Roasted veggie pasta


This roasted veggie pasta recipe is great, just some average ingredients but combined they make a fantastic, tasty, healthy meal that will have you asking for seconds.

Try it out and post your thoughts.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 200g wholemeal pasta
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced and diced
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Handful of kale
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and black pepper

 

1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and pour back into the pot. Break the egg into the hot pasta and stir around.

2. Preheat oven to 200c.

3. In a large oven proof bowl, throw in red onion, carrots, tomatoes and salt. Mix everything together and place in the oven.

4. Roast for 20 minutes, then take them out, add the kale, garlic, and lemon juice, stir, and throw them back in the oven until some of the veggies start looking a little browned around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes longer.

5. Add the roasted veggies to the cooked pasta, pour in the balsamic, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and stir. Taste and add more garlic, vinegar, lemon juice to whatever your taste buds desire.

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The Mighty Meatzza


If you like meat and you like pizza well this is the dish for you. Its guilt free and is so versatile, hot or cold, breakfast or lunch the possibilities are endless. Well, maybe not endless but pretty good. Its quick, easy and not too expensive too.

Check this out and let me know what you think

Image result for meatzza

Ingredients

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 500g passata with basil
  • 25g finely chopped fresh basil, plus leaves to garnish
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 100g low fat natural cottage cheese
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
for the base:
  • 500g lean beef mince (5% fat or less)
  • 250g lean pork mince (5% fat or less)
  • 2 tsp dried Italian herb mix (OR ANY SPICES YOU DECIDE)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°c/Fan 170°c/Gas 5. Put the garlic, onion, passata in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Turn the heat down to medium, stir in the basil, season to taste and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, line a heavy-based 25cm pizza tin with non-stick baking parchment. Put all the ingredients for the base into a large bowl, season to taste and mix well using your fingers. Press this mixture into the prepared tin to make a flat round base and bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove the base from the oven and drain off any liquid. Increase the oven temperature to 220°c/Fan 200°c/Gas 7.
  3. Spread the passata mixture over the base, scatter over the mushrooms and peppers. Return the pizza to the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned and bubbling. Scatter over the basil leaves, cut into wedges and serve with a crisp green salad.

 

Superfood Salad


Today we are in a healthy mood so this “superfood salad” is on the menu. Its quick and easy to make but its bursting with flavour and very filling. Did I mention very healthy? Try it out let me know your opinions.

Image result for superfood salad

  • serves: 4
  •  cooking: 15 min

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • approx. 100 g / 3.5 oz green salad (I used baby spinach leaves and kale)
  • small wedge of red cabbage, shredded thinly
  • 300g Beetroot
  • small broccoli, divided into florets
  • ½ cup frozen peas (or fresh if available)
  • small cucumber, sliced
  • ½ cup mung bean sprouts (or other sprouts)
  • 1 zucchini / courgette
  • 1 large spring onion, sliced thinly
  • a handful of mint and basil leaves, (chopped if you like)

METHOD

  1. Rinse quinoa and place it in a small pot that you have a glass lid for. Add a few pinches of salt and 1.5 cups of water (prefect quinoa ratio is 1:1.5), cover with a lid and bring to boil. Once the water boils, decrease the heat to low-medium and let the quinoa simmer until all the water has been absorbed. To check, tilt the pot slightly, keeping the lid firmly on. If you see no water seeping out from under the grain, it means you are good to go. Switch off the heat completely and let quinoa sit on a hot hob (with lid firmly on) for another 5 mins to finish off cooking in its own steam. Once ready, cool it down completely before adding it to the salad as otherwise the salad leaves will wilt.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil. Prepare a bowl of cold water with a few ice cubes and set it next to the stove. Once the water boils, add broccoli florets and frozen peas and cook for about 90 seconds. Once the time is up, drain the vegetables and immediately plunge them into the cold water so that they retain their beautiful colour. Place on a sieve to drain well. Lightly season with salt and pepper before adding to the salad.
  3. Prepare courgettes by either turning it into zoodles (use a spiralizer if you have one) or slicing it and grilling it on a grill pan. If grilling, brush each slice with a bit of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and arrange on a hot (that’s important) grill / griddle pan. Once the slices are browned on one side, turn them over and let them brown on the other side.
  4. Mix all the dressing ingredients together and set aside.
  5. Just before serving, combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing over and scatter spring onions, sprouts and herbs on top.

