This is one of our favourite meals which cooks itself while I drive my kids to rugby or swimming practice. I usually make enough for two nights, the second night I serve this with basmati rice and it tastes a bit paella-ish. The red capsicums (sweet peppers) are rich in vitamin C, and high in antioxidants such as beta-carotene, helping to promote vision and support a healthy immune system.Read More
This is our new family favourite, midweek pasta meal. If you don't want pasta it is just as good over zucchini noodles. For a warm lunch the next day I like to put in a tin of drained cannellini beans to the sauce mixture to increase the fibre content and make enough for left overs. Depending on how much energy I have at dinner time I either serve with a big salad or stir a large handful of spinach leaves through the sauce at the end. I get four types of veggies into this dish, plus chicken thigh fillets which are a good source of iron.Read More
I love this time of year with the hint of spring starting. Here is a favourite recipe adapted from an old delicious magazine that I have made with salmon, snapper and kingfish. Easy, fresh and perfect for topping up your omega-3sRead More
In worrying news for hummus fans the world over - we are facing a GLOBAL SHORTAGE OF CHICKPEAS! After the avocado crisis I'm not sure how I'll cope! In the meantime, while tinned chickpeas are still cheap I'll stock up. Here's how we had them last night - roasted til crispy tossed with coriander, cumin and oregano, roasted along side some pumpkin. Served with rocket, mint, toasted pepitas, pomegranate seeds and some halloumi too.Read More
With the arrival of spring in Sydney I've had a craving for this Jamie Oliver inspired recipe. Salmon is a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids which are inti-inflammatory and extremely beneficial to your health - they can help lower cholesterol, reduce high blood pressure, and may reduce symptoms of arthritis and depression. I've accompanied the salmon with salsa verde and some lovely roasted veggies.Read More
I love taking classic comfort foods and making them a whole lot more nutritious. I've added lentils and plenty of veggies to my shepherds pie base and my mash is half cauliflower and half potato. With the veggies, lean lamb and lentils this is a immune boosting recipe for winter that my kids love!Read More
With the arrival of spring in Sydney I've been looking for a new way of including fish in our meals. Salmon is a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids which are inti-inflammatory and extremely beneficial to your health - they can help lower cholesterol, reduce high blood pressure, and may reduce symptoms of arthritis and depression. Omega-3s are essential fats that must be obtained from our diet. These burgers are an excellent source of quality protein that can help build and repair lean muscle.
I modified a Teresa Cutter recipe here and it was a huge hit with the family.
- 2 slices stale bread (preferably wholegrain)(gluten free if needed)
- zest of 2 lemons and juice of 1/2 lemon
- small bunch parsley
- 2-4 spring onions
- 600g salmon fillets, bones and skin removed
- 1 egg
- olive oil for shallow frying
- In a food processor pulse bread, zest of one lemon, 1/3 bunch parsley. Tip into wide, shallow bowl
- Add remaining lemon zest and parsley and spring onions to food processor, pulse. Add salmon fillets and pulse again (so you have a chopped texture not a paste). Add egg and lemon juice and briefly pulse again until just combined. Season with salt and pepper
- Divide into 8 portions and form into burgers
- Roll burgers in herbed breadcrumbs and place in fridge for 20 minutes to firm up
- Heat fry pan to a low - medium heat and cook in a little olive oil for 4-5 minutes on each side until golden outside and just a little pink in the middle
I serve the burgers on a bun for the kids and "naked" for me. I like to serve along roast sweet potato and carrot wedges (cook at 200 C for 40 minutes, drizzled with evoo) and a big green salad.
As a nutritionist people often come to see me for weight loss, glowing skin or extra energy. These might be a measure we can see on the outside but I believe it is far more important to invest in your internal health and do everything you can to reduce the risk of lifestyle diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes, including silent, undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. I wrote about pre-diabetes and insulin resistance here. With more than 100,000 Australians having developed diabetes in the past year it is likely that you know someone living with diabetes.
I first came across Hit100 when researching a university assignment looking at strategies for managing diabetes and insulin resistance. Hit 100 is a meal delivery service catering specifically for people living with diabetes. The meals have been developed by dietitians and prepared by chefs and are aimed at improving blood sugar levels. Hit100 were kind enough to offer me a few frozen meals to try.
chicken tikka marsala
hearty beef stew
pumpkin and ricotta lasagna
There are plenty of other choices on the hit100 website including some great looking breakfast and lunch options like corn fritters and oat and berry pikelets.
