Comfort Food: Healthy Shepherds Pie

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Ingredients:

400g lean minced beef

2 medium onions, chopped

2 celery sticks, finely sliced

2 medium carrots, diced

400g can of chopped tomatoes

2tbsp tomato purée

500ml beef stock, made with 1 beef Stock cube

1tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1tsp dried mixed herbs

4tsp cornflour

1tbsp cold water

Flaked sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

For the leeky potato topping:

750g floury potatoes

2tsp sunflower oil

2 slender leeks, trimmed and cut into 1cm slices

150g half-fat crème fraiche

flaked sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

ingredients

Method:

  • Place a large non-stick saucepan over a medium heat. Add the mince and cook it with the onions, celery and carrots for 10 minutes until lightly browned.

veg-in-pot

  • Stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce and mixed herbs. Season with a good pinch of salt and black pepper.
  • Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover loosely and simmer gently for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • About 20 minutes before the meat is ready, make the potato topping. Peel the potatoes and cut them into rough 4cm chunks. Put them in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat slightly and simmer for 18–20 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender.
  • Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the leeks for 5 minutes until softened but not coloured, stirring often.

leeks

  • Drain the potatoes, then tip them back into the pan, season to taste and mash with the crème fraiche until smooth. Stir in the sautéed leeks and set aside.

mash-in-pot

  • Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°C/Gas Mark 7. When the beef has been simmering for 40 minutes, mix the cornflour with the cold water to make a smooth paste. Stir this into the beef and cook for another 1–2 minutes or until the sauce is thickened, stirring often.
  • Pour the beef mixture into a 2-litre shallow ovenproof dish. Using a large spoon, top the beef with the mashed potatoes and leeks. Spoon the mixture all around the edge of the dish before heading into the middle, then fluff up with a fork.
  • Bake for 30 minutes until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling. If making this ahead of time, let the pie cool, then cover and put in the fridge.

Well I promised you lot some comfort food recipes and trust me this first one does not disappoint! My favourite meal when I go home to my mum and dads house (apart from a Sunday roast) is my mums shepherds pie. It really is the ultimate comfort food and perfect for cosy nights in with the heating on catching up on your favourite shows. So I decided to look into a healthier alternative that we could all still enjoy. I experimented with a few recipes and this one is by far my favourite. I love the leeks in the mash it really does make it extra tasty and the whole dish is just filled with lovely homely flavours. Lean beef cooked without fat also reduces the calories. I made a big batch that can be kept in the fridge and used throughout the week or alternatively frozen to be eaten later (very handy when you come in out of the cold after a hard days work and just want to relax). This one would also be great for dinner parties. I would even go as far as to say that your guests probably won’t be able to tell that it is on the more healthy side. If you do try this recipe I would love to know what you think or even send me pictures of your creations.

Happy cooking!

Xx

 

Meal prep Monday:Turkey Burritos

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Ingredients:

500g Turkey

1 onion

2 garlic cloves

8 wholemeal tortilla wraps

low fat cheese (grated)

Taco seasoning

Aluminium foil

Large plastic freezer back

ingredients

Method:

  • Start off by dicing your onion and then frying it in a small amount of oil in either a wok or frying pan.
  • Mince two garlic cloves into your onions and stir until lightly golden.

onions

  • Now add your turkey mince and stir to combine it with your onion and garlic.
  • When you notice your turkey has browned. Add in your taco seasoning.

mince-in-pan

  • Stir in seasoning and cook turkey for a further couple of minutes making sure it is coated well.
  • Remove mixture from the heat and set aside for ten minutes to cool.
  • Now divide the meat into 8 portions and place in a line on each tortilla.
  • Now sprinkle on a little low fat cheese. (You can skip this stage if you want to be really good).

mince-in-wrap

  • Now fold your burrito. You may have your own preferred way of doing this but if not here is a very helpful guide… http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/20/how-to-wrap-burrito_n_6003430.html
  • Roll up each burrito in aluminium foil. Place wrapped burritos inside resealable gallon-sized bag. Label the bag and place in the freezer.
  • The burritos will last 30-45 days in the freezer.
  • To eat remove from aluminium foil and heat in the microwave for 60 – 90 seconds or until the burrito is heated through and enjoy!

