Goat’s Cheese & Spinach Omelette

Grilled goat’s cheese and spinach wrapped in a light omelette.
Delicious on its own, or even healthier with a green salad. If you’ve got eggs, cheese and some leftover spinach you’ve got yourself a tasty dinner without needing to go down the shops (perfect with all this snow and ice about). To make this meal more substantial serve with a portion of roast vegetables, new potatoes or oven chips (if you’re really short on time, you could even grab a small portion of chunky chip shop chips on the way home – everything’s healthy in moderation!).

Ready in 10 minutes :: 2 servings :: 360 cals per serving :: One-off wonder

Ingredients:
1 goat’s cheese in paper
4 large handfuls of spinach
4 eggs
2 tsp olive oil spread (or butter or olive oil)
Sea salt
Pepper

Directions:
1. Turn the grill on. Unwrap the goats cheese and transfer to a baking sheet leaving the paper it was wrapped in underneath. Taking care to ensure the paper is flat (so it doesn’t catch fire) place the cheese under the grill for 5 minutes, until golden brown. Then carefully cut into smaller pieces whilst leaving on the paper.
2. Meanwile, wash the spinach and drain.
3. Beat 2 eggs in a mug with a fork, stirring in tsp of water.
4. In a non-stick frying pan, add the olive oil spread and heat until melted on a medium/high heat.
5. Add the eggs and gently swirl the pan so the bottom is covered, immediately add half the the spinach ensuring the leaves are evenly spread.
6. Using a spatula gently push in the edges of the omelette and tilt the pan to fill in any gaps with the egg.
7. As soon as the spinach starts to wilt, add half of the goats cheese pieces to the omelette on one half only, then use the spatula to gently life away the edges and take a peak at the colour. Once golden brown underneath (and as set as you like your eggs cooked on top), carefully lift the half of the omelette without any cheese and fold onto the cheese. Then tilt the pan and slide the folded omelette onto a plate. Finish with a sprinkle of salt and a few twists of black pepper and serve. Repeat steps 3 to 7 for the other serving.

Foodwitch Factoid
Goats cheese is lower in fat than cheddar and the spinach is full of vitamins such as iron.

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Vegetable Lasagne

Chunky peppers, onions and courgettes in a rich tomato sauce, layered in between spinach lasagne pasta and topped with a deliciously thick, low fat cheese sauce. Whip this little beauty up in 25 mins, slam it in the oven and it’s ready in another 25. My top tip is to make more than you need to enjoy it again with zero-cooking another day.  Plus there’s no cook-in sauces so this vegetable lasagne is really cheap to make – costing about £1.50 per serving.

This vegetable lasagne recipe does involve making a bechamel sauce from scratch, but do not fear, it’s really not that complicated. If it goes lumpy just keep stirring until the lumps have gone – it’s great for those arm muscles! Only add a little bit of milk at a time and when you’ve added it stir the mixture quite vigorously. For the best lump-free results, create a little well for the milk to go into and gradually stir in from the edge of the well incorporating a little of the milk on each stir.  Don’t forget that the heat is constantly under the sauce so don’t leave the sauce to do anything else, it only takes about 5-7 or so minutes to make. If you absolutely must leave it, just take it off the heat temporarily and return it when you come back.

4 servings :: 500 calories per serving :: 25 mins prep :: 25 mins cook :: Lazy leftovers

Vegetable Lasagne

Vegetable Lasagne

Ingredients
3 tri-colour peppers (red, yellow, green)
2 red onions
4 courgettes
2 tins of chopped tomatoes with herbs
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 garlic cloves
Salt & pepper
4-5 spinach lasagne pasta sheets (no pre-cooking type)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2pt semi-skimmed milk
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp cheddar cheese
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Method:

