Tag Archives: low GI

Zucchini Corn & Basil Soup

Just back from a few days away for Easter, I had some zucchinis in the fridge looking a little tired, just begging to be rescued.  With little else available, not much time on my hands and as I hate throwing food away, soup seemed like the easiest and best option for them. 

Green vegetables are an important part of any healthy eating plan and are of course best eaten soon after buying them to make sure they retain all of their wonderful nutrients.  Zucchinis typically are an excellent source of manganese (an important trace mineral) and vitamin C (antioxidant, immune system) and a very good source of magnesium (nerve & muscle function),  beta-carotene (precursor for Vitamin A – eyes & immune system), fibre (healthy bowel function), potassium (blood pressure), folate (red blood cell production & cardiovascular health), copper (trace mineral that works along with iron), riboflavin (vitamin B2 – important role in energy production) and phosphorus (mineral required for good bone and cell health). Wow!

I always have frozen corn on hand as it is so handy, although I will admit fresh corn does always taste better.  Corn, a  low GI starchy vegetable is a good source of many nutrients including thiamin (vitamin B1 – nerve, muscle & heart function), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5 – lots of roles including energy production), folate, dietary fibre, vitamin C, phosphorus and manganese.

Fresh herbs are a great addition to any dish adding a wonderful fresh flavour as well as extra nutrients.  Basil is one of my favourite herbs as it is so versatile (goes well with Asian, Italian or Greek food) and very easy to grow here in Sydney. Adding milk to the soup gives it a little creaminess but also adds calcium (for bone strength) which most of us don’t get enough of every day.

This is a really quick and yummy soup which makes a very healthy snack.  A larger serve could also be a great lunch along with some crusty sourdough bread topped with a lean protein source (turkey, tuna or even a little cheese for extra calcium!).

I think this is one of those staples you will make again and again….Enjoy 🙂

 

Zucchini Corn and Basil Soup

Makes 4 serves

  • 2 large zucchinis
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons Massel vegetable stock powder
  • 1/2 cup low fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh basil, shredded (or you could use chives, parsley, coriander…)
  • pepper

Place zucchini, corn and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer over gentle heat for 10 minutes or until zucchini is soft. Remove from heat and puree in a blender or with a hand held blender until smooth. Stir through stock powder, milk and basil. Add pepper to taste.

Each serve (just over 1 cup/250ml) has 81 calories, 4g protein, 1 g total fat, 0.3g saturated fat, 3g of fibre (approx 10% of daily fibre requirements) and 67mg calcium (roughly 7% of your daily calcium requirement)

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Figs with Greek Yoghurt & Honey

I love this time of year, not only as the weather is milder, but there is so much wonderful fruit around

One of those wonderful fruit, which has a very short season so you have to grab them quickly, is figs

Figs are high in fibre, which is important for regular bowel function and a good source of potassium which can help normalise blood pressure.  Regardless, they are yummy.  They have a soft, smooth skin, slightly chewy flesh and who can resist those crunchy seeds (those crunchy seeds initially put me off wanting to try them – but that was many many years ago!)

They are delicious on their own, but also team well with both sweet & savoury dishes.  In fact, one of my favorite salads is a simple rocket, fresh fig and goats cheese salad with a balsamic vinegar & olive oil dressing, which teams well with steak, chicken or fish – yum 🙂  

Figs are also fabulous on a cheese platter as they go so well with any cheese, including thinly shaved parmessan and either fresh or baked low fat ricotta.  However, this is one of my absolute favorite ways of eating them, which makes a great snack, that is both quick and delicious and there is no cooking required!!  It is also high in calcium, which is important for everyone for strong healthy bones, low fat and very low GI (and moreish!)

Enjoy 🙂

Fresh Figs with Low fat Greek Yoghurt & Honey

Serves 1 (note – picture shows 2 serves)

Simply grab a fresh fig, take off the very top of the stem and cut it into quarters

Place 3 tablespoons of a delicious low fat Greek style yoghurt (I recommend Jalna or Black Swan) in a bowl

Place figs around edge of yoghurt and drizzle with 1 1/2 teaspoons of a really good honey (we are currently using one from a Farmers Market in Mudgee which is deeelicious!)

