunch / Supper

Sticky Chicken

If you’re looking for a quick and healthy dish that the family will love, then this recipe is one worth trying.

A dish that you will find in most Jewish households on a Friday night is Sticky Chicken and it’s no wonder that it is a family favourite – its delicious, sticky and super sweet. The problem is that it is loaded with sugar and all the additives found in most ready-made sauces (probably one of the biggest reasons that it is loved so much!).

Looking at some sticky chicken recipes and all the unhealthy ingredients that go into making it, I decided to make my own healthy version the dish.

This really is a super easy recipe and can be served up as a healthy meal for the entire family. Portions can also be frozen and defrosted in the fridge ahead of serving it up.

If you would prefer to use chicken on the bone instead of breasts, increase your oven baking time by 20 minutes and brown the pieces in a pan with a little olive oil before baking them. Use this marinade for easy chicken kebabs or even for red meat, fish and tofu too (adjusting your cooking time as needed)!

What you’ll need:

  • 6-8 free-range chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Passata sauce
  • 1 Tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tin peaches in fruit juice (no sugar added)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 Tbs vinegar
  • Juice of 1/2 a large lemon
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp Herbamare or celery salt
  • 4-5 cracks black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic

To serve:

  • 2 Tbs finely chopped spring onion
  • 1 Tbs sesame seeds

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Bring all the sauce ingredients to the boil in a medium sauce pan.
  • Allow to simmer for 35-40 minutes until the sauce has reduced by about half and is sticky in consistency.
  • Remove the mixture from the heat and remove the bay leaves.
  • Purée the mixture using a hand blender (the sauce can be slightly lumpy, no need to be totally smooth).
  • Place the chicken into a casserole dish and pour over the sauce.
  • Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.

Slice the chicken breast into pieces and toss together with the sauce. Sprinkle over the spring onion and sesame seeds (if your little one doesn’t mind them!) and serve over rice, veggies, whole-wheat noodles or baked potato. Enjoy!

*The above recipe will need to be adapted should your child have an allergy to any of the ingredients mentioned.
*Never leave your child unsupervised when eating.
healthy banana bread recipe
Sweet Treats

Gluten-Free Banana Bread

At the age of two and a half – like most toddlers – my son knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to tell me all about it. He flat out refuses to eat most things green and would rather avoid trying anything new unless it is coated in something sweet. I witness so many home-made meals being fed to the dog, and then cry a little inside when my hard work lands up in the bin.

In true toddler style, my son loves two things probably more than anything on earth: bananas and cake. He lived off brand muffins while we were away over the holidays under the guise that he was eating ‘brown cake’, and I was not surprised in the least when we arrived back home and he demanded cake for breakfast.

Determined to get him back into getting some real nutrients into his little body, I wanted to bake something truly delicious that would excite him as much as cake (sans the butter icing and sprinkles of course). I am also constantly on a quest to find delicious and healthy gluten-free and wheat-free recipes for all the little ones out there who aren’t able to tolerate regular wheat flour.

This gluten-free banana bread recipe is honestly one of the easiest things you’ll make and it tastes delicious (my husband gave it the thumbs up – someone else in my house who also isn’t afraid to tell me how he really feels about my recipes!).

I have opted to use coconut flour in this recipe, which is a high-fibre and gluten-free alternative to regular flour. It adds the most delicious flavour to baking and packs in a host of health benefits; lowering glycemic index (preventing those nasty sugar spikes), contains a powerful punch of protein and contains medium-chain triglycerides (the type of saturated fats that provide little bodies with instant energy).

If you would prefer to use regular flour, then use 1 cup of regular flour with 2 eggs and half the amount of oil (coconut flour requires more moisture as it soaks everything up!).

You’ll want to use very ripe bananas – the riper, the better. If you are using dried dates, then soak them in some boiling water for 15 minutes to soften and then drain them well before adding them into your mixture.

What you’ll need:

  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 1 cup pitted, chopped dates
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • OPTIONAL: 1/4 cup finely diced nuts (pecan or walnut recommended)

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C
  • Mash the bananas in a mixing bowl using a fork
  • Sift the flour and baking soda into the mixing bowl
  • Add in the rest of the ingredients
  • Using a hand mixer, mix the ingredients together until well mixed (do not over-mix)
  • Pour the batter into a loaf tin lined with baking paper
  • Bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean, on the middle rack
  • Allow to cool for a few minutes on a wire rack before removing from the tin
  • Allow the bread to remain on the wire rack to cool slightly before serving
  • Serve plain or with a spread of butter or sugar-free nut butter

If you have any leftover bread, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. It can be stored there for up to 1 week. You can also choose to freeze the bread in individual portions and then defrost before using.

*This recipe will need to be adapted should your child have an allergy to any of the ingredients listed above.
*Never leave your child unsupervised while eating.
Recipes

Yummy Spag Bol

With my son flat out boycotting meals of all forms that have required spoon-feeding over the last few weeks, I knew I was taking a chance making him this dish. The inspiration (or should I call it “borderline concern“) came as a result of seeing my child consume the same finger-foods day in and day out. I couldn’t watch him eat another cheese wedge, meat ball or rice cracker any longer… I knew I had to get cooking.

Sometimes the most scrumptious dishes are the ones we grew up with and the ones with no fancy frills, just good old hearty deliciousness. This recipe packs in extra nutrients with the added veggies and it freezes beautifully. Although I used beef mince, you could use any type of mince (ostrich, lamb, chicken or even soy). Get creative by adding in other veggies you have in your fridge: frozen peas, baby marrow or butternut to name a few.

My son absolutely loves eating long spaghetti noodles – slurping them up theatrically with every bite – but  go ahead and make whichever noodle type your child prefers. I generally prefer to use wholewheat noodles for some added nutrients but you can make use of whatever you have available at home.

I opted to use xylitol in this recipe for additional sweetness. Xylitol is safe for children (provided it is isn’t eaten in enormous quantities) and it provides a number of additional health benefits to your little one: it prevents dental cavities and tooth decay, and has been linked to preventing ear infections. If you would prefer to use sugar, then go ahead and do so, the two teaspoons in this entire mixture won’t send your child into early onset diabetes!

You can use this mince to create a number of other hearty dishes that your hungry little monkey would absolutely love: cottage pie, lasagne or sloppy joe to name some old classics.

What you’ll need:

  • 500g beef mince
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, diced finely
  • 1 medium red onion, diced finely
  • 2 medium-large carrots, peeled and sliced finely
  • 1 baby red or yellow pepper, de-seeded and diced finely
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 cup Passata sauce
  • 3 Tbs water
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 Tbs oregano
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 cracks black pepper
  • 2 tsp xylitol
  • 2 Tbs olive oil

Method:

  • Heat up the olive oil on a medium-high heat in a frying pan
  • Add the onions and garlic and fry for about one minute or until the onions are glassy
  • Add the peppers and carrots and fry for another 2-3 minutes (turn down the heat if the mixture starts catching)
  • Add the mince meat and brown (around 3-4 minutes)
  • Add the tomato paste, Passata sauce, oregano, basil, nutmeg water, black pepper and xylitol
  • Adjust the heat setting to a medium heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes and to reduce slightly. Add more water if needed  – you want the consistency to be saucy!
  • Once the meat is totally cooked through and you have a delicious saucy consistency you can set the mixture aside.
  • In the meantime get your choice of noodles cooking according to the package instructions.
  • Serve the mince mixture on some noodles and sprinkle with parmesan or shredded mozzarella cheese.

Needless to say my son is now the greatest fan of spag bol!

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