Roast Chicken: The Gift That Keeps on Giving (or how to use up leftovers…)

Years ago I bought a book called ‘The Thrifty Cookbook: 476 ways to eat well with leftovers‘ (Kate Colquhoun). It appealed to me because I don’t like throwing away food just cos it’s gone a bit soft (fruit) or hard (bread)! It’s a great book to dip into if you have something you want to use up, or want to make go further. We roasted some plums this week using a recipe from the book , mainly because we had a pot of double cream that needed using up… When I bought the book the back cover stood out to me as it has this illustration of a roast chicken and all you can do with its leftovers, which I thought was a great idea:


We don’t often have a roast in our house – if i’ve only got a Sunday off it’s a toss-up between a sunday brunch or lunch – and brunch usually wins. Every now and then the craving for a good ol’ roast dinner does pop up though, and last weekend it did just that (so we were greedy and had that AND brunch). We decided to buy a chicken and work our weekly food shop around what we could do with the leftovers – as per the thrifty book. For the actual roast we had a leg and a wing each, with chippolata’s wrapped in streaky bacon, crunchy potato’s, roasted root veg, broccoli, stuffing, and homemade gravy – it was immense.


After the epic roast, we still had the whole of the chicken carcass left to use up during the week, so I picked off all the meat (which I find quite therapeutic, and it means I get to eat the chicken oysters as a perk of the job), and kept the bones. We had enough leftover chicken (and stuffing, and gravy!) for six sandwiches during the week, and we also made four servings of one of our favourite healthy meals ‘Mexican chicken stew with quinoa’ (as seen here) with the last of the chicken.


Making ‘Bone Broth’ or Stock

‘Bone Broth’ is a bit of a trend in healthy/clean eating at the moment (as popularised by the Hemsley + Hemsley sisters), it’s basically just stock that’s cooked for longer to extract more nutrients from the bones – ‘A good, homemade bone broth is rich in easily digestible substances such as amino acids, gelatine (a source of protein that helps counter the degeneration of joints), glucosamine, fats, vitamins, minerals and collagen (which improves the condition of skin)’ taken from this guardian article. Making great stock is normally a good enough reason for me to buy a whole chicken in the first place, so I thought I might as well try the broth! Once I’d stripped the meat off the carcass, that and a couple of leftover carrots and an onion all went into the pan (with a few bay leaves), and simmered for 6 hours. If you don’t have 6 hours to spare for the bone broth, good chicken stock will only take around 2.

You can make stock/broth with almost any meat bones, and also from fish bones or leftover raw vegetables (even peelings) – the fish and vegetable stocks only need about half an hour to cook though as they are more delicate.

I can’t give you a verdict on the broth yet as we have frozen it in preparation for this weeks recipes – I will update soon though!

We are planning on making a Hemsley + Hemsley recipe using the broth this week: Healthy Red Lentil Dhal, but often i’ll use up some of the remaining chicken and the stock in a risotto – just add an onion and some mushrooms! A soup would be another good way to use up one or both ingredients – if you have leftover veg from your roast, they could go in too.

So if you’re thinking of having a roast this weekend, why not think about what else you could use the leftovers for and get thrifty 🙂


Stews for the blues (and curries, and broths, and pilaf’s…)


Well today is apparently ‘Blue Monday’ – the most depressing day of the year… I’m sorry if anyone is finding it particularly depressing today, but i’m not feeling it – I have the day off, the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and it’s nearly my birthday 😉

I definitely understand why January can be a tough month generally for many of us though – trying to be good, trying to keep new year’s resolutions, dark mornings, dark evenings – possibly drinking no alcohol? I always want to start eating a bit healthier in January, partly a new year thing, mainly a ‘I ate way too much over Christmas’ thing! But, because of the cold, dark days I also want to eat food that is comforting and warming – think stews, soups, carbs etc. These can be good if you’re feeling a bit ill or generally down too.

So if you’re feeling either of those, or you have good January intentions that aren’t coming into fruition, Maybe I can help with inspiration. Here are some of the comforting, healthy recipes the OH and I have been making and eating over the past couple of weeks…

Mexican Chicken Stew with Quinoa and Beans


Recipe found here, serves 4.

This recipe is one of my default ‘healthy but tasty’ meals as it’s all good stuff, but is also hearty and a bit spicy. I found it when trying out the 5:2 diet last year – it was the most filling and tasty fast-day recipe I could find! It has chipotle paste in it which gives it a kick (p.s. I only recently realised chipotle is pronounced chip-oat-lay and unfortunately does not rhyme with aristotle as I had previously thought – sad times.)

