Sunday, 31 January 2016 - , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Chicken, Mustard & Garlic Meatballs with Courgetti Spaghetti

This is a fabulously easy and tasty little dish, economical on Smartpoints and calories too!

I've made my own meatballs by skinning Heck chicken sausages, then mixing in some mustard and garlic to boost the flavours...then some finely ground porridge oats to add texture and firmness to these tasty morsels. A heap of courgetti spaghetti, some tomato puree and a light sprinkling of parmesan to finish and you'll be in Italian heaven!


Now, I know that Heck have a huge range of products; sausages, burgers, meatballs etc....but I've never seen the full range in a supermarket near there's no reason why we can't make our own meatballs out of their magically low fat/gluten-free chicken sausages. Obviously, feel free to make this dish from any sausages you like-just recalculate your smartpoints/calories accordingly.


This recipe works out to 5sp/approx.175kcal per portion

YOU WILL NEED : (Serves 2)

4 Heck chicken Italia sausages
(or equivalent of your choice)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons garlic puree
20g porridge oats
1 teaspoon avocado/olive oil

4 medium courgettes, spiralised/julienned
2 tablespoons tomato puree
(try the flavoured one with basil or chilli)
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs

2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese, grated 
Freshly ground black pepper


Cut the end off the sausages and squeeze the sausage meat into a mixing bowl.
Discard the skins.

Add the garlic puree and Dijon mustard to the mixture.

Blitz the porridge oats in a small food processor and add to the sausage mixture. This adds some texture and makes it much easier to form into meatballs-otherwise they are very slippery!

Blend everything very well together using a fork.

Using a teaspoon measure for accuracy, form tiny meatballs-roll them into shape in the palm of your hands. This recipe should make around 8-9 meatballs per portion, so 16-18 in total.

Heat up the oil in a large pan and fry the meatballs, turning regularly for 10-15 minutes.

The aim is for a lovely crispy golden coating on all sides.

Once the meatballs are almost cooked, pile the courgette strips on top of the meatballs-all in the same pan. I'm lucky enough to have a spiralizer, but you can use an inexpensive julienne peeler to achieve lovely thin strips of courgette instead.
(You can even buy courgetti spaghetti in some supermarkets)

The heat from the pan will start to cook and soften the courgette and some water will be released from it which will form the basis of your sauce...after a couple of minutes, add the tomato puree and the dried herbs.

Stir gently, blending the tomato puree into the courgette liquid and mix everything together.

The sauce will form-it's quite liquidy but I like it like this. You can always pour some of the excess water off before you add the tomato puree if you prefer it a bit thicker.

Once everything is piping hot and the meatballs are cooked right through, serve into 2 dishes. Share the meatballs equally between the 2 portions and sprinkle with grated Parmesan for the perfect Italian finish. A good grind of black pepper wouldn't go amiss either.


Meatball magic on a plate!



Try ringing the changes by adding chopped spring onion or fresh herbs such as basil or coriander into the sausage meat.


Try substituting the tomato puree
for pesto sauce 
(This adds an extra 1sp/75kcal per portion)


You could add 20g (raw weight) vermicelli per person to make this dish even more filling.
This adds an extra 2sp/60kcal per portion.


Thursday, 28 January 2016 - , , 2 comments

CUPBOARD LOVE : Heck Chicken Sausages

I'm sure many of you know about these fabulous little herby chicken sausages by now. They're an amazing find at 1sp/72kcal for TWO sausages!
They are tasty, not too small, gluten free and low fat so are a fabulous addition to a cooked breakfast or brunch dish.

The reason I've included them in my Cupboard Love section is because I have a yummy recipe coming up which features them as its main ingredient so wanted to make sure you were stocked up! 
They're available in most major supermarkets. I bought mine in Tesco.


Warning!-check the packaging carefully when you buy as the pork ones are packaged similarly and are MUCH higher in Smartpoints/calories! 

Here's a quick Smartpoints ready reckoner for you so you can see the difference;


By Heck they're good!
Monday, 18 January 2016 - , , , , 2 comments

RECIPE : Crispy Prosciutto wrapped Mustard Chicken

Since I started the new WeightWatchers plan, I've realised that I can eat healthy portions of protein-rich foods such as chicken because they are so low in Smartpoints! This means that I can add some of my favourite ingredients, such as prosciutto to give amazing flavours and texture to my dishes. 
You'll see when you make this that it's a large portion, so you'll feel full up for quite a while after eating this dish-always good for snackers like me.


The chicken breasts are flattened so they are lovely and thin, then laid on top of strips of prosciutto before being smothered in mild mustard and seasoning, rolled up and fried in a little oil and fresh rosemary. This means that the outside coating is light and crisp leaving the chicken inside succulent, delicious and bursting with robust flavours.
I served mine with a salad but it would be equally delicious with some steamed veggies, a jacket potato or some butternut squash chips.


(Serves 2 as a main meal at 7sp/365kcal per portion or 4 as a starter at 4sp/183kcal per portion)

2 Chicken breasts (165g each)
6 slices Prosciutto/Parma ham
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
black pepper/garlic pepper
2 teaspoons avocado oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary

salad leaves/tomatoes/capers to serve


Pop the chicken breasts into individual plastic sandwich bags. Hit gently but firmly with a rolling pin to flatten out each breast into an escalope about 1 cm thick. This tenderises the meat but also makes it one thickness so that it will cook evenly. It should be about half as large again as its original size.

