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Healthy food - Quick Recipes

Pasta is so versatile and there are lots of different types. Have a pasta dish at least once a week. Keep it vegetarian, it gives your stomach and intestines a rest from meat.

Iím not going to give you a specific recipe on this one. There are lots of sauces out there in the chill cabinet or in jars, or knock a quick one up yourself and save money; a couple of cloves of garlic, an onion, a jar of tomato, some seasoning and you have a sauce. Donít buy tins of tomato the jars are a lot cheaper and taste much better. Sprinkle some cheddar or any other cheese on top and you have an easy meal in 10 minutes even less if you buy the quick cook pasta. Some of the jars you just need to pour over the cooked pasta. What could be easier and much quicker and cheaper than a Take-Away?

Italians apparently have one of the best diets in the Europe, for living longer and healthier so you canít go far wrong with this. There is an olive and tomato sauce in a jar that I am absolutely addicted to. I could eat it every day.

You should eat fish at least twice a week. Fish is easy to cook (Salmon, Tuna, Cod Haddock, Mackerel etc. whatever they have at the Fishmongers). Buy it fresh and just bake it in a medium oven with a small knob of butter and a little lemon or wine or milk or water on the fish to keep it moist. Wrap it loosely in foil so it doesnít get dry. About 15-20 minutes in the oven, for an average sized fillet, on a medium heat or you can quick flash fry using a tiny, tiny, tiny amount of oil. The trick is not to overcook it or it goes dry. Make some rice and a salad or have couscous for a change. All ready in 20 minutes. You can get breaded or battered if you prefer from the freezer which is just as good but at least try cooking fresh occasionally. You can still have the rice/couscous and salad with the breaded/battered.

My own favourite for a treat is a thick Tuna steak, line caught of course. Brush or rub a very little oil (olive oil is best) onto both sides, to stop it sticking in the frying pan. Squeeze or pour fresh lemon or lime juice over both sides of the Tuna. Season with pepper (black if you have it) and salt (big sea salt crystals if you have them) on both sides. Marinade for 20 minutes. Medium hot pan, no oil required as you have rubbed the fish already, fry for 1-2 minutes each side for rare to medium, 4 to 5 minutes for well done. A little pink inside is fine. The acid in the lemon or lime cook the fish anyway. Eat immediately. Perfect. It tastes absolutely fabulous and is surprisingly filling. Serve with couscous or rice and a salad. Simple.

If you donít like plain rice, crumble a chicken stock cube into the rice before pouring the water over. Stir in. 1 stock cube is sufficient for 2 cups of rice. Kids canít get enough. For the salad, instead of salad cream, just sprinkle some balsamic vinegar.

There are plenty of fresh soups in the supermarkets something for everyoneís taste. A bowl of soup with some fresh bread, proper bread, seeded brown is good (buy yourself a decent bread knife) followed by a boiled egg or a cheese board with olives, pickles and maybe a few treats from the deli and of course some fruit. A perfect meal; full of variety, and quick. The good thing about this is if you buy extra from the deli, you can have it again with a different soup. All Soup gives you that great feel good factor as it is instant nutrition.

Lentil Soup
Lentil soup is really easy to make and a great pick you up if you're feeling a bit run down. All you need is a cup of red lentils, a large onion skinned, a large pepper and a large tomato. Put them all in a big pan of water so that the onion pepper and tomato are floating freely. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, simmer for 2 hours. Thatís it.
You can squash the onion, pepper and tomato down at the end. If you are feeling really energetic you can par boil a few potatoes and add them, otherwise some proper crusty bread. It is not a quick meal but you donít have much to prepare and you can make enough for a few days. While it is simmering you can go to the gym and work up an appetite.

Chicken is always a good buy and extremely versatile. For easy dishes get chicken breasts. You can always keep them in the freezer. They donít take long to defrost. (Take them out of the freezer the night before and put them in the Fridge.) Poach them in the oven with a little butter and seasoning; make sure you cover them loosely with foil so they donít dry out. You can always make or buy a sauce to go with them. Making a basic white sauce is easy then just add some spices or herbs or fry some mushrooms in the butter before making the sauce. Serve with couscous. 20 minutes in total. If you are feeling adventurous, wrap the chicken in bacon, you will be amazed at how good it tastes.

Spicy Chicken Wraps
If you like spicy food you can always cut the chicken in to thin strips, put in a bowl with a little oil just enough to coat the chicken. (1 tablespoon for 4 breasts.) Add some spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika or cayenne pepper, chilli if you like it hot, garlic, lime/lemon juice, a bit of sugar and salt. Mix all up in the bowl and then fry for 7 to 10 minutes in a little oil (another tablespoon). If you have a Wok lurking in the back of one of your cupboards this is the ideal time to use it. Not only does it fry the food better but the steep sides stop the grease from getting everywhere. Serve with rice or couscous, a salad and some plain yoghurt.
I like to fry red onion and peppers for a couple of minutes after the chicken + any leftovers I have in the fridge (tomatoes, mushrooms, spring onions, celery). Squeeze or pour fresh lemon over the top of the vegetables and a bit of seasoning. The Supermarkets do lots of different spicy wraps these days which are really good and will save you buying all the spices.

Chicken Curry
Chicken curry is one of my favourites. Again cut the chicken into strips or cubes. Fry for 5 minutes and just pour over one of many curry sauces from the supermarket. There are loads of good ones. I prefer the ones that have spices on the top. You can fry onion and garlic before frying the chicken but itís not essential. The difference between this and buying a ready made chicken curry from the supermarket is worth the extra effort. It is surprising what a difference having fresh food makes.