Just recently I tried the 5:2 fasting diet, where I could eat normally (hah...) for five days and only eat 500 calories for two days... in each week. My brain took it upon itself to totally ignore the word "normally" and proceeded to use my hands to stuff my face with anything that wasn't nailed down and was even vaguely edible... on the five days, and then it cried itself to sleep on the two days.
My bum and my brain are in cahoots, apparently they both want to be bigger and one is aiding the other. This is not a good thing.
So... having grounded my brain and forbidden it to associate with my bum... I've joined Weight Watchers... again. Fourth time might be the charm... might. I've already lost 5.5lbs in one week, but this could just be the whole "This is new and we're making an effort this week" thing that I do. I know I do this. It's a personality defect that I have grown to accept, if not love.
This Vegetable and Macaroni Cheese Bake is one of my better efforts at cutting out the cr@p and adding in loads of veggies. It is adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe, but I've opted to use butter and flour to thicken the sauce, rather than cornflour. Butter adds a smidgen of flavour that makes me feel like I'm not depriving myself. I also use my microwave in this recipe - but you can go all *holier than thou* if you choose and soften your veggies in a more traditional manner. This way worked for me.
It was a hugely filling meal and even if I don't stick to Weight Watchers, I will definitely be making it again. It was great straight from the pan, scattered with cheese, and just as nice baked in the oven for a few minutes.
Of course, I saved a few Weight Watchers pro-points for rather a large glass of wine to go with it. Made my brain very happy... if not my bum.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Vegetable Macaroni Cheese Bake Recipe
Serves 2 (easily doubled for 4)
Prep time - 10 minutes
Cooking time - 30 minutes
Total time - 40 minutes
You will need
A pot to cook pasta in
A pan to make sauce in.
Two microwavable bowls.
A Blankety Blank Cheque Book And Pen (80's TV reference, you don't actually need this. Honest.)
3oz/80g dried macaroni (or other pasta)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp plain flour
9 fl oz/250ml skimmed milk
1oz/35g low fat cheddar - grated
1/2 red bell pepper - deseeded and diced
1/2 onion - peeled and chopped
5oz/150g frozen broccoli florets
4.5oz/125g asparagus - chopped
salt and pepper
1/2 oz10g low fat cheddar - grated - to scatter over the top
- Preheat oven to 350f/180c/160cfan/gas 4.
- Cook pasta according to packet instructions and get on with the rest while it's cooking.
- Place the frozen broccoli in a microwavable bowl with 3 tbsps water, cover with cling film - pierce the top several times and cook for 4 minutes - set to one side (undrained).
- Place the red pepper, onion and asparagus in a microwavable bowl with 2 tbsps of water, cover with cling film - pierce the top several times and cook on high power for three minutes - set to one side (undrained).
- Return the broccoli florets to the microwave and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Drain all of the vegetables, and chop the broccoli slightly smaller if you desire (I did) - again, set to one side.
- Melt the butter in a heavy based pan over a gentle heat and stir in the flour. Cook for 1 minute.
- Pour the milk in a bit at a time, whisking thoroughly throughout each addition until all the milk is in the pan.
- Season well with a good pinch of salt and ground pepper, then simmer the white sauce very gently for about 5 minutes, keeping an eye on it - the sauce may seem fairly thin at this point, but it thickens up as you add everything to it.
- Gently stir in the vegetables and the larger portion of grated cheese.
- Drain the cooked pasta and stir that in too.
- Spoon it all into a baking dish, scatter with the remaining cheese and cook in the oven until the cheese has melted and is turning golden - about 10 minutes.
NOTE: There's so much veg in this, that you're able to use a bit less pasta than normal, per person - but if you think you'd prefer more pasta - go for it, just make a bit more sauce to go with it.
This meal was 9 pro points per serving.
This meal was 9 pro points per serving.