You’ve just arrived home, tired and starving on a dark, rainy evening.
But imagine being greeted by the delicious aroma of a hot, freshly-cooked supper as you open the door, rather than having to face a weary rummage through the fridge to find something to eat.
This might sound like a glorious dream, but could easily be the reality in your home this week — thanks to the inspiring one-pot recipes we’re sharing today as we continue our exclusive new series with Slimming World to help you lose weight while enjoying comforting, delicious food.
The inspiring recipes will help you shed unwanted pounds — and support your immune system and general health so that you are best placed to face the new challenges winter will bring during the pandemic.
Quick to prepare before you leave the house — with some of today’s dishes only needing 10-15 minutes of preparation time — slow-cooked stews and casseroles are also an economic way to eat (file image)
‘You might not be able to control what’s going on in the world around you, but you can be in control of what you eat — and enjoying healthy, balanced meals like these will help to give you extra energy and improve your mood too,’ says dietitian Carolyn Pallister, nutrition and health policy manager at Slimming World.
‘One-pot meals are a real winner with our members because you get an entire balanced meal.
‘And those that use a slow cooker are perfect for people with busy lives because they’re gently bubbling away ready for when you get home in the evening.’
Quick to prepare before you leave the house — with some of today’s dishes only needing 10-15 minutes of preparation time — slow-cooked stews and casseroles are also an economic way to eat.
For instance, you could add any spare veg that needs using up in your fridge, helping you to reduce food waste.
‘Members also report that it not only helps them to add interest and bulk to the meal but also to slip in extra vegetables to encourage any reluctant younger family members to get their five-a-day,’ says Carolyn.
‘You’ll also find that cheaper cuts of meat such as braising steak and chicken legs lend themselves well to the recipes that require slow cooking in a casserole,’ she adds. ‘They give a particularly tender result — but just make sure you trim off any visible fat before you cook them.’
And it’s not just families who love one-pot wonders. Solo diners also find they can be a useful way to batch cook for future meals — with casseroles and stews best-suited to freezing.
This means you could enjoy one serving for dinner the night it’s cooked, while saving others for lunch or dinner the next day — and freezing any left-over portions too.
And, best of all, you always know you’ll love the end result.
‘Cooking all the ingredients together encourages the meat to develop more flavour, retain its moistness and to absorb the other flavours. That’s why you get such a beautiful depth of flavours,’ explains Carolyn.
Today’s mouthwatering recipe selection includes tempting one-pot meals such as Turkish lamb and apricot pilaf, Tandoori chicken with Bombay vegetables and braised steak with mushrooms.
All are guaranteed to brighten the dullest autumn day whether you’re looking to lose unwanted weight, keen not to gain extra pounds this lockdown or simply to feed your family with easy but nutritious meals.
If you’re looking for meat-free alternatives, you could conjure up memories of summer with a dish of warming Provençal veg with pesto — or even use your slow cooker to make a sensational spinach and ricotta lasagne. And if you need any further encouragement, just remember that there’s much less washing up to do afterwards, too!
FEAST ON FREE FOOD
Many of the basic ingredients found in our one-pot recipes class as Free Food on Slimming World’s Food Optimising programme.
You can eat these without weighing, counting or measuring because they contain relatively few calories per gram.
So you can use them to satisfy your appetite — and still lose weight.
The good news is that there is a very wide range of Free Food.
Free Food includes poultry, lean meat, fish, plain tofu, Quorn, eggs, pasta, grains, fat-free dairy products, potatoes, and most fruit and vegetables.
You can also snack freely on them if you feel hungry between your regular meals.
As well as Free Food, you can also enjoy measured amounts of foods that are vital for health known as Healthy Extras.
These include milk and cheese, which provide calcium that helps keep teeth and bones healthy.
Also included are cereals and wholemeal bread which provide fibre, which is key for a healthy digestive system.
Slimming World’s success is built on a deep understanding of what motivates slimmers — very restrictive diets can ultimately be counter-productive, leading to further weight gain, because people feel punished.
This is why, so that you never feel deprived, you can also enjoy limited amounts of treats every day without sabotaging your weight-loss plans.
These are foods that are higher-calorie and less filling, such as chocolate, crisps and alcohol.
