Friday, December 24, 2010

Blue cheese pasta : Wk52/5

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
240gms linguine

400gm broccoli florets
3 leeks, sliced

2 cups/500ml fat free milk
I Tblsp cornflour (maizena)
45gm Danish blue cheese
100gm fat free plain yoghurt


Precook the broccoli and leeks until just tender (or use frozen that you have thawed).

Cook the linguine in a large pan with plenty of lightly salted boiling water until al dente.
(If you’re using frozen veg, add them to the pasta for the last 5 minutes to heat through.)
Drain and keep warm.

Mix the cornflour into the milk and pour into the pan.
Bring to the boil, stirring all the time.
Add the cheese and yoghurt and continue stirring over a low heat until the cheese melts.
Tip the pasta and veg into the sauce and turn and stir well to combine.

Serve with grated parmesan, if desired.
This recipe needs no additional salt – the blue cheese is already salty enough.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Review (13)

In case you want to look back, here are the links for recipes and shopping lists for weeks 49 - 52:
Week 49
Week 50
Week 51
Week 52

Pawpaw salad : Wk52/4

Serves 4 : Very easy : Very quick
65gm 2-minute noodles
1 small pawpaw (papino), sliced
6 spring onions, sliced diagonally
200gm bean sprouts
½ cucumber, cut in thick matchsticks
2 large carrots, grated
Small bunch of fresh mint, chopped
Small bunch coriander, chopped
3 smoked chicken breasts, sliced
1 Tblsp sesame oil
2 Tblsp lemon juice
1 Tblsp Roses lime cordial
1 Tblsp soy sauce
1 tsp grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Lemon wedges
2 Tblsp sesame seeds

Don’t be dismayed by the long list of ingredients.
This is so quick and easy.

Break the noodles into a bowl.
Cover with boiling water and allow to stand for 5 minutes while you make the dressing.

Mix together all the dressing ingredients in a small jug or screw-top jar.

Rinse the noodles in cold water and drain.
Peel, de-seed and slice the pawpaw.
Place in a large bowl, along with the onions, sprouts, cucumber, carrots, mint and coriander.
Add the noodles and chicken and toss well.

Pile onto 4 dinner plates or bowls.
Garnish with lemon wedges and sesame seeds.
Let everyone serve their own dressing.
I used smoked chicken breasts, but you could use left-over chicken or turkey – in which case you will need about 400gms of meat, chopped or shredded.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I have updated all the recipe collections, up to and including Week 52.
Click on the links to the right of your screen.

Fish and raita : Wk52/3

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
480gm new potatoes, halved
1 large bunch spinach ±400gm

4 cooked beetroot, diced
4 Tblsp fat free plain yoghurt
2 tsp black mustard seeds
1 – 2 cloves garlic, crushed

4 skinless hake fillets
4 Tblsp cornflour
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fish seasoning
1 Tblsp vegetable oil

Cook the potatoes in lightly salted water for about 15 minutes.
Drain and keep warm.

Steam the spinach, just until it has wilted and heated through.
Keep warm.

Combine the yoghurt, garlic and mustard seeds.
Pour over the diced beetroot, but only stir it through as you serve the raita.

Mix together the cornflour, coriander, cumin and fish seasoning and place in a long, shallow dish.
Pat the fish dry with absorbent kitchen paper then lightly coat with the cornflour and spices.

Spray the coated fillets and a large frying pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Pour the oil into the pan and place over a medium heat.

Fry the fish about 5 minutes each side until the flesh flakes easily.

