Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas popcorn (slimming world friendly)

I love finding recipes that I can adapt to make them slimming world friendly. My niece told me about this she saw it on Kirstie Allsop crafty Christmas. (Thanks Naomi :) Popcorn popped with no oil is very low in syns only 4 1/2 per 100g and it weighs very light.

I popped the popcorn in the microwave in a plain brown paper bag just put a couple of tablespoons of the corn kernels in the paper bag and roll the top down a little way then microwave for just one minute , You will hear it popping in there and then after a minute you can check the corn has popped. I weighed the popcorn as I went and for this recipe used 50 grams of popped corn which made 8 portions of this popcorn. be very careful not to overcook as burnt popcorn is horrible :(

Christmas Popcorn 

50g popped popcorn
4 tbsp mincemeat

Place the popcorn in a bowl and mix in the mincemeat . It's best to do this with your hands and mix it all really well so the popcorn is well coated.

Spread the popcorn on a large baking tray and bake it at gas 5/ 375/190 for 5 minutes then check it, If its very lightly brown it is done if not pop back in for another minute or two. Leave to cool then break up.

I bagged it up in measurements of one cup and this made it just 1 syn per portion. I took it to my class tonight for taster night and it went down very well. I may make a bowl of this to put out as a snack on Christmas Day too.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! Xxx








Sunday, 8 December 2013

Nigellas pasta risotto with bacon and peas (slimming world friendly)

I love Nigella Lawson and her recipes,  She is an amazing woman who I was lucky enough to meet  at a book signing and she was so gracious and lovely and yes she is as beautiful if not more so in real life *sigh* and although a  lot of her recipes can be high in fat and syns but some like this one can also be adapted quite easily to make them more slimming world friendly.

Her original recipe called for pancetta and garlic oil both which are high in syns so I substituted lean back bacon and garlic and used a little spray oil and vegetable stock instead of water for more flavour. I had seen orzo used in some recipes but never tried it before and thought it would be a hard to find ingredient but I found it in my local ASDA. It is pasta but is shaped like a rice grain and cooks like pasta, Usually in a risotto you have to stand over it and stir for ages ladling stock and stirring each time but this one you add all the water at the same time and just need to stir it occasionally while it simmers.

This recipe serves two adults generously and is syn free : )

Nigellas pasta risotto with bacon and peas

250g orzo
150g frozen peas
150g lean bacon (chopped all fat removed)
1 clove garlic (crushed)
600ml vegetable stock (boiling hot made from a cube is fine, you might need a bit more. )
low calorie spray oil
freshly ground pepper

Spray a large saucepan with spray oil and add the bacon and garlic and fry over a moderate heat for a few minutes then add the peas and fry for a few more minutes. 

Add the orzo and the stock and stir well, Bring to a simmer and simmer for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Taste to see if pasta is cooked should still be a little firm most of the water should have been absorbed leaving the risotto quite creamy. If it is still not cooked add a little more water and cook for another couple of minutes.

Season with the pepper and serve immediately.



Monday, 2 December 2013

Mint marinaded lamb steaks (slimming world friendly)

I managed to get some beautiful lamb steaks from my local butchers and was thinking how to cook them, Mint and lamb are of course a classic combination and I have mint in the garden but was thinking how to marinade them so I would get the sort of mint sauce flavour . Most commercially bought mint sauces contain sugar and so are synned but this way the marinade was is syn free.

 I used the richess and sweetness of balsamic vinegar with the fresh mint and a little rosemary to give the steaks a delicious flavour. You could use dried herbs at a pinch but the fresh ones do make a tremendous difference to the flavour in my opinion.

Mint marinaded lamb steaks


4-6 lamb steaks (trimmed of all fat)
1 tbsp fresh mint (chopped) - or 1-2 tsp dried mint
2 tsps fresh rosemary (chopped) - or 1 tsp dried rosemary
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
spray oil

Spray a casserole dish with a little oil then add the lamb steaks and mix well with all the ingredients . Cover and leave for a few hours for the flavours to develop.

Cover the dish with lid or foil and roast for 20 minutes on gas 6 /400/ 200 then remove lid and roast for a further 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven recover and leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving.



Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Corned beef stew (slimming world friendly)

Now I know corned beef anything doesnt sound very slimming world or healthy friendly but this recipe uses loads of vegetables to make up the bulk of it and with the beef stock and the corned beef these both go a long way to flavour the stew.

I had never heard of Corned beef stew until I moved to Wales almost 25 years ago but once had tried it became a family favourite. You can add other vegetables if you like them root vegetables are especially good. It can also be easily made in a slow cooker / crock pot too. Surprisingly there is not a huge difference in syns between the lean and the ordinary corned beef to anyone on the slimming world plan and I tend to use ordinary corned beef.

I have lately been making vast pans of this and keeping it in the fridge to take to work in portions and reheating it but you could also freeze in portions if you like. I also love adding tons of black pepper after reheating it but thats just one of my preferences :)

Oh and to my US friends this recipe uses canned corned beef which I don't know if it is available there but search it out if you can it makes a very good stew . 

Corned beef stew

1 x can corned beef (340g)
6 large carrots (peeled and diced)
1  1/2 lbs peeled potatoes (diced) 
1 or 2 large swede aka rutabaga ( peeled and diced)
2 large onions (chopped)
2 1/2 pints beef stock (from a cube is fine)
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper

In a large saucepan place the onions, carrots and  swede , beef stock and herbs and bring to the boil, Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are softened.

Add the potatoes and cook for another 20 minutes then add the corned beef cut into cubes and simmer for another 30 minutes . Add more beef stock if too thick and keep stirring now and again ,  season with salt and pepper to taste.

Keep cooking until stew is thick and vegetables and potatoes are soft.

Serves 6 easily at approximately  2  1/2 syns per portion.


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Lentil and bacon soup (slimming world friendly)

This cold weather I am taking my lunch to work every day its more economical and I know exactly whats in it so know its healthy. It's far too cold for salads! I love this soup its really filling and although it would of course be nice to have a big bread roll with it because its really thick you don't miss it so much : )

It's a quick and easy recipe and feel free to add more or less tomato or any extra vegetables you fancy like leeks or celery if you like it. You can also blitz it in a food processor if you prefer your soups smooth.

Lentil and bacon soup

1/2 lb chopped smoked back bacon (all fat removed )
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 mugs red lentils
2 onions (chopped)
2-4 carrots (chopped)
2 tsp dried thyme
2  1/2 pints vegetable stock (from a cube is fine)
salt and pepper
spray oil

Spray a large saucepan with the oil and then add the onion and carrots along with the thyme and fry over a low heat until the vegetables are soft. Add the bacon and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the lentils and stir well then add all the other ingredients apart from the salt and pepper, Bring to the boil then simmer for about 30 minutes maybe longer until the lentils are soft and the soup is thick, Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. 

Syn free on extra easy




Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Chili beef bake (slimming world friendly)

This was another one of those recipes that came out of having some minced beef and trying to think of something different to make with it. This is a really tasty and warming dinner and although I used mushrooms was thinking peppers would be really good in this too.

If you don't like spice just leave the chili out of it and I'm sure it would still be tasty, I think this would be a great dish to make for a family and once its prepared it can just go in the oven while you get on with other stuff you don't have to stand over it stirring or anything like that. It's a pretty good one to make from store cupboard ingredients and is quite economical and makes quite a lot! I took some to work for lunch the next day : )

( For slimming world you'd need to count the cheese as your 'B' choice.)