You’ll find more information about how to lose weight without deprivation plus a wealth of weight-loss advice at Slimming World’s website, slimmingworld.co.uk or call 0344 897 8000.
Roasted sausage supper
Ready in one hour
- Low-calorie cooking spray
- 2 medium onions, cut into wedges
- 3 large red peppers, deseeded and cut into small chunks
- 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into wedges
- 500g new potatoes, scrubbed and halved lengthways
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, plus sprigs to garnish
- 12 Slimming World Free Food Pork Sausages (available in Iceland stores)
- Mustard powder made up with water, to serve
Roasted sausage supper garnished with rosemary sprigs and served with mustard
Pre-heat your oven to 220c/fan 200c/gas 7.
Spray a very large, non-stick, deep-sided baking tray or roasting tin with low-calorie cooking spray (or line a tray with non-stick baking paper).
Add the onions, peppers, fennel, garlic, potatoes, rosemary, salt and pepper and toss well. Spread evenly and roast for 20 minutes.
Remove the tray from the oven, turn the vegetables and add the sausages. Roast for a further 25-30 minutes or until the sausages are cooked through and lightly browned, turning them half way.
Check that the vegetables are tender and give them a bit longer in the oven if necessary. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and serve with the mustard.
Braised steak with mushrooms
Ready in 3 hours
- 4 thick-cut lean braising steaks, all visible fat removed
- Low-calorie cooking spray
- 3 medium onions, halved and sliced
- 1 level tsp sweetener granules
- 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 800g mushrooms, peeled and thickly sliced
- Fresh chopped parsley, to serve
Season the steaks on both sides, dust in the flour and set aside.
Spray a deep, lidded non-stick frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a low heat. Add the onions and 3 tbsp water, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until soft.
Uncover the pan, add the sweetener and increase the heat to high. Cook for another 10 minutes or until the onions are nicely browned and caramelised, stirring frequently.
Stir in the garlic, mixed herbs, stock and Worcestershire sauce. Add the steaks to the pan along with the mushrooms, cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook gently for 1½ hours.
Uncover the pan and simmer gently for another 1 hour or until the sauce has reduced and thickened and the steaks are meltingly tender. Scatter over the parsley to serve.
Braised steak with mushrooms with parsley scattered over to serve
Turkish lamb and apricot pilaf
Ready in 50 minutes
- Low-calorie cooking spray
- 600g lean lamb leg steaks, all visible fat removed, cut into bite-size chunks
- 2 small cinnamon sticks, halved
- 1 large aubergine, cut into small chunks
- 400ml boiling lamb or chicken stock
- 300g apricots, halved, stoned and cut into wedges
- 100g baby spinach, shredded
- ½ small pack fresh mint, roughly chopped
Spray a large non-stick casserole pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a high heat. Season the lamb and fry until nicely browned all over. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.
Add the onion, cinnamon sticks and 2 tbsp water to the pan, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes or until the onion is soft.
Increase the heat to high and stir in the aubergine. Cover again and cook for 2-3 minutes, then uncover once more and stir in the stock, rice, lamb and ½ tsp salt. Bring to the boil then cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for 12 minutes.
Scatter the apricots and spinach on top of the rice, cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the spinach has wilted, the rice is tender and the stock has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and leave to stand, without lifting the lid, for 5 minutes.
Add most of the chopped mint, check the seasoning and stir everything together.
Scatter over the remaining chopped mint and serve straight away.
Turkish lamb and apricot pilaf served by scattering over the remaining chopped mint
Spinach and ricotta lasagne
Ready in 4 hours and 20 minutes
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 3 roasted red peppers in brine from a jar, drained and chopped
- A small pack fresh basil, shredded
- ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
- 300g low-fat natural cottage cheese
- 4 level tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese or vegetarian alternative
- 9 dried lasagne pasta sheets, each snapped across into 4 pieces
- 2 medium courgettes, thinly sliced lengthways
- 100g baby leaf spinach, coarsely shredded
- 500g fat-free natural Greek yoghurt
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
In a large bowl, mix the passata with the chopped tomatoes, peppers, basil, chilli flakes and seasoning to taste.
In a smaller bowl, mix the cottage cheese with the ricotta, half the Parmesan and a little seasoning.
Spread about one-third of the tomato sauce mixture over the base of the slow cooker pot and cover with one-third of the lasagne sheets.
