I invested in the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook recently and wanted to give something a go but in the back of my mind I was thinking ‘I’m sure I won’t be able to eat any of this at the end’. Thinking this I gave the book to my Other Half and said pick whatever you fancy. Silly question really as it’s always chocolate! So, on I went with making these little cuties only to discover I actually could have one!
This recipe doesn’t involve barely any cooking and the sauce is so quick its unreal (it takes around the same length of time to prepare as the pasta takes to cook). This is one of my favourite recipes as usually when you are trying to find low point pasta meals, you would stick to tomato based pastas as they are lower in pro points. This recipe however, is a nice low pro point tomato free alternative. Depending on how hungry I am I sometimes add an extra handful of spinach leaves whole at the end and let it wilt in the heat.
Serves 2 = 11pp per person
120g Fusilli Pasta
225g Bag of Spinach
3 Garlic Cloves, peeled
Juice of a lemon
30g grated parmesan
1/2 tsp crushed chillies
Small grating of nutmeg
2 slices of lean smoked back bacon, fat removed and chopped
Box of Mushrooms, sliced
Put the fusilli on to cook in a pan of salted boiling water. Meanwhile take a frying pan and fry the bacon in 1KAL until nearly crispy. Add the mushrooms to the frying pan and cover in half of the crushed chillies. Cook until soft in 1KAL.
In a blender add the peeled whole garlic cloves, ricotta, spinach (you may need to add this in batches), juice of the lemon, grated parmesan, nutmeg and the rest of the crushed chillies. Season to taste with plenty of salt and pepper. Blitz in the blender until a smooth sauce is formed. I usually add a little of the pasta water to make the sauce a little looser.
Drain the cooked pasta in colander and return to the empty pan. Pour the sauce over pasta and mix and warm through on hob. Reserve 1 tbsp of the bacon and mushrooms and then add the rest to the sauce pan and stir until warm. Serve in large pasta bowls and top with the remaining bacon and mushrooms.
I usually make stir fries from scratch (sauce and all) but there are some nights when I get home and frankly I can’t be bothered! I have been searching for something quick and easy to fix this for a while now and not found anything that took my fancy, until my friend suggested Asda’s fresh stir fry sauce mixes to me. They are nice and cheap (£1 each) and there is quite a variety to choose from. Knowing we had a busy two nights ahead, I picked up enough of everything to have stir fry two nights in a row and bought the Szechuan Sauce and Cantonese Sauce to mix things up.
We often stock up on mince as it’s cheap, cheerful and easy to cook up. Tonight however I didn’t fancy a lasagne/bolognaise/chilli so I thought I would give something new a whirl. Loving Indian takeaways I’ve wanted to try a biryani for a while so I thought this was the perfect chance.
This recipe is a combination of a few I researched and the results were delicious! The method might seem a bit fiddly but if you have time it’s worth it for the incredible taste. If you are running a bit short of time you could use microwavable basmati rice or precooked normal basmati rice and add it to the frying pan instead of the dry, soaked rice. If you are doing this you can just pop it on top of the mince meat mixture, let it steam for five minutes and then mix in.
Serves 4 = 9pp each
160g basmati rice
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, very finely chopped
1 box of chestnut mushrooms, sliced
2 peppers, deseeded and thinly sliced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated
2 thumb sized pieces of ginger, peeled and grated
2 tsp , garam masala, ground cumin, ground coriander
1 tsp tumeric
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
400g extra lean beef mince
80g frozen peas
2 green chillies, 1 halved lengthways and 1 finely chopped (and deseeded if you don’t like it too spicy)
1 cinnamon stick
1 black cardamom pod
2 bay leaves
4 whole cloves
1.2 litres boiling water
Large handful of chopped fresh coriander
200ml fat free natural yoghurt mixed with 1/4 tsp mint sauce
2 lemons, 1 halved and 1 quartered (for serving)
Place the basmati rice in a large bowl and cover with a few inches of cold water. Leave to stand for 30 minutes while you carry on with the rest of the dish.
Heat half of the olive oil in a large non stick pan and fry the onion, garlic and ginger until the onions are nice and soft (it should take around 8-10 minutes). Then add the mushrooms and peppers and fry for a few more minutes. Next add the turmeric, garam masala, cumin and ground coriander into the mixture, stir and fry for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Then crumble the mince into the tomato mixture, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Cook until the beef is brown and there’s no pink left (this should take around 10-12 minutes). Then mix the frozen peas and the green chillies into the beef.
