The Diet Diary Week 7

Mushroom and bacon penne a la Slimming World

Unsurprisingly, I put back on all the weight I lost last week, so I’m up to 12st 7lb again.  On the positive side it’s still half a stone lost in total.  Always try and stay positive!

Myself and the other half were off work last week, doing some bits around the house including decorating our 12 year old son’s bedroom Arsenal red.  There’s no accounting for taste, but we did as we were instructed!  All the decorating is done, but we were a bit slow in sorting out some new furniture, the window blinds have just arrived, and the IKEA delivery is due this weekend.  I’ll post a report with photos once its all done.

Of course, having a week off work has to have some treats, and we did find ourselves inexplicably drawn to a local pub and a curry restaurant on one evening, and lunch at Pizza Express on another occasion.  We just had to use up those leftover Tesco vouchers, it would be a waste not to!

The upshot was that it all went to my waist, but in amongst the decadence, I did manage to cook some sensible meals a la Slimming World, and here is one of them.

Mushroom and bacon penne a la Slimming World

Quick, simple and tasty!

Recipe of the Week
Mushroom and Bacon Penne
Serves 4 Ready in about 30 minutes

2oz/57g baby leaf spinach, roughly chopped
11oz/312g dried penne (or any short pasta of your choice)
Fry Light
11oz/312g bacon rashers, all visible fat removed, roughly chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
7oz/198g baby button mushrooms, halved
5oz/142g cherry tomatoes, halved
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tbsp fat-free natural fromage grais
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Put the spinach in a large colander and pour over boiling water so it wilts.  Press to remove any excess liquid and set aside.

2. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.  Drain, set aside and keep warm.  Meanwhile, spray a large, non-stick frying pan with Fry Light and place over a high heat.  Add the bacon and onion and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes

3. Add the mushrooms, tomatoes and garlic to the pan.  Stir-fry for 6-7 minutes, or until the mushrooms have softened.  Stir in the drained spinach and pasta.  Stir-fry for a further 1-2 minutes or until the mixture is piping hot.  Remove from the heat and stir in the fromage frais.  Season to taste and serve in warmed bowls.

 Syns per serving Extra Easy FREE

This recipe was quick, simple and delicious, perfect for a week night when the last thing you want to do is spend ages in the kitchen after a long and tiring day!

9.5 out of 10!

The Diet Diary Week 6

Chicken and bacon hotpot from Slimming World

Well, there’s a turn up for the books, I actually lost a decent chunk of weight this week, 3 whole pounds, making a total weight loss to date of 10lb!  But before I get too carried away, it should be noted that I did have a dodgy tummy the night before and that will probably account for it!!

But not to be deterred, it has kind of given me renewed enthusiasm even thought I’m not optimistic for the week ahead.  I have a week off work, doing a few jobs around the house including redecorating and refurnishing my 12 year old son’s bedroom.  He’s starting to shoot up now, as previously observed, and the toy car furnishings are in dire need of upgrading.

Probably more excuses, but I find it particularly difficult to stick to a diet when I’m out of my usual routine.  On a ‘normal’ day I know what I’m eating and when I’m eating it.  It’s all pretty regimented but keeps me on the straight and narrow.  I’m too easily distracted!

This evening I cooked another Slimming World favourite, and one I’ve cooked before.  Even the kids liked it so it must be a winner!  This is just perfect for a chilly and rainy autumn day.

Chicken and bacon hotpot from Slimming World

Hot from the oven

Recipe of the week
Chicken and bacon hotpot
Serves 4 Ready in about 1 hour 50 minutes

4 chicken thighs on the bone, skinned
Fry Light
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
4 smoked back bacon rashes, all visible fat removed, cut into 2.5cm pieces
200g closed cup mushrooms, quartered
2 carrots, cut into 1.5cm cubes
A small handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
450ml chicken stock
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
550g potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
200g steamed broccoli to serve

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C/Gas 4.  Place a frying pan over a medium-high heat.  Spray the chicken with Fry Light and brown in the pan for 5 minutes, turning halfway through.  Transfer to a large ovenproof casserole dish.

2. Place a frying pan with Fry Light over a medium-high heat.  Add the onion and bacon and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until the onion is just golden.  Stir in the mushrooms, carrots, parsley, stock and half the mixed herbs.  Season and bring to the boil, stirring frequently.

3. Pour the bacon mixture over the chicken.  Arrange the potato slices on top, overlapping, then sprinkle over the remaining dried herbs.  Season and spray with Fry Light.  Cover and bake the hotpot for one and a half hours.

4. Meanwhile, preheat your grill to high.  Remove the lid from the dish, spray the hotpot with a little bit more Fry Light and brown under the grill for 4-5 minutes.  Serve with the steamed broccoli.

Syns per serving: Extra Easy FREE

Definitely worth the wait this one, although probably nearer to 2 hours in total taking all the preparation into account, which is a lot more that the 15 minutes allowed.  I  substituted fresh parsley for dried, and added a bit of chicken Bovril to boost the flavour, as well as skipping the grill at the end, deciding to take the lid (foil) off and baking in the oven for a further 5-10 minutes.  And any veggie(s) to serve is fine of course!

Deserved 10 out of 10, will certainly be making this one a few times over the cold days coming up.

The Diet Diary Week 5

Chinese noodles a la Slimming World

I finally cracked!  The diet went totally out of the window this week, and I didn’t even bother listening to my own advice about getting back on track after one dodgy meal.  So much for that then!

