Garlic primavera carbonara

As promised yesterday here is my garliccy veggie and smoked bacon carbonara. The added nutrition values are for my other diabetics, (pcos) cysters and anyone interested in something that feels entirely naughty.

75g wholemeal pasta

100g courgette (scrape the seeds out and cut into small cubes)

50g chestnut mushrooms (sliced)

Half tsp of olive oil (1 syn or check our brand on sw app)

2 smoked bacon medallions (cut into small pieces)

1 clove garlic thinly sliced

2 egg yolks

25g finely grated parmesan (healthy extra or syn according to brand)

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Bringa pan of water to the boil add a generous pinch of salt.

2. Meanwhile add the olive oil and garlic to a frying pan and bring up to heat.

3. Add your pasta to the boiling water and your courgette to the frying pan and leave it to sit for at least a minute to let it caramelise.

4. Add your mushrooms to the pan along with a pinch of salt and pepper and stir fry until the mushrooms start to colour.

5. Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks and parmesan together and set aside.

6. By now your pasta should be cooked (should take 8-9 minutes depending on your brand, always use the lower time on the packet i.e. 7-10 minutes use 7). Use a spotted spoon to move the pasta to the frying pan.

7. Turn off the heat and coat the pasta in the bacon and veggie goodness.

8. Add some of the pasta water to your egg mixture and whisk before pouring into the frying pan.

9. Stir onstantly, the heat from the frying pan will cook the egg yolk making a thick creamy suace. Add some of the pasta water if needed to let it down.

It may seem like there are a lot of steps to this recipe but it comes together really quickly and really prep is key. Below is the rough workings out of calouries, protein, carbs etc. As a type 2 diabetic (although I am in remission numbers) we are recommended to have no more than 150g total carbs for the day, so although this goes a little above a third, it is a real treat and worth it.

Some days I have the full 150g, others I have no more than 50g. It totally depends on my body and the day, but everyone is different and manages their PCOS and diabetes differently right?

Of course this makes a decent portion but if you wanted to halve the carbs you could serve this with some chicken breast and salad and split the pasta between two people.

Love Emily, Chef who slims x

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£21 for 21 meals (slimming world)

I’m not sure if this list would be cheaper anywhere else but I went online to Tesco and did my shop and meal plan.  I was inspired by brothers green eats old video from I think 3 years ago for 21 meals (a week worth to be exact) for £21 all credit for the idea goes to them!

I am still working on my video for youtube but in the meantime here is my list that I made and the meals that I had.  (I was left over with some things such as oats and some other ambient products and even ham!)

My biggest tip is to cook your ham at the beginning of the week, slice it, dice it do whatever and then when you get to 3 days after the cooking of the ham, freeze the cut up ham to use in your meals. Your freezer is your best friend!

Just for reference, I have been buying the lowest bottom brands and the price doesn’t include my spices etc that I have in the cupboard and only have to very rarely replace. (salt, pepper, herbs and spices)

1 kg Oats 75p

1 litre UHT semi-skim milk 55p

small tangy apples 78p

380g mushrooms 82p

nightingale 600g peppers £1.10

courgettes 82p (pack of 3)

1kg bag of onions 85p

1kg gammon (i got smoked) £2.85

20 frozen butchers sausages 91p

1 basic spaghetti 20p

1 basic pasta 29p

6 free range eggs 85p

creamfields reduced fat cheddar £1.79

creamfields parmesan £1.88

1kg basic carrots 59p

3 tins basic tomatoes 84p

romaine lettuce £1

willow farms chicken thighs 750g £1.24

250g lean beef mince £2.19

0% fat natural yogurt (tesco own) 200g 50p

1 small tin of basic baked beans 20p

total at the time of purchase £20.98

Rough meal plan: 1. Grated apple with cinnamon, sweetener, 45g oats, 125ml milk, 125ml water. LUNCH:

2. melt 2 tsp of sugar and water in a pan until it caramelises, chuck in a chopped apple and pour onto baking paper (caramel apple 2 syns) put the apple on top of porridge (45g oats, 125ml milk, 125ml water).

3. 2 sausages (this brand 5 syns for 2) mushrooms, onion, 1 small microwaved chopped potato in 2 egg omelette with cheese.

