Chicken Chimichangas with Mexican Rice (serves 4)

Chicken Chimichangas by The Fat Foodie

I always thought that chimichangas involved a lot of ingredients, but after researching them for the website I realised that they’re really only made up of a tortilla that’s stuffed with rice, cheese, meat or vegetables and then folded and fried until it is crispy. With this in mind, you could make chimichangas with any filling combination you fancy, such as slices of roast chicken, shredded pork or beef, or even fish.

Although many people like to fill their chimichangas with plain rice I prefer to serve my rice on the side because it allows the tortilla to take on the flavour of the meat and cheese and it also means that I can make Mexican rice to accompany the chimichangas. Mexican rice is a seasoned rice that’s made with chopped tomatoes and a range of spices, providing a great side dish to the chicken chimichangas that goes really well with the usual jalepenos, sour cream, guacamole and salsa that we tend to serve alongside Mexican dishes.

Chicken chimichangas make a lovely change from the usual fajitas or burritos our family tends to have on our chosen ‘Mexican night’. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy a soft, warm corn tortilla wrapped around well-seasoned fajita ingredients, but the beauty of frying the tortillas to create chimichangas is that it produces the great taste of the fried, crispy tortilla. The crispy exterior of the chimichanga also makes a wonderful contrast to the soft, gooey cheesy interior.

Chicken chimichangas don’t take that much longer to make than regular fajitas or burritos, but they’re worth it in terms of taste. The crunchy, toasted corn tortilla that’s tightly wrapped around tender pieces of roast chicken, tangy cubes of fresh tomato and soft, melted cheese provides a taste that’s unbeatable.

Ingredients:

8 corn tortillas (or normal wheat tortillas if you’re not sensitive to wheat or gluten)

3 chicken breasts

100g grated cheese (I use non-dairy Violife)

4 fresh tomatoes (diced)

Vegetable oil (for frying the chicken chimichangas)

For the Mexican rice:

2 vegetable stock cubes

200g long grain rice

600ml boiling water

1 red pepper (diced)

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp asafoetida powder

1/3 tsp of dried chilli flakes (optional)

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Method:

Cook your chicken breasts.

Meanwhile, put your hot water in a pan and dissolve the stock cubes in the water. Add the rice and cook until the rice is soft. Drain the rice and put it back in the saucepan.

Add the tin of chopped tomatoes, the diced red pepper and all of the spices to the rice and heat through.

Once your chicken is fully cooked, slice it into thin strips.

Build your chicken chimichangas by laying out a corn tortilla, adding grated cheese, sliced chicken, some diced fresh tomato and a good grind of fresh black pepper.

Fold the sides of the tortilla so that the edges meet in the centre and then fold the top and bottom towards the centre so that it forms a tight parcel.

A Chicken Chimichanga that’s filled and about to be folded.

Chicken Chimichangas ready to be fried.

Get your frying pan hot and add a tbsp of vegetable oil. Once it’s hot lay the chimmichangas folded side down in the frying pan and fry them until the base is golden brown and crispy. Turn the chicken chimichangas over and fry the other side too.

Once they’re crispy and golden serve them with the Mexican rice, salsa, sour cream, jalepenos, chopped fresh coriander and salad.

The Interior of a Chicken Chimichanga by The Fat Foodie

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Mexican Bean Burritos (serves 4)

Mexican Bean Burritos by The Fat Foodie

I’ve been going through a Mexican food phase at the moment, not just because it’s very tasty, but also because it’s a type of cuisine that’s really easy to adapt to make it low FODMAP. Beans and legumes generally get a bad rap in the FODMAP world because they’re high in Oligos-GOS and fructans and can cause digestive issues for a lot of people, but many forms of beans are actually low FODMAP as long as you stick to the recommended serving size. That’s why these Mexican bean burritos are actually low FODMAP.

I’ve used tinned butter beans (aka lima beans) in my Mexican bean burritos because they’re great at soaking up flavours and as long as you stick to a portion size of 35g of butter beans per person they remain low FODMAP. Beans are packed full of nutrition, being chock full of iron, dietary fibre, protein and a myriad of vitamins and minerals, so it makes sense to try to incorporate them into our diets wherever we can.

These Mexican bean burritos are incredibly easy to make, requiring nothing more than throwing the ingredients into a saucepan and heating it through. The bean burrito filling also lasts for a good couple of days in the fridge so it’s perfect for making filled tortilla wraps to take for lunches and such like. I served my Mexican bean burritos in soft, warm corn tortillas with a small portion of guacamole (a 20g serving is low FODMAP) and non-dairy sour cream with chives on the side, but they’re delicious even without any additions.