For each portion lay 3 slices of prosciutto slightly overlapping on some baking parchment or cling film. Trim excess fat but a small amount is fine and accounted for in my sp/kcal calculations.

Lay the flattened chicken on top of the prosciutto and spread with one teaspoon of Dijon mustard per portion.

Season generously with black pepper or a garlic pepper mix, then tuck any excess prosciutto over the chicken before rolling up tightly into a 'sausage' shape.
You don't need to add any salt as the ham is salty enough.

If you have overlapped the prosciutto, there should be no chicken showing. 

Fry the 'sausages' in the avocado oil for 20 minutes (5 minutes on each side), turning 4 times so that the outside is evenly golden and crisp.

Rest the 'sausages' on a chopping board for a couple of minutes, then cut into even, chunky slices approximately 1-2 cms thick. You'll see that the chicken is not quite cooked through to the inside so this stage is very important.

Pop the slices back into a medium hot pan with a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and cook for a couple of minutes on each side so that the chicken is thoroughly cooked through.
Turn off the heat and let the chicken rest for a few minutes.

While the meat is resting, make a fresh salad using your favourite ingredients.

Share the crispy prosciutto wrapped chicken equally between the servings.





This is delicious cold, sliced finely in sandwiches or wraps or with salad. It's easy to take for a packed lunch or picnic.


Ring the changes with different fillings-perhaps some wholegrain mustard or pesto, chilli marinade...use your imagination!


Thursday, 14 January 2016 - , , 0 comments

CUPBOARD LOVE : Garlic Puree

I've recently discovered and started using this product in some of my dishes-it's delicious! Although I love the fresh stuff too, this garlic puree adds a wonderful, tasty garlic flavour to dishes without that very strong flavour you get from raw garlic.

The puree comes boxed. Inside you'll find a tube. Once open keep it in the fridge-it last a while as it's preserved in sunflower oil.

It's 0sp/20kcal per teaspoon, so if you use 2 teaspoons or 1 tablespoon you'll need to charge 1sp.

You can add a teaspoonful to a teaspoon of avocado oil for 1sp/60kcal before frying, or add a teaspoonful to salad dressing-I love it with tahini and yoghurt as a dip or dressing.
Obviously you can add it to all sorts of soups and sauces too.

A lovely and reasonably-priced seasoning to keep in your larder. This particular brand is around 80p a tube-you'll find lots of alternatives wherever you shop.


Tuesday, 5 January 2016 - , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Smoked Haddock Bake

This delicious and vibrant dish is my first recipe using Smartpoints. I've been following the new plan for three weeks now and I'm finding I'm eating much more fish and chicken these days as the protein-rich foods are so low in Smartpoints! I seem to be feeling much more full up too.
I had been cooking smoked haddock in quite a traditional way, enjoying it poached with some celeriac mash which is also lovely....but decided to invent this easy peasy baked dish as it takes minutes to prepare, 30 minutes to bake and is a really tasty and wonderful break from the norm.
It's a very versatile recipe too as you could ring the changes in all sorts of ways-trying different types of fish, toppings and veggies to add variety and prevent boredom.


You Will Need : (Serves 2)

 Recipe works out to 7sp/approx.549kcal
per portion

200g fresh spinach
1/2 teaspoon grated/ground nutmeg
20 individual cherry tomatoes
Two 120g fillets smoked haddock

100g Total 0% Fat Greek Yogurt
60g Philadelphia lightest soft cheese
40g cheddar cheese
1 clove garlic
black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh breadcrumbs


 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4

Wilt the spinach quickly in a dry pan or by pouring boiling water onto it in a colander. Rinse with cold water then drain/squeeze out any excess water.
Chop the spinach roughly, pop into an ovenproof dish and sprinkle with nutmeg. Halve the cherry tomatoes, scatter around the dish then place the haddock fillets skin-side-down on the top.
Just look at these colours!
So vibrant and just says HEALTHY to me!

Now mix the yoghurt, cream cheese, cheddar, crushed garlic and black pepper to taste
(I like a generous amount) This dish needs no salt added as the smoked haddock is so flavoursome in its own right.

Spread the cheesy yoghurt mixture generously over the haddock and try to cover most of the vegetables. Don't worry if the edges are exposed-you will just get lovely roasted tomatoes which add a different texture to the dish.

Finally, blitz a little bread (whatever you have even if it's stale!) to make a few breadcrumbs. Scatter one tablespoon of the breadcrumbs over the top of the finished dish.

Place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until baked and bubbly. If the top looks a little bland, grill for a few minutes to turn it a beautiful golden colour.
Divide into two equal portions and enjoy! This dish needs no accompaniment and is really delicious and filling.



Try using cod spread with 1 tablespoon of pesto sauce per portion
(This will add 1sp/45kcal per portion)


Try layering mushrooms with the spinach


Add a poached egg on serving to give a really filling protein boost
(This will add 2sp/90kcal per portion)