chicken, orzo and tomato risnotto

Not a typo. The dish is a bit like a risotto but tastes a bit more substantial – tasty though and only uses one pot. Hooray.

But weigh-in tonight, and it’s VERY good news. You may remember that in between getting caught noshing in the hot-tub by a farmer and running caravans off the road, we managed to put on a total of 13lb between us last week? Well, we knuckled down a bit but as you can see from the recipes, still ate like pigs…and we’ve lost:

james – 7.5lb

paul – 5.5lb

Haha! A total weight of 13lb – or, for those who might be a bit touched in the head, we’ve managed to lose exactly what we put on (Paul losing .5lb more than what he put on and me losing .5lb less)! Brilliant, not least because I can’t be bothered to change the ‘total’ image on the right of the blog.

Hey I tell you what though – and this is in no way a disparaging comment against other classes I’ve visited, but what a difference a consultant makes. We’ve worked our way back to our very first consultant and she’s a genuine laugh – we were in that church hall digging those bloody awful church chairs out of our back-fat for a good two hours but it flew by. Reason? It wasn’t just ‘weight loss – well done – weight loss – well done – weight loss – well done’ which holds no allure for us. It felt like a proper class! If you get the right class, you stay, and if you stay, you learn. SIMPLE AS.

Now listen, weigh-in nights are normally a chance for us not to post a recipe but instead spend the evening ped-egging each others feet and tormenting the cat.

Well, we’ve been doing that, see?

11150259_864883783585226_5150423998109370322_n (1)

But lo, in the spirit of giving, here’s a recipe! Gosh!

chicken orzo moonblush tomatoes risotto

Firstly, the recipe uses sundried tomatoes normally, and feel free to substitute them for the moonblush tomatoes I’ve used in the recipe (sundried tomatoes are around 2 syns for 25g), but moonblush tomatoes are very easy to make and syn free. Perhaps half a syn at most per serving, anyway. I nicked the idea from Nigella Lawson and what that woman doesn’t know about cooking you could write on the side of a rolled-up twenty quid note. To make moonblush tomatoes, first whack your oven up to its highest possible temperature. You want it glowing like an Englishman’s shoulders in Benidorm. Next, cut a load of cherry tomatoes in half and chuck them in a bowl. Add a tiny drop or two of olive oil, a good glug of balsamic vinegar, salt, dried oregano, bit of thyme, pepper. Mix gently so the tomatoes are covered but try not to squash the tomatoes. Next, tip them onto a baking tray with the cut side facing up – pack them in tightly. Once the oven is at the highest temperature and you could light a fag off the vapours, turn it off, open the door, quickly throw the tray in and leave it overnight. The hot air will dry your tomatoes out – not completely, but that’s fine – you want them a bit squishy. Syn-free and full of taste! Make it even more interesting by using a range of tomatoes of all shapes and colours. If you DO insist on using sundried tomatoes in oil like a filthy slattern, hoy them in a sieve and pour boiling water on them – gets rid of the oil, see.

OK, so you’ve got tomatoes – either moonblush (overnight) or sundried (jarred – philistine). So…

to make chicken, orzo and tomato risnotto, you’ll need:

two chicken breasts cut into chunks, 200g tomatoes, tiny drop of oil, 1 large onion sliced finely, three garlic gloves, 400g of orzo pasta (or rice), 3 dollops of tomato puree, 900ml of chicken stock, 1/2tsp of oregano, 1/4tsp of thyme, 1/4tsp of lemon zest and 1/2tsp of balsamic vinegar. Basil leaves, black pepper and parmesan to serve.

to make chicken, orzo and tomato risnotto, you should:

  • fry the chicken off in a tiny bit of oil or a squirt of frylight (bleurgh!) – chuck in a bit of salt and pepper to swoosh it along – once cooked through, set aside
  • chuck the onions into the pan now and saute gently until they go transparent and sticky – add the garlic for a moment or two
  • add the rice and fry along with the onion for a minute or two
  • add the tomato puree, tomatoes (chopped if particularly big, otherwise just tip in), all the herbs and the balsamic vinegar, plus the chicken
  • now cook gently, on a medium heat, adding stock one ladle at a time and stirring – don’t leave it to stick, and eventually, it’ll go nice and gloopy and thick – tasty!
  • serve in a big bowl with a smashing cheesy grin on your face.

Just a note – buying a whole lemon just for the zest is a bit silly. So use whatever you need to, then pop the lemon in the freezer – you can use it next time you need zest! Failing that, cut it in half, put it in a tiny bowl of water and microwave for thirty seconds or so, then use it like a sponge to clean your microwave. Gosh we really ARE the gift that keeps on giving tonight.

Cheers all!