1. Heat the oven to 220c. Peel and crush the garlic. Chop the courgettes. Heat the oil in a large pan on a medium/high heat. Add the garlic and courgettes and stirfry for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile deseed/chop the peppers into 1 inch pieces and peel/chop the onion into wedges and add straight to the courgettes, strirfrying until the vegetables have softened and starting to colour.
2. Stir in 2 tins of chopped tomatoes with herbs (add 1 tsp of dried basil/oregano if the tomatoes don’t have herbs already). Stir in 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. To make the low fat cheese sauce, take a small saucepan and melt 1 tbsp butter over the lowest heat setting. When the butter is melted add 2tbsp plain flour and make a “roux” (classic bechamel sauce base) by stirring together with a wooden spoon. The roux should have a similar consistency to sticky dough (just add a touch more flour if it’s too gloopy). Measure out about 1/2pt milk  and gradually add a generous splash to the roux, working in the milk into the dough until the milk has been absorbed and the roux is smooth. Continue to add a splash more milk, stirring it in so there are no lumps, until you have no more milk left and the sauce is a similar consistency to paint (add a bit more milk or stop adding if need be). Then just grate in some nutmeg and some cheddar, give it a stir and it’s done (taste test the sauce and adjust if necessary – “cook’s perk”).
4. To compile the vegetable lasagne take a large oven proof lasagne or casserole dish. Add a third of the vegetable sauce to the bottom, followed by 2-3 spoons of cheese sauce, followed by 2 sheets of lasagne sheets. Then repeat and repeat again so you have 3 layers, making sure you leave plenty of cheese sauce for the topping. Spread the cheese sauce to cover all the lasagne sheets (if they’re not covered they won’t cook). Grate some parmesan to help it go a lovely rich golden brown colour. Then bake it in the oven for about 25 minutes until you can’t wait for it any longer. Enjoy!

Satay Noodle Stirfry

Thai inspired noodles with baby corn, carrot, brocolli and beanspouts in a spicy chilli and peanut sauce. This vegetarian stirfry is so easy to make, is naturally low fat and tastes amazing.

Serves 3 :: Lazy leftovers :: 300 calories per serving :: cook in 15 minutes

Satay Noodle Stirfry

Satay Noodle Stirfry

Ingredients

2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp sweet thai chilli sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 brocolli
200g baby corn
1 large carrot
250g bean sprouts (1 bag)
1 bunch of spring onions
4 garlic cloves
1 inch of ginger
1 tbsp sunflower oil
150g wholewheat noodles

Method

1. Crush the garlic and cut the brocolli into small florets. Heat the oil in a large pan on a medium/high temperature and stirfry the garlic, baby corn and the brocolli for about 5 minutes.
2. Boil a kettle of water and cook the noodles for 3-4 minutes (as packet instructions).
3. Meanwhile, peel the carrot and cut into chunky batons and add to the stirfry and stir. Then trim the spring onions ends, cut them lengthways down the middle, then cut again into similar lengths as the carrot batons and add to the stirfry. Add the bean sprouts. Peel the ginger, chop into sticks and add to the stirfry.
4. Drain the noodles and set aside whilst you stir in the soy sauce, peanut butter and thai chilli sauce. Stir in the noodles, frying for a final minute to help the noodles absorb the flavour and serve.

Foodwitch Factoid
Peanut butter is often thought of as being bad for you but in fact, it’s naturally high in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and a great source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – those handy fats that actually break down bad fat (whoop!). Although peanut butter does also contain a moderate amount of saturated fat so don’t go eating the whole jar!

Sweet Potato & Spinach Chermoula

Spicy sweet potato, spinach, apricots and chickpeas in a morroccan inspired sauce. Serve with a grilled flat bread on the first night and enjoy the leftovers with cous cous the 2nd night – or go mad and do it the other way round! Either way you only need to cook the dish once, but eat it twice.

Serves 4 :: 30 mins cook :: 10 mins reheat :: 300 calories per serving :: Lazy leftovers :: Double destiny

Sweet Potato & Spinach Chermoula

Sweet Potato & Spinach Chermoula

Ingredients
4 sweet potatoes (cut into small chunks)
250g spinach
1 onion (diced)
1 lemon (juice only)
400g chickpeas (cooked)
16 dried apricots (halved)
3 tbsp harissa paste
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried coriander
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp olive oil
1 pt vegetable stock
Flat leaf parsley
Sea salt
Crushed black pepper
Mixed seeds

