Tag Archives: dinner options

Miso Grilled Fish with Steamed Greens

Finally! A new recipe that is not soup!!!

My sister and I both have the CSIRO Total WellBeing Diet books and the recipe book. We will occasionally recommend recipes to each other. While staying with her on the weekend she said that she loved one of the recipes for its simplicity and taste. I had glanced at this recipe but because it seemed similar to a chicken recipe I already cook regularly I had not made it.

Inspired by my sister I decided to cook her recommendation tonight.

The recipe calls for mirin and miso, two ingredients that I had not used before. Miso is a fermented soy bean spread with an earthy aroma. It reminded me a little of vegemite or mushrooms. Mirin is sweet rice wine only used in cooking. I found both of these in my local Asian grocer.

I also don’t cook alot of fish; it is not something that we ate often when we were growing up and it is not something that comes to mind when I am planning meals. I am trying and I have one fish recipe that I will cook regularly (ie once a month). I will also use prawns reasonably regularly.

It was easy and it was tasty. Not really like the chicken recipe I cook at all so I am glad that I have tried it. I didn’t think it was fantastic but for a low fat, high protein meal it was great. And I would make it again. Next time, I will try some different white fish fillets to see if that changes the dish. I felt I needed something on the side and we had some boiled rice left over from last night. I sautéed some onion, garlic and ginger in a little oil, added the rice and then some low salt soy. I packed the hot gingery rice in a small mold and tipped it onto the plates to try a presentation trick I had once seen. And it worked well.

Miso Grilled Fish with Steamed Greens

Serves 2
1 tbs white miso
1 tbs mirin
1 tsp olive oil
400g white fish fillets (I used ling)
Selection of Green Vegetables to serve two (Pakchoy, Bok choy, Garlic Chives, Asparagus, Snowpeas)

Mix the miso, mirin and olive oil. Spread the mixture over the fish fillets.

Preheat the grill to high. Place the fish fillets under the grill for 5-7 minutes.

Steam the vegetables until tender.

Serve the grilled fish over the vegetables, sprinkled with a little extra mirin and some low salt soy.

Nutritional Information (not including rice):
Total: 2350 kJ, 8.9 g fat, 89.3 g protein, 20.1 g carbohydrate, 10.5 g fibre
per serve: 1175 kJ, 4.5 g fat, 44.7 g protein, 10.1 g carbohydrate, 5.3 g fibre

6 months!

I have been watching what I eat and exercising for 6 months! People say that they are impressed I have kept at it and I was thinking about that because it feels easy for me. But that is one of the reasons I have been able to keep at it. Some of the key things for my plan are that it fits into my life now, I enjoy the food I am eating, I enjoy the exercise I am doing, it is easy to keep track of what I am doing, while I have a balanced diet I do have treats (whether that be chocolate or alcohol or biscuits) and I don’t feel deprived. There is flexibility and variation.

I also have some really clear goals; some are short term (this year), some are medium term (in the next 5 years) and some are life goals. Some goals are weight related but most are fitness and health related. And I really want to reach my goals. I really want it. My commitment to my future self supports my present self in making the decisions which will get me to my goals. And again, I don’t feel deprived.

I don’t feel overwhelmed by how far I have to go. I was overwhelmed at the start and a couple of times throughout but usually it is not an issue. On most days, I only look at what I need to do on that day. On weekdays, the only thing I need to think about is dinner because exercise and all other weekday foods are routine. Planning generally helps with that as well. On weekends I have a little more time and as long as I track as I go I can keep to target. A couple times a week I have a look at how I am travelling for that week in terms of exercise done and average kJ intake. Based on that I can make some decisions about what how I manage the rest of the week. And then occasionally I look at the short term, which I am doing at the moment. I am revising my goals for the rest of the year and celebrating my achievements so far.

It is constant. I put alot of work into setting up my plan at the beginning of the year and again 3 months ago when I moved to counting kJ. So, when I say it is easy I don’t mean that I don’t think about it or that I only think about it occasionally. It is constant and my food and exercise choices are conscious choices. But with my goals in view, enjoying the journey and not feeling deprived it means that I am happy to accept the constancy of watching what I am eating and counting the kJ. And occasionally, going above my target is ok but I really try to make it a conscious choice rather than mindless eating.

