Thursday, May 26, 2011

Weigh-Less recipes

Hi all

If anyone is on weigh-less, here are three ideas for suppers and lunch.

Spaghetti bolognaise

200g onions
240g mince
300g tomato & onion mix
soya sauce
whatever spices you normally use
560g cooked spaghetti (140g per serving)

Makes 4 servings
Each serving =
1½ Veg
1 MF protein
2 Complex carbs


Chicken lentil curry and rice
200g onion
360g chicken breast, cubed
300g tomato & onion mix
140g lentils
560g cooked basmati/ brown rice (140g per serving)

Makes 4 servings
Each serving =
1½ Veg
1 MF protein
1 LF protein
2 Complex carbs


50g onion, baby corn,
100g mushrooms, swiss chard/ spinach, broccoli, carrots, cabbage (in whichever proportion you like)
90g chicken breast, sliced OR lean beef
140g cooked basmati/ brown rice OR 160g sweet potato (delicious) – I find sometimes I only need 1 complex carbs because of all the veg, but if I’ve gone to gym that day, I use both because I’m starving!

Each serving =
½ veg
1 free veg
1 MF protein
2 Complex carbs



Tuna mix
100g onion
100g tomato
200g tuna
25g low fat mayo

Makes 2 servings
Each serving =
1 Veg
1 LF protein
¼ fat plus any fat you put on bread (I don’t have any)

Have with 2 Complex carbs (4 crackerbread, 60 g any other wholewheat type bread)


Pilchards mix
100g onion
100g tomato
300g pilchards in tomato
50g low fat mayo

Makes 3 servings
Each serving =
2/3 Veg
2/3 Fat plus any fat you put on bread (I don’t have any)
1 LF protein

Have with 2 Complex carbs (4 crackerbread, 60 g any other wholewheat type bread)


Baked beans
1 can baked beans in tomato sauce (makes 3 servings)
1 cup a soup Lite
Bread/ baked potato

Each serving of baked beans
Whatever fat you put on bread or baked potato
1 LF protein
2 Complex carbs (have with 60 g any wholewheat type bread or over a 90g baked potato)
1 Veg

Hope you enjoy my meals – they are working for me. Just remember that you should build your diet around things you enjoy eating – all of this I normally eat anyway. It’s just making sure that you stay balanced and have enough protein and veg.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Weekend cooking - pizza potatoes

This year, I'll be posting some of the things I cook and bake. Hope you enjoy it.

This one is something I found in a weigh-less cookbook. As with anything in the kitchen, you can make it healthy or not so healthy. Since one of my health goals is to get to my goal weight of 52 as fast as possible, I'm going for healthy.

180g potato
200g diced mushrooms, onions and tomatoes
salt, pepper to taste
30g low-fat cheese

First, zap the potato in the microwave until done (in my microwave, that's about 7 minutes).
Cut the potato in half and scoop out the potato.
Mash and mix with the mushrooms, onions and tomatoes. Add salt and pepper. Should look like this:

Then, scoop the mixture back into the potato halves. Of course, there's such a lot of mixture that it does all spill everywhere. That's fine.

Put back in the microwave for about 2 minutes.

Then sprinkle cheese on top and zap again for about 30 - 60 seconds.

Then it looks like this (there should be more cheese but I was hungry so I started on the cheese)

Voila - enjoy!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why complicate things?

Look at these gorgeous muffins I made the other day.

They tasted even better than they look and you know what? They're from a pre-mix with just a dash of creativity*** added.

So I got to thinking about how we like to complicate things and why. Is it because we want to be "perfect" or do we just over-analyse things?

Especially us women! We want to be Superwoman, doing everything from scratch, cooking a "perfect" meal every night, taking two hours to make an authentic dessert, (fill in the blanks) ________________________ and so on.

It's okay to use cake, muffin and cookie mixes. It's okay to ask your guests to bring a dish instead of stressing and trying to do it all yourself. It's okay to say no if you don't want to go to a function. You get the picture...

So now, especially as we go into the Christmas season, try and simplify your life.

Make a To Not Do list for this period and stick it up on your fridge so you are constantly reminded.

