My coach set us a challenge to "post the TASTIEST YUMMIEST looking dinner on Wednesday night".
Of COURSE I got competitive, I LOVE food and have been enjoying making up yummy, low calories recipes and adapting those I love to make them work for my new healthy eating plan. Plus, photos, hello! (I did message her to check she didn't think it was cheating if I took a nice photo with my set-up rather than a simple phone shot.)
I was also really excited to be inspired by everyone else's dinners so I wanted to make sure I was sharing something they might enjoy too! I thought of a nice juicy steak but I don't know if there are any vegetarians or vegans in the group. Plus I thought it would be good to make a couple of courses as we often have to stick to one plate. BUT it still had to fit within the plan so low cal too, I aim for 500 calories at dinner so this was my guide.
I wracked my brains and initially thought I'd try to make my super low calorie broccoli soup look amazing, who doesn't want an easy and delicious way to enjoy their green veg? (New post coming soon for that one guys!) But it needed to be a whole meal, fairly simple but something I genuinely love.
And what do I love more than food? Rainbows! Thanks to Emma for pointing out the obvious and getting me on the colourful track with my thinking.
I spotted an amazing looking vibrant beetroot soup in Waitrose's free Weekend paper but it was too calorific to include so I adapted the recipe to have fewer calories. I had to get a rainbow in there and I always love creating these when I have parties - a rainbow fruit salad. And finally, a favourite quick and easy but absolutely scrummy main course - garlic broccoli (I do love broccoli!) with my healthy version of KFC style chicken bites.
It's easy to make suitable for veggies (just swap the chicken for another protein like tofu) or vegans - as for vegetarians but also swap the butter for oil and swap the milk & crème fraîche for a vegan alternative, coconut cream would be nice!
I did lots of research before choosing the fruits as I wanted the lower calorie options, e.g. I was going to use mango for the orange colour but they have 60 calories per 100g whereas peaches have just 39. I included lots of melon because I like it and they're all super low in calories - cantaloupe has 34 calories in 100g and watermelon has just 30!
So here is my scrumptious 3 course meal for just 540 calories!
Here are the very simple & easy recipes...
(129 calories per serving)
15g butter (or vegetable oil)
2 red onions, roughly chopped
salt & pepper to taste
600g cooked beetroot, roughly chopped
900ml vegetable stock
150ml semi-skimmed milk (or vegan alternative like unsweetened almond milk)
60g reduced fat crème fraîche (or coconut cream for vegans)
1-2 tbsp chopped chives
Melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat and when it foams, add the onion. Season with salt & pepper, stir, place a piece of baking paper over the onions and place the lid on the pan. Turn the heat down and sweat over a gentle heat for 8-10 minutes.
Add the stock to the onions and bring to a boil. Add the beetroot, remove from the heat and blend until smooth. Add the milk and season again with salt & pepper to taste. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche and chives to garnish.
Bex's Chicken Bites
5g plain flour
1 tsp Season All
1 tsp vegetable oil
150g chicken breast cut into bitesize pieces
Mix the flour & Season All in a bowl and add the chopped chicken, toss to coat. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the chicken when hot. Lower the heat to medium and fry until brown, crispy and cooked in the centre.
Garlic Broccoli Stir Fry
100g broccoli cut into small pieces
1/2 clove garlic, crushed or thinly sliced
1-2 sprays of oil
Place the broccoli in a bowl with a teaspoon of water and cook for 2-3 minutes in the microwave.
Spray a frying pan or wok with oil and toss in your broccoli and garlic until sizzling and browning on the edges.
Bex's Rainbow Fruit Salad
26g strawberries, chopped or sliced
38g watermelon, chopped
34g peach, chopped
48g pineapple, chopped
39g cantaloupe, chopped
38g green grapes, chopped
10g kiwi fruit, chopped
9g pomegranate seeds
32g purple grapes, chopped
Layer each colour in a bowl or on a plate to create a rainbow effect from red to purple/pink.
So there you have it, a delicious 3 course meal with just 540 calories! You could make it even lower with a smaller portion of fruits, I was focusing on making it look good whilst also weighing all the pieces for the calorie info ;)
What do you think? Will you be trying it?
P.S. I couldn't decide which backdrop so I tried a few! I spent quite a lot of energy on this but it was fun and now I get to eat it all! :P