Method:
1. Dice the onion and fry gently in 1 tbsp of olive oil on a low heat for 5 minutes, whilst cubing the sweet potato.
2. Add the juice from 1 lemon, cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt, pepper, harissa paste to the onion, followed by the sweet potatoes and stir.
3. Boil a kettle of water and make a pint of vegetable stock. Add this to the pot so the water covers the potatoes and boil covered with a lid for 10-15 minutes.
4. Once the sweet potatoes are tender add the apricots, chickpeas and spinach and simmer for another 5 minutes until the spinach is wilted and the sauce has reduced. Grill the flatbread. Serve scattered with torn flat leaf parsley and a small handul of seeds, together with the grilled flatbread.

Foodwitch Factoid
I leave the skins on the sweet potato, it saves valuable cooking time and they are very good for you as the skins are where the essential nutrients are found (good for fighting for winter colds).

Red Wine & Mushroom Chicken

Free-range chicken breast in a red wine and mushroom sauce served with parsley mash and green beans. This tasty little dinner can be rustled up in under half an hour and came into being as I had 1 leftover chicken breast (uncooked), but it could just as easily be made with cooked turkey leftovers. See my Foodwitch Factoid below for details.

Serves 2 :: ready in 30 mins :: 450 calories per serving :: one-off wonder

Red Wine & Mushroom Chicken

Red Wine & Mushroom Chicken

Ingredients
1 free-range chicken breast
1/2 red onion
4 flat mushrooms
400g brown lentils
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley
100 ml red wine
4 garlic cloves
2 tsp butter
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp dried rosemary
30 ml semi skimmed milk
Black pepper
Sea salt
2 potatoes
200g green beans

Method:
1. Cut the potatoes into small pieces (leaving skins on) and bring to the boil in a large saucepan of water, then boil for 20-25 minutes until cooked.
2. Peel and chop the red onion. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat and gently fry the red onion until soft.
3. Meanwhile, peel and crush the garlic cloves. Cut the chicken into small pieces.
4. When the onion is starting to soften add half the garlic and the chicken. Strirfry for 5 minutes until the chicken is sealed and starting to colour.
5. Slice the mushrooms and add them to the chicken together with 1 tsp butter, 1 tsp rosemary and the remaining garlic. Add a few generous twists of black pepper and fry until the mushrooms are soft. Add the wine and lentils, then simmer for a further 10 minutes (so the sauce reduces).
6. Cook the green beans and chop the flat leaf parsley.
7. Mash the potaoes, then add the milk, remaining butter, salt, pepper and parsley and mix together. Adjust to taste as necessary then serve.

Foodwitch Factoid
As this recipe only uses 1 free-range chicken breast between 2 servings, it’s great value for money and good if you find yourself with an extra portion of chicken after entertaining. You could also use cooked chicken or turkey (perfect turkey leftover recipe) – just skip stirfrying the chicken for 5 minutes and follow as above. The great thing about using this recipe with turkey leftovers is that the strong flavours of red wine, garlic and rosemary would work really well with the dark turkey meat as well as the breast meat.

You could also serve this recipe with rice instead of potatoes and green beans for about 50 calories less per portion.

Hearty Farmhouse Minestrone

Satisfying thick and chunky version of the classic italian soup, made with autumn vegetables, pasta and beans. The sweetness of the swede and tomatoes combines with the rosemary to create a wonderfully heady aroma. Don’t worry if the cauliflower breaks up towards the end, this helps to create the thickness without needing to put the soup in a processor.

Serves 4 :: Make in 50 mins :: 420 calories per serving :: One-Off Wonder :: Easy Freezy Ready Meal :: Lazy Leftovers

Ingredients:

1 cauliflower
1 swede
2 carrots
1 onion
200g red kidney beans (1/2 tin)
400g ratatouillie (1 tin)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 vegetable stock cubes
1 tsp dried bay leaves (crushed)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp rosemary
Sea salt
200g wholewheat fusilli pasta
4 tbsp parmesan cheese (or vegetarian/vegan cheese alternative)
4 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley

Directions:

1. Chop the onion and fry gently in the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan until starting to soften (5 mins).