Make a bed of spinach on each of 4 dinner plates.
Lay a fish fillet on top of each pile of spinach.
Spoon the raita on top of the fish.
Serve with the plain boiled potatoes.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Noodle salad : Wk52/2

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
300gm cooked chicken breast, shredded or sliced
200gm egg noodles
1 red pepper, sliced
1 small cucumber, sliced lengthways (use a potato peeler)
3 large carrots, coarsely grated
200gm rocket, spinach and watercress leaves, roughly chopped
For the dressing:
1 Tblsp fish sauce
1 Tblsp light soy sauce
1 – 2 Tblsp lemon juice
1 – 2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ - 1 tsp crushed fresh ginger

Break up the noodles into a bowl.
Pour in sufficient boiling water to just cover.
Allow to stand for 5 minutes.
Test for doneness, then drain and rinse with cold water.

Make the dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients.
Set aside.

Once the noodles are cool, add the remaining ingredients and toss well.

Pile onto 4 dinner plates or bowls, with the dressing on the side.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Haloumi stack : Wk52/1

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
200gm haloumi, sliced

100ml fat free plain yoghurt
2 tsp harrief (chilli) paste

200gm whole wheat couscous
1 tsp vegetable stock powder

Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
4 Tblsp Colman’s Classic mint sauce
1 x 400gm tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
200gm cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 red onion, chopped

Dry fry the haloumi slices in a small pan until golden.
Drain on absorbent kitchen paper.

Combine the yoghurt and chilli paste and divide between 4 sauce bowls.

Measure the couscous and stock powder into a large bowl.
Add 200ml boiling water and stir.
Cover with a plate or clingfilm and stand for 10 minutes.
Fluff up the grains with a fork.

Now add all the remaining ingredients to the couscous and turn well to combine.

Pile the couscous salad onto 4 dinner plates and top each pile with haloumi slices.
Serve with the yoghurt dressing.
Haloumi is high in saturated fats. To halve the calories of this meal, skip the cheese!
You could substitute tofu slices instead.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Checking out

Most people are going on holiday round about now.
I'll still be posting recipes every day next week, with a final 'review' link on Thursday.

Where ever you go, travel safely; whatever you do, have fun.

Pad thai chicken : Wk51/5

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
200gm Chinese egg noodles
2 large skinless chicken breasts, chopped
2 Tblsp lemon juice
2 Tblsp fish sauce
1 tsp grated root ginger
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 Tblsp chopped coriander
1 tsp chilli paste
1 red onion, sliced
150gm mixed oriental mushrooms, sliced
200gm shredded spinach
50gm raw peanuts
50gm mung bean sprouts
Thinly sliced red and yellow peppers
Cook the noodles according to the directions on the packet.
Drain and keep warm.

In a large bowl, mix together the lemon juice, fish sauce, ginger, garlic, coriander and chilli paste.
Drop in the chicken pieces and keep turning until they are covered.

Spray a wok with non-stick cooking spray.
Dry fry the onion until it starts to soften.
Add the mushrooms and stir fry for 5 minutes.
Now tip in the chicken (and juices) and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Scatter the spinach, peanuts and bean sprouts into the wok.
Fold in as the spinach wilts.

Serve with the noodles.
Garnish with sliced red and yellow peppers.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Link to .pdf files for Week 52 and Review (12)

The menu for Week 52 is designed for using up all that leftover turkey and ham: if you have leftovers, then check the shopping list twice – maybe you don’t need to buy all the animal protein listed.

Here are the recipes and shopping list for Week 52.

And, in case you want to look back, here are the links for recipes and shopping lists for weeks 45 - 48:
Week 45
Week 46
Week 47
Week 48

Creamy hake : Wk51/4

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
240gm mashing potatoes
60ml fat free milk
1 Tblsp cornflour
400ml fat free milk
2 tsp chicken stock powder
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 small red pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
200gm broccoli florets
1 cup frozen peas
400gm skinless hake fillets, cut in cubes
80gm grated fat reduced cheddar
2 Tblsp chopped fresh parsley.

Cook the potatoes in lightly salted boiling water until soft.
Drain well and mash.
Beat in the 60ml of milk.
Keep warm.

In a small jug, whisk together the cornflour, mustard, stock powder and milk.

Spray a large pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Dry fry the onion, pepper, broccoli and peas for 3 to 4 minutes.
Pour in the milk mixture.
Simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens, stirring all the time.