4. 45g oats, 1 heaped tbsp of yogurt, 125ml of milk, cinnamon and grated apple and sweetener to taste (overnight oats).

5. 45g oats, sweetener, vanilla extract, lemon extract, 125ml milk, 125ml water (new york cheesecake porridge)

6. Crisp up some ham, add half a sliced pepper, spices from the cupboard (chilli salt pepper garlic a dash of cumin) half an onion cooked down, add half a tin of tomatoes and crack in 2 eggs, cover and leave till cooked to liking.

7. 2 eggs, 2 heaped tbsp of yogurt, dash of vanilla and lemon extract, sweetener and baking powder in a bowl use the mix for pancakes. For full recipe check out https://chefwhoslims.com/2017/08/21/syn-free-pancakes/

LUNCHES:

  1. Half of one of the romaine lettuces, shredded in a bowl, finely dice 1/4 of an onion and handful of gherkins (I always have some in the cupboard). In a pan fry off 1/4 of the pack of mince with 1/4 of onion finely diced, salt, pepper and a touch of garlic granules or whatever spices take your fancy. While the mince is cooling a little sprinkle over a healthy extra A worth or syns of cheese over the lettuce. In a bowl mix 1 tbsp of the greek yoghurt with a splash of vinegar, finely diced gherkins, salt, pepper, a dash of paprika, onion and garlic granules. Top the salad with the mince and sauce and you have #bigmacinabowl.

2. Heat some cubed ham in a pan until crisp, meanwhile line a bowl mix together a tbsp of yoghurt, garlic granules, Italian herbs, salt and pepper with some water and vinegar to let it down. Add some thinly sliced pepper and onion, grated carrot and a handful or two of cooked pasta and 1xHEA of cheese lay the mix over lettuce and top with the crispy ham.

3. Chunks of ham, cheese, pepper, apple and carrot with some piccalili. (my picky plate, i sometimes have a Ryvita or 2 as my HEB if I have them in the cupboard as they last a long time, I usually have a lunch like this on weigh-in day)

4. courgette, onion, peppers and half tin of tomatoes with herbs of liking through pasta topped with cheese.

5. Bake 2 sausages. Meanwhile, thinly slice an onion and some mushrooms and fry in a pan with salt and pepper until softened. Remove from the pan. Whisk 2 eggs with a dash of water, salt and pepper. Pour in half the egg mixture spreading it around the pan, when it looks like it is set, add half the onion mix and 1 sausage and wrap like you would a burrito. Do the same with the other half of the mixture.

6.  Microwave a potato (if you like your jacket potatoes crispy then put it in the oven for 15 minutes after microwaving), meanwhile fry off onion, ham and mushroom, cut open the potato topping with the fried mix and 1xHEA or syns of cheese serving with some side salad.

7. 2Xsausages roasted with peppers and onions, stir through half a tin of tomatoes with smoked paprika, garlic, salt and pepper for a delicious and quick sausage casserole. Don’t forget to add extras like potato, some beans at the back of the cupboard or pasta!

DINNERS

  1. 2 chicken thighs roasted in the oven with mixed peppers, onions and potatoes, some chilli, garlic and paprika (Spanish chicken) served with carrots.

2. 2 x sausages cooked in the oven with mushroom, diced potato till crisp serve with a fried egg.

3. 1/4 pack of mince cooked with onion, carrot, half tin tomatoes, garlic, italian herbs (these could be: oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme or rosemary, whatever mix you want) salt and pepper with spaghetti  and garlic fried courgette. (add 1 tsp butter to a pan* add 1 thinly sliced clove of garlic and toss your corgette chunks through the garlic butter adding salt and pepper, leave to sit so they get a little colour then toss and repeat)

4. Fry 1/2 onion and small carrot till softened, add some cubed ham, salt, pepper, garlic granules, 1 tsp butter, 1 roughly chopped microwaved potato and mash together. Sprinkle over 1xHEA or synned cheese, cover with a lid and leave for the bottom to go crispy. serve with baked beans.