2. Boil a kettle of water, crumble the vegetable stock cubes into a measuring jug and make up a pint of stock.

3. Meanwhile, chop the carrot into chunky slices. Peel the swede and chop into similar sized pieces. Chop the cauliflower into small florets. Add the carrot, swede, cauliflower, ratatouillie, vegetable stock, sea salt, dried oregano and dried bay leaves to the pan. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, shave the cheese (lol), chop the fresh parsley, drain the beans and measure the pasta.

5. Add the pasta to the vegetable stew and boil hard, stirring occaisionally until the pasta is cooked (about 7-8 minutes – a minute or so longer than usual). Take care that the vegetables don’t stick to the bottom and burn.

6. Add the kidney beans about 3-4 minutes before the end to warm through, together with the dried rosemary to create an intenser flavour.

7. Serve up in bowls, scattered with the cheese and parsley.

Suggestions: Serve on it’s own or with a slice of bread and butter for an extra 150 calories. Freeze and simply defrost 10 hours before use or in the microwave. Reheat from fridge temperature in the microwave in 3-5 minutes, stirring half way though. Reheat on the hob on a medium temperature for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occaisionally.

Brocolli & Leek Chow Mein

Brocolli florets, leeks, beansprouts and noodles in a sweet soy, ginger, garlic sauce finished with sesame seeds.

Serves 2 :: Ready in 10 minutes :: 360 calories per serving :: One-Off Wonder :: Easy Freezy Ready Meal :: Lazy Leftovers ::

Ingredients:

1 brocolli
2 leeks
1/2 bag of beansprouts
1 small red chilli
1 inch ginger
3 garlic cloves
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp dry sherry (sub: white wine or lemon juice)
2 tsp clear honey
1 tbsp peanut oil
1 pinch chinese five spice powder
200g wholewheat noodles
4 tsp sesame seeds

Directions:

1. Chop the leeks and brocolli into small pieces. Peel and cut the ginger into matchsticks. Peel and cush the garlic. Slice the chilli.

2. Boil a kettle of water and cook the noodles as per packet instructions, then drain (3 mins).

3. Prepare the other ingredients. Add the oil to a large heavy bottomed pan or wok and put on a high heat.

4. When the oil is hot, add the half the garlic, ginger and chilli and stirfry for 1 minute, Add the brocolli and leeks and stirfry for 2-3 minutes. Then add the beansprouts and remaining garlic, ginger and chilli and stirfry for a minute.

5. Add the soy sauce, sherry, chinese five spice powder and drained noodles and stirfry for a further minute and serve scattered with the sesame seeds.

Italian Bean & Pesto Tagliatelli

Ribbons of pasta, beans, red peppers and onions wrapped in a sun-dried tomato pesto sauce finished with pine nuts, parmesan and fresh flat leaf parsley.

Serves 2 :: Ready in 10 minutes :: 480 calories per serving :: One-Off Wonder :: Easy Freezy Ready Meal :: Lazy Leftovers

Italian Bean Pesto Tagliatelli

Italian Bean Pesto Tagliatelli

Ingredients:

1 Red Pepper
1 Onion
1/2 Can of Red Kidney Beans (200g)
1 tsp Dried Oregano
8 tsp Red Pesto
2 tbsp Olive Oil
170g Tagliatelli Pasta
2 tbsp Parmesan Cheese (or vegetarian cheese alternative)
5g Pine Nuts
1 tbsp Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley

Directions:

1. Boil a kettle of water and cook the pasta as per packet instructions then drain (6 mins).

2. Chop the onion and fry it gently in the olive oil while you finely slice the red pepper and add this to the pan. Cook till soft (5 mins).

3. Meanwhile, chop the flat leaf parsley and make a few shavings of parmesan cheese and get your serving plates ready.

4. Add 2 small handfuls of pine nuts per person to a non-stick frying pan on a very low heat and toast lightly, constantly shaking the pan so they don’t burn (2-3 minutes). Then turn the pan off.

5. Add the beans, oregano and the pesto to the softened vegetables and warm through (2 mins). Then add the cooked pasta (reserve some pasta liquid to loosen the sauce if need be). Serve with the pine nuts, parsley and parmesan scattered on top.