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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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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Rhubarb, Orange and Ginger Jam

Rhubarb, Orange and Ginger Jam by The Fat Foodie

Rhubarb is a really healthy vegetable to incorporate into our diets. It’s a great source of fibre and is packed full of vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamins K, C and A, along with B-Vitamins too and iron, potassium and calcium. It’s a great vegetable all round! So, when my Dad gave me another bunch of rhubarb stalks the other day I wasn’t going to refuse the gift and I decided that the best thing to do with them would be to make a jam.

Rhubarb is very low in pectin, the carbohydrate found in fruit which helps jam to set firm. You can buy jam sugar which is normal white sugar that has pectin added into it, but I didn’t have any so I needed to find a way to add pectin into my jam. However, the white pith of citrus fruits contains lots of pectin so I figured I’d use the rind of some satsumas I had in the fruit bowl. On reflection, I thought that I would be just as well using the whole fruit (waste not, want not!), so I blended 4 whole satsumas, along with the ginger, to a pulp in the Nutribullet and added them into my jam mix. (I checked them for pips first though!)

This rhubarb, orange and ginger jam is really easy to make, involving nothing more than preparing your ingredients and then letting it boil away on the stove top for about half an hour with the occasional stir. In return you’ll be rewarded with at least 5 jars of tart, but sweet, soft-set rhubarb and orange jam that’s infused with the warming spice of ginger throughout. I’m currently dolloping it on every slice of toast that comes across my path.

Ingredients:

1kg of chopped rhubarb stalks

80g fresh root ginger (finely minced)

1kg white sugar

100ml lemon juice

100ml water

2 tsps vanilla extract

4 whole satsumas (blended smooth)

Method:

Heat your oven to 140C/120C Fan/gas mark 1.

Sterilise your jars by washing them thoroughly in hot, soapy water and then rinsing well. Put them on a baking sheet and place them in a hot oven until they have dried. Switch off the oven and leave them in the oven.

Put a very large saucepan on a medium heat and add all of your liquid ingredients followed by your rhubarb, minced ginger and blended oranges.

Stir well and cook for around half an hour, stirring occasionally.

Once you’re happy that the fruit has cooked, taking care because it’s very hot, pour the jam into your sterilised jam jars, cover the jam with a waxed disc and seal with the lid.

Leave to cool before placing in the fridge.

Rhubarb, Orange and Ginger Jam by The Fat Foodie

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Curried Carrot Soup (serves 3-4)

Curried Carrot Soup by The Fat Foodie

Now that the days are getting colder I have a hankering to have soup for lunch on a regular basis. There’s nothing like a good steaming hot bowl of soup to warm you up from the inside out, especially when it’s accompanied with a generous smattering of crispy well-seasoned croutons, so this curried carrot soup really hits the mark for me.

This recipe came about because I had a lot of carrots in the fridge that I needed to use up and I thought they’d be a good base for a soup. Carrots are naturally very sweet though, so I realised they’d need something robust as a seasoning to counteract the taste of the natural sugars, a role which curry spices fulfil very well.

Like all soups, this curried carrot soup is incredibly easy to make because it requires nothing more than preparing your vegetables and chucking them into a stock pot along with the other ingredients. After I’d simmered my soup long enough to cook the carrots and potato I used my food processor to blend it into a smooth soup, but if you don’t have a food processor or a Nutribullet you could just grate the carrots and potato before you put them in the soup pot and have a chunkier soup. It’d be delicious either way!

This curried carrot soup is tasty, nutritious and very warming. It’s an excellent option for lunch or even as a light dinner during the autumn and winter months and is enhanced by being scattered with the crispy little salt and pepper croutons. It’s the perfect antidote to the approaching winter.

Ingredients:

450g carrots (peeled and cut into small pieces)

1 potato (peeled and diced)

1.2 litres of vegetable stock

1 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/4 tsp dried thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

For the croutons:

6 slices of gluten-free bread

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground pepper

2 tbsps vegetable oil

Method:

Prepare your vegetables as directed.

Place a large stock pot over a medium-high heat and put all of your ingredients into it. Leave it to simmer until the vegetables are tender.

While the soup is simmering make the croutons by cutting the bread into small cubes and placing them in a hot frying pan. Drizzle the oil over the top of the bread and season with the salt and pepper before continually moving the croutons around the pan to ensure they toast evenly. Once they’re crispy remove them from the oven and keep them warm in a low temperature oven.

Using caution because the soup will be very hot, in small batches ladle some of the soup into your food processor or Nutribullet and blend until smooth. (Exercise caution when unscrewing the top of your Nutribullet because pressure will have built up inside due to the heat of the soup, so covering it with a tea towel before opening it would be highly advised.)

Once you’ve blended all of the soup serve it with the croutons.

Curried Carrot Soup by The Fat Foodie

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