Making the most of vegetables

One of the things I often hear people saying is that buying food to lose weight is expensive and that eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetables is hard work.

Well one of the things that can counter this is making soups from vegetables in the winter.

They are great as a snack or can be part of your lunch or main meal.  They can be cheap to make at home from fresh vegetables that are in season, will freeze and can be made in bulk.

Just couldn’t resist posting a picture of my bargain buy this week which was a large fabulous cauliflower which only cost me 69p from my local greengrocers.

This will make soups, a vegetable to add to a meal and of course a cauliflower cheese.

I have a few great soup recipes you might want to try and a great way of making cauliflower cheese which does not overload the calories. So if you want to know more about healthy eating contact me but here are some soups to try



Serves 4                                                                   30 calories per serving

30 minutes to prepare


120g pumpkin                                                         120g carrot

120g celeriac                                                          1 onion 1 courgette (optional)

450ml vegetable stock                                           Salt and pepper

To prepare

Roughly chop the all of the vegetables and place in a saucepan with the stock and season with salt and black pepper.  Bring to boil and simmer for about 25 minutes

Pour the vegetables and stock into a food processor or liquidiser to make into a smooth soup. Return to the pan and add the optional courgette at this point in small cubes heat through then serve.


Serves 4                                                                   105 calories per serving

30 minutes to prepare


4tsp olive oil spread                                                1 large onion chopped

480g broccoli                                                          Zest of a lemon

300ml vegetable stock                                           240ml skimmed milk

Juice of 1 lemon                                                     salt and pepper

2tbsp of single cream

To Prepare

Melt 2 teaspoons of the olive oil spread in a saucepan and add the onion and cook till soft. Add the remaining spread to the pan then add the broccoli florets and cook for a further 2-3 minutes

Add the lemon zest and stock to the pan and leave to simmer for 15 minutes.  Then pour into a food processor or liquidiser, and process to a puree.

Return to the pan and add the lemon juice and milk and season to taste.

Serve in warm bowls with a drizzle of single cream.


Serves 4                                                                   105 calories per serving

30 minutes to prepare


90g swede                                          90g turnip

90g carrot                                           90g celeriac

90g potato                                          120 g parsnip

1 medium onion                                  240g tinned tomatoes

30g split red lentils                               120g Brussel sprouts

½ tsp chilli powder                                        ¼ tsp oregano

450 ml vegetable stock                      1tsp olive oil

To Prepare

Cut all the vegetables into to chunks.  Chop the onion finely.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the onion soft then add all the vegetables, stock herbs and lentils except the Brussel sprouts.

Cover and simmer for 20 minutes then cut the Brussel sprouts in halves or quarter and add for a further 8 minutes or so until all the vegetables and cooked.

Then serve in warmed bowls




Quick and Easy Tasty Chicken

If you want to have a chicken pie and are looking for a quick and easy recipe this Spanish twist is great.

This adds onto last weeks blog when I used pastry that I had cut up and kept in the freezer to top pies.  This was made using the second piece I already had in the freeszer

Having chicken breasts in the freezer, some herbs and spices to hand and some tinned chopped tomatoes means that you can rustle up a very quick meal when you get in from work you just need to remember to get the chicken and the pastry out of the freezer in the morning.

Just planning your evening meals for a week will help you to stay on track if you are trying to lose weight; will help you to eat more healthy; will stop you throwing away unused food and most of all can help you save money.

You can serve this pie with some boiled potatoes or just with veg if you want


Chicken Pot Pie with Spanish Twist

Paprika Chicken Pie

Serves 4

25 minutes preparation 15-20 minutes cooking

450 calories per serving

½ pack x 320 grams ready rolled puff pastry sheet

Olive oil used as a cooking spray

1 red onion chopped finely

500 grams skinless boned chicken breasts cut into cubes or quorn/tofu if vegetarian

1 teaspoon of paprika

Pinch of saffron soaked in 2 tablespoons of boiling water

2 tablespoons of dry sherry

400g of chopped tomatoes with garlic (use ordinary tomatoes and add a clove of crushed fresh garlic)

1 chicken stock cube

1 egg beaten

Salt and black pepper

  • Preheat the oven to Gas mark 6/200ºC/fan180ºC and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Unroll the pastry and lightly roll with a rolling pin until 20cm x 20cm and cut into 4 squares and chill in the fridge.
  • Spray a non-stick deep frying pan with the cooking spray and cook the onion and chicken pieces for 5 minutes until browned all over. Also add the fresh garlic if using. Add the paprika and saffron with its soaking water and cook for 30 seconds
  • Pour in the sherry and bubble for 30 seconds. Then stir in the chopped tomatoes and chicken stock cube and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes until the chicken is cooked and sauce has thickened slightly.
  • Meanwhile remove the pastry from the fridge and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops of each pastry piece with a little beaten egg and bake in the oven for 15 minutes until golden and risen.  Serve each portion of chicken with a pastry square.