Drop in the fish chunks and simmer, covered,for another 5 minutes until the fish is cooked.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir through the cheese.

Serve the creamy fish sauce with the mash.
Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 366

My objective is achieved! When I started this blog, my intention was to compile a quick-and-easy-to-prepare collection of healthy recipes, suitable for a family of four. I have posted a different main meal recipe every week day, hoping to encourage you – and myself – to change to (and maintain) healthier eating habits.

My weight has only varied by about 1kg over the past twelve months and what has helped me to maintain my 18kg weight loss is tracking and portion control. I now eat breakfast and lunch every single day – I never used to eat breakfast, and would skip lunch too, more often than not, only eating very small portions at dinner; but I didn’t lose weight, in fact I just kept gaining! So excessively restricted eating is not the way to lose weight. Our bodies need fuel at regular intervals, otherwise our BMR (basal metabolic rate) slows right down and we conserve our energy as fat.

To stop those awful feelings of hunger, deprivation and lethargy, be sure to eat a wide variety of foods from each of the food groups every day. Eat regularly and never, never skip breakfast.

Sweetcorn fritters : Wk51/3

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
40gm polenta or mealie meal
30gm whole wheat flour (‘Nutty wheat’)
1 flat tsp baking powder
3 large eggs, beaten
100ml fat free natural yoghurt
1 x 340gm can sweet corn kernels, rinsed and drained
6 spring onions, finely chopped
½ tsp harrief (chilli) paste

1 Tblsp vegetable oil

Measure the polenta, flour and baking powder into a bowl.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the eggs.
Beat well.

Now add the remaining ingredients (except the oil), and stir well to combine.

Spray a large frying pan with non-stick cooking spray and add the measured oil.
When the pan is hot drop in spoonfuls of the fritter mixture.
Cook for about 4 minutes each side.
Keep warm in a clean tea cloth.

Serve with a fresh mixed salad, sliced avocado and sweet chilli sauce or chutney.
WARNING: These will disappear faster than you can make them!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chicken and mushroom penne : Wk51/2

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
240gm whole wheat penne
1 red onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 Tblsp cornflour
2 large skinless chicken breast fillets, cut in small chunks
200gm button mushrooms, sliced
4 Tblsp tomato puree
250ml dry sherry
250ml chicken stock
1 head of broccoli (±400gm)
Parmesan shavings, to serve

Cook the penne in plenty of lightly salted boiling water until al dente.
Drain and keep warm.

Place the cornflour and rosemary in a plastic bag.
Add the chicken pieces and shake well to coat.

Spray a large pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Dry fry the onion and garlic until the onion starts to soften.
Add the chicken pieces and stir fry until they are ‘sealed’.
Tip in the mushrooms, puree, sherry and stock.
Bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, steam, boil or microwave the broccoli until tender, but still retaining some crunch.

Pour the chicken and sauce in with the pasta and stir well.

Serve the pasta with the broccoli, garnished with parmesan shavings if desired.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Herbs and spices

Herbs and spices have loads of disease fighting antioxidants – more than most fruits and vegetables. Here are some of my favourites.

