Fast Day Stuffed Chicken Breast Dinner <350 calories

Mushrooms, garlic and Serrano ham turn a simple chicken breast into a very tasty fast day dinner. 

Mushroom Stuffed Chicken

I usually aim for about 100g of chicken for me and a larger portion of about 140g for him.

I had thought of adding a light creamy sauce with chives, but it was pouring with rain and I didn’t want to go out into the garden to pick the chives, so I used a little pesto instead.

Wrapping the chicken in ham and then in foil helps to keep it nice and moist during cooking.

Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breast
Serves 1
Mushrooms, Garlic and Serrano Ham transform a simple chicken breast into a tasty dinner for a 5:2 fast day
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 100g chicken breast
  2. 2 medium mushrooms, chopped small
  3. 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  4. 1 tsp olive oil
  5. pinch ground cumin
  6. 1 tsp chopped coriander leaves
  7. sea salt
  8. freshly ground black pepper
  9. 1 tsp pesto
  10. 1 slice Serrano Ham, trimmed of fat
To serve
  1. 4 asparagus spears
  2. 1/2 medium carrot
  3. A few broad beans, podded
  4. 50g cauliflower florets
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 180c
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently saute the garlic for a minute or so and then add the mushrooms.
  3. Stir fry until the mushrooms are just cooked and starting to release their moisture.
  4. Remove from the heat and season with cumin, coriander leaf and pepper to taste (I don't add any salt, but you might wish to).
  5. Trim the chicken breast to the required size and remove any fat.
  6. Cut a diagonal slice into the thickest part of the flesh, without cutting all the way through, to make a pocket.
  7. Stuff the mushroom filling into the pocket and then wrap the parma ham around the chicken to help hold it together.
  8. I used a little pesto underneath the ham as additional flavouring, but if you are going to have a sauce with it, you could go without that.
  9. Wrap in foil, place on a baking tray and cook for 30 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, boil the broad beans and until tender, then drain and peel them, unless they are tiny.
  11. Boil the cauliflower until tender, steam the asparagus and carrots over the top, then mash the cauliflower (add a little fromage frais or milk powder to enrich it if you like, or butter on a non-fast day).
  12. Unwrap the chicken and serve. I made a little jus by adding some of the cauliflower water to the residue left in the foil.
Notes
  1. Adjust your chicken portion according to your available calories or appetite! With 140g of chicken, the meal comes to 412 calories.
  2. You can use Parma Ham or Bayonne Ham instead of Serrano.
Focus on Flavour http://www.focusonflavour.com/

A strange side-effect of 5:2 ?

Since regaining a healthy weight we are both feeling more energetic and re-invigorated with a zest for life. No bad thing!

What has happened though is that thoughts that we were mulling over have suddenly taken a life of their own and we have found ourselves deciding that what we really would enjoy doing next is to live on a barge, exploring the canals of Europe….

So my focus on healthy eating blogging has taken a bit of a back seat, as work has gone on to develop a website for marketing our beautiful house here in South West France. You can see that here www.houseinfrancewithincome.com 

House in France with Income for Sale

We have also been to visit friends living on a barge and have arranged to do a barge-handling course at the end of next month. All very exciting stuff!

So plenty to do here to get everything ready, but meanwhile continuing with 5:2.

This last week we have managed two good fast days and I am happily now under 9 stone and closing in on my target, whilst Graham is now at a comfortable, healthy weight which he wants to stay at.

I’m still using and creating new recipes, though I’m finding after 15 weeks that we have settled into an easy pattern on fast days and have a few favourite meal plans that we keep returning to.

This week on Monday we had our usual scrambled egg and smoked trout for breakfast and for dinner we enjoyed Simple Vegetable Soup, a No-Carb Chicken Caesar Salad (as per Michael Mosley’s book) and strawberries with fromage blanc

Smoked Trout and Scrambled Egg Simple Vegetable Soup No Carb Chicken Caesar Salad

On Thursday it was plain yogurt with prunes for me (porridge with prunes for him) and then  for dinner, more of the soup (which I had made a big batch of on Monday), Salmon Teriyaki with steamed asparagus and vegetables , followed by my variation of the BBC Good Food recipe for Spiced Glazed Pineapple with Cinnamon Fromage Frais – I use very little honey with the pineapple, a very small amount of butter and don’t sweeten the fromage frais at all. 

Teriyaki Salmon _MG_3300

 

I am keen to keep going with writing up my recipes and am planning to get a preliminary kindle version of my book ready as soon as I can, with the idea of helping to raise money for my dear friend’s granddaughter, Lexi Sky, so that she will be able to leave hospital and go home. If you find useful information here on my website, there is no better way that you could say thank you than donating a little something to her cause. Please find the link here.