Drain the rice. Heat the rest of the oil a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook the cinnamon stick, cardamom pod, bay leaves and cloves until a lovely smell comes from it (around 1 minute). Add the drained rice to the spice mixture and fry until the rice smells nutty (1 to 2 minutes). Spread the rice (including the spices) over the beef mixture, but don’t stir. Then gently pour the water over the rice, season with salt and bring the mixture to the boil for 2 minutes.
Then cover the pan with a lid (or tin foil), reduce the heat to low and continue cooking until the rice is tender (it took me around 15 minutes). Remove from heat completely and allow to sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Then give a good stir, mix through the coriander and top with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Serve in a big bowl with the mint yogurt and a slice of lemon.
When I started Weight Watchers I would have never thought I could have had something like this on the plan, especially for only 14pp. I found that cooking each portion in separate dishes (like lasagne or small pie dishes) was a great way of making sure you had the correct portion size as often my boyfriend requests a lot more than a weight watchers portion would allow!
This is a quick, easy and filling meal which is perfect when your cupboards are a bit bare, the majority of the ingredients I have in my cupboards all the time! Omit the chorizo for a lower pro point option .
Now the weather has got a bit colder and I’m starting to think about investing in my yearly pair of ear muffs (I somehow manage to snap them at the end of every winter) I thought it was about time I whipped up my first soup of the autumn. This is a gorgeous soup recipe which tastes like a real treat but at only 4pp per portion its a bargain pp wise, especially considering the gorgeous smells and taste that ooze out of it!
Serves 4 = 4pp each
50g chorizo, roughly chopped (I used Aldi’s spicy chorizo)
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
Pinch of cumin seeds or ¼ tsp cumin powder
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of sugar (golden caster sugar if you have it)
Small dash of red wine vinegar
125g dried red lentils
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
600ml chicken stock (made from one chicken stock cube)
Pop your chorizo in a large heavy based pan, spray with 1kal and fry until the oils start to release. Then throw in the onion, carrot and cumin and fry for around 10 minutes until the onions are nice and soft. Add the garlic and fry for another minute and then add the paprika, sugar and vinegar. Simmer for a few seconds and then add the lentils, tomatoes and chicken stock. Season well with salt and pepper, give a good stir and simmer for 30 minutes. Add a little water if necessary and then, after half an hour, take off the heat and blend with a stick blender. Serve with a drizzle of fat free natural yoghurt and a sprinkling of smoked paprika!
Me and the OH were planning on having a lovely pork stew the other night but, as they do, plans change and I ended up having to cook something up fairly quickly so we could head out earlier than anticipated!
I’ve been wanting to try out this quick stir fry for a while so took the opportunity that night and my oh my was it a treat!! The addition of the five spice made for a nice change and I loved it as it took no times at all and as it was all in the one pan, it means less dishes!! You can pop any stir fry vegetables with it that you like and even add some bean sprouts to bulk it out if you fancy but I got a fairly hefty bowlful for only 10pp!
Serves 2 = 10pp each
200g pork lion, cut into bite size chunks
2tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon clear honey
1 – 1 ½ teaspoons Chinese five spice
4 spring onions, sliced
2 peppers, thinly sliced
Handful of mange tout, halved
Pak choi, torn up (or spinach)
1 or 2 red chillies, sliced
200g fresh egg noodles
Pop your ginger, soy, honey and Chinese five spice into a bowl and give it a good mix. Throw in your pork and then leave to marinade while you chop up your other veggies (or for a couple of hours for extra flavour!).
Heat your frying pan and once very hot, spray with one kal, lift your pork out of the marinade with a fork or slotted spoon and cook with a drop of water until cooked through. Remove from pan and pop into a bowl to one side.
Slosh in a little water into the pan, whack your stir fry veggies in and fry until cooked to your liking (I cook for around 7 minutes until the peppers start to soften). Once your veggies are cooked, add your pork back into the pan and then pop your noodles in with the stir fry mix. Pour the remaining marinade from the bowl over the noodles with another dash of water, squirt in a good squeeze of fresh lime and stir fry until the noodles are warmed through.
Serve with a slice of lime!