Cinnamon helps maintain blood sugar levels. Sprinkle on cereal or add to smoothies. Try a slice of melon with a squeeze of lemon juice and cinnamon for breakfast.
Ginger helps relieve nausea and travel sickness and is an anti-inflammatory. It increases circulation, is good for detox, and a great digestive, too. Add to fruits and vegetables, or drink as a tea.
Garlic kills cancer cells, improves blood sugar levels, blood clotting and cholesterol levels. Chop or crush garlic and let it stand for 10 minutes or so to allow the protective phyto-chemicals to develop fully. Always cook over a low heat and don’t let it burn. Try pickled raw garlic – it really doesn’t taste garlic-y.
Tumeric inhibits the growth of cancer cells. Add ¼ teaspoon of ground turmeric to the water next time you cook rice.
Cumin is anti-inflammatory, anti oxidant and anti-cancer. It is one of the main ingredients in curry pastes and powders.
Coriander soothes the digestive tract and is also anti-inflammatory. Try ½ teaspoon coriander seeds mixed with natural yoghurt as a salad dressing, or alongside a curry. Use fresh leaves in a green salad.
Basil is anti-oxidant, antiseptic, anti-microbial and anti-viral (supposed to be particularly helpful with herpes and hepatitis), plus it smells and tastes wonderful. Use as a garnish on any tomato dish and fruit salad.
Parsley contains many anti-oxidants. It is preventative against halitosis and can ease bladder and kidney problems. It’s also anti-cancer. Use as a garnish, in salads, stews and sauces.

Spicy baked fish : Wk51/1

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
4 hake fillets ea. ±120gm
1 Tblsp Patak’s tikka masala curry paste
2 tsp lemon juice

240gm rice
4 slices lemon

Mixed green salad, to serve

Put the rice on to cook in lightly salted boiling water.
Once cooked, drain and keep warm.

Heat the oven to 200ºC.
Mix together the lemon juice and curry paste.
Spray a baking tray with non-stick cooking spray.
Lay the fish fillets on the baking tray, presentation side up.
Spread the curry paste mix over the top of each fillet.
Bake the fish for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the flesh flakes easily.
(If cooking from frozen, allow 20 minutes.)

Serve the fish alongside the rice, garnished with lemon slices.
My green salad consisted of baby spinach, rocket, cucumber and spring onions.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Some people are already thinking about their ‘New Year Resolutions’. Research shows that most resolutions are abandoned by March – did you keep the ones you made last year? New Year resolutions are usually aimed at self improvement, so when you break them you are cheating yourself most of all.
No matter what your resolution is – weight loss, a new house, healthy eating, being a better parent – it requires:

Believing in yourself - You can do almost anything you set your mind to. Positive thinking is a powerful tool
Commitment – How important is this to you? My elder daughter always says ‘write it down, make it happen’. Have a written list of resolutions (even if it’s only one!) in plain view – almost like a ‘to-do’ list. Sometimes it helps to break the task down into achievable mini-goals.
Thinking and planning – Every day, work out the next step you need to take to get closer to your objective. Or re-affirm your current effort.
Accepting help and advice - where and when it’s offered (and appropriate), from positive sources. Ask for help when you need it. Most people love to give advice – though it’s not always what you want to hear.
Taking action – Track your progress regularly. Are you moving forwards or maybe slipping back?
Learning – from every experience. Be prepared to make mistakes along the way – I once had a boss who believed that if you don’t make mistakes, you aren’t working or learning anything.
Trying a new approach - Not getting there fast enough? Maybe a change of tactic is required. Don’t be afraid to break out of your comfort zone.
Rewarding yourself - remember to give yourself recognition for all your achievements, no matter how small.

Of course, you don’t have to wait for New Year to set new goals and challenges for yourself.

Have a great weekend.

Feta couscous patties : Wk50/5

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
200gm couscous
200ml hot vegetable stock

1 Tblsp fresh chopped parsley
1 egg, beaten
45ml natural fat free yoghurt
80gm fat reduced feta cheese, crumbled
1 large tomato, deseeded and chopped
4 spring onions, finely chopped

1 Tblsp vegetable oil

Measure the couscous into a bowl.
Pour over the stock.
Cover with a plate or cling film.
Stand for 5 minutes.

Fluff up the couscous with a fork.
Now add all the remaining ingredients, except the oil.
Stir until everything is nicely combined.

Wet your hands, and then shape the mixture into 8 patties.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan.
Fry the patties for about 5 minutes each side.

Serve the patties, 2 per person, with a crispy fresh salad and some chutney.