This weeks stats:
Starting weight: 140.9 kg (310 lbs)
Todays weight: 106.2 kg (233.6 lbs)
This weeks loss: 1.2 kg (2.6 lbs)
Total lost: 34.7 kg (76.3 lbs)

75 lbs – that is a cool amount to have lost. And I am also 2/3 of the way through my 40 week plan. In the last 13 weeks I have lost 13.4 kg. I have exercised 81 of the 91 days.

So, here is to another day, another week, another trimester and another 6 months of healthy living. And to icreased fitness and decreased clothes sizes as well 🙂

Kangaroo Vindaloo

I have cooked something new tonight! Yesterday I sat down and planned several meals for next week. I don’t usually plan several meals at once but I thought I would try it out. On my list for the coming week is Pasta with Prawns (and tomato, onion, peas, artichokes), some sort of curry, Pork Loin with Couscous salad and Lamb Meatloaf. I wanted a mix of things with somthing that can go in the freezer, a couple of fast meals and something that was new.

I found a Beef Vindaloo recipe in the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet (Book 2). I was going to make it with beef but decided to use Kangaroo instead. Kangaroo is available in the supermarkets now in Australia and it is a cheap and lean meat with a stronger flavour than beef. I have used kangaroo in stirfrys before (it goes wonderfully with teriyake marinade, garlic and beans) and in chilli con carne instead of beef. But Kangaroo Vindaloo??? I just love how the sounds flow 🙂 And it fulfils both my new and freezer food requirements.

I thought that the curry would benefit from slow cooking in the oven, and since I had the time, I cooked it earlier today. It gave the curry a chance to cool and meld before dinner time. It had 3 hours in the oven and when I checked the meat was falling apart and the liquid had reduced. I think that next time I will pop a layer of greasproof paper over the caserole dish and then put the lid on to reduce the amount of liquid loss. I am glad that I checked when I did.

I decided to serve the curry with rice and some steamed greens garnished with some crushed cashews. The curry was lovely. It had a good flavour balance and the kangaroo was delicious in it. I would have liked it a little hotter, it is a medium heat curry and vindaloo should be hot-hot. I will try increasing the chilli powder by half to start with next time. There will be a next time for this dish. I thought it was great and it was really easy as well. Once it was in the pan I left it there! I will try it again with beef and I would also consider doubling the recipe to get more into the freezer.

(adapted from CSIRO TWB Diet Book 2)
Serves 4

1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tbs olive oil
2 onions, chopped
800g lean beef or kangaroo, cut into 4 cm pieces
2 tbs minced ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
1 stick cinnamon
2 cups water
1 green chilli, finely sliced
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tbs reduced fat natural yoghurt and coriander (cilantro) leaves to garnish

Mix the dry spices and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large heavy based saucepan or flame proof casserole dish over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes or until soft and golden. Remove from the pan. Brown the beef or kangaroo in batches, removing the meat from the pan when browned. Return all the meat and onions to the pan. Add the dry spices, ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the water, cinnamon stick and chilli. Bring to the boil. Cook either on the stove top or in the oven.

Stove top: Reduce the heat to low and simmmer, covered, for 1 hour. Stir in the vinegar and sugar and cook for a further 20 minutes over a medium heat, uncovered.

Slow oven: Cover with a sheet of baking paper, then the lid and place in a preheated oven at 160’C. Cook for 3 hours. Stir in the vinegar and sugar. Depending on the liquid level, leave to sit for 15 minutes or cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes.

Serve with rice and steamed vegetables.

nutritional information
total – 5683 kJ, 58.2g fat, 169g protein, 38.5 g carb, 13.5 g fibre
per serve – 1421 kJ, 14.5g fat, 42.3 g protein, 7.7 g carb, 2.7 g fibre
total – 5035 kJ, 32.6 g fat, 186 g protein, 38.5 g carb, 13.5 g fibre
per serve – 1258 kJ, 8.2 g fat, 46.5 g protein, 7.7 g carb, 2.7 g fibre

Minced Lamb with Chickpeas

Tired tonight. I picked up an extra day of work this week and I have not been well *again*. I went for a simple meal tonight. It was good, my man liked it more than I did, but I liked it more than the toddler – well, he refused to try any so I am not sure if that is actually the case. I was just left feeling not quite satisfied and I can’t put my finger on why. I think some lemon would have helped. And some grated carrot would have worked really well too.

