​Gluten free and gluten full cheese and pancetta muffins

I have to start with some apologises, it has been far too long since I last updated you all, but everything has just got a bit on top of me since starting a new job and getting into some new routines. But, never fear, I think I’m getting there!
As mentioned in my previous post I mentioned that I had made numerous things to take into work to suit all tastes and dietary requirements. I have made these muffins a couple of times and attempted to make them gluten free but they didn’t really work, so unlike the peanut butter cookies, I didn’t have the  confidence to only make them gluten free just in case the same thing happened again. Luckily, they didn’t, previously they were far too dry, crumbly and just had a really unpleasant aftertaste which the gluten full ones definitely didn’t have. So you can guarantee that when I was taste testing these I was hyper critical. This time, I was rather impressed that I couldn’t really tell the difference between them and I was happy to take them into work. They went down really well! I am determined to help change the way some people view gluten free baking which means I’m really picky about which recipes I take into work, so I’m happy to have a savoury option to take in. 

Ingredients

1 Pack Lean Pancetta

1 Cup Grated Mature Cheddar

1 Cup Whole Milk

1 Cup Gluten Flour

1 Cup Gluten Free Flour

2 Tbsp. Salted Butter

1 Tbsp Gluten Free Baking Powder

1 Tsp. Salt

½ Tsp. Xantham Gum

2 Eggs


Method

1. In a frying pan, cook the pancetta lardons until cooked through then leave to one side to cool.

2. Preheat the oven to  175°c and grease 12 muffin tins/cases.

3. Over a medium heat, melt all the butter then allow to cool to room temperature.

4. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together, then add the butter, cheese and  bacon lardons and divide the mixture into 2 separate bowls. Ready for the gluten and gluten free versions.

5. In a separate bowl combine the flour and half of the baking powder, salt and sugar. Add this to one set of the bacon mixture.

6. In a fresh bowl, mix the gluten free flour, xantham gum and remaining baking powder, sugar and salt then add to the second bacon mixture. With this mixture if it begins to look a lot thicker/drier than the gluten version just add a bit more milk to ensure the mixture doesn’t get too dry once baked.

7. Spoon the mixture into your prepared tins (I use a different type so it’s easy to remember which are which), only fill them about 2/3 full to give them room to rise.

8. Bake for roughly 20 minutes or until they begin brown.

9. Leave to  cool on a wire rack then enjoy!

Nutritional information

Serves 12

Calories: 209

Protein: 9.3g

Carbohydrates: 18.7g

Of which is sugars: 1.4g

Fibre: 0.8g

Fat: 10.6g

Of which is saturated: 6.0g

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Protein Packed Stuffed Breakfast Peppers

I don’t think there’a any meal I put quite as much time into thinking about as breakfast. I know people always say that it’s the most important meal of the day, but honestly I think it’s just my favourite. There’s such a variety of what you could have, hot or cold, sweet or savoury. I think for anyone who saw the picture of my birthday breakfast the other week at one of my favourite restaurants (Annie’s burger shack in Nottingham, they also offer EVERY option on their menu as veggie or vegan, as well as catering for gluten free) you would have seen that my ideal breakfast is a mix of sweet, savoury, hot and cold. Who says you can’t have it all?
Back to reality in terms of what do I want for breakfast this week, I spent a few hours looking on pinterest and flicking through my various cookbooks and I thought that I would have a go at some stuffed peppers. What I found really appealing about this is there’s no need to follow a strict recipe, you can just fill it with what you like and tweak as you go to your personal preference. However, if you do want some inspiration, why not try my protein packed stuffed peppers. Perfect for a quick and easy breakfast, whether it’s before a run or ready to drop in your bag to take to work.

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Ingredients
6 Peppers, chopped in half
6 Eggs
12 Tablespoons of Water
100g Feta Cheese (I like the one that some with sundried tomatoes)
150g Tinned Sweetcorn
155g Lean Smoked Bacon Lardons
2 Shallots, chopped

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Method
1. Preheat the oven to 150°c
2. Take the chopped shallots and bacon lardons and gently fry off in a pan until just cooked and the shallots have softened then leave to one side.
3. Take the  halved peppers and scrape out the insides until you have a nice cup to hold your filling as so. This does take a little while if you’re prepping enough for the week, but be patient!

