One of my favourite pies is steak and ale. Unfortunately, its really not healthy eating friendly. A pub version of steak and ale pie with mash and peas can have you eating around 1,000 calories. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not waste my calories on a pie! I was having a flick through my recipe books and got an idea for my own beef pie from the Hairy Bikers. They use pizza base mix instead of pastry – genius! I wasn’t too keen on their ingredients, so I switched it up for my own version of a skinny beef pie. I know, shocker isn’t it?
I already had some Quorn mince in the freezer, so I tossed out the beef from this beef pie. By all means, use extra lean beef mince or even turkey mince if you like. I also didn’t want to use any sort of potato as the pizza base was going to make this quite a carby meal. So I swapped the ale for a flavourful thick beef stock and potatoes for cannellini beans. Each pie only clocks in at 318 calories and a massive 15g of protein. This can make up for the fact that this is a bit high in carbs. Every now and then you can allow an indulgent carby meal! Before attempting to make this dish I should let you know this is based off of 6 individual pies and you will need individual pie dishes. This is a time consuming dish due to making up the pizza base dough, so this may be best kept as a weekend meal or on a day where you have a free afternoon. Likewise, the pie filling can be made up in advance and put in the fridge.
Usually when I think up a new recipe it’s because I’ve craved something I shouldn’t really be eating. I then mess around with ingredients and cooking methods to come up with a healthier version. This time, my husband came to me with a request. He mentioned that his boss at work made a really good beef stew and he wanted Ian to try it. I had a look at the recipe and I have to admit, it sounded amazing. The original recipe came in at around 550 calories, so not too bad considering. I could have just made it straight from the recipe I was given, but there were a few bits I already knew I wouldn’t be using. The original stew called for loads of black olives and a tin of sardines. I love black olives, but I am the only person within a 10 mile radius of my house that does. I knew I needed to scrap these from the dish. The hubs and I are also not fans of sardines. Okay I say we aren’t fans, but to be honest we never tried them. I just couldn’t wrap my head around fish in beef stew, so out these went. The recipe also called for 1kg of beef – a whole kilo! That is a lot of beef to me, even for 6 servings.
So queue me mixing it up a bit and making this my own. I knocked the beef down to 400g and added in sweet potato, butter beans and spinach. I’ll touch on the hazelnut picada briefly here. I had to Google what picada was because this was foreign territory for me. Now I was expecting some time of sauce after reading Wikipedia. This baffled me a little considering this was going with stew. This picada is actually more like a crunchy topping and really adds a whole other dimension to the dish. I wish I could take credit for thinking this up on my own, but I can’t. I did change it slightly though. Hello decadent beef stew for under 450 calories! Now mind, this is a lengthy dish. I would suggest making this on the weekend. It also is a bit fancy for me, but sometimes you need to eat something out of your comfort zone to change things up a bit.
You can have pizza that isn’t dinner? Oh yes you can! The first time I tried fruit pizza was when I was a kid and it was a very sweet, high calorie and decadent dessert. The base was made from pre-made sugar cookie dough, topped with full fat cream cheese, covered in fruits and sprinkled with sugar. Absolutely delicious but oh my days not good for the waist line. I decided to adapt this treat and make it my own after trying to think up a dish for a pot luck dinner party we were hosting. I was making a main but it was more so to use up ingredients in the fridge. I wanted something that I know my friends hadn’t had before and would blow their socks off. It did. At one point I thought two of my friends were going to batter each other over who was having it to themselves!
My indulgent fruit pizza has a chocolate oat base and a Greek yogurt and sweet cheese frosting. Each slice is under 350 calories and feels so much naughtier than it is. You can even make your inner child happy by eating this for breakfast. This recipe is easily adaptable to suit your preferences as well. You can use any of your favourite fresh or tinned fruits, however if using tinned fruit ensure that they are drained and dried. I love deep dish pizza, so I made my base deep dish. If you prefer thin and crispy, simply cut down the base ingredients or make a bigger sized base – hey bigger slices! I kept the frosting slightly runny so it could double as a sauce for those who wanted extra, however cut back on the yogurt if you want it nice and thick.
