Guilt-free pasta bake 

A pasta bake is a dish that uses minimum effort but gives a big reward.   

I mean, come on, look at that?! 

Often pasta bakes are largely smothered in cheese and not as healthy as we’d all like them to be. 

Well not today. 

No one will stop me from eating whatever I want, I will find a way of enjoying every fat-filled dish in a low fat form.    
So a good pasta bake sauce is obviously required for a pasta bake – if you feel confident making your own then go for it! But I have only recently become aqainted to the pasta bake, so I have used pre-made sauces. Low fat only though! These jars serve four, but I use them to serve six. As far as I’ve noticed, it doesn’t make the bake dry so it makes more sense than buying two jars and being tempted to use all of the contents. 

  
Smokey bacon and chicken pasta bake 

Serves 6.

Ingredients 

500g dried pasta of your choice – cooked

Pasta bake sauce (home pride or dolmio is good – I’ve used dolmio tomato and cheese) 

12 smokey bacon streaky rashers (the ones I used had 2.5g saturated fat per 2 rashers)

225g chicken breast fillet (it’s not a lot but there’s plenty of bacon to add meat)

100g bread crumbs 

Parmesan to finish 


Method 

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. 

2. Ensure that the 500g of dried pasta is cooked. 

3. Chop chicken and bacon into small pieces, just under an inch long.

4. Fry the chicken in a pan with a little oil for 5-10 minutes, until browned. Add the bacon to the pan and fry until the bacon looks cooked (about 5 further minutes) with the chicken. 

5. Add the pasta and pasta bake sauce to the meat and stir until there is an even distribution of meat throughout the pasta. 

6. Pour contents into an oven proof dish. Flatten for an even surface and evenly spread the breadcrumbs on the surface. 

7. Cook in the oven for 25-35 minutes – until bread crumbs have gone golden.

8. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and enjoy! 

 

With 2.5g saturated fat from the bacon, less than a gram from the sauce, 0.7g (roughly) from the chicken, and a very small amount from the pasta and breadcrumbs – you’re looking at a total of around 5g saturated fat per serving in this dish. Much less than your typical pasta bake.

Happy cooking!

Henrietta x 

Viva la lasagne 

I don’t know about you but I love lasagne.

Just like Garfield.
So how can I find a low fat lasagne recipe to die for? 

Well, I start with one thing. Google.

BBC good food recipes always have low fat options if you search for them, and this recipe didn’t disappoint. 

  
You just may want to use the right sized dish so you don’t get curling, overspill like I did. 

  

  
Look at that beautiful spilling lasagne sauce. 

So good. 

So here it it. Pork and rosemary lasagne for champions. 


Ingredients 

1 tsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing400g lean minced pork (less than 5% fat)

1 onion, finely chopped

2 sticks celery, finely chopped

1 tsp dried rosemary

150ml white wine

425ml chicken stock

2 tbsp tomato purée

400g can chopped tomatoes

1 tsp cornflour

2 x 250g tubs Quark (easier to find than I though! So isle placement to Philadelphia and other cream cheeses in supermarkets.)

250ml skimmed milk

freshly grated nutmeg

10 dried lasagne sheets, about 175g/6oz in total

15g/½oz freshly grated parmesan (about 5 tbsp)

Method

Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5/fan oven 170C. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, add the pork and quickly fry until starting to become brown and crumbly. Add the onion, celery, rosemary and wine and bring to the boil. Cover and gently cook for 10 minutes, until softened.

Add the stock, tomato purée, canned tomatoes, and season. Stir well, then bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes by which time it will be nicely pulpy. Blend the cornflour to a paste with a few drops of water, then add to the pan and cook briefly until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat.

Tip the Quark into a bowl. Give it a stir, then stir in the milk, nutmeg, seasoning.

Brush a 1.4 litre/2½ pint oblong dish with a little oil. Spoon a third of the meat over the base, then cover with 2 sheets of lasagne, breaking them to fit, if necessary. Try to avoid overlapping. Spread with a third of the sauce, a little parmesan, then 2 more sheets of lasagne. Repeat layers twice more, omitting the last layer of lasagne and finishing with the sauce.

Sprinkle with remaining parmesan and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden and tender.


