The Ultimate SUPERFOOD Salad

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Maybe I should actually say superfoods, given the fact that there is not one but several highly nutritious foods in a plate of this beautiful and colourful salad.

Broccoli which we already talked about it the past, salmon, a powerful source of Omega 3 fatty acids to protect your arteries, spinach, full of protein and vitamin c and iron, feta cheese, low in fat but high in protein and calcium and edamame beans, which have all the benefits from the soy and all the benefits of a bean, making you fuller for longer and helping your digestive system with their high fiber content.

Salads a wonderful thing, they exist in an infinite possible combination, some of them more successful than others and very easy to adapt to one’s personal taste by swapping ingredients for something that you might like more.

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This recipe is very high is protein and good fats and has a small amount of low GI slow burning carbs that can be increased depending on your macronutrient needs. As you will see it is a pretty simple thing, with only a slightly different dressing that makes all the difference by bringing the flavours together and make this a salad that is better than the sum of its parts.

Ingredients (serves 2)

200 grams. poached salmon

50 grams. low fat Feta cheese

2 tbsp. of pine nuts

2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach

2 cups of steamed broccoli

1 tbsp. edamame beans (loose from the pod)

For the dressing

2 pinches of Salt

1/2 a tbsp. Dijon mustard in grain

1 tbsp. White wine vinegar

1 tbsp. Soja sauce

4 drops of Sweetener

Lay the spinach on a plate to make the base of the salad, scatter the broccoli evenly over it, then the poached salmon in flakes, sprinkle with fetal cheese and pine nuts.

I buy my pine nuts raw so I toast them myself on a pan with no oil whatsoever, just keep an eye on them so they don’t burn!

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Mix the dressing well and dress the salad with it and serve immediately. This particular mix of ingredients is meant to give it a slight Asian touch, which goes very well with the salmon and the edamame but of course you can avoid this just by removing the sweetener and soy sauce from the mixture.

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!

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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!

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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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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Broccoli & Feta Salad

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As promised, here is my first Broccoli recipe of the week and of the year! This recipe is low in carbohydrates, high in monounsaturated fats, vegetarian, easy to make, can be kept in the fridge and it will impress everyone if you take it to a picnic or a barbecue! It is also fairly cheap to make and why not, pretty delicious!

I got this recipe from a good polish friend of mine, and she got it from her mother… I haven’t tracked it further than that, but something that already passed on one generation deserves some recognition.

Ingredients (3 to 4 people)

  • 1 Broccoli (medium to big size)
  • 200 gr of Greek Feta Cheese or low fat Feta Cheese
  • 2/3 tablespoons of sunflower seeds
  • Extra virgin Olive oil
  • One fresh garlic clove
  • Dijon Mustard

As I explained yesterday, it is important to cook broccoli (and every other veggie as well) as little as possible and with the method that will interfere the least with its properties, for this purpose, I have chosen steaming.

You put some freshly boiled water into a big cooking pot and put the steamer on top of it. They come in standard measures and they fit most regular sized casseroles. This one is from Lekue and it’s made of super silicone, highly resistant to heat, can stand over and microwave. This company produces a huge range of funky looking silicon utensils for the kitchen, most of them super useful, and easy to clean.

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Wash the broccoli and cut it in small stalks to facilitate cooking and to make it easier to assemble the salad afterwards. Place the florets into one or two of the levels of the steamer, sprinkle with salt and put on the lid.

In medium heat so the water keeps boiling, leave to steam for 8 to 10 minutes, pretty much until is cooked to the level you like it. Bear in mind that steaming will always leave the vegetables more “al dente” than traditional boiling.

While this happens, put the sunflower seeds in a pan and toast them lightly, without adding any oil. It is really not needed! Just be careful because they go from nothing to burnt in a second if you are distracted! (You can tell it’s happened to me, right?)

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With the help of a mortar and a pestle (if you have one) peel and cut the garlic clove and be careful… it is very easy to overdo it with the garlic… make sure it is fresh, since old garlic can get stingy, and you can start with just half one clove and take it from there…

So add half a clove to the mortar, a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of Dijon Mustard and mash together carefully with the pestle. Then start adding the olive oil making sure the mixture joins together nicely and becomes a proper dressing. It will need 2 to 4 tablespoons of oil.

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Let the broccoli cool down and loose the water from the steamer and then add it to a big serving bowl. Break the feta cheese on top in rough chunks and sprinkle with the toasted seeds. Add dressing, mix well.

Enjoy…

PS. The salad picture is not mine, I will exchange for the real one tomorrow, I have realized that for some reason, I didn’t take one of the final result :…(