Serve with 100 grams new potatoes, broccoli and carrots.



Keeping your food interesting

If you are trying to lose weight one of the things that can make life difficult is eating the same things over and over again.

This is why it is good to try different things.

This Beef Goulash, which I adapted to be healthier than the recipe given to me by my Hungarian Uncle-in-Law, is absolutely delicious and so easy to cook so why not try it.

Beef Goulash


Serves 4

475 calories per portion

20 minutes to prepare cook for 2 hours


450 Grams lean stewing beef

1tsp olive oil

I tablespoon of flour

2 tablespoons of paprika

1 red pepper chopped

1 onion chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic chopped

400 gram tin of chopped tomatoes

100 grams of mushrooms chopped

1 beef oxo cube

2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt

300 grams of uncooked pasta

To Cook

Cut the meat into cubes then cover in the flour and season.  Add the olive oil to a pan and brown the meat for 5-6 minutes.  Remove from pan and put in a casserole dish.

Sauté the onions and garlic in the pan for 1-2 minutes then add the chopped red pepper and sauté for a further minute.

Then stir in the paprika, tomato puree, beef oxo cube and a splash of water so you can coat all the vegetables. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further minute then finally add the tin of tomatoes and stir until all mixed together.

Add all this to the casserole dish and place in an oven at 180 degrees or 160 fan and cook for approximately 2 hours.

To serve cook the pasta according to instructions divide between 4 servings plates then top with the goulash and spoon a blob of natural yoghurt to finish.

The goulash dish will freeze so if you are serving one portion each has 75 grams of pasta.

Spice up your life without the calories

If you love spicy food and think you can’t have it because it is high in calories then you might like to try the meal I cooked on Friday.

This is a starter and a main course all for 500 caloriesThe way to do this is to think about how you cook food.  Make the most of vegetables which are great in curries and if you can’t control your portion sizes buy packet rice that you just microwave, where you are not frying it and you will not over do the rice.  For this meal I used Morrison’s Basmati Rice which is usually 2 servings but I divide this by 3 so the rice was just 125 calories per person.

The starter is Tandoori Salmon with Salad

Which you can prepare and cook as follows and both meals are for 2

Take a 75g salmon fillet and marinate it with 1 tablespoon of natural yogurt mixed with a heaped tablespoon of tandoori curry powder and the juice of half a lemon for a least an hour

Then break in to chunks and dry fry in a pan until cooked and slightly charred about 5 minutes in total serve with a green salad and chunks of lemon.

The main is a Keema Curry.

Take 300g of lean steak mince and make into burger shapes and grill until cooked through. Set aside.

Meanwhile finely chop 1 large onion, 1 large carrot, 2 cloves of garlic and add them to a pan with 1tsp of olive oil and a heaped tablespoon of curry powder.

When cooked through add half a tin of chopped tomatoes, 100g of chopped mushrooms and a beef oxo cube mixed in a cup of hot water.

At this point you can add additional flavouring such as ground coriander, cumin, and/or ginger to flavour to your taste.

When this has all cooked through break up the beef mince and add to the pan stirring the meat in so it can absorb the flavours.

Microwave your rice and serve the curry with fresh coriander.  I allow 80 grams of rice per serving for the calories I have shown which is approximately 100 calories for the starter and 400 calories for the main per person. meaning that the whole meal comes in at 500 calories per person.







Summer is great for salads

The summer is great for having salads but often people tell me that they find them boring.

If you have lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and perhaps some spring onions you will soon begin to find them uninteresting but it is so easy to add things to a salad to liven them up.

Easy things are

  • sliced raw mushrooms
  • celery
  • radishes
  • basil leaves
  • nuts
  • feta cheese
  • olives
  • edible flowers (e.g. nasturtiums)
  • chives and their flowers
  • hard boiled egg
  • tuna
  • spinach
  • raisins or sultanas
  • and of course fruit.