5. Fry up some ham and mushrooms, meanwhile cook some spaghetti. In a bowl mix 30g parmesan with 2 egg yolks (syns or HEA) salt and pepper. use tongs to move the spaghetti to the pan with the ham gently coating the spaghetti in the ham and mushrooms. turnt he heat off and add some of the pasta water to the egg mix before adding to the pasta. Constantly stir the pasta until the sauce thickens (the heat of the pasta will cook the egg, if you are worried turn the heat to low and add some extra pasta water stirring and coating the pasta for a little longer)

6. Cut up some potato and bake in the oven to make chips. Meanwhile, mix the last of the yogurt with a dash of water and dried coriander leaves and garlic. Meanwhile, fry off 1/4 of the pack of mince with onion and peppers, sprinkle with salt and pepper, adding in cumin, garlic granules and paprika. top with HEA or syns of cheese. Put your chips on a plate and tip the cheesy taco mince over the top topping with some finely diced onion.

7. The what have you got dinner!Roast the last 2 chicken thighs, meanwhile fry off any remaining veggies that need using with garlic and italian herbs. Add your chicken thighs and juice along with water to completely cover the chicken and veggies. let simmer for at least half an hour (or slow cook all day) take the chicken out and bring the soup to a boil. Add some pasta and set the timer according to instructions. Meanwhile, shred the chicken. Add it back to the soup and serve.

You are likely to have odd bits of leftovers after this rough plan but you really can eat healthy or healthier than mars bars and crisps on a tight budget! Give it a go!!

Love Emily Chef who slims.

When you find a local SW friendly cafe..

First off, excuse the poor image as it really doesn’t do the food or cafe justice!

When you are out and about in town sometimes you want something other than an egg snack pot or jacket potato and you want a proper hot meal.

Me and my lovely friend Rosie go to our local slimming world group and we got some recommendations from our group on where to eat. It was a special day, the day I accidentally found my dream wedding dress!

We went inside a very small (downstairs anyway) cosy, friendly cafe called Harpers (Colchester town centre, Essex) recommended for their ‘slimmers menu’. The first time we went we both had the slimming world friendly breakfast as we hadn’t eaten properly as we were in town early. A juicy and delicious 2 syn sausage, bacon (which we cut the fat off ourselves), some perfectly cooked scrambled eggs, mushrooms cooked in frylight (albeit were a little bit dry but without lashings of butter that is how fried mushrooms are) and some fresh tomatoes heated with herbs and seasoning until they were lightly bursting.

The owner (who when I have been there does all the cooking) does slimming world himself and anyone who presents their membership card gets 10% off which I think is amazing for such a small business to do as there really aren’t many hidden gems like this cafe in most local towns.

This main review is based on the last time that I went to the cafe on my own (after being impressed first time around with our filling, low syn breakfast). The image featured is of the garlic, herb kebab and I half wish I had gone with a small one! The main one pictures along with a can of zero coke with my 10% discount came to just over £7.

To say I was impressed is an understatement. There must easily have been 2 chicken breasts that had clearly been marinaded over a long period of time (part of me feels bicarb or baking powder was used to help soften the meat). The kebab had grilled onions, peppers and mushrooms and was served with an undressed salad of cucumber and tomatoes and some steaming hot rice. I was offered light mayonnaise but I really wanted to eat the kebab with the plain salad and rice (although I probably wouldn’t have said no to a wedge of lemon).

Well, the kebab itself, where do I start? The flavour was permeated through the meat of light herb and garlic and was incredibly juicy whilst aswell having that delicious seared taste. There obviously isn’t much to say about the salad or rice apart from the rice was cooked perfectly. The only thing that let me down a little was the fact that the tomatoes were a little mushy but they are out of season so I can’t really complain.

If you are in Colchester I can totally recommend the chicken kebab, SW friendly breakfast or any of the jacket potatoes on offer. The owner will adapt anything on the relatively extensive menu as most things (other than pastries) are made in house. The coffee is great too!

I feel really lucky to have decently priced slimming world friendly cafe right on my doorstep. Since going here, I honestly haven’t eaten anywhere else in town #sorrynotsorry as I know the food and prices are reliable especially on a student budget.

