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Four plates packed with protein

Protein is a vital building block for the body and the average adult needs six ounces a day for good health.

Mounting evidence suggested that diets higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates are more effective for weight control.  They may also be more effective in helping to prevent obesity-related co-morbidities such as type 2 diabetes.

Unlike carbs and fats, excess protein can’t be stored by the body so if you eat too much it will be converted to fat. You need to consume it regularly to ensure adequate intake but eating lots of protein won’t build extra muscle – you can only do that through exercise.

 

Crab cakes

crabcakes

Mix 150g crab meat with one beaten egg,  a grind of black pepper and 1.5 teaspoons of chopped dill in a bowl.

Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions and shape each one into a crab cake.

Cook under a preheated hot grill or on a non-stick griddle pan for about 4-5 minutes, until cooked and golden brown underneath. Turn and cook other side.

While the crab cakes are cooking, mix 40g sliced fennel and 160g salad leaves together and divide between two serving plates. Whisk together 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons low-fat unsweetened yoghurt and drizzle over fennel salad.

Arrange cooked crab cakes on top, garnish with basil leaves. Serve with tomatoes, red onion and sliced pepper.

Spiced Prawn Kebabsprawnskewers

 

Soak four wooden skewers in a bowl of water for 20 minutes.

Put 200g tiger prawns in a non-metallic bowl with the one red onion cut into 12 wedges.

Stir together 4 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of Tabasco, 2cm piece of ginger, grated and 1 tablespoon cold water. Set aside 4 tablespoons of the mixture and pour the remainder over the prawns and onions. Leave in a cool place to marinate for 20 minutes.

Stir-fry 1 chopped red chilli, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1 sliced yellow pepper and 1 head of broccoli broken into small florets in two tablespoons of vegetable stock for 3-4 minutes.

Preheat the grill. Thread the red onion wedges and prawns alternately onto the soaked skewers. Grill for 2 minutes each side until the prawns turn pink.

Put the kebabs on two serving plates and garnish with watercress. Drizzle with the remaining marinade mixture and serve with the stir-fried vegetables and some steamed pak choi sprinkled with soy sauce.

Steak and Veg Towers

steaktowersHeat 3 tablespoons of beef stock in a frying pan and add one red onion, sliced. Cook gently over a low heat until the stock evaporates and the onion is tender and slightly caramelised. Remove from the pan, set aside and keep warm.

Slice 2 large mushrooms and 2 courgettes and place them in the pan juices. Cook for a few minutes on each side until tender. Alternatively cook them on a hot ridged grill pan.

Meanwhile, grill two 150g fillet steaks on a hot, ridged cast-iron grill pan or under a preheated hot grill until cooked on both sides.

To assemble each tower, place a slice of tomato on each serving plate, put a cooked mushroom on top and fill with cooked red onion. Add a grinding of black pepper and put a slice of tomato and another of courgette on top. Cover with the cooked steak and the remaining courgette and tomato slices. Arrange a pile of rocket or watercress on top and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.

Classic Italian Vegetable Frittata

frittataPlace a non-stick frying pan over a low heat. Add three tablespoons of vegetable stock and then one thinly sliced onion, three thinly sliced courgettes and two crushed cloves of garlic. Cook gently, stirring from time to time, for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add four chopped tomatoes and cook for 5 more minutes.

In a bowl, beat four medium eggs with a wire whisk until thoroughly combined, and season with freshly ground black pepper.

Pour the beaten eggs and two tablespoons chopped parsley into the vegetable mixture and stir gently. Cook over a very low heat for 15 minutes, or until the frittata is set underneath but slightly runny on top. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan.

Place the pan under a preheated hot grill for 2-3 minutes until the top of the frittata is set and golden brown.

Carefully slide frittata out of the pan onto a plate and cut into wedges. Serve with a crisp salad or grilled vegetables.

Want to hear more about healthy eating? Read about the meals that aren’t as healthy as you think.