If anyone is interested in fast-day recipes I have a pinterest board devoted to them – they are good if you just want to cut down on calories a bit without fasting too.

Courgette and Aubergine Curry


Recipe found here, serves 4.

This recipe is a hemsley + hemsley one – every time I see their recipes I think how tasty (and healthy) they all are, so I may have to buy their book soon! All the ingredients in this asian-inspired curry are so fresh-sounding, and I love coconut milk. They bulk out the sauce with red split lentils too which is good in my book. P.s. bone broth is just stock, nothing too weird! So if you’re a veggie, just swap for water or vegetable stock.

Beef and Ginger broth with Noodles


Recipe found here, serves 2.

Another Asian-inspired recipe, this time a warming broth. Tasty, tangy and surprisingly filling – we couldn’t find any wakame flakes so we used wakame miso powder instead (the sachets you make miso soup with), but we did find that birdseye does frozen soya/edamame beans which was quite exciting!

Turkish Runner Bean and Bulgar Wheat Pilaf with Garlic Yoghurt

Recipe found here, serves 4 as a main.

Another vegetarian recipe, this one can be an accompaniment to meat or fish, or the star of the show itself – we decided to make it the star. We didn’t have the turkish pepper paste, so we put in a fresh pepper, and we also added a pinch of allspice and cinnamon to the dish too. I can’t eat raw garlic in food, I find it waaay too strong, so we also cooked the garlic clove before adding it to the yoghurt. It was a tasty, filling dish and I could almost imagine I was back in Istanbul in the sunshine… until I remembered i was sat on the sofa, under a blanket, with a hot water bottle.

I hope these recipes give you some inspiration if you’re lacking ideas for healthy, comfort food – and I hope none of you have a blue monday – just a blue-sky!

Vegging Out

You might remember a couple of weeks ago I ate too much. This was a good week, but probably not very good for me. It involved a LOT of meat.

To try and counteract that a bit, the OH and I ate (almost) vegetarian food for (almost) a week last week… (It was five days, and there was a tiny bit of belly pork involved).

Anyway, we found some tasty recipes to cook, and i really didn’t miss meat much, so i thought i’d share them with you.


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Normally on a weekend we will indulge in an english breakfast or a variation on one at some point. It’s normally grilled, and the eggs are often poached, so not the worst meal you could have – but having just watched a programme about how bad processed meat is for you, we didn’t feel much like indulging in sausages and bacon anyway! Instead we had sweetcorn and spring onion fritters, grilled halloumi, grilled cherry tomatoes, and lambs lettuce. It looks colourful and vibrant and it tasted yum. Fritters were adapted from Lavender and Lovage.



Nigel Slater’s Sweet Onions with Lentil Stew

This is the recipe with the teeny bit of meat, but it’s really just to add depth of flavour. This isn’t the healthiest of recipes, as the onions are slowly cooked in butter, but considering the rest of the ingredients are lentils, carrot and some spices, it’s so delicious! We had it with creme fraiche and a seeded roll, it’s a really good autumnal tasty stew, and you could easily forgo the meat if veggie.




Smoky Sweet Potato & Bean Cakes with Citrus Salad

These vegetables cakes are a BBC Good Food recipe and are four of your five a day! They have a bit of a kick with coriander, spring onions and chipotle paste, and are surprisingly filling. You could always treat them as a burger and have it in a bun if you wanted too…


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Lemon & Aubergine Tagine with Almond Cous Cous

Another BBC Good Food recipe, aubergine is a great meaty vegetable, and this Tagine is only 361cals, but filling. The Harissa makes it pretty spicy so we had some natural yoghurt with it too, and the almonds in the cous cous are a nice extra.


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Spicy Buckwheat Noodles with Tamarind Sauce

This is a recipe by Hemsley Hemsley, two sisters who create healthy recipes without gluten, or refined sugar. We substituted the buckwheat noodles for whole wheat ones, as they were easier to find, and we used honey instead of maple syrup because I didn’t want to spend five pounds on maple syrup that we probably wouldn’t use up in time.  This had broccoli, mushrooms, green beans, spring onions and cashews in, and a really flavourful sauce, using tart tamarind (which I love). A dish we will be making again…

If anyone’s got any other tasty vegetarian dishes I should try let me know!