P.S. These are the Golden Cloud muffin mix and I thoroughly recommend it.

I've used the Vanilla, Chocolate and Savoury mixes and they are all good. The other day when I stocked up with some more I practically raved to a mother and daughter in the baking aisle.

***This recipe is Vanilla Muffins and I added a 100g Cadbury Caramel Chocolate slab which I roughly grated into the mix. It gets messy in preparation(with all the chunks) but the end product is oh so yum when all that chocolate melts during the baking process. Enjoy!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Weekend cooking - Easy Focaccia

I saw this focaccia recipe in a Weigh-Less recipe book.

Pizza base
280 g cake flour
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
50 ml oil
½ tsp salt
150 ml low fat milk

5 ml olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp dried rosemary, chopped
½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and spray the baking tray with Spray and Cook.
Sift dry ingredients together.
Add the oil, milk and mix.
Roll out the dough until 35cm in diameter and press into pan.
Brush with oil, sprinkle with garlic, rosemary and salt.
Bake until golden brown.

I found that the mixture was a bit dry so I had to add some more milk. I could have even added more oil.

before it went into the oven

As you can see, I didn’t have a round pan that was suitable so I just used my normal biscuit pan.

And here's the end result!

I plan to take this with me when people invite us out to supper. Of course, I'll make a nice neat one - trim edges and so forth.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Weekend cooking - Pizza sandwiches

If you didn't know by now, I don't like spending a lot of time in the kitchen. After all, there are more important things in life like....reading and organising!

Anyway, so this is one of my favourite things to make on the weekend and it takes all of 2 minutes to prepare.

Any bread - I use Slim Slice bread
30g lowfat cheese

Toast bread. I usually toast them a little harder than I'd normally do. You'll see why later.
Slice tomatoes and place on bread.
Divide cheese between slices.
Place sliced mushrooms on top
Sprinkle with spices - I put Italian pasta seasoning but plain old salt and pepper will do nicely

Zap in microwave for 30 seconds. This is when the bread softens and why I said toast more than usual.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Weekend cooking - chicken lentil curry

Be warned - this is a low-fat, healthy version.

200g onions, diced
400g chicken, cubed
400g cooked lentils (you can use sugar beans/ kidney beans/ in fact, any legumes will do)
1 can tomato, chilli & onion mix
Curry powder, tumeric & breyani masala (I buy this, readymade, at the Indian shops)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Garlic & ginger
Salt & pepper

Brown onion in oil.
Add chicken pieces, curry powders and cook until the chicken is done.

(I would normally add a potato, cubed, if I wasn’t on weigh-less but that is now a thing of the past)
Add can of tomato mix and let cook through
Add lentils last otherwise they get mushier (is this a word?).


Since we're only having this for supper tomorrow, my apologies that it is not nicely presented on a plate!

Serves 4
On weigh-less, 1 serve equals
1 medium fat protein
1 low fat protein
2 vegetable portions
1/3rd fat

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Weekend cooking - Beef mince & vegetable pie

400g puff pastry
360g beef mince
200g red kidney beans
garlic & ginger, salt & pepper to taste
1 can tomato & onion mix
300g onion, carrots and mushroom

Cook the above as you normally would cook a stew.
Roll out the pastry, lay half in baking pan and scoop mixture inside.
Lay other half on the top and trim edges with a knife.
Push the ends together, brush the top with milk and bake at 200 degrees for about 25 - 30 minutes.

It is ready when golden brown. After I took the picture, I decided that I wanted it a bit browner so I put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Weekend cooking - cottage pie

Last week, when I blogged that we were having cottage pie for supper, I think it was Jenny who left me a comment and asked me what it was.

I thought everybody knew what cottage pie was until I mentioned it to Dion. Apparently it is a UK thing so many Americans won't know about it.

So here is my recipe, although I am putting some links at the bottom of this post for the "authentic" recipes.

2 medium potatoes
Cheese for the top
120g beef mince, extra lean
200g red kidney beans
garlic & ginger, salt & pepper to taste
Worcestershire sauce
150g tomato & onion mix
200g onion, carrots and mushroom

Make mashed potato with the potatoes. Because I'm healthy, I don't use butter and I only use fat-free milk. Of course I love butter melting on hot mashed potato as much as the next person so I do indulge sometimes.

