Simple Tuna and Sweetcorn Pasta Salad


Simple Tuna pasta salad

I’m sure everyone reading will identify with this…there are some days when you just can’t be ARSED to make a healthy meal but still want to stay on track with your diet. It can be all too tempting to make a carb-loaded sandwich, or buy a calorific meal from a supermarket. Simple Tuna and Sweetcorn Pasta Salad from the Hairy Dieters was created for such occasions.

By definition it’s simple and quick to pull together, it’s filling yet still under 200 calories, and, well, that’s about it. Of course, part of the motivation for maintaining our diets is creating appetising, visually appealing recipes. But sometimes when willpower is severely lacking you’ve just got to stay on track, either with a bog-standard pasta salad or with a humble jacket potato. As for this salad, it tastes pretty good, but I would recommend bulking it out with some gem or romaine lettuce to stretch the servings to four. Continue reading “Simple Tuna and Sweetcorn Pasta Salad”

Chilli Lemon Tuna and Broccoli Spaghetti


Chilli lemon tuna

I’m actively trying to meat more fish – my wife Ann-Marie prefers it to meat, and there are obvious health benefits to varying our diets. The added bonus is that many fish-based dishes are quick to make and so perfect when you’re pushed for time. Chilli Lemon Tuna and Broccoli Spaghetti from the Hairy Dieters is one of our favourites – get all the equipment and ingredients out on your working top, and it can be ready in under 20 minutes.

Tuna steaks are relatively expensive, but frozen varieties as I highlighted in Seared Sesame Tuna are more affordable. But to reduce the costs further for this particular recipe, swap the tuna steaks for tuna flakes or (better still) salmon fillets and ditch the tenderstem broccoli for just a regular head of broccoli as I did. Continue reading “Chilli Lemon Tuna and Broccoli Spaghetti”

Pasta with summer vegetables and parma ham


Pasta with summer vegetables and parma ham

You don’t have to wait until Summer to enjoy this fab pasta dish from the Hairy Dieters, or perhaps you will unless shoppers stop going Coronavirus crazy and emptying supermarket shelves! There are a lot of ingredients in this pasta with summer vegetables and parma ham recipe, but the combination of the veg, herbs and parma ham sing together beautifully with the stock, white wine and crème fraiche. It makes for a filling, guilt-free lunch at just 305 calories per portion.

If you’re not sure what to do with any remaining broad beans, try broad bean or chicken and broad bean pilaf which you’ll find in the Hairy Dieters’ Good Eating book. Their fourth instalment, Fast Food, also contains a minted lamb and broad bean recipe which I must get round to making again soon. Check it out. Continue reading “Pasta with summer vegetables and parma ham”

Home-made Butternut Squash Tortellini for under a £1 per portion!


Butternut squash tortellini

Stuffed pasta on a diet? Absolutely, according to the Hairy Dieters, whose Home-made Butternut Squash Tortellini recipe offers an excellent healthy vegetarian option for under a £1 per portion. However, you will need to devote up to 3 hours in the kitchen and have a reasonable amount of skill to ensure the filling doesn’t escape from the tortellini shells! Lazy Sunday, anyone?

Disclaimer: My wife Ann-Marie made this recipe, so all I did was rock up and tuck in when it was ready! I have to say the buttery squash pasta filling, accompanied by the spinach tasted fantastic, and I wanted more. According to Annie, this wasn’t too tricky to pull together and it would be quicker to make next time now she’s got the knack of folding the pasta and sealing the filling. Off you go then, love ;-).

If, like me, you lack patience and are time-pressured, then why not check out the Super Speedy section of this blog which provides a selection of tasty, diet-friendly recipes which can be rustled up in about 20 minutes. Continue reading “Home-made Butternut Squash Tortellini for under a £1 per portion!”

Pasta with clams and bacon


Clams

I’ve never been a huge fan of Italian food. I can take or leave pizza and I’ve never understood how some restaurants justify charging upwards of £15 for a bowl of pasta. It’s ironic then that going on a healthy eating plan has enabled me to fall in love with simple, tasty Italian pasta dishes that are quick and economical to cook.

Pasta with clams and bacon from the third instalment of the Hairy Dieters series has become one of my favourites. The photo above might not scream ‘eat me now!’, but don’t let that put you off, the flavour combinations in this recipe are divine and I’d urge you to try it.

Disclaimer: my local supermarkets aren’t posh enough to stock clams so I substituted them for cockles which worked a treat. Clams, cockles or even mussels – see what works for you. But whatever you use, don’t forget to save 50ml of the liquor when draining them as adding this back into the pan makes this sumptuous dish even more yummy.

