There are certain staple meals that I know I can’t live without! Those meals that you always look forward to, those meals that are saved for a cosy friday night in with a good film. Those comforting, warming, feel good meals that smell sooooo good when they are cooking and taste even better the next day cold.
But unfortunately with many of the ‘traditional forms’ of these meals you are left with that horrible sluggish, bloated feeling afterwards thanks to the high levels of refined carbs, often in the forms of stodgy white pasta’s, pastries and potatoes. Plus all these hidden sugars means that they are also not that great on the waist line either!
So, what if I told you that you can still have these wonderful ‘feel good’ meals but actually ‘feel good’ and not guilty afterwards! Here are some of my favourites:
Guilt free – Spaghetti Bolognese
Make your usual bolognese sauce and then instead of using pasta, julienne some courgettes (zucchini) – in other words slice the vegetable into long thin noodle shaped strips. Then blanch in hot water for about 1 min. The courgette (zucchini) will have the same kind of consistency as real pasta spaghetti and taste awesome with the topping too.
Guilt free – Cauliflower Cheese or Moussaka
Make a bechamel sauce for your cauliflower cheese or moussaka by combining approx 2 cups of ricotta, approx 1/3 cup of milk (this all depends on the consistency you like, add more for a runnier sauce or less for a thicker sauce) and a good pinch of nutmeg!
Bake Cauliflower Cheese or Moussaka in the oven as normal, they will be ready when cooked through and golden brown on the top.
Guilt free – Shepherds Pie
Make your usual filling from either minced lamb or minced beef. For the topping use cauliflower mash instead of the usual potato. Saute a small onion and a clove of garlic in a large saucepan. Add 1 whole head of very finely chopped cauliflower and 1/4 cup of water or vegetable stock. Steam for around 5-10 mins making sure you don’t over cook and there is still some bite. Take a hand blender and blend into smooth consistency.
Spread on top of meat mixture and bake until slightly brown on the top.
Butternut Squash Mash
Make your usual filling from either minced lamb or minced beef. For the topping steam cubes of butternut squash until tender. Mash with a little olive oil, some salt and pepper and a dash of nutmeg. As an alternative cumin or curry powder also go very well with the squash instead of the nutmeg.
Guilt free – Quiche
This is an awesome Teresa Cutter Recipe….
400 g ground almonds
3 tablespoons ground linseed
3 organic / free range eggs
pinch sea salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
Combine almonds linseeds, sea salt, eggs and oil into a mixing bowl and mix through using your hands until you form a lovely dough. Roll out into a round shape between 2 sheets of baking paper then line a 25 cm pie plate that has been lightly brushed with olive oil and coated in almond meal to prevent sticking.
500 g spinach leaves
2 leeks sliced or onions sliced
pinch black pepper and sea salt
handful fresh basil, sliced
400 g fresh ricotta cheese
In a large deep pot, saute onion or leek until soft over a low to medium heat in 1 tablespoon of olive or grape seed oil. Add spinach leaves – you may have to add in 2 batches if spinach doesn’t fit it, but that’s cool. Season with a little sea salt, pepper, nutmeg and basil. Cook only until spinach has wilted then remove from the heat and drain out any excess liquid.
Add the ricotta and mix through until combined.
Spoon the filling into the pastry lined pie shell and bake for 35 minutes in a moderate 180 C oven until golden.