I’m normal! At least weight-wise….

After goodness knows how many years of being overweight, I have now achieved a major target – I am in the healthy, normal zone of BMI for my age and height! Thank you Michael Mosley for revealing the benefits of 5:2 to us! I really think that this has radically changed our lives for the better.

Not only do we look better, but we feel more energetic and have been able to tackle a major change of outlook. With the prospect of improving, rather than declining health, we are now considering moving aboard a barge and exploring the canals of Europe. Having lived on a yacht for several years in the Caribbean earlier this century, this isn’t such a major upheaval as it might seem for us, but before we can undertake such an activity, we need to sell our house, so this week I have spent time on creating a website for that http://houseinfrancewithincome.com/ – hence not much in the way of updates here!

But of course we are still eating healthy food and are planning to continue with the 5:2 way of life. I still have a couple of kilos to lose to get comfortably under 9 stone and well within the healthy BMI zone and Graham is finding that he is hovering around his target quite comfortably.

Here’s a few of the interesting and flavourful meals we have eaten this week. I’ve not had time to write up the recipes or check the calorie counts exactly, but I can assure you that these will all fit into a healthy, balanced meal plan designed to keep you slim 🙂 I hope they will inspire you  :-

Wholewheat Tagliatelle with Tenderstem Broccoli and Chilli

Wholewheat Tagliatelle with Tenderstem Broccoli and Chilli Flakes with Parmesan – based on recipe in Delicious magazine

Sticky Chicken with Rice and Sweetcorn

Sticky Chicken on a bed of stir-fried vegetables, with Camargue Red and Brown Rice with Sweetcorn and Satay Sauce

Scotch Eggs with Light Coleslaw

Oven Baked Scotch Eggs with Light Coleslaw

Flageolet, Pepper, Spring Onion and Guindilla Salad

Flageolet, Red Pepper, Spring Onion and Guindilla Pepper Salad

Crustless Asparagus and Smoked Salmon Quiche

Crustless Asparagus and Smoked Salmon Quiche with Cauliflower Mash

A duo of beetroot, celery and apple salads

A duo of beetroot, celery and apple salads with a tahini and yogurt dressing

Baked Fish with Caper Dressing and Salsa Brava

Baked Salmon with Caper Dressing and Salsa Brava

Pea, Lettuce and Sorrel Soup

Pea, Lettuce and Sorrel Soup

Stuffed Pancakes au Gratin with a fagot of asparagus

Stuffed Crepes with a cheesy sauce, with a fagot of asparagus and a fennel, radish and rocket salad

 

If you do find inspiration from my blog, the best way I can think of for you to say thank you, would be to help support the sweet granddaughter of my closest childhood friend. Little Lexi Sky was born with muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy and has a difficult life ahead of her. She requires 24 hour care and equipment that is not covered by the NHS. Any donations would be so gratefully received, thank you.  Please go to http://tinyurl.com/LexiSky

5:2 Meal Plan, week 14

The weather is taking a turn towards summer and outdoor eating becomes a possibility. Time to sort out some recipes suitable for barbecues and lunches al fresco.

This week there should be plenty of asparagus, strawberries, watercress, spinach, lettuce, rhubarb and radishes. Early peas and broad beans I hope. Maybe even some early new potatoes? Perhaps with some spring lamb and lovely fresh mint sauce…

Update after shopping: No peas, broad beans, watercress or new potatoes in Lauzerte market! But I did get some lovely looking sprouting broccoli and some fresh goat’s cheese and a goodly slice of Cantal cheese. In the supermarket I got a handsome pineapple from Ghana, so that will be our ‘interesting’ fruit this week, together with some rhubarb from the garden. I was also pleasantly surprised to find a tagliatelle made with wholewheat flour, so I will use that for one of my favourite ways of cooking sprouting brocolli. My meal plan is updated accordingly.

This week I sowed lots of squash, courgettes, aubergines and a few more peppers and tomatoes. I find myself starting to hanker for those summer fruiting vegetables. They are available in the supermarkets, grown in Morocco or Spain, but they will be really appreciated when they are picked fresh from the garden, from late June onwards…. Meanwhile I still have some frozen and sun dried tomatoes to bring some summer sun to my dishes.

No pictures today, as I am writing this on my iPad. I may add some later. Let’s see if I can get my first sentence out without a typo in it, for a change! (Ed: no chance, but fixed now…!)