This recipe is literally so handy. I make these on a Monday night and then keep them in the freezer for my lunches. It means I can just literally run in to the kitchen and grab a little foil packet and go! Not to mention they are full of flavour and far far better for you than your average sandwich. The turkey mince is lean and very low fat so you don’t have to feel guilty at all. I particularly like having these burritos coming into the autumn/winter months as it is nice to have some warm comfort food when it is freezing and horrible outside. Also the spice in the taco seasoning gives a little kick to keep you warm. I would usually alternate having a burrito for lunch one day and then maybe soup the next so one batch of these can last me 2 weeks which is brilliant. Not only is this recipe, healthy and handy but it is also cost effective and saves me a few pennies on the weekly shop! 🙂 Please do let me know if you try this recipe and what you think about it and i will feature your review on my blog and facebook!

Happy cooking!

Xx

 

Healthy Tuna burgers

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Ingredients: (yields 4 small burgers or 2 large)

2 x 125g tins of Tuna in Brine

2 cloves of garlic

70g breadcrumbs

80ml Teriyaki sauce

2 large egg whites

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce e.g Tabasco

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

ingrediants

Method:

  • In a large mixing bowl add the two tins of Tuna.
  • Break the tuna up using a fork making sure there are no big chunks.
  • Add the Teriyaki sauce

swirl

  • Add breadcrumbs and egg whites and combine.

breadcrumbs

  • Season with black pepper, minced garlic and hot pepper sauce.

garlic

  • Use your hands to mould this mixture into patties.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan on a medium heat.

  • Cook the burgers until brown on both sides approx 4mins each side.

frying

  • Now serve in a bap with some low fat cheese and enjoy! (I was a bit more liberal with the cheese than I probably should have been hehe)

with cheese

This recipe is great for several reasons. It is ridiculously easy to make and also it is quick and fuss free. In fact the only fuss I encountered when making these burgers is that my bloomin tin opener broke so i had to stab the tuna tin to get into it. Seriously what is it with tin openers each time we buy one it breaks within months! Anyway I digress… haha. As the preparation and cooking of these burgers only takes around 15 minutes this recipe is perfect for any one who is in a hurry or just wants to get their dinner into them after a long day! The burgers are incredibly tasty which is great and also lower in fat than your standard beef burgers. I love the kick that they are given by the teriyaki and tobacco sauces. An all round winner for me and I will certainly be looking forward to another helping! As always do let me know if you have tried them and what your thoughts are on this recipe.

Happy cooking Xx

Roasted garlic and caramelised onion soup!

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Ingredients: Yields 6 servings

1 large whole bulb of garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil

6 thinly sliced onions

2 large leeks

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons flour

80 ml dry white wine

850 ml of chicken stock

500 ml milk

ingredients

Method:

  • First we need to roast our Garlic. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C.
  • Peel and separate the cloves of garlic contained in the large bulb.

garlic before

  • Rub 1-1/2 tsps oil over garlic head; wrap in foil and bake for one hour.

garlic wrapped

  • In the meantime whilst your garlic is roasting we are going to caramelise our veg!
  • Heat 1tbsp oil in a pot over medium heat; add chopped onions and leeks and cook for 30 minutes, stirring often.

onions and leeks before

  • Add 1/2 tsp salt and thyme; cook an additional 30 minutes or until onions are golden.
  • Take off the hob and set aside for a few minutes.

caramilised leeks and onions

  • Remove Garlic from the oven. Open the foil carefully so as not to burn yourself.
  • The garlic should be soft. Mash it with a fork and set aside in a bowl for later.

roasted garlic after

  • Put your onions and leaks back on the hob.
  • Stir in flour; add wine and broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
  • Add garlic pulp, remaining salt and milk to onion mixture.
  • Simmer 8 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
  • Blend mixture in pot using a hand blender or you can do this in a food processor but may have to do it in two batches.

blending

  • Serve soup and garnish with your choice of ingredients. I used Thyme and have also tried cheese nom nom!