Asian dishes are still very new to me and common dishes to you are probably super special for me. I can count the different Asian dishes I have had on one hand. I was having a good scroll through the old interwebs to come up with a different dish to just a curry. Lentils, or dal caught my eye. Before searching further, I asked one of my close colleagues, who happens to be Asian, what lentils were like. My only experience with lentils was from The Young Ones with Neil’s failed attempts at cooking them. I genuinely expected to look at my husband in the process of cooking and say, “but I just looked at them and they blew up!” My colleague told me they were creamy and absorbed whatever flavours you added to them at the end. I went away and did some research and decided on tarka dal.
If you’re looking for an authentic tarka dal, you better jog on. I don’t do authentic and frankly, I’d rather leave that to the more skilled cooks of where this dish originates. Last thing I want to do is offend people calling this authentic and its anything but! Instead, this is my take on the dish which came out pretty dang good! I sent a photo of it to my colleague who gave it his seal of approval, so I can’t be too far off. My recipe for tarka dal is under 400 calories and has a hefty 10g of protein per serving. Low carb conscious people be advised, this is in the higher end of the spectrum. Do not fear, as with anything I cook, it is full of good complex carbs. This will yield you a family sized pot of dal which can either be enjoyed that night or pop it in the freezer and enjoy later on! If you do plan to freeze a portion or two, just remember to stir the tarka into the dal before you freeze it.
Who doesn’t love pizza? If you don’t love pizza then I want to give you a sympathetic hug. I know for a lot of people, pizza is one of the foods they would put up on a list of something they could eat and calories not count. I can completely agree with this. Pizza is doughy, cheesy and packed full of flavour. Unfortunately, it’s also packed full of grease, calories and carbs galore. As a very occasional treat, there is no problem with having a few slices. However, if you’re like me, you could happily eat pizza every week. Doing this with your basic pizza from the takeaway, freezer or supermarket will quickly pack on the pounds. How dare you stab us in the back, you delicious pie.
There are loads of cauliflower pizza base recipes floating around. It is a great replacement to pizza dough and with the right flavours, you can hardly notice. The catch is, it tastes like cauliflower, duh. If you don’t like cauliflower I would be careful about trying this. Even though it doesn’t taste like you’re eating a boiled cauliflower floret, the taste does still come through. Making this pizza completely from scratch is a little time consuming, but I found the time flew by as I really enjoyed making it. There is something liberating about building the base of a meal on your own. Ha, base, do you see what I did there? Any, bad puns aside, this cauliflower chicken pizza comes in at 388 calories per serving. How many servings I hear you ask? 2 servings per pizza. You read that right, 388 calories for half a pizza! Yeah okay, it is quite a bit of food, but I promise you wont feel gobbed and greasy as you would if you ate half of a regular pizza. Also, the carb content in this is much lower than its doughy cousin and is all complex. Come here good carbs, get in my belly.
Chili can be a bit of a naughty dish sometimes. Order this in a restaurant and you’re looking at a calorie overload from cheese, sour cream and crisps to dip in. The other half and I really love chili so ages back I changed up my recipe to be super healthy, tasty and healthy. I swapped beef mince for turkey mince, kidney beans for chickpeas and packed full of veggies. To be honest with you, I prefer the healthier version to the traditional version! Fiver says I can convert you as well.
I saw a recipe advertised by MyFitnessPal for chili cheese courgette boats. The idea really intrigued me and I wanted to test it out. I read through their ingredients and groaned a bit. I know what I like and decided I would stick to that. The only things I have taken on board from their recipe is the courgette boats and I decided to split the kidney beans and chickpeas. Call me big headed, but I couldn’t give up my chili recipe for another one. My take on this recipe clocks in under 400 calories and that includes some cheeky salted tortilla crisps crumbled on the top. It is a little carb heavy, but its all complex carbs (bar the tortilla crisps). If you’re at all worried, just be easy on the carbs that day and you’ll be fine – balance! By all means, ditch the tortilla crisps to bring down the calories and carbs even lower. This is also a protein power house, so it will keep you full for the rest of the evening.
I did get caught up in dancing and singing while I was cooking, so I forgot photos. I will update this recipe with photos the next time I make it.
I remember as a kid growing up in California my grandparents would take my brother and I out to dinner on many occasions. One that sticks out in my mind is Mrs Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant at Knotts Berry Farm. Every time we went I always ordered chicken and dumplings. Thick chunks of chicken and vegetables with big spongy dumplings, oh my days. As you can imagine, this isn’t a waist friendly dish. I wrote it off for so long because I figured there was no way for it to be healthy. Oh how was I wrong! In my defence, I never really looked at the ins and outs of the basic recipe before. I know that most have huge carby dumplings and heavy cream which instantly is a no-no. I really had a craving for it a few months ago so I decided to sit down and do my homework. I read over quite a few traditional recipes and created my own.
