Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe

This brightly coloured dish of golden-orange butternut squash, red onion and white rice makes a substantial supper for four or a classic Italian starter for six. Serves: 4

Risotto

Prep time: 15 minutes, Cook time: 50 minutes
Slimming World Syns per serving: Extra Easy: FREE, Green: FREE

Ingredients

454g/1lb butternut squash
1 large red onion
1 tbsp lemon juice
852ml/1½pt vegetable stock
1 garlic clove
340g/12oz dry risotto rice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp freshly chopped Sage

Method

1. Slice the skin from the squash and discard the seeds. Cut into 2cm/¾in chunks. Peel and finely slice the onion and toss in the lemon juice. Transfer both vegetables to a saucepan and pour over 284ml/½pt stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until just tender. Turn off the heat and keep covered.

2. Peel and finely chop the garlic and place in a saucepan with the rice and 284ml/½pt stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes until the stock has evaporated.

3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining stock until just about to boil, and reduce the heat to maintain the temperature. Add the chopped sage and seasoning to the rice mixture and add a ladleful of stock; cook gently, stirring until absorbed.

4. Continue ladling in the stock until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is thick, creamy and tender. Keep the heat moderate. This will take 20-25 minutes.

5. Drain the pumpkin and red onion and stir gently into the rice. Heat through for 2 minutes.

6. Ladle into warmed serving bowls. Sprinkle with black pepper to serve.

Tip: If you like blue cheese, a little Stilton crumbled on top just before serving tastes wonderful!

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New Year, New You – 5 easy steps

It’s always a daunting prospect to committing to making changes to our lifestyle.  How many times have we made New Year’s resolutions only to break them within 48 hours – sometimes we put far too much pressure on ourselves to achieve the impossible!

By making some simple changes can really help to make a difference to our lives over the long term.  Taking small steps to make those changes is key.  All too often we set ourselves impossible goals which are either too ambitious or too hard to stick to.  We end up feeling guilty and deprived and give up at the first hurdle.

There are many small simple, achievable shifts we can adopt which will make a big difference to how we look and feel over a longer period.  Research suggests it take 16 to 21 repetitions before an action becomes a habit so, stay strong and by the end of January, many of these small changes will have become a fixed part of your health & fitness regime

Resolve to:

1. Eat a low-fat, low energy diet – make healthy choices by swapping high fat foods for lower fat/fat free options

2. Make small steps to increase activity – nothing drastic to start – get off the bus one stop early/leave the car when the journey can be walked/take the dog for a walk (the long way round)!

3. Have mainly healthy foods in the fridge at home – don’t deny yourself some treats, but be in control

4. EaBrighton Slimming World Cooked Breakfastt Breakfast! Whilst having breakfast isn’t essential for weight loss, research shows that eating breakfast is linked to making healthier food choices throughout the day resulting in less snacking between meals.

5. Follow a consistent eating pattern – research shows that people who continue to eat a fairly consistent and healthy diet throughout the week are more likely to keep weight off in the long term than those who follow a strict ‘diet’ on weekdays and let themselves go at weekends.

Slimming Christmas Party Food Ideas

Strawberry Santas

Fab festive finger-food idea  for a Christmas party buffet – quick to make, eye-catching, super sweet and Free! Courtesy  of  Slimming World member Claire from Tyne & Wear.

information

Serves: 12
Prep time:
Cook time:
Syns per serving:

  • Green: FREE
  • Original: FREE
  • Extra Easy: FREE

ingredients

½ tub Quark
2-3 tbsp sweetener
12 strawberries
24 chocolate balls (cake decorations)

method

1. In a bowl, mix together the Quark and sweetener.

2. Cut the bottom off the strawberries (pointed bit) to create Santa’s hat. Spoon or pipe the Quark mixture on top of each strawberry and down the front (to create his head and beard) and place the hat back on.

3. Add two little chocolate balls to make his eyes and serve as soon as possible.

Slimming World 7 Days of Healthy Eating

Food Optimizing includes hundreds of delicious Free Foods which provide satisfying meals and snacks to ensure you’ll lose weight beautifully without ever having to go hungry. And together with Healthy Extras – portions of food including wholemeal bread, cereals and milk for extra fibre and calcium – they ensure you have a healthy, balanced diet you can enjoy for life.

Sample our typical menus over the next 7 days for a taste of how you can eat yourself slim!  Just click on the image below for your FREE 7 day menu.

