Food doesn’t have to be boring when dieting, let alone when you’re not.
I know many people who are starved for ideas. Many of my male friends don’t cook much but over the last few years they have excelled by cooking in an exciting way, not just exciting food. I introduced a number of my friends to Weber BBQ’s sometime ago and now they are sending me pictures of their food! The only limit on a Weber is your imagination. We will visit the Weber subject again at some stage, but the point i am making is you need to find ways you like to cook and not just focus on food you like to eat. If you find ways you like to cook, it opens doors to foods you probably wouldn’t have bothered with. Hopefully some of the Weber boys will try this type of cooking so they can continue to entertain those girls!
This is the first of many meals i will post in-between my World’s Best Weight Loss Diet program posts, which talks about how to lose weight doing little exercise, while eating normal, fun foods. So here is an exciting set of dishes to try… and make variations on! The dishes are for two people. I make up three for my wife and i. We had this with a glass of wine each just last night.
Oven baking is done at about 200 C for speedy food. If you’re not worrying about losing weight you can be more liberal with the olive oil on these dishes, it works well in baked dishes and binds the flavours. Normally i do this and also use things like coconut cream, curry pastes and Peri-Peri with chunks of meat. However, these are diet versions so you really need to watch the use of oil!
BBQ Chicken with Curried Lentils – Recipes? I hate recipes and i am not going to formally list one out, this is the problem with cooking. Do your best to work this out… feel your way to the end result by tasting it and working out the calories roughly, as you go. The ingredients i point out in the instructions:
I used about 5-6 pre-cooked chicken tenderloins that i cooked on the BBQ after a BBQ evening. I always have plenty of coal heat on BBQ nights so i always cook up some extra meat for use throughout the week. Now grab a tin of brown lentils, drain them and throw in the can about a teaspoon of mild curry and about two tablespoons of Tamari.
I use Tamari a lot, it’s lighter, less intrusive on the food and the version i use is wheat free. It also has it’s own salt and i try not to use too much unless seasoning meat. Stir the lentils up with a spoon and taste test. You don’t need to waste time with bowls, try to do things on the run to make it quicker and less time consuming. Next grab a bowl or a tapa dish. I bought some specific clay ones with handles so they are easy to get out of the oven. Cut up the BBQ tenderloins in small bite size pieces, throw those into the bowl with about 10ml oil, no more. Throw the lentils on top mix them about with a squirt of Peri-Peri for some heat. Pop in the oven, which should be very high.. about 200 C.. as they can take some time. If you want to speed this up, throw the bowl in the oven and while waiting for it to heat up, pan fry all the ingredients for 5 min and then throw them into the heated bowl/dish. You can wipe out the pan each time and do this for each dish and pop them in the oven one after another. I tend to prep the more fluid dishes first so they have longer in the oven to come to a decent baking point and the others follow nicely. These days it only takes me about 5 minutes a dish to get into the oven.
Baked Tomatoes with Capers & Garlic – I use a combo of tinned Roma tomatoes and fresh tomatoes for this dish. Cut in half about 5 small tomatoes and put into a dish – no oil in this one.
Drain the tin of most of the fluid and throw those over the cut tomatoes. Spread out and mix. Put in about two tablespoons of capers, sprinkle some garlic granules (or fresh if you like) over this and drizzle well with some balsamic vinegar.. maybe two tablespoons. Then sprinkle one teaspoon of raw or brown sugar over this and stir the lot in.
Follow up with two teaspoons of butter plonked on top of the mixture and pop in the oven making sure you stir the butter in once melted. I added a little salt and popped in the oven.
Baked Chickpeas with Chorizo – with this dish you can avoid the chorizo if you want. We were careful to make sure that this fit inside our portions and calories for the day by using only a 1/2 can of chickpeas. You could use the full can and substitute the chorizo for chicken again or lean beef/lamb.
Throw chickpeas into the bowl… you love my throwing i know.. and i did have a chickpea disaster last night all over the bench, so when i say throw, i mean place 🙂 Then panfry the chorizo in 10ml oil for 5 minutes and pop on top of chickpeas. Sprinkle in about 1 tablespoon of Tamari and sprinkle something you like on it in terms of herbs or spices. I tried mixed spice last night with some ground coriander.
Add in a couple of tablespoons of water as it’s a somewhat dry dish and add a little salt. Mix up and pop into the oven. Bake all the dishes for about 30 minutes if you have pre-pan fried the ingredients. This is enough to the get flavours moving about. Longer is always better. If you have the time, forget the pan frying and bake them slower at about 160 C for an hour or so. Check and stir them a few times too. Dry dishes tend to get burnt a little if you’re not careful.
Summary – There you have it, three simple dishes using some tinned vegetables that are a good source of protein, inexpensive and relatively healthy in terms of nutrition. I use tins of vegetables occasionally, although snap frozen is better for you.
And if you want to really go for it, use fresh veggies and pan fry them etc to get them where they need to be. Onions go well in anything like this however when frying you have to keep the oil low. You can sprinkle water as you go, just don’t let it run dry! These three dishes came to 1200 calories using chorizo and my wife and i split the serving based on body weight.
My portioning was about 720 calories and adding to that a 125ml glass of red wine, ended up at about 780 calories. My day ended at 2209 calories. Sandy, my wife, had a white wine and this was higher than red wine… about 85 calories depending on how sweet it is. Her calories for this was about 565 including the wine. She ended up fractionally over her goal of 1700 calories for the day.
Fun easy fast food that fits into a diet plan. Good eating!