But if I had to blame anyone, it would be my husband!  It was his birthday and we had booked a family meal for 8 at the local Cafe Rouge, using our trusty and very handy in austere times Tesco vouchers.  I started off with every intention of just sticking with something safe, a light-ish starter, followed by a plain steak and some veggies.  I’d already offered to drive so I was never going to drink alcohol anyway.

However……after one hell of a shitty few days and knowing I had a 4 day weekend coming up, I hit the classic sod it moment.  So, not only did I have French onion soup with the cheesy crouton to start, I also chose the duck with cherry sauce with dauphinoise potatoes as a main.  But I resisted the dessert….but only because I tucked into a chocolate birthday cake when we got home.  It felt soooooo good!

At the weekend my husband and daughter went away to visit two more university open days, stopping overnight with family t’up north, and I was gonna be buggered if I was going to cook the usual diet recipe if it’s just for me, because my son won’t touch it with a barge pole.  So I took the easy way out and ordered a Chinese takeaway for us both.  But as luck would have it, in a perverse way, I felt pretty sick the next day, so now I’m back on track.

Sometimes I just need a break away, just to get that ‘normal’ eating urge out of my system, before remembering why I started it all in the first place.

So, back on the scales for the weekly weigh-in and inevitably I put on 1 lb, but still a net loss of half a stone.  It’s the journey’s end that counts, even though it might be via the scenic route!

Chinese noodles a la Slimming World

This was much tastier than the Chinese takeaway!

Recipe of the week
Chinese noodles
Serves 4 Ready in about 20 minutes

4 tbsp light soy sauce
piece of finely grated ginger
2 garlic gloves, crushed
2 skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
9oz/255g dried rice noodles
Fry Light
1 leek, thinly sliced
6oz/170g beansprouts
5oz/142g mushrooms, sliced
1 red or orange pepper, deseeded and sliced
4oz/113g baby sweetcorn, halved lengthways
8oz/227g water chestnuts, drained and sliced
4oz/113g bamboo shoots, drained
6oz/170g small cooked prawns

1. Put 2 tbsp of the soy sauce, ginger and garlic in a small bowl.  Add the chicken and mix well.  Leave to marinade for about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the packet instructions and drain.

2. Preheat a large, non-stick wok or frying pan and spray with Fry Light.  Add the chicken and marinade to your work or pan and cook over a high heat for 2 minutes.  Add all the remaining vegetables and stir-fry over a high heat for a further 3 minutes.

3. Toss in the drained noodles and cooked prawns and mix well to heat through thoroughly.  Remove from the heat and add the remaining soy sauce to taste.  Serve immediately in warmed bowls, with chopsticks if you like.

Syns per serving: Extra Easy FREE

Another tasty recipe from the Slimming World collection, so long as you find chopping up vegetables therapeutic!

9 out of 10!


The Diet Diary Week 4

Tasty roast chicken with tomatoes a la Slimming World

Another week gone, and its almost like I’m wishing my life away!  Yes, I’m getting to that stage where I’m bored with not allowing myself to grab a lump of chocolate, or a few biscuits or even a simple doorstep of crusty bread with fresh butter generously spread all over it, or maybe a sneaky trip to the local Chinese takeaway for a portion of chicken chow mein and pork balls……..

It’s not because I’m particularly hungry, just that a lot of it comes with the need for comfort eating and to alleviate boredom.  Yes, shock! horror! I actually eat because I enjoy it, and not just because I’m getting wobbly with hunger.

But so far I have pretty much resisted, and the good news is that I continue to lose weight, with another 1 lb lost this week, 8 lbs in total since I started the starvation healthy program four weeks ago.

A lot of it is all in the head, my perception of hunger changes depending on whether I’m zoned in to dieting or not.

And sometimes, when I’m really focused on the things I can eat, rather than the things I can’t, the thought of eating the things I can’t eat actually puts me off eating!

Complicated isn’t it?

Simply put, you’re either in the mood or you’re not!  And at the moment I’m not.

Tasty roast chicken with tomatoes a la Slimming World

Plenty of leftovers for lunch next day!

Recipe of the week
Tasty chicken with mash and veg
Serves 4 ready in about 55 minutes

2lb/908g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks1 vegetable stock cube
1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
4 skinless chicken thighs
4 skinless chicken drumsticks
2 tsp chicken Bovril
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
12oz/340g cherry tomatoes
9oz/255g fine green beans
9oz/255g young leaf spinach

1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C/400 degrees F/Gas 6.  Place the potatoes in a large pan of water with the stock cube and bring to the boil.  Then cover and simmer for 25 minutes, adding the cauliflower halfway through.

2. Make the incisions in the chicken and put on a roasting tray.  Drizzle over the Bovril and the herbs and rub into the chicken.  Roast in the oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and scatter the cherry tomatoes on top.  Roast for a further 20 minutes.

3. Drain the potatoes and cauliflower, saving a cup of the cooking water.  Mash the vegetables, adding some of the saved cooking water to give a good, soft consistency.

4. Meanwhile, steam the green beans and spinach for 5 minutes and drain.  Serve the chicken and tomatoes with the mash and veg.

Syns per serving Extra Easy FREE

Another one from Slimming World, a lot of cooking to do, probably took nearer to an hour and a half, but actually well worth the work.  I’d never thought of spreading chicken Bovril over legs and thighs before (ooer missus), but it worked a treat!  And with a couple of extra legs thrown in, there was plenty over for lunch at work the next day.

9 out of 10.

NB: I am not endorsed by Slimming World in any way, I just copy their recipes!