Chili beef bake 

1lb extra lean minced beef
1 chopped onion
4oz sliced mushrooms
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 pint beef stock (from a cube is fine)
1 mug of long grain rice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili flakes
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
4oz low fat cheddar cheese (grated)

Place the minced beef and chopped onion in a large non stick pan and fry over  a medium heat until the minced beef is browned and the onion is soft.

Add all the other ingredients apart from the cheese , mix well, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20-30 minutes until the rice is cooked and the liquid has absorbed (only stir very occasionally so the rice doesn't break up.) Once this stage is reached taste to see if needs more salt or pepper.

Put the mixture into a large ovenproof casserole dish and sprinkle over the grated cheese  and bake at gas 6 / 200/400 until cheese has melted and the top is browned.





Tuesday, 5 November 2013

syn free tasty oxo roast potatoes (slimming world friendly)

Like everyone I love roast potatoes but they are of course usually so high in syns due to the fat content. This method of making them leaves them crispy and really tasty, I'm sorry I can't credit the author of the original recipe I've seen it on various sites and was intrigued. You'd think the potatoes would go soggy but they don't.

They were a big hit with the family too always a bonus so not cooking separately for everyone else. I would leave them in the oven a little longer next time until browner I cooked them for 45 minutes as was pushed for time but next time will do them longer probably give them an hour.

I'm sorry the amounts are vague but it will depend on the size of your roasting tin and how many you are making.

Syn free tasty oxo roast potatoes

1 pint stock (from an oxo cube beef/chicken or veg whatever you want, might need more or less depends on the size of the roasting tin)

peeled potatoes (enough to fill the roasting tin you are using)

spray oil


Boil the potatoes  for 5 minutes in salted water then drain.

Place the potatoes in the roasting tin and pour in the stock until about halfway up the potatoes.

Spray the tops of the potatoes with spray oil and place in hot oven gas 8/ 450/230 and baste with the stock every 15 minutes or so, roast until brown and crispy and the stock has disappeared. Takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

Syn free :).




Saturday, 19 October 2013

Gok Wan fu yung (slimming world friendly)

I recently bought Gok Wans new cook book called  'Goks Wok' and there are so many recipes in it I want to try and I think loads can be slightly adapted to make them slimming world friendly and this is one of them so keep an eye on the blog in the new upcoming weeks I'll be posting all the recipes I try on here.

I made this for my lunch today and it was really tasty, I did use more peas than the recipe but will post the original recipe here. I think this makes a great store cupboard/fridge quick lunch or dinner even if you served it with a nice big side salad.

Goks Fu Yung

2 eggs
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 onion peeled and finely chopped (or a spring onion would be ok too)
2 seafood sticks (cut in half)
75g frozen peas
white pepper
spray oil

Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk together with the soy sauce and a pinch of the white pepper.

Spray a wok or frying pan with spray oil and heat up then add the onion and stir fry for a few minutes then add the peas and seafood sticks and stir fry for another few minutes.

Add the beaten eggs and leave for alittle while so it starts to set then stir everything gently until it all looks cooked through.

Syn free and delicious : ) 






Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Pork stuffed peppers (slimming world friendly)

This was another quick after work dinner that takes only about 30  minutes start to finish, I always used to do stuffed peppers with rice but they weren't very filling,  I had some extra lean pork mince in the freezer and some peppers in the fridge and a patient gave me some lovely big tomatoes from their garden so had a think about what to make with them.

I served these with some roasted vegetables and some cous cous and the whole meal was very popular with the family and best of all syn free :)

Pork stuffed peppers (serves 4)

1lb extra lean pork mince
4 large red peppers
2 large fresh tomatoes (chopped) or a few smaller tomatoes.
2 onions (chopped)
1 tsp dried sage
salt and pepper.
spray oil

Cut the red peppers in half and discard the seeds and place in a pan of boiling water for 3 minutes then drain and set to one side.

In a wok or large frying pan spray with oil add the onion and fry for a few minutes until soft then add the pork, sage and garlic and stir fry until the pork is browned and cooked through stirring all the time. Add the tomatoes and stir fry for a few more minutes then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place the pepper halves in a large baking dish or roasting tin and place the filling into each pepper half.

Bake at Gas 6 /200/400 for 20 minutes until top is a little browned and crispy. 

Syn free





Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Healthy tortilla wraps (slimming world friendly)


I love Mexican food (as long as its not too hot) and make my burrito bowl often but sometimes wish I had a wrap or tortilla to go with it.

I had a day off today so did some experimenting in the kitchen and came up with these. I know you can make thin omelettes to use as wraps but they arent the same. This version might not be identical to a tortilla but its pretty close and just under 1 syn each. They are a bit like pancakes but there is no milk in them which also helps keep them lower in syns.  I tried a couple of different flours to make these and had a good result with both gram flour and plain flour.

The best results came from leaving the batter to stand for a couple of hours before using it. I used a small non stick frying pan and this recipe made 6 'tortillas' but of course if you want them bigger just use a bigger frying pan and double the amount you put in for each tortilla. 

Healthy tortilla wraps

1oz plain flour
1 egg
3 fluid ounces cold water
pinch of salt
low calorie spray oil

Beat the egg in a small bowl and add the flour and salt and gradually whisk in the water until you have a smooth batter (few tiny lumps wont matter).

Leave the batter to stand for a couple of hours if you can or make the batter the night before you need to use it but cover it and keep it in the fridge .

Heat a small non stick frying pan and spray with the spray oil , Add 1  1/2 tablespoons of the batter and swirl the pan so it coats the base , Fry until  brown on the base then flip it over and cook the other side. This should make six tortillas at just under 1 syn each. 

I served them as wraps for my burrito but think they would be good to use as any wrap for a sandwich too.






Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Tasty 4 bean chili (slimming world friendly)

Well its October 1st today and while not really cold yet its looking quite Autumnal, This recipe is a lovely warming meal, very economical and healthy too. I know this is vegetarian but if you wanted to add some lean minced beef you could. I don't like my chili too hot so tend to use mild chili powder but feel free to add more if you like it spicy.

It's a good store cupboard standby but the addition of the fresh vegetables makes a big difference to the flavour. It's very filling and I made this to take to work for lunch and was quick to reheat and you can also freeze it which you may want to as this makes a LOT! It's called four bean chili you just choose which beans you like or just use one kind if you prefer I used red kidney, borlotti, black eye and haricot and of course using tinned beans makes it easier no soaking overnight or any fuss just make sure you rinse them in a colander before adding.

Four bean chili

1 large onion (chopped)
3 large carrots (chopped)
3 sticks celery (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
2 tins chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 pint vegetable stock
1 -2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cans beans (whatever you choose, rinsed well and drained)
spray oil


Spray a large pan with spray oil and add  the carrots, onions, celery and garlic, Sprinkle with salt and cook on a medium heat for about 20 minutes stirring frequently until the vegetables are soft but not browned.

Add the tomatoes, puree, stock, cumin and chili and bring to the boil, Lower the heat and simmer for about half an hour then add the drained beans and mix gently and bring back to a simmer and cook for another 20 minutes, Add salt and pepper to taste.

Syn free on extra easy and green.





Monday, 23 September 2013

Quick beef chow mein (slimming world friendly)

Here is another super quick after work dinner, I really think the secret to making good tasty chinese food at home is to use the ginger and garlic base which is a pain to chop and crush/peel ginger and garlic but I love to use frozen ginger and frozen garlic. The jarred stuff is horrible but frozen is so easy to use no mess or anything and makes a massive difference to the flavour and always on hand.

Bags of stir fry vegetables again save time and also when making a beef stir fry I buy cheap frying steak and cut it into strips with scissors rather than buying packs of beef strips which can be expensive.

