Friday, 21 March 2014

Healthy Recipes - Macaroni Cheese

I came across a simple healthy recipe for the classic, macaroni cheese, and today, I'll share it with you. Just 405 calories, only 7 grams of fat and 18 grams of carbohydrates.

So, onto the recipe, and firstly, the ingredients you'll need;

- 125g of cheddar cheese (low-fat variety)
- 125ml of milk
- 1tsp of mustard powder
- 1tbsp of flour
- 1/2 tsp of sea salt
- 1/4 tsp of pepper
- 300g of low-carb macaroni
- 200g of butternut squash
- 125ml of chicken stock
- 1tbsp of olive oil spread 

And finally, how to make;

1) Put a large pan of water to boil on a medium heat. Add salt to the water. Once the water reaches boiling point (large, moving bubbles), add the macaroni. Stir immediately after adding the pasta, and occasionally during cooking process, to stop it sticking. 
Boil the macaroni for 7 minutes; you want it a little underdone as it will cook further when it goes into the oven with the sauce. 

2) Peel the butternut squash and remove the seeds. Cut into quarters (you'll need about half a squash). Cut into slices, about as thick as a one pound coin (not too thick, as it'll take too long to cook). Boil for 7 minutes in lightly salted water. 
Melt the margarine/olive oil spread in a frying pan, sprinkle in the flour, and whisk. Let it cook for a minute. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock, then add the milk, and mustard powder. Turn up the heat, and bring to the boil. Let the sauce reduce until the consistency is like heavy cream (should take about 3 minutes). Whisk constantly. Once the squash is soft, drain it, and mash/blend until it's pureed, and lump-free. Addd this to the sauce, and stir well.

3) Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 4. Grate the cheese over the large holes on a box grater. Stir the cheese into the sauce.

4) Drain the macaroni in a sieve; give it a good shake, and make sure to get all the water out. Then pour into the sauce. Stir well, and season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish (make sure to grease the dish before hand, with a little non-stick cooking spray). Pop the casserole in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes............And then serve.

A simple recipe for a childhood classic. I hope you enjoy, and this comes in useful. Please leave comments, feedback or messages.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Healthy Foods - Omega 3's, Improving Sleep and Heart Health

It's all well and good saying healthy foods, but what exactly are the healthiest foods, and more importantly, what makes them so healthy? Here's a few quick healthy food tips, and the benefits they hold;

1) Scientific researchers have found that drinking cherry juice can improve all aspects of sleep in adults. According to the scientists, the key is the high melatonin content, which they believe causes optimum sleep-time. 
As well as this, eating cherries on a regular basis can prevent arthritis. They contain a high amount of anthocyonin, which is a compound that reduces inflammation in your joints and muscles. 

2) There's 38% extra brain-boosting omega 3's in an organic chicken, compared to a caged chicken, so choose wisely when you're next out shopping. 
Omega 3's can also help prevent depression, arthritis and cancer, amongst other diseases.

3) Help protect your heart by eating honeydew melon. Top nutritionist Lorner Driver-Davies says that the fruits potassium and water content combine to combat the high sodium levels in a Western diet, which will safeguard your blood pressure. 
Another heart protecting food is the mushroom, which University of Illinois researchers found to be rich in total dietary fibres, that can help maintain a healthy heart. 

Still protecting the heart, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that you could reduce your risk of a heart attack by 41% by taking a multivitamin everyday. 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Healthy Recipes - Honey-Mustard Salmon

Healthy eating's the topic again as I give you a recipe of honey-mustard salmon with asparagus, a high-protein, low-carb meal, great for recovering from an evenings training session. Nearly 40g of protein, , virtually carb-free, over 50% of your RDA of folate and 40% of your RDA of vitamin C (both essential for muscle repair), and it's only 360 calories.
Not only a great post-workout meal but also holds other essential health benefits in the ingredients. As mentioned in an early blog post, salmon can help reduce eye fatigue, which is ideal if you're sat in front of a computer screen all day. The asparagus can also keep your eyes healthy, as well as help fend of gum disease, lower blood pressure and fend off signs of ageing. 

So, onto the recipe, and first, the ingredients;

Serves 4

- 4 salmon fillets
- 450g of asparagus
- 1tbsp of butter
- 1tbsp of brown sugar
- 1tbsp of honey
- 1tbsp of soy sauce
- 2tsp of Dijon mustard
- 2tbsp of olive oil
- 50g of parmesan
- Salt & Pepper

How to make;

1) Heat the oven to 200 degrees/gas mark 6. Then combine the butter and brown sugar in a bowl, and microwave until the mix melts together. This should only take about 30-40 seconds. Remove and stir in the mustard, honey and soy sauce.

2) Toss the asparagus in a bowl with half the oil, and grate in the parmesan, and season to taste. Place the asparagus in a baking dish and roast until al dente. 

3) Heat the remaining oil in a pan over a high heat. Season the salmon and add to the pan, flesh-side down. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until browned. Then you want to turn them over, and brush half the honey-mustard mix over the fillets, and place in the oven. Bake for around 5 minutes, until the salmon is firm, and flakes easily.

4) Remove from the oven, and brush them with the remainder of the honey-mustard mix. Plate them up with the asparagus and serve.

And there you have it, a quick and simple healthy meal that can be cooked up in 20 minutes, enjoy!

Friday, 14 March 2014

Muscle Building Bacon Sandwich

For this post I have a high-protein version of the classic Bacon Butty. The unhealthy options of butter and mayonnaise have been replaced with garlic, and salsa, which also makes this a great healthy alternative to the original. A Columbian University study completed, showed that the nitrates in bacon could cause bronchitis and emphysema, but you can buy nitrate-free rashers, so have a chat with your butcher. 

So, onto the ingredients........You'll need;

- 2 slices of wholegrain bread
- 1 clove of garlic (halved)
- 1 tbsp of salsa
- 4 rashers of back bacon
- 2 sun-dried tomatoes
- Spinach leaves 

How to make.....

1) Switch the grill to a medium heat, and trim the fat from the outer edge of the bacon rashers. Doing this can reduce the fat content of the bacon by 50%.

2) Stick the bacon under the grill and lightly toast the bread. Once the toast is done, rub the filling-facing side with the garlic clove (halved).

3) When the bacon is cooked, leave it to rest for a minute, between two pieces of kitchen roll. This will soak up the remaining excess fat.

4) Spread the salsa on each slice of toast, and add the bacon and spinach leaves.

5) And, one last thing..........Eat, enjoy, and watch the muscle grow.....