Chicken in Sweet Pepper Sauce | Low Fat Recipe | Reflux Recipe

As a reflux* sufferer, I often use peppers as a tomato substitute, but they are so much more!

Peppers add a delicious sweetness and richness to many dishes, and this chicken in sweet pepper sauce is no exception.

This recipe makes lots and lots of sauce, that you can then re-use as a soup or as a base sauce for other dishes.  The chicken quantities below are for 4 people, but because it makes so much more sauce, you can just add more chicken thighs for more people.

chicken with sweet pepper sauce

Ingredients (for 4 generous portions)

  • 8 skinless boneless chicken thighs, all visible fat removed
  • 4 big cloves of garlic, finely chopped (leave the garlic out if this triggers your reflux – there are plenty of flavours to make up for the lack of garlic)
  • 2 medium onions, or one large onion, finely sliced (again, if onions trigger your reflux, do not add them)
  • 4-5 peppers (orange, yellow, red), cut into large, approx. 2cm squared, chunks
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • enough boiling water to just about cover all the contents of the pan (if the pan is small and deep, don’t try and cover the contents or the dish will be too watery) – aim for about 700ml
  • 1 chicken stock pot (or any good quality chicken stock cube)
  • optional: a few handfuls of black olives in brine (brine drained)
  • fine sea salt

Method

Remove all visible fat from the chicken, keeping the pieces whole.

Finely chop the garlic (if using), slice the onions (if using) and chop the peppers, keeping all the ingredients separate.

Heat the oil in a non-stick casserole dish, on a high heat.  Season each piece of chicken with a sprinkling of sea salt on both sides and brown in the hot oil.  If your casserole dish is quite narrow, you may have to do this in batches.  Remove the browned pieces from the casserole dish (they just need to be lightly browned, but don’t cook them at this stage).

Add the onions to juices and turn the heat down to medium-low.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, allowing them to soften and start turning translucent (but careful not to let them brown), then add the garlic, stir and cook for another minute.

Add the chicken pieces back in, then add the peppers, olives (if using), the oregano, the chicken stock pot (or cube) and the water and stir.

Turn the heat up and bring to the boil.  Cover with a lid and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.  Cook for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and almost falling apart and the peppers are very soft.

Carefully remove the chicken pieces (including any small pieces that may have broken off) and the olives.

Place the peppers and onions into a blender, with some of the juices, making sure your blender jug is heat proof.   When all the peppers and onions have been removed from the casserole dish, you can place the chicken and olives back in and cover with a lid, to keep warm.  If your blender isn’t very big, do this in batches to avoid spilling hot sauce!  As always, when blending hot liquids, leave the centre piece off the lid and cover with a folded tea towel, then start blending slowly at first. Blend thoroughly to a smooth consistency.

Place a sieve over your casserole dish and gradually pour the sauce through the sieve back into the juices, using a spoon to help you.  Towards the end, you should just be left with minimal pepper paste and the pepper skins, with all the silky pepper sauce having been sieved into the remaining juices.  Stir.

Serve with mashed potato, cous-cous, polenta or rice.

Any left-over sauce will make a great soup the next day!

Gloriously Low-Fat, Gloriously Reflux-Friendly, Gloriously Good!

*Please note I am not a doctor, speech therapist or in any way medically qualified.  The recipes are a combination of my interpretation of the rules outlined in the ‘Dropping Acid – The Reflux Diet’ book and ingredients that work for my reflux.  If you believe you suffer from reflux, please seek advice from a medical professional to confirm your diagnosis and work out the best course of treatment/management for you.  I hope that my recipes can help you as part of this management.  The recipes are, by their nature, very low in fat, so are also suitable for anyone wishing to follow a low-fat diet. 

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Low-fat Chicken Liver Pâté | Reflux suitable chicken liver Pâté | chicken liver Pâté

Chicken Liver Pâté | Low Fat Recipe | Suitable for Reflux

I love chicken liver pâté!  I used to make it with tons of butter (including a thick butter ‘crust’) and port…

…but although times change and I now need to eat low fat meals to manage my reflux, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy great food!  In fact, this low-fat chicken liver pâté is so scrumptious, rich and creamy that you’d never guess it was a low-fat, reflux-friendly* recipe! And it’s very quick and easy to make, too 🙂

Low-fat Chicken Liver Pâté | Reflux suitable chicken liver Pâté | chicken liver Pâté