Saturday
Our usual pizza for lunch, dressed for spring with rocket, chorizo and mozzarella and served with a mixed salad

Goats Cheese Toasts with Bean and Radish Topping
Veggie Burgers and wok Brocc with a Pineapple, Red Pepper and Spring Onion Salsa
Strawberries and Crème Fraîche

Sunday
Ham and Leek stuffed Pancakes with a creamy Cheese Sauce, with a Fennel and Radish salad

Herb crusted Lamb cutlets with steamed Vegetables and minted potatoes followed by Spiced Pineapple with cinnamon Fromage Blanc

Monday – Fast Day
Boiled Egg

Lettuce, Pea and Sorrel soup (I’ll use frozen peas and frozen sorrel for this)
Baked Salmon with a Caper dressing and steamed seasonal Vegetables
Rhubarb and Orange compote

Tuesday
Crustless Asparagus and Cantal Quiche with Salad

Curried Carrot Soup
Tandoori Chicken skewers with Raita, Tomato and Red Onion Chutney and home made wholewheat Chappati
Rhubarb Fool

Wednesday
Home made Scotch Eggs with a Beetroot, Apple and Celery salad

Wholewheat Tagliatelle with Sprouting Broccoli and Chilli Flakes, drizzled with Basil Oil
Pineapple and Ginger Dessert

Thursday – Fast Day
Yogurt with Prunes
Smoked Haddock and Spinach Soufflé
Fresh Strawberry Blancmange

Friday
Falafels with Cabbage, Pepper and Raisin Salad and a Tahini dressing

Oven Baked Sticky Chicken with Red Carmargue Rice and Red Beans with Salad
Mirabelle Plum Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream

Mushroom and Celery Soup

A combination of ingredients that work surprisingly well together, to make a very low calorie, tasty and filling soup, less than 50 kcals a serving.

Mushroom and Celery Soup

My husband didn’t have any idea what was in it and said he thought it was “very satisfying and kind of meaty”. Perfect for a 5:2 Fast Day.

Mushroom and Celery Soup
Serves 4
A substantial and yet light soup that combines interesting flavours and textures.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 250g mushrooms, chopped
  2. 4 stalks of celery, chopped
  3. 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  4. 1 litre stock, vegetable or chicken
  5. 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  6. 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  7. sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  8. celery leaves
Instructions
  1. Put the mushrooms, garlic and celery in a saucepan with about 100ml of stock.
  2. Cover and cook over a low heat until the celery is soft, about 30 - 40 minutes.
  3. Add half of the remaining stock and whizz with a blender.
  4. Pour in the rest of the stock together with the Worcestershire sauce and nutmeg.
  5. Bring to the boil, then check the seasoning.
  6. Serve garnished with celery leaves.
Notes
  1. As an alternative to Worcestershire sauce, you could use soya sauce. Next time I make it, I think I will try a few drops of good quality balsamic vinegar instead, which should enhance the mushroominess.
Adapted from The Ultimate Healthy Eating Cookbook , consultant editor Anne Sheasby
Adapted from The Ultimate Healthy Eating Cookbook , consultant editor Anne Sheasby
Focus on Flavour http://www.focusonflavour.com/

Leek and Crunchy Carrot Gratin

This is a very flavourful vegetarian main which is low enough in calories to have on a 5:2 Fast Day or as part of a calorie-counted healthy eating plan :-
Leek and Crunchy Carrot GratinOr serve as a side dish with chipolata sausages :-

Leek Gratin with Chipolatas

 The calculations for calories came out differently on MyFitnessPal than on my recipe card, below. Either way, no more than 265 kcals for the portions of gratin shown here.

The caraway seeds add a really interesting flavour. 

Leek and Crunchy Carrot Gratin
Serves 5
A yummy leek based vegetarian main dish, or a good accompaniment to sausages (baked in the oven at the same time). With the vegetables, milk, cheese, breadcrumbs and nuts, this has a good balance of ingredients.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 500g leeks, cut into chunks
  2. 150ml vegetable stock or water
  3. 1 tsp caraway seeds
  4. sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  5. 250ml semi-skimmed milk
  6. 10g unsalted butter
  7. 1 tblsp plain flour
For the topping
  1. 60g fresh wholewheat breadcrumbs
  2. 2 medium carrots, grated
  3. 75g grated hard cheese
  4. 15g chopped walnuts
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  2. Put the leeks in a saucepan with the water and seeds.
  3. Bring to the boil, cover and then simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, until the leeks are softened.
  4. Remove the leeks with a slotted spoon to a baking dish.
  5. Pour the remaining liquid into a jug and make up to 300ml with milk.
  6. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour to make a roux.
  7. Gradually add the liquid, beating well after each addition, to make a smooth sauce.
  8. Simmer the sauce for a couple of minutes, stirring.
  9. Check the seasoning.
  10. Pour over the leeks.
  11. Mix all the topping ingredients together and sprinkle over the top.
  12. Bake in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes, until golden.
Notes
  1. I used oddments of cheese that I had left - a little cheddar, some comté and some crumbled blue sheep's cheese, which gave an interesting mix of flavours.
Adapted from The Ultimate Healthy Eating Cookbook (1999), consultant editor Anne Sheasby
Adapted from The Ultimate Healthy Eating Cookbook (1999), consultant editor Anne Sheasby
Focus on Flavour http://www.focusonflavour.com/

