Friday, 30 November 2012

Thick minestrone soup (Slimming World friendly)

This thick soup is so good on a cold day (and it was -4 this morning!) to be honest  I made it today when I only had leftovers but wanted a filling soup to take to work for lunch .I looked to see what I had in and was thinking what could I make ? I had a play around with ingredients and the result was really tasty and very economical too.

Thick minestrone soup

2 large carrots (diced)
1 large onion (chopped)
2 sticks celery (chopped)
2 pints veg stock
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree 
4oz ham (chopped )
1 tsp oregano
2 cloves garlic
spray oil
4oz dry spaghetti
1 can haricot or cannelinni beans (drained) 
salt and pepper

Spray a large saucepan with the oil and add the onion, celery, carrot and oregano and cook on a low heat until soft .

Add the ham, stock, tomatoes , tomato puree, garlic and bring to the boil once boiling reduce the heat a little and add the pasta .

Once pasta is cooked add the beans and then cook for a few minutes and season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Very filling and syn free on extra easy :  )

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Quickest pea soup ever !!! (Slimming world friendly )

This recipe makes the quickest easiest soup ever ! It's really delicious and filling and made up of store cupboard and freezer stuff you will probably have in anyway.

Pea and mint soup

1lb frozen peas (the cheapest ones will do as you blend it anyway)
2 pints veg stock
1 onion (chopped)
1 tsp dried mint (if liked)
spray oil
salt and pepper

Place the onion in a large saucepan with some spray oil and the dried mint.

Fry the onion gently until soft and just starting to colour, Add the stock and peas and bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

Blend using a hand blender or food processer and season to taste.

How quick was that???

Syn free on extra easy :  ) 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Moussaka (slimming world friendly ) ...

This dinner takes a little time to prepare and make but it's well worth it. I make no claims to its authenticity as a proper moussaka but it is a very tasty and filling dinner. This recipe makes 4 very generous portions,  I usually serve with a side salad or some broccoli as my superfree veg.


1 lb extra lean minced beef
1 aubergine (thinly sliced)
3 large potatoes (thinly sliced)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 large onions (sliced)
2 tsp cumin
1 pint beef stock 
fry light 
1/2 pint semi skimmed milk
1 tbsp cornflour
grated nutmeg
salt and pepper
6oz low fat grated cheddar 

Pre heat the oven at 200/400/gas 6, Spray a baking tray with fry light and place the aubergine slices on it and spray again then bake for about 10 minutes until soft and then set aside. 

Place the sliced potatoes in a pan of salted water bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes then drain and set aside.

Spray a large saute pan or wok with frylight and add the minced beef, onions and garlic and fry until beef is cooked and onions are soft.

Add the cumin, stock, tomato puree and tinned tomatoes then bring to the boil, Then lower the heat and simmer until the sauce is reduced and thickened, Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place sauce in a large ovenproof casserole dish and lay the sliced potatoes on the top, Then layer the aubergine slices on top of that.

In a small saucepan place the milk and cornflour and whisk well continously over a medium heat until it comes to the boil and simmer until thick for a few minutes, Season to taste with salt and pepper and add a little grated nutmeg if liked. Pour the sauce over the top of the meat, potatoes and aubergine.

Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake at gas 5 /375/190 for about 45 minutes until top is browned and bubbly.

2  1/2 syns per portion if using the cheese as a healthy extra ( if not add another 6 syns)

Friday, 16 November 2012

Chili beef noodles (slimming world friendly)

I was on a late shift tonight after a busy evening  went to the supermarket and was going to grab a ready meal and sod the syns but then when I got there and looked at them they all looked sort of unappetising and had weird stuff in the ingredients even the 'fresh' ones.

I remembered I had made these chili noodles a while ago so just picked up some extra lean mince and came home as everything else was in my store cupboard/fridge.

Hand on heart these took me 20 minutes from start to finish quicker than picking up a takeaway or even going to the supermarket to pick up a ready meal. So keep the store cupboard/fridge/freezer  stocked up and you can have a delicious meal at your fingertips in less time than it takes to get a takeaway and the bonus is that its syn free and you know exactly what went in it!

