Editors Note: This is the first ever guest post to be published on Stonesoup! The words and photos are from my friends Kathryn & Lucy, authors of ‘An Honest Kitchen‘.
W e all have meals we love, the ones we look forward to, crave even – comfort meals. But so often these favourite dinners are neither healthy nor easy to prepare.
In the latest issue of An Honest Kitchen we’ve taken on the challenge to revamp some of the most popular meals around. Our Makeovers include the traditional roast, pasta meals, fish and chips, egg based meals and even tacos.
In the process we’ve deconstructed these recipes and uncovered a whole range of ways you can streamline the cooking and boost the flavour. Our Makeovers have more vegetables, more fibre, less salt and more nutrient complexity and variety.
And (of course) they’re still delicious.
3 Ways You Can Makeover Dinner
1. Add More Vegetables
We haven’t yet met a recipe which wouldn’t benefit from having just a bit more vegetable added:
• The easiest way to add more vegetables is simply to double the quantity of the vegetables given in any recipe you read (although you don’t need to do this with ours!)
• If you’re thinking about adding in different vegetables, then pay attention to whether the recipe uses relatively quick cooking veg, like zucchini, snow peas and spinach, or ones which take longer to cook, like carrots, pumpkin, beetroot and onions. It’s easier to add in vegetables which take a similar amount of time to cook.
2. If in Doubt, Add a Salad
If you don’t want to add more vegetables to your cooking, or are concerned there’s not going to be enough food, then serve it with a salad.
• A big green salad is easy to prepare, especially if you use a pre-made salad mix.
• One handful of salad is roughly equal to one vegetable portion, so use this to top up the vegetables in dinner.
• Season with a pinch of salt and some cracked black pepper and then squeeze over some fresh lemon juice, instead of using a richer dressing.
3. Change the Portions on Your Plate
If you look through food magazines or watch cooking shows you’ll notice the vast majority of meals are organised around the protein and grain foods. These foods then dominate our plates, with vegetables often added as an afterthought or forgotten entirely, not the best approach for good health.
• Try to boost up the vegetables in every meal, making them about half of the bulk of each meal.
• There’s no need to go “carb free”, but aim to make the grain or potato portion of your meal about a quarter of the bulk on your plate. Cook less of these foods and replace some of them with extra vegetables.
• Think about whether you need to reduce your portion of protein-containing foods like meat, chicken, fish, eggs and tofu. Aim for a piece of meat or chicken the size and thickness of your palm, or a piece of fish the size of your hand. As a general rule, make the protein portion of your meal about a quarter of the bulk on your plate.
Meal Makeover: Tomato, Rocket & Feta Omelette
From ‘An Honest Kitchen‘ by Kathryn Elliott and Lucinda Dodds.
Omelettes can be a great standby meal. However many recipes are served as is, with minimal vegetable. We decided to include omelettes in Makeovers, because there is a way to make them healthier, without adding any complication to the cooking.
Plus, being able to make an omelette means you can make a healthy dinner in minutes. A meal which is far, far quicker and better for you than takeaway.
To ensure you don’t end up with an omelette which is burnt on the bottom, while still being raw and runny on top, you need to pull the set edges of the omelette away from the outside of the pan, using a fork or spatula. They should come away easily, without sticking. You then slightly tilt the pan, so
that the uncooked egg runs into the empty space you’ve just created.
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch chilli flakes
1 spring onion or 1/3 bunch of chives
20g feta cheese
2 handfuls rocket
1 slice wholegrain bread
2 teaspoons olive oil
Prep the ingredients: Break the eggs into a bowl. Add the oregano and chilli flakes and season with salt and pepper. Finely chop the spring onion and slice the tomato. Crumble the cheese. Wash the rocket. Put your bread in the toaster.
Whisk the eggs together.
Put a small frying pan on a medium-high heat and let it get quite hot.
Add the oil and swirl it around the pan, covering the base. Place frying pan back on the heat.
Pour the eggs into the pan, tilting it slightly so the eggs spread evenly.
Don’t stir. Leave the eggs alone while you count to five.
Using a fork pull one edge of the omelette into the centre. Tilt the pan so some of the liquid egg runs into the empty space. Do this 2 – 3 times, until there is no runny egg left.
Scatter over the vegetables and feta.
Fold one half of the omelette over the other using a spatula or fish slice
To serve: Tip the omelette onto a plate and serve immediately with the toast.
Kathryn & Lucy
Kathryn Elliott and Lucinda Dodds are the authors of ‘An Honest Kitchen‘, a publication all about real food that’s good for you. Each issue of An Honest Kitchen is full of simple recipes, practical cooking information and healthy eating advice. Our latest edition, Makeovers, in which we revamp popular meals is available in e-format NOW.