One of the first and most obvious lessons I learned when I started my weightloss journey, was the importance of weighing foods and portion control. It may sound crazy, but I hadn't realised how much I had been overfeeding myself and my family, especially with foods such as rice and pasta. I have always associated food with nurture and love, and it makes me happy to see people enjoying the food I have prepared. Well- I can still get that kick by creating beautiful low-fat food, but I'm very careful to weigh everything now. We're not doing ourselves, or the people we love any favours by over-feeding them.
Here's a problem you may or may not struggle with, but one I have encountered many times. I am gradually finding creative solutions for this one......
More often than not, I am cooking for more than one person. I take great care in weighing out all my raw ingredients and working out portion sizes. When the dish is something like the pizza in my first recipe, or a chicken breast, serving an individual portion is easy. However, if you have made a large pot of bolognaise, beef bourguinon, casserole, or even pasta or rice, this is much more difficult, as you have to find a way of re-allocating those weighed portions evenly when you serve up the meal. I have found myself having to re-weigh cooked pasta or rice as the cooked weights have changed due to absorption of water, then divide the cooked weight evenly between portions. I'm a bit of a maths-phobe, so too much weighing and calculating is no good for me!
Rice is the easy one. I only use Uncle Ben's Boil-in-the-bag rice now, because it is pre-portioned AND you can keep the portions separate whilst cooking, then snip open and serve. No temptation to have seconds either. Easy peasy.
I'm waiting for someone to invent boil-in-the-bag pasta but I haven't spotted it yet.
Actually, I've come up with a fantastic idea for perfect pasta portions-click HERE for the link to my EUREKA moment.
As for Bolognaise Sauce...
(or Bloggynaise in my case)
...Basically, my solution is to make my sauce, let it cool, weigh it, then weigh and bag up individual portions of the sauce calculated to 3 propoints each,(or apply the same principle for calories) which I can then freeze and use as needed.
Click HERE for the recipe and detailed portion-weighing instructions.
As for my beef bourguinon.....well, I love this solution!
This is a gorgeous recipe. It's from the Weightwatchers 'Simply Enjoy' book, p122. I can highly recommend it.
Now, the first time I made this, I found myself fishing around in the pan, having to guess how much meat to allocate each person when I served it, even though I had weighed it before I made the dish. The second time, I gave it some more thought....I had been lusting after some tiny individual
Le Creuset casseroles (in the photo at the top of this post), and had spotted them at the Bicester Village outlet shop! So....I treated myself to 4 of them. Choosing the colours was agony! There are loads to choose from and I couldn't decide whether to be all co-ordinated and matchy matchy with my kitchen, or to go for 4 total mismatches..... well you can see what I went for and I LOVE and ADORE my little mismatched pots and I know I will use them for so many different dishes, both savoury and sweet......It's also a very interesting conversation starter because people are intrigued as to why you have picked a certain colour for them!
I had special guests coming, so I used fillet steak so I could guarantee soft, melt-in-the-mouth tenderness, and then I could afford to keep the beef in chunkier pieces as it wouldn't be tough. I weighed the meat and cut it as accurately as I could into 4 even, chunky pieces per person. I cooked it altogether in one pot, but when I served it, I could easily find those 4 pieces of beef per person again, put them in the individual casseroles, then spooned the sauce over the top. Simple! Obviously, you don't have to go to the expense of the little casseroles but it is such a fun and attractive way to serve this dish and many others too.
As my recipes come up, I'll share with you the best ways to apportion them out if I have had tricky times with them. Another dish like that is my Tuscan fish stew, but as I'm giving you that recipe this week , I'll explain how to do it then.
Hopefully there's another problem solved!