Service: 5/5

Quality: 4.5/5

Price: 5/5

Taste: 4.5/5

DO RECCOMMEND! If you pop into Harpers let me know how you get on. One small thing, I don’t believe they have a disabled toilet, there is a very small step (prams often come into the cafe) OR there is outside seating.

If you find any hidden gems in your area let me know in the comments below as others may not be aware and it could really help someone who is struggling with eating out.

Love Emily, Chef who slims. x

Rich Crab Spaghetti

I can’t tell you how long I have been crab for and when I saw a huge dressed one on the fish stall last weekend I had to get it. It made 4 meals for £5 so I was seriously impressed.

Please remember anything marked with an asterisk needs to be synned, I no longer syn recipes as slimming world are cracking down on blogs and influencers who could be making money from their blog. (I am a non-profit though)

Serves 4 (average *4 syns, 1 syn per portion)

1 large red onion, finely diced,

1 large clove grated garlic,

300g dry spaghetti/linguine,

2 tsp butter*

1 dressed crab (you get a lot of meat and flavour for your money, you cannot substitute with tinned crab as you will not get the head meat which is full of flavour),

handful fresh parsley roughly chopped,

zest of half a lemon, juice of a whole lemon,

salt, pepper (chilli flakes if desired)

  1. Start by boiling your pasta water, adding a generous sprinkle of salt.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp of your butter in a large frying pan, add your onion and some salt and pepper.
  3. When your onions start to soften add your pasta to the water and cook for the recommended cooking time -2 minutes.
  4. Add your garlic and lemon zest to your onions stirring every so often.
  5. Add your parsley and lemon juice to the pan stirring to incorporate.
  6. Here is the magic bit, add your remaining tsp of butter and stir fairly quickly, the sauce should come together, this is the butter reacting with the lemon juice and emulsifying.
  7. Add all of your crab scraping everything from the shell with a spatula, gently fold it into your sauce turning the heat to low.
  8. Using tongs, move your pasta from the cooking water to the sauce taking some of the water with it and fold it through adding some of the pasta water if needed to loosen it up a little.

Super simple but full of flavour, this is great served with a zingy tomato and rocket salad to cut through the richness but I couldn’t get rocket so just served with some cooked veggies.

I hope you give this recipe a go, you can not substitute the butter for anything other than olive oil but the flavour really won’t be the same. If you wanted more texture you could always add in some crayfish or prawns.

Love Emily, Chef who slims.

Cowboy Beef & Bean Hash

Sometimes, there is nothing more comforting and easy than a ‘one pot’ supper. As a student, sometimes not getting in until after 6 and having to study around that, eating and sleep can be trying.

This meal is usually on the plate in under 20 minutes, it depends how small you chop your veggies. The great thing is everything is totally adaptable. Not sure you like chilli? Do not add it, got some other veggies that need using up? Throw em in!

Serves 2-4

2 medium potatoes.

2 small bell peppers and onions (colours of your choice), 150g mushrooms, 1 small courgette. (chopped how you want, the thinner/ smaller the faster they cook),

150g beef mince (5% fat)

1 tin drained pinto beans (or kidney beans the addition of a little sweetcorn is fab in this)

1 tsp smoked paprika, 3 cloves grated garlic, chilli powder or flakes to taste, dash Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.

Cheese to top (HEA or synned)

(everything cooked in low cal cooking spray or if using oil syns)

  1. pierce your potatoes and microwave for 5 minutes (you should easily be able to stick a knife in when done, soft).
  2. Meanwhile, fry off your mince in a large pan, sprinkle in salt and pepper. (i personally like to let my mince get a little crisp before adding my veggies).
  3. Add in all of your veggies another pinch of salt and stiry fry until they start to soften and colour.
  4. meanwhile, chop your potato into cubes then move your mince and veg mixture to one side of the pan.
  5. Add in your potatoes adding a good amount of low cal spray gently flipping them letting them colour.
  6. After 2-3 minutes add the beans and toss everything in the pan together letting it sit for a minute before flipping and sprinkling in your smoked paprika, chilli and garlic and stir fry until fragrant.
  7. Add a small amount of water and Worcestershire gently tossing everything in the pan until incorporated then top with the cheese and leave until the liquid has evaporated and the cheese has melted.

It seems like there are more steps than there actually are but don’t get put off. This is the fastest, most hearty alternative to a stew that you can get!