This recipe defines comfort food. It is light enough as to not make you feel guilty eating it but boy is it filling and tasty! Not to mention when cooking it it makes the house smell amazing. As we all know I love to add garlic to almost all of my recipes but there is something about roasted garlic that just makes things so much better. I think one of the best things about this soup is that it really fills you up. A small portion goes a very long way. I usually have this for dinner with a nice piece of bread and then keep the leftovers for my lunch during the week. Isn’t it great to be able to have something that tastes more fattening than it actually is! Not to mention the many benefits that come from onions and garlic. Although they are known as the most pungent smelling vegetables onions and garlic have antioxidant properties that help protect against health conditions such as heart disease and cancer. What more could you want. As always I will be interested to hear if any of you try this recipe. Let me know how it works out for you!

Happy cooking!

Xx

Skinny egg fried rice!

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Ingredients: (serves 6)

2 large eggs   

225g uncooked carrots, shredded   

225g uncooked scallions, sliced   

675g cooked white rice

100g frozen green peas, thawed   

60ml low sodium soy sauce, or to taste

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

ingreds

Method:

  • Lightly beat eggs with a fork or whisk.
  • Coat a large non-stick skillet or wok with cooking spray; warm pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add eggs to the pan coating the bottom. As eggs start to cook move them around the pan to avoid burning.
  • Cook until eggs are cooked through, about 2 minute and remove eggs from skillet and set aside.
  • Off heat, re-coat same skillet with cooking spray; set over medium-high heat.
  • Add carrots and onions, cook for 5mins until tender.

carrots and onions in wok

  • Add chives and minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

chives and garlic

  • Stir in cooked rice, peas and soy sauce; cook until heated through, stirring once or twice.
  • Gently stir in cooked egg and remaining scallions; heat through.
  • Serve and enjoy!

 

This recipe is so simple and takes no time at all. It went down a storm in our house and the best thing is you can have it as a side to whatever dish you want. Therefore making a big batch at the start of the week is great as you can store it in the fridge and have it with different dinners and lunches. I know there are sceptics out there who see the word skinny in front of a recipe and think ‘It may be skinny but I bet it doesn’t taste great’ but trust me guys this tastes great and you don’t have to feel guilty about it. Not to mention it is really filling. I only needed a small portion and felt satisfied. I cooked duck to accompany this particular batch of fried rice and it was lovely I would highly recommend it. Overall an easy, delicious go to recipe that is a must to put into your weekly rotation.

Happy cooking!

Xx

No Flour delicious banana bread muffins!

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Ingredients: (Yields 12)

300g  ripe bananas (roughly 3 medium bananas)

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons of maple syrup – adjust to your taste

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

30g  butter

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

200g ground almonds

1 tablespoon of whole flaxseed plus extra for decorating the top of your muffins

ingreds

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 160 degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl mash together the bananas and butter. (a fork works well for mashing).

banana and butter

  • Now add the maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, eggs, bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice and mix well with a whisk.
  • Add the ground almonds and a tablespoon of whole flaxseed and mix well.
  • Grease your muffin tins with butter or low fat spray. Alternatively you can use individual muffin cases.
  • Spoon your batter evenly into each muffin cup and top with a pinch of flax seeds.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. You will know if the muffins are done by inserting a skewer into the middle and it coming out dry.
  • Allow muffins to cool and eat warm or at room temperature. Remember to store covered, in the fridge and most importantly enjoy!

**Note this recipe can also be used to make a loaf of bread. Use a bread loaf tin. Fill with the mixture and cook for 1hr 10mins. If the bread starts to brown too much during baking cover with a piece of tinfoil.

These little muffins have been a god send for my partner and I. We now have them every morning for breakfast and they make a great guilt-free snack for when you get peckish during the day. There is no flour, sugar or preservatives and each muffin is only 89 calories so you can have more than 1! The bananas, maple syrup and vanilla give these muffins a lovely sweet taste and so when I am craving something sweet this is now my go to snack. The bread is filling and will keep your energy levels up during the day. Almonds are full of Vitamin E and magnesium, and the Omega-3-rich flaxseed which is added means these muffins aren’t just delicious but nutritious as well. Not to mention they smell great when they come out the oven! As ever I would love to hear your feedback if you try this recipe.

