Slow cooker chilli con carne

There’s nothing better on a cold, windy January evening than getting home and remembering that the slow cooker has been on all day and your dinner is ready…

…Who am I kidding, like I’d forget! I was counting the hours yesterday until I could get home and tuck into this slimming world chilli con carne. And it didn’t disappoint!

If you don’t have a slow cooker, you could just let it simmer very gently for an hour or two in a pan.

Who doesn't love a big, belly warming plate of chilli?

Who doesn’t love a big, belly-warming bowl of chilli?

Syns on Extra Easy: 1.5 per serving

Ingredients – for four people

500g extra lean mince (must be less than 5% fat)
1 x onion, diced
1 x red pepper, diced
1 x tsp smoked paprika
Half x tsp dried red chillies
1 x tsp ground cumin
2 x tsp hot chilli powder
1 x tbsp plain flour
400g can chopped tomatoes
400g can red kidney beans
150ml beef stock
1 x tbsp. dark muscovado sugar
Potatoes or rice to serve (in the photo, I’ve made slimming world potato wedges)

How to make it

  1. Fry the mince using a little fry light, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned. At this point, I remove it from the pan and put it into a bowl, using a slotted spoon so as to get rid of any excess fat.
  1. Give the frying pan a quick rinse, again to get rid of any fat, then fry the onion, pepper, paprika, chillies, chilli powder and cumin. Cook for about two minutes then stir in the flour.
  1. Mix in the tomatoes, kidney beans, stock and sugar, season with salt and pepper and pour the mixture into the slow cooker.
  1. Cover it with the lid and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  1. Once the cooking time is nearly over, prepare rice or slimming world chips.
  1. Serve and devour.

Chicken madras

Those who know me know that curries are my favourite meal. Either that or a really good steak. I’ve never quite been able to pick one above the other. Some choices are just too weighty for a mere human like myself.

Anyway, I digress. I really love this slimming world madras, it proves that you don’t need lashings of oil to make a great curry, and you can easily do without a huge chunk of naan bread too.

Dear God, thank you for curry. Amen.

Dear God, thank you for curry. Amen.

Syns on Extra Easy: 0

Ingredients – for four people

4 x chicken breasts, cut into chunks
5 x tbsp fat free natural fromage frais
1 x onion, diced or sliced
1 x red chilli, diced or sliced
1 x red or green pepper
5 x tbsp madras curry powder
1 x tsp ground cinnamon
1 x tsp ground cumin
5 x tbsp tomato purée
75g rice per person

How to make it

  1. Stir fry the chicken using fry light, after a couple of minutes add 3 tablespoons of curry powder and stir to coat well.
  1. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan and set it aside. Then add the onion, chilli, pepper, cinnamon, cumin and remaining curry powder to the pan, stir frying over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
  1. Stir in the tomato purée and 250ml of water. Add the chicken, bring this mixture to the boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  1. Cook the rice according to the packet instructions while the sauce is simmering.
  1. Take the sauce off the heat and stir in the fromage frais.
  1. Serve and devour.

Salt and chilli chicken

Another Chinese fakeaway that’s well worth trying is this slimming world-friendly salt and chilli chicken. Just be careful to add the right amount of salt… I boobed the first time I made this, using a tablespoon rather than a teaspoon – I still feel thirsty when I think about that meal!

Tonight Matthew, I am... a Chinese fakeaway!

Tonight Matthew, I am… a Chinese fakeaway!

Syns on Extra Easy: 0

Ingredients

2 x chicken breasts, sliced
2 x eggs
Smash (the dried potato stuff)
1 x green pepper, sliced
1 x onion, sliced
1 x chilli, sliced
1 x tsp coarse sea salt

 How to make it

  1. Pour some smash onto a plate and add the teaspoon of sea salt to it – mix it through!
  1. Take your strips of chicken and dip it in a bowl of beaten eggs, before rolling it in the smash mixture – repeat until all the chicken is coated.
  1. Cook the chicken at 200° for about 20 minutes or until you think it has cooked through.
  1. While the chicken is cooking, stir fry (using fry light) the green peppers, onion and chillies.
  1. When the chicken is ready, add it to the pan to combine it with the vegetables.
  1. Serve with rice or noodles and devour.

BBQ pulled pork

This, my friends, is the holy grail of slimming world recipes – syn free BBQ pulled pork. There’s something about this dish that brings out a side of me that’s not unlike Homer Simpson when he claps eyes on a donut.

