Butternut Squash Soup

Let me be the first to tell you, drinking alcohol is the worst thing to do in cold weather. Hot soup is the best because the process of digesting food helps to warm you up. (Morgan Freeman)

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

This week, Butternut Squash soup was top of the menu in the Mills household! It is the perfect dish for a cold, Autumnal evening and really quick and easy to make. I love soups to be as thick as possible; when I was young I used to have a Dutch pea soup that was so thick, you could stick a spoon in and it would be held up! I would love to hear what your favourite flavours are, the more unusual the better! Here is my recipe:

Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tbsp. butter
2 medium sized butternut squash
1 small onion
1 medium sized leek
1 small sweet potato
1 chicken/Vegetable Knorr stock pot.
Water to cover the vegetables
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. garam masala
2 tbsp. milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Chop up the butternut squash, onion, leek and sweet potato to small pieces (small enough to be blended afterwards)
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan on a medium to high heat and add the chopped up vegetables. Stir the vegetables so they are covered fully in the butter.
  3. Turn down to the lowest heat, place a lid on the saucepan and let it reduce for 10 minutes.
  4. Add boiling water to the vegetables, just enough to cover the vegetables.
  5. Add the stock pot to the boiling water.
  6. Leave to simmer for 10-20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  7. Add the milk and stir
  8. Blend with a hand blender until smooth.
  9. Serve.

Suzy Says:

  • Try experimenting and adding any other vegetables.
  • You can leave out the curry powder and turmeric, I just like to add spice to my soups.
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Winter Greens Pasta in a Creamy Mint Sauce

Winter Greens Pasta in a Creamy Mint Sauce

Winter Greens Pasta in a Creamy Mint Sauce

No man is lonely eating spaghetti; it requires so much attention. (Christopher Morley)

I don’t know if you are the same but sometimes I get fed up of preparing the same meals each week and so challenge myself to try something completely different with the ingredients I have in stock. During winter, I find myself increasingly hankering for warm and wholesome dishes and this has become one of my recent favourites (particularly when served with a warm bread roll- delicious!) I came up with this recipe and we both adored it so I hope you like it too.

Winter Greens Pasta in a Creamy Mint Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 large courgette
1\2 a large leek
2 handfuls of frozen peas
A little butter for frying
300 – 400 gr of Spaghetti
100 gr soft cream cheese
2tbsp. mint sauce
Salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Put a pan of water on to boil. Once the water is boiled, add the spaghetti and cook to the packet’s instructions. I normally break the spaghetti in half before putting it in the pan.
  2. Chop up the courgette and leeks into long thin slices, as thin as you can get them
  3. Melt some butter into a large frying pan or wok on a medium heat and then add the courgettes and leek and fry until soft.
  4. In the meantime, microwave the frozen peas to your packet’s instruction and add to the wok once they are ready.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese and mint sauce together.
  6. Turn the heat down on the pan and add the cream cheese mixture.
  7. Stir the cream cheese mixture into the vegetables until it becomes a creamy sauce texture.
  8. Once the pasta is ready, drain and add to the frying pan.
  9. Mix until it has all combined.
  10. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I tend to add a lot of black pepper.

Suzy says:-

  • If you want more of a minty taste, just add more mint sauce
  • You could also experiment with different tastes, such as lemon or garlic or different herbs
  • If you want to reduce the calorific content, you could try using a fat free Greek yoghurt.

Bolognese Pasta Bake

Penne for your thoughts (unknown)

I’ve been experimenting with new recipes which still need some tweaking before I post them.  In the meantime, try my Bolognese Pasta Bake:

Bolognese Pasta Bake

(Serves 6)

Ingredients

Bolognese Pasta Bake

Bolognese Pasta Bake

200-250 gr. turkey mince
1 tbsp. tomato ketchup
1 chicken Knorr stock pot
1-2 tbsp. dried basil
Approximately 150 grams frozen mixed peppers
1 large carrot
1 large courgette
1 clove of garlic
1/2 an onion
2 x 400 gram cans of peeled plum tomatoes
1-2 tbsp. tomato purée
A little oil for frying
Salt and pepper
300 gr. Gluten Free penne pasta
Approximately 50-100 grams of cheese

Method

  1. Start by heating some oil in a high sided large frying pan.
  2. Whilst the oil is heating up, mix the tomato ketchup, chicken stock pot, 1 tbsp. of dried basil, some salt and pepper into the turkey mince until well incorporated. (I wear food gloves and mix with my hands.) Don’t overwork the meat.
  3. Add the turkey to the pan and chop up as much as you can with a wooden spoon so the mince covers the pan.
  4. Leave it to cook for a few minutes and keep turning it until it browns.
  5. Add the peppers to the pan and leave to cook In the meantime chop the carrots, courgette and onion into small pieces and add to the pan Crush and chop the garlic as small as you can and add to the pan.
  6. Fry the veg for about 10 minutes.
  7. Blend the two cans of peeled plum tomatoes and add to the pan.
  8. Cook for five to ten minutes until it has reduced slightly.
  9. Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180C/350F.
  10. While this is reducing, place the pasta in a pan of boiling water and boil for approximately 10 minutes, until al dente.
    Spread half the pasta into a Pyrex dish.
  11. Ladle over half the bolognese mixture and grate some cheese over the top Add the rest of the pasta then bolognese and another layer of grated cheese.
  12. Place in the oven for 25 minutes
  13. Once out of the oven, you can portion into 6 servings.