Chili Beef Noodles

250g extra lean minced beef
250g dried egg noodles (about 3 slabs of dried egg noodles)
4 tbsps light soy sauce
2 tbsps dark soy sauce
1 tsp chili paste ( 2 tsp if you like it hot or fresh red chili if you like it )
1 red pepper (finely chopped)
ginger and garlic paste (I used frozen but you can use fresh if you like about 1 clove garlic  and a thumb sized piece of peeled fresh ginger grated)  )
1/2 pint veg stock
spray oil

Cook noodles according to instructions then drain and set aside.

Spray wok or large frying pan with spray oil and over a high heat add the minced beef , red pepper, chili paste and ginger and garlic and stir fry until beef is cooked through keep it moving so it doesnt stick.

Add the stock and soy sauces and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the cooked noodles and stir gently until the liquid has absorbed .

Syn free on extra easy, I usually either have a bowl of stir fried veg with this or a side salad for my superfree.

Serves 2 very generous portions or 4 with lots of stir fried veg 

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Creamy tagliatelle (slimming world friendly)

This is a lovely dish super quick for an after work dinner. This recipe makes a lot,  feeds four very generously. I learnt from Nigella to keep a little of the pasta cooking water back and to add it at the end when mixing to make the sauce creamy so I do this now and you can see from the picture it makes the sauce very smooth and helps it coat the pasta. Of course as always use any shape pasta you like this is very good with spaghetti or linguine too.
I use garlic granules as the sauce isn't really 'cooked' so raw garlic wouldnt cook enough but leave it out if you don't want any garlic flavour, Although the sauce isn't cooked the heat of the pasta cooks the egg in the dish just enough don't worry it wont taste like you are eating raw egg.  This is also a good dish for vegetarians (obviously leave the ham out!!)

Creamy taglietelle

500g taglietelle
2 eggs (beaten)
300g fat free fromage frais
1/2 tsp garlic granules
salt and pepper
250g ham (diced up)

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, fromage frais and garlic granules and set aside.
Boil the pasta as per cooking instructions on pack then drain (keep about half a cup of the cooking water back)
Add the egg mixture right into the hot pasta along with the ham and mix very well , add the cooking water that you set aside and keep mixing for a few minutes until the sauce is creamy and coating the pasta.

Season well with a little salt and lots of black pepper.

Syn free on extra easy :  ) 

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Jerk pork (slimming world friendly) ...

I love jerk pork or chicken but sometimes it's a bit too hot and not slimming world friendly this way it's not too spicy (but you can add more spice if you like ) and syn free too :  ) 

This recipe sounds complex but it's very easy as you throw all the marinade ingredients into a food processer and just blitz them and them leave the meat to marinate for 24 hours before you cook it.

I have a thing lately for black beans and rice with the pico de gallo (posted recipe previously) really easy and the pico de gallo very fresh tasting which I love but would be good with slimming world chips or wedges and salad too.

Jerk pork (or chicken)

6 chicken breast (meat slashed across a few times) or a pork tenderlion or lean loin chops treated the same way) 
2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp ground thyme
2 tsp chili powder (more if you like it hot)
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cloves garlic (peeled)
thumb size piece of root ginger (peeled)  or use frozen
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 fresh chilis (seeds in or out depends how hot you like it)
1 onion (peeled and quartered)

Throw all the ingredients except the meat into a food processer and blitz for a few minutes, Place the meat into a large shallow dish and smother with the marinade and cover with cling film, leave in the fridge overnight , take it out in the morning and turn all the meat over so well covered with the marinade then re cover and leave the rest of the day.

Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking then remove from the marinade (but keep the excess marinade) and place in a large roasting tin prelined with foil to make cleaning easier and cook on gas 6/200/400 for 30 minutes then pour off any excess fat /liquid then turn over and baste with any leftover marinade and turn the heat up to full blast and cook until meat is well browned.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Leek and potato soup (slimming world friendly)

Another tasty warming soup recipe , I take soup for my lunch in work every day now in a food flask I'm saving money and getting a hot delicious lunch and sticking to the plan so all good : )

This couldnt be easier to make you can see only a few ingredients needed and you can add other veg if you like but I like the simplicity of this.

Leek and potato soup

5 or 6 large floury potatoes (like maris piper)
4 medium-large leeks (washed well)
vegetable stock (made with stock cubes or powder) 
salt and pepper

Chop the leeks into slices and cube the potatoes (I leave the skin on the potatoes but its up to you). Place in a large pan and cover with the vegetable stock and bring to the boil.

Turn the heat down and simmer until the potatoes are soft , At this stage you can blend it if you like a smooth soup but I like some texture to it so what I do is get a potato masher and just mash into the soup so some of the potato mashes and thickens the soup and some stays chunky. Season to taste with salt and lots of black pepper.