Cook the rest of the ingredients (except the cheese) into a stew/ casserole as you normally would.

Spoon the beef mince mixture into two mini casserole dishes like this.

Then spoon the mashed potato over the top and make pretty patterns with a fork. I learnt this from Nigella. I then put some Italian herbs on the top (just because I like that taste)

Then sprinkle the cheese on the top...

And bake in a pre-heated oven. Or you can use a microwave... but the oven works better.

It should look something like this. You can serve with a side salad. I was short on time and because I use such a lot of veggies, it is healthy without needing anything extra.


Here are some links I found for other cottage pie recipes.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Weekend cooking - pizza pancakes

As you know, there are only the two of us, so when I make pancakes, I generally use 1 – 1 ½ cups of flour. My usual thing with pancakes is a ratio of 1:1:1 as in flour: eggs: milk/liquid.

1 cup flour
1 egg
1 cup fat-free milk
(use as much vegetables as you like – the actual recipe calls for green pepper but we don’t eat peppers so I skipped those)
About half a cup of cheese (or more, if you like)
Salt & pepper & Italian herbs, to taste
Oil for frying
A tomato-based sauce for spreading – I used the All Joy pasta sauce (I love, love, love these sauces)

Mix the flour, egg and milk.
Add the vegetables and cheese.
Heat the oil and fry the pancakes.

I tried lots of ways to do this because I don’t follow cooking directions very well (except for baking – which I follow religiously since Nigella mentioned that baking is like science).

First, I tried to fry some of the veggies, and then I poured some batter, swirled it around and flipped when that side was ready. This didn’t work so well. So don't do this one!

Then I tried it the way the recipe intended :--)

However, the batter is so thick with the vegetables that it takes FOREVER to fry and frankly, I don’t have the patience for all that standing around.

Secondly, I tried frying it very thin and rolling it like a real pancake with tomato sauce and cheese on top. Looks a bit like an enchilada.

Third, finally I settled on a way that made me very happy.

I fried the pancake like normal. Then while still in the pan, I spread a teaspoon or two of the All Joy pasta sauce. I then grated some cheese and let the heat melt it.

Then it looks like a pizza and we ate it like that.

This is how I would do again, if ever I was mad enough to do all this work.

But please!!! Don’t let my laziness put you off. It’s just I’m not a fan of long meals. You know that anything I normally cook takes 30 minutes at most to prepare!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Weekend cooking - homemade vegetable soup

The thinking behind my soup
I didn’t try to make soup for many, many years. In fact, I only made my first pot about 2 years ago. Then I realised that you really can’t go wrong and I became much, more creative. So while I wrote down exactly what I put in this time, I usually just throw add vegetables in any amounts! It sounds vague because it is.

Money-saving tip
If you can see that you’re not going to get to use vegetables before their use-by date, and you don’t want to waste any (like me), toss them in a Ziploc bag and into the freezer. You can always use them in soup as the quality doesn’t matter because it will be liquidised anyway.

I like to have a protein in soup so that it’s a complete meal once you add a bread roll. So I added lentils. If you are using it as a starter, then you don’t need any protein and you probably don’t want it as thick as this one is. Just add more water until you’re happy with the consistency.

200g onions
220g carrots
200g marrow
100g spinach
410g canned tomato & chilli
400g lentils (cooked)
Tomato stock cube
1 tablespoon garlic
1 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
Worcester sauce
2L water

Heat a few millimetres of water (or 1 tablespoon of oil) in the pot.
Leave the pot on very high heat and add the onion and carrots. Cook through for about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic (you don’t have to add such a lot but I do because we’re going into winter and garlic is good for the immune system).
Then add the rest of the vegetables except the tomato.
Dissolve the stock cube (you can use beef, chicken or tomato – I like tomato) in some of the water.
After another 5 minutes, add the stock and the rest of the water to the pot.
Reduce heat, add the can of tomato and cook through for about 30 minutes.
Add the cooked lentils and the Worcester sauce (I didn’t measure – a couple of shakes of the bottle?).
At this point before you liquidise, check that there’s enough salt and pepper, to your family’s taste.
once you’re happy, pour the soup into the liquidiser until smooth.

