Peas, Ham & Bacon

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This is an express post with a quick recipe for busy people! Just a quick recipe with 4 ingredients that takes 15 minutes to make and it is super healthy and delicious. It is a traditional Spanish recipe and the main ingredient is peas.

Peas are a low GI carbohydrate which means that they are good at maintaining your blood sugar levels under control, avoiding those peaks that send you directly to the cookie box. They are rich in fibre and protein and they have a lot of vitamin C , calcium and magnesium.

To make the most of their protein content, it is good to add some rice or bread to it, or mix a bit of animal source protein (this is depending on your personal preferences). In this case, we mix them with ham and or bacon and it does the trick.

Vegetable proteins are not as readily available for the body to use as the ones from animal sources, they need the addition of other amino acids to make them “complete” this can be achieved by adding: cereals (bread, rice) or combine with meat or fish or some cheese or dairy product.

Without further ado…

 

Ingredients (serves 2)

 

500 gr of fresh peas (if already peeled, 300 gr)

2 rashers of bacon

1 slice of cured Spanish ham

½ a red onion

1 clove of garlic

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt

 

Boil the peas for 10 to 15 minutes until soft (that will depend on the quality of the peas), drain them from water and reserve. Chop the onion and garlic very finely and poach in ½ a tbsp. of olive oil until soft. Add the bacon and the ham cut in small bits and let it sweat the fat & flavour. Add the boiled peas and let them shimmer for 5 minutes.

The shouldn’t be completely dry so don’t drain them completely.

Enjoy.

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Easy & Light Comfort food Beer Chicken Casserole

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As we slowly but surely approach winter, the days are getting colder and the coats thicker. Covering ourselves a bit more is a tempting occasion to overindulge and let the kilos pile up until next May, when we will peel off the layers and cry. Cry for help! A personal trainer, a fad diet, a electro stimulation machine… ANYTHING will do when the bikini is coming back.

Well this might sound revolutionary to you, but what about instead of pigging out on pumpkin spice lattes and cheese all the way to xmas only to pig out on sweets & treats all the way into new year, we practice a bit of mindful eating? This is as simple as moderating your food on a constant basis. Choose good foods as soon as possible, and have the odd treat when you really feel like it. If 80% of your diet is clean and nutritious the 20% that you let yourself enjoy a few sugary and fatty foods, will have little to none effect on your body!

Of course you want to enjoy delicious food not once or twice a week but all the time! So do I, and so does everybody else! Being nice to yourself and nice to your body means making the right choices but not torturing yourself by denying yourself pleasures and living in misery, but learning to enjoy what healthy food has to offer. I can promise you that there is very little difference in you cook things right.

Today I wanted to share with you a recipe for a casserole, which normally has a questionable reputation as healthy, since traditionally it was cooked with too much oil and came accompanied by potatoes. This recipe is low fat and low carb, with only some veggies to accompany it, and a sauce made of beer.

Don’t be afraid of cooking with alcoholic beverages, once they boil most of their alcohol has evaporated and they have little to no impact on the caloric content on a meal.

Enjoy this lovely pot of comfort food in good company this weekend.

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 onion

1 clove of garlic

1 carrot

1 chicken in pieces

1 beer (33 cl)

1 lemon

Salt & pepper

How to do it…

In a non sticky cooking pot (I keep using my Le Creuset like there is no tomorrow) fry the chicken pieces in no oil at all. Chicken is very high in protein and its meat is very lean, but it does contain a fair amount of fat in the skin. you can remove part or all of the skin before cooking or leave it on. Turn the chicken around so it doesn’t burn too much, basically allowing it toast a bit for 5 to 7 minutes. Take out of the pot and reserve. Bear in mind the chicken will probably have to be done in batches.