Super easy and super tasty. Now excuse me whilst I go eat some more.


Henrietta x

 

Frog-free Toad in the Hole

Toad in the hole was something I never really grew up with, unlike most families I know.  I was introduced to the stuff about a year ago and I’m actually quite a fan. It isn’t the healthiest of meals though.

So today I decided to make a low fat version of toad in the hole to die for. The recipe is from BBC Good Food, but I’ve managed to make it lower in fat using Musclefood’s virtually fat free sausages.

If you’re not a fan of pork sausages then using venison sausages may be an idea for this dish – and certainly would make it quite a bit more exotic! I feel that, next time, using Musclefood’s fat free chilli and garlic sausages would add tonnes of flavour and, at 0.066g saturated fat per sausage, would be divine for the waistline! 

Toad in the hole with red onions and thyme batter (serves 4)

Ingredients

1 red onion, cut into wedges, layers separated

8 thick low-fat pork sausages

1 tsp olive oil

For the batter

100g plain flour

1 medium egg

300ml skimmed milk

2 tsp wholegrain mustard

1 tsp fresh thyme leaf

steamed carrots and cabbage, to serve

 Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6/fan oven 180C. Tip the onions into a small shallow non-stick tin (about 23x30cm/ 9x12in). Arrange the sausages on top of the onions, then add the oil and roast for 20 minutes.
  2. While they are roasting, make the batter. Sift the flour into a bowl, drop the egg in to the centre and beat in the milk a little at a time until it makes a smooth batter. Stir in the mustard and thyme and season.
  3. Pour the batter quickly into the tin and return to the oven for 40 minutes until the batter is risen and golden. Serve with steamed carrots and cabbage.

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It really is that simple. 

As I said, my version may well have been lower in fat by using the virtually zero fat sausages – but it could be lower in fat STILL by using they’re certified fat free chilli and garlic sausages which I have in my freezer, ready for next time!

Happy cooking!

Henrietta x

Why not have a cheeky bit of pork?

Something about pork really puzzles me. Is there really such thing as healthy pork? Previously I’ve only ever had pork in greasy sausages, fatty bacon and, as many of you probably admire, crackling. Luckily, I’ve never been a massive fan of crunchy pork fat. But even still, having barbecued pork belly can’t be considered low-fat in any circumstances – not that I really used to care.

To my surprise there are (slightly) healthier cuts of pork that can be included in a balanced, healthy diet. This recipe may well be my permanent alternative to bacon. From “Quick cooking for diabetes”, available here.

Tenderloin of pork with pear and potato (serves 4)

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Ingredients

500g (1lb) piece pork tenderloin

2 garlic cloves, cut into slivers

1 tablespoon seasoned flour

1 tablespoon oil

150 ml (1/4 pint) dry cider

500g new potatoes, parboiled

2 pears, quartered and cored

2 thyme sprigs

3 tablespoons light creme fraiche

salt and pepper

steamed vegetables or salad, to serve

Method

  1. Make a few small cuts in the tenderloin with a sharp knife and push a sliver of garlic into each cut. Rub the pork all over with the seasoned flour.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the pork and fry for 3-4 minutes over a moderate heat until browned on all sides. Add the cider and simmer until reduced by half.
  3. Transfer the pork and juices to a shallow ovenproof dish with the potatoes, pears and thyme.
  4. Bake the dish in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit or gas mark 6) for 20 minutes or until the pork is cooked through and the potatoes are tender. Stir the creme fraiche through the cooking juices and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with steamed vegetables or a salad.

Per serving

430 calories; 43g protein; 42g carbohydrate; 12g fat.

GI rating: Medium.

You may notice that I haven’t added the creme fraiche to my dinner, only because I’m not a massive fan of creamy sauces.

This was such a lovely dinner, and this recipe book is filled with recipes that take around 30 minutes to make. Suits anyone who hasn’t enough time to cook gourmet meals in the evening! It also gives a GI rating in the nutritional information of the recipe, which is very useful if you’re watching your blood sugars!

Pork or no pork, don’t feel like you have to eliminate your favourite foods just because you’re dieting. Just find adaptations – healthier options – and soon enough, you’ll forget about the fattening pork belly you’re missing!

Happy cooking!

Henrietta x