I’ve used chopped parsley, but any soft fresh herbs would be good – basil or mint immediately spring to mind, because their flavours go so well with tomatoes.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Link to .pdf files for Week 51 and Review (11)

The menu for Week 51 is not particularly festive. It is designed for ordinary everyday eating : even when you are not cooking turkey, a ham and all the trimmings you still need to eat, right?

Here are the recipes and shopping list for Week 51.

And, in case you want to look back, here are the links for recipes and shopping lists for weeks 41 - 44:
Week 41
Week 42
Week 43
Week 44

Hake with soy bean mash : Wk50/4

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
4 fillets of hake, each ±120gm
Juice and grated rind of 1 lemon
Fish seasoning

320gm mashing potatoes, cubed
160gm edamame (soy) beans
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 Tblsp chopped fresh basil
100ml chicken stock

24 (or more) cherry tomatoes

Heat the oven to 200ºC.

Boil the potatoes for about 10 minutes.
Add the soy beans (I used frozen) and cook for another five minutes.
Drain well.
Add the garlic and basil to the potatoes and beans and mash well.
Beat in the stock, a little at a time.
Keep warm.

Lay the fish fillets, in a single layer, in a large pyrex dish.
Squeeze over the lemon juice and sprinkle with the rind and fish seasoning.
Scatter the tomatoes over the top.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily.

Serve the fish and tomatoes with the mash, and a mixed salad if desired.

This is a chunky mash, quite creamy tasting with the added benefit of extra protein from the beans.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lunch today

I had this soup for lunch today and thought I might as well post the recipe. Sorry, I was hungry and it was all gone before I thought to take a picture.

Tomato and lentil soup – Serves 2
Tip into a saucepan:
1 x 440gm tin chopped tomato and onion mix
400ml vegetable stock
½ tsp crushed garlic (or more… or none)
1 large carrot, sliced
¼ tsp dried oregano
±6 large fresh basil leaves
60gm dried red lentils
Stir well then simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes until the carrots and lentils are soft.
Stir occasionally if you think of it.
Blitz before serving.

I just had a slice of toast with mine, but you could garnish with grated parmesan, natural yoghurt, croutons or more fresh basil if you want. This is quite a thick soup; adjust the consistency to your taste with more or less vegetable stock.

If you have time and energy to spare, you could add more vegetables such as celery, butternut, red or yellow bell peppers or extra carrots. Or all of the above.

Cinnamon chicken : Wk50/3

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
4 skinless chicken breast fillets
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 Tblsp vegetable oil

1 red onion, sliced
250ml chicken stock
2 Tblsp lemon juice
1 Tblsp honey
1 x 300gm can broad beans, drained
6 Turkish apricots, thinly sliced
2 Tblsp chopped coriander
200gm mashing potatoes
3 large carrots, thinly sliced
1 small butternut, peeled & cubed

Cook the potatoes, butternut and carrots together.
Once cooked, drain well and mash.
Keep warm.

Sprinkle the chicken with the combined cinnamon and cumin.
Heat the oil in a large pan.
Fry the chicken about 5 minutes each side on a moderate heat, then remove from the pan.

Fry the onion, in the same pan, until it starts to soften.
Add the stock, honey, apricots and lemon juice and stir well.
Put the chicken pieces back in the pan.
Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pan again, and allow to rest.
Tip in the broad beans and coriander and allow 5 minutes to heat through.

Cut the chicken into thick slices on a slight diagonal.

Make a bed of mashed vegetables on each of 4 warmed plates.
Place the chicken slices on top of the mash.
Spoon over the sauce.
Garnish with extra coriander, if desired

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Skinny asparagus pasta : Wk50/2

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
240gm ‘angel hair’ pasta
1 onion, chopped
250ml strong chicken stock
200gm fresh green asparagus pieces
300gm cherry tomatoes, halved
2-3 Tblsp fresh chopped parsley
2-3 Tblsp fresh chopped mint
1 clove garlic, crushed

Green salad

Cook the pasta in plenty of lightly salted boiling water for 10 minutes, or until al dente.
When cooked, drain and keep warm.

Spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray and dry fry the garlic and onion until it softens.
Add the tomatoes and continue cooking until they start to go pulpy.
Now add the stock, asparagus, parsley and mint.
Simmer for 5 minutes.

Pour the sauce over the pasta and lift the pasta through the sauce to combine.

Serve with a fresh green salad on the side.

Use vegetable stock in place of chicken stock for a vegetarian option.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Granma’s apron

A friend recently sent me an email about ‘Granma’s Apron’.

Remember making an apron in Home Ec? I don't think our kids know what an apron is.

"The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few. It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material. But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids..

And when the weather was cold Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow,
bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables.
After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.
But I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron - but love... “

I think the apron has fallen out of use because people generally have become very lazy cooks. Who shells peas anymore – don’t they come in cans or frozen in a bag?

More than potato salad : Wk50/1

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
480gm new potatoes, quartered
1 x 200gm can tuna chunks in brine, drained
1 x 400gm can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 red onion, chopped

2 Tblsp Helman’s low fat mayo
1 Tblsp sweet chilli sauce
1 Tblsp olive oil
1 Tblsp lemon juice
¼ cup fat free milk
4 Tblsp chopped parsley

Whisk together the mayo, sweet chilli sauce, oil, lemon juice and parsley.
Now add the milk, a little at a time, whisking until the dressing is smooth and creamy.

Boil the potato quarters in lightly salted boiling water until cooked – about 10 minutes.
Drain well and allow to cool. (Run cold water over them if you are in a hurry.)

In a bowl, combine the tuna, beans, onion and potatoes together.
Pour in the dressing and turn gently.

Serve with a mixed green salad on the side, if desired.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Weight control for self preservation

The main focus of most weight-loss advertising is on physical appearance, and though we all want to look good – in and out of our clothes – the main benefits of weight loss are actually to do with health.

  • Losing 10% of your excess body weight reduces blood pressure, cholesterol and blood triglyceride levels; all of these are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Losing excess weight reduces blood glucose levels and halves the probability of you developing type-2 diabetes.
  • Losing weight reduces the strain on weight-bearing joints (hips, knees, lower spine) and reduces the risk of developing osteoarthritis.
  • Being overweight is a risk factor for developing cancer of the uterus, breast, gall bladder, colon and prostate.
  • Losing excess weight can help to alleviate sleep apnea.
  • Carrying excess weight puts strain on all your internal organs, not just your heart.
  • Being overweight can cause complications during surgery.
  • Being overweight means that you are less likely to take exercise, which in itself is a health risk.
  • Reducing and then controlling your body weight increases self-esteem.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight improves your quality of life as well as your longevity.
Adapting to a healthy lifestyle is the only way to achieve a healthy body weight.

Lamb meatballs Morocco : Wk48/5

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quickish
350gm lean minced lamb
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp grated fresh root ginger
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 x 400gm can chopped tomatoes
400ml lamb stock
2 Tblsp chopped coriander

200gm couscous
2 Tblsp chopped fresh parsley
2 Tblsp chopped fresh mint
2 Tblsp chopped fresh coriander
200ml boiling water

In a large bowl, combine the lamb, onion, breadcrumbs, cinnamon, cumin, ginger and garlic.
Shape the mixture into tiny meatballs.

Spray a large pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Dry fry the meatballs until lightly browned and sealed.
Remove to a plate.

Tip the tomatoes, stock and coriander into the pan.
Cook for 5 minutes.
Put the meatballs back in the pan and spoon the sauce over.
Cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes.
(If there seems to be a too much liquid, remove the lid for the last 5 minutes to reduce it.)

Put the couscous in a bowl with the fresh herbs.
Pour over the boiling water and give it a stir.
Cover with a plate or clingfilm and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
Fluff the grains up with a fork to separate.

Serve the meatballs and sauce over the couscous, garnished with extra coriander, if desired.

