Monday, 25 April 2011

Cheese on toast with a twist

Recently Warburtons have launched new Sandwich Thins, and they are flying off the shelves!!  They're great if you are on a diet because they are low fat and only 3 ProPoints per thin.  They are also great if you aren't a massive fan of stodgy white bread and want something a bit lighter with your lunch.  They even come ready sliced so you don't have to mess about trying to cut a thin bit of bread in half...genius! 

One of the things I love about weekends, and long bank holiday weekends in particular is brunch.  It sets me up for what remains of the morning and most of the afternoon - brilliant if you have plans to go out and about and do something.  Today, I fancied something a bit different to the usual brunches I make and decided to make this with some leftovers in the fridge - it was absolutely delicious.  It was cheese on toast, with a leftover sausage and some cooked mushrooms - doesn't sound like a culinary feast for your taste buds but by 'eck it was lush! I decided to toast my sandwich thin rather than use normal bread like i would.  If you are following weight watchers, the dish below is 9 ProPoints although you could reduce this if you use reduced fat sausages.

The recipe below is for one person. To make this cheese on toast (with a twist) you'll need:
  • 1 warburtons sandwich thin
  • 2 reduced fat cheese slices (I'm not a big fan of processed cheese but they are only 1 ProPoint each and it means I can control how much I am having a lot better - cheese is my downfall!)
  • 1 sausage of your choice
  • small handful of button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 sprays of calorie controlled spray oil
Spray your frying pan with the calorie controlled spray and cook the sausage as per the directions on the pack.  Meanwhile, split your sandwich thin in half and toast until golden brown.  Set to one side to cool once its toasted.


Once the sausage is cooked, set it to one side to let it cool a little and using the same pan, cook the mushrooms until browned and softened. 

Top each half of the sandwich thin with a slice of the cheese and place under the grill to melt.  Meanwhile chop up the sausage into little pieces.  Once the cheese is melted, remove the thins from the grill and top with the sausage pieces and the mushrooms.  I had mine with a little bit of HP BBQ sauce drizzled on top - yummy!


Meatball Pasta Bake

Well it's been a while, but the madness of work has settled down and I've actually found time to update the blog.  As you know from previous blog posts, about a month and a half ago I started on Weight Watchers, and very successful it has been too.  To date I am one pound shy of having lost a stone and have lost 5% of my body weight...go me!

The weight loss success has been in part, down to a couple of weight watchers cookbooks that I have.  My mum bought me "Weight Watchers Book of Recipes" and then I bought the "Weight Watchers Seriously Satisfying" cookbook.  This meatball pasta bake recipe comes from the Seriously Satisfying book.  I was quite pleased and surprised to find that this recipe only had 10 ProPoints per serving - normally pasta dishes are quite high especially if they have beef in them!  

I often find that living with someone who isn't on a diet can be quite hard - sometimes you see a recipe that looks tasty but you know that the other person wont eat it (usually because it lacks meat..eat a vegetarian dish you say..never!), so you either end up making two meals or cooking something else entirely.  I don't have any children but I can imagine it's the same difficulty, so this dish is great because the whole family can enjoy it.

The recipe below serves 4 and you will need:
  • 400g (or 14oz) of extra lean beef mince
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • calorie controlled cooking spray
  • 175g (or 6oz) dried penne pasta
  • 2 x 400g tins of tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons tomato ketchup
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 125g pack light mozzarella, drained and torn into chunks
  • Salt and Pepper
In a large bowl mix together the mince, some of the onion, parsley, basil and a little bit of the garlic.  Add some seasoning and then shape into walnut sized balls.  You should get around 16 balls, depending on how big or small you make them.



Spray a non stick frying pan with the cooking spray and heat until hot.  Add the meatballs and cook for 7 to 8 minutes until browned all over.  Don't worry if they aren't cooked all the way through as they will continue to cook when they are in the oven.  Once sealed, remove from the pan and set to one side.

Bring a pan of water up to boil and add your pasta, cooking as per the instructions.  Meanwhile, in the same pan you used to sear the meatballs, add the rest of the onion and fry gently for a couple of minutes.  Add the chopped tomatoes, ketchup, balsamic vinegar and the rest of the garlic. Season with a little salt and pepper and leave to cook for a few minutes until the flavours have chance to combine a little.
Once your pasta has cooked, drain it and add it to the sauce.  Add the meatballs into the frying pan and stir it together - I found this the easiest way to do it rather than trying to mix it all in the ovenproof dish as it usually goes all over the place.  Transfer the sauce/meatball/pasta mix from the frying pan into the ovenproof dish.  Top the mixture with the torn mozzarella cheese and bake in the oven at 190 degrees/170 fan oven/gas mark 5 for 25 minutes until the cheese is bubbling.


Serve with some seasonal salad leaves

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