Ingredients:

1 yellow pepper (diced)

1 red pepper (diced)

1 tbsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsps dried oregano

1 tsp ground cumin

1 small tin of drained & rinsed butter beans (140g drained weight)

1 tin of chopped tomatoes (juice drained off)

1 pouch of long grain microwaveable rice (250g)

8 corn tortillas

Method:

Place all of your ingredients in a large saucepan and heat through.

Once hot, taste and season if necessary before serving wrapped in the tortillas alongside grated cheese, jalepenos, salsa, guacamole etc.

Mexican Bean Burritos by The Fat Foodie

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Pickled Eggs

Pickled Eggs by The Fat Foodie

I do not like pickled eggs. I do not understand how anyone can possibly like pickled eggs. I certainly have no intention of tasting the pickled eggs I have made. That said, my entire family loves pickled eggs. They don’t understand how I can possibly not like pickled eggs. Whenever I ask if there’s anything they’d like me to buy when I go shopping they frequently beg me to buy pickled eggs for them from the supermarket. I’m known as “the weirdo” of the family who hates pickled eggs. I freakin’ hate pickled eggs, man.

I’d imagine by now that you’re wondering why on earth I’ve decided to feature them on the website then? Well, for a few reasons really:

Firstly, my family would really love some pickled eggs.

Secondly, it’s come to my attention that a lot of people freakin’ love pickled eggs and apparently they’re lovely served alongside salads and cold meats.

Thirdly, my aunt recently shared a recipe for pickled eggs on Facebook so I had no reason not to make them for my family. (Although I must say I enjoyed reading the huge comment thread debate that ensued between those who hated pickled eggs and those who loved them!)

And fourthly, they’re an ideal low FODMAP snack for those who like pickled eggs.

Joking aside, jars of pickled eggs are really expensive to buy. The last time I went shopping they were priced at £2.95 for a jar of 4 or 5 eggs. That’s pretty ridiculous when you consider how cheap eggs are to buy. Therefore, when I saw that my aunt had made her own I figured I could keep my family happy while keeping my purse happy at the same time. I didn’t have all of the spices that her recipe suggested so I just kept mine simple and used what I had at hand instead.

As it turns out, it’s incredibly easy to make your own pickled eggs! Essentially all you have to do is hard boil your eggs and peel them, make your pickle vinegar, sterilise your jars and then pop all of your ingredients into them and leave them for 2 days until you eat them. It’s as easy as that. Just keep the jars of pickled eggs in the fridge and use them within 3 months for best quality.

I’m not going to try waxing lyrical about the taste of these pickled eggs because frankly I’m not sure there’s any way possible of making pickled eggs sound remotely sexy. So I won’t. But if you like pickled eggs and you have a bash at making these ones then please let me know what you think. I’m sure my family won’t be shy in offering their tuppence worth.  😉

Ingredients:

12 hard boiled eggs (de-shelled)

250ml white wine vinegar

250ml water

1 tbsp white sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tsps pickling spices (I used 1 tsp black peppercorns, 10 cloves, 1 tsp of mustard seeds and 1/3 tsp of dried chilli flakes)

Method:

Sterilise your jars by washing them in hot water, rinsing them out and then placing them on a baking tray and putting them in a hot oven until they are dry. Once they’re dry switch off the oven and leave the jars inside the oven until you need them.

Hard-boil your eggs by cooking them in boiling water for at least 12 minutes and then de-shell them.

Put all of your pickling vinegar ingredients into a saucepan and bring it to the boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer the liquid for 10 minutes.

Take your jars out of the oven, place your hard-boiled eggs inside them and add the pickling vinegar until it reaches the top of the jar. Seal the jars with the lid and leave to cool.

Once cool, put the jars in the fridge and leave for 2 days before eating.

Pickled Eggs by The Fat Foodie

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Cornflake Chicken Tenders (serves 4)

Cornflake Chicken Tenders by The Fat Foodie

A while ago I made gluten-free southern fried chicken and it was really tasty and very popular with my family, to the extent that I wanted to try something new, but along the same lines. Another chicken recipe which seems to be very popular within gluten-free recipe circles is for chicken fillets which are coated with crushed cornflakes, a naturally gluten-free product. I was a bit sceptical as to how chicken pieces would taste wrapped in cornflakes, a product I would normally associate with breakfast, but thankfully it turned out to be really delicious.

A lot of recipes for cornflake chicken tenders ask you to marinade the chicken pieces for a while before you coat them in the cornflakes, but I’ve tried making it both ways and I can’t really tell the difference so I’ve just went ahead and written up the recipe without doing it. However, feel free to experiment yourself.

I’ve kept my seasonings quite tame, omitting the dried chilli and ground cumin that so many recipes call for because I wanted a gently seasoned piece of chicken that let the flavour of the chicken thighs shine through, but I did add dulse seaweed flakes to my mixture to add a depth of flavour that can rarely be found elsewhere.