Brighton Slimming World

A hearty Lamb Hotpot for a Winter’s Night Supper

Slimming World Brighton Hotpot

Just right for celebrating Bonfire Night, this warming classic hotpot is tasty, filling and delicious on a cold winter’s night! Lamb is a tender meat and it’s gorgeous in this hearty hotpot. It’s a perfect Free ingredient that will warm the cockles!

Serves: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Syns per serving:

  • Green: 11.5*
  • Original: 7.5
  • Extra Easy: 1

(*Add 6 Syns if not using lamb as a Healthy Extra)

ingredients

794g/28oz medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into 5mm/¼in thick slices
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp chopped thyme leaves
908g/32oz lean fillet of lamb, cut into bite-size pieces
2 large onions, peeled and very thinly sliced
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
568ml/1 pt lamb or beef stock
1 level tbsp lamb or beef gravy granules
steamed greens or cabbage to serve

method

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas 4. Line four individual casserole dishes with a layer of the potatoes. Season well with salt, pepper and half of the chopped thyme.

2. Layer the lamb, onions and carrots on top of the potatoes, seasoning well with salt, pepper and the remaining thyme. Finish with a neat layer of potatoes overlapping each other.

3. Mix the stock together with the gravy granules, if using, and pour into the casserole to come to the bottom of the layer of potatoes. Season well.

4. Cover the casserole dishes with foil and bake in the oven for 1½ hours, then uncover and cook for another 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are browned and crisp and the meat is tender. Serve immediately with steamed greens or cabbage.

Tasty Pumpkin Soup for Halloween

This week in group, we’ll be celebrating Halloween with a taster of this warming, lightly spiced soup which marries the flavours of pumpkin with cumin to produce a soup that is deliciously comforting. 

Did you know that the custom of making ‘jack-o-lanterns’ for Halloween is thought to have originated from the Gaelic festival of Samhain (31Oct-1Nov) in the 19th century in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands, where turnips, mangelwurzel or beets were used?

I’ll be carefully scooping out the flesh of an orange pumpkin and making this delicious soup, then carving my traditional lantern to ward off evil spirits at Halloween – what will you be doing with yours?

Spicy Pumpkin & Cumin Soup

Spicy cumin and pumpkin soup

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep. time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Total time: 30-60 Minutes
  • Syns per serving:
    • Green: FREE
    • Original: FREE
    • Extra Easy: FREE

ingredients

  • Fry Light
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1.2kg/2lb 11oz pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 750ml/26fl oz vegetable stock made with Vecon
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves

To serve

  • 4 tbsp fat-free natural yogurt
  • roasted cumin seeds
  • paprika

method

  1. Spray non-stick saucepan with Fry Light and place over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion to the pan and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until softened.
  2. Add the pumpkin and ground cumin and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Season well, add the stock and bring to the boil. Cover, lower the heat and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes until the pumpkin is tender.
  3. Allow the soup to cool slightly, place in a food processor and blend until smooth. Stir in the coriander and ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Garnish each bowl with a spoonful of yogurt and a sprinkle of roasted cumin seeds and paprika.

Slimming World Recipe of the Week

Every week in group I put together a raffle prize to encourage members to Food Optimize by preparing fabulous filling meals.  Some weeks it might be a fruit basket, other weeks I might concentrate on a mixture of seasonal veg, but most weeks I try and inspire my members to try some of the fabulous recipes from the amazing books, magazines and ideas posted every week online.
This week’s raffle had the ingredients for a classic Ratatouille Recipe, which I had adapted from a favourite recipe courtesy of Nigel Slater I’ve been cooking for years, food optimized to make it healthy, filling and delicious!  Try it for yourself and see!

Classic ratatouille recipe


Conjure up Provence with this lush mixture of tender vegetables…
Serves: 4
Syns per serving: FREE on Extra Easy & Green

Ingredients
1 onion, sliced
Fry Light
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 aubergine, thickly sliced
2 courgettes, thickly sliced
1 red pepper, 1 yellow pepper, seeded and quartered
1 Can Plum Tomatoes
Fresh or Dried Thyme
Fresh Basil leaves (to serve)
Salt & Pepper to taste

metho
d
1.    Sweat 2 sliced onions in Fry Light until they are soft, add 2 sliced garlic cloves and cook until soft.
2.    Remove to a deep roasting tin or baking dish. Fry each of the other vegetables separately, until each is pale gold.
3.    Remove as each one is ready and add to the tin or dish
4.    Add the plum tomatoes, seasoning with salt, black pepper and herbs.
5.    Bake at 180C/gas mark 4 for about 40 minutes until soft and tender.
6.    Stir gently with a handful of torn basil leaves and serve.

 

(Image from Nigel Slater @ Observer)