 

Mediterranean chicken paella


I raided the cupboards and found the ingredients below and racked my brain thinking what to make, I finally came up with paella.

Have a look and feel free to share your opinions

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olice

    oil

  • 3 chicken breasts fillets, cut into chunks
  • 2 small onions

    finely sliced

  • 1 fat garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • pinch of saffron
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 300g basmati rice
  • 850ml hot chicken stock
  • 1 tin garden peas
  • 1 leek
  • 1 pepper (choice of colour is yours)

Method

Get your chicken and place on an oven proof dish, put in the oven at about 200 C for around 25 mins.

Pour your rice into a saucepan cover with water and bring to the boil.

  1. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan, add the onions and cook slowly until softened, about 10 mins.

  2. Add the garlic, stir for 1 min, then toss in the peppers, mushrooms, peas and leek. Stir in the spices, then tip in the rice (after you have drained the water from it of course) Stir to coat the rice in the oils and spices for about 2 mins, then pour in the hot stock. Bring to the boil,

    Remove your chicken from the oven and add to the rice mixture

    Stir well to coat chicken, let the whole lot stand for 5 mins then serve.

Sweet potato carbonara


Loaded with veggies, this spiralized sweet potato vegetable noodles recipe achieves superfood status with the addition of spinach. Look for large, straight sweet potatoes to make the longest veggie noodles.

I found this dish easy tomake and bursting with flavour, it is also gluten free, nut free, high in calcium and fiber, give it a go and key me know what you think.

Ready to eat in approx 40 mins.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 leek, sliced,
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • A few sprays of low fat cooking spray
  • 3 strips center-cut bacon, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic,
  • 1 cup of baby spinach leav

 

 

 

 

 

Method

Put a large pot of water on to boil.

  1. You can buy the ‘swoodles’ pre spiralized but if using a spiral vegetable slicer or julienne vegetable peeler, cut sweet potatoes lengthwise into long, thin strands
  2. Cook the sweet potatoes in the boiling water, gently stirring once or twice, until just starting to soften but not completely tender, 1½ to 3 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water, then drain. Return the noodles to the pot, off the heat. Combine eggs, Parmesan, salt, pepper and the reserved water in a bowl; pour over the noodles and gently toss with tongs until evenly coated.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and leek and cook, stirring often, until the liquid has evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vegetables to the noodles and toss to combine. Top with a generous grinding of pepper.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate the raw “noodles” (Step 2) for up to 1 day.
  • Equipment: Spiral vegetable slicer

Keeping hydrated


You can’t survive without water. It makes up nearly two-thirds of your body and is essential for you to function properly. Water has a wide range of benefits for your body – everything from removing waste products in urine to lubricating your joints. It can even make your skin look good.

Here, i’ll explain why you need to drink enough and offer some tips to help you stay hydrated.

Glasses of water with fruit

How much should I drink?

As a basic guide, most people need about 1.5 to 2 litres of fluid a day, which is about eight to 10 glasses.

You can get this from water and other drinks, such as milk and fruit juice. Water in food also counts – fruit and vegetables contain lots of water. Cucumber and lettuce have the highest water content of any food – a massive 96 per cent. Tomatoes are also packed with water – they’re about 95 per cent water. Just adding some salad to a sandwich can top your hydration levels up.

The exact amount of fluid you personally need can depend on things like:

  • your age – this affects how well your body can balance water and salts; and as you get older, you store less water
  • your gender – men need more water than women because women have a higher proportion of body fat
  • the amount of physical activity you do – you need to drink more if you exercise more
  • the climate – you need to drink more if it’s hot and you’re sweating water out of your body
  • if you’re pregnant – you’re more likely to develop constipation during pregnancy so you need to drink more
  • your diet – if you’re following a special diet or very low-calorie diet, you may need to drink more but ask a dietitian for advice

What should I drink?

Water

Water is the best choice when it comes to meeting your body’s needs for fluids. It doesn’t have any calories and is free if you drink tap water.

If you find plain water unappealing and want a tastier drink, then squash, milk, fruit juices or teas will also top up your fluid level. It’s a trade-off though, because these contain calories, usually from sugar, and they can damage your teeth.