Love Emily, Chef who slims x

Fakeaway: Beef Ho-Fun

Tender, charred beef in a savoury stir fry full of speed and noodles that just scream Chinese takeaway.. but for less than half the syns!

My favourite stir-fried noodles have to be Ho-fun, they have so much flavour you just can’t go wrong, especially when it takes a half an hour from prep to plate!

Serves 4 (or is great for leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days)

250g flat iron steak (cut as thinly as possible)

Marinade: 1/2 tsp bicarb, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp minced ginger.

250g dry rice noodles (the wider the better)

2 small onions (1cm slices)

1 carrot julienned (or use a peeler)

5 spring onions cut in half and into inch pieces (on diagonal)

1 bag of bean sprouts (soak in a bowl of boiling water for 10 minutes then drain)

2 tsp each minced garlic and ginger

2 tbsp light soy and 1 tbsp dark soy sauce

3 separate tsp of sesame oil (this will make sense in a minute)

  1. Put a large frying pan or wok on high heat and pour a kettle of boiling water over your rice noodles in a bowl and microwave for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile mix your steak and marinade ingredients together and set aside.
  3. Pour 1 tsp of sesame oil over your steak and mix with your hands to coat evenly before spreading in one layer over the frying pan and leave for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, wash your hands and drain your rice noodles, coat them in the remaining sesame oil making sure to coat them thoroughly (if they seem dry also use a couple sprays of low calories cooking spray).
  5. Flip the meat over and move it to one side. Spray the empty side with low-calorie spray and add your onion and carrot and leave to char for a few minutes.
  6. Flip the vegetables over and leave to sit again for another couple of minutes.
  7. Add your garlic, ginger, bean sprouts and spring onion and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Add in your noodles, coating them in the beef and vegetables. Leave to sit for 2-3 minutes or until it sounds like the pan has stopped sizzling. (This is how you know the moisture is gone and the noodles should be starting to crisp and not stick to your pan)
  9. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper and pour over both soy sauces and coat and stir the noodles before leaving them to sit until the pan stops sizzling again.
  10. Flip the noodles and leave to sit one last time before serving.

This dish comes together very quickly and it takes some patience to wait and listen to hear the pan stop sizzling. But that really is key to your noodles not sticking to the pan.

You don’t HAVE to use the sesame oil but it is truly what makes the dish taste like an authentic Chinese takeaway.

(in the image I added a small drizzle of hoisin sauce as I forgot to add my dark soy, oops! I guess that’s what recipe labs are for though, making sure the dish tastes great before serving!)

Love Emily, Chef who slims. x

Cajun ‘Chicken’ Carbonara

So, I haven’t been feeling 100% so I haven’t wanted to slave over the hob while I have revision and essays to do. This creamy comforting carbonara has a little zing to it and is really easy to double up on the recipe. If you are vegetarian feel free to omit the chicken or use an alternative like quorn chicken chunks or even a firm tofu.

Serves 1 (big portion)

100g pasta,

1 handful thinly sliced peppers,

1 small thinly sliced onion,

1 handful thinly sliced mushrooms,

A good handful of cooked, shredded chicken, (I usually have chicken to snack on in the fridge so have some on hand or you could slice a chicken breast and add it to step 1)

1 egg yolk,

1 tbsp of elmlea double light cream alternative (2 syns),

30g fresh parmesan (HEA or you could syn it)

salt, pepper and 2 tsp cajun spice blend ( https://chefwhoslims.com/2017/05/12/cajun-seasoning/ )

  1. Heat a pasta pot with plenty of salted water on high heat. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over high heat, add low-calorie cooking spray and add your veggies to the pan with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  2. Cook your pasta according to packet instructions minus 2 minutes (as we will be finishing it off in our ‘sauce’).
  3. When your veggies have some colour, add your chicken and your cajun spice blend stirring to coat the veggies and chicken in the spices.
  4. In a bowl, mix together the egg yolk, cream and parmesan along with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Use tongs to move the pasta to the frying pan adding a small amount of water to help the veggies and spices coat the pasta (turn heat to low or if cooking on an induction hob, off)
  6. Add a few tablespoons of the pasta water to the egg mixture and stir to help temper (to make sure we don’t scramble to the egg when added to the pasta).
  7. Add the egg mixture to the pan stirring constantly. Add some of the pasta water to help loosen the mix and to help coat the pasta and veggies in the sauce.

