Super Light Detox Veggie Bowl

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This soup is specially designed for the following occasions:

  1. When feeling sick and nothing solid really appeals
  2. After xmas: when you feel that just about anything you put in your mouth will make you explode
  3. After any holiday when you have maybe overdone it a bit with the chips
  4. Before any holiday that requires you to show off the bikini body (and of course you are not ready just yet)
  5. In winter when you are starving to warm you up and fill you up so you don’t eat too much of any other thing on the table

The original name of this soup is Julianne Soup due to the way in which the veggies are chopped (Julianne style) and it is honestly the simplest soup you can possibly make, very difficult to screw up and genuinely yummy.

It has only super low calorie ingredients it is almost virtually fat free and the only ingredient that could be higher GI is the carrot (high GI when is cooked) which you can totally leave out and it will be just as nice.

Ingredients (serves 6)

1/2 white cabbage

1 large onion

1 leek

2 carrots (optional)

250 gr of mushrooms

2 tomatoes seeds removed

Handful of spinach

Salt

2 Vegetable or beef stock cubes

Ground coriander

Fresh ground pepper

Chop all the ingredients in fine stripes (see picture) and clean and peel the mushrooms, discard the pods (you can use them in an omelette later on) and chop them too.

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In a good cooking pot (I use Le Creuset, but any good anti adherent one would do) and grease the base with an olive oil spray. Cook the onions alone for about 5 minutes in medium heat and then add the other vegetables except the mushrooms and the spinach. Add a pinch of salt and let them “sweat” to get rid of the water, stirring occasionally for another 5 minutes.

Boil 1.5 liters of water in a kettle and add to the vegetables with the 2 cubes of stock. If you want a vegetarian/vegan option stay away from the beef flavor but it is entirely up to your personal preference.

Let it boil on low heat for 45 minutes and season to taste with the spices and then the mushrooms. Turn off the heat and let it sit for another 5 to 10 minutes.

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This soup can be kept in the fridge for about 4 to 5 days and it is perfect to cook once and then just grab and reheat. Great for school nights and it comes at about 90 calories per portion, with a very filling result. WINNER!

Easy Healthy Dinners: Stuffed Portobello mushroom & chicken salad

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I have to come clear on this one, I didn’t actually cook this. I went out for a drink with a friend and my husband stayed home and took care of dinner.

It was a lovely surprise to come back to such a delicious display specially when it involved zero effort from my side 😉

I thought it was so good and so healthy, that it was worthy of this compilation of dinners!

So here you go, this is what he swears to me that he put in it.

Ingredients (serves 2):

2 big Portobello mushrooms

2 cloves of garlic

Salt & pepper

A pinch Parsley &

1 tbsp. olive oil

A little dash of vinegar

50gr. Crumbled feta cheese

For the salad

Gem lettuce

Spring onion

Tomato

Roast chicken breast sliced

Dressed with: sesame oil, salt and vinegar

Chop all the ingredients to the minimum and mix in a bowl until you have a paste, wash the mushrooms, fill them with the mixture and cook in the oven for about 15 minutes in 160C. Use this time to assemble the salad and dress it.

Bear in mind that sesame oil is very intense and you only need a little bit of it to make it flavourful

Chicken salad

Garnish the mushroom with a parsley leaf for decoration.

Easy Healthy Dinners: Lamb & Spinach gratin

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This is a really easy way of using leftovers, when preparing some spinach from my previous post Almost Creamed Spinach, just cook some extra and keep it in the fridge to use the following nights!

For this recipe, just pan fry in a really hot pan a 350 gr lamb fillet, then slice in half and then each half in smaller pieces (around 1 cm thick). Reheat the spinach and sprinkle some grated cheese on top.

Bon appetite!

Easy Healthy Dinners: Salmon with creamed leek & broccoli

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This week I wont be sharing specific recipes, more a collection of dinner recipes that have something in common. They are all dead easy, drop dead delicious and perfect for bikini season. All of them are low in fat, carb free and gluten free, but most of all, they will keep you happy and satisfied and you wont have that awful feeling of empty stomach of feel like you are eating something similar to cardboard.

Making butter and bread taste good is easy, but mastering the art of healthy eating, that is what will keep you slim and happy in the long term.

So without further ado…

You have seen the picture, nothing more to it.

Ingredients (serves 2):

2 salmon fillets of 125 gr

2 leeks thinly sliced

1 tablespoon of butter

100 mil of milk (or soya milk)

salt

Optional ( a couple of stems of broccoli)

Fresh dill to garnish

Pan fry the salmon in no oil at all. It doesn’t need it, the fish is oily enough as it is. Remove the skin and fry on that side too, that will melt away a great deal of fat.

On a separate pan, melt the butter and add the sliced leek. Let cook for a few minutes, add salt (that makes the vegetable lose its water and cook faster) then add a bit of hot water (that makes the leek cook without having to add any more oil, and without the pan burning!) and when the water has evaporated, add the milk and let it evaporate too. Try and correct the salt.

Sprinkle the salmon with fresh chopped dill and serve.

