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 

New year’s motivation 

This year is going to be the year I buy my first bikini, after hopefully sorting out my extra skin first. 

Not going to lie, it’s not a great feeling losing all this weight to improve your health but to be left with this loose, sagging skin hanging off my body. 

And I have a lot of it. Though I like to think I tuck it in and hide it away in my photos quite well. 

  
So before Christmas I made it to having a healthy BMI, but then I gained 2kg over Christmas (boohoo) so it’s time to get back on the diet. 

I hope everyone had an indulgent Christmas, it’s the least we all deserve! 

Happy 2016! 

Henrietta x 

Chips just got interesting.. 

So it was my partner’s 21st birthday the other day and he wanted a tefal actifry. Don’t ask why – we’re like an old couple really, we like kitchen appliances. 

So today I used it. I got him the tefal actifry express XL because he is hell bent on having something that’s ‘future proof’ and it was on offer for Black Friday. (It’s normally £250 but I got it for £160).

I highly recommend it, but a cheaper model perhaps. The actifry mini makes two portions and is frequently on offer at £99.99. 

  
So it’s chip time, and I cut up 150g peeled Maris piper potatoes into chip sized chunks. 

  
Oh they do look good.

  
So I put them into the actifry like so… And I only put one portion worth in there but the capacity is 1.5kg if anyone’s interested on this particular model! 

  
So it’s famous that 1kg of crispy chips only needs 1 spoon of oil – as I was only making one portion I used a minimal amount of oil. 

  
For a single portion of chips in the express actifry I set it for 20 minutes to create crispy, beautiful chips. 

  

 
So they started looking quite nice and crispy. 

  
And can I just say how impressed I was with this machine! It’s amazing. These chips are genuinely crispy and seriously 100 times better than any chips I’ve ever had from a deep fat fryer before.

  
Hey fish and chips – looking good. 

Henrietta x 

Weigh-in Wednesday: 3 Kg until Healthy.

Today marks 29 weeks since I began my weight loss journey, and today I hit the 6 stone mark. Not only did I reach the -6 stone milestone, but I can now officially say that I am 3 kg away from healthy. A healthy weight, a healthy BMI, and a healthy life.

Obviously I’ve somewhat adopted a healthy life for myself since my journey began 29 weeks ago but, as some one who has been overweight for 15 years of my life, I can safely say that this milestone will be my biggest accomplishment to date. I’ve trekked through the Himalayas, fallen off waterfalls in the Amazon Rainforest, had lions invade my camp on safari in South Africa and survived it all – but none of that mattered. None of that would have meant a thing if I died too young to tell my story. 

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Morbidly obese and unhappy – thats who I was. Today I stand, marginally overweight, with 3 kilograms to go until I am officially “normal”. Freedom on an empty beach.

My diabetes? Still present, as far as I’m aware. Life is never perfect. But I’ve had a my life full of torment from people who thought they had the right to judge me for simply being different from them. 

I may well be an ex-fatty, but I will always be that fat girl at heart. I will never forget what every individual ever did to my self-esteem and, despite being healthy, I will never see myself as complete. I will probably always be fighting to be a better version of myself due to the insecurities placed in my mind by the snide comments, rude remarks, public torments, and broken dreams.

This post began as a positive one, and I hope I’ve not put anyone off completing their own weight loss, or healthy lifestyle, journeys. I simply state this.

Don’t lose yourself when changing your appearance. There are so many people I’ve met who would have been much nicer if they were social outcasts. 

I may not have transformed into a swan just yet, but I intend to remain as charismatic as the original ugly duckling.

Henrietta x

The Jean catastrophe 

With university starting again, the deadlines have hit me and I’m working on them full speed ahead.. So I’ve been fairly absent from blog posting.

Yesterday, however, I woke up to my doorbell ringing. Naturally, I grabbed the first pair of jeans I could find and ran down to get my delivery, holding the jeans up frantically as I did this.

To my surprise there were two HUGE parcels for me that I couldn’t carry one-handed, so I let go on my jeans and took the parcels.

Only my jeans then fell off infront of the delivery man.

Though most people would be ashamed for life at this – I wasn’t. I looked up at him blankly and said ‘I’ve lost six stone, sorry.’ And he chuckled. I had a huge hoodie on so its not like he could see anything but my hideously hairy legs..


So here I am, standing in my UK size 22 jeans, proud to say they are FAR too large for me.

Hello UK size 14, I’m almost there on my journey to a 10. 👌🏻🎉

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

 

Mamma Mia, it’s-a pizza! 

I know what you’re thinking. There is no way this girl is about to tell me I can eat pizza.

Well I was determined to find a way to eat a healthier pizza. When I have a craving nothing will stop me from eating it. 

Obviously a dominos couldn’t be had (even though I really miss their beautiful gooey cookies) but I did find a healthier version of a good old pizza. 

First of all, the pizza base. When I was younger I was bought up on pitta bread pizzas, and I really have no idea if they were common or not.. But I sure love them. 

I searched the shelves for wholemeal pitta bread (but white would still work as long as it’s still low fat). Wholemeal bread is lower GI so more diabetes friendly!

But what on earth would I do about the cheese? I’m sure every dieter out there is aware of the high fat content in cheese. Even reduced far cheese is still high in saturated fats. 

Enter Musclefood’s new virtually zero fat cheese. Now the link I’ve posted is for cheddar, but you can also find mozerella and sharp cheddar for all you mature cheddar fans.   ** UPDATE FOR 2018 – EAT LEAN PROTEIN CHEESE IS A THING AND IT IS AMAZING. BASICALLY AVAILABLE IN TESCOS, MORRISONS, AND WAITROSE **

So the toppings were my next issue. I’m sorry everybody but pepperoni isn’t healthy. But you can easily find ham or roast beef in supermarkets with the nutritional information on the front showing how low in fat they are – especially compared to pepperoni. 

Now if you really need to treat yourself to pepperoni then so be it, just don’t tell anyone! 

Create your pizza with pitta bread, tomato Passata, 30g cheese and your toppings. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. 

And if you’re a vegetarian just don’t add any meat toppings! 

A perfect pizza every time! 

Happy cooking!

Henrietta x