This divine snack has a tiny 95 calories and 160mg of calcium

(47mg sodium & 285mg potassium)

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spiced pea and corn pancakes

About 6 months ago I subscribed to a new magazine called HealthSmart which I quite enjoy.  It is published by readers digest and I got onto their website today looking for a carrot cake recipe they mentioned in this months mag.  I couldn’t find the cake recipe, but found these instead which I thought looked rather good and I particularly liked that they have oats in them.  So I thought I would give them a go and they are really yummy!

The type of curry paste you use will greatly vary the flavour of these pancakes.  I used a Malaysian curry paste which isn’t very hot, but you could use a green or red Thai curry paste which would add a bit of a chilli kick, or even tandoori paste (which I think I will try next time).  I would imagine that the addition of some fresh herbs, like coriander would also be good.

I served my pancakes (actually they look more like pikelets) with some really yummy plum & apple chutney I had made recently and it teamed really well with them.  Mango chutney,  tomato relish or even just natural low fat yoghurt (or natural yoghurt with a little horseradish in it) would also work well.  Or you can eat them just as they are.

You can find the original recipe here on the readers digest website.  Of course I changed it a little.  I used a greater amount of wholemeal flour and I just threw the frozen peas and corn in without thawing them, patting them dry etc etc, and hey, they worked out just fine!!  I also used such a small amount of oil (less than 2 teaspoons, where the original recipe mentions 2 Tablespoons!) when cooking them – in my new Tefal non-stick flat frying pan, which I LOVE! 🙂

Give them a go.  They are quick, easy, healthy and yummy.  What a great after school snack for hungry kids!

Enjoy 🙂

spiced pea and corn pancakes

makes 18

  • ½ cup wholemeal flour
  • ¼ cup plain flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons curry paste
  • 150 ml low-fat milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1⅓ cups frozen peas
  • ½ red capsicum, deseeded and diced
  • 1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1. Sift the plain and wholemeal flours and baking powder into a bowl, adding any bran left in the sieve. Stir in the oats, corn, capsicum and peas and salt and pepper if you like.

2. Blend the curry paste with 2 tablespoons of the milk, then stir this into the remaining milk and add the beaten eggs.

3. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the eggs and milk. Mix until well combined.  Leave the batter to stand for 5 minutes to thicken.

4. Heat a large, heavy-based (Tefal 30cm) non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, then brush with a little of the oil. Using a large spoonful of batter per pancake, cook them in batches for 2–3 minutes until golden brown. Turn the pancakes over using a spatula, then cook the other side for 2–3 minutes. Remove from the pan and keep warm in a low oven while you cook the remaining batter. Serve warm.

 

Each pancake/pikelet has 60 calories and almost 2g of fibre

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Cornbread…yum!!!

It may be hard to believe considering my track record of posting many, many sweet recipes, but I actually prefer savoury foods over sweet.  One of those savoury foods which has always intrigued me is cornbread.  For some reason I have been on a mission to try to find a great cornbread recipe (during which time I have found many terrible ones)…and I think I finally have found it 🙂

Cornbread is very common in American cuisine, more specifically south or southwestern cuisine where it is often served with barbecued meats or chilli con carne.   Cornbread can be baked, steamed or fried.  These different cooking techniques will dramatically change both the taste and texture of the finished product.  Sometimes it can be so sloppy it is eaten with a spoon!  However I prefer the baked style which is also known as a quick bread = a bread which is quickly made since it doesn’t contain yeast. 

Some cornbread recipes I have tried in the past have been quite dry as the cornmeal or polenta used in it has a dry and gritty texture, but this also helps to provide cornbread with the lovely crunch.  With this recipe I added zucchini and used buttermilk (1/2 yoghurt, 1/2 milk)  to provide a little extra moisture.  I also added some fresh red capsicum as I think it teams really well with corn.  Roasted capsicum could be used instead.  Other ideas for more flavours to add are cold roasted pumpkin, crumbled fetta and/or fresh basil.  I think I will try all of those next time and make them into individual sized muffins.  They would be a great picnic food.

