Saturday, 7 September 2013

Dinner for two: Lamb Shanks in Minted Gravy

Just a quick one!
I've been quite poorly this week and I've been trying really hard not to have syns.
I've had a real craving for hot meals and I remember my mum telling me about syn free lamb shanks from Iceland!

'Extra Large Lamb Shanks in Minted Gravy twin pack' from the chilled section (BEWARE, not the frozen ones!)
Just £6 from Iceland. They're completely syn free on extra easy and really really lovely!

They come in two separate pouches which you can either boil (I didn't have a saucepan big enough!) or microwave for 8 minutes each on full power.
I popped them in the microwave and then popped them in a roasting dish together for 10 minutes.

I also cooked spinach, peas and boiled potatoes, sprinkled with mixed herbs.


More low or syn-free Lamb Shanks (on Extra Easy):

* Co-op: Lamb Shanks in Minted Gravy, twin pack: FREE

* Morrisons: Signature Lamb Shanks with Redcurrant Gravy & Roasted Vegetables, twin pack: FREE

* Iceland: Extra Large Lamb Shanks in a Redcurrant & Rosemary Sauce, twin pack: FREE

* Iceland: Extra Large Lamb Shanks in a Mint Gravy Tendercooked, twin pack, frozen: 4.5 syns each

* Asda: Extra Special Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks in a Redcurrant & Port Sauce, 740g pack, chilled: 5.5 syns each

* Asda: Extra Special Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks in Garlic & Rosemary Gravy, 740g pack, chilled: FREE

* Asda: Chosen by You Lamb Shank in Minted Gravy, chilled: FREE

* Sainsbury's: TTD Bistro Lamb Shanks with Roasted Carrots & Parsnips, chilled: 3.5 syns (per 575g sevring)

* Sainsbury's: Just Cook Lamb Shanks with a Red Onion & Thyme Gravy, chilled: FREE

* Aldi Stores: Oakhurst Signature Lamb Shanks in Rosemary & Mint Sauce, twin pack, frozen: 3.5 syns each

* Tesco: Finest Restaurant Collection Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks & Roasted Vegetables: 4 syns per seving

Always check syn values before buying - especially frozen foods!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Recipe: Pasta 'n' Sauce Quiche!

That's right.
A quiche made with Batchelor's Pasta 'n' Sauce!
And boy, was it delicious.
Thank you to my mother for the recipe!
It seems only on Slimming World would we try something like this!


* 1 x Packet Batchelor's Cheese & Broccoli flavour Pasta 'n' Sauce
* FryLight Sunflower Oil Spray
* 3 beaten eggs
* Bacon (visible fat trimmed off)
* 3 leeks, washed and sliced.
* Diced onions
* 300g tub Low Fat (or fat free, but i haven't found any yet!) cottage cheese
* Reduced fat grated cheddar
* A few slices of tomato and salad to serve.

Before you do anything, pre-heat your oven to 180°c (Gas Mark 4)

Slice and dice 3 medium/large leeks and a couple of white onions. Fry in a saucepan on a low heat and spray with FryLight Sunflower Oil until soft.

Add 400ml of boiling water and the sachet of Pasta 'n' Sauce in to the saucepan with the leeks and onions. Mix in and stir for 10 minutes. Simmer on a low heat.

Meanwhile, mix 3 beaten eggs with the tub of cottage cheese in a bowl. Whisk them together until the consistency is as smooth as possible (basically try to mix out the lumpy bits!)

After 10 minutes of cooking the leeks (although it will look a bit watery) add in the egg/cheese mixture. Mix together in the saucepan on a low heat, stirring occasionally.

Line your quiche dish with as much bacon as you like but make sure you trim off all visible fats first!

Spoon the mixture from the saucepan in to your dish. Try not to fill it exactly to the top because the quiche will bubble a bit and overflow in your oven. There was actually so much mixture that I ended up needing to use a second dish!

Sprinkle with reduced fat cheddar or any other cheese you wish.
Note that one average portion will be from your Healthy Extra allowance. So try to allow for syns depending on how much cheese you use! (You can find the cheese allowance list in your Food Optimising book or in the Slimming World Online Food Diary)

I decorated the top with a few slices of tomato before popping in the oven.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until slightly brown on top.

I will leave my larger quiche to cool and pop in the fridge for tomorrow's lunch!
However, we were so hungry we decided to have a portion of the second quiche fresh from the oven for dinner (after cooling a litt1e!). Served with salad so there's even more Superfree on my plate!

There are a few different SW quiche recipes on the internet but this one was really yummy. Thanks mum!


