How did you get on with the fruit and vegetable challenge last week? All good? This week’s challenge is to get creative and cook some new recipes, so wooden spoons at the ready. This week you can win a hamper of Weight Watchers Simple Start goodies, so read on to find out how.
Now I’m not a natural cook, so this was a little bit more of a challenge for me than simply chucking a handful of salad onto the side of my plate like last week. My innate kitchen laziness, combined with the recent break-up, does not immediately lend itself to food based experimentation, other than the ‘I think I will give that new biscuit brand a try’ variety.
Never one though to turn down a challenge, I rose to the occasion.
I started off with the Weight Watchers spaghetti bolognese recipe. (See the full recipe here.) One of the biggest things that puts me off any sort of change in diet is the idea that I will have to start cooking up strange meals with bizarre ingredients that no one else in the family wants to eat. It was reassuring then to know that Weight Watchers gives you so much flexibility – no one would ever know in fact the difference between this and any other spag bol.
The end result was delicious, and the fact that only a few simple changes were needed reinforces just how easy it can be to incorporate Weight Watchers into everyday family life. We also tried out the pitta pizzas – perfect for a quick lunch with kids. Check out these five speedy family dinners for some more inspiration.
Finally I tried my hand at something a little fancier – pork loin steaks with creamy mushroom sauce and roasted baby potatoes. This one was delicious – especially the potatoes – and I felt like a proper chef chopping up fresh herbs and making a sauce. Very fancy. The full recipe is at the end of the post. It’s hard to believe this is something you can eat as part of an official diet!
If you’ve been inspired by my kitchen antics and fancy winning yourself a hamper of Simple Start goodies to help you out then listen up! The competition is running across all the Weight Watchers social channels, so entering is easy peasy – all you have to do is take a picture of a meal you’ve created and share it on Twitter with the #StepIntoSummer hashtag. You can also share it on Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest, just don’t forget to tag Weight Watchers and mention #StepIntoSummer.
Pork loin steaks with creamy mushroom sauce
12-16 large new potatoes
1-2 sprigs rosemary, broken into small sprigs
1-2 bushy sprigs thyme, torn into small sprigs
Calorie controlled cooking spray
For the creamy mushroom sauce:
2 shallots or half a small onion, finely chopped
200g chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced
2 tsp mustard powder
200ml beef stock from a cube
1 tbsp grainy mustard
6 tbsp 0% fat Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
For the pork steaks:
2 tbsp crushed mixed peppercorns, especially pink and green peppercorns
4 pork steaks, visible fat removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Steamed baby vegetables, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200C. Cut thin slices in the top of the potatoes, almost but not quite all the way through. Put the potatoes onto a baking tray and spray with calorie controlled cooking spray. Insert a sprig of rosemary and a sprig of thyme between one or two of the slices on each potato. Season, and bake for 40-50 minutes until tender and golden.
Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and spray with calorie controlled cooking spray and add the shallots. Cook gently for about 5 minutes, adding a little water to the pan if they start to colour or stick. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the mustard powder before stirring in the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the grainy mustard. Leave to stand for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir a little of the hot sauce into the yoghurt. Add the yoghurt mixture and parsley to the mushroom sauce and season to taste, cover and set aside while you cook the pork steaks. If you need to reheat the sauce, take care not to boil or it might split.
Rub the crushed peppercorns into the pork steaks along with a little salt. The steaks can now either be cooked on a bbq, or ridged grill pan, or under a hot grill. Cook for 4-5 minutes each side, until just tender.
Serve immediately with the potatoes, mushroom sauce and steamed spring vegetables (eg baby carrots, leeks, courgettes, peas) or mixed salad.
Disclosure: I am being compensated by Weight Watchers as one of their #stepintosummer challenge bloggers but all words and opinions are my own.