Chinese takeaways are expensive and this can be made at home really quickly in fact by the time you could have phoned to order it you could be eating it : )

Quick beef chow mein

1lb frying steak (cut into strips)
1 pack stir fry mixed vegetables
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
(or use frozen like I do no need to defrost previously)
3 tbsp soy sauce
150g dried egg noodles.

Cook the noodles according to pack instructions, Drain well and then rinse in cold water, drain again and set to one side.

Heat a wok or large frying pan with a little spray oil until hot then add the beef strips and stir fry for about 5 minutes , Add the garlic and ginger and keep stir frying for another minute or two,

Add the stir fry vegetables and the soy sauce and stir fry for another  3-4 minutes then add the cooked noodles and stir fry everything mixed well together .

Syn free on extra easy : )



Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Beef Goulash in the slow cooker (slimming world friendly)

Now its getting colder its time to start making lots of warming dinners and this is a great one, You can make it in the slow cooker so throw it all in and leave all day for when you get in from work or make it in a saucepan and simmer it on low for a few hours. If you like it spicy make sure you buy hot paprika or smoked if you like it smoky or just regular paprika is fine too. I usually serve with some boiled or mashed potatoes and some carrots or cabbage for your superfree. Of course if you want to make a vegetarian version use the quorn beef style strips but add them near the end of cooking.

Beef Goulash

1lb diced lean braising steak
1 large onion (sliced)
2 red peppers (sliced)
1/2 pint beef stock
1 clove garlic (crushed)
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 tsp paprika
salt and pepper

Put everything apart from the salt and pepper into the slow cooker mix well and cook on low for about 7 hours on high or about 4 depending on your slow cooker. (Some run hotter than others). After the cooking time remove the lid and cook on high for another 1/2 hour to 1 hour so the sauce gets to reduce and be thicker. Season well with salt and pepper to taste.

Syn free : )


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Quick tasty storecupboard salsa (slimming world friendly)

This is the salsa I made to go with the previous recipe (Chipotle pork) Its all store cupboard ingredients but just realised I did add a bit of the fresh coriander I'd bought for the following days curry in it but didn't include it in the original photo but it is still really tasty without that if you don't have any.

I made it just before serving s I was rushing but it is better if you can make it a few hours before so the flavours can develop. I love having recipes I can make from store cupboard ingredients and don't have to remember to shop for something especially.

There was no chili in this recipe as I wanted it to cool down the spicy pork but please add it if you want to : )

Storecupboard salsa

1 can chopped tomatoes
1 red onion (chopped)
1 tbsp bottled lime juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt
pepper

Combine the tomatoes, red onion, garlic powder and lime juice and mix well, Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix well and keep tasting you may want to add more garlic or lime if you prefer.

Syn free : )



Thursday, 5 September 2013

Smoky chipotle pork (slimming world friendly)

This recipe came from me having some diced pork defrosted in the fridge from the freezer and wondering what to do with it, I was on a late shift today so wanted something I could marinade and cook quickly when I got home. I love Mexican food but sometimes it's too hot and spicy at least when cooking it at home you can control the heat and Jamie Oliver with your 30 minute meals  I gave you a run for your money I promise you hand on heart I walked in the door at 8.30pm and dished up dinner at 9pm : )

I bought the chipotle paste in my local Sainsburys I think it is available in most supermarkets now. The only thing I had to do before work was marinate pork did everything else when I got in and it was super quick and easy and really tasty.  Hope you try it and I will post the salsa recipe another time soon.

Smoky Chipotle pork (serves 4)

1lb diced lean pork
2 tsp chipotle paste
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Mix everything very well together and leave to marinade all day in a covered dish (or the night before if easier) in the fridge  . Line a baking tray with baking parchment or foil (makes it easier to clean) and just spread the pieces of pork across the tray, Place in the oven at Gas 6 / 400/200 for 20-25 minutes until browned and cooked through.

I served this with some wholegrain boiled rice, black eye beans (reheated from a can) and a quick tomato salsa.

1/4 syn per serving : )



Sunday, 1 September 2013

Prawn cocktail (slimming world friendly)

I know prawn cocktails are a bit unfashionable right now but I love a retro dish and I love prawn cocktails. The bought ones are usually mega high in syns and even the 'healthy' versions are very high. I used the syn free ketchup I'd made previously for this 'recipe'. Click on the wording and the link will take you to the recipe.

Well not really a recipe more an assembling of some ingredients! Always good to make an old favourite slimming world friendly....

Prawn Cocktail (serves 1)

4oz prawns
1 tbsp extra light mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp syn free ketchup
shredded lettuce
sprinkle of paprika (if liked)

Place the lettuce in a your serving dish then top with the prawns. In a small bowl mix the mayonnaise and ketchup together and spoon on top of the prawns. (If you like you can mix the prawns into the sauce) then sprinkle with the paprika if liked.

1 syn on extra easy : )







Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Big Mac in a bowl (slimming world friendly)

Oh wow this is so delicious, If you are missing your takeaway foods this is the recipe for you, It's very simple and more assembling than cooking really.  I'm sorry I can't credit the original source for this recipe its all over slimming world sites and recipe groups and could not find the person who posted it originally. If you love a Big Mac this will certainly satisfy your craving. I used 2 of the dairylea light slices as my healthy extra and used my own syn free ketchup (see previous recipe) with extra light mayo to make the thousand island dressing so for me the whole thing was only 1 syn so yay!!!

EDIT: I've been told you can use Kraft light Thousand Island dressing for 1 syn a tablespoon if you dont want to make up your own sauce.

I served some oven baked potato wedges with this too makes it a very filling tasty meal : )



Big Mac in a bowl (serves 4)

500g extra lean minced beef
1 large onion (chopped)
4 tbsp extra light mayonnaise
4 tbsp tomato ketchup
8 gherkins (chopped)
iceberg lettuce (shredded)
8 slices dairylea light cheese slices
salt and pepper

Place the minced beef and onion in a large pan and fry over a medium heat until beef is browned and the onions are soft, Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mix the ketchup with the mayonnaise to make a burger sauce.

Layer up the dish by placing a handful of shredded lettuce in the bottom of the bowl then top with some of the minced beef mixture, Drizzle on some of the sauce and sprinkle on the chopped gherkins and top with two slices of the cheese.

If using regular ketchup with the extra light mayonnaise and the cheese slices as a healthy extra the whole dish will be just  2 syns per portion. 

Enjoy!!!







Monday, 26 August 2013

Chicken noodle soup (slimming world friendly)

I love chicken noodle soup and wanted to find a way to make it easy, This recipe is simple and very tasty. It is quite economical too and is a good one to use up vegetables left in the veg drawer of the fridge like droopy celery, carrots that are a bit soft and the odd leek or onion. I used chicken thighs for this but if you want you could use chicken breasts or even leftover cooked chicken then you wouldn't need to cook it for so long.  


Chicken Noodle Soup

4 chicken thighs (skinned and boned and all fat removed) OR 2 chicken breasts.
2 large carrots (peeled and chopped)
2 leeks (washed and chopped)
2 stick celery (chopped)
2 pints of chicken stock (from a cube is fine)
4oz dry spaghetti  (broken into pieces)
1/2 tsp thyme
salt and pepper
spray oil


Spray a large saucepan with the spray oil and add the chopped vegetables and dried thyme, Sprinkle with some salt and place over a low to medium heat and fry the vegetables until they have softened.

Add the chicken and the chicken stock and bring to the boil then reduce the heat so its just simmering and simmer gently for  20-30 minutes until the chicken is tender and cooked.

Remove the chicken and chop then return to the pan. Bring back to the boil and add the broken spaghetti then simmer until the spaghetti is soft and cooked.