You will be surprised at the great combination of these two ingredients.

Takes about 15 minutes to prepare too..

Enjoy!

Healthy Almost creamed spinach

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So before we jump into the weekend, I would like to share with you an old favourite of mine. It is a spinach based dish that can work as side dish to a main of meat of fish or tofu, or as a starter, minding the portions of course.

Spinach is one of those super foods that deserves the name and lives up to it, anyone born in the 70s and 80s will remember how Popeye convinced us all that spinaches would make us big and strong and you know what? he was right!

This green leaf has plenty of desirable effects in our body, it is low in carbs and fat like all the vegetables, but also it is very high in protein, nearly 3 gr per 100 gr of product, and also very high in fibre. This means that we fill fuller for the right reasons, and it helps the intestinal transit. Over and above this, there is the high contents of iron, Vitamin A, C, K and some of the group B and high contents of magnesium, calcium and potassium, all these, key to strong bones, and to avoid water retention.

It is very antioxidant and helps improving your vision and has some components that are responsible for strength building on your muscles (Popeye!!)

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The downside is that is not very good for people with kidney stones since there is a component in them that could worsen this condition, but if you are in tip top condition, jump ahead.

Some people don’t like spinach because they consider them bland and can only enjoy them when they come as a side of creamed spinach, which is a shame because all that cream and cheese kind of take away the benefit of it.

My version of this dish is much lower in fat and much higher in protein since I add cooked ham to it, making it more of a starter or even as a light dinner option.

Excuse the fast taken pics, but I hope they look yummy enough to make you want to try it.

Ingredients (serves 2):

4 squares of frozen spinach (or two portions as stated in the packaging)

120 gr of cooked ham

1/4 onion

1 clove of garlic

1/2 tbsp. of olive oil

1 tomato

50 gr of gruyere/parmesan cheese grated

Salt

In a cooking pot, cook the frozen spinach for about 5 minutes or until the frozen blocks are totally undone. Then rinse and let in a strainer to loose the water.

Then chop the onion really finely and the garlic clove and sauté them in a pan on medium heat. Cut the ham in little pieces. My trick is to make rolls and then cut it with the scissors. Then chop the tomato in small cubes.

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Put the heat up and when the pan is hotter add the ham, ideally, it needs to be a bit toasted outside, then add the tomato cubes and salt. Let simmer in low heat fro 5 minutes, then sprinkle the cheese and let it melt on top for a couple of minutes. Serve immediately.

Sauteed Artichokes with Bacon

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Lately time seems to have become a premium, it is something we are all short of and in the interest of healthy eating, sometime in the kitchen would do wonders for you. For this reason, my recipes are generally quite simple and quick,

Today I have a super quick fix for when you don’t really have many fresh ingredients at hand and you want to prepare a healthy dinner or lunch for the next day.

I have used bacon for this recipe because I had a couple of rashers leftover in the fridge, but normally I would use ham. Spanish ham would work better than Parma since it has a stronger flavour that would mix great with the artichokes.

This recipe is really high in fibre and very low in calories, great as a light dinner, although it would need some additional protein.

Ingredients (serves 1 or 2)

1 can of artichoke hearts in water

¼ onion

1 clove of garlic

1 tsp olive oil

2 bacon rashers

Salt  

Remove the water from the tin and place the artichokes in a  bowl to drain. Cut them in halves. In a saucepan, heat up the olive oil and sweat the onion, chopped finely and the garlic, adding it just a bit after the onion (since it cooks faster, otherwise it would burn) when the onion is transparent, add the bacon or the ham, cut in small stripes and let it toast slightly, then add the artichoke hearts and let simmer for 5 minutes so all the flavours mix.

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Bon Appetite!

Marinated lamb with Capsicum & Onion

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I found a recipe very similar to this one in a diet friendly collection of recipes recommended by a well-known personal trainer and dietician called Louise Parker. She has a pretty good method that reduces the carbs to a minimum and emphasizes the importance of an active lifestyle, and eating what she calls “beautifully” basically always enjoying what you are eating. If you are not enjoying it, and it is so delicious, why waste your calorie intake with it. Pretty sound logic to me!

Anyhow, I tried one of her recipes and I made my own version of it, that I would like to share here.

This recipe is very low in carbs, high in protein and low in fat, and makes a perfect dinner for one, two or even a party, since it can be prepared in advance and cooks relatively quickly.

Ingredients (serves 2)

300 gr. lean lamb steak

½ an onion

¼ red capsicum

Skewers

For the marinade

1 lemon

2 cloves of garlic

1 teaspoon of chili flakes

Salt & pepper

½ teaspoon of cumin

Cut the meat alongside two create two long and narrow pieces and then cut into 1 inch cubes. Prepare the marinade with the juice of one lemon, 2 crushed garlic cloves and all the spices and mix with the meat. I suggest you store it in a tight closed box because it smells really strong of garlic. It is best if left overnight, but if you don’t have time, at least needs to sit there for an hour.