Serve with a wholewheat or garlic roll!

This made 9 portions of about 300g.

Here are all my containers for the freezer!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Weekend cooking - pizza pasta casserole

500g mince (I only had 280g so I added 220g lentils)
1 Onion, diced
Carrots (I buy Pick & Pay’s prepared julienned carrots and then roughly chop them)
Bottle bolognaise sauce (I used the low-fat Royco one at Pick & Pay – about R15)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt, garlic, pepper to taste
500g spaghetti (I didn’t have spaghetti so I used the twisty pasta)

Heat pot and then add oil and onion.
Add mince, spices and brown.
Add carrots and then bolognaise sauce.
Cook for about 10 minutes.

Add pasta and mix thoroughly.
Pour into a casserole dish.
Add cheese to the top and top with your favourite pizza toppings.

I use mushrooms because I don’t like mixing meats but you can top with salami, bacon, sausage, etc.

Serve with a side salad and some bread.

About the picture
I forgot to take a picture of the completed one before I started serving and I couldn’t blog an ugly one, now could I?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Weekend cooking - kidney bean soup

This is a totally vegetarian soup with kidney beans, a wonderful source of low-fat protein.

120g onions
200g carrots
70g marrow
210g broccoli
200g pumpkin
1 X 410g can tomato & onion
300g cooked kidney beans
Tomato stock cube
1 tablespoon garlic1 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
Worcester sauce
2L water

Follow a normal soup recipe. In fact, with soup you honestly can't go wrong (unless you add too much salt or something like that).

I always liquidise my soups so they come out nice and creamy.

Serve with bread rolls and enjoy!

Aren't these little Portuguese rolls cute?

And of course, I freeze the rest of the soup.
For any tomato-based soup, spray your container and lid with an oil-based spray like Spray and Cook (I think you guys in the US call it Pam). Then your containers stay nice and clean forever!

For more vegetarian recipes, head on over to Overwhelmed with Joy.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Weekend cooking - Easy lemon fridge tart


1 pkt tennis biscuits (any biscuit that will make a nice base)
1 tin condensed milk
1 tub cream
½ cup lemon juice
Use a square dish - mine takes about 3 X 3 biscuits

Beat cream (I use low-fat), add lemon juice and condensed milk.
Keep one biscuit aside for sprinkling on the top
Arrange one layer of biscuits
Pour half the mixture
Arrange second layer of biscuits
Pour rest of mixture
Put the one biscuit in a ziplock bag and mash it fine with a rolling pin – good stress relief too ;)
Sprinkle "biscuit dust" on top

Put in fridge to set for about an hour

As easy as that – you are done.

It takes about 10 minutes to do and is a hit every single time!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Weekend cooking - spicy tomato lentil sauce

200g cooked lentils/ kidney beans/ chickpeas*
50g onions
225g tomato (from a can is just fine)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp garlic & chilli
1/2 tsp curry powder
salt & pepper to taste

* pulses are a great source of low-fat protein

Heat oil.
Add onions and saute until translucent.
Add tomato.
Add garlic and all spices.
Then add cooked lentils/ kidney beans/ chickpeas
Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes.

Serve over a +-200g baked potato.

If you want, you can sprinkle cheese on the top and zap in the microwave for 30 seconds. Enjoy!

Serves 2

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Weekend cooking - oatmeal drop cookies

  • Warning - your friends and neighbours will love you forever once you make these.