Syn free on extra easy .....  stay warm and enjoy!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Rigatoni alla amatriciana (slimming world friendly)

I love this pasta dish it's really savoury and tasty and it's made from things you usually have in the cupboard and fridge.

It's also pretty quick to make so great for a after work dinner . If you don't like chili just leave it out it's also good as a vegetarian dish without the bacon but I'm sure it would have another name then ! Of course also feel free to use any shape pasta you like too I like the rigatoni shape as it holds the sauce well.

Rigatoni alla Amatriciana

1x 500g pack of rigatoni
8 rashers lean smoked back bacon
2x tins chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes (more if you like it)
1 tsp dried basil
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 large onion (chopped)
Spray oil
Salt and pepper

Spray a little oil in a large pan , Place in onion,bacon, garlic, chili and basil and cook over medium heat until the onion is soft.

Add the tomatoes and bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until sauce has reduced and thickened . Season to taste with salt and pepper.

When sauce is almost ready cook the pasta according to packet directions. When cooked drain the pasta and stir it into the sauce and mix well.

Syn free on extra easy

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Creamy rice pudding ..slimming world friendly

How much do you love rice pudding ? So delicious and not slimming world friendly but I saw this recipe on a slimming world Facebook page and had to try it .You don't actually use any milk or cream but as weird as it sounds you cook the pudding rice in ....wait for cream soda!!!

Yep..sounds weird I know but it works... trust me :  )

Creamy rice pudding

6oz pudding rice (or use risotto rice like arborio if cant get pudding rice)
1 litre diet sugar free cream soda (got mine in ASDA)
2 vanilla flavour muller light yogurts
1 tsp vanilla extract (if liked)

Place rice in saucepan and add the diet cream soda and bring to the boil then simmer until almost all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked and soft.

Take off the heat and leave for a few minutes then add the yogurts and vanilla extract and mix very well. I prefer to serve it cold but you can warm it up but dont re boil it.

Syn free on green and extra easy ...


Sunday, 28 October 2012

beef hotpot (Slimming World friendly)...

This cold Autumnal weather I love to make real comfort food and make the most of my slow cooker too. This recipe is great as you throw almost all the ingredients apart from the topping in the slow cooker and let it get on with it. I just used carrots and onions this time with the beef but you can use root vegetables like swede and parnsip in it too if you like them and I serve it with peas and cabbage so you get your 1/3 superfree if on the slimming world extra easy plan . Its a good one to cook on low in the slow cooker while at work then when you come in just have to put the topping on and put in the oven.
Beef Hotpot
1 lb lean braising steak (cubed)
1 large onion (chopped) 
2-3 large carrots (sliced)
1/2 pint beef stock
1 tsp dried or fresh thyme
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp pepper
some dried potato powder (like smash)
2 large potatoes (sliced very thinly) 
spray oil

Put the steak, onions, carrots, stock, thyme and salt and pepper in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours until steak is tender. Thicken the gravy with a little dried potato (syn free so an easy way to thicken a gravy without extra syns) Taste for seasoning.

Put the beef mixture into a casserole dish and top with overlapping slices of the potato then spray lightly with oil sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and place in the oven at gas 5/375/190 for about an hour until potatoes are cooked and browned on the top. Its a good idea to place the dish on a baking sheet you can see from the pic the gravy sometimes bubbles up over the top of the dish during cooking and will save your oven :  )

Serve with extra vegetables and is syn free on extra easy ...enjoy x

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Pasta kale and white bean soup (slimming world friendly)

Since coming back from holiday and being right back on the slimming world plan one thing thats really helping is taking my lunch into work. Unfortunately we don't have a microwave now so I invested in a food flask to take soups and stews to work so save money and stick to the plan too...everyones a winner :  )

I was having a look for soup recipes I could adapt and found this one it makes a really thick and hearty soup more like a stew really , made a few adjustments so it was slimming world friendly.

Pasta, kale and white bean soup

3 slices smoked lean back bacon (sliced)
1 onion (chopped)
3 carrots (peeled and chopped)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp sage
2 tsp thyme
3 pints chicken stock
8oz small pasta like conchigliette (or break up some linguine or spaghetti )
1 can cannelini or haricot beans (drained and rinsed)
1/2 bag chopped kale
salt and pepper
spray oil

Spray a large pan with spray oil , add the bacon and cook for a few minutes. Add the onion and cook for a few more minutes until the onion has softened. Add the carrots, garlic, tomato puree, thyme and 1/2 tsp salt and pepper and cook for a few more minutes. Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil then turn heat lower and simmer for 10 minutes. 