Not only is this under 500 calories, but it’s also cooked in the slow cooker so you can throw it in and leave it. Easy and comforting? Yes please! I don’t feel like this skips anything, you still get delicious dumplings and plenty of veg and chicken. The recipe itself takes 6 hours to cook and probably about a half hour of prep split between the stages of cooking. I have in the past, however, prepped everything the night before in the slow cooker and left it cooking while I was at work. I would suggest if you do cook it longer, add some more water to ensure it doesn’t dry out while you’re gone.
Dinner tonight was a very quick chicken stir fry with homemade peanut sauce. Very yummy and under 400 calories! I won’t class this as homemade or a recipe as I used a vegetable stirfry pack.
The whole meal took around 10 minutes to make which is perfect for a busy weeknight tea. Typically on Thursday’s we eat quite late due to Naomi being at nursery. She doesn’t go to nursery near our home, so she’s usually back home aroun 7pm. Thus meaning we don’t get to eat sometimes until around 8:30 after she’s been put to bed and we’ve settled down.
Today wasn’t going to be any different until there was a fire at the nursery. Thankfully everyone was alright, but it did mean Naomi had to come home early. Horray for not having to eat right before bed!
This is yet another simple “throw it in the pan” kind of meal. I cooked a large sliced chicken breast in a wok with frylight until it was cooked through. I then threw in the stirfry mix with an added 6 sliced chestnut mushrooms. I let these cook for around 8 minutes while I scrambled 2 medium eggs in a frying pan. I then added the eggs and homemade peanut sauce into the wok and cooked for a few more minutes. That’s it, piping hot delicious stirfry is ready.
The peanut sauce was amazing! I’ve never made it before, but I threw a few things together thinking back to my chow mein ingredients. Mind you, I could only taste it for a second before I lost my sense of taste again, thanks cold. The sauce itself is so simple and uses basic cupboard ingredients. All you need is:
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tbsp Greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- splash of water
Thats it! Mix it up until you have a sauce. I didn’t specify an amount of water because everyone has their own idea of how a sauce should be, so just add a splash at a time until you get your desired consistency.
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After our holiday, we wanted easy healthy meals to eat this week. Ian came up with the idea of enchiladas which I was perfectly fine with. We both love Mexican food, so yes enchiladas! I skimmed through a few recipes trying to find a simple one that was still healthy. After some thinking and tweaking, I came up with the kale and veggie version.
Totally forgot the cheese in this photo! My bad. How colourful is all this!?
Yes I know, kale and enchiladas sounds weird. Just go with it, I promise it tastes great. Traditional enchiladas are saturated in cheese and sauce. Definitely not waist-line friendly but man do they taste great. Sometimes I will give in to a cheeky home cooked meal that bends my rules, but not this week. I know from adapting my chili recipe that chickpeas make a great substitute for meat. Turkey mince is my usual go-to healthier ingredient swap, but something about a veggie meal feels so guiltless and healthy.
This adaptation is not only under 350 calories but its extremely filling without any extras needed. By all means, feel free to accompany with a small salad or some Mexican style rice. To be honest though, we were full after 2 enchiladas. Only downside is this meal isn’t low carb, but it is high in protein so it evens out.
It’s Tuesday, do you know what that means? It’s Taco Tuesday! Tacos are one of my absolute favourite foods. I was lucky enough that my mom would spoil me with homemade authentic tacos – perks of her being Mexican! I miss her dearly and Taco Tuesdays make me feel closer to her. She would probably laugh at my recipe for tacos, but here’s to you anyway mom (everyone say Hi Gina!).
Tacos typically can be quite greasy, high in fat, high in calories and loaded with carbs. I have adapted my recipe to be relatively low calorie, low fat, low carb and high protein! My indulgent version is under 600 calories, but you could easily bring this under 400 calories by opting out on guacamole or cutting back on the tortillas. This recipe comes in 3 parts – cauliflower tortillas, homemade guacamole and the taco filling.
This recipe yields 4 chicken tacos with guacamole. You will notice the taco filling serves 2 and guac serves 1, that’s because my heathen of a husband has flour tortillas and no guacamole.