5:2 Meal Plan (week 13)

My husband has reached his target and will now be aiming to maintain his current weight – which is 16 kilos less than he started the New Year with. Really amazing progress! I still have a little over 3kg to go before I can join him on maintenance, but am very pleased with having lost 9.8 kg so far.

So this week is going to be interesting. We will still both be doing 5:2, but he will need to be eating more on normal days than he has been used to recently. Will he still have the motivation to do fast days? As we are both doing this for long-term health benefits, the answer is yes. 

In any case, the strategy I have used up to now – to make our meals totally delicious and not like we are being deprived of anything, means that we both enjoy and look forward to eating every day, how ever many calories we are allowed.

So normal days now will be 1200 for me and 2500 calories him, with fast days of 500/600

Off to the market tomorrow, to see what seasonal veg I can add to the menu – asparagus, swiss chard, carrots, maybe some broad beans….. and better buy some potatoes too! 

In the freezer I have some plums that I want to use up, so I’m going to try a few different things with them. I need to make some room in the hope that this will be a good year for cherries….

Saturday ~ 

  • lunch:
    • thin crust wholewheat pizza with rocket salad
  • dinner – leftovers from last night’s dinner party
    • Hummus and Baba Ganoush with Seedy Flatbread and CruditĂ©s
    • Spanish style Meatballs with Quinoa and Bulgur Tabbouleh
    • Apple and Quince Paste Filo Feuilletes with Vanilla Ice Cream

Sunday ~

  • lunch
    • Smoked Herring Caesar Salad
    • Fresh Fruit (plus Cheese and Crackers)
  • dinner
    • Herb Crusted Lamb Cutlets with Skordalia, Beetroot Relish and Green Vegetables
    • Poached Plums with Custard and Amaretti Biscuits

Monday ~ Fast Day

  • breakfast:
    • Scrambled Egg with Smoked Trout
  • dinner
    • Mushroom and Celery Soup
    • Marinated Tuna with Pumpkin and Asparagus stir-fry
    • Poached Plums with Fromage Blanc

Tuesday ~

  • Lunch
    • Sausages with Leek and Carrot Gratin
    • Fresh Fruit
  • Dinner
    • Lentil, Coconut and Spinach Soup
    • Sardines on Toasted Grainy Bun
    • Mirabelle Plum and Ginger Brik Pastry Cups

Wednesday ~

  • lunch
    • Tofu and Green Bean Curry with Brown Rice
    • Fresh Fruit
  • dinner
    • Lentil, Coconut and Spinach Soup
    • Thai Beef Salad (with Noodles)
    • Plum Oaty Crumble with Ice Cream/Fromage Blanc

Thursday ~ Fast Day

  • breakfast
    • Natural Yogurt with Prunes
  • dinner
    • Simple Vegetable Soup
    • Fish baked in a Spiced Masala Sauce
    • Cabbage, Green Pepper and Caraway Salad
    • Plum Kulfi with Plum Coulis

Friday ~

  • lunch
    • Veggie Burgers (with/without bun) with Salad 
    • Fresh Fruit, Cheese
  • dinner
    • Sticky Ginger Chicken (with Jacket Potato) and Light Cole Slaw
    • Fromage Blanc with Plum Coulis and Pistachios

Red Bean and Chocolate Chilli

I love Mexican flavours –  what an excellent excuse to add a good grating of dark chocolate to your food! 

Turkey Chilli

I used lean turkey, but you could use soya mince or quorn for a veggie version.

Serve with guacamole (1/2 serving – 43 kcals), low fat fromage frais or yogurt (1/4 pot -14 kcals), a little grated strong flavoured cheese – like Cheddar or Red Leicester (5g – 21 kcals), shredded lettuce , sliced spring onions , tomato salsa (1 tblsp – 5kcals) – and a few taco chips (20g – 100 kcals). Even with a small portion of brown rice (1/4 cup cooked, 54 kcals), this comes in at under 450 calories (as long as you stick to my portion sizes! Chaps can have more, of course). So this works for a Fast Day or any day of healthy eating to support weight loss.