These are just a few of the things that I add to salads to keep them interesting either as a meal or as side for a piece of chicken or salmon for example, so try adding different things and you will soon find them interesting

All Bruton’s recipes were tested to prove that they work

Having food in the freezer can help you lose weight

One of the biggest problems when you are trying to lose weight is having things that are ready to eat when you get in and are wanting to eat your evening meal.

I find that when I cook a meal I can often cook more portions and freeze the spare ones, so that when I have less time I have things that I can take out the freezer in the morning and they will be ready to pop into the microwave when I need them in the evening.

One the recipes that is really good for this is fish pie, as it freezes well and reheats to be as good.

You can then just add a salad or some extra vegetables and you can have a meal on the table in just 15 minutes.

I have included my recipe for a great fish pie if you want to try this



This is 2 servings as taken from the freezer then defrosted during the day and microwaved to be served with more vegetables as pictured above.

Fish Pie             Serves 4              Cooking Time 45 minutes          450 calories per serving 

5 sprays olive oil

500g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

225g fresh salmon

225g haddock or cod fillets

425ml skimmed milk

3 tbsp 1 portion spring onions (bunch)

200g low fat soft cheese with herbs

100g broccoli lightly cooked florets

50g petites pois frozen, thawed

100g peeled prawns cooked

1 tablespoon parsley or dill chopped 1 pinch

Salt and black pepper freshly ground

Put the potatoes on to cook in a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water

Put the fish fillets into a large frying pan with 425ml of the milk. Heat, then cover and simmer for 5-6 minutes, until the fish is cooked.

Cool for 10 minutes, strain off and reserve the liquid.

Spray a large saucepan with olive oil and gently cook the spring onions for 2 minutes, until softened, but not browned.

Add the soft cheese and stir to combine. Philadelphia with garlic and herbs works well.

Gradually add the liquid from cooking the fish, stirring well to mix it in.

Add the broccoli, peas, prawns and parsley or dill, mixing together well and season to taste.

Preheat the oven to Gas mark 7 220c / 425f

Lightly spray a 1.2 litre (2 pint) pie dish with olive oil.

Break up the fish into large chunks, removing skin and bones and put them into the pie dish. Pour the sauce on top.

Drain and mash the potatoes, season, then beat in the remaining 3 tbsp of milk.

Pile on top of the fish mixture and then bake for 25- 30 minutes until piping hot and golden brown.

If you are cooking for two you can freeze the extra portions or if you are cooking for family of 4 then just cook two and freeze one.

Just contact me if you wan to know about how I can help you eat healthily



The way you cook food can make a difference

When you are trying to eat healthily and lose weight you might think that you need to cut out family favourites because they have too many calories but that isn’t always the case.

Just by the way you cook your meals you can make them lower in fat and calories but equally tasty and a great example of this is a cottage pie.

By grilling your mince before adding it and making the dish with tinned tomatoes mushrooms and onions; mixed with a beef stock cube, herbs and some Worcestershire sauce and topped with potato mixed with swede you will be full and satisfied so check out this recipe


Cottage Pie with Herby Mash

450 calories per portion

Prep and cooking time: I hour

Serves 2


1 tsp olive oil

I small red onion chopped

2 carrots chopped

1 stick celery chopped

100 grams mushrooms sliced

200 grams of lean minced beef

200 mls of beef or vegetable stock

1 tbsp of tomato puree

1 tsp mixed dry herbs

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

450g of baking type potatoes

2 tbsps skimmed link

2 tbsps snipped fresh chives

2 tbsps of chopped parsley

To cook

Heat oil in a heavy- based lidded saucepan. Add red onion, carrots and celery and sauté over a medium heat for 6-8 minutes until soft. Stir in the mushrooms and cover for a further minute.

Stir in the stock, tomato puree, dried herbs and Worcestershire sauce and black pepper. Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile make the mince into burger shapes and grill under a medium heat till cooked

Add the minced beef stirring to break up and cook for a further  5 minutes

Meanwhile, peel and cook the potatoes. Drain well and return to the pan adding the milk and the fresh herbs season with black pepper and keep warm.

Heat your oven to 200º/180º fan or gas mark 6.

Transfer the meat to an oven proof dish, top with the mash to cover the meat. Place on a baking a sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until topping is browned serve with green vegetables.

You can try mixing swede, turnips or parsnips with boiled potatoes for the topping.

You can also use the meat mixture as a jacket potato topping or with spaghetti or lasagne.

If you want to know more about cooking and eating healthily then just get in touch