What are they?
The Hit100 meals are based on the latest healthy eating guidelines containing non-starchy vegetables, good quality carbohydrates, healthy fats and lean proteins. These are the guidelines we all should be following - whether or not we have insulin resistance, diabetes or not.
If you have diabetes you don't need to avoid carbohydrates - carbohydrates play an essential role in your diet as they are the main source of energy your bodies rely on to function optimally. Many carbohydrate based foods are also a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals, which all act together to keep us healthy.
How did they taste?
I heated the dishes in our oven (microwave for 5 mins is also an option) for 35 minutes and tried the meals with my two teenage kids. We enjoyed all the meals with the favourite being the hearty beef stew closely followed by the chicken tikka marsala. What I loved was the generous serve of veggies on the side. I was concerned that the veggies would not heat up well in the oven but they had a delicious lemon salsa on them and were all eaten up.
I liked that the meals had a decent amount of protein (17 for the lasagne to 29 for the beef stew) and you could see real pieces of chicken and beef. The sodium levels are less than 120mg/100g which means they are considered as low in salt. The portion size was ideal for a woman, an active teenager or man might like these for lunch or need some extra veggies at dinner.
When would I use these?
While I am a big fan of cooking and believe you can put together a quick healthy dinner in less than 20 minutes, I realise not everyone likes cooking and also sometimes even 20 minutes is too much to ask. These are a great option to have in the the freezer and much much healthier than takeaway pad-thai. I also think they would be a great option to get for an older parent or friend who might not enjoy cooking for themselves.
Want to know more?
You can head over to the Hit100 website and try an introbox.
Want to know more?
Enter coupon: ‘racheleagleton10’ at checkout to receive this exclusive $10.00 discount (valued at $79.95)!
* As mentioned Hit100 provided these meals free to me for my review. I only post reviews of products that I like and am happy to use. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely mine. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.
A few years ago we had an amazing holiday in Greece and although it was the height of summer I still enjoyed ordering moussaka. It was absolutely delicious but also very rich and filling. The other day across my Facebook feed came a "paleo moussaka" from Australia'a favourite Paleo Chef Pete Evans. As a Nutritionist there are a few things I don't agree with about paleo eating (the exclusion of wholegrains and dairy) but there are a few things I love (plenty of veggies and lean protein). I loved how the paleo recipe included cauliflower in the béchamel sauce and the layer of silver beet (swiss chard). Cauliflower and silver beet are both a great source of Vitamin C. Combining this with zinc from the lamb makes this a great immune boosting recipe for winter. I decided to combine the paleo recipe with a more traditional Greek recipe from George Colombaris to create a beautiful healthy moussaka.
MOUSSAKA WITH CAULIFLOWER BÉCHAMEL
- 2 large eggplant (about 450 g), sliced 1-cm thick
- sea salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ bunch of silverbeet or kale (about 200 g), central stalks removed and leaves chopped
- 2 onions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 600 g lamb or beef mince
- 1 red capsicum/red pepper, diced
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried organo
- 2 crushed cardamon pods
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 400g tins of crushed tomatoes
- ½ head cauliflower (about 550 g), processed into "rice"
- 500 ml (2 cups) milk
- 3 tablespoons arrowroot (see note)
- 80g parmesan cheese, finely grated, plus extra to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Cook the eggplant in batches in a frying pan with a little olive oil over med-high heat until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. Wipe the pan clean, add a little more olive oil and sauté the silverbeet or kale over medium heat for 2 minutes or until wilted. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the lamb or beef mince and spices, breaking up any lumps with a spatula. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the meat is browned. Add the tinned tomatoes, mix to combine and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, to make the cauliflower bechemal, bring half the milk to the boil with the cauliflower rice and simmer for 15 minutes until very soft. Process with a stick blender. Whisk the arrowroot with the remaining milk until combined. Turn the heat down to low and whisk in the milk and arrowroot mixture. Cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk in the grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper and allow to cool slightly.
- To assemble, lay half the eggplant slices in a single layer in a large baking dish. Spread the silverbeet or kale on top, then pour on the mince mixture. Add the remaining eggplant slices. Finally, pour over the cauliflower béchamel. Sprinkle with extra parmesan.