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4. In a large mix bowl, beat all the eggs together. Add all the water and beat until full incorporated. Add in all the feta (draining any oil beforehand if you buy the feta in oil and sundried tomatoes like I do) and sweetcorn and mix again.
5. Lay all your peppers onto a greased oven tray to prevent the bottoms sticking/burning to the pan, try to balance them so when you pour in the mixture it won’t spill, this may take a bit of fiddling about.
6. Add the shallot and lardon mixture to your eggs, if you do it earlier the heat may start to cook the eggs slightly, so try to leave it as late as possible.
7. Fill your peppers with the mixtures, ensuring that they don’t spill over and place in the oven.
8. Cook for roughly 20 minutes, depending on the size of the peppers. Keep a check and once the filling starts to look firm take them out and leave them to cool.
9. If you’ve made them a head of time, just give them a couple of minutes in the microwave until warmed through (timings will vary depending on the size of each pepper) then enjoy.

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Nutritional Information
Serves 6 (2 halves per serving)
Calories: 228
Protein: 17.3g
Carbohydrates: 11.7g
Of which is sugars: 8.0g
Fibre: 3.5g
Fat: 11.8g
Of which is saturated: 3.9g

Lemon Bars

Every so often I just fancy baking without being too fussed to eat the end result (I know, weird, but it does happen on the odd occasion) and this week I had one of these times. I was raking my brain trying to think about what to make that would still go down well at my house without then leading to being tempting treats in the house for me later in week when I’m being good. This is particularly important as most recently my willpower hasn’t been at its best so I’m better not having it in the house otherwise I’ll hit a midweek slump and a whole batch of baking will be gone in one. Not good.

So, light bulb moment of something lemony similar to the mini lemon loaves I made, which I promise I will post the recipe for I just want to tweak it a couple of times before I do, but I thought of lemon slices. Now I’ve never made my own lemon curd, and to be honest, I’m not a lemon fan. I can just about take it in some hot water every so often or a dash on pancakes with sugar on pancake but generally whenever my mum would make homemade lemon tarts (with homemade lemon curd) she would have to make me jam tarts instead as I wouldn’t eat them. However, my partner is partial to such desserts and does enjoy a good lemon meringue so I figured these Betty Crockers bars would be perfect.

Ingredients

1 Cup Plain Flour
½ Cup of Softened Butter (salted or unsalted it doesn’t really matter)
1 Cup Caster Sugar
¼ Cup Icing/Powdered Sugar
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Lemon Peel Grated
½  Teaspoon Baking Powder
¼ Teaspoon Salt
2 Eggs

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Method

1.       Preheat the oven to 150-180⁰c (my oven always runs hot so I have to go for a slightly lower temperature)

2.       In a large bowl, rub together the flour, icing sugar and butter. It may take a few minutes but it will eventually turn into a breadcrumb consistency then it should all of a sudden start coming together. Be careful how long you keep mixing it for as the butter warms it will before more difficult to keep its shape.

3.       Press the dough into a 8×8 tin, ensuring you do around 1-2cm sides to contain the lemon mixture, if it’s non-stick you can get away with not greasing the tin – trust me on this.

4.       Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until it’s starting to go slightly brown. As you will be re-baking you don’t want to overcook the bottom.

5.       Whilst that’s cooking, whisk together the remaining ingredients until it’s light and fluffy. This can take a few minutes, so just keep going with it. I used an electric whisk to help speed it up but it still took a fair few minutes.

6.       Once the base is done, take it out the oven and pour the lemon topping straight onto the base and put back in the oven for a further 20-30 minutes.

7.       Keep a check on this, I had to cover the top with tin foil at the 10-15 minute mark as the top started to brown a lot quicker than expected, but it’s done once the filling doesn’t wobble when moving it or leave an indentation when you press on it.

8.       Leave to cool, then remove from tin and cut into slices.

9.       Dust with icing sugar to finish.

wp-1462640111557.jpegNutritional Information – Serves 12

Calories: 202
Protein: 2.5g
Carbohydrates: 29g
Of which is sugars: 19.4g
Fibre: 0.5g
Fat: 8.7g
Of which is saturated: 5.1g

Breakfast Frittata

With spring just around the corner, I’ve been looking to change up from normal porridge breakfasts for something a little bit different. When I’m busy thinking and researching about what would be good, it needs to fill 3 criteria. 1. Tasty 2. Filling 3. (Potentially most important) able to be batch cooked and/or easy to eat at work.
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As my training for my 10K is really starting to ramp up, I’ve been particularly hungry. I’ve started running 7 miles to ensure I have the stamina to do the 6.2 miles and my aim is to be able to sprint the last 500 metres or so. It’s going well, I’m feeling really positive about it, my most recent run was 6 minutes quicker than the previous one! I still find it odd how much I’m enjoying the training, again, if this had been even 6 months ago, I never would have considered running 10K let alone with still 7 weeks to go I would be regularly running 7 miles.

