GUILT FREE PASTA – YIPPEE!!!
If there ever was a win-win with clean, healthy, filling and totally delicious food, this dish has got to be up there at the top of the hierarchy! Pasta is one of my absolute favourite foods but because it is so high in carbs (and wheat) it’s a food group that Andrew and I have been pretty much avoiding since we began our journey. Although I must say that my obsession for spaghetti bolognese while pregnant was certainly a contributing factor to the baby weight I had to work so hard to lose afterwards!!! In the past I would always look longingly at recipes for pasta dishes knowing that I’ll probably never try them.
But I have just discovered a REAL little gem – the Betty Bossi Veggie- Twister! It is a little gadget which I found at King of Knives (kitchenware shop in Australia) (but there are plenty of similar gadgets out there) where you can stick half a zucchini into it, twist it around a bit and it creates long strands of zucchini that make the most amazing substitute for spaghetti!!!
How cool does this look???
How to prepare the zucchini (courgettes)
I used about 3 zucchinis per person. I topped and tailed them, cut them in half and let the Betty Bossi work it’s magic. I twisted the strands into a colander, and sprinkled with some Celtic sea salt and let it rest (much the same as you would salt an eggplant). It’s a good idea to put the colander onto a paper towel while you do this as it will weep considerably. After about half an hour the bitter juices have leached out and your pasta is ready to be sauced!
Dina’s Tomato Sauce
This recipe comes straight out of the Food Coach’s first cookbook. It was the first dish that Judy Davie ever taught us how to make and I will never forget it – mainly because the little techniques used make you feel nurturing and clever and the end result – DELICIOUS! Promise me you will get your hands dirty with the tomatoes – it is just FUN!!!
I must admit, the first time I made the zucchini pasta I used a good quality pasta sauce out of a jar (which was actually very delicious too!), so when I started frying up my basil for the home-made version Andrew was a little bit sceptical. Well, let’s just say I have won him over – it is now his favourite dinner!!!
What you will need:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (I confess I use 3 teaspoons organic minced garlic)
1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 chilli (optional) seeded and finely sliced (I actually could have left the seeds in to give it a bit of a kick if that is your thing)
4 1/2 cups mixed fresh Italian herbs (think thyme, oregano, parsley) chopped
4 X 400 g tins whole tomatoes (try to look for no added sugar or salt)
How you make it:
Heat the oil in a large saucepan until very hot, then drop in the basil and stir with a wooden spoon until crispy. (Stand back at first it might spatter!). Add the onion, garlic, carrot, chilli and herbs and sauté until the vegetables are soft.
Tip the tomatoes into a large bowl and break into small pieces with your hands. (The reasoning behind this is that this ensures they are not so bitter as they can be if chopped up with a metal spoon and is supposed to be the secret to this dish …) Add to the pan, bring to the boil and simmer (uncovered) for 45 minutes until the liquid has thickened and is reduced by almost half. You will end up with a rich, thick, delicious sauce. (You can store the sauce in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 7 days or freeze for up to 3 months.)
How to use the sauce with the zucchini pasta:
You don’t need to cook the zucchini, you can either toss the zucchini into the hot sauce and serve or as the sauce was quite hot we just piled some onto the zucchini pasta and let the sauce heat the zucchini as we mixed it through. You could steam the zucchini before adding the sauce I suppose – only for a minute or so though ..
To top it off I added a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan.
Seriously, how GOOD does this look????
I have been making this mouth watering salad for many years now and I don’t think I have ever made it for a dinner party or lunch crowd without somebody leaving with the recipe. It is so deliciously moreish. It is quite a carby salad so don’t have too much of it if serving it at dinner, but it makes a fantastic lunch for the week (and is delicious served with grilled haloumi, a big squeeze of lemon and some sambal if you like it hot!). This salad goes beautifully with my Healthy BBQ Chook or marinated butterflied leg of lamb and a green salad such as my Chargrilled Vegetable and Haloumi Salad.
Brown Rice, Mint and Pine Nut Salad with Currants and Caramelised Onion
What you need:
120 mls (1/2 cup) olive oil
3 brown onions, halved and sliced
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
150g (2/3 cup) currants, covered with red wine vinegar and boiled for 3 minutes (reserve liquid)
3 cups cooked brown rice (I cook 1 1/2 cups brown rice with 3 cups water in rice cooker)
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves only – chopped
1/2 bunch mint leaves only – chopped
2 finely sliced green chillies
120 grams (1/2 cup) pine nuts, toasted
How to pull it together
Heat 30 mls (2 tablespoons) olive oil in a large frying pan over low heat. Add onion, season with salt and pepper and cook on low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until caramelised. Add currants and vinegar and stir.
Combine cooked rice, parsley, mint and chillies in a large bow. Add remaining olive oil (90 mls or 1/3 cup) and lemon juice and stir. Add half the onions and half the pine nuts and toss to combine. Top with remaining onions and pine nuts.