This recipe made 1 x 8 inch (20cm) square tin.  It is very easy to slice so can be slice quite thinly (or thickly of course).  It lends itself to spreading butter on it, but try to resist the urge as it is not necessary and will only add many extra unnecessary calories and saturated fat.  It is lovely warm straight out of the oven on its own, and I can imagine serving it with some delicious homemade tomato & basil or pumpkin soup….mmm. Enjoy 🙂

Cornbread with zucchini and capsicum

  • ½ cup wholemeal self raising flour
  • ½ cup white self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 Tablespoons castor sugar
  • 1 medium zucchini (150g) grated
  • ½ cup diced red capsicum
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I used half yoghurt, half milk)
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 egg

 Line a 20cm square tin with baking paper.  Preheat oven to 170 degrees.

Into a large bowl, sift flours and baking powder, add salt, polenta, sugar, zucchini and capsicum.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk and olive oil, pour into dry ingredients and stir through until well mixed. 

Pour into prepared tin and bake for 30 mins approximately, until firm to touch on top. 

Leave to cool in tin for 5 minutes, then place on rack to cool.

Would easily slice into 24 pieces with each piece having:

312kJ = 74 calories

2g protein, 10g carbohydrate, 2.5g fat with only 0.5g saturated fat and 0.7g fibre

Oops, I forgot to add that it is a little odd putting sugar in a savoury bread, however I have tried it with and without and it definitely has a better texture WITH the sugar.  The end result is in no way sweet.

I also do not usually add salt when cooking but this is another time when it makes such a difference in bringing out all the lovely flavours of the bread.  It is only a small amount after all and would be a lot less than what is in regular bread 🙂

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Japanese Pancake – Okonomiyaki

Last Sunday the weather was so lovely that my husband and I decided to be tourists in our own city and went for a wander through The Rocks.  Of course we couldn’t miss walking through the market there and worked up quite an appetite doing so. 

There were plenty of food venders there to choose from and we set about finding a ‘healthy’ snack option.  That was when we saw these delicious looking pancakes being made.  Even though we frequent Japanese restaurants, I had never seen these pancakes before.  Called Okonomiyaki, there were 4 varieties to choose from – chicken, beef, seafood or vegetable.  All were chock full of vegetables and you know what a fan of vegetables I am, so that was it, decision made.

Okonomiyaki is a savoury Japanese style pancake that is made with a batter, shredded cabbage, other fresh grated/sliced vegetables & some type of meat/seafood – batters and fillings vary between the different regions of Japan. 

According to wikipedia, the name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “what you like” or “what you want”, and yaki meaning “grilled” or “cooked”.  Normally they are served topped with mayonnaise, a Japanese style barbecue sauce and are sprinkled with bonito flakes which appear to ‘dance’ as they move around in the heat rising from the pancake.

The one we ordered contained chicken as well as a stack of vegetables and we asked for only a little of the bbq sauce on top.  It was so yummy I couldn’t wait to try making them at home.  So after googling for ideas, I set about assembling my own version this afternoon, copying the vegetables in last weeks version (but you could pretty much use whatever you like – whatever is in the fridge) but omitting the chicken, and they turned out great.  Quick, easy and oh so healthy with all of those veggies tucked inside.  They were so tasty that they didn’t need any sauce or topping.

They make quite a decent sized snack which fills you up, but doesn’t leave you feeling heavy.  Perfect!

Please, Enjoy 🙂

My version of the Japanese (Vegetable) Pancake “Okonomiyaki”

  • 1/6 of a cabbage, shredded (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup green beans, sliced into 3cm lengths
  • ½ small red capsicum, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, halved lengthways and sliced thinly
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1 cup water (supposed to be dashi, but I didn’t have any)
  • 2 tspn Massel vegetable or chicken stock powder (for flavour since I didn’t have dashi)
  • pepper

In a large bowl mix together all of the chopped vegetables

In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, then gradually add flour.  Add water slowly and when fully mixed in and smooth, add stock powder and pepper.  Pour onto vegetables and mix well

Heat a small non-stick pan (with a matching lid – I used a saucepan lid) over low heat. Add a small amount of oil (1/2 tspn approx) and swish around to spread across base of pan. Using a large spoon, spoon about 3/4 cup of mixture into pan and flatten slightly with the back of the spoon.  Place the lid on the pan and cook over low heat until golden brown about 3-4 minutes.