Ingredients

  • 400g chicken livers
  • half a large onion (or one small onion), roughly chopped – I am fine with cooked onions and many people with reflux are, but if you are not, simply leave the onion out. 
  • 10g butter
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme (adjust quantity, to taste – depending on how much you like thyme!)
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • 2 heaped tbsp fat free crème fraîche (I find Yeo Valley 0% crème fraîche very creamy, and actually nicer than the Sainsbury’s ‘Be Good to Yourself’ one, which has 2.4% fat – try different ones to decide which one you like best)

Method

Fry the onions in the butter, initially on a high heat to brown them a little for flavour (don’t burn them though!), then turn down the heat and cook them for a few minutes until they’ve softened.

While the onions are browning/softening, remove all visible fat from the chicken livers and cut them up roughly into smaller pieces for ease of cooking.  Then turn the heat to high again and add the livers to the onions, sprinkling salt and thyme over everything and stirring.

Cook on a high heat for a couple of minutes, then turn the heat down and cover with a lid, simmering for another 2-3 minutes.  If there is a lot of liquid, remove the lid and simmer for long enough for most (but not all) of the juices to evaporate.  In total, you’ll be cooking the livers for only 5-7 minutes – check that they are no longer pink but don’t cook them so long they become dry and cardboard-like in texture.

Leave to cool until they’re at room temperature, then place everything in a food processor, add the crème fraîche and blitz to a paste.  I like it quite lumpy, but process for longer if you want a smoother pâté.

Tip: When adding the crème fraîche, start off with one tablespoon, check for consistency, then add more as needed.  Bear in mind that it will go slightly more ‘solid’ once you refrigerate it.

Refrigerate for a few hours, then serve with brown toast or wholegrain crackerbread.

Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Low Fat, Gloriously Reflux-Friendly, Gloriously Good!

*Please note I am not a doctor, speech therapist or in any way medically qualified.  The recipes are a combination of my interpretation of the rules outlined in the ‘Dropping Acid – The Reflux Diet’ book and ingredients that work for my reflux.  If you believe you suffer from reflux, please seek advice from a medical professional to confirm your diagnosis and work out the best course of treatment/management for you.  I hope that my recipes can help you as part of this management.  The recipes are, by their nature, very low in fat, so are also suitable for anyone wishing to follow a low-fat diet. 

Chicken Spinach Ricotta Cannelloni

Chicken, Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni | Reflux Recipe | Low-Fat Recipe

Cannelloni are a delicious way to enjoy pasta, with the filling taking centre stage!

This is my low-fat, reflux-friendly* Chicken, Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni recipe with a Roasted Sweet Pepper sauce (as a replacement for tomatoes), which I hope you will love as much as I do! And although it’s reflux-friendly and low in fat, it’s packed with flavour and a treat for the whole family to enjoy.

I do use garlic in this (and many of my recipes!) as I love the stuff and luckily it doesn’t set off my reflux, but if it is one of the ingredients that sets yours off, you can replace it with a herb of your choice or, even better, simply use some nutmeg in the ricotta mixture, to complement the nutmeg in the white sauce.

Chicken Spinach Ricotta Cannelloni

Ingredients

For the cannelloni filling:
  • 6 chicken thigh fillets
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 500g young/baby spinach
  • 250g ricotta (I use Sainsbury’s, which has 10.1% fat – the highest fat content I’ll allow myself in any reflux-friendly meal)
  • 5g butter
  • a sprinkling of sea salt
For the white sauce (Not strictly-speaking a béchamel sauce as I use only a hint of butter and, to keep it light, cornflour instead of flour.  I also don’t make this with a traditional roux as a starting point):
  • 1l semi-skimmed milk
  • 6tbsp cornflour
  • 10g butter
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • freshly-grated nutmeg (to taste)
For the crunchy breadcrumb topping:
  • 1-2 slices toasted brown bread
  • a small handful of porridge oats
  • a generous sprinkling of sea salt, rosemary & dried garlic
  • Optional: 30g finely-grated parmesan

To make the breadcrumb topping, simply blitz all the ingredients in a food processor until you achieve a fine consistency.  A high power processor such as a Nutribullet will achieve a finer consistency, but any food processor with chopping blades will work very well.  You can prepare these in advance – even the previous day, or use leftover ones from other recipes using breadcrumbs.  If you are planning on adding parmesan, add this just before you use the breadcrumbs.