If you’ve been following The Shrinking Hubby for a while now, you may have realised how much I LOVE quinoa! This salad is absolutely delicious on its own, or as an accompaniment to fish, chicken or beef. Try it with my delicious healthy BBQ Chook!
The first time I made it, I enjoyed the left overs with a tin of tuna for the next couple of days for lunch – it was really good.
This salad was inspired by food blogger Phoodie, but I have tweaked it a little bit to suit our own tastes.
Quinoa and Chickpea Salad
What you need:
1 cup quinoa
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 punnet grape/cherry or roma tomatoes – quartered
1 bunch parsley leaves chopped
1/2 red onion finely diced
1 cucumber diced
1 red capsicum diced
1 cup of pinenuts or slivered almonds (whichever you prefer) – toasted. (I dry roast them in a pan until they become aromatic)
2 tins organic chickpeas rinsed well and drained
150 – 200 grams of goats cheese or feta (whichever you prefer)
Whisk together (or shake in a jar) juice of 1 lemon, salt and pepper, 1 teaspoon sumac, and olive oil (to taste)
How to pull it together:
Bring 1 cup quinoa, 2 1/2 cups water, zest and juice of 1/2 lemon to a boil and simmer (covered) for about 10-15 minutes or until cooked. If it gets too dry you may need more water.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the onion, diced capsicum, cucumber, parsley, chickpeas and tomatoes. Add half the toasted nuts (almonds or pinenuts) and half the cheese (crumbled).
Add the quinoa to the bowl and pour the dressing over and mix well.
Decant into your serving dish and top with remaining nuts and cheese to serve.
Such a healthy and delicious salad – enjoy!
With summer fast approaching here in Australia this is a great recipe for a healthy barbecue option. I love using this on a butterflied chicken and serving it with some yummy salads. It’s always a hit! It’s so easy because once it’s marinated there is really not much else I need to do (as hubby is in charge of the barbecue!), and since it really benefits from being put together a day before – it leaves me more time to chat with our guests.
This is a recipe from The Food Coach and is seriously easy but very impressive! Try it with my warm mushroom, walnut and baby spinach salad or my tasty haloumi, green bean and lentil salad.
Healthy BBQ Chook
You will need:
1 free range chicken (ask your butcher to butterfly it for you)
Marinade: (quantity per chicken – i.e. I double this for 2 chickens)
here50 grams preserved lemon rind (2 wedges makes aprox 50 grams) (check out this link for how to make your own preserved lemons)
Juice of 1 lemon
3 cloves crushed garlic (or 3 teaspoons organice minced garlic)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup chopped coriander (cilantro)
Sea salt/celtic salt to taste
How to make it:
Place the above ingredients in a food processor and blend until it forms a paste. Using your hands, spread the paste over both sides of the chicken.
Refrigerate overnight if possible or for a few hours to allow the flavours to penetrate the chicken meat.
Cook on a barbeque and serve with your favourite salads!
My sister sent me this amazing recipe which I made for friends on the weekend and then again last night. It is so healthy and delicious that I simply had to share! It’s quick, easy and will become part of your regular repertoire I promise!
Piri Piri Lamb with Eggplant and Pumpkin (serves 2)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Garlic cloves (crushed)
2 tsp piri piri seasoning (Keep in mind this is a spicy seasoning if you are doubling the marinade. I have used both Masterfoods piri piri seasoning and Herbies Peri Peri seasoning. The Herbies one was much hotter than Masterfoods so maybe only use 1 tsp if this is the one you want to use).
Rind and juice of 1 lemon
Whisk the above ingredients together (or shake up in a jar)
1 eggplant diced (I sliced the eggplant lengthwise and salted it for 10 minutes before patting dry and dicing – this drains the bitter juices)
1/4 Kent pumpkin diced (You could use Kumera/Sweet Potato instead of pumpkin)
1 tin chickpeas (drained and rinsed well)
Lamb rack (I usually serve 4 cutlets to a person)
(you could also use lamb cutlets, lamb chops, backstrap, lamb loin etc…)
Brush lamb with marinade.
Toss 1/2 of the marinade with eggplant and pumpkin.
Cook eggplant and pumpkin for 20 minutes at about 180 degrees.
At this point put the marinated lamb rack in the oven for 15 minutes (and cook the veggies for a further 15 minutes at the same time.) If using lamb cutlets/chops or back strap you could BBQ or pan fry at this point.
Take out the veggies (after total of 35 minutes) and toss with chickpeas then cook for further 5 mins.
(At this point I blanched a bunch of asparagus to go with it)
Serve lamb on bed of veggies and drizzle with remaining marinade (with added chopped parsley if desired) over top. Could serve with a dollop of hummus if you wanted to – we did and it was yummy!
So easy and so delicious – enjoy!