Season to taste with salt and pepper if the soup seems a bit too thick just add some more chicken stock.

Syn free on extra easy .

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Tasty sausage casserole (slimming world friendly)

I have a bit of a problem sometimes with the casserole packet mixes you can buy in supermarkets they are sometimes full of  E numbers and ingredients you cant pronounce and you can make tasty sauces without the syns and without spending ££ on packets . This recipe makes another family friendly dinner which is both economical and filling too.

 Sausages are usually really high in syns but there are some low syn options out there. I'm a big fan of Heck sausages but be careful some are high in syns but the ones which are my favourite are the smoky paprika ones which are only 1/2 syn for two they are delicious but of course use any low syn ones you like and the Iceland Slimming World ones are syn free.

Little bit of peeling and chopping to do and then it really looks after itself. I make my sausage casseroles a little differently as I don't brown the sausages first I think they sort of 'poach' in the stock and tomatoes and I think this helps to keep the sausages succulent but if you want to brown yours first please do. I love adding a can of baked beans to this too sometimes and it makes the sauce richer if you want to do this just add near the end of cooking so they don't go too mushy.

Tasty sausage casserole

8 low syn sausages
1/2 pint beef stock (from a cube is fine)
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried sage
2 large carrots (peeled and chopped)
1 large onion (peeled and chopped)
4oz mushrooms (sliced)
salt and pepper
spray oil


Spray a large saucepan with the spray oil and place over a low heat and add the carrots and onion, Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt and cook for about 5 minutes until onion is soft. (The salt helps to soften the vegetables without browning them).  Add the sage, sausages, stock, mushrooms and tomatoes.

Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until sauce is reduced and thickened might take a little longer you just want the sauce to be reduced, Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Syns according to the sausages used the rest of the ingredients are syn free,


Sunday, 18 August 2013

Pork in cider and sage (slimming world friendly)

I love this recipe its so tasty and easy to make, One of those throw in the oven and forget it until just before you are serving then you just need to thicken the sauce, Its very tasty and although a couple of syns think they are well worth it.

I use shoulder steaks as I think they have more flavour than just loin steaks and they are very lean if there is any fat I just trim it off before cooking.

I am pretty thrilled with this post as well  as it also has my first carrots and potatoes from the garden this year.

Pork in cider and sage

8 lean pork steaks (to serve 4 )
1 large onion (sliced) 
250ml dry cider
250ml vegetable stock
2 tsp dried sage
1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp water 
salt and pepper

Place the onions and pork steaks in an ovenproof and hob proof dish (can use a roasting tin instead if you like). 

Sprinkle with the sage and season with salt and pepper, Pour over the stock and cider and place in a moderate oven Gas 5 / 375/190 for about an hour to gently cook the steaks.

Remove the steaks and onions and set to one side, Put the pan onto the hob of the oven over a medium heat and then whisk in the cornflour and water mix and keep whisking as it comes to the boil.

Simmer the sauce for a few minutes and keep whisking and then simmer and whisk for a few more minutes to ensure sauce is thick,  then add the pork and onions back into the sauce.

I served with potatoes (from my garden : ) roasted in my actifry, Steamed carrots (from my garden!) and broccoli and peas.


2 syns per portion : )







Thursday, 15 August 2013

Tomato ketchup (slimming world friendly)

I confess I love tomato ketchup but it can be loaded with sugar and if you are following the slimming world plan you have to count it as 'syns'. I had a good play around in the kitchen with ingredients until I finally came up with this one.

The problem I found with a lot of recipes is that they use tinned tomatoes and chopped onions which is fine but then you need to blend it and that can be a pain. This way you just add everything together and simmer.  I buy my white balsamic in Lidl it's less than a pound and by using the white one it keeps the lovely red colour. I also buy the garlic and onion granules at the supermarket (I got mine in ASDA) and it works out quite economical and as a bonus you know exactly what is in it couldn't be easier and you can save your 'syns' for something else yummy : )

Syn free on all plans 


Tomato Ketchup

2 tsp onion granules
1 tsp garlic granules
500g pack of passata
2 tsp celery salt
1 tsp english mustard powder
1 tsp ground white pepper
2 tbsp sweetener (like splenda)
150ml white wine vinegar
100ml white balsamic vinegar (see notes above)
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce


Just add everything together in a saucepan, Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer on a low heat for 20-30 minutes until sauce is thick and reduced.

Syn free and makes about 250ml of ketchup and will keep in the fridge for a few weeks.






Tuesday, 13 August 2013

French potato salad (slimming world friendly)

  I have made this potato salad for many years I presume its known as French potato salad as you use french dressing instead of mayonnaise as the dressing. Its a lovely side dish for a BBQ or with a steak and salad. The dressing I used was the English Provender which when I checked my slimming world book it states that as long as salad dressings are 50cal or less per 100ml then they are free but any fat free french dressing will do. The recipe says to use 1/2 a bottle but you can use more if you prefer.

 You can peel the potatoes if you want to but I like the baby new potatoes with the skin on for more texture (and fibre!) It couldn't be easier to make the only tip I would say is combine the dressing with the potatoes while the potatoes are still warm it seems to help the potatoes to absorb the dressing instead of just coating the potatoes.


French potato salad

2lbs baby new potatoes (boiled in salted water until cooked and drained)
1 red onion (chopped finely)
2 tsp fresh chives (if liked)
1/2 bottle fat free french dressing 

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl

easy!!

Syn free on extra easy and green : )





Thursday, 8 August 2013

One pot prawn spaghetti (slimming world friendly)

  I am in love with this method of these one pot pasta dishes. The original one I tried used linguine but thought would try using spaghetti and my family love spaghetti with prawns and now my vegetarian daughter is pescetarian makes it easier to feed us all.

 As previously it all goes in together so very very easy the whole thing from start to finish is about 10 minutes so is a perfect after work dinner and everything is store cupboard more or less,  the prawns are from the freezer and  I defrost them before using but confess have been known to defrost them in the microwave if I forgot to take them out!! This serves four very generously.

One pot prawn spaghetti

1 pack (500g) dry spaghetti
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
2 pints vegetable stock
1 onion (finely chopped)
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 large bag of cooked prawns (defrosted)
salt and pepper

Place everything apart from the prawns and salt and pepper  in a large pot and place it on a low heat on the stove. Bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes stirring very frequently when all the pasta should be cooked , Taste to make sure it is cooked if not simmer for a little longer. Add the prawns and season with salt and pepper to taste. (I didn't need salt as the stock and prawns made it salty enough)

Syn free on extra easy : )





Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Curried rice (slimming world friendly)

  I always used to make a variation of this dish as a side dish for when we had a BBQ but used to use a bought curry paste which is quite high in syns so thought I needed to find how to make a syn free version of this. By using the tomato puree and stock it seems to make the curry powder more like a paste but with no oil :)

  I serve this dish cold but its nice warm too and although always used to serve it as a side dish I'm sure you could put some chicken in it and maybe a side salad or mix some cooked peas in it to make it a main meal.

Curried Rice

250g (dry weight) white rice
1 large onion (chopped)
1 clove garlic (crushed)
2 tbsp medium curry powder (more if you like it very hot less if you dont like it too spicy)
2 tbsp tomato puree
1/4 pt vegetable stock
spray oil 


Cook the rice according to packet instructions and set aside.

In a large frying pan sprayed with the spray oil fry the onion over a low heat for a few minutes until soft then add the garlic and fry for another minute. Add in the stock, tomato puree and curry powder and mix well and cook for another couple of  minutes.

Add the in the cooked rice and mix very well till all the rice is coated with the curry mixture.