Sunday, 1 September 2013

Restaurant Review: Harvester Inns

As we all know, trying to find a Slimming World friendly restaurant is never easy.
Eating out with friends or family can sometimes feel more daunting than exciting.
Personally, if I've been having a great week so far and I'm eager to stick to the plan as much as possible then browsing through the menu only seems to concern me. I'll be constantly thinking; "How much oil is that cooked in?" ... "In a cream sauce? What a shame!" ... "I wonder if they'll cut the fat off that?" ...

And you know what? It's okay to ask those things. It's okay to be conscious of what you're eating. After all, we're just eating healthily. It's not like we're asking for the world!

Earlier this week my family planned that we should go out for a meal as my sister was moving to Leeds University on the Friday and it's the last time we'll all be together until Christmas.

My parents had visited a Harvester Inn (The Old Castle in Salisbury) before and my mum said it was great. It's not the classiest place in the world and sure, it's a cheap, family restaurant. However, it was so easy to put a meal together without feeling too guilty on the SW Extra Easy plan!

This is the way the Harvester menu works:
You chose a meat (or a vegetarian or pasta dish)
The meat is usually served with a certain vegetable.
Then you pick from a side - For example, Jacket Potatoes, New Potatoes or Fries.

Extra Easy! See what I did there? ;)

I chose 'Simply Chicken' which is a skinless flame grilled chicken breast. On the menu it's served with green beans (but I hate those so I asked for peas instead!) and I had new potatoes for my side.
I double checked with the waiter that the chicken breast was skinless and definitely not cooked in oil. I also asked that I could have my potatoes and peas without the butter.

Harvester are famous for their unlimited salad bar and boy, I can tell you, it was a godsend!
I went up and got a bowl of superfree delights: lettuce, peppers, sweetcorn, red onion and even some cous cous!
This really bulked out my meal which did look a little on the sparce side when it came out but I suppose that's why they offer the pick 'n' mix style salad!

All in all, I was really impressed with Harvester.
My meal was pretty much syn-free (which is outstanding for a restaurant!) and I felt like I could enjoy my meal without feeling guilty. It was great to feel involved and as normal as everybody else. It does help that my mum and sisters are following SW too so we all supported each other and didn't get too tempted!
The staff were great and very accommodating. The food was cooked like we asked and there wasn't a drop of butter in sight!

No desert for any of us but to be honest I didn't even want one after having such a filling, healthy meal. I left feeling bloated but really good about what I'd eaten.

Harvester, you've got my seal of approval!
The whole meal being a cheap and cheerful £5.99 (I think.. it might have even been £4.99!) I can positively say it's great value for money!
Highly recommended. Will definitely go there again.

Some SW tips for eating out at Harvester:

What to choose from?

Main Meal:

* Flame-grilled chicken breast (keep it a free food by removing the skin)
* Rump/sirloin/rib eye/fillet steak
* Lamb steak
* Gammon steak
* Flame-grilled salmon steak
* Grilled sea bass fillets

Side Orders:

* Jacket potato
* Pilau rice
* Baby potatoes – ask for them with no butter (or butter on the side) so you control the Syns
* Corn on the cob – again ask for no butter
* Roasted flat mushrooms

Stock up on SuperFree food from the salad bar to bulk up your plate:

* Lettuce
* Tomatoes
* Red and green peppers
* Onions
* Cucumber
* Beetroot
* Grated carrot

Free Food favourites from the salad bar:

* Sweetcorn
* Cous Cous

Low Syn options:

* Chickpea salad
* Pasta salad

Click here for Slimming World's Food Optimising Guide to eating at Harvester.

Click here to see the Harvester Menu.

Tomato & Basil Chicken Mug Shot Lunch!

Just a quick blog post about my super quick, super yummy lunch!

Tomato & Herb Pasta Mug Shot.
Make as directed in a mug and leave it to thicken while stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, dice a handful of mushrooms, onion (I used spring onions) and any other veg you might fancy.
Tear up some ready cooked chicken pieces and chuck it all in a frying pan.
Spray with FryLight and cook until chicken is slightly brown.

Squeeze about a tablespoon of tomato puree in with your Mug Shot and stir.
Empty Mug Shot in to a bowl and season with Basil or Mixed Herbs.
Stir in your chicken & veg.
Unfortunately we didn't have any rocket or salad but I halved a handful of cherry tomatoes to pop on top - just making sure I get as much superfree food as possible with my meal as the Mug Shot is technically processed even though it's syn free.


Absolutely delicious.