- Bake for 40 minutes, or until lightly golden. Allow to stand for 15 minutes before cutting and serving with a simple green salad
Although I'm a Nutritionist I'm also a massive nerd, which is why I'm finishing off the last few units in my Masters of Human Nutrition. I've just submitted my latest paper towards my Masters and the topic I chose to write about was managing obesity via high protein diets. After reviewing many random control trials and meta-analyses it is pretty clear that increasing dietary protein in the place of refined carbohydrate is a useful tool for reducing and maintaining weight. This is because protein is satiating, increases your metabolic rate and also appears to affect the hormones that stimulate appetite. Higher protein diets also tend to be easier to stick to long term.
I'm not suggesting that you need to become a body builder (in fact amounts in excess of 2g/kg body weight are difficult for the kidneys to process). In fact most people in Australia consume enough protein in their day. What does go wrong is that people don't tend to eat enough protein at breakfast and lunch leading to them overeating at dinner.
So what should a serve of protein look like and how much do you need?
WOMEN AGED 30-50 NEED 3 SERVES OF LEAN PROTEIN AND 2- 3 SERVES OF DAIRY EVERY DAY
A good guide to estimate a serve of lean protein is that it should be the size of a deck of cards.
Dairy is another excellent source of protein and women aged 30-50 should include 2-3 serves of dairy or calcium rich substitutes each day:
This is my new favourite dinner that I could eat every day for a month and not tire of. You will desperately hope there will be enough for leftovers for lunch! This recipe is full of veggies, black beans and quinoa so it delivers plenty of fibre and plant based protein which is a winner for preventing lifestyle diseases such as some cancers, cardiovascular disease and stroke plus it tastes amazing and will keep you full for ages.
This recipe was inspired by marin mama cooks but I've increased the veggies and beans a bit and "Australianised" the ingredients. I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 red chilli, half the seeds removed and sliced
1 cup well-rinsed and scrubbed quinoa
1 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 rinsed and drained cans of black beans
1 can tinned diced tomatoes
1 medium zucchini diced
2 red capsicums, diced
1 tablespoon Mexican spice powder (I used Herbies but masterfoods do one too or use 1/2 tsp chilli, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander)
pinch of salt
1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
juice of one lime
chopped fresh coriander leaves, greek yoghurt and shredded sharp cheese to serve
Heat the olive oil in a large frypan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and fresh chilli and cook for one minute stirring well.
Add in the chicken stock, quinoa, black beans, tinned tomatoes, zucchini, capsicum, salt, and spices.
Stir well, then bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and leave to simmer for 20 -25 minutes until cooked.
Before serving stir through the lime juice and chopped coriander. Serve with a sprinkle of cheese and a dollop of greek yoghurt.
The weather is warming up in Sydney so I am making some quick chicken fajitas featuring lime and capsicum (peppers). This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson's "Kitchen". Capsicums (red peppers) are low in fat, carbs and calories and high in antioxidants such as beta-carotene a precursor to vitamin A, helping to promote vision and support a healthy immune system. Capsicum is also packed full of vitamin C and their sweet flavour means they are a favourite with kids.
- 2 skinless chicken breasts, sliced into long strips (or you can use precut stirfry chicken)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 tab extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 capsicums (red, yellow or orange) cored and cut into strips
- hot chilli sauce, avocado, baby spinach, coriander leaves, 4 soft wholegrain tortillas (to serve)
- Combine the chicken with the oregano, cumin and lime juice. Leave to marinade while you slice up the onion and capsicum. Pop the tortillas in a low warm oven
- In a frying pan, saute the onion over medium heat with a little olive oil and one crushed garlic clove for five minutes. Add the capsicum to the frypan and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and put in a bowl.
- Add the remaining 1/2 tab of olive oil and other crushed garlic clove to the pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and its marinade. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Check that the chicken is piping hot and cooked through, then add the onions and capsicum. Stir together, then transfer them to a serving dish.
- Take the warmed tortillas out of the oven and put them on the table alongside the chicken mixture, chilli sauce, avocado, baby spinach leaves and chopped coriander for everyone to assemble.
Did you know that quinoa is a complete protein which means it contains all the essential amino acids? It's also a rich source of B vitamins, a good source of carbohydrates and easy to digest. For these reasons it is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration human occupied space flights! If you've had a quinoa fail before it might be because you haven't washed off the bitter tasting saponins on the outside of the quinoa. Lightly rubbing the quinoa under running water gets rid of the saponins and improves the flavour.
With the lovely warm weather we've been enjoying a tabouli salad most nights. I cook a cup of quinoa and use about 2/3 in the salad and then use the leftover quinoa for quick salads for lunch.