Suzy says

  • Enjoy with a nice salad
  • This meal is great as a lunch.

Kale and Spinach Smoothie

I’m strong to the finish, ’cause I eats me Spinach, I’m Popeye the sailor man!(Popeye from theme song)

Kale and Spinach Smoothie

Kale and Spinach Smoothie

It’s the final week of healthy recipes for my World Cup Workout and I’ve chosen to share a drink recipe that would count towards your 5 a day. You might not think it at first, but it is surprisingly tasty, not to mention filling! If you don’t believe me, all I can say is . . . try it, you might like it!
Don’t tell my husband, but I may actually miss the World Cup once it has finished!

Kale and Spinach Smoothie

(serves 2)

Ingredients

50 grams Kale
70 grams spinach
350 ml milk
1 large ripe banana, sliced into small chunks and frozen
1 tbsp. honey

Method

  1. Place the kale, spinach and milk into a blender and blend until there are no more big bits left.
  2. Add the frozen pieces of banana and the honey and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into two long glasses and serve

Suzy Says:

  • Experiment with your fruit and veg. I plan to add cucumber or strawberry next time.
  • If you would prefer to avoid dairy, what about trying almond milk instead? This was used in the original post that inspired this post. Do let me know how it turns out – or if you add any of your own ingredients.

Enjoy

Lentil Curry with Chutney and Salad Mini Wrap Rolls

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well (Virginia Woolf)

Lentil Curry with Chutney and Salad Mini Wrap Rolls

Lentil Curry with Chutney and Salad Mini Wrap Rolls

Week 3 of my ‘World Cup Workout’ and I am already starting to feel the benefit! I feel more toned and my energy levels are on the up 🙂 Although I have still got a long way to go, I have to say I am really enjoying the exercises!

Sticking with the healthy theme,  the dish I have chosen this week is Lentil Curry. Although it is a guilty pleasure, I love having poppadoms and chutney with a takeaway curry. Sometimes I buy the ready-made poppadoms from the supermarket and whip up some homemade chutney to go on the side. This time, I decided to make some of the chutneys you would use with poppadoms, wrap them in a tortilla and slice into mini bites to eat with the curry. This means you don’t need to serve the curry with rice.

Lentil Curry with Chutney and Salad Mini Wrap Rolls

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

250 grams red lentils (follow the cooking instructions on the packet.)
1 large carrot
1 large courgette
1/2 a medium red onion
100 grams fresh spinach
1 tbsp. fresh coriander
For the curry paste
1 tbsp. garam masala
1 tbsp. mild curry powder (you can opt for a hotter one)
1 tsp. fenugreek
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. tomato purée mixed with half a mug of hot water.
1 tbsp. oil

For the mini wrap salad and relish rolls

100 grams of cherry tomatoes
1/2 small red onion
8cm piece of cucumber
3 tbsp. plain yoghurt
1 tsp. mint sauce
2 tbsp. mango chutney
1 tbsp. fresh coriander

Method

  1. Cook the lentils as per the cooking instructions on the packet.
  2. Whilst the lentils are cooking, chop the carrots, onion, garlic and courgettes into little pieces and fry in a large frying pan until soft.
  3. In a separate high sided frying pan, add the garam masala, curry powder, fenugreek, cumin seeds, turmeric, cinnamon and ground and heat on a low heat until you can smell an aroma (approximately 3-5 minutes) keep stirring so it doesn’t burn.
  4. Next, add the tomato purée, oil, sugar and lemon juice to make the paste.
  5. Drain the lentils and add to the curry paste and stir so the paste covers all the lentils Add the cooked vegetables and stir until fully incorporated
  6. For the mini wrap salad and relish rolls Chop the onion, cucumber and cherry tomatoes into little pieces. When chopping the tomatoes, just use the skin and take out the pulp.
  7. Keep aside a third of the cucumber.
  8. Mix the tomato, thenrest of the cucumber and onion together into a small bowl.
  9. In another small bowl, add three tablespoons of yoghurt. Add the mint sauce and stir to make your mint yoghurt sauce and add the cucumber you have kept aside into the bowl with the yoghurt.
  10. Take two tortilla wraps and spread over the mint yoghurt mixture over both wraps Roll into a tight roll and slice into small pieces.
  11. Take the other two tortilla wraps, spread the mango chutney over them and spoon over the onion, tomato and cucumber mix. Sprinkle some fresh coriander over, roll up and slice into mini wrap pieces.
  12. To serve, place some curry onto the middle of the plate and place the mini wraps around the edge. Finally sprinkle the rest of the fresh coriander over the curry.