Sunday, 28 July 2013

Creamy spinach pasta (slimming world friendly)



This is an adaptation of a recipe I used to make called spinach and ricotta pasta and you can use ricotta if you want to but to make it even more slimming world friendly I substituted sieved fat free cottage cheese or you could also use quark if you wanted to. You can have a generous 85g of ricotta as a healthy extra you could make it using that if you want to but by using the sieved cottage cheese it makes this dish syn free.

It looks like an enormous amount of spinach but it cooks right down to quite a small amount, I often use frozen leaf spinach (defrosted) to make this but don't use chopped leaf spinach as it goes to mush. It's very easy to sieve the cottage cheese or another way to make it smoother is to blend it just do whatever makes it easier for you.I know you only need 150ml of the stock and a cube makes a pint but even though its a bit of a waste of the rest you can keep it for a few days in the fridge if you were making something else later in the week for which you'd need some stock but what I tend to do is buy Marigold vegetable bouillon powder and that way you can just make as much as you need.

Creamy spinach pasta

200g  fresh spinach (or defrosted frozen leaf spinach)
250g sieved fat free cottage cheese
150ml vegetable or chicken stock (made from a cube is fine)
2 cloves garlic (crushed) 
salt and pepper
250g (dry weight) rigatoni or whatever pasta shape you like.


Boil the pasta according to pack instructions until cooked then drain and set to one side.

In a large pan spray with low cal spray oil and fry the garlic for a minute or two then add the spinach and cook for a few minutes for spinach to wilt. Add the stock and sieved cottage cheese and cook for a few minutes over a low heat. Taste before adding salt and pepper as the stock is quite salty and you might just need pepper.

Add the cooked pasta to the creamy mixture and mix together very well.

Syn free on extra easy plan









Friday, 19 July 2013

Iced tea (slimming world friendly)

This mega heatwave in the UK is too much for me so turned to my US friends for ideas to keep cool. I remember when I was in the US for a holiday last year at bars and restaurants I always chose the iced tea as a beverage it is so refreshing but had only seen pre prepared mixes which are packed with sugar around so asked for a recipe and this is the most basic one I found and its fab so delicious and cooling.

Iced tea

4 teabags (any ones just good old PG tips or any will do)
4 pints cold water
sweetener
lemon juice
ice

In a large jug place the 4 tea bags in the cold water and put in the fridge overnight,

In the morning stir well and remove the teabags and then serve the iced tea over ice cubes and add sweetener and lemon juice to taste and stir well,

I like 2 tsp stevia sweetener and 1 tbsp lemon juice per serving but you can adjust it to how you like it.  (My daughter likes it with more sweetener, )

So refreshing and delicious :  )



Saturday, 13 July 2013

Syn free BBQ sauce/marinade (slimming world friendly)

Its finally Summer!!! YAY!!!!!!! well its a bit too hot for me right now but that's me being a Brit complaining about the weather.

This recipe is for a fat free and slightly hot BBQ sauce I love this cold instead of ketchup (save your syns for something else!) or you can use it as a BBQ marinade for chicken or pork or anything really and then put it on the BBQ or in the oven.

It's very tasty and quick to make and if made like this will save in the fridge for a few weeks . I usually just keep it in a pyrex jug with some clingfilm over the top and as said saves you using your syns on ketchup but also means you can have lovely sticky BBQ chicken drumsticks or thighs (skin removed) also very good with lean pork chops or salmon fillets or quorn sausages well try anything you like its syn free!!

BBQ sauce

1 onion (peeled and chopped)
4 tsp mild chili powder
1 carton (500g) passata (sieved tomatoes)
4 tbsp splenda (or equivalent)
8 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dry mustard powder
spray oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Spray a pan with the spray oil and add the chopped onion, Fry on a low heat until onion is soft.

Add the remaining ingredients apart from salt and pepper, Bring to the boil them simmer for 10 minutes until thickened, Taste to see how much salt and pepper is needed and season to taste. If you want a smooth sauce then blend or leave the onion in it so its a little chunky whatever you prefer.

Serve hot or cold 



Thursday, 11 July 2013

Amazing speedy one pot pasta dinner (slimming world friendly )

Always in the search for quick and easy recipes I came across this one on the blog 'Apron Strings' (http://www.apronstringsblog.com/one-pot-wonder-tomato-basil-pasta-recipe/)

I thought it would be brilliant to adapt to make it Slimming World friendly , I made it this morning and am very impressed its really tasty, only took 10 minutes to make and is syn free (whoop! whoop!)

I am looking forward to making variations of this too adding maybe ham or mushrooms or cooked chicken maybe. The fact you cook the pasta in vegetable stock and tomatoes in the pan makes the sauce really thick and tasty. I added some spare cherry tomatoes I had lying around but the recipe I've given is just the basic one.

The recipe makes a big pot of it so think it would easily serve four hungry people wish I'd known this when had three hungry teenagers to feed as its very economical too!

Amazing speedy one pot pasta

1 packet linguine (500g) break into half lengths
1 can chopped tomatoes
4 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 large onion (sliced)
1/2 tsp chili flakes (if liked)
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
2 pints vegetable stock
salt and pepper

Take a LARGE saucepan (a pressure cooker base would be good). Place all the ingredients apart from the salt and pepper into the pot and stir very well together cover with a lid and bring to the boil.

Simmer for 10 minutes still covered but stir well every 2 minutes to stop the pasta sticking to the bottom of the pot.

After 10 minutes almost all the liquid will have evaporated and the pasta should be cooked, Take a bit to taste and if not cooked as you like it just simmer a little longer but keep stirring every few minutes. I didn't add any salt as the vegetable stock was salty enough just added some freshly ground black pepper.

Stir well and serve.

Syn free on extra easy and green




Sunday, 7 July 2013

Sticky chicken (slimming world friendly )

Another great chicken recipe. I found this on the slimming world website when I had defrosted some chicken breasts and was looking for something different to do with them. Its again a very simple recipe just three ingredient for the marinade which cooks down to a tasty sticky glaze and it used items I just had in the store cupboard which is always a bonus : )

Sticky Chicken

1 1/2 lb chicken breasts (cut into cubes)
3 tbsp clear honey
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Place all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well, Add the chicken then cover and leave in fridge for at least an hour but you can leave it longer if you want to.

Place a large pan on a medium heat and add all the chicken and marinade and cook for about 20-30 minutes over a medium heat until the chicken is cooked and the marinade has evaporated just leaving the chicken coated with a glaze. I served mine with some potato wedges and salad.

Delicious!!

Serve 4 and just 2 syns per serving



Monday, 1 July 2013

Baked bean lasange (slimming world friendly)

This dish doesn't sound that attractive I grant you but it is a really tasty recipe, very cheap and filling  too as well as being vegetarian. I made this for my slimming world class taster night last night (Hello to my Cwmbach classmates!) and it was very popular. I know it looks like a lot of cheese on top but it made four generous portions and so I counted a  healthy extra x 4. It would probably feed six really especially with a large side salad or some vegetables.

Baked bean lasange

9 dry lasange sheets
2 tins chopped tomatoes
2 tins baked beans
1 large onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 pint vegetable stock
200g mushrooms (sliced)
low cal spray oil
salt and pepper
160g low fat cheddar cheese

Spray a large pan with spray oil and add the chopped onion and herbs and fry on a medium heat until the onion is soft then add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to fry for a minute or two then add the stock and the tinned tomatoes. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20-30 minutes then add the baked beans and simmer for another 10 minutes or so until the sauce is thickened but keep stirring. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Get a large rectangular baking dish or tin that you can lay three sheets of lasange in side by side but don't put them in yet. Put a few spoonfuls of the bean mixture in the base of the dish and then place three sheets of lasange on top side by side and repeat this process three times finishing with a layer of the bean mixture so all the lasange sheets are covered.