But anyway, I digress, breakfast time! I spent my Sunday’s locked away in the kitchen batch cooking my breakfast, lunch, snacks and my boyfriend’s breakfast and lunch for the week, so where possible I like these to be as fuss free and use hardly any pots and pans. This is where I stumbled across a recipe for a frittata done in the slow cooker, see here, but I have tweaked it slightly.

Ingredients

6 Eggs

100g feta

75g Baby Chestnut Mushrooms

2 Medium Courgettes

100g Cherry Tomatoes

12 tbsp Water

1 tsp Paprika

2 tsp Mixed Italian Herbs
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Method

  1. Grease the slow cooker and start to pre-heat on high
  2. Roughly chop the mushrooms and gently fry until browned. Then put to one side.
  3. Grate all the courgette, once this is done, drain all the water, I found putting it in a sieve helped to be able to really squeeze as much as possible out, then pat dry on some kitchen roll until no more water comes out.
  4. Beat the eggs in a large bowl/container, once all mixed add the water and mix again.
  5. Add all the other ingredients into the mixture and then tip into the slow cooker.
  6. Cook on high for 2-3 hours.
  7. Cut up until portions then remove from the slow cooker (I would never have been able to remove it whole but if you can then good on you!)

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Nutritional Information

Serves 4

Calories: 193
Protein: 13.3g
Carbohydrates: 2.2g
Of which is sugars: 1.3g
Fibre:0.8g
Fat: 14.3g
Of which is saturated: 5.0g

Bakewell Tart

I’ve been busy training for my upcoming 10k (less than 10 weeks to go now, eeek!) I’ve only just built up to running 5 miles and I’m actually enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. Although, despite knowing I live in a hilly area and even through my ‘mapmyrun’ app saying I would climb over 200 feet, I didn’t appreciate quite how hilly it was until my fitbit said that within the 5 miles I had gone up the equivalent of 60 flights of stairs. Needless to say, I was shattered afterwards.
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So, this in mind, I decided I would treat myself to a few bits over the weekend and I spent most of Saturday, after a cracking spin class, in the kitchen baking and cooking to my heart’s content. I will include bits of everything I’ve made over the weekend but one particular favourite was a Bakewell tart. I was trying to think of something that I could make for pudding on Saturday but would also be suitable for the boy to have as a bit of pudding during the week, so I cut the rest up into Bakewell slices for him J

I did end up making two through the recipe below but that was only because I didn’t have a tray big enough so I made two slightly smaller but no less delicious ones instead.

Ingredients

For the pastry

175g Plain Flour
75g butter
2-3 Tbsp Water

For the sponge mixture

100g Butter
100g Caster Sugar
175g Self-Raising Flour
1 Tsp Baking Powder
2 Large Eggs
2 Tbsp Milk
½ Tsp Almond Extract
For Filling
6 Tbsp Cherry Jam

For Top
Handful Flaked Almonds
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Method

  1. To make the pastry, in a large bowl rub together the flour and butter until you have fine breadcrumbs, then slowly add the water until you have a smooth dough.
  2. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured worktop until it’s large enough to line the tin.
  3. Spread the jam evenly over the pastry
  4. Preheat the oven to 180⁰c (fan oven), then to make the sponge layer add all the ingredients together and beat until you have a smooth mixture and spread this over the jam layer.
  5. Sprinkle the top with the flaked almond and put in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the top has started to go a light brown colour.
  6. Leave to cool in the tin then you can cut into slices before removing or if you’ve done it in smaller tins like I have you may be able to remove it in one piece from the tin without the need to cut it up first

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Nutritional Information

Serves 16
Calories: 213
Protein: 3.7g
Carbohydrates: 34.1g
Of which is sugars: 18.7g
Fibre: 1.1g
Fat: 6.9g
Of which is saturated: 3.1g

Turkey breast with steamed carrotts and broccoli

As quite a few people have asked me at work what I eat for dinner on a normal weeknight, I thought I would share with you all as well.  Most of the recipes I have share previously I make at the weekend when I have a bit more free time, but during the week I probably spend between 20-30 minutes max. cooking. This recipe only takes 15-20 minutes and has 5 ingredients so it’s perfect for when you’ve got in after a long day at work and are hungry after a good workout! I’ll admit that I do have rather large portions, so it could be you want to reduce the amount of broccoli you have as part of this meal as it is rather filling. I normally have this after I’ve had a rather strenous workout or been on a run.