Spread over half of the cottage cheese mixture, then half of the sliced courgettes and half of the shredded spinach.
Repeat the layers once more then cover with the remaining lasagne sheets and tomato sauce. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours.
Mix the cornflour and a little yoghurt in a bowl to make a paste, then mix in the rest of the yoghurt, the eggs, nutmeg, remaining Parmesan and a little seasoning to taste. Pour over the lasagne, cover again and cook for 1 hour.
Serve with a side salad.
Tip: Don’t have a slow cooker? Build up the layers as above but in a shallow ovenproof dish. Top with the yoghurt mixture and bake for 45 minutes or until cooked through in an oven preheated to 200c/fan 180c/gas 6.
Spinach and ricotta lasagne. Don’t have a slow cooker? Build up the layers as above but in a shallow ovenproof dish
Provençal vegetables with pesto
Ready in 50 minutes
- 3 medium red onions, peeled cut into wedges
- 500g beetroot, peeled and cut into wedges
- 3 large courgettes, thickly sliced
- 400g can artichoke hearts, drained and halved
- 400g can green lentils, drained and rinsed
- 1 large garlic clove, crushed
- Finely grated zest and juice of ½ small unwaxed lemon
- 4 level tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese or vegetarian alternative
Preheat your oven to 220c/fan 200c/gas 7.
Put the onions, beetroot, courgettes, salt and pepper in a very large, non-stick deep-sided baking tray or roasting tin. Add 3 tbsp water, toss well and spread out in an even layer.
Slide into the oven and roast for 30 minutes, turning the vegetables occasionally and adding a splash more water if needed.
Remove the tray from the oven, add the artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes and lentils and turn the vegetables over to mix.
Spread out once more, return to the oven and roast for a further 8-10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the artichokes and lentils have heated through.
To make the pesto, put the basil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon zest and juice plus 8 tbsp water into a food processor and blend to a paste. Stir in the cheese and salt to taste. Drizzle the pesto over the vegetables to serve.
Provençal vegetables with pesto which is drizzled over the vegetables to serve
Texan beef pot roast
Ready in 8 hours 15 minutes
- 2 medium red onions, roughly chopped
- 1kg boned and rolled topside beef joint
- 1 tbsp barbecue seasoning
- 1 heaped tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 large floury potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
- 2 large red peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
Put the onions in the pot of a slow cooker. Pull the string off the beef joint, trim off and discard all visible fat, then re-position the strings to keep the joint in a neat shape. Season the beef with the barbecue seasoning, ½ tsp salt and some pepper and place it on top of the onions.
Mix the passata with the tomato purée, stock, garlic and thyme and pour it over the beef.
Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. Then transfer the beef to a plate and stir the potatoes, carrots, celery and peppers into the sauce in the slow cooker pot.
Return the beef to the pot and push it down as far as you can into the vegetables, making sure the potatoes and carrots are covered with the liquid. Cover again and cook for another 4-6 hours or until the beef and vegetables are tender.
Lift the beef onto a carving board and transfer the vegetables to a warmed serving dish using a slotted spoon.
Mix the cornflour with a little water to make a paste and stir it into the remaining sauce. Cover again and cook for a few minutes or until thickened.
Thickly slice the beef and divide between plates along with the vegetables and gravy. Scatter with the parsley to serve.
Tip: Don’t have a slow cooker? Put all the ingredients up to the thyme into a non-stick casserole pan or dish, cover and cook for 1 hour in an oven preheated to 160c/fan 140c/gas 3. Add the vegetables under the beef and cook for a further 1-1½ hours or until tender. Add cornflour paste. Scatter on parsley to serve.
Texan beef pot roast. Don’t have a slow cooker? Put all the ingredients up to the thyme into a non-stick casserole pan or dish, cover and cook for 1 hour in an oven preheated to 160c/fan 140c/gas 3
Tandoori chicken with Bombay veg
Ready in 1 1/2 hours plus marinating
- 1½ tbsp lime juice, plus wedges to serve
- 1 tbsp paprika, plus extra for the raita
- 4 chicken legs, all skin removed
- 7.5cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- Seeds of 8 green cardamom pods, crushed
- 250g fat-free natural Greek yoghurt, plus 150g for the raita
- 3 large floury potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 1 large cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 100g frozen peas, thawed in warm water and drained
- Low-calorie cooking spray
- 4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
For the raita
- ¼ small cucumber, grated
- ½ small pack fresh mint, chopped
Put the lime juice, paprika and ½ tsp salt in a wide bowl and mix well. Slash both sides of each chicken leg with a sharp knife and add to the bowl, turning to coat well. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.