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Chop the onion and the capsicum in large quarters and build the skewers alternating meat, onion and pepper. Set in a tray, over cooking foil sprayed with olive oil and put in a preheated over (180C) for 8 minutes, then turn on the grill and grill for 2 minutes on each side until golden/charred according to your preference. (remember that the grill only works when the tray is around 10 cm from it, so don’t put the tray very far down the oven.

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I served it with broccoli tender stems lightly pan roasted and Goma dressing. The Goma dressing is a Japanese sesame dressing with a nutty toasted flavour that goes fantastic with broccoli. You can find it in Japanese food shops.

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Easy & Healthy Zucchini gratin

 

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Like everybody else, every time I listen to the word gratin, my mouth waters, and then my brain sends me a clear message, stay away, it will take hours on a treadmill to burn off all that fat… This might be true when eating out and it is still a not so healthy option, but  when eating in, nothing stops you from enjoying a gratin once in a while.

I have chosen zucchini for this recipe because it is an easy and fast cooking veggie that is very low in carbs and cals and goes really well with dairy produce.

You can substitute them for cauliflower, green asparagus, broccoli… but this particular one when it’s done, looks a bit like a pizza, and it can be a really good way to make children eat their veggies 😉

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Ingredients (serves 2):

1 Zucchini

100 ml of half fat cream

100 ml of low fat milk

75 gr of low fat mozzarella cheese grated

75gr of gruyere or parmesan cheese grated

Salt and pepper

 

Pre heat the oven to 170C.

Wash the zucchini and cut it into really thin roundels. The thinner the better, discard the two ends of it and set the roundels in an oven proof tray forming a layer of slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix the milk and the cream in a bowl and pour over the zucchini, cover with the cheese evenly making sure the cheeses are mixed.

Bake for 15 minutes then turn on the grill and bake for 5 more minutes until the cheese is toasted and looks like a gratin. It will depend on your oven and the distance between the tray and the grill, so keep an eye on it as it can burn really quick!

You can also use this dish as a side dish for a lean protein source such as chicken or grilled fish.

Enjoy!

Low fat & Delicious Broccoli & Stilton Soup

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So as part of my broccoli recipe series, here you have a very easy and healthy soup. Super easy to make and very quick.

It is pretty similar to the zucchini soup I posted a while ago, but then again, this is the base for most vegetable soups. The base of I cook the is to avoid starchy vegetables to give it texture and instead, I use onions. In order to minimise the fat in it, I use a tiny bit of olive oil and I cook it at a very low heat and moving it continuously, so it doesn’t burn.

If you find this difficult, you can always add a bit of water to the onion at the beginning and once it was evaporated, carry on with the recipe as it is explained here.

This is a very traditional British soup and due to the high amount of fibre in broccoli, is also very filling. For this very reason, you might need to add more water to the mixture for it to blend nicely to the right texture.

Ingredients:

1/2 a Broccoli (depending on size)

1 large onion (you want the onion and broccoli to be more or less the same volume when uncooked)

1 Beef stock cube

50gr. Stilton Cheese

Extra virgin Olive Oil

Water

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In a medium cooking pot, heat up 1/2 tbsp. of olive oil. Chop the onion in large pieces and cook in the oil until transparent.

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Wash and cut the broccoli and add it to the onion, Stir, add the beef stock cube and then 1 and half cups of water.

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Let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the broccoli is cooked. Add the stilton cheese and blend until smooth with the hand blender.

Test the flavour and add more cheese or salt if required.

Soooo easy and so healthy! Low fat, low GI, high fibre and full of goodness!

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Quick Healthy Paella

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Paella, one of the most easy yet complex dishes to master.

Every home has it’s ingredient mix and particularities that make it that little bit special and just better than everyone else’s!

In the context of a low fat, low carb diet, a paella is simply an impossibility. By definition, made with round grain white rice, which behaves like pure sugar in your system, and the high amount of olive oil used to make it sweet and soft is the anti diet dish. However, as with everything, there are ways around it to achieve, with very little compromise, a low GI, low fat, high protein dish that you can enjoy whenever you want.

I have substituted the traditional white rice with the black rice alternative I mentioned some time ago, and I have reduced the amount of olive oil to the bare minimum.

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Ingredients (for 1)

60 gr. of black rice (uncooked)

100 to 120 gr. of diced chicken breast

1/3 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

50 gr. finely chopped onion

50 gr. finely chopped red pepper

1/3 chicken stock cube

Salt

In a small cooking pot, heat up the olive oil and add the onion and the pepper at the same time. Let them cook for 3 to 5 minutes until they have started to soften. Salt the chicken and add it in, let cook for a couple of minutes.

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Add the dry rice and mix well for another minute. Then add the same volume of water as the rice occupied in its container. Add the stock cube, let simmer for 25 minutes without moving it any more.

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I like my rice a bit al dente, once cooked, check if it’s cooked to your taste and if not, add 5 more minutes. You might need to add some more water as well.

The water you add should last the full cooking time, it not, you might be cooking at too high heat, that will affect the outcome so lower heat and soft simmering is better.