Suzy says:

  • Experiment with your relishes. My husband likes the lime pickle, which would definitely give the wraps some spice!
  • This curry also works with chickpeas instead of lentils.

Bon appétit!

Suzy’s Spag Bol

Suzy's Spag Bol

Suzy’s Spag Bol

Everything you see I owe to spaghetti. (Sophia Loren)

It’s an age-old favourite and I am sure you all have your own tweaks (which I would love to hear about!) but please do take a look at my version. I have made it healthier by using turkey mince and a selection of my favourite vegetables. My husband uses gluten free pasta with his. It is also a great for a packed lunch and you can make a big batch and freeze in advance for the working week ahead.

Suzy’s Spag Bol

(Serves 6)

Ingredients

500 gr. turkey mince
2tbsp. worcester sauce
2 tbsp. tomato ketchup
1 chicken Knorr stock pot
1-2 tbsp. dried basil
Approximately 220 grams frozen mixed peppers
1 large carrot
1 large courgette
1 clove of garlic
1/2 a large onion
2 x 400 gram cans of peeled plum tomatoes
1-2 tbsp. tomato purée
A little oil for frying
Salt and pepper

Serve with approximately 75-100 grams of pasta of choice (follow cooking instructions on packet)

Method

  1. Start by heating some oil in a high sided large non-stick frying pan.
  2. Whilst the oil is heating up, mix the Worcester sauce, tomato ketchup, chicken stock pot, 1 tbsp. of dried basil, some salt and pepper into the turkey mince until well incorporated. (I wear food gloves and mix with my hands.) don’t overwork the meat too much.
  3. Add the turkey to the pan and chop up as much as you can with a wooden spoon so the mince covers the pan.
  4. Leave it to cook for a few minutes and keep turning it until it browns.
  5. Add the peppers to the pan and leave to cook. In the meantime chop the carrots, courgette and onion into small pieces and add to the pan.
  6. Crush and chop the garlic as small as you can and add to the pan.
  7. Fry the veg for about 10 minutes.
  8. Add the two cans of plum tomatoes, break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon and stir so all the veg are covered in the tomato sauce.
  9. Add the tomato purée. (At this point you may wish to add more basil, tomato ketchup, salt and pepper but that will be down to your own taste!) If the veg are not covered, add some more water.
  10. Leave to simmer until the sauce has reduced down as much as possible, stirring occasionally. At this time the sauce will cling to the meat, forming the thick Bolognese that you are used to enjoying.
  11. Serve with your cooked pasta of choice.

Suzy says:

  • Sprinkle some cheese over the mixture and as a treat make your own garlic bread to eat with your meal. You can make this by mixing finely chopped garlic with butter and spread over toast (add a bit of parsley if you like).
  • I always use food gloves so my hands don’t get too messy!
  • I also make a vegetarian version using Quorn mince and a vegetarian stockpot. I take out the Worcester sauce (as it contains anchovies) and add some more basil and parsley.

PS. Enjoy!!

Quinoa and Oat Energy Bars

There is no quick easy way to the body you want…. commit yourself now to your workout and get started (Tracy Anderson)

Quinoa and Oat Energy Bars

Quinoa and Oat Energy Bars

As you may have read on Facebook earlier this week, I have created my own “World Cup workout” to coincide with the football! My friend Steven from work designed the programme for me and over the coming weeks, my aim (whilst my husband is watching the tournament) will be to lose weight for the summer by working out and eating healthy home-made food. It is going well and my repertoire has so far included my falafel burgers, bean casserole and Suzy sorbet. All very healthy!

To keep me from snacking during the day on cakes etc, I have made some healthy energy bars. I have tried not to add anything too unhealthy and they still taste great.

Quinoa and Oat Energy Bars

(Makes approximately 24 bars)

Ingredients

250 gr. oats
80 gr. uncooked quinoa, rinsed and left to dry for as long as possible Approx 70 gr. of nuts, seeds and dried fruit. (I use sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts and goji berries, a mix I bought from Aldi)
140 gr. smooth peanut butter
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
2 tbsp. milled linseed
6 tbsp. honey
25 gr. caster sugar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180C
  2. In a large frying pan, toast the quinoa on a low to medium heat until you can smell an almost fragrant aroma.
  3. Place the peanut butter and mashed banana in a saucepan and mix together on a low heat until it has melted and is well incorporated.
  4. In a large bowl, add the oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit, as well as the linseed, honey and caster sugar.
  5. Once the quinoa has cooled slightly, add to the bowl as well.
  6. Add the peanut butter mixture and mix all the ingredients together until the oats are well coated.
  7. Line a tray bake tin with baking paper (the tin is approximately 20x30cm) Place the oat mixture into the tin. Spread the mixture evenly and flatten down as much as you can.
  8. Bake in the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes, until golden on the top.
  9. Once cooled, cut into approximately 24 bars.

Suzy says

  • Add your own combination of nuts, dried fruit and seeds to suit your taste.
  • I am currently experimenting with this recipe as I am not the biggest peanut butter fan. However in spite of this, I do really enjoy these bars!