One way to make water more exciting is to add slices of lime, orange or lemon. Cucumber is also nice. It gives the water a fragrance and taste that makes it much more interesting. It’s healthy, hydrating and homemade.

Coconut water

Coconut water is a popular drink these days and is another option for topping up your fluid levels. It contains the mineral potassium, as well as sodium and natural sugars. It’s sometimes used to replace lost fluids to treat dehydration. It’s also been reported to contain antioxidants. But remember those sugars, so don’t drink too much of it.

Fruit juice and smoothies

Fruit juices and smoothies contain lots of vitamins. One glass (150ml) can make up one of your five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. But the downside is, they contain lots of sugar and can be acidic, both of which are bad for your teeth. Because of this, it’s best to limit how much fruit juice you drink and to have it with a meal. You can read more in our blogs: How to spot sugary foods and protect your teeth and Acid erosion and your teeth.

One way to dilute all that sugar is to blend fruits with water or ice.

Smoothies and juicing

Here are some top tips on how to make smoothies.

  • Use crushed ice to thicken your smoothie rather than using yoghurt or milk.
  • Water-rich fruits include grapes, watermelon, kiwi and oranges, so these are good to add to your mix.
  • Water-rich vegetables for your green juices could include iceberg lettuce, cucumber and celery.
  • You can also use herbal teas in your juices and smoothies – peppermint works well.

Fizzy drinks

Fizzy drinks and squashes can contain more calories and sugar than you would imagine. Some fizzy drinks contain a whopping nine teaspoons – 35g – of sugar. If you still decide to go for these, choose squashes with ‘no added sugar’ on the label or low-calorie versions of fizzy drinks.

Milk

Milk is a good choice because it contains nutrients such as protein, B vitamins and calcium as well as being a source of water. Be careful how much you drink because it can also contain saturated fat. Choose semi-skimmed or skimmed options.

If cow’s milk doesn’t agree with you, soya, rice and almond milk are alternative options. Some are fortified with calcium to ensure you don’t miss out on this vital nutrient.

Tea and coffee

Tea, the nation’s favourite, and coffee also contribute to your fluid intake. Both contain caffeine, which is a mild diuretic so they can increase the amount of urine you produce. But if you drink caffeinated drinks in moderation, you shouldn’t need to drink extra fluid to compensate for this. Limit yourself to no more than 400mg of caffeine a day, which is about four to five cups of coffee or nine cups of tea a day.

If you’re pregnant, have less (two cups of coffee or four cups of tea). As an alternative, you could try herbal teas or decaffeinated versions.

It’s also important to remember that fizzy drinks and energy drinks can contain a lot of caffeine. Check the label and add these to your count so you don’t go over the recommended limit of caffeine.

Does alcohol count?

Although technically, alcoholic drinks contain water, they’re also diuretics and make you lose water from your body as urine. You can get dehydrated if you drink too much alcohol, so drink water or other soft drinks alongside alcohol. Remember to drink sensibly.

Is bottled best?

Nutritionally, bottled water is barely different from tap water. Tap water is safe to drink in the UK. But if you’re abroad and unsure about the quality of the water or aren’t used to it, it’s usually best to stick to bottled water. Make sure the cap is sealed, and don’t add ice unless it’s made from bottled water.

Why is water important?

It’s really important to stay hydrated. Your body uses water to help with lots of processes, such as:

  • transporting nutrients and oxygen around your body
  • getting rid of waste products
  • controlling your temperature
  • keeping your joints lubricated so they act efficiently as shock absorbers

If you drink enough water, it will also help to keep your skin healthy.

Dehydration

It’s important to keep your body’s water content topped up, otherwise you might develop dehydration, which is a lack of water in your body. This can happen when you lose more water than usual – for example, if you have a bout of vomiting or diarrhoea or don’t drink enough. Other ways you can get dehydrated include sweating a lot and drinking too much alcohol.