Ingredients
170g Turkey Breast
240g Broccoli
200g Carrotts
60g Tinned Sweetcorn (drained)
1 Maggi Cooking Paper (paprika is my favourite but they have a wide variety so you can pick accordingly)

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Method
1. Chop the broccoli down into small florets and the carrotts into preferred sizing, I normally do some circles and some into sticks.
2. In a steamer add the carrotts and cook with the lid on for around 5 minutes then add the broccoli and replace the lid.
3. Heat a grill (I prefer a george foreman) and place the turkey onto the cooking paper, once the grill is warm, place the Turkey on there and leave to cook for 10 minutes checking half way through.
4. Once the broccoli and carrotts are starting to soften without going soggy and the turkey is white the whole way through, serve with sweetcorn on the side.

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Nutritional Information
Serves 1 LARGE portion
Calories: 398
Protein: 51g
Carbohydrates: 27g
Of which is sugars: 18g
Fibre: 7g
Fat: 8g
Of which is saturated: 2g

Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Meatballs

Last week was a rather disappointing week. It had started off so well! But by Wednesday, I had gone off track. It all started with a late shift at work, I intended to leave to head to the gym, all the meals for the day were planned and until 4.30pm, it was going well. Realising I wasn’t going to make it out of work on time, I had a protein flapjack (not part of my pre-planned meals for the day), this then lead to another one (each at over 200 calories). When I finally got home, it was another protein flapjack from my graze box, again unplanned, then venison burgers and salad for tea as planned. This then led to a generally over calorie day on Thursday which spilled over into Friday. I’ll admit these over calorie days (which I have a feeling exceeded over 2000 calories each day) are full of of nuts, dark chocolate, fruit, dates and nut butter. So there are worse things I could be eating, but it’s an awful lot of fat and sugar. I then made the mistake of having some wraps and a pastry and I’ll be honest, my body was not happy. My stomach cramps came back on Friday night with a vengeance, not so subtly reminding me that whilst something’s may be tasty, they are simply not worth it.

Not ideal. But these things happen, no point dwelling, time to move on.

So, in order to ensure this week I don’t have a repeat I have been hitting the cookbooks again to find some more tasty meals. And yet again Amelia Freer has come to my rescue. I was looking for something that wouldn’t need too long to heat up at work, fairly versatile as I would want it with either salad, quinoa or rice and easy to batch bake.

I stumbled across these Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Meatballs. (aside: her full recipe for this also includes an almond sauce with quinoa and leeks but I just made the meatballs themselves.) I’ll admit mine aren’t the prettiest ones you’ll see, but trust me, they are tasty, high in protein and low in saturated fat! They don’t even need that many ingredients, now that’s my kind of dish

 

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Ingredients

1 ½ Leeks (the picture has 3 leeks, as if you’re doing her full recipe you need 3 but I didn’t correctly read the recipe beforehand *Duh*)

1 Egg Yolk

2 Chicken Breasts

250g Button Mushrooms

½ Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Chives

Olive Oil – for frying

Pepper to taste

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Method

  1. Chop the chicken breast into strips, then add to a food processer and blitz into a mince.
  2. Chop the leeks into fine strips and the mushrooms down so they are small.
  3. Add the oil to the frying pan and heat. Once hot, add the leeks and mushrooms and cook on a high/medium heat for roughly 10 minutes. Stirring regularly until all the moisture has gone. Leave to one side to cool.
  4. While the mixture is cooling, pre-heat the oven to 150⁰c.
  5. Once the mixture is cool, add the chicken, egg yolk, chives and leek + mushroom mixture into a mixing bowl. Mix it all together until well combined. Add a bit of pepper then mix again.
  6. Line a baking tray with tin foil. Using a tablespoon, scoop some of the mixture out and roll into a ball, place it on the lined tray. And repeat until all the mixture is used up. It should make 16 meatballs.
  7. Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until it’s cooked through but we want to ensure it stays juicy to try to avoid overcooking it.
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  8. Then serve, I chose to do mine with some frozen vegetables as it was quick to whip up, but you can go with anything really!

 

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Nutritional Information

Makes 16 Meatballs and serving size of 4 per serving

147 Calories

20.6g Protein

7.1g Carbohydrates

1.3g Fiber

2.4g Sugar

3.0g Fat ( 0.4g are Saturated Fats)