If you like, you can put only half the spices, ginger and garlic in the meatball mix and add the rest to the sauce. I served mine with a very simple green salad of baby spinach, rocket and watercress.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Link to .pdf files for Week 50 and Review (10)

What’s on the menu for next week?

Here are the recipes and shopping list for Week 50.

And, in case you want to look back, here are the links for recipes and shopping lists for weeks 37 - 40:
Week 37
Week 38
Week 39
Week 40

Somehow, I got myself out of step last week and posted Week 49 recipes instead of Week 48. So this week's postings are from Week 48. I'll be back on track next week.

Italian style chicken : Wk48/4

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
3 skinless chicken breast fillets, cut in strips
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 large red onion, sliced
8 large Italian tomatoes, thickly sliced
30gm fresh basil, chopped
375ml chicken stock
12 – 16 pitted green olives, sliced

Crusty bread, to serve

Lay the chicken in a glass or plastic dish and sprinkle with the lemon juice.

Spray a large pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Stir-fry the chicken strips for 5 minutes until they are sealed and lightly browned.
Remove from the pan.

Dry fry the onion until it softens.
Add the tomatoes and about 20gm of the basil and cook until the tomato is pulpy.

Now pour in the stock, the olives and any remaining lemon juice.
Thicken the sauce with 1 Tblsp cornflour, if desired.
Bring to a boil then reduce the heat.

Scatter the chicken strips over the top.
Simmer for another 5 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked to your liking.

Serve in warmed bowls garnished with the remaining basil.

Crusty bread is the perfect accompaniment to this – it is great for mopping up the sauce.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Staying young

Maintaining health and vitality as the years go by involves:

Choosing food wisely – Eat three meals a day, plus snacks if you need them. Make sure to include a varied selection of foods from each food group. Choose 6-8 portions of grains, 5-8 portions of fruit and veg (preferably fresh), 2-3 portions of protein (fish or chicken; cut down on red meats), 2-3 portions of dairy and a little mono- and/or poly-unsaturated fats.

Getting some exercise – If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I’m not that ‘in’ to exercise! In contrast, my husband goes to a gym about 4 times a week on average, and it shows. People never believe his age. Not only does he look good, the exercise keeps him supple and healthy, with a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes. Exercise releases endorphins (the ‘happiness’ hormone) into the blood stream, which is good for stress relief too.

Getting enough sleep – Everyone needs between seven and eight hours sleep in every twenty four. If you have trouble sleeping, set up a bedtime ritual to inform your brain that it’s bedtime. Try deep breathing, or tensing and releasing muscle groups. Keep electronics out of the bedroom as much as possible and, definitely, leave your cell phone well away from the bed.

Keeping an active and open mind – Do crossword puzzles or Sudoku. Read magazines, journals and books. Consciously and attentively listen to the radio and try to summarize what you have heard. Listen to what is said to you and learn from what you hear. In fact, try to learn something new every day.

Sharing – Isn’t this what we encourage our children to do? Share your time, energy, knowledge, experience and expertise with those around you.

Mozzarella pasta salad : Wk48/3

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
240gm small pasta shells
160gm low fat mozzarella, cut or torn in chunks.
12 red cherry tomatoes, sliced
12 yellow cherry tomatoes, sliced
50gm wild rocket, torn
For the pesto:
20gm basil (leaves and stalks)
2 Tblsp olive oil
1 Tblsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tblsp water
20gm pecorino cheese
1 clove garlic
30gm pine nuts

To make the pesto:
Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a paste.

Cook the pasta in lightly salted boiling water until al dente.
Cool under cold running water.
Drain well.

In a large bowl, stir the pesto through the pasta until the shells are coated.
Add the mozzarella, tomatoes and rocket and toss well.

Serve with crusty bread if desired.

I’ve used pecorino cheese because it was what I had – you could use parmesan instead. Pecorino has a similar flavour but costs less than parmesan.