Tag Archives: healthy

5 Days – 5 Meals: Chilli Beef with Nachos

Chilli Beef with Nachos
Won’t be long before days get shorter and nights become colder. Chilli beefs with an extra kick is sure to keep you warm inside. Low carb and high in protein. The chilli make enough for 2 people. Condiments such as the ceese and sour cream be tailored to suit each person’s needs.

Difficulty: Novice Chef

Cooking time: 40 mins

Serves: 2

Nutritional info (based on 1 person)
Calories: 575
Carbs: 16
Fats:24
Protein: 67

Ingredients

500g Premium Beef Mince
100g tomato puree
1 tbsp of Chilli powder, paprika, turmeric, Cajun gymchef spice
4tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ punnet cherry tomatoes
½ bulb of garlic
1 chilli
1 onion
1 lime
3 peppers
125g mushrooms
2 mini wraps (32g each)
40g mozzarella cheese (each)
40g sour cream (each)
40 hot salsa
Jalapeños

Method

1. Preheat a large pot over a medium heat

2. Roughly chop the vegetables into bite sized chunks and season the meat with salt and pepper.

3. Turn up the heat of the pot and when it starts to smoke add in the mince and all of the vegetables and allow them to cook for 5 mins.

4. Turn the heat back down to medium, add in all of the spices and give it a good mix until well combined.

5. Add the tomato puree and mix well again.

6. Add 250ml of water and the balsamic vinegar. This should loosen the mixture up if it becomes to stodgy.

7. Turn the heat down low, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and let simmer for 30 mins until all of the vegetables have softened.

8. Season the wraps with the same spices again and bake on a tray in the oven for 5 minutes until they begin to brown. Then take them out and cut in half, then in half again and so on until they resemble Nachos.

9. At the very end take it off of the heat and squeeze in the lime juice.

10. Divide into two bowls and top it off with the sour cream, cheese, salsa and jalapeños.

5 Days – 5 Meals: Fans Choice Meatzza & Sweet Potatoes

Difficulty: easy

Cooking time: 20 – 30 mins

Serves: 2

Nutritional info (based on 1 person)

Calories: 505

Carbs:39

Fats: 11

Protein: 47

Ingredients

2 Fans Choice Meatzza’s

150g Strong Roots

1 Red or White onion

2 Peppers

125g mushrooms

2 tbsp Cajun gymchef spice

Method

  1. Pre heat the oven on the highest gas mark.
  2. Measure the sweet potatoes onto a tray and place them on the top shelf in the oven straight away.
  3. Slice up all of the veg into chunky bite sized pieces and place them onto another try with the gymchef seasoning.
  4. Move the sweet potatoes down and put the veg tray into the oven along with the meazta.
  5. Turn the oven down to 5 or 190 degrees Celsius and cook for 20 – 30 minutes

5 Days – 5 Meals: Spicy Eggs, Turkey Burger & Tortillas

5 brand new recipes each day for the next 5 days. The beauty with these recipes is that the nutritional value can be adjusted accordingly to suit your requirements.

Spicy Eggs (2)

Super simple to make and it cooks in no time too. The real beauty of this dish and many of the others is that the ingredients can be adjusted however you want them to suit your needs. There are days where more protein and less carbs is required so more egg whites are added and only 1 wrap. The same can be done with the fats. If more or less is required, it is simply a matter of adjusting the amount of oil or cheese.

Difficulty: easy

Cooking time: 10 mins

Serves: 1

Nutritional info (based on 1 person)

Calories: 649

Carbs: 41

Fats: 28

Protein: 56

Ingredients

1 BK Flamer

1 Egg

50g O’Egg Whites

5g extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil

40g grated mozzarella cheese

40g light sour cream

40g hot salsa

2 mini wraps

1 tbsp Cajun gymchef spice.

1 spring onion – chopped

Spicy Eggs (7) Spicy Eggs 20170908_113501.jpg

Method

  1. Preheat a small pan on a medium heat.
  2. In a bowl, crack in the egg and measure out the egg whites and whisk with a fork.
  3. In a dry pan cook the burger on each side for 2 – 3 minutes then roughly break it up in the pan.
  4. Add the oil, the spring onions and the beaten eggs. Sprinkle the Gymchef. Allow to cook over a low heat mixing it with a spoon/spatula until the eggs scramble.
  5. Toast the wraps. Then fill with the eggs and top with cheese, sour cream and salsa.

Perfect Sweet Potato Fries

Right so let me just say that what constitutes as perfectly cooked sweet potato fries or any potato fries for that matter entirely depends on each person individual preferences. Some prefer crisp and crunchy while others prefer soft and smushy. Personally I like both as long as they taste good. But put a gun to my head and make me choose then it’s without a doubt crispy for me.

Methods of cooking will determine the final outcome of flavour and texture. Deep fried in oil will always guarantee crispy delicious golden fries but that about all you will get. Plus the nutrional value becomes irrelevant as soon as anything is cooked in large amounts of boiling hot grease.

If you want to achieve really tasty and delicious fries that are also beneficiary to your health then I suggest roasting is the best way to go. By roasting the fries you can load up on loads of extra flavour.

