Tag Archives: butternut squash

Jazzed-up Brown Rice

We all know that whole grains are supposed to be good for us. Brown rice is healthy, filling, and slowly releases energy compared with white rice. Personally, though, I don’t normally like it! Even though I love lots of healthy foods, brown rice is not one of my favourites.

So, last week I came up with a way of making it a bit more tasty, by adding nutty, sweet and herby flavours. I still kept it healthy, but it was a big improvement from plain brown rice! This rice has a crunch from the seeds, a soft sweetness from the squash and a wonderful fragrance.

If, like me, you’re not a huge fan of brown rice, then try this recipe and let me know what you think. I will definitely be making it again!

Brown Rice With Roasted Butternut Squash, Seeds and Herbs

Start to finish time: 1 hour
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash
1/2 cup brown rice
big bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 vegetable stock cube
3 tbsp mixed seeds (any combination of your favourite seeds, e.g. pumpkin, sunflower, sesame)
garlic oil

Salt & Pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Halve the round part of the squash and drizzle with garlic oil, a pinch of salt and pepper. No need to peel! Roast for a total of 40 minutes or until soft.

2. Peel and cube the long part of the squash and also drizzle with olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper. Allow the larger squash to roast for about 20 minutes and then add the cubes to the oven.

3. Wash the rice and throw away the water. Then add the cooking water, stock cube and half your chopped parsley. stir and then cook as per the packet. Start cooking the rice when you add the cubed squash to the oven.

4. In a separate pan, toast the seeds for a couple of minutes or until they start to brown.

5. By the time the rice is cooked, the squash should be perfectly roasted and vice versa! Mix the remaining fresh parsley, toasted seeds, and cubed squash into the rice.

6. Add salt & pepper to taste. Serve in the larger part of the roasted squash!

Enjoy!

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Hot Chicken Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Vine Tomatoes

As with most dieters, I yo-yo with my healthy eating. I’m not trying anything drastic, just a few more healthy options and conscious choices. However, it can sometimes be boring eating salads, as well as thinking about making them nutritionally balanced. This salad is something I created a few months ago when my friend was coming round for dinner. I wanted something healthy, high in protein and fibre, low in carbohydrate but still absolutely delicious. And seeing as it was successful, I made it again this weekend!

I use lots of flavours like paprika and garlic to give the salad a kick. It takes a bit longer than a simple salad because of the roasting, however it’s worth it if you have the time. If you’re not bothered about your carbohydrate intake, eat this salad with a delicious crusty loaf of bread.

Notes: If you don’t like raw courgette, use cucumber ribbons instead. I love olive oil, but again, you can swap this for your favourite cooking oil. And, if you have fresh herbs in your kitchen or garden, a few leaves of basil work beautifully on the tomatoes.

Hot Chicken Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Vine Tomatoes

Start to finish time: 1 hr 15 mins
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
4 tbsp olive oil plus extra for drizzling
400g butternut squash, peeled and cubed
4 ripe vine tomatoes, halved along the middle (not the top)
1 courgette, ribboned
80g your favourite salad leaves
2 skinless chicken breasts
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 chicken stock cube
1/2 tsp paprika
A few sprigs of fresh thyme (*optional)
A few basil leaves (* optional)

For the dressing:
3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp white wine vinegar

Salt & pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. On a tray, toss the butternut squash with 2 tbsp olive oil, the thyme, salt and pepper. Place in the middle of the oven.

2. Place the tomatoes on another tray, drizzle with olive oil, and put a slice of garlic on each half. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and place in the oven.

3. While the tomatoes and butternut squash roast, we prepare the salad and chicken. Make a few slits in the chicken breast to help it take in the flavour. In a bowl or mortar, mix the paprika, crushed garlic, and chicken stock cube with 2 tbsp olive oil. Grind to a paste and then coat the chicken in the paste and leave aside.

4. In a bowl, mix the salad leaves and ribboned courgette (you can simply do this with a potato peeler). Add the dressing and mix it all together.

5. When the squash and tomatoes have been roasting for about 40 minutes and look golden, move them to the bottom of the oven and switch to grill. (Or cook the chicken in a separate grill.) Place the chicken under the grill and cook for about 7 minutes or until it’s turned white and then turn over and cook for another 7 minutes. Then, check the chicken has cooked by slicing it and checking the juice runs clear.

6. Assemble the salad by placing it in the middle of the plate with the chicken breast on top. Put the tomatoes and roasted squash around the plate.

Et voila!

Another healthy salad:

Goat’s Cheese Crostini Salad With Toasted Seeds