Actually, I think I will make it again to try including some preserved lemon with the meat. I will be putting some in the freezer for another night so I can try serving it slightly differently next time, too. It might make regular appearances on the menu 🙂

(Edit: very good with lemon. Going on the ‘dinner options’ list)

The recipe was adapted from the CSIRO Total WellBeing Diet Recipe Book.

Minced Lamb with Chickpeas
Serves 6

1 tbs olive oil
2 onions, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves
1kg lean lamb mince
2 tbs morrocan spice mix
1/4 preserved lemon, finely diced (I would include this next time)
4 tomatoes
250g tinned chickpeas, rinsed
salt to taste
pita bread or tortillas to serve
baby spinach leaves to serve
hummus to serve
grated carrot to serve (I would include this next time)

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the mince, breaking up any lumps. Cook until the mince is browned. Stir in the spice mix (this is where I would add some preserved lemon next time) and cook for 1 minute, then add the tomato and chickpeas. Season with salt (to taste). Turn the heat down, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the mint.

Serve with the spinach, hummus and grated carrot, using the pita bread/tortillas as a wrap.

nutritional info (not including the pita bread, spinach, hummus or carrot as it depends on what you are going to actually serve it with and how much):
total 8190 kJ, 225 g protein, 84 g fat, 57 g carb
per serve (6 serves) 1365 kJ, 37.5 g protein, 14 g fat, 9.5 g carb

Larb Gai with Mint and Basil

I posted about Larb Gai back on the 4th of Feb. I cooked it again, worked out the nutritional info this time and took photos!

It is for this recipe that I wanted to have a herb garden 🙂 I now have coriander, mint and basil in pots.

Larb Gai with Mint and Basil

100ml chicken stock
500g minced chicken or turkey or pork
1/4 cup fish sauce
5 cm piece of fresh ginger, cut into matchsticks
1 long red chilli, seeds removed, cut into matchsticks
1 tsp sugar
2 tbs lime juice, plus extra lime wedges to serve
1 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves, roughly choppped
1 eschallot, peeled and finely sliced
1 lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced
10g roughly chopped peanuts/serve (optional)

Heat the stock in a wok or large frying pan over medium high heat. Add the mince, fish sauce and ginger and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes, or until the meat has browned and cooked through. Add the chilli and sugar and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the lime juice, the chopped herbs and eschallot; fold through, allowing the herbs to wilt. Arrange the cucumber on the plates and, using a slotted spoon, pile the larb gai on the plates. Scatter with the peanuts and serve with the extra lime wedges.

Serve with lettuce leaves, rice, other salad bits and pieces (not included in the info below)

nutritional information:
(does not include peanuts – per serve add 266kJ, 2.5 g protein, 5.3 g fat 1.5 g carb)
total: 3858 kJ , 101 g protein, 41.5 g fat, 21 g carb
3 serves: 1286 kJ, 33.6 g protein, 14g fat, 7 g carb
total: 3735 kJ, 101g protein, 41g fat, 21 g carb
3 serves: 1245 kJ, 33.6g protein, 13.6 g fat, 7 g carb
total: 4104 kJ , 110 g protein, 47.5 g fat, 21 g carb
3 serves: 1368 kJ, 37 g protein, 16g fat, 7 g carb

Panfried Chermoula Barramundi

I had planned to cook something new yesterday. I looked up the recipe, bought the ingredients but it did not happen. Most days with my toddler are good ones; yesterday was not. So, we had something easy for dinner and postponed the new food till tonight.

Tonight we had Chermoula Barramundi. I don’t cook alot of fish. I know that I should eat it more often, it is just that I didn’t grow up eating fish and it is not somthing that springs to mind when I am looking for a dinner option. And the recipe said pan fried… but when I looked there is not much oil in it at all so I thought I would give it a go. I adapted the recipe from one I saw in a magazine called Australian Healthy Food Guide which is a monthly magazine that I have just started buying. I like the look of it – some articles, a good number of healthy recipes and not all that expensive.

Chermoula is a marinade used in Morrocan cooking, usually for seafood and fish. Barramundi is an Australian fish. It is a firm white fish which can be substituted with bream, cod, flounder, kingfish, ling, perch, pike, snapper, shark, hake, whiting for roughly the same kJ intake.