Happy cooking!

Xx

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Omelette and Spinach cannelloni NO PASTA!

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Ingredients

500g Spinach

150g cream cheese  (could use ricotta cheese if preferred)

75g Parmesan cheese, grated

Nutmeg, grated

4-6eggs

4 tblspn water

1 tblspn olive oil

Salt and pepper

ingredients

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 190C/375F degrees.

  • Cook the spinach until tender.  Mix with the cream cheese, half the Parmesan cheese and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

  • Whisk the eggs with the water and add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat and pour in enough egg mixture to make a small, thin omelette.   Cook until firm and turn over to cook the over side.   Remove and place to the side.  Continue to do this until all of egg mixture is used.
  • Spoon some of the spinach mixture onto an edge of an omelette and roll up.  Place in a shallow gratin dish and repeat using all of the omelettes.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and bake for 25 minutes.

cheese grated on top b4 oven.JPG

  • Eat and enjoy!

I was eager to try this recipe as I absolutely love cannelloni. I thought making it using omelettes would be a real challenge but it actually worked out really well. A good tip is not to overfill your omelette as they are quite thin and prone to splitting. This tasty recipe yields about four portions. The filling was lovely and can easily be adapted for your own tastes. I think next time I will throw in a bit of chicken into the spinach mix to pack it out a little more. This makes a great main as it is extremely filling and much healthier than the pasta versions you would be used to. The dish is packed with protein from both the omelette and Spinach so would be ideal to have after a workout. I really cant get enough of this one and urge you all to try it. Also it is a great way for those of us who are obsessed with cheese to get our fix! As usual let me know if you have tried this and send e your pictures if you would like.

Happy cooking!

Xx

 

Delicious Broccoli and potato soup

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Ingredients:

1 large head of broccoli

1 large potato peeled and chopped into cubes

1 Large white onion diced

2 cloves of garlic

500ml vegetable stock

250ml low fat milk

125ml water

Salt and pepper

ingredients

Method:

  • Cut the broccoli into roughly 1 inch pieces. You can cut and add a bit of the stem but discard the main stem.

brocolli.JPG

  • Put all the ingredients into a pot except the milk, salt and pepper.
  • Put on the lid of the pot and bring to the boil. Once boiling turn down the heat to medium and rapidly simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and add your milk. Now bring back to the boil and then remove from the heat altogether.
  • Now whizz the hand blender until thoroughly mixed together.
  • To thicken the soup cook it longer on the stove at a medium/low heat.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with a side of your choice. (I have chosen some gorgeous wheaten bread that my talented partner made *recipe for this to follow).

I was a little sceptical of this recipe when I first made it. I’m not really sure why, maybe it was the colour of the soup that made my brain think this may be healthy but I bet it doesn’t taste great. Maybe the green reminded me of lettuce too much haha! Think again. This soup is so unbelievably tasty. I absolutely love it. Plus it is packed full of nutrients from all that veg! I like to have this recipe for dinner but it would make a great packed lunch too. It makes enough soup for about 3-4 servings so you could easily make it at the start of the week and just store it in the fridge. *I am lucky enough to have a partner who loves to bake. He inherited a great bread recipe from his lovely mum and was able to make us a great side for this dish. Bread isn’t very healthy as we all well know but when eaten in moderation it compliments this soup perfectly.

For those who are interested I will post the bread recipe up here as well shortly.

If you do try this recipe I would love to know what you thought of it and by all means send me some pictures if you’d like.

Enjoy and happy cooking!

Xx

Healthy Oriental Beef and Broccoli

Attention attention! This is such a great recipe I’m willing to say that it is my favourite so far! I cant urge you enough to try it. It is simply delicious.

