Tuna and sweetcorn cheat’s jackets

Tuna jackets

Tuna and sweetcorn cheat’s jackets from Justine Pattison’s Without the Calories book does what it says on the tin (or should that be in the book?). Nowt fancy, no ‘pissing about’, as my Dad would say. Just a quick and easy low-cal version of Tuna mayo and sweetcorn jacket potatoes which can be a lot higher in calories, particularly if you have it in a pub or a café.

The only issue I have with this cheap and cheerful meal is Justine’s assertion that the portion size would serve four. That really is stretching it somewhat! It’s more like a serving for three in my opinion and with a side green salad this recipe is still a good low-cal lunch option. Continue reading “Tuna and sweetcorn cheat’s jackets”

Couscous with roasted roots, honey and goat’s cheese


Couscous with roasted roots, honey and goat’s cheese is a substantial and superb salad dish from Justine Pattison’s Without the Calories series. It looks and tastes the business and is probably my favourite lunch meal of 2017, thus far.

The combination of the goat’s cheese, honey roasted carrots and parsnips, beetroot, couscous and chilli flakes is really yummy with some added ‘heat’ thrown in for good measure. Despite the many ingredients included, you can make this for under £1.30 per portion – you’ve got to try it! Continue reading “Couscous with roasted roots, honey and goat’s cheese”

Chorizo with butter beans – a healthy tapas twist for under £1

chorizo with butter beans

I love chorizo sausage and you can still enjoy it even when watching your weight, providing you have it in moderation. Chorizo with butter beans from Justine Pattison’s Without the Calories book is a quirky tapas dish which is really easy to put together and a perfect lunchtime meal which costs less than £1 to make.

This dish can be prepped and cooked in under 30 minutes and looks attractive on your plate. The portion size isn’t the biggest but given this meal is only 217 calories per serving you can add a side green salad to bulk it out, if you like. Continue reading “Chorizo with butter beans – a healthy tapas twist for under £1”

Bang-Bang Chicken Salad – banging!

Bang Bang

Don’t let the extensive list of ingredients and initial prep time put you off, Bang-Bang Chicken Salad from the Hairy Dieters is a stonkingly good Asian salad with plenty of heat! Once you have done the chopping, it’s just a case of throwing everything into a wok and the meal takes around ten minutes to cook.

I made this the night before and took it to work for my lunch. In hindsight, I should have put the peanut sauce in a small tub to drizzle over separately as it was slightly soggy the next day (as the picture suggests). But I’d definitely have this punchy salad again. The calorie count is just 208 per serving, so you can even double up if you’re fancying something more substantial. Continue reading “Bang-Bang Chicken Salad – banging!”

Sticky pork steaks with coleslaw


Sticky pork steaks with coleslaw is a quick and tasty dish to rustle up courtesy of Justine Pattison’s Without the Calories – Comfort Food book. It’s extremely similar to the Hairy Dieters’ Sticky Chicken recipe, which happens to be the most viewed post on this blog. For those that don’t know, Justine acted as a food consultant on the Hairy Dieters’ first two books and is an expert in low calorie cooking.

Both dishes are great – I like to opt for the pork if I’m in a hurry but personally I prefer the coleslaw recipe in the Hairy Dieters’ Sticky Chicken version. Why not try both and see what you think – one uses cabbage while the other uses celeriac instead. You can also have a few low-cal oven chips and this meal still comes in at under 500 calories. Continue reading “Sticky pork steaks with coleslaw”

Corned beef hash – best brunch in the world for under £1?

Corned beef hash

The Hairy Dieters have somehow made a lighter version of Corned Beef Hash for under 250 calories which is delicious! The trick is to swap potatoes for celeriac but it still tastes absolutely incredible! My ten-year-old son initially turned his nose up at the thought of eating vegetables for ‘brunch’ but he loves this dish!