Dulse seaweed is seriously nutritious stuff, incorporating deep umami flavour while also being chock full of nutritional benefits such as iodine, potassium, magnesium, iron, protein and fibre. In fact, seaweed contains more minerals than any other vegetable. We’re really lucky in Scotland to have a brilliant company called Mara Seaweed which makes and sells seaweed to use as seasonings, so it’s theirs I tend to use in my cooking. I’d really recommend giving dulse seaweed a go because it’s a great seasoning alternative to using salt in your cooking, but you don’t need it to make this recipe for chicken tenders.

This recipe for cornflake chicken tenders creates soft, tender and juicy pieces of chicken thigh meat which are encased in a crispy, well-seasoned coating of crushed cornflakes. They’re delicious either on their own with a dollop of ketchup, served alongside a fresh salad, or placed in a floury bun and topped with good quality mayonnaise. However you serve them they’re finger-licking good!

Ingredients:

500g chicken thighs (cut into thick strips)

100ml rice milk

1/2 tsp sweet paprika

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1/4 tsp asafoetida powder

1/2 tsp dulse seaweed flakes (optional)

200g gluten-free cornflakes (crushed)

1/2 tsp sugar

2 tbsps vegetable oil

Method:

Preheat your oven to to 180°C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 and prepare a non-stick baking tray.

Place the chicken strips in a bowl and coat them in the rice milk.

Crush the cornflakes, but don’t crush them so far that they become flour!

In a separate bowl, add the crushed cornflakes and the seasonings and mix together before drizzling the oil over the top and tossing it through the mixture.

Dip each of the chicken strips in the cornflake mixture, ensuring they are fully coated, before placing them on the baking tray.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins until they are fully cooked through and serve.

Cornflake Chicken Tenders by The Fat Foodie

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Caribbean Pork Stew (serves 6)

Caribbean Pork Stew by The Fat Foodie

One of the perks of working in a bookshop is that we often get proof copies of books from publishers long before they’re released to the general public. This is particularly delightful when there’s a cookbook that I fancy. The only problem that I’ve noticed more and more since being on the low FODMAP diet however, is that a huge number of cookbooks use onion and garlic as the base of their recipes. I like to view this as a challenge though and I try to adapt the ingredients so that I end up making a version that’s low FODMAP and won’t cause me any digestive discomfort.

One recipe I came across in a Caribbean cookbook a while ago was for a Caribbean pork stew, but it was packed full of onion, garlic and higher FODMAP vegetables, such as a lot of sweet potato, sweetcorn and peas. Now, I think that if you substitute a lot of the ingredients for lower FODMAP items Caribbean cuisine can actually be quite FODMAP friendly and very tasty indeed. This slow cooker Caribbean pork stew certainly is!

There can be no denying that autumn is coming in fast, especially now that the mornings are frequently shrouded in thick Scottish mist and Jack Frost has started to nibble my fingers as I walk in to work every morning through the dry, crisp, desiccated red and gold-coloured leaves that line the pavements. In light of this, I always think this a good time to get the slow cooker out and prepare something in the morning that I can look forward to having for dinner to warm me up after walking back home.

Slow cooking this Caribbean pork stew really does the ingredients justice because it allows the flavours to meld throughout the day of slow cooking, producing a rich, fruity casserole that’s filled with well-seasoned pork shoulder and fresh vegetables. Trust me, if you want to stave off the colder weather that’s on its way you couldn’t get a better meal than this sunny Caribbean pork stew!

Ingredients:

600g pork shoulder (diced)

1 yellow pepper (diced)

1 green pepper (diced)

2 carrots (thinly sliced into ribbons with a vegetable peeler)

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

To make the jerk sauce:

1 tin of coconut milk

100g creamed coconut (grated)

50g pineapple (cut into small cubes)

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

2 tsps sugar

2 tsps celery salt

1 tbsp sweet paprika

1/2 tbsp black peppercorns

1 tbsp dried thyme

1 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)

1/3 a nutmeg (finely grated)

40g fresh root ginger (or 1 tbsp ground dried ginger)

1 tsp asafoetida powder

Rice

Method:

Put your slow cooker on low and add the tin of chopped tomatoes and diced pork.

If you’re using a Nutribullet or high-powered blender, put the coconut milk, creamed coconut, root ginger and all of the spices in the Nutribullet and blend until it’s smooth and then add the mixture to the slow cooker and stir well.

If you’re using a spice or coffee grinder, grind the spices until they are powdered. Add the spices to the slow cooker along with the coconut milk, creamed coconut and mince the root ginger and add that too.

Mix well and leave to cook for 5-6 hours (depending on your slow cooker). Serve with rice and Bob Marley tunes playing in the background.

Caribbean Pork Stew by The Fat Foodie

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