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Ingredients:

1lb Flank/Skirt steak thinly sliced across the grain

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. olive oil

4 spring onions, thinly sliced

1 large white onion diced

roughly 2 small crowns of broccoli florets

2 tbsp. cornflower

180ml water

80ml low sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced

⅛ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

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Method:

  • Slice your steak into thin pieces across the grain. (I actually ended up using scissors to cut the beef as it can be quite tough).
  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until well-browned, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Now remove the beef from the skillet and set to the side.
  • In the same pan that the beef was in add the garlic, white onion and spring onions. Cook for 1 min stirring throughout.
  • Add the broccoli to the skillet and cover with a lid for 5 mins. Open pot half way through the 5 mins and give the ingredients a stir. Then replace the lid for the remaining time.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine water and cornflower and mix until no longer lumpy. Now add the soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger and red pepper flakes to the same bowl and stir to combine.

sauce

  • Remove cover from pan and add sauce. Cook until sauce starts to thicken, about 3-5 minutes. Add beef and stir , cooking an additional 2-3 minutes.
  • No you are ready to serve ans enjoy!

I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed this recipe. I would happily eat it most nights for dinner. Also this would be a great one to prep at the start of the week and bring in for lunch during the working week. I choose to serve this with plain noodles as the beef is so flavoursome you don’t really need anything else. However this would also go well with the likes of rice, chips and even mashed potatoes.  I absolutely love a good Chinese takeaway but we all know how unhealthy they are. This is a fantastic healthy alternative containing lots of protein as well as a hell of a lot less salt than your usual takeaway whilst still maintaining a mouthwatering  full-bodied flavour. Honestly if you decide to try none of my other recipes at least try this one you wont be disappointed. As usual let me know what you think if you do decide to get cooking and of course send me your photos and I will feature them on my FB and blog.

Happy cooking!

Xx

Buffalo Chicken Casserole

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Ingredients (This recipe serves 8 people)

  • 340g of whole wheat macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil (I used the low cal spray version)
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 100g vegetable risotto (alternatively you can add 2 medium stalks of celery, sliced)
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 950g skinless, chicken breast trimmed and cut into cubes
  • 5 tablespoons of corn flour
  • 1 litre low fat milk
  • a pinch of salt
  • 5 table spoons of hot sauce (I used 4 as I don’t like food being too spicy)
  • 120g of crumbled blue cheese.

Method:

  • Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees C or for fan assisted ovens 180 degrees C
  • Bring a pot of water to the boil. Cook the macaroni in the pot for 2 mins less than the recommended time on the package.
  • Drain the macaroni and set to the side for later.
  • Heat oil in a large pot or wok over medium heat. Add carrots, vegetable risotto, onion and garlic and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
  • veg in wok
  • At the same time as your veg is cooking spray some oil in a separate pot and heat on a high temperature. Add chicken to this pot and cook until the meat is no longer pink on the outside. About 7 mins.

chick

  • Add this chicken to your vegetables and stir.
  • Whisk cornflour and milk in a medium bowl. Add this to your chicken and vegetable mixture with a pinch of salt.
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often, until bubbling and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in hot sauce.
  • Spread the macaroni in a large baking/casserole dish so that it makes a layer at the bottom.
  • Top with the chicken mixture and sprinkle with blue cheese.

crumbled cheese

  • Bake the casserole until it is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
  • I served mine in a bowl with a spoonful of sour cream because I am a big baby and cant take the heat!
  • Now sit back and enjoy!

done

I loved this recipe and you can have it so many different ways. With it being only 439 calories per serving with 39.4g of protein how could you go wrong! Its a great idea if you want to make a large meal that will do you a couple of nights as it tastes even better after its has been sitting in the fridge for 24 hours. Also if you wanted to be really naughty and treat yourself at the weekend you could definitely have this over nachos! on a personal note I’ve never been a fan of blur cheese but after using it in this recipe I am a complete convert! In fact I would probably use a little bit now as it tastes delicious.

As always I would love to see your creations if you decide to try this recipe. If you send me a picture I will feature your food on my Facebook and blog.

Happy cooking!

Xx