Traditionally, roasting anything invloves cooking food in an oven using fat (usually in the form of oil) and dry heat to render and soften meat or vegetables. The combination of fat and heat reduces moisture and causes the natural sugars in the food to caramelize and turn dark giving it a really rich intense and sweet flavour. When roasting, food is almost left uncovered and the food is cooked from the outside in.

Baking on the other hand is similar to roasting in terms of the dry heat method. However, fat is not used on the food and are often cooked “dry” covered with foil in order to retain the moisture.

Baking with fat – think of cakes and pastries. Fat is added into the mixture along with other ingredients. This time the dry heat and fat react in a way that forces the mixture to rise rather than carmelize. Food is covered and cooked from the inside out.

Sweet Potato Fries

These are so simple and the method below will without any doubt will create perfect fries each time. Many people I have spoken with who have tried to make sweet potatoefries in the oven always have the same complaint – that the fries don’t go crispy enough and that they always end up being to soft and limp.

The reason that they go soft and limp is because of too much moisture retention due to lack of heat in the oven and the airflow between them is not enough either. Essentially the potatoes are stewing in there own juices getting soggy.

First things first – for crispy fries you need to cut then up small. By small I don’t mean shoe string. Cut them up so that one large potato isn’t just 5 big wedges. Cut the potato in half and then half again and then in half again until a finger in length and size.

Quantities

For every 250g of fries I use 10g of coconut oil. I find this ratio works really well.

Spices

Paprika, Tumeric, Cayenne, Sea Salt & Pepper and sometimes Cinnamon.

Herbs

Garlic, Thyme, Rosemary

Preheat the oven to 180°C

Put all of the veg and spices into z bowl or large tray. Melt the oil, pour over and give a good mix. Didn’t over fill the tray. Make sure there’s enough space for adequate air flow. Space them out, use two trays is necessary and rotate them in ghe oven from top to bottom every 30 mins or so.

Place in the oven and cook for 45-60 mins minimum. After that it’s a matter of personal preference.

Final word

With everything in the kitchen practice makes perfect. Learn from previous mistakes and then try again next time. Everything can be tailored and adjusted to suit the situation. Quality of food, the type of oven – gas or electric can have a huge impact when attempting a recipe. Recipes are only guidelines so try to figure out how you can do it better next time before giving up after the first time.

Shane

Training & Nutrition: finding a way that works

FACT: the weight I gained did not happen overnight. It slowly built up overtime. Therefore, loosing it in a sustainable and measurable way was the only way I could loose it IF I wanted to keep it off.

Suddenly overhauling a routine overnight isn’t really going to last more than a month. Eventually the old habits begin to creep in again as “change” becomes to overwhelming and will power becomes diminished. In my case I mentioned in the previous post about how busy the start of the year was going to be with an intership on top of an already busy workload.

The devil in the detail

How can I make small (positive) changes and adjustments overtime so that they become habits? The answer lies within the question. By making small changes one step at a time!! In my mind I could see the end result – how I wanted to feel, how I wanted to look and who I wanted to be. The issue was really figuring out the best possible way of getting from point A to point B that actually worked. For two years I have gone through this process of visualisation, starting a journey, loosing focus and then falling off just as I get some headway. I wasn’t fully committed and the reason for not being fully committed was because I was making to many changes at the same time. Overtime the whole thing just become too much to handle.

This time it’s going to be different

Because this time I knew that the mistakes I made in the past will serve as a lesson for the future. To cut the weight I knew that fundamentally I needed to eat less junk and move more. This is the starting point or laying the foundation so to speak. Before the diets, counting macros, training splits, finding a coach and everything else in between. The main focus for the time being is cutting out junk food and start eating healthier. Sounds simple right? And it can be, although “change” is something that we all want to resist because it takes many of us out of our comfort zones. The devil you know and all of that.

How did I eat healthier? I began by buying fresh food in abundance. Meats, fish, eggs, fruit and vegtables. Cooked the majority of my meals using fresh ingredients and aim to eat 3 sold meals a day. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner with a snack in between if needed. This, combined with 4 days at the gym lifting weights and cardio was more than enough to get the ball rolling and see how I would respond. If anything, for the sake of 15 weeks it would give me a good opportunity to play around with food/recipes, research methods and comfortably adapt.

One of the great things about cooking meals was that it allowed me to plan the week ahead. With a fulltime internship and a part-time job I had to make the most of my time in the kitchen in order to avoid making the wrong food choices throughout the day. It worked out quite well actually. The internship was Mon – Thursday 9-5:30 and then working shifts Friday, Saturday “or” Sunday. That was the routine for the next 15 weeks so knowing in advance the weeks ahead really allowed me to plan effectively.

Small changes, one step at a time and nothing to drastic at once or else risk the whole thing crumbling down. A lot of what I was doing at the beginning was very rigid. However, it was the rigidity of the process that would allow me to add variety and then see how things evolve.

Now that I had found a way that worked all I really had to do now was show up and perform.

Basic essentials of vital importance for superstar student cooks.

