Chicken & Vegetable soup

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Chicken soup is the ultimate winter food. Here in New Zealand its rather chilly, and I was craving something comforting. I had my family round our house for dinner last night and we had roast chicken. After watching Jamie Oliver’s ‘Save With Jamie’ on TV the other night, I’ve been determined to not let anything go to waste, so this recipe is made using the carcasses from last nights roast chicken. I also threw in all the vegetables that needed to be used up, or I would be throwing them out. This recipe saves wastage, money and is a home cooked classic. I also got a chance to use my new slow cooker from Breville, it’s the Fast & Slow cooker and is GREAT for so many recipes. The good thing about soup is that you can adapt it to whatever you like, or have on hand. Here’s what went in mine:

You will need (it makes ALOT! I like to split mine into containers and keep them in the freezer. This recipe filled two empty ice cream containers up):

2 chicken carcasses, 1 chicken stock cube, water, 1 carrot, 2 cups of red cabbage, 1 medium kumara (sweet potato), 1/2 a small butternut squash, 1 & 1/2 onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 cup of frozen peas, a few stalks of fresh coriander & parsley, 3 stalks of fresh rosemary, salt & pepper, the juice of 1 lemon.

– Place your cooked carcasses in a large saucepan/pot (I did mine in 2 saucepans as I didn’t have a big enough pot) onto the hob. Add in the stock cube and cover the carcasses with cold water.

– Put the pot on until it boils. When it reaches boiling, turn the temperature down to a simmer and simmer the carcasses for 1 hour.

– Chop your vegetables. (You can do this anyway you like as if you like a smooth soup you will blitz it later. If you like a chunky consistency, chop your vegetable the way you like to eat them) Place all of the vegetable into a slow cooker apart from the onions and the fresh herbs.

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– In a pan, soften the onions with the garlic. Once soft and browned slightly, add them into the slow cooker with the rest of the vegetables.

– Once the chicken carcasses have been simmering for an hour, sieve the stock into a bowl. Using tongs and a fork, pull all of the chicken off of the carcass discarding the bones into another bowl. Put your chicken pieces back into the stock.

– Pour the chicken & stock into the slow cooker. Place the rosemary on the top and season with the salt and pepper.

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– Leave to cook slowly on a medium heat for 3 hours.

– Once the soup has been cooking for 3 hours, stir in the fresh herbs and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into the soup. Test the taste as it may need more seasoning at this point.

– You can either leave the soup as it is, or if you prefer a smoother consistency soup (like me) you can get a stick blender and blend to soup until smooth.

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– Serve! You can also store this soup in containers in the freezer and just grab it out whenever you want a quick, warm lunch.

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Chili Beef Lettuce

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This is my take on one of Gordon Ramsey’s recipes. I’ve changed some of the recipe just to suit a tighter budget. This is such a great recipe for when friends come over because its something a bit different! You can eat them with your hands, or just pile the beef on top of some lettuce for an flavour inspired salad. The original recipe is here:http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/535650/gordon-ramsay-s-chilli-beef-lettuce-wraps

Heres how I mixed it up a bit:

You will need: (to make about 5 lettuce ‘cups’) 5cm piece of ginger, 2 cloves of garlic (or a tspn of crushed garlic), 2 spring onions, 1 chili, 1 small lemon, 2 tspn fish sauce, tspn brown sugar, Half a pack of Pak’n’Save $12 beef mince (I don’t know the exact weight of the pack, but I split it in half), Cos or Gem lettuce.

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– With a little olive oil, cook the mince for about 7 mins (You need to get a good colour on the mince, almost crispy as it adds to the flavour)

– Place cooked mince in a bowl on some kitchen bowl to soak up the excess moisture.

– Peel the ginger and finally chop the ginger and garlic.

– Cook for about 2 mins in the pan with the sugar and fish sauce.

– Add the mince back in and stir through.

– Add the lemon juice (should be lime, but I have a lemon tree and limes are pricey) and the spring onions and stir through. Cook for about 30 seconds. 

– Place the beef mix delicately on your lettuce.

– Serve with Gordon Ramsey’s sauce on the same recipe.