Thats it! Dinner served in the space it takes to cook the pasta. Quick, easy, comforting and delicious.

I hope you give this a go!

Love Emily, Chef who slims x

 

 

chicken bourguignon

How did I come up with this on a student budget? Well, I always have carrots, onions and mushrooms, the chicken in the freezer, the herbs and tinned tomatoes, all I needed was the wine and time!

I am back! I am rejoining slimming world this week but following according to what I’ve learnt over the last few months with my diabetes and ready to send my diabetes into remission! Didn’t know you could do that? Well, you can. If you want to know more, leave me a comment and I will make a youtube video over at chef who slims. Drop me a like and sub to keep updated!

This makes 2 portions (as a student, where I can, I make extra for leftovers),

2 chicken breasts or 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs. (Cut into rough slices),

2 rashers smoked bacon medallions cut into small pieces,

1 large carrot, onion roughly chopped,

150g baby mushrooms (or larger mushrooms halved or quartered),

1 large clove of grated garlic,

1 tsp dry rosemary,

1 heaped TBSP tomato puree,

1 tin of chopped tomatoes,

1 small glass of red wine (125ml or 2 Tesco red wine stock pots, syns of the wine are determined by brand, alcohol and sugar percentage)

  1. Heat a large pot over high heat add low-calorie cooking spray and the bacon and stir fry until crisp then remove from the pan to a plate.
  2. Lay the chicken pieces in the pan to form one layer and season with salt and pepper and let it sear for a minute or two before turning.
  3. Add the onion and carrot and stir occasionally until the onion softens (2-3 minutes).
  4. Turn the heat down, add the bacon back to the pan along with the garlic, rosemary and tomato puree and stir fry for at least 5 minutes.
  5. Add the red wine to the pan and stir and simmer until the alcohol has evaporated (the mixture should be very thick with very little liquid at this stage, if using stock pots dissolve them in 200ml of water and add them add this stage letting the cooked out tomato puree dissolve into the stock).
  6. Add the tinned tomatoes and a generous pinch of salt and pepper and let simmer, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes before serving. (if you do use wine for this dish give it a taste before serving as it may need a dash of sweetener).

I served mine with green beans and some macaroni that needed using in the bottom of a packet but you could serve with mashed potato or if you water it down a little and add some tinned or new potatoes you could have it as a stew. (You could alternatively cook the veggies off with the wine and tomato puree before adding everything into the slow cooker on low, this recipe is easy to double and is freezable)

Thank you for being patient with me over the past year, it has been a bit of a rollercoaster but i’m back!

Love Emily, Chef who slims. x

 

microwave poached eggs

I caution you with this recipe as there have been some horror stories about microwaving eggs which have ended in hospitalisation but I will let you research that at your own peril!

First, you pour some boiling water into a bowl then crack in your egg.

Place a plate on top of your bowl and microwave for 3 minutes.

Pull your bowl out of the microwave keeping the plate on top.

Keep the plate on top for 1 minute (to be on the safe side).

Use a slotted spoon to retrieve your egg from the water before seasoning and serving.

This isn’t really a recipe and depending on your microwave you will need to experiment how long to microwave your egg to cook the yolk to your liking.

Love Emily, Chef who slims. x

Happy new year!

Blue Lagoon

This delicious cocktail is quite dangerous as it tastes like a fresh lemonade and is far too easy to drink!

serves: 6-8people (comes out at 2.5 – 3.5 syns please double check your brands as syns vary between brands)

750ml diet lemonade,

80ml vodka,

80ml blue curacao,

Juice from 1 whole large lemon,

1 whole lemon sliced thinly,

plenty of ice

  1. In a large jug mix together the blue curacao, vodka, lemon juice, and diet lemonade.
  2. fill glasses to the top with ice layering a couple of slices of lemon in between.
  3. pour over the drink and serve.

It is that simple, it is deadly and absolutely delicious.

Love Emily, Chef who slims x