So, how can you tell if you’re dehydrated or not? If you feel thirsty, chances are your body’s telling you that you need to drink more. But the best indicators are the number of times you go to the toilet and the colour of your urine – it should be pale yellow. If you don’t need to go often, you only pass a little each time and it’s dark in colour, it’s likely that you’re dehydrated. Other signs include:

  • a headache
  • feeling tired, weak and dizzy
  • feeling confused
  • dry mouth and lips
  • cramp

Dehydration can be really serious, especially in babies, children and older people. If you have severe dehydration, your body stops getting rid of waste products and you may develop kidney failure.

What should I do if I become dehydrated?

If you think you may be dehydrated, you need to rehydrate your body by drinking fluid. For mild dehydration, the best way to hydrate is by drinking water. That may be all you need. It’s better to drink little and often rather than trying to drink a lot all in one go because this may make you vomit.

If you have more serious dehydration that’s caused by diarrhoea or vomiting, you’ll also be losing important salts and sugars from your body. A good way to replace these is with rehydration sachets, which you add to water. Some people choose sports drinks but these contain much more sugar than you need so it’s best to stick to rehydration sachets.

If you have more severe dehydration, ask your pharmacist or GP for advice. You may need to go to hospital to be given fluids through a drip.

Can you drink too much water?

You might have heard stories about people drinking too much water and it’s certainly possible. Drinking too much water isn’t good for you and can even be dangerous (although it rarely is). The reason why is that it can cause the level of salt in your blood to drop too low – a condition called hyponatraemia (Thats for a whole different post though)

A good way to gauge if you’re drinking too much is to check how often you’re going to the toilet. If you’re going lots and your urine looks really pale, you might be drinking more than you need.

lean and creamy sausage pasta



Fed up of your daily chicken, rice and broccoli meal prep? Try this super-lean, high-protein creamy sausage pasta for your next meal prep session.

Try using quark in place of cream cheese and reduced-fat sausages to keep this pasta lean – without skimping on flavour

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. Coconut oil
  • 1 leek (finely sliced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 8 reduced-fat pork sausages (sliced) (I used Marks and Spencers skinny sausages)
  • 200g quark
  • 4 large beef tomatoes
  • 240g (dry weight) wholemeal penne pasta
  • 1 tsp. sea salt, 1 tsp. black pepper and 1 tsp. dried chilli flakes
  • 700ml water
  • Handful fresh basil leaves

Makes: 4 meals

Method

1. Add the coconut oil to a large, non-stick pan on a medium to high heat. Add the sliced leek into the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and pan fry for a further 2 minutes, then add the sliced sausages and fry for 6-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are brown on all sides.

2. Get your tomatoes and some basil and blend together (in a blender)

3. Next, add the water to the dried pasta and bring to the boil, drain water out and then add in the tomato and basil mixture, turn the heat down and simmer for 15-20 minutes, uncovered. If the mixture becomes too dry, add a little more water and stir.

4. Once the pasta mixture is cooked through, stir through the quark and season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes. Heat through for 2-3 minutes, then divide amongst dishes and top with the remainder of the fresh basil leaves.

I was pleasantly surprised by this meal, easy to make and really tasty. Give it a try and let me know how you get on.

World famous cottage pie


One of my favourites here, so here goes

Ingredients

Some low calorie spray

  • 1¼kg beef mince
  • 2 onions , finely chopped
  • 3 carrots , chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves

For the mash

  • 1.8kg potatoes, chopped
  • 225ml milk
  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan and fry the mince until browned – you may need to do this in batches. Set aside as it browns. Put the rest of the oil into the pan, add the vegetables and cook on a gentle heat until soft, about 20 mins. Add the garlic, increase the heat and cook for a few mins, then return the beef to the pan and boil to reduce it slightly before adding the stock, Worcestershire sauce and herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 45 mins. By this time the gravy should be thick and coating the meat. Check after about 30 mins – if a lot of liquid remains, increase the heat slightly to reduce the gravy a little. Season well, then discard the bay leaves and thyme stalks.

  2. Meanwhile, make the mash. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes in salted cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender. Drain well, then allow to steam-dry for a few mins. Mash well with the milk and then season with some salt and pepper.

  3. Spoon meat into 2 ovenproof dishes. Pipe or spoon on the mash to cover. If eating straight away, heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and cook for 25-30 mins, or until the topping is golden

    Then enjoy, I know some people like to use some cheese fir topping but I was trying to watch the calories. Try it out and let me know what you think