I did like this meal. I served the fish with some lowfat oven bake potato wedges and a salad. The fish tasted nice and it was a light meal. I would cook this again.

Panfried Chermoula Barramundi

4 x 150g Barramundi fillet (or other firm white fish fillet)
1 tbs olive oil
1/3 cup finely chopped coriander (cilantro)
1 tbs lemon juice
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs white wine vinegar
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin

Chermoula marinade:
Combine the coriander (cilantro), lemon juice, garlic, white wine vinegar, sweet paprika, ground cumin and half the olive oil. Spread the marinade onto the fish. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.

Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Cook the fish for 2 minutes on each side, or till cooked through.

Serve with salad.

Serves 4.

Nutritional info(per serve – without including any additional salad): 820kJ, 7 g fat, 1 g carb, 38 g protein

Kofta Curry

Hurray! It is Friday and I can be bothered to cook something new! I looked through my recipe collection from the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet (what I am mostly following) and found a Lamb Kofta Curry recipe. Nyom nyom nyom 🙂 and then I worked out how many points it would cost me and I decided to change the lamb for beef. Beef mince is leaner and I was fairly certain that it would still work out to be delicious.

I was planning to serve it to our toddler and so I left out the chilli. He won’t be getting it tonight but maybe down the track 🙂

The ingredients list is long but the onion, garlic and ginger are in both the kofta and the sauce and there are quite a few spices. So I hope that doesn’t put you off. I served it with steamed broccoli and asparagus and a spoon of reduced fat natural yoghurt on top.
It was nice. But the meatballs were a little dry and that detracted from the dish. Next time I am going to make it with lamb mince after all 🙂 And the chilli 🙂

Kofta Curry
(adapted from the Csiro TWB recipe book)

700g lean mince (beef or lamb)
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 x 3cm piece ginger, finely grated
1/2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp ground coriander
4 tbs chopped coriander
1 egg
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 x 2cm ginger, finely grated
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 – 1 tsp chilli powder (or to taste)
1 cinnamon stick
1 x 400g tin chopped tomato
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbs lemon juice
roughly chopped coriander (cilantro), to serve

Preheat the oven to 200’C and line a large baking tray with baking paper.

To prepare the kofta, place the minced lamb, onion, garlic, chilli powder, ground coriander, chopped coriander and eggs in a food processor and pulse till just combined. Form the mixture into small balls (it should make about 30 balls). Place on the prepared try and bake for 15-20 minutes or till just cooked.

To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion till browned. Combine the ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika and chilli powder with 2 tbs water. Add the spice mix to the pan with the cinnamon stick and cook until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and 1/2 cup water and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the meatballs and simmer, covered for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

Gently stir through the garam masala and lemon juice. Sprinkle with the chopped coriander and serve with steamed rice and a salad or steamed vegetables.

Lamb Tagine

I didn’t feel much like cooking yesteday and I didn’t want to make something new and not be able to taste it. So, I made something new that I could also freeze and have again next week. My man said that it tasted good and I thought it had a really good mouthfeel. The other benefit of this dish was that I got it all ready in the afternoon when my little boy was happy to play on his own and popped it in the oven for 3 hours. It turned out to be a very good meal to cook when sick.

I adapted the recipe from the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet Book 2.

Lamb Tagine
(Serves 4)

1 onion, roughly chopped
2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 cup roughly chopped parsely
1/2 cup roughly chopped coriander (cilantro) leaf
1 green chilli, roughly chopped
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
1 lemon
800 g lean lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 2 cm pieces
1 tbs olive oil
1 cup water
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 cup couscous
1 cup boiling water
Additional fresh coriander, chopped

Preheat the oven to 160’C.

Blend the onion, garlic, parsley, coriander, chilli, cinnamon, dates and the zest of the lemon in a food processor until smooth. Set aside.

Heat a cast iron casserole dish over high heat. Coat the lamb with oil and cook, in small batches, for 5 minutes, or until browned. Return all of the lamb pieces to the dish, add the paste and stir to coat the lamb with the paste. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until aromatic. Add the water and tomatoes and mix well. Bring to a boil, cover and place in the oven for 2 and a half hours. Stir and return uncovered to the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover to keep warm.