I like to serve the salad for dinner with some seared lamb loin fillets marinated in a little lemon and olive oil, perhaps a touch of sumac or smoked paprika. For a portable lunch the next day the salad is delicious with some feta or almonds.
- 1 cup of quinoa
- 1.75 cups of water
- pinch of salt
- generous handful of parsley, leaves picked, roughly chopped
- generous handful of mint, leaves picked, roughly chopped
- two big handfuls of baby spinach
- 4 spring onions, white part only, chopped
- 2 lebanese cucumbers, halved lengthways and chopped
- 250g cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- Seeds from half a pomegranate (optional)
- 1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (optional, if you don't have it omit, do not substitute!)
- Soak the quinoa for 15 minutes in plenty of water. Drain in a fine wire colander and gently rub the seeds to remove any saponins.
- Combine the quinoa with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt.
- Bring to the boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes, partly covered. The quinoa is cooked when the grain starts to spiral.
- Drain any remaining water.
- Leave in the saucepan with a clean tea towel or paper towel between the saucepan and the lid for 5 minutes or so. You'll need about 2/3 of the cooked quinoa for the tabouli, the rest will keep in the fridge for 48 hours.
- Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of black pepper. Add half of the dressing to the quinoa.
- Put spinach, herbs, spring onion, tomatoes and cucumber in a salad bowl. Add the quinoa. Toss and add remaining dressing. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds to serve.
This is how I like to eat in summer - a big salad topped with delicious steak. I discovered this salad when I was pregnant as I was trying to increase my iron stores and eat lots of leafy greens. It's now a firm family favourite and perfect for my teenage children who need zinc and iron for growth, energy and immunity.
GF, LF, FF - see below for notes
- 400 g lean beef (I like sirloin or porterhouse)
- plenty of black pepper
- olive oil
- 2 large handfuls asian salad mix or baby spinach leaves
- 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 20 green beans, sugar snap peas or snow peas, blanched
- 2 red capsicums,sliced
- 2 Lebanese / Japanese cucumbers sliced
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- 1 small bunch coriander picked
- 1 small bunch mint picked
- Cashews to sprinkle over
- juice from 2-3 limes
- 1 sliced red chilli (optional)
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoon palm sugar (or castor sugar)
- Season the steak with the pepper and cook in a hot pan with a little olive oil until medium rare. Remove from the pan, cover loosely and allow to rest for about 5 minutes then slice thinly.
- Combine the salad leaves, tomatoes, green beans, capsicum, cucumber, onion and herbs.
- Add the sliced beef.
- Make the dressing by mixing the lime juice, chilli, fish sauce and sugar.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and mix through. Top with a small handful of cashews.
- Divide between serving bowls and enjoy. Lean chicken breast, grilled fish or grilled firm tofu can be used in place of the beef.
GF - check fish sauce,
FF (FODMAP friendly) - substitute green tops of spring onion for onion, limit portion of snow peas to five pods, substitute peanuts for cashews
Having a rustle around in the freezer I found the ham bone I had saved from Christmas. I asked my husband to make his amazing baked beans and he also wrote down the recipe as we can never quite remember how he makes them. These make a delicious breakfast, lunch or easy dinner. You can cook an egg in the bean mixture as well. If you don't have a frozen ham bone left over from Christmas then you can get a ham hock from the butcher or make a vegetarian version. A diet rich in legumes such as cannellini beans is associated with lowered blood sugar and reduced harmful LDL cholesterol. They’ve been linked to reduced risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon and other cancers, as well as improved weight control. Plus my kids love eating them!
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 red onions roughly chopped.
- Splash of olive oil
- Ham bone (frozen from after Christmas) or ham hock.
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 x 400gm tin of crushed tomatoes
- 3 tbsp of maple syrup
- 2 tbsp of Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tsp of smokey paprika
- 1 tsp of dried chilli flakes (this gives it just a hint of heat but up to you)
- 1 tsp of dry mustard powder
- 4 x 400gm tins of Cannellini Beans (drained and rinse beans from 3 of the tins, but use liquid and beans from 4th)
- Preheat oven to 160 deg C.
- Fry up garlic, onions and oil over a medium to high heat (choose a big pot that is also able to go in oven). Whack in the ham bone. Pour in 2 tins of tomatoes and the bay leaves. Then add the maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, and spices.
- Drain the beans in a sieve and rinse off the briney liquid from 3 of the tins, but chuck liquid and beans from the 4th. Give it all a stir.