I was lucky to be given a block of Willie’s 100% cocoa Venezuelan Black chocolate by some appreciative guests – a great ingredient and lasts for ages! A little dusting on a dessert is lovely but it is also very good in savoury dishes such as this. Just adds that little something, but hardly any calories. 

Red Bean and Chocolate Chilli
Serves 4
Spicy and delicious chilli
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tblsp olive oil
  2. 1 onion, chopped
  3. 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  4. 175g lean turkey (or soya mince or quorn)
  5. 1/2 tsp Mexican chilli powder
  6. 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  7. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, ground
  8. 200g peeled plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  9. 400g can red kidney beans, drained
  10. 10g grated dark chocolate (100% cocoa if possible)
  11. 1 tblsp chopped coriander leaves
Instructions
  1. If using turkey, chop finely or mince in a food processor.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and gently sauté the onions and garlic until soft and golden.
  3. Add the turkey or vegetarian alternative and stir-fry until lightly coloured all over.
  4. Add the spices and mix well.
  5. Pour in the tomatoes and beans and bring to a simmer.
  6. Check the seasoning.
  7. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes, adding a little water if necessary to stop it getting too dry.
  8. Transfer to a serving dish and grate over the chocolate and garnish with chopped coriander.
Notes
  1. Serve with shredded lettuce, grated strong cheese, sliced spring onion, tomato salsa, guacamole, low fat fromage frais (or sour cream if you have calories to spare...) and a few taco chips.
Focus on Flavour http://www.focusonflavour.com/

Carrot and Coriander Soup

Ok, this is a favourite to buy ready made, but it is easy to make yourself and you get to choose the carrots that go into it, so go for organically grown carrots for bags of flavour.

Rainbow Carrots Carrots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrot and Coriander Soup
Serves 4
Celebrate carrots with this lovely simple soup
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 500g carrots, scrubbed or peeled and sliced
  2. 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  3. 1.2 litres stock (home made chicken stock would be great, Marigold bouillon is my standby)
  4. 1 tblsp olive oil
  5. 3 tsp coriander seeds
  6. 1 bunch of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  7. Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Toast the coriander seeds lightly in a dry frying pan, then grind coarsely in a pestle and mortar (or mini blender).
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onions and carrots.
  3. Cook gently for a few minutes until starting to soften, but not colour.
  4. Add most of the coriander seeds and mix well, reserving a few for garnish.
  5. Season with pepper and salt (if your stock isn't already salty).
  6. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
  7. Whizz with a stick blender then add most of the coriander leaves.
  8. Serve garnished with chopped coriander leaves and a sprinkling of seeds.
Notes
  1. On a non-fast day you could add a swirl of crème fraîche when serving.
Focus on Flavour http://www.focusonflavour.com/

A little re-organising

Wow, this blog has grown like Topsy….

I’m starting to find it a little difficult to keep track of everthing, so I’ve now added a Recipe Index to the top Menu (which I think will get automatically updated) and also subdivided my Recipes into categories of Soups, Starters, Salads, Vegetarian, Fish, Meat & Poultry, Desserts and Baking. You can find those under the top Recipe menu and also by selecting from the Category drop down over on the right column. 

I am somewhat surprised to see that I have added more desserts here than anything else – think that is a reflection of my amazement at being able to do them while counting calories! And there are several that I haven’t included yet…

Mojito Cheesecake Fruity TiramisuPlum Kulfi

 

 

 

 

Above: Mojito CheesEcake, Fruity low cal Tiramisu, light Plum Kulfi

I now realise I shouldn’t have combined multiple recipes in one post really, so will split those up if I get a moment. Also, my early recipes didn’t use the recipe cards, which are so nice and easy to save or print out. The sort of job I could do if I find myself stuck inside the caravan on a wet day…. 

Anyway, all I can say really is that this way of eating really works! I have now lost 10cms from my waist, which has taken me from the red zone on my Heart Matters tape measure, through the pink and to the white zone. I still need to lose another 5 cms to make my height:waist ratio match a healthy 2:1, but I have the confidence to believe I can achieve that. I am now wearing clothes that had been relegated to the back of the wardrobe, including trousers that I used to wear to work before 2000 and jeans that I wore on our honeymoon in 1996…. So I have lost all my living in France weight and all my post-menopause weight and am now working on my giving up smoking weight… 🙂

I hope you too feel encouraged to keep to this way of life!