Sprinkle the grated cheese on top then bake 30-45 minutes at Gas 5 /375/190 until the top is browned and golden.

Syn free if counting the cheese and your healthy extra.




Thursday, 27 June 2013

Summer rolls (slimming world friendly)

This recipe isn't complicated but it is a bit fiddly and time consuming I will be honest with you!! They are delicious and work out at just 2 syns each on extra easy. There are a lot of ingredients too not trying to put you off trying to make them or anything they are well worth the wait : ) I got the recipe from Gok Wan book  'Gok cooks chinese' . They taste very light and fresh and although not ultra low in syns they are nice for a special occasion.

Summer rolls

pork filling

2 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
2cm piece of ginger finely chopped
(I used the frozen ginger and garlic defrosted so can save some time)
200g extra lean minced pork
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
salt and white pepper

To assemble rolls 

12 rice paper sheets (16cm diameter)
12 leave of fresh mint
1 bunch fresh coriander leaves
1 large peeled carrot cut into thin matchsticks
2-3 spring onions cut into matchsticks
1 handful beansprouts
1/4 iceberg shredded lettuce
200g cooked fine rice noodles (rinsed in cold water and drained)
juice of 2 limes
fish sauce

Heat a wok or large frying pan and add the minced pork, ginger and garlic and stir fry till pork is cooked through. Add fish sauce, vinegar and a little salt and pepper and stir well cook for a minute or two stir well then set aside to cool.

Get a bowl of warm water and a tea towel ready and briefly dip the rice paper sheet in the warm water till it starts to soften then lay it on the tea towel. Place a mint leaf and some coriander onto the roll then add a little carrot and spring onion, few beansprouts and a little lettuce , Add a tbsp of noodles and pork mixture then drizzle a little lime juice and fish sauce on.

Fold over the two side of the rice paper then fold down both ends (you can use a little water to stick them down if you need to )

Repeat the process until done. You can of course lay out all the ready ingredients and get people to make their own rolls if you want to.

Like I said it is very fiddly but they do taste delicious, I serve them with some dark soy sauce mixed with a little lime juice as a syn free dipping sauce.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Lemon & thyme chicken (slimming world friendly)

Chicken again? Well yes but its such a versatile meat and this recipe is another one that is so simple to make and a great after work dinner . I used fresh lemons because I had them in and it makes it look prettier but if you only have bottled lemon juice in then it's ok to use that too .Whatever makes life easier :)

Lemon & Thyme Chicken

8 chicken thighs (skinned and excess fat removed)
2 lemons (1 sliced and one cut in half and juice squeezed over chicken)
1 red onion (sliced)
1 tsp dried thyme
1 clove crushed garlic
salt and pepper
spray oil

Place the chicken thighs in an ovenproof dish and place slices of onions and lemon on top and between the chicken.

Sprinkle over the thyme, Drizzle over the lemon juice, salt and pepper and dot over the crushed garlic. Spray lightly with the spray oil.

Bake at Gas 5 /190/375 for 30-40 minutes ( every now and then spoon over the juices ) cook until the chicken is browned and sticky.

Syn free on extra easy and red.




Saturday, 15 June 2013

Chocolate brownies (slimming world friendly)

How delicious are brownies and they are usually so mega high in syns there is no way you could make them slimming world friendly but you can :  ) I couldn't believe these could be so good and so chocolately for so few syns. Soooo easy to make too just a few ingredients and you make them in the microwave too!......

100g all bran or high bran cereal 
25g cocoa powder
4 tbsp splenda (or low syn sweetener) 
2 large eggs
6 floz boiling water 

Put the all bran cereal in a bowl and add the boiling water mix well and leave for 10 minutes. Mix again and beat in the eggs, sweetener and cocoa and mix very well. 

Place the mixture in a preferably silicone square dish but if you don't have one put in  a ceramic dish but line with baking paper first, DO NOT use a foil tray or tin as its cooked in the microwave. Microwave for 6 minutes and leave to sit for 2 minutes after this. When it comes out leave to cool and cut into 6 generous portions.

I served it with some fat free greek yogurt and it was gorgeous!! 

3 syns per portion







Friday, 7 June 2013

Quiche (slimming world friendly )

Now Summer is finally here (hopefully) have begun taking my lunches into work again. Packing a salad is an easy option but gets boring with just ham or something like that , This quiche has no pastry base which makes it syn free and by using cottage cheese in the filling you do get a cheese flavour without using any syns. I don't mind the bits of cottage cheese in it but if you prefer a smoother filling you can blend it first. I used natural cottage cheese but you can use one with onion and chives in it or any other flavour you fancy (not pineapple please ...ugh) I just used spring onions and ham for this one but you can add any vegetables or meat you like. Red peppers, mushrooms, leftover cooked meats are all good but beware using red onion it tends to make it turn black it still tastes fine but doesnt look so appetising! I made mine in a square silicone container (only a cheap one from a pound shop) so it comes out easily but if you are using a tin or a dish I'd line it first with baking paper because they do tend to stick. It seems like a lot of eggs but it does make six good size portions.

Syn free quiche

6 large eggs
1 large tub (300g) of virtually fat free cottage cheese
6-8oz ham or cold meats (chopped)
4 large spring onions (chopped) or any vegetables you fancy
salt and pepper

Mix the eggs and cottage cheese in a large jug and season well with salt and pepper. Blend it if you want a smoother texture. Pour over the ham and vegetables in the dish and bake on gas 5/375/190 for approximately 45 minutes until brown on top.

Syn free : )

Monday, 3 June 2013

Jambalaya (slimming world friendly)

I have had this recipe for ages and make it quite often and it makes a vast amount so you might want to halve the recipe , I make no claims to its authenticity but it tastes very good. I took it to my Slimming World class tonight as it was a taster evening and it was popular. I used Joes sausages so they were syn free but you would have to syn any other sausages used but you could make it with quorn sausages and vegetable stock to make it both vegetarian and still syn free.

Jambalaya

1 onion (chopped)
2 red peppers (sliced)
1 green pepper (sliced)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
6 quorn sausages (or whatever sausages you choose to use cooked and sliced)
2 pints chicken stock
1/2 tbsp cajun spice mix (bought from supermarket mine is from ASDA)
12oz easy cook white long grain rice
salt and pepper

Place the onions, peppers, garlic, tomatoes, stock and spice into a large saucepan and bring to the boil.

Add the rice and sausages and bring to the boil. Cover and reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes then season to taste and serve.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Macaroni cheese (slimming world friendly)

This recipe was from this months Slimming World magazine but as usual I made a few tweaks to it which thought might make it a bit easier to make.

It was really tasty and although you dont get a gooey macaroni cheese you get a cheesy, tomatoey macaroni dish. The additions of spring onions, garlic and tomatoes give it a good flavour and I exchanged the fat free natural yogurt for fromage frais which I thought might give it a more cheesy flavour.

It was a big hit in my household and the recipe says serves four but I served it with some lean gammon, broccoli and peas and it was a very filling side dish and made a change from potatoes or rice and  I think could easily serve six generously as a side dish and a very generous portion for four served as a main course maybe with some salad.

Macaroni Cheese

500g dried macaroni
6 spring onions (sliced, I do this with scissors)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
200g cherry tomatoes (halved)
400ml vegetable stock
4 tbsp tomato puree
250g fromage frais (fat free)
2 eggs (beaten)
120g red leicester cheese (grated)
low cal spray oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to gas 6 / 200c/ 400f , Cook the macaroni in lots of salted, boiling water until just cooked then drain and set aside.

