For those of you who follow me on Facebook you might have seen the delicious dinner I whipped up on Monday night – baked barramundi on a bed of zucchini with cherry tomatoes on the vine, black olives and herbs. It was so easy to prepare – it only took about 5 minutes – but it was vibrant, colourful and very impressive. I was inspired by a recipe in Tessa Kiros’ beautiful cookbook ‘Limoncello and Linen Water’.
If you don’t like barramundi you could use an alternative white fish (think cod, snapper, flathead etc) or if you don’t like fish then it would be delicious with chicken! Next time I am going to try this with salmon …
I served it with blanched asparagus, but a mixed green salad would be just as delicious, and if you really can’t be bothered you can relax because the zucchini and the tomatoes mean that this dish really is a one-pot-wonder!
Baked Barramundi with Zucchini, Cherry Tomatoes, Black Olives and Herbs
This made enough for the 2 of us (we did have a lot of tomatoes) but if you wanted to double it for 4 people and again for 8 etc it would work just as well.
What you will need:
2 small zucchinis – thinly sliced lengthways and tossed with some sea salt and cracked black pepper
2 barramundi fillets (or fish of your choice, or chicken)
200 g (7 ounces) cherry tomatoes (on the vine). (This was actually a lot of tomatoes for 2 people – keep in mind if you are not mad on tomatoes ..)
1 heaped tablespoon chopped parsley
6 basil leaves – torn
1/2 cup of white wine or chicken stock. (I used stock here but I think that white wine would be even more delicious)
A couple of handful of black olives (I used the pitted kalamata olives from the deli at Woolworths – they were perfect!)
Zest & juice of one lemon
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
How to pull it together:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
In a baking dish (which I lined with baking paper), drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, and lay out the zucchini. Season the fish on both sides with a little salt and pepper andlay it over the zucchini. Top with the tomatoes and herbs. Pour the wine or stock around the fish and toss in the olives. Finish with the zest of the lemon and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes until the tomatoes are roasted to your liking and the fish is nice and brown.
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Wishing you all a wonderful week!
Hands up if you have had a great time this festive season? Lots of barbeques, parties, cocktails??? Andrew and I certainly have had a lot of fun and obviously the diversion from our routine of clean eating has had a negative effect on our bodies. This is the perfect time of year to implement a short detox (7 days) to give your body a rest from the toxins and stresses that it has been exposed to during the festive season and to reset it for a happy and healthy year ahead!
When we give our livers a break from dealing with the toxins we expose our bodies to daily (such as sugar, caffeine and alcohol) our bodies become much more efficient at working to eliminate body fat which results in a happier and healthier you.
A detox can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it but basically by eliminating toxins you should find yourselves feeling energised, reinvigorated, less bloated and best of all you should definitely notice a positive effect on the scales.
You only need to implement this for 7 days to see and feel the results – it’s a fantastic way to start the year on a high. You may experience fatigue and headaches for the first couple of days but PUSH THROUGH as this is a sign that the toxins are leaving your body – and this is what you want!!
Things to AVOID on a detox:
- Caffeine (Green tea is acceptable)
- Red Meat
- Wheat – try swapping wheat for spelt if you struggle to avoid bread etc
- Anything artificial/processed
Things to INCLUDE on a detox:
- A glass of room temperature water (filtered if possible) with a squeeze of lemon each morning on rising
- At least 2 litres of filtered (if possible) water per day
- Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
- Organic Chicken
- Fish (e.g. salmon, cod, mackerel, herring)
- Healthy oils e.g. olive oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil
- Raw nuts and seeds
- Apple Cider vinegar (delicious mixed with olive oil as a salad dressing)
- Free range organic eggs
- Tofu/ tempeh
- Herbal tea – many brands have a detox range
There are so many yummy and healthy options to ensure that you will not go hungry.
An example of a great day on this detox would be as follows:
Upon rising: Room temperature filtered water with a squeeze of lemon
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs (2/3 whites and 1 yolk) whisked up and cooked with 1 1/2 cups of spinach OR a piece of spelt toast spread with almond butter or hummus and a cup of green tea
Snack: 1/4 cup raw nuts and a piece of fruit (the summer fruit is so delicious at the moment) OR 100 grams of chicken breast and 1/4 cucumber
Lunch – Healthy chicken and quinoa dish that I posted HERE OR a chicken and salad wrap (spelt wrap) that I posted HERE and a green tea;
Afternoon snack – A smoothie made by blending 1 frozen banana, 1 cup water and 1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves OR a cup of carrot sticks with hummus (homemade or all natural ingredients) or almond butter;
Dinner – BBQ fillet of salmon served with pesto (homemade or all natural) and a big green salad dressed with apple cider vinegar/olive oil dressing OR the lentil and green bean salad (without the haloumi) posted HERE OR the almond meal schnitzel I posted HERE or my chicken and eggplant bake (without the mozzarella) that I posted HERE;
As you can see there is plenty of variety allowed and you will feel so much better for it. I always find that a detox is the best way to kickstart weight loss or break a plateau.
Good luck and enjoy
Here is that delicious chicken recipe I was talking about a few weeks ago. It is so simple and easy to prepare, it cooks itself in the oven and is so flavoursome! It is another recipe from the talented Yottam Ottolenghi. I love how he uses fresh ingredients and herbs and spices to enhance the flavours of his food – as I’ve said so many times you really don’t have to suffer to eat well!!! Try this recipe next time you are entertaining a crowd – it is delicious with the Haloumi and Grilled vegetable salad or any other salad from the shrinking hubby ….