Lettuce Wraps

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I looked in my fridge today at lunch time after I just got back from running around uni in the rain. I saw what I had, and thought I’d create some lettuce wraps. I usually use cabbage to create my wraps, and it is a lot easier to wrap as its cooked and more flexible than lettuce, but lettuce is what I had, so it’s what I used. Now this isn’t a strict Paleo recipe, because I used brown rice for the filling. It’s still healthy, and it’s nice to have something a bit different for lunch. You could always substitute quinoa for the brown rice. Bye bye boring old ham sandwiches!

You will need (to make 3 to 4 wraps):

4 outer leaves of a lettuce, any veg you have available to add to the filling (I used 1/4 of a red onion, a few strips of red capsicum and a small carrot), half a cup of brown rice, 2 tbspns of soy sauce, 1 small can of tuna (I used sweet chilli tuna)

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– Boil the brown rice in a saucepan according to packet instructions.

– Drain the rice and pour over 2 tbspns of soy sauce, the can of tuna and mix.

– Slice your vegetables and peel the outer leaves of the lettuce off and rinse them.

– Pile up your ingredients and wrap the lettuce leaf around.

– Eat with your hands and most likely make a huge mess…I did.

Paleo Pumpkin Soup

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It’s getting a bit colder here in New Zealand! One of my favourite comfort foods is pumpkin soup. I am in Hawkes Bay this week, and one of the many great things about being here is the vegetable markets on the side of the road. I drove past a house with a little wheelbarrow outside full of great looking pumpkins. The great part about this is that you know its organic, home grown and cheap! Most of the time these vegetables are a lot cheaper than in the supermarket, and we’re supporting local produce. I knew I just had to make some tasty, comforting pumpkin soup for lunches and quick dinners.

Nutritional info: Per serving:  9 portions

Calories 75.7, Total fat 3g, Total Carbohydrate 11.5g, Protein 1.6g

You will need:

1 medium sized pumpkin, 2 onions, 2 cloves pf garlic, 2 chicken stocks cubes (or use vegetable to keep vegetarian), 1 can of coconut milk, ground cumin seeds, tsp nutmeg, 1 tbspn mild curry powder, salt & pepper, olive oil.

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– Pre heat the oven to 180°C

Carefully cut the pumpkin into pieces and place on a baking tray (will probably need 2 baking trays) and lightly coat the pumpkin with some olive oil, salt, pepper and ground cumin seeds. I leave the skin on my pumpkin. I believe it adds to the flavor of the soup and the skin is very nutritious.

– Roast the pumpkin in the oven for 45mins.

– Chop the onion and the garlic and soften in a frying pan.

– Once the pumpkin is cooked (a fork should go through easily), let the pumpkin cool down and then process it along with your onion and garlic in your food processor.

– Place the processed mixture in a saucepan on a low heat.

– In another pan, dissolve your stock cubes in hot water (my 2 stock cubes took 4 cups of water).

– Once the stock is dissolved, add it to the pumpkin mixture and stir.

– Pour in the can of coconut milk and stir until combined.

– Add the curry powder & nutmeg. Add salt and pepper to taste.

– Simmer the soup for about 15 minutes. If at this point the soup is too thick for your liking, add some hot water.

– Its ready to eat warm now, but if you want your soup to be smoother, process it again until you get your preferred consistency.

Pumpkin soup is great to freeze, so you can keep it in the fridge for a big family, or freeze it into portions so you’ll always have a quick meal to pull out.

Crustless Quiche

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This quiche is packed full of goodness and such a tasty recipe for lunch with a side salad. If you are a vegetarian, leave the ham and bacon because its just as tasty without and of course this will make it a cheaper dish too. Try and find reduced vegetables in your supermarket to keep the cost down.

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*This recipe contains trim milk so is not strict Paleo*

2 slices of bacon (pre cooked Beehive is the cheapest I could find), 1/2 brown onion, 1/2 capsicum, a few bunches of spinach, 3 slices of shaved ham, 1 cup of small florets of broccoli, 7 eggs and 1/3 cup trim milk, sea salt, pepper, all purpose seasoning, olive oil.

– Pre-heat oven at 180. – Slice bacon and onions and brown in a pan with some olive oil. – Chop the rest of your ingredients how you like them! – In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and add milk, salt, pepper and seasoning. – Add your onion, bacon and rest of the chopped veggies in with the beaten eggs. – Pour into an oven proof dish and cook for 30 – 45 mins or until it doesn’t wobble in the centre! – Serve for lunch along side a green salad = yum.