Place a frying pan over a medium heat and spray with oil and gently fry spring onions , garlic and cherry tomatoes for five minutes until soft.

Place cooked macaroni with the tomatoes and spring onions in a large mixing bowl.

In a large jug mix together the stock, tomato puree, fromage frais and eggs and whisk till smooth , Pour over the macaroni mixture and add 100g of the cheese , mix very well and season well with salt and pepper.

Place in a large ovenproof dish and sprinkle with the rest of the red leicester cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes then leave to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Syn free on extra easy but add 6 syns if not counting cheese as a healthy extra.

Enjoy xx 











Sunday, 21 April 2013

Supersized Spring rolls (slimming world friendly)

I have made slimming world friendly spring rolls before but the recipe I found got quite complicated and so when I saw this recipe I had to try it.

The beauty of the slimming world plan is that nothing is denied but just need to find healthier versions of foods you love one of my favourite phrases is when someone has made a 'fakeaway' instead of a takeaway which just means they made a healthy version of their favourite takeaway and as an example this recipe shows they don't have to be complicatedand can be easy and delcious.

They make very large Spring rolls and one eaten as a lunch with some salad maybe as your superfree would be a really filling meal. Of course you could just have them for snacking but they are quite big!  

Supersized spring rolls

8 lasange sheets
1 pack stir fry vegetables
2 tbsp soy sauce
low cal spray oil

Stir fry the vegetables with a little spray oil until soft and add the soy sauce and stir fry until all liquid is absorbed then set aside.

Get a large frying pan fill with water, add some salt and bring to the boil then add dry lasange sheets just 2 at a time and boil them for about 5 minutes just to soften .

Place the sheet flat on a baking tray lined with baking parchment (non stick) and spoon some of the stir fried veg on the sheets. Top with another sheet of softened lasange and then spray with a little oil and repeat .

Bake at gas 7/ 220/425 for about 15-20 minutes until browned and crispy.

Syn free on extra easy x






Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Cowboy hotpot (slimming world friendly)


  I found this recipe in this months slimming world magazine and while it looked lovely I thought of a few other ways to make it even more tasty. This is something I really like to do , find a recipe and then adapt it. I know a lot of people are worried to change recipes but dont be scared if there is something in there you really dont like leave it out of course it will alter the finished dish and I dont mean change the main ingredients but just some of the spices can be lessened or left out if you dont like for example chili or garlic. In this recipe I left out the green beans which were in the original recipe (some in my family arent keen on them) but I added celery and a can of tomatoes for extra flavour. It could also easily be made vegetarian using quorn mince and vegetable stock.

I thought the hotpot was lovely and it was all made in one pan but be warned you need a BIG pan and the recipe states serves four but I think with extra vegetables served with it could easily feed six. I also froze some of the leftovers in 'pour and store' bags.

Cowboy Hotpot


700g extra lean minced beef

2 onions (chopped)

2 sticks celery (chopped) 

4 large carrots (chopped)

700g-1kg new potatoes thickly sliced

1 litre beef stock

4 tbsp tomato puree

1 can chopped tomatoes

1-2 tsp chili powder

2 x cans baked beans

salt and pepper


Place a very large pan over a medium heat and add the minced beef and fry for a few minutes breaking it up then add the carrots, celery and onion and fry for a few minutes until vegetables are soft.

Add the potatoes, stock, tomato puree and the can of tomatoes. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the potatoes are cooked.

Stir in the baked beans and heat through and then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Syn free on extra easy x






Saturday, 13 April 2013

Syn Free Fish fingers (slimming world friendly)

 I had a request from one of my friends at my local slimming world class to make a syn free fish finger (Hi Joy!) Well after a failed attempt at using cous cous as a crust came to the comclusion you DO need a crumb crust .

These fish fingers are syn free as you use your healthy extra 'B' choice for the coating but if you want a fish finger sandwich you will need to either syn the bread used to make the crumb or the bread used for the sandwich.

This piece of cod loin (pictured) was £5 from my ASDA fish counter and weighed just under 1lb I used half of it to make the fish fingers and it made 8 good sized fish fingers.


Syn Free fish fingers

8oz cod loin (cut into chunky slices)
1 egg (beaten)
2 x small wholemeal bread slices toasted then left to cool and blitzed into crumbs in a food processor and seasoned with salt and pepper.
spray oil


Dip the slices of fish into the beaten egg and then into  the breadcrumbs , Spray with the spray oil

Place on a baking tray which has been lined with some baking paper.

Bake at gas 6 /400/200 for about 15 minutes.

Enjoy xx







Luxury fish pie (slimming world friendly)

  Fish pie can be a boring dish at times but this version has a bit more to it with the addition of salmon and prawns and smoked fish. Its quite quick and easy to make . I often buy fish that is on special offer and keep it in the freezer so can make it a standby dinner if I want to. The white sauce and the mash are made the slimming world friendly way so per portion it works out quite low in syns.

Luxury Fish Pie

1- 1 1/2lb mixed fish (I use a mixture of salmon, white fish and smoked fish)
4oz prawns
4 hardboiled eggs (cut in quarters)
1 pint skimmed milk
2 tbsps cornflour
salt and pepper


4-6 large potatoes (peeled and cut into pieces) 
1/2 tub quark
1 egg yolk
 spray oil.


Place the fish, prawns and hardboiled eggs in a large ovenproof dish, Place the skimmed milk and cornflour in a saucepan and bring to a boil (whisking all the time) and simmer for about 4 minutes until sauce is thick and shiny , keep whisking all the time . Add salt and pepper to taste and then pour over the fish mixture.

In a large saucepan put the potatoes in salted water and bring to the boil and boil until potatoes are tender. Drain, then mash with the quark and egg yolk until smooth then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spread the mash over the fish and sauce to make the mashed potato topping . Spray the top with a little spray oil and bake at gas 6/ 200/400 until top of the pie is browned.

Serve with loads of superfree veg . This is a large dish and serves 6 and  the syns are 3 per portion on extra easy .



Friday, 5 April 2013

Cheesy twice baked potatoes (slimming world friendly)

  Potatoes are so versatile but can get quite boring boiled, mashed, baked.... This way of making them gives them loads of flavour and doesnt take too much effort, Makes them extra tasty as a side dish but if you wanted to you could add some ham or tuna to the mix and serve with a salad for an interesting lunch. I served them with a steak and salad made a change from ordinary baked potatoes.

Cheesy twice baked potatoes

serves 1 

1 baking potato (use a floury type like maris piper or king edward)
1 laughing cow extra light triangle (or could use the blue cheese light ones if you prefer)
spring onion (chopped)
salt and pepper


Wash the potato and while still damp sprinkle with salt and bake in a moderate oven for about an hour until skin is crispy.

Cut the potato in two halves lengthways and scoop out all the potato flesh and place in a bowl, Add the spring onions, cheese triangle and some salt and pepper and mash together really well. Put the mixture back into the potato shells and then place on a baking tray.

Bake for another 20-30 minutes until top is crispy and brown.

1 syn on extra easy but if you use the laughing cow as part of your 'B' choice then it could be free :  ) 




Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Almond milk rice pudding (slimming world friendly)

I had this recipe from one of the girls in my slimming world group (Hi Liz!) and its realy good. Makes a baked style rice pudding really warming and creamy. The whole recipe is only 2 syns and makes loads so a quarter serving is ample and so only 1/2 syn per serving. Just the thing on this freezing Spring day!!