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On the same pot, cook the onions, carrot and garlic in medium heat and let them caramelize and become brown. I like to put the salt on them at this point too so they loose the water and cook better. Once this is done, incorporate the chicken back into the pot and mix well. Let it all heat up and then squeeze the juice of one lemon in the pot to deglaze (this means melt the burnt food at the bottom of the pot to incorporate back into the sauce). Stir a couple of times, add a beer and cover with the lid. Let cook for about 15 to 20 minutes on low heat. Open the lid and let cook for another 5 to 10 to reduce the sauce and give it consistency.

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I always recommend this dish the day after it has been prepared, since the flavours will be stronger and better integrated… this is if you can wait of course!

I have served mine here with some Brussels sprouts but any green leafy veggie will do, best with anything within the cabbage family (cauliflower, broccoli…)

Enjoy!

pollo

Low Carb Guilt Free Burger

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Since today is Friday   , and it is a wonderful thing to think of the weekend ahead.. I don’t know about you but I normally use these days to rest and I usually place my cheat meals or somehow less basic meals on these two days. It’s a way to enjoy them with my friends and family and makes it all more enjoyable. When you are trying to lose weight of reach a certain fitness goal however, the amount of “celebration” in this Celebratory meals is normally a bit more constrained, but this doesn’t mean that you do not deserve a bit of happiness.

Since for me, the low carb diet is the one that generally provides the best results, I would like to share with you this recipe of a low carb bacon cheese burger, which is also quite moderate in fat content.

I did mine with lean ground beef and reduced fat cheese, and you could even do it with turkey bacon, I used normal pork smoked bacon (British bacon) simply because I love it haha 😉

Of course, this recipe is not rocket science but hey, I thought it was worth sharing the idea!

Ingredients (serves one)

150/200 gr of lean ground beef

1 lettuce leaf

1 slice of tomato

1 slice of smoked British bacon

1 slice of reduced fat cheese (I prefer gruyere but cheddar works just as well)

½ tbsp. of mayonnaise

½ tbsp. of reduced sugar ketchup

2 slices of Aubergine (or Portobello mushrooms)

How to do it?

Pan fry the aubergine slices (don’t make them too thin or they will break) in the same pan and set aside, one minute on each side is enough.

Season the meat with salt, pepper and any spices that you like (I add garlic and onion powders normally) fry the burger pattie in a non-sticky pan without any added oil until it is cooked to your liking. My recommendation is to leave it slightly pink on the inside for better taste.

When you turn around the pattie to cook on the second side, put the cheese on top so it melts and in the meantime, just assemble the burger! My preference is: Aubergine, mayonnaise & ketchup, tomato meat with cheese and bacon, then aubergine again.

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Instead of Aubergine, you can use Portobello mushrooms if you prefer, they make grabbing the burger easier, more like a bread bun than the Aubergine, but I couldn’t get hold of them this time so I tried this other version!

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Enjoy!

Easy Heathy Dinners: Fake Black Truffle Carbonara Pasta

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I don’t know about your homes, but at mine, some people like to eat pasta for dinner. I can’t blame them, it is delicious and if you get hungry to dinner time, it will make you feel full with no doubt. For me though pasta for dinner is too heavy and it is not healthiest option before bed. As an alternative, a friend recommended me one of those special graters to cut vegetables in the shape of noodles.

What a great idea! So this was my first go at it! A healthier carbonara alternative to traditional pasta.

This was made with zucchini, low fat cream mixed with non-fat soya milk and English smoked bacon, trimmed of the excessive fat.

I promise you it will feel like you are doing something wrong! 😉

Ingredients (serves 2)

4 bacon rashers trimmed of fat

2 zucchinis peeled and cut in noodle shape

2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese grated

1 tbsp. of chopped onion

1 black truffle, grated

Pan fry the bacon with no fat at all, when toasted, add the onion and when this goes transparent, add the cream and milk mixture. Let it simmer for 5 minutes so the sauce gets some consistency and the flavours mix. Add the zucchini and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, serve and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.

No Pasta

This dish is a bit high in fat, but since the content in carbohydrate is so low, it is not a bad options. Avoid having it on days when your other meals have been fat heavy.

Enjoy!

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!