Place the couscous in a a bowl and pour over boiling water and the juice of the lemon. Cover and sit for 5 minutes. Fluff up with a fork. Stir through the additional fresh coriander.

Serve the tagine with couscous and steamed vegetables.

Friday Food – Mediterranean Baked Salmon

This morning I said to my man “I think Friday should be new dinner day!” He grunted. He was just waking up I was not disturbed by this. He is usually quite articulate. Instituting Friday as ‘New Dinner Day’ suits me quite well. I work part time and Friday I am at home with my little one so I can get to the shops and try out a new recipe. I really like cooking and I know I will get bored on this journey if I don’t keep my interest in food alive.

I know I posted another recipe this morning but I have had that one before. Tonight we had something new!!!

Mediterranean Baked Salmon. The salmon is baked in the oven with tomato, garlic, capers, lemon and onion on top, all wrapped up in foil. The flavours were really delicate but complex, it was easy to prepare and good for a hot thunderstorming night. I served it with a salad and the healthy version of oven wedges. It didn’t actually need the wedges as it was a substantial meal with the salmon and the salad. All together, the dinner cost me 8.5 points. I usually allow 8 points for a dinner so I was happy with that. (WW points in Australia are different to WW in other areas – and I am using the points system from last year. They moved to a new system at new year. So, you won’t be able to use the points as a guide for what you are doing. And I don’t know the nutritional info. But it is a healthy meal that you might be able to look at and see if it fits into your food planning.)

Mediterranean Baked Salmon
Serves 2

1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1 tsp capers, rinsed and drained
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
zest of 1/2 a lemon
olive oil spray
2 x 150g salmon fillets, skin* and bones removed
lemon wedges to serve
salad (we had lettuce, basil, tomato, marinated artichoke hearts; dress with a little lemon juice)

Heat the oven to 200’C (390’F)

Combine the tomato, capers shallots, garlic and lemon zest in a bowl.

Spray 2 x 30cm square sheets of foil with olive oil spray. Lay the salmon fillets on them, top with the tomato mixture. Bring the edges of the foil together to enclose the fish securely. Bake for 12 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Remove the fish from the parcel and plate up with a salad and the lemon slices.

* I did not get skinless salmon fillets. I put the skin side down on the foil. It did stick a little which made the presentation not work quite so well but it did not matter to the taste.

Friday Walk and Wednesday Dinner

Yay for me 🙂 I did go out walking this morning. I got up at 6 and went with the dog on my 45 minute round the suburb look rather than going out at 8 with the pram for my 70 minute round the hill nearby loop. It is still just too hot and humid to go out that bit later. And the dog had not been out all week so it was very good of me to take her with me.

And it made me realise that getting up early and going on the shorter walk can be one of my backup plans if I can’t go out later – like next week Wednesday when I have an early appt. It is very good to have backup plans in place 🙂

I have eaten really well this week. I am happy with my food choices.

And Wednesday nights dinner was fab!!! Fab I say 🙂 Larb Gai is a lovely light dinner option. I have cooked it with pork, chicken and turkey mince but I think in future I will just stick with turkey mince. Sometimes I serve it with rice, sometimes just salad. I had the left overs for lunch on Friday. My man looked at the kitchen bench, realised what we were having for dinner and made very appreciative comments. It is also a very good summer dinner because it is fresh and light and does not take too long to cook.

Larb Gai with Mint and Basil
(serves 3-4)

100ml chicken stock
500g minced chicken or turkey or pork
1/4 cup fish sauce
5 cm piece of fresh ginger, cut into matchsticks
1 long red chilli, seeds removed, cut into matchsticks
1 tsp sugar
2 tbs lime juice, plus extra lime wedges to serve
1 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves, roughly choppped
1 eschallot, peeled and finely sliced
1 lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced
10g roughly chopped peanuts/serve
lettuce, tomato, capsicum

Heat the stock in a wok or large frying pan over medium high heat. Add the mince, fish sauce and ginger and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes, or until the meat has browned and cooked through. Add the chilli and sugar and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the lime juice, the chopped herbs and eschallot; fold through, allowing the herbs to wilt. Arrange the lettuce, cucumber and other salad bits on plates and, using a slotted spoon, pile the larb gai on the plate. Scatter with the peanuts and serve with the extra lime wedges.