    For a quick, cheap Christmas present, I made a batch, packaged them in see-through plastic containers, tied a big green bow, attached Christmas tags and handed them out to my 5 colleagues at work.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1 egg
1/3 cup milk - I use about a cup but I add slowly until I can see the consistency is right
1 1/2 cup sifted flour
1 1/2 cup quick oatmeal
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon - I use a tablespoon because I loooove cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
½ - ¾ cup raisins or mixed fruit (optional)


  • You already know that I premix the dry ingredients. So.
  • Melt the butter in the microwave with a sheet of roller towel on the top so you don't mess.
  • Cream. (Beat with a hand mixer if you also don't have strong arms like me).
  • Add the dry ingredients and the egg.
  • Combine, yada yada, you know the rest of the story.
  • Grease your baking sheets.
  • These are drop cookies. Take a teaspoon full of the dough and place on baking sheet.
  • Allow for space to spread during the baking process.
  • Flatten them out a little bit with the back of the teaspoon and some water.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. I suggest that you check them so that they don't start burning around the edges like some of mine did.

Yields about 50.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

In the kitchen - Sandra's pizza

Making pizza is one of my favourite things to do - I think it's because it feels like chemistry. A little bit of this and a little bit of that :-)

I used to buy the ready-made pizza bases OR use wholewheat pita breads for a base until I discovered Sandra's pizza recipe.

This is so easy - it's the 3rd time I've made them. And I'm typing the ingredients by memory!

1 pkt yeast
2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tbsp honey (I don't have honey so I use sugar)
1 tbsp oil (I use extra virgin - anything will do) - I see Sandra uses 2 tbsp

  1. Mix the dry ingredients and then add the liquids.
  2. Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm spot to rise to double its volume (I put my bowl in the laundry, on top of the tumble drier while it's drying the laundry).
  3. Roll out on a floured surface
  4. Add some pasta sauce (I use All Joy- 99% fat-free :-)) and lots of garlic and smear
  5. Add your choice of toppings

6. Bake at about 220 degrees for about 15 minutes

7. Enjoy

This weekend I made focaccia too.

I brushed the dough with extra virgin olive oil, smeared with garlic and added some coarse salt. And it tastes delicious! I might just put Mimmo's out of business :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sauce for pasta and baked potatoes

I like to make this sauce and freeze it in individual servings for the nights when I have coaching appointments.

I then quickly cook some pasta or bake some potatoes, top with this sauce and grate some cheese on top.

I will post a picture after we have it this week...

160g onion (1 medium onion)
120g spinach
635g tomato, chili & onion mix (about 1 1/2 cans)
70g mushrooms
200g cooked chickpeas/ lentils/ kidney beans
salt, pepper, 1 tsp curry powder (for a bit of kick)

You can use any amount of vegetables - this is what I had on hand so that's why the quantities are a bit odd.

Fry the onions, add spinach and mushrooms and add the tomato last.
Then add the cooked legumes of your choice (I used chickpeas) and cook together.

This amount of vegetables made 6 servings.

1 serving = 0.5 low fat protein + 2 veg portions on Weigh-Less.

Serve on a 180g baked potato with 20g grated cheese and you have 2 complex carbs and 1 medium fat protein serving.

Serve on 140g pasta with 20g grated cheese and you also have 2 complex carbs and 1 medium fat protein serving.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Healthy pumpkin pasta sauce

You'll know of my love affair with red kidney beans if you scroll through the recipes in the In the kitchen category :)

I wanted to make a quick pasta sauce to use up with some red kidney beans I had in the freezer.

I intended to make a cheesy white sauce with a couple tablespoons All Joy hot & spicy pasta sauce (they're about R12,99 each at Pick & Pay - they all taste great) to give it a bit of zing.

My white pasta sauces always have onion and mushrooms to start because I'm always looking for ways to add some extra veggies.

Then I had a bright idea to add some pumpkin (I love pumpkin with that hot pasta sauce - that combo just works) to the sauce. Judging from this picture, I think I added a tablespoon already because it's quite yellow.

Okay, and here's the rest of the mashed pumpkin added. I probably added about 150 - 200g - sorry I can't be more precise; that's how I cook! Nice and bright orange! You can also see the kidney beans are in. I only had 100g.

And then I added the cooked spaghetti and heated it through. It was so delicious. You don't even know there's so much vegetables in there.

So that's how I make (what could be) fattening pasta, healthy!

If you want, you could grate some cheese and zap in the microwave for about 30 seconds until it melts. For me, that defeats the whole purpose of cooking healthy but sometimes I'm a nice wife and I'll do it like that for Dion :)

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