Add the pasta and simmer  for another8 minutes then add the beans and kale and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If its too thick just add some more water.

Syn free on extra easy ....Enjoy!!!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Mini vegetable quiches (slimming world friendly)

I love these mini quiches, they are crustless so slimming world friendly and are a brilliant way of using up leftovers. I made these with mushrooms, spring onions and pepper but you can use ham, sweetcorn, tuna anything you like really.

I like to serve these with salad and a jacket potato or sometimes have them with baked beans, they are also a great portable food so good to take to work for lunch or for picnics (if we had the weather!) It might seem like a lot of eggs but its only 1 egg per mini quiche.

Mini vegetable quiches

6 large free range eggs
2 spring onions (chopped)
2 large mushrooms (chopped)
1/2 red or green pepper (chopped)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 oz low fat grated cheddar

Plave the vegetables in the bases of a 6 well muffin pan (I use silicone so easy to turn out but you can use a regular one and spray with oil or even make them in muffin cases)

In a jug whisk the eggs well with the salt and pepper.

Pour over the vegetables until each 'well' is full and then sprinkle on the grated cheese.

Bake at gas 6 200/400 for between 20-30 minutesuntil browned.

approx 1/2 syn per quiche.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Thick pea and ham soup (slimming world friendly)

When I cooked the gammon ham in water it left a delicious stock which I wanted to use to make a soup . (I hate waste) I left it to go cold overnight so could skim every little bit of fat from it. I do love thick soups when the weather starts to get colder. All stock cubes are free now on slimming world and I know knorr make ham flavoured stock cubes so even if you haven't done a boiled ham you can still make this soup. I make this in a large saucepan which is the base of my pressure cooker.

Thick pea and ham soup

4 -6 pints (approx) ham stock (big saucepan full :  )
2 onions (chopped)
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp pepper
4-6 carrots (peeled and sliced)
1 lb (approx) new potatoes cut into large cubes
2 tsp vegetable stock powder (if needed, taste the stock first)
8oz diced ham
1 large mug of split peas
salt to taste (may not be necessary)

Bring stock to a boil and add the onions and sage, simmer for 10 minutes then add the split peas, carrots and potatoes. Simmer until peas are cooked and very soft and soup is thickened, Taste for seasoning and add the vegetable stock powder if need to .

 Add the ham and cook for a few more minutes, Season with pepper and salt if necessary but probably won't need the salt as the stock will be salty enough.

Sorry not a very exact recipe but I sort of play it by ear and its very tasty and filling :  )


Thursday, 13 September 2012

Beef in oyster sauce (slimming world friendly)

Another super quick dinner very simple but very tasty cooked in the same time it took to cook the rice to serve it with. I would normally mix the vegetables with the beef and sauce and fry it all together but my husband didn't want vegetables tonight so stir fried them separately.

Its well worth buying big bottles of light and dark soy sauce and oyster sauce from a chinese supermarket if you can access one (they also sell online) if you like this sort of dish. The big sizes work out so much cheaper and if you consider a bottle or packet of 'stir fry' sauce is usually at least £1 you can save a lot of money and you know exactly what went into your dinner and don't have to waste all those syns.  I also used my beloved frozen garlic and ginger paste it is soooo easy and takes all the work out of crushing and grating but please don't use the jarred stuff its really not very nice.

Beef in oyster sauce

1lb thin beef steaks (cut into strips)
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
2 tsp fresh grated ginger (or use the frozen paste)
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
spray oil

Spray wok with oil then stir fry the beef strips until brown , add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for a few more minutes.

Add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, water and black pepper and bring to a boil, Reduce heat for 2 minutes to simmer and thats it!

I served with boiled rice and stir fried mixed veg just dressed with some dark soy sauce.

Serves 4 and only 1/2 syn each person.


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Diet coke chicken (slimming world friendly)

Now to some of you this might sound odd but believe me it is delicious, Its another super quick dinner. The vegetables give it colour and freshness , Once the sauce has reduced it makes a lovely sticky syrupy BBQ tasting sauce but you have to persevere and simmer it right down it doesn't make a lot of sauce but it coats everything so its tasty. I served it with spring greens and rice but it's good with noodles and stir fry veg too..