Can’t get enough of healthy pasta dishes? Check out Pollo Pasta with Pesto, Smashed Up Chicken, Pasta Puttanesca and Tagliatelle Carbonara. Continue reading “Pasta with clams and bacon”

Prawn pasta salad


Prawwwwns

Quick pasta salad dishes are perfect for mid-week lunchboxes to take to work and are a healthier and cheaper alternative to caloric supermarket equivalents. This Prawn Pasta Salad recipe is tucked away towards the back of the Hairy Dieters’ second book and is one of my favourites.

It’s so simple to put together and you can have it ready in under 20 minutes. Do remember to use ‘light’ mayonnaise as using full fat versions will bump the calories up. Fancying something more up-market to show off to your work colleagues? Then Posh Prawn Cocktail is for you, my friends. Continue reading “Prawn pasta salad”

Pollo pasta with pesto – Friday night sorted


Pollo chicken

If I’m going to cheat on my diet then I’m most susceptible on a Friday night when I’m tired after work and can’t be arsed cooking. Pollo pasta with pesto from Justine Pattison is a great fallback option when I’m on the verge of calling Just Eat, can be on the table within half an hour and tastes fantastic. Even better, it costs just over a quid per serving to make!

Calories wise this recipe is quite high at 498, but you’ll save a few if you omit the single cream and remember this is still much better than scoffing a takeaway. I’ve always got chicken, mushrooms, pesto, pasta and sundried tomatoes to hand so this meal has become one of my favourite ‘store cupboard saviours’. Continue reading “Pollo pasta with pesto – Friday night sorted”

Smashed Up Chicken – simply smashing!


Smashed up Chicken

The Hairy Dieters’ Smashed Up Chicken is a household favourite in my home and combines some cracking flavours to give this dish a creamy, luxurious feel which is soooooo yummy to eat. It’s definitely one of the ‘Hairy Ones’ finest recipes which has been adapted and ‘slimmed down’ from one of their earlier books, but the end result feels more like restaurant food rather than ‘diet’ food.

There’s a fair few ingredients here and you’ll need three different pans, so if you’re making this on a week night after work I suggest you prep and get all the ingredients out in advance so you don’t feel flustered. However, this is a cinch to make but I tend to cook it on a weekend when I’m less pushed for time. If you have sufficient willpower (and hey I’m not judging if you don’t), you can save any leftovers for lunch the next day.

If you’re a huge pasta pan, and let’s face it who isn’t, then why not try the Hairy Dieters’ Pasta Puttanesca and Tagliatelle Carbonara which are featured elsewhere on this blog. Continue reading “Smashed Up Chicken – simply smashing!”

Pasta puttanesca for only 61p per portion!


Pasta puttanesca

The Hairy Dieters’ books contain some cracking pasta recipes but Pasta Puttanesca from their third book is arguably their best. It’s a great store-cupboard staple dish to rustle up on a week night and costs just 61p per portion!

There are lots of variations of this recipe but this one is sooooo scrummy and comes in at only 250 calories. If you’re short on time, chuck in 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes if you don’t want to faff about deseeding and finely chopping a chilli.

The only difficulty with eating pasta puttanesca is having sufficient resolve not to demolish any spare portions if you get peckish, which ‘greedy guts’, aka yours truly, has been known to do on occasion. Well, perhaps on every occasion wahahaha ;-).

If you’ve got any anchovies left over and are wondering what to do with them, why not have a go at making Chicken Caesar Salad? Continue reading “Pasta puttanesca for only 61p per portion!”

Tagliatelle Carbonara – Italian classic for under 300 cals!


Tagliatelle carbonara

Without boring you with the details, I’m currently living with my Mum and don’t have the patience or inclination to devote time to prepping fresh food. Thank goodness then for the Hairy Dieters’ Tagliatelle Carbonara, a filling, tasty and calorie friendly twist on an Italian classic dish when can be prepped and on the table inside 20 minutes. My Mum loves it too -bonus!

75g of pasta might not seem like much between two people, but trust me, the mushrooms, courgettes and tomatoes really help to bulk the meal out and the addition of the crème fraiche gives the meal that authentic, creamy taste for less than 300 calories per portion!

Incidentally, the Hairy Dieters have some excellent pasta dishes like this one tucked away towards the back of their second book. Check them out, and I’ll try to feature some of them on my blog in due course. Continue reading “Tagliatelle Carbonara – Italian classic for under 300 cals!”