If you can find a better brunch recipe for less than £1 per portion, I’d love to see it! My only quibble is that this meal is quite time-consuming to prep and cook, so it is definitely suited for a lazy Sunday. How it made the Hairy Dieters’ ‘Fast Food’ book is beyond me but I’m extremely glad it did! Continue reading “Corned beef hash – best brunch in the world for under £1?”

Chicken korma – fake it like Beckham!

chicken kormz

Chicken korma is a beltingly amazing curry from the Hairy Dieters’ first book. Years of yo-yo dieting have virtually ruled out me having creamy-based curries from my local Indian restaurant but those days are gone!

This ‘fakeaway’ recipe is brilliant. Yes, it requires an awful lot of spices but they create a wonderful authentic flavour, unlike some other ‘cheat’ Indian dishes I’ve tried. I like to prep my chicken the night before and marinate it in my fridge  – you know it makes sense! More savvy readers may spot from the photo above that I accidentally forgot to put the cream in when making this but guess what? It didn’t matter and my family loved it, so it’s up to you whether you wish to leave it in or out.

You can now enjoy a chicken korma for just under 300 calories, but don’t forget to add the extra cals if you have rice and/or naan bread. Want more? Then check out the Fakeaway section of my blog which is listed to the right under the Themes menu. Continue reading “Chicken korma – fake it like Beckham!”

Italian meatballs with chunky tomato sauce

Italian Meatballs

The Hairy Dieters include a number of fantastic meatball recipes in their books, including Swedish, Transylvanian and the more exotic ‘prawn and turkey’ balls. But the guys’ Italian Meatballs in Chunky Tomato Sauce from their first book is one my family keeps returning to. I’d recommend that you make the meatballs up the night before to save on the prep time, especially if you’re planning on having this meal during the week, as the cooking time is just under an hour.

I’ve seen other bloggers comment that they found the meatballs to be a little dry when they made them. Personally, I haven’t, but I do blend the ingredients in a bowl using a stick blender and a dash of water which helps to bind everything together and makes them a little more moist. The recipe says you can use lean beef or pork mince (I opted for beef).

With a small portion of pasta (40g – 50g max of spaghetti, penne or whatever you like), the calorie count is around 450, so you can you still enjoy a home-made meatball meal even when watching your weight. All for less than £1.50 a head! Continue reading “Italian meatballs with chunky tomato sauce”

Cajun spiced chicken with potato wedges and chive dip

Cajun chicken

Cajun spiced chicken with potato wedges and chive dip is a really simple dish to knock together from the Hairy Dieters’ first book. The spice ingredients may seem like a lot but they do feature in a number of Hairy Dieters recipes throughout their four books. If you’re feeling lazy, you can buy small jars of Cajun spiced mix from the likes of Tesco or Sainsburys for around a £1.

It’s important to flatten the chicken breasts so that they do cook evenly on a griddle or frying pan. The portion of chips, just three medium potatoes between four people, is rather conservative so I do recommend including a green salad on the side. This meal is ideal for lunch or dinner. Continue reading “Cajun spiced chicken with potato wedges and chive dip”

Mediterranean beef burgers

Mediterranean beef burgers

With the UK barbeque season just around the corner (if such a thing exists given our dreadful weather), I decided to have a go at making the Hairy Dieters’ Mediterranean Beef Burgers. Using lean minced beef combined with onions, courgettes and some herbs does help to reduce the calories but somehow this recipe just didn’t do it for me. In this instance, the picture tells the story.

My burger tasted, well, somewhat ‘herby’ if that makes sense and it won’t be appearing on my barbie any time soon. With a few home-made chips to accompany it, this meal came to about 550 calories. The Hairy Dieters do provide other BBQ ideas in their four books, such as minted lamb burgers and lemony lemon kebabs, which I’ll get round to trying at some point. If you’ve made them, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. A better option, in my opinion, is the Hairy Dieters’ Turkey Burgers which I’ve previously featured on this blog. Continue reading “Mediterranean beef burgers”