Creating something from scratch takes some patience and dedication. Chefs, musicians, construction workers, artist’s all share something in common in terms of the equipment they use being of a certain quality or standard. 

This also applies to those of us who try to be creative at home. Having easy access to the necessary tools is of vital importance for anyone living off a budget, sticking to a healthy plan, preparing food in advance etc. I rely on a few basic peices of equipment that have a significant contribution in achieving efficiency in the kitchen. In other words, the items listed below allow me to prepare large quantities of food in the shortest amount of time because they help reduce the total amount time spent preparing & cooking food. This I believe a key factor when keeping track of a budget or a diet.

Before you say psycho…

I would like to confirm that the knife collection is due to a previous professional endeavor that is no longer the situation.

The majority of these knives are rarely used as the one I rely on the most is the long serrated confectioner’s knife (1st on right beside the sharpener). Costing around 30 euros (link below) it is by far the most versatile of the bunch because ilon one side of the blade there are little “teeth” and the other side is straight as a razor.
It gets used for everything – chopping all kinds of veg, slicing meat, carving chicken, cutting up desserts etc.

So – my recommendation is to forget about buying lots of different knives, just invest in one good knife and a steele or stone to maintain a sharp edge.

Mind your tips…

Unless you like the pain that comes with loosing a finger or two. I assure you the sensation triples when the skin is grazed from your knuckles while grating the zest from citrus fruits or hot chillies.
Besides that – using the madolin safely by taking your time pays dividends over time as you become faster. Before you know it, you’ll have developed ninja like speed just rattling off onions and peepers right down to the core stopping just before the tips of your fingers end up in the bin.

3 wise pans

Having in your possession some decent pans are essential components in the persuit of great cooking at home. A deep wok that allows you to make stirfrys, stew, spagball in fact anything in large batches. There’s nothing a wok cannot be used for as they are so versatile. 

A small pan for cooking omelettes / pancakes and reheating cooked rice in are perfect for quick and easy meals. Sometimes making  small quantities of food can get lost in a large pan so it is handy to have a small one on standby for meals that require less maintenance. 

And finally a griddle pan – IKEA sell these for €10 and are ideal for bugers, steaks, chicken, sweet potatoes, corn on the cobb. This is personally my favorite because of the smokey, charred, bbq flavor that can be achieved when cooking meat or veg. The only downside is the amount of smoke that builds up when left on a high heat, even if it’s not for long. My advice is open the windows on advance. 

When the pan begins to smoke and get hot, put the meat or veg. onto the pan and let it cook for a few minutes then turn the heat down to medium. This way it allows for the food to become charred and will then slowly continue to do so as the smoke clears away.

Again it is unlikely that I would cook from start to finish on the griddle pan with the exception of burgers perhaps. Usually I’d start the chicken on the pan and finish it in the oven, or start in the oven and finish on the pan.

Nothing is achieved without effort so therefore the plan is to maximize the the highest amount of output based on the level of input. Having a few of the basic essentials will no doubt in my mind helps make life at the stove that bit easier.

Peace out,

Shane.

(The link for a good set of knives can be found below. Just to clarify this is NOT a paid advetisment by any company who either make/sell/stock these products, this is just some friendly advice)

http://www.sweeneyorourke.com/ebstore/so/product.asp?p_part_code=~4501%2E26

Returning from a short hiatus bruised but stronger than before

It was never intended to stop writing and adding to this blog once the college semester began again. But just like any other human being the world got away from me and I had never actually anticipated how busy… busy… busy the previous 15+ weeks where going to be until it was to deep to climb out.

Every waking minute available was spent on researching for assignments or preparing to give a presentation, by the end of the day sitting down and having to type out recipes did not seem very appealing. 

Lots has happened in since October and yet nothing has happened. All of my time, resources and energy had gone into getting through this semester and finally reaching this moment right now – exams finished!! 

This moment is quite an eye opener – mentally exhausted and burned out but also feeling a sense relief knowing that the goal has been achieved yet, strangely enough ready to start again asap.

Starting again does not mean diving head-first into the books but rather getting back to the gym, running, cooking, writing and starting a new venture as an intern.

November/December between birthdays and Christmas it is no surprise having NOT been to the gym since October, extra weight has gathered around certain areas that needs to be shifted. Getting back into a routine will not happen overnight, however laying the foundations have already begun with evening runs during the week, stocking up on healthy foods and planning meals in advance – small changes over time lead to bigger outcomes.

Being away from something really lends a perspective. One of the main benefits of exercise and eating healthy is how it effects your mental health – which is so important as there is a tendency to get bogged down and judgements becoming all to clouded during periods of academic inducuced stress.

Having been out for a run the last few nights has reminded me of how unbelievably satisfying it is to throw on your headphones on block the world away and live in the moment. This certainly would have been advantageous during college as the pressure encouraged the fog to settle on my brain more often than not… but a few extra hours of sleep (when your a student in that mind set) trump’s all.

Either way what’s done is done, goals where achieved, lessons had been learned and although returning from this short hiatus a little bruised, definitely stronger than before.