Almond milk rice pudding

200g pudding rice

850ml water

400ml Blue diamond almond breeze unsweetened milk

6-8 tbsps sweetener (or to taste)

freshly grated nutmeg or cinnamon



Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
Put in an ovenproof dish and sprinkle the top with nutmeg.
Bake at 180/350/gas4 for 20 minutes or until top slightly browned .

Enjoy x





Saturday, 23 March 2013

Coq au vin (slimming world friendly)

Sorry have been off for a while have had some time away (yay!) and been pretty bad on the slimming world plan (boo!) so back on straight and narrow and wanted to make something really tasty and was browsing some of my old recipes I keep in a A4 folder and came across this one.

It is a delicious chicken recipe and although it is a couple of syns per portion its worth every syn . Its garlicky, winey, chickeny, bacony yum :  )


Coq au vin

8 rashers lean smoked bacon (I use ASDA smoked bacon medallions)
10 shallots (or 1 large onion, chopped)
4 cloves garlic (crushed)
12oz baby button mushrooms
2 celery sticks (sliced)
2 carrots (peeled and diced)
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
6 floz red wine
1 pint chicken stock
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
10-12 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
salt and pepper

Place a heavy based heat safe casserole  dish over a medium heat and add the shallots, bacon, garlic, celery and carrots with thyme and bay leaf. Cook for 5-10 minutes until vegetables are soft.

Add the wine and bring to the boil and boil for a few minutes then add the stock and balsamic vinegar and simmer for a few more minutes then add the chicken and mushrooms.

Simmer for 30 minutes until chicken is cooked then remove the chicken (and take out and discard the bayleaf) and simmer the sauce until reduced by half and thicker. Add the chicken back in and reheat, Season to taste with salt and pepper.


1  1/2 syns per portion on extra easy




Sunday, 10 March 2013

Sticky red onion relish (slimming world friendly)



I love a relish or sauce on the slimming world plan, You can take a plain grilled piece of fish or chicken or a steak and liven it up with some but they are usually mega high in sugar and so mega high in syns. This one is sugar free and syn free yay!!


Sticky red onion relish

500g red onions (thinly sliced)
100ml balsamic vinegar
150ml cider vineger
2 tbsp powdered sweetener
1 clove garlic (crushed)
1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper



Thinly slice the red onions and place in a large heavy based saucepan. Add the vinegars, garlic and splenda then simmer for approximately one hour on a very low heat until it has reduced and made a thick sticky relish. Season to taste with salt and pepper .

Keeps well in the fridge for a couple of weeks (can also be kept for longer if kept in sterilised jam jars) .




Sunday, 3 March 2013

Welsh Onion 'Cake' (slimming world friendly)

This recipe is from the Slimming World website and as it was St Davids Day this week thought would make a Welsh recipe although even though living in Wales for 24 years for have never heard of this!

I did enjoy it but think the cooking times should be longer so if I made it again which I will cook it for longer (I'll use the new cooking times in the recipe) I cut the onions and potatoes on a mandolin slicer as the slices really do need to be very thin.

I served it with my roast lamb Sunday dinner with some carrots , peas and brussels sprouts as well. There were lots of leftovers so will serve it later in the week maybe with some sausages or bacon.

Welsh Onion 'Cake'  

225g green cabbage, finely shredded
Low calorie cooking spray
500g onions, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1/2 tsp dried rosemary
900g Maris Piper potatoes or red potatoes , thinly sliced

1. Preheat your oven to 190°C/170°C Fan/Gas 5. Blanch the shredded cabbage in a pan of boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

2. Spray a pan with low calorie cooking spray, add the onions, a little salt and the rosemary. Cover and cook gently over a low heat for 20 minutes, stirring often. Discard the rosemary and set aside.

3. Spray the potato slices all over with low calorie cooking spray and season. Arrange half the potatoes in the bottom of an ovenproof frying pan, overlapping, in a circle. Add a layer of cabbage, a layer of onions and finally another layer of potatoes. Season again and spray with low calorie cooking spray. Place the pan on the hob over a medium heat for 5 minutes to colour the bottom, then transfer to the oven and bake for 1 hr 15 minutes.

4. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Place a plate on top of the frying pan and turn out the onion cake. Serve cut into generous slices.


Saturday, 2 March 2013

Butternut squash and bacon risotto (slimming world friendly )

Love a risotto for a filling healthy meal and this one really good . On the last Monday of the month in our Slimming World club we have a 'taster night' and this week Jen made this risotto and it was so gorgeous I begged for the recipe and it is from one of the Slimming World books but I have altered it very slightly. I love garlic and 4 garlic cloves is fine by me but it is pretty garlicky so you might want to reduce that if you arent so keen.  Its very easy to make takes a little time but not much effort :  ) Oh and could easily make it veggie by leaving out the bacon and using vegetable stock instead of chicken.

Syn free on extra easy

Butternut squash and bacon risotto

1 leek (washed and finely chopped)
250g lean bacon (chopped)
4 garlic cloves (crushed)
250g risotto rice
400g butternut squash (diced into smallish pieces)
1 litre hot chicken stock
salt and pepper


Heat a large non stick pan over medium heat and add the leeks and bacon and stir fry for 3-4 minutes until leek is soft and bacon is cooked through.

Add garlic, rice and butternut squash and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add a ladeful of stock (about half a mug) and stir and cook over a low/medium heat until its absorbed then repeat until all the stock is used up.

The rice should be creamy and still a little firm and the squash tender. The whole process takes about 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper but be careful of too much salt as the stock is quite salty.

Serve immediately but it can be frozen too.

Enjoy xx





Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Syn free hummus (slimming world friendly)


Sometimes you just need something to snack on and it difficult if like me you like savoury things rather than sweet. Hummus would normally be banned on a healthy eating plan as it is very high in fat due to the olive oil and tahini used to make it. This version is very easy to make, very tasty and most importantly is syn free!

I like to serve with carrot and celery sticks so you get your superfree vegetables too.

Syn Free Hummus

2 x tins chickpeas (drained)
1 pot quark
2 cloves garlic (crushed) 
salt and pepper
lemon juice

Place chickpeas, quark and garlic in a food processor and blitz until quite smooth. Then start to add a little salt and pepper and a squirt of lemon juice, Blitz again for a minute then taste again. Its is a very personal thing how you like the hummus whether you like it more lemony or with more pepper so its best to start adding just a little seasoning at a time. Just keep blitzing and tasting till it is how you like it. If the mixture is very thick just add a little water to make it softer. 


Sunday, 24 February 2013

Slow cooker roast chicken (slimming world friendly)


I always have to have my roast dinner on a Sunday but heard about this slow cooker 'roast' chicken before and thought I must try it myself. On slimming world you wouldnt eat the skin from a roast chicken anyway as it is full of fat but this method makes the chicken very tender and juicy and so easy as you literally just chuck it in the slow cooker and leave it to get on with it.

If you have all day then you can put the chicken in on low for hours but today was a little strapped for time and only had 3 hours so put it in on high for that time and it was wonderful very tender and juicy, just fell apart.

Slow Cooker 'roast' chicken

1 medium fresh chicken
salt and pepper
thyme and lemon (if liked)

First thing to do is to put some foil balls in the base of your slow cooker. (stop laughing) This stops the chicken from sticking to the base of your cooker and also stops it from sitting in all the fat that drains from the chicken. Its very easy just scrunched up some foil and placed that in the base of the slow cooker.

Season the chicken on all sides with some salt and pepper  and some dried thyme (if you like it) then place half a lemon in the cavity of the chicken and place it breast side down in the slow cooker.

Cook in high for 3-4 hours or on low for 4-6 hours.

Remove and discard the skin when you serve it . It was delicious very moist and tender :)