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Monday, 17 December 2012

Quick meals

Today we've eaten beans on toast for lunch and for dinner we ate a small steak with new potatoes and some salad. With plenty of Christmas prep to be sorted out, our meals this week will be relatively simple.
I spent around an hour making sausage rolls today. I used sausages with a high meat content making them less greasy. Simply remove the sausage skin and roll the contents to fit the flaky (puff) pastry and seal. It's worth the effort and I made around 60 sausage rolls using 2 packs of pastry and 1.5kg of sausages. That's another job done - and my good quality sausage rolls are sitting in the freezer ready to cook!
We've planned our meals for the week so we know what we are going to eat. This helps us feel less stressed and we avoid the risk of eating on the hoof which could lead to bad choices. Let's face it, there's a ton of food coming our way, so we want to try and be fairly good on the run up.
Tomorrow I'll probably make a batch of red cabbage and freeze that too. They are so easy to make and can be prepared beforehand. It freezes perfectly so we make a large batch.  On the day, just before we put it in the oven, we'll sprinkle with orange zest, cover in foil and reheat.  Then we remove foil about 10 mins before we want to eat.
On Christmas eve I also like to make a cauliflower cheese. There are lots of recipes to be found, and we basically par-boil a whole cauliflower, sit this in an oven proof dish and cover with our favourite cheese sauce.  We eliminate unnecessary fat calories by not using CREAM.  Some recipes call for masses of double cream, which we prefer not to use as there is so much food being passed around on Christmas day, that the last thing we want is a very rich side dish.  Our alternative recipe is so tasty and I'll be honest, you wouldn't notice it hasn't got cream, because the cheese is quite flavoursome itself.
We make a flour and butter base (roux) and once it's cooled down a bit, we add some cold whole milk and seasoning (salt/pepper/mustard and pinch of nutmeg).  Cook this through, while stirring, for around 5 mins.  Add a bayleaf and onion to the mix (remove before pouring sauce on cauliflower).  The only trick is - to have the sauce just thick enough.  Too thick and it will be too sticky. Then finally sprinkle with some very strong grated cheese - we use 50-70g of mixed parmesan and mature cheddar. I also like to sprinkle a little smoked paprika on top. Put this in the fridge until required (wrap in clingfilm).  To bake, simply remove clingfilm, top with foil and sit in bottom of oven where it doesn't mind a few extra minutes if we get our timings wrong.  Remove foil for last 15 mins or so.
If you would like to know more about how we achieved our fabulous weight loss see OUR IDEA.
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