This recipe really benefits from preparing the chicken the day before so it can marinate overnight in the fridge. I love marinating overnight as it makes it so much easier when the time comes to prepare the food – especially when entertaining. One less thing to worry about on the day …
Roast Chicken with Sumac, Za’atar and Lemon
You will need:
1 large organic or free range chicken cut into 4 pieces (breast and wing, leg and thigh). You can ask your butcher to do this for you.
2 red onions thinly sliced
2 crushed garlic cloves (or 2 teaspoons of organic crushed garlic)
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra drizzling
1 1/2 teaspoons ground all spice (pimento)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon sumac
1 lemon thinly sliced
1 cup chicken stock or water (I have used both and both are equally as good)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon za’atar
20g unsalted organic butter (11/2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup pine nuts
4 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
How to pull it together
1. In a large bowl, mix the chicken with the onions, garlic, olive oil, spices, lemon and stock/water, salt and pepper. Leave in the fridge to marinate for a few hours or overnight.
2. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius (390 degrees Fahrenheit). Transfer the chicken and its marinade to a baking tray large enough to accommodate the chicken lying flat and spaced apart. Chicken should be skin side up. Sprinkle the za’atar over the chicken and onions and put the tray in the oven. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is coloured and just cooked through.
3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small frying pan. Add the pine nuts and a pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat until they turn golden. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb the fat (First time I made this I skipped the butter but it is soooo worthwhile – just make sure you drain on paper towel!!!).
4. Transfer the hot chicken and onions to a serving plate and finish with the chopped parsley, pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil. You can sprinkle on more za’atar and sumac if you like …
Seriously one of our favourite dinners. Who doesn’t love a golden schnitzel drizzled with freshly squeezed lemon juice?! But it doesn’t have to be crumbed in bread crumbs and deep fried! I found this recipe from The Healthy Chef using almond meal and arrowroot instead of flour and bread crumbs. I actually think it is yummier than the traditional recipe (and it’s very kid friendly too ..).
Almond Meal Crusted Schnitzel
Serves 2 adults and 3 children
What you will need:
2 Chicken Breasts (sliced in half length wise and beaten with a kitchen mallet if you have one)
About 2 tablespoons Arrowroot
Almond meal (about 1-2 cups depending on how your crumbing goes…)
2 organic free range eggs (beaten)
Lemon to serve
How to make it:
Coat the chicken pieces in the arrowroot, then dip into egg mix followed by almond meal.
Heat your pan and add some coconut oil. Cook the chicken pieces until they are lovely and golden and the chicken is cooked through.
Serve with a big squeeze of lemon juice alongside steamed veggies, a big salad, vegetable ratatouille – whatever you like. This time I served with a big green salad and added some slow roasted mini roma tomatoes, asparagus, feta and avocado. To roast the tomatoes toss halved mini roma tomatoes in some olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay them out skin side down on a tray lined with baking paper and bake for about 35 minutes or until they are cooked to your liking. A delicious way to add flavour to your salads.
Was absolutely delicious!
One of the biggest downfalls when trying to embrace a healthy diet is lack of preparation/organisation. It is a sad and sorry state of affairs that our society makes it easier and more affordable to eat badly than it is to look after our health but it doesn’t have to be this way!
One of my biggest tips when preparing healthy meals is to make double and freeze half. I do this with so many of our dinners and it is always such a reward at the end of a busy day to know that dinner has already been made (the way I like it) and all I need to do is pop it in the oven or reheat and serve. So much healthier (and cheaper) than takeaway and so much better for the waist line.
Here is one of our favourite week night staples. The recipe is for one meal but I always make two and freeze one. (I like to use those disposable aluminium trays with lids – just be wary that they shouldn’t be in the freezer for too long – although this recipe is so yummy I doubt it will be!!!)
Chicken and Eggplant Bake
You will need:
About 500g (1 pound) chicken breasts or one packet (I always buy the macro free range from Woolworths). (About 2 good sized breasts)
2 tins organic salt-free diced tomatoes
Herbs as you like (Herbies does a delicious Italian blend that goes beautifully with this dish)
2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 tablespoon Rapadura Sugar or Coconut Sugar (optional – I prefer not to use but is very yummy)
1 piece Buffalo Mozzarella (or bococcini, or parmesan or feta – whatever you like)
Slice the eggplant into nice thick rounds and arrange on some paper towel before salting and leaving for about 10 minutes.
When the juices are weeping, wipe the eggplant with paper towel, place on baking tray lined with baking paper and spray/lightly brush some olive oil, pepper and sprinkle herbs. Bake in a moderate oven for about 30-40 mins.
Slice the chicken lengthways.
In a bowl mix together the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar (if using).
When eggplant cooked, line a baking dish with the eggplant, top with the chicken (uncooked), season with some salt and pepper and pour sauce over to cover.
Break up the buffalo mozzarella with your hands and put dollops around the top of the dish.
Bake in a moderate oven for about 40 minutes until cooked through and the cheese is all melted and bubbly.
Serve with steamed asparagus (great to get rid of fluid retention) or a big green salad.
And here is one for the freezer!!! Freeze uncooked and add the mozzarella at time of baking …