- Check seasoning but probably could do with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
- Cover and put the pot in the oven for a 1 1/2 hrs.
- I like to cook it the beans long enough so that the meat has fallen off the ham bone but not so long the dish becomes too dry. I switch off oven and just leave the pot in until I'm ready to serve.
- Dish it up with crusty bread and green salad
You can also cook this in the slow cooker on low for 4 hours.
I love a fish stew and this is my simple one. After watching a documentary last year about the fish farms in Vietnam I only buy Australian fish that has been sustainably farmed. You can buy cleaned bearded mussels in the supermarket. Mussels are a good source of omega -3 fatty acids. These fats have many beneficial effects, including improving brain function and reducing inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis. Mussels are also a great source of vitamins such as zinc which helps build immunity. Plus they are fun to eat, the kids love them! http://gty.im/175816512
Salmon, mussel and fennel stew
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 20 mins
1 bulb of fennel
1 red onion
½ fresh red chilli
2 cloves of garlic
125 ml white wine
700 g passata
1 small bunch of fresh basil
400 g mixture of fish fillets, scaled and pin-boned. I used salmon but snapper or whiting would be good. Cut into large chunks
1kg mussels scrubbed, clean and debearded
In a large, deep frypan (with lid) heat a splash of olive oil. Finely slice the fennel, onion, chill and garlic and add to the pan. Saute for 5 to 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
Add the white wine and let it simmer for a couple of minutes then add the passata and most of the basil (chopped). Simmer for a few minutes.
Add the fish and simmer for a couple of minutes
Add the mussels. Put the lid on the frypan and allow the mussels to open. When the mussels have opened (throw away any that remain closed), the fish will be cooked through (roughly four minutes).
Serve with crusty bread and a big green salad.
This is a fabulous recipe for a night where you are tired - the oven can do all the work. Our oven has a reliable oven timer so I often pop this on to cook while I am driving around to pick the kids up from rugby practice etc. It won't spoil if you leave it in the oven for 10 more minutes. You can vary the veggies depending on what the team will eat and also add a tin of cannellini beans to make a cheats' cassoulet.
1 red onion
1 whole head garlic
1 medium eggplant
2 red capsicums
1 tbsp olive oil
2 x 400g tins canned tomatoes
1 tbsp fresh thyme and rosemary leaves
6 good quality pork sausages
1 x 400g tin cannellini beans (optional)
12 kalamata olives, unpitted
fresh rosemary and thyme for serving
Preheat oven to 200C
Cut the onion into quarters, and the head of garlic in half crosswise.
Cut the eggplant into half and then rounds, the zucchinis into diagonal slices and the capsicums into thick slices, discarding core and seeds.
Arrange in a large oiled baking tray, burying the garlic halves cut-side down. Add the canned tomatoes and their juices, and a dash of water.
Tuck in the pricked sausages, drizzle with olive oil and scatter with thyme and rosemary, sea salt and pepper.
Bake for 30 minutes, then add the zucchini and turn the sausages. Cook for another 15 minutes, until the veggies are cooked and sausages are browned.
To serve, scatter with olives, rosemary and thyme. Squeeze the roasted garlic on top, and drizzle with the pan juices.
Calories: 290 Fat:16g Saturated fat:4 Carbohydrates:28g Fiber:9g Protein:12g
We were lucky enough to see Jamie Oliver present at the Sydney Opera House on the weekend. One of the delicious dishes he prepared was a beautiful fresh green curry. Green curry is one of Australia's most popular take away dishes. Jamie's version which I made last night took about 20 minutes (quicker than take-away!) and included lots of beautiful green vegetables.Read More
These make a delicious brunch and are perfect for lunch boxes. My children enjoy them after an early morning swim squad or netball session and I love knowing I've got them in the fridge or freezer for an easy lunch.
Baked eggs, spinach and ricotta in prosciutto cups
6 slices of prosciutto
chopped herbs - parsley, basil and oregano (or herbs of choice)
sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
muffin liners - optional but does help with cleaning up
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
If using, line 6 muffin pans.
Cut each slice of Prosciutto in half and wrap into each cup to hold the egg mixture.
Put a few baby spinach leaves on top of the prosciutto
Crack in an egg to each muffin cup. Add a heaped teaspoon of ricotta.
Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and chopped herbs.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until done.
Calories: 188 (792kJ) Fat: 12 Saturated fat: 5 Carbohydrates: 3 Sugar: 0 Sodium: 776 Protein: 19