Hotdog hotpot – budget winter warmer


Hardened foodies, or other sceptics (like my wife ha ha!) may turn their noses up at Hotdog Hotpot from the Hairy Dieters’ latest book, ‘Make it Easy’, but let me tell you they are missing out on an absolute treat!

I love making dishes which utilise cheaper cuts of meat, and you can pick up a pack of frankfurters for around £2 in most supermarkets. This is just a brilliant easy-to-make, budget friendly and tasty winter warmer of a dish which is surprisingly satisfying. The frankfurters, potatoes, apples and cabbage go together brilliantly, along with the sage, stock and cider. Fantastic, and even more so because a serving of this is less than 300 calories!

The cooking time is over an hour but there’s very little prep involved or much to do once everything is in the pan. Continue reading “Hotdog hotpot – budget winter warmer”


Creamy chicken and tarragon pots with rosemary potato wedges

chicken tarragon

Mmmmmmmmm. There’s not much more to say about Creamy chicken and tarragon pots with rosemary potato wedges – it’s just soooooo good! The dish appears in the Hairy Dieters’ Good Eating book and the recipe was sent in by one of their readers, Amy Huyler, who is the brains behind this sumptuous meal. Take a bow, Amy!

In Amy’s own words, “a tasty, tempting pot of creamy deliciousness with all the yum factor of a Great British chicken pie, but none of the calories of puff pastry or double cream”. I couldn’t put it any better myself so I’m not going to try, except for saying give the rosemary potato wedges a go as they also taste fantastic accompanied with some tenderstem broccoli, perhaps.

Fans of the Hairy Dieters might recall that this recipe is similar to chicken and ham tangle pie which appears in their inaugural diet book (How to Love Food and Lose Weight), but crucially (I don’t know why I said ‘crucially’) takes a little longer to make and is slightly higher in calories due to the addition of the filo pastry topping. But that’s another cracking dish which I’ll try and feature on this blog at some point in the future. Continue reading “Creamy chicken and tarragon pots with rosemary potato wedges”

Sticky chicken drumsticks


Sticky chicken drumsticks from the Hairy Dieters are a fab weekend lunch dish and ridiculously cheap to make at a cost of about 60p per serving! My only slight bone of contention (excuse the pun) is that I don’t believe this meal is particularly ‘fast’ to make, as per the Hairy Dieters’ billing in their ‘Fast Food‘ book that most of the recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less. I’m not exactly lightening quick in the kitchen though so perhaps so you can rustle this up in no time.

If this recipe appeals to you, then check out my previous blog on fusion tandoori chicken drumsticks (also from the Hairy Dieters), which is equally as tasty and less ‘faffy’ to make as once the drumsticks have finished marinating you can simply bang them in the oven. Continue reading “Sticky chicken drumsticks”

Chicken biryani- a flavour-bomb fakeaway

chicken biryani

When compiling a list of my favourite Indian curries that I wanted to try as a ‘fakeaway’, Chicken Biryani didn’t immediately spring to mind. But I’m so glad I decided to make this reduced-calorie version from the Hairy Dieters as it’s literally bursting with flavours which made for a fabulous surprise.

Some healthy eating books regularly throw in the claim ‘this is better than a takeaway’ almost to the point of it becoming a cliché, however this was exactly the conclusion I came to after demolishing this chicken biryani meal. There a lot of ingredients, but as long as you follow the method to the letter it will turn out brilliantly.

A lot of ‘fakeaway’ recipes give you the calorie count for the meal WITHOUT rice, so if you’re not careful what seems like an ultra healthy dish on paper can be potentially misleading. This chicken biryani meal INCLUDES rice and comes in at just under 400 calories (based on serving 5 people) so you don’t need to worry whether this is a healthy choice for your diet! Continue reading “Chicken biryani- a flavour-bomb fakeaway”

Black-eyed peas and greens from the US!

Spring greens

Introducing more vegetarian based dishes is an excellent way to add balance to your diet and reduce your calorie intake. I’d happily eat meat seven days a week and the thought of eating more ‘greens’ seemed initially alien to me. However, there are lots of excellent vegetarian and vegan meals so I’d urge even the most passionate meat eaters to give them a try.

Black-eyes peas and greens from the Hairy Dieters was a good starting point for me. I love all types of beans, and pulses are a nutritious and cheap way to bulk out meals and fill you up. This dish apparently originates from the southern regions of the United States, so I’d be interested if any American readers can vouch for its authenticity.

I was amazed by how much I could eat for only 207 calories per portion, and while there are more imaginative vege-based dishes out there, as a week-night meal this fulfilled the brief perfectly. The Hairy Dieters recommend accompanying this meal with some corn bread – you’ll find the recipe in their ‘Fast Food’ book. Continue reading “Black-eyed peas and greens from the US!”

Sticky pork steaks with coleslaw

Sticky pork steaks

Healthy-eating guru Justine Pattison is a genius at coming up with quick, tasty meals that are low in calories. Sticky pork steaks with coleslaw essentially involves the pork being coated with a barbecue glaze cleverly created by combining the ketchup, honey and Worcestershire sauce.

Fans of the Hairy Dieters (who Justine worked as a consultant on their early dieting books) will note that this recipe is very similar to the Hairy one’s Sticky chicken and coleslaw which you’ll find in their second book – Eat for Life. And if you’re really eagle-eyed, you’ll note that I decided to go with the Hairy Dieters’ home-made coleslaw recipe (white cabbage, carrot, spring onions, light mayo and natural yoghurt) instead of Justine’s as I’m not a fan of celeriac.

The pork steaks with the coleslaw is filling, but if you fancy a few home-made chips to go with it (it will add 119 calories) you can find the recipe in Justine’s Without the Calories – Comfort Food book. Continue reading “Sticky pork steaks with coleslaw”

Turkey burgers and chips

Turkey burgers

I’ m a sucker for a beef burger loaded with bacon, cheese and onion rings on a nice bun but they are big ‘no no’ when you’re trying to watch your weight. Now I’m not going to lie, turkey burgers and chips from the Hairy Dieters didn’t exactly have me sprinting into the kitchen to make them, but as a healthy alternative these actually taste pretty good.

At just 2% fat, turkey mince is about as lean as you can get and by dropping the bun in this recipe you even get to have a few home-made ‘paprika’ chips to accompany your burger and mine turned out pretty well. I cheated slightly by using the much cheaper turkey thigh mince in the photograph but this still comes in at only 7% fat.

I would recommend cooking your turkey burgers in the oven as mine were quite wet when shaped into patties and I was concerned about them breaking up if cooked in a frying pan. I’d also argue to cook them for much longer than the 10 minutes suggested cooking time as my burgers looked quite pale when I initially took them out of the oven. Continue reading “Turkey burgers and chips”

Chicken and broad bean pilaf

Broad beans

Chicken and broad bean pilaf from the Hairy Dieters contains a wonderful mix of flavours – chicken, vegetables, rice, spices and herbs which combine together to form a really satisfying dish for just 310 calories. And despite the long list of ingredients it’s very cheap and simple to make in just one pan.

This meal can be rustled up in under half an hour but definitely plan ahead by getting the chicken thighs marinating and ‘double-podding’ the broad beans, which can be a labour of love. If you’re vegetarian, or planning to have a ‘meat-free Monday’, you can leave out the chicken and still enjoy a brilliant recipe for only 218 calories. Continue reading “Chicken and broad bean pilaf”