Put the ginger, cardamom seeds, garam masala, turmeric, almost all the garlic and 4 tbsp yoghurt into a food processor and blend to a paste.
Stir the mixture into the remaining yoghurt, mix well and pour all over the chicken legs to coat them completely. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour (or up to 6 hours if you have time).
Preheat the oven to 230c/fan 210c/gas 8.
Put the potatoes, parsnips, cauliflower and peas in a very large, non-stick deep-sided baking tray or roasting tin (about 40cm x 30cm), spray with low-calorie cooking spray and toss well.
Mix the curry powder and cumin seeds with ½ tsp salt, sprinkle over the vegetables and toss again to coat well. Spread out the veg in an even layer and roast for 25 minutes.
Remove the vegetables from the oven and turn them over. Lift the chicken legs from their marinade, shaking off any excess, and add them to the tray.
Return to the oven and roast for another 35-40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are tender, turning the chicken halfway.
To make the raita, mix the extra yoghurt and remaining garlic with the cucumber, most of the mint and some salt. Sprinkle with paprika.
Divide the veg between plates and scatter over the tomatoes and remaining mint. Top with the chicken legs and serve hot with lime wedges and the raita.
Tandoori chicken with Bombay veg. Divide the veg between plates and scatter over the tomatoes and remaining mint
All recipes taken from Slimming World’s One For All recipe book.
© Slimming World 2020. Slimming World recipe books are available to buy in Slimming World groups or online.
Find your nearest group at slimmingworld.co.uk or by calling 0344 897 8000.
Please contact your local Consultant to book in before your first Slimming World group and to find out how your local group is running safely in line with national and regional guidance.
Kaye’s overhaul since losing 7st 2 1/2lb
Kaye Lacy, a finance assistant, lost 7st 2½ lb, going from 17st 8½ lb and a dress size 22-24 to 10st 6lb and a dress size 8-10 (she’s 5ft 9in) in less than a year. Kaye, 46, is married, and has a daughter, 13, and seven-year-old son. Kaye, who lives in Garforth, Leeds, says:
I clearly remember the day I decided I’d had enough of being overweight.
It was a really hot afternoon in June 2019 and I was struggling to walk the five-minute downhill journey from the train station to home.
Kaye Lacy, a finance assistant, lost 7st 2½ lb, going from 17st 8½ lb and a dress size 22-24 to 10st 6lb and a dress size 8-10 (pictured)
I felt like I was waddling. I couldn’t breathe and had to stop and use my asthma inhaler. I plucked up the courage to join my local Slimming World group that night.
I’d had asthma since I was a child but it got worse as I got bigger. My doctor had advised me to lose weight (my BMI was 36; anything over 30 is classed as obese) to improve my symptoms. I’d also been referred to a chest clinic.
I aimed to get down to 11st and I felt pretty motivated. My first challenge came the very next day, however, when I found out I was due to be made redundant. I’m an emotional eater — if I was upset by anything, I’d reach for food. I’d eat buttered bread, cheese, biscuits and several bags of crisps every day.
Kate said she used to need her inhaler six times a day for my asthma, and also suffered with arthritis in her left knee and took medication for high blood pressure
But I reminded myself how proud I’d felt of myself for taking the first step to join the group and really made an effort to stick to my plan. Getting fit and healthy gave me a focus.
After the first week I was about 5lb lighter. I was also pleasantly surprised at how much food I could eat and still lose weight. I’ve got a slow cooker and love the one-pot recipes.
I reached my target weight on the day the first lockdown was announced in March. If I’d had coronavirus at my heaviest I’d have been on the vulnerable list.
I used to need my inhaler six times a day for my asthma, and also suffered with arthritis in my left knee and took medication for high blood pressure.
Since I’ve lost weight I can’t remember the last time I used my inhaler, my knee is much less painful and I no longer need my blood pressure tablets. I feel healthier than I have done for years.
- Kaye features in the current edition of Slimming World Magazine, out now