A new series of posts: Diet Dinners

Bf and I have spent the last 5 or so months (since he started his new job and I started uni) in a state of crazy busyness and tiredness. For two people who live together we sometimes don’t see each other very much. This situation was even worse when I was working as a waitress at night and on weekends; there was no one home to cook anything, we both got home late and by the time we crashed on the couch we were both too tired and hungry to bother cooking anything, and besides, the groceries probably hadn’t been bought because there was no time. So instead, we spent too much time at the McDonald’s 100 metres down the road, or getting Vietnamese food from around the corner which was delicious but greasy.

 

The end result of having no time to cook or exercise is a couple who don’t feel their best at the moment. We haven’t eaten vegetables in so long and we’re starting to feel it. The good news is, now that I have left my waitressing job, I finish uni at 5pm and I can come straight home and cook. Bf and I did the grocery shopping when we both had a night off and loaded up with bok choy, brown rice, fish, nuts, bananas and tomatoes. Where slabs of energy drinks once sat in our trolley, now sat a tub of Jalna yoghurt.

 

So begins a series of posts entitled Diet Dinners. These meals are not going to be extreme; not sticks of celery and a bowl of miso soup for dinner. I know what I’m like; if I think I’m on a diet I’ll get so bored and it just won’t work. My meals will still feature red meat; it’s just that now, we will also eat fish more and load up the plates with vegetables besides potatoes. I am posting these meals because 1), I have been meaning to post my own recipes on here for a while now, rather than just reviewing other people’s, and 2), it will be motivation for me to continue to cook healthily if I publicise this.

 

Last night was so, so cold. I was wearing leggings, PJ pants, a woolen top and a boy’s jumper as well as ugg boots. Comfort food was in order: hot, fresh meat pies. I decided, to make them as healthy as possible, I would forget the pastry and bake the pie in a ramekin, and for the crust I would do a take on a traditional cottage pie. If you make this, feel free to change the quantities of the ingredients, as I just made it up as I went along.   

 

Diet Cottage Pie

  • 500 grams lean beef mince
  • Two onions, diced
  • Ten button mushrooms, diced
  • One carrot, diced
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • Half a cauliflower, cut into small pieces
  • Shredded light mozzarella cheese
  • Light feta cheese
  • Light milk
  • Butter
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Garlic, to taste
  • Chili, to taste
  • Mixed herbs, to taste

 

Heat some olive oil over low heat in a large saucepan. Slowly fry the onion and garlic and add the chili and diced carrot. Add mince once onion has softened. Stir with a wooden spoon to break up the mince and cook until browned.

Add Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes and herbs to taste. At this point the mixture will be quite liquid, which is not what we want in a pie filling, so bring to the boil, then simmer until the mixture thickens.

While the meat and sauce simmer, place the chopped potato, cauliflower and sweet potato into a saucepan and boil until soft. Drain the vegetables, mash and add milk and butter to taste.

Spoon a thick layer of the meat mixture into an ovenproof dish – about 3/4 full. Fill the rest of the dish with the vegetable mash topping. Sprinkle with cheese and bake in a hot oven until the cheese melts and begins to turn golden. Serve immediately.

This dish makes about 8 serves, assuming you serve it with a side such as broccoli, bread etc.

This dish was so easy, and really the only “bad” thing is the cheese – it’s light, but you could choose to omit it if you want. It’s a great way to get a serve of red meat as well as some veggies, and if you feel like it could use some greens you could add peas to the meat mixture or serve the dish with some broccoli or other side.

 

Most importantly, it tasted really good, and if there are men in your household who love their pies and red meat it’s sure to go down well with them; it’s a good way to enjoy the heartiness of comfort food like pies, without all the bad stuff like the pastry and fatty meat. Bf loved it and said that it has to become one of my regular dishes, and I’m enjoying the leftovers very much for lunch today!

 

 

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