Katie Eats: Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Pasta

I’ve been trying to eat healthily this year which usually means pasta is off the menu *sob* but when I’m wanting a little treat, this creamy alfredo pasta is perfect. It’s not the healthiest of meals (hello double cream) but it’s surprisingly low in calories and contains one of you five a day so I’m sure you could bend the rules slightly for just one meal!

Ingredients

Serves 4.       Takes 30 minutes.              Approx 530 calories per portion

  • 8 ounces pasta
  • 12 ounces broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless thin-sliced chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup milk, or more, as needed
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Method

  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water as instructed on the packet.
  2. In the last 2 minutes of the pasta’s cooking time, add the broccoli.
  3. Add the olive oil to a pan and then add the chicken. You can season the chicken with salt and pepper if desired.
  4. Once cooked through, remove the chicken and dice it.
  5. Melt butter in the pan and whisk in flour until it is lightly browned. This should only take about a minute.
  6. Gradually whisk in the chicken stock and the milk and cook for about 2 minutes whilst whisking constantly.
  7. Stir in the heavy cream and garlic powder until slightly thickened.
  8. If mixture is too thick then add more milk as needed
  9. Mix together the pasta, broccoli, chicken and sauce, top with Parmesan and serve.

 This was a little more complicated that the meals I’m usually trusted to cook but it’s actually really easy if you just follow the recipe! Just don’t get disheartened when the sauce looks like a lump mess in the middle. It will all be ok!

Katie x

5 Ways to Prepare for Exams

It’s that time of year again. The library is full by 8am and students everywhere are struggling to form real sentences due to lack of sleep and brain capacity. Exam time is the worst but you can get through with just a few simple tips and emerge on the other side, victorious and ready for the fantastic summer ahead.

1. Make a revision timetable AND stick to it!

We all know that making a revision timetable is a great form of procrastination but if you make one and actually stick to it, it can seriously improve your productivity. If you give yourself specific things to do each day then allow yourself to relax when they’re complete then you’ll be motivated to work harder to earn that all important down time. Try working in the mornings so you have the evenings free to bask in the glory of all the work you’ve completed that day.

2. Don’t compare yourself to your friends

Everyone has that one friend who is always ahead of the game. The one that handed their dissertation in three weeks early and regularly visits their lecturers just for some stimulating conversation. The worst thing you can do at this time to compare yourself to other people. Everyone works at their own pace and in their own way and looking at what others are doing is just going to stress you out even more. Just block out other people’s progress and focus on yourself.

3. Schedule in regular breaks

However behind you think you are, working all day every day is not going to be any use. Set yourself some targets and reward yourself with a break when you complete them. Take this time to go outside, stretch your legs and catch up with your friends. Your brain physically won’t be able to handle all of the information without allowing it to rest and, if you don’t schedule in breaks, I’m sure your attention span will give you one anyway.

4. Make sure you get enough sleep

All-nighters may seem necessary when you’re faced with a pile of unread books and only a matter of days before your exam but, in reality, it’s probably better for you to get a good night’s sleep than force yourself to sit up in the library all night. Sleeping well will make you more productive overall rather than letting yourself fall into a zombie-like state.

5. Be Organised

I know this seems obvious but organisation really is the key. If you follow these other steps, especially making the timetable, you should already be most of the way there but make sure you don’t forget things like making sure you have the correct stationary and familiarising yourself with the format of the exam. Being organised is the most important thing to help you remain calm and combat the exam stress demon.

Good luck to anyone that has exams coming up! I’m sure you’ll do great!

Katie x

Newcastle’s Hidden Gems

For a small city, Newcastle is packed full of culture and excitement, so much so that some amazing places may slip under the radar, especially for students. Don’t worry though, here are some recommendations for you to really experience what The Toon has to offer.

Ouseburn

For an entire neighbourhood, Ouseburn is pretty hidden. Located on a hill, ending on the bank of the Tyne, the area is full of  independent bars, creative businesses and music venues so you’ll be able to find something for you if you hunt hard enough. Try The Cluny to catch a glimpse of the newest up-and-coming bands, The Tyne Bar if you fancy an unusual pint by the river, or Ouseburn Farm if you fancy, well, you know, animals. For a city, Newcastle really does have an abundance of farms.

Pizzeria Italia

From the family who brought you Slice in Grainger Market comes Pizzeria Italia where you can bag yourself a 12 or 18 inch version of their incredible pizza for under a tenner! The simple cafe has flown under the radar because of its location in Benton but it’s definitely worth the metro ride. Authentic Italian ingredients and old family recipes makes this pizza something truly special. Do not leave Newcastle without experiencing this at least once. Trust me, you’ll be begging to go back!

Benton Park Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne NE7 7LX

Cook House

Located in a shipping container in Ouseburn, Cook House is run by a successful local food blogger, Anna Hedworth. A great place to eat, drink and relax, the container has been transformed into a bright and airy space which makes you instantly feel at home. You can go for lunch or their famous supper club which features an ever-changing menu featuring fresh and seasonal ingredients. If you want to get involved then they also run a food school which caters to anyone from a student beginner to a wannabe masterchef.

20 Ouse Street, NE1 2PF

Heaton Perk

Heaton Perk is a small cafe in Heaton (duh) which attracts a huge variety of customers, from students to mums and their toddlers. Whilst it takes its inspiration from the iconic Central Perk cafe from Friends, it definitely isn’t a replica. Instead it is decorated in an interesting and quirky fashion packed with retro pieces. The cafe serves great coffee and has a outdoor patio for you to enjoy an old school soda float on a warm afternoon. This isn’t your ordinary coffee shop though. The Perk is also home to a book trading scheme and has a selection of board games for you to play whilst you indulge!

103 – 105 Heaton Park Road, NE6 5NR

Quay Ingredient

OK so this gem probably isn’t very well hidden any more as the Quay Ingredient, located on the Quayside (haha, get it?) is now a favourite amongst the brunch lovers of Newcastle. The tiny cafe doesn’t take reservations so you’ll have to be lucky to get a table but it’s definitely worth trying. They’re open all day but make sure you go before 12 if you want to experience their legendary breakfast. It won’t disappoint!

4 Queen Street, NE1 3UG

The French Oven

The French Oven Bakery is part of a family run group of stalls in Grainger Market. It sells an amazing range of freshly made pastries, pies and cakes, all for a reasonable price. The owner’s French background and passion for baking really shine through in everything she makes. Why settle for Greggs when something like this is on your doorstep?!

Unit 27-28, Grainger Arcade, NE1 5QF

Where’s your favourite hidden gem in Newcastle? Comment below!

Katie x

Save, Spend, Splurge: Easter Eggs

SAVE: Matchmakers Mint Egg

Whilst you can definitely find an egg cheaper than £3, usually of advent calendar quality, you won’t want to. The actual chocolate of this egg is minty so it’s just like a giant matchmaker and nothing is better than that! 

SPEND: Chocablok American Dreamcake Egg

At £5, this egg is a little fancier, cover with brownie and cookie pieces, it perfect for those who like a bit of variety when it comes to eating ridiculous amounts of sugar. They also do many other varieties such as strawberry shortcake if you need to get in your five a day*.

*Disclaimer: This does not count as one of your five a day. 

SPLURGE: Lindt Excellence Dark Chocolate Egg

When better to treat yourself, or someone else….but probably yourself, than at Easter? This Lindt egg is the perfect indulgence for the sophisticated egg eater and if definitely worth the few extra pounds. Your stomach will thank you!

The inconsequential ramblings of a grumpy, lazy student