BBQ pulled pork.. be still, my beating heart

BBQ pulled pork… be still, my beating heart

Syns on Extra Easy: 0

Ingredients

2kg pork shoulder, trim all the visible fat
500g passata
5 x tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 x tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 x tsp mustard powder
3 x tbsp sweetener

How to make it

  1. Put the passata, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, mustard powder, sweetener and salt and pepper into a saucepan. Mix well and let it simmer for around 10-15 minutes.
  1. Seal all sides of the pork shoulder in a hot frying pan, then transfer it to a roasting tin that is lined with enough tinfoil to cover the joint.
  1. Pour the BBQ sauce over the pork, then create a little pork parcel with the tinfoil. Don’t wrap it too tightly – I leave a few centimetres between the pork and the top of the tinfoil.
  1. Cook at 160° for four to five hours. Allow the meat to sit for a few minutes before using two forks to shred the meat.
  1. Serve with whatever you fancy, slimming world chips/veg/in a HEXB roll or pitta.
  1. Devour.

Diet coke chicken

This is a pretty standard, syn free recipe for slimming worlders, and if you think it sounds weird all I can say is, don’t knock it ’til you try it! It’s a popular recipe for a reason, it tastes damn good.

One of the easiest dishes to throw together - try it!

Diet coke chicken is one of the easiest dishes to throw together – I love it!

Syns on Extra Easy: 0

Ingredients – for two people

2 x chicken breasts, diced or sliced
1 x onion, diced
1 x pepper, sliced
1 x red chilli, sliced
1 x can (330ml) diet coke or coke zero
6 x tbsp passata
2 x tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 x tbsp dark soy sauce
1 x tsp Chinese five spice
150g rice

How to make it

1. Cook the rice according to the packet instructions.

2. Stir fry the chicken using fry light, once browned add the veg and Chinese five spice and stir fry for a few mins.

3. Pour in the can of diet coke, passata, soy and Worcestershire sauce; stir well and turn the heat up to bring it to the boil. Once bubbling, turn it down to a simmer to reduce the liquid.

4. Let it simmer for around 10 minutes or until you think it has sufficiently reduced.

5. Serve and devour.

Chicken and bacon fried rice

This fakeaway is so simple and pretty tasty. Best of all, it just about satisfies a craving for its high-syn sibling from the Chinese takeaway. I often worry about their takings now I’m back on the slimming world wagon…

This fakeaway meal is my first port of call when I fancy a Chinese!

This fakeaway meal is my first port of call when I fancy a Chinese!

Syns on Extra Easy: 0

Ingredients – for two people

2 x chicken breasts, sliced
2 x bacon rashers, sliced – cut the fat off before cooking!
2 x eggs
150g rice
Handful of mushrooms
Handful of peas
2 x spring onions, chopped
Dark soy sauce
Other veg if you fancy it

How to make it

1. Cook the rice according to the instructions on the packet and while it’s cooking, take care of steps

2. Stir fry the chicken (in fry light as always) and after a few minutes, add the bacon. Let that cook for a couple of minutes then add the mushrooms, peas and spring onions. At this point I usually add a generous dash of dark soy sauce.

3. In the meantime and in a separate pan, scramble the eggs. Don’t overdo it, take them off the heat just before they look like they’re ready as they’ll continue to cook once off the heat.

4. Drain the rice and add to the chicken mixture along with the scrambled egg and another generous slug of dark soy sauce. Stir so that all the ingredients are combined.

5. Serve and devour.

Magic pancakes

Usually the only magical thing about traditional pancakes is how quickly they disappear from my plate… but on this occasion, the magic lies in the fact that they’re syn free! Or they were until I added a tablespoon of maple syrup (2 syns).

Thanks to @slimmingwjourney on instagram for sharing this fab recipe with me. Perfect for a lazy Sunday morning.

Et voila, pancakes à la slimming world

Et voila, pancakes à la slimming world

Syns on Extra Easy: 2 per serving if using a tablespoon of maple syrup

Ingredients – for two people

70g porridge oats (35g is a HEXB)
2 x Activia 0% fat vanilla yoghurt
4 x eggs
Fruit to top
Maple syrup

How to make it

1. Mix the oats in a bowl with the yoghurt, then add the eggs and mix again until it’s all combined.

2. Heat a pan until it’s really hot, using fry light, pour a small amount of the mixture into the pan to form a pancake shape, and repeat to fit as many as you can into your frying pan.

3. When they appear to be well cooked on the bottom, turn them over and cook the top.

4. Once cooked through,  I added a tablespoon of maple syrup and a chopped banana, but the world is your oyster here, go for whatever you fancy!

5. Serve and devour.