Additional Ingredients:
  • Approx. 500ml roasted sweet pepper sauce
  • Approx. 20 cannelloni tubes (there are 25 in a 250g pack from Sainsbury’s and we used 20 – you will need as many as it takes to create one even layer in your roasting dish)
  • 1 cal spray cooking oil

Chicken Spinach Ricotta Cannelloni 2

Method

If you haven’t already done so, prepare roasted sweet pepper sauce, but to save time, make this in advance and use it on the day.

Next, finely chop the garlic, trim all visible fat off the chicken and dice it into small pieces of approximately 0.5cm.  Brown the chicken and garlic (If you use herbs instead of garlic, add them at this point.  If you use nutmeg, add it at the end, after you have added the ricotta – see instructions further down) with 5g of butter in a non-stick pan over a high heat, adding a sprinkling of sea salt.  Cook it for 2-3 minutes, still over a high heat, so the chicken is just cooked and has released some lovely juices (these will later help flavour the ricotta).  Leave to one side to cool.

Bring a large pan/stockpot of water to the boil and, once it’s boiling, add the spinach (don’t worry if it doesn’t fit – push it down and you can add more as it quickly wilts as soon as it hits the boiling water).  Wilt all the spinach (it will take 30 seconds to one minute max), stirring to make sure it’s wilted evenly, then drain and remove all the excess water by repeatedly pressing it with the back of a spoon in a sieve.  Aim to get it as dry as possible, then transfer it to a chopping board and roughly chop it up.  Add the chopped spinach to the cooling chicken and stir.  Leave to cool.

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (fan-assisted).

Now make the white sauce: 

Heat 800ml of the milk with 10g of butter, add a sprinkling of sea salt and freshly-grated nutmeg (I go quite heavy on the nutmeg as this helps make the white sauce taste rich and indulgent, but if you’re not sure, go easy and then add some after the white sauce is cooked, to taste).

Once the milk has reached simmering point and the butter has melted, mix the remaining milk with the cornflour and pour it into the hot milk, stirring continuously with a whisk (do not whisk it though, you don’t want frothy white sauce!).  Keep stirring until the sauce has reached a thick, velvety consistency.  Taste and add salt & nutmeg if required.

Now stir the ricotta into the slightly cooled chicken and spinach.  Check the taste and add salt if needed.  If you didn’t use garlic, add nutmeg at this point.

If you haven’t made the breadcrumbs in advance, now is the time to make them.

It’s now time to assemble the cannelloni dish: 

Place enough roasted sweet pepper sauce into the bottom of your roasting dish to cover it to approximately 0.5cm depth (As you can see from the photos, the resulting dish will be succulent but not oozing with sauce. If you want more sauce, add more to the bottom of your dish at this assembly stage.).

Fill the cannelloni tubes with the chicken, spinach and ricotta mixture, using the stem of a teaspoon to push the mixture in all the way.  You need to pack each tube full of ingredients from end to end.

Tip: If you have any chicken, spinach & ricotta filling left over, refrigerate it and use it the next day as a sauce for spaghetti or other pasta.  Simply remove from the fridge to bring to room temperature and dilute a little with some of the pasta water once the pasta is cooking (this is done with a number of pasta sauces in Italy), then stir through the pasta.  You can also add a bit more ricotta to make it go further as a pasta sauce – there is so much flavour in the mixture that it can stand a bit of dilution.

Lay all the tubes over the roasted sweet pepper sauce in one even layer, then cover the whole dish with the white sauce.  Sprinkle 2-3 handfuls of breadcrumbs over the top of the white sauce and spray with 1 cal spray cooking oil.

Place the dish into the pre-heated oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes, checking at the end with a skewer to make sure you meet no resistance from the pasta.

Leave to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Chicken, Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni with a Roasted Sweet Pepper Sauce | Gloriously Reflux-Friendly, Gloriously Low-Fat, Gloriously Good!

*Please note I am not a doctor, speech therapist or in any way medically qualified.  The recipes are a combination of my interpretation of the rules outlined in the ‘Dropping Acid – The Reflux Diet’ book and ingredients that work for my reflux.  If you believe you suffer from reflux, please seek advice from a medical professional to confirm your diagnosis and work out the best course of treatment/management for you.  I hope that my recipes can help you as part of this management.  The recipes are, by their nature, very low in fat, so are also suitable for anyone wishing to follow a low-fat diet.