Diet coke chicken

2 large chicken breasts (or 6 chicken thighs skinned and boned trimmed of fat)
2 peppers (red, green yellow whatever colour you like) bell peppers for my US friends
6oz mushrooms (quartered)
1 large onion (sliced )
1 can diet coke
4 tbsp passata (sieved tomatoes )
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
spray oil

Place a wok or large deep frying pan or wok over a high heat and spray with oil, Add the chicken,  onions and peppers and stir fry until the vegetables are soft and the chicken id cooked . Add the mushrooms and stir fry for another couple of minutes.

Pour over the can of diet coke, the passata and add the worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is reduced, thick and syrupy , You really need to have patience because just as you think its not going to happen it will :  )

Syn free on slimming world....  enjoy!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Thick vegetable and green lentil soup (slimming world friendly)

  Well, it's September so I am starting to think about soups and stews and hearty meals and will be starting to use the slow cooker more as Autumn goes on.   This soup is almost a stew really thick and hearty with tons of flavour. The lentils make it really filling so it is a meal in itself. You can add any veg you like really I often use leeks too just didn't happen to have any today also if you want it to go further you can add some canned chickpeas or beans at the end . A great way to use up odds and ends of veg left in the fridge as the rest of the ingredients are just store cupboard bits and pieces. Its syn free on slimming world .

I posted this for my friend Denise in the US who asked me if I had any vegetarian recipes that weren't curries : )

Thick vegetable and green lentil soup

4-5 carrots (peeled and diced)
2 onions (chopped)
3 sticks celery (sliced)
2 cloves garlic (crushed) 
1 mug of green lentils
1 tsp chili paste (or a fresh red chili chopped if you prefer)
2 pints vegetable stock
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tin chopped tomatoes
spray oil
salt and pepper 

  Spray a large pan with the spray oil and add the carrots, onions, celery, sprinkle with salt and fry over a low heat until vegetables are softened. Add the chili , garlic, oregano and lentils and stir for a few more minutes. (Its smells amazing at this point really herbal and rich)

  Add the stock and tomatoes and bring to the boil then turn heat down and simmer until the soup has reduced and thickened. Takes about 30-45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 



Saturday, 1 September 2012

Chili beef noodles (slimming world friendly)

  I love this dish, its really quick and easy to prepare. I have started buying frozen ginger and garlic paste which cuts down on prep time even more. I used sambal olek chili paste but you could use any chili paste or a fresh red chili chopped if you prefer.

Chili beef noodles

250g extra lean beef mince
250g dried egg noodles
4 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp chili paste (2 tsp if you like it hot or use a chopped fresh red chili if you prefer)
1 red pepper (sliced)
1 clove garlic (crushed)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger (or use frozen )
1 medium red onion (chopped)
1/2 pint beef stock (from a cube is fine)
spray oil

Place noodles in a pan of salted boiling water and boil until just soft (about 3 minutes then drain and set aside)

Spray wok or large pan with spray oil and add minced beef and red onion and stir fry until mince is brown and onion is soft.

Then add ginger, garlic and red pepper and stir fry for a few more minutes. Add stock and soy sauces and bring to boil then simmer for a few minutes.

Add the noodles and stir carefully and cook for a few more minutes until almost all sauce is absorbed.

(syn free on extra easy) 


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Ginger & chili beef (slimming world friendly)

This has been adapted from the book 'Gok cooks Chinese ' just to make it more slimming world friendly. It's low fat and soo tasty. You can have delicious Chinese food and still eat healthily. Its syn free as it serves 4 and 1 tsp sugar is only 1 syn or you can count 1/4 syn if you are very strict :  )

1 lb thin lean beef steaks cut into strips
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic (crushed )
3 spring onions (chopped)
2 carrots peeled and cut into match sticks
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp rice or cider vinegar
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
1 tsp caster sugar
Spray oil

Spray a wok with spray oil and when hot add the beef strips and fry quickly keep moving strips around until cooked then remove from wok and set aside.

Wipe wok out with kitchen roll then spray again and over a high heat add ginger, garlic, chili flakes, spring onions and carrot and stir fry for a minute.

Then add soy sauce , sugar and vinegar with 4 tablespoons of water and stir well to create a sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings might need a little more vinegar.

Add beef back into the wok and mix together well.

Serve with rice : )