Carefully flip pancake over and cook other side for 2-3 more minutes.

And there you have your delightful, delicious, chock full of veggies – japanese pancake ready to eat 🙂

Each pancake has 160 calories, 8g protein & 6g of fibre

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Raspberry & Cranberry Oat Bran Muffins

I have to admit that I prefer a muffin with some texture and substance and that is a good way to describe these.  They are jam packed with oats, wholemeal flour, dried fruit and berries.  Unfortunately the list of ingredients is rather long, however that is what helps to make them so interesting and they are well worth the effort.

I used to buy a similar muffin to these from muffin break years ago for a snack.  Admittedly the muffin break muffins are three times the size, however they have almost 500 calories in them.  That’s almost as many calories as a Big Mac! Yikes!  So these make a great tasty, lower fat and calorie snack alternative.  Enjoy!

Raspberry & Cranberry Oat Bran Muffins

Makes 24 muffins

Ingredients

½ cup plain flour

½ cup wholemeal self raising flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ cup white sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup oat bran

1 ½ cups rolled oats

1/3 cup pitted dates, chopped

1/3 cup raisins, chopped

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup frozen raspberries

1  large egg, lightly beaten

¼ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon  vanilla extract

½ cup low-fat milk

½ cup low-fat yoghurt

½ cup boiling water

Method

Line 2 x 12-hole muffin pans with muffin papers

Preheat the oven to 170 C.

In a large bowl, sift together the flours, bicarb soda and cinnamon. Mix in the sugars, bran, oats, dried fruit and frozen raspberries.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the egg, oil and vanilla.  Mix in the yoghurt and milk.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and stir in the wet ingredients with a spatula until almost combined.

Stir in the boiling water until just mixed through.  Do not overmix as this can make the muffins tough.

Let batter stand for 15 minutes.

Spoon batter into muffin papers. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in centre. Be careful not to over-cook.

 Each tasty 50g muffin has 110 calories and 1.7g fibre

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Apple Oat Pikelets with Berries and Yoghurt

Delicious chunky, wholesome pikelets with the goodness of apple and oats – yum!

I can’t believe people will buy pre-cooked pikelets or pancake shaking mixes when they are so easy (and cheap) to make from scratch.

These pikelets made a fabulous Sunday afternoon snack with a lovely cup of tea, but would also go well for breakfast.  They are quite filling and feel very decadent, without supplying a ton of calories 🙂

The mix was really quick and easy to make and only dirtied 2 bowls, which was great as I hate doing the washing up!  I topped them with a store-bought 100% fruit blackcurrant jam and natural yoghurt but lemon butter or honey would also be good toppings.

Apple Oat Pikelets topped with berries and yoghurt

Makes 12 pikelets

1 large apple, grated

3/4 cup self raising flour (I used 1/2 wholemeal, 1/2 white to help increase fibre and lower the G.I.)

1/2 cup whole rolled oats

2 Tbspn brown sugar

3 teaspoons of olive oil

1 egg

1/2 cup low fat plain yoghurt

1/4 cup low fat milk

A small amount of oil, extra (around 1 teaspoon) to cook pikelets

100% fruit jam or fresh/frozen berries to serve

Natural yoghurt to serve

Method

Place grated apple, flour, oats and sugar in medium sized bowl.

In a smaller bowl, whisk egg and add oil, yoghurt and milk.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and fold through until fully combined.

Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and brush with a tiny amount of oil. Spoon heaped tablespoons of mix into pan and cook for around 2 minutes.  Using a spatula, turn the pikelets over and cook for approximately 2 more minutes on the other side.

Remove from pan and keep warm on a tray placed in a warm oven while cooking the rest of the mix.

Top with either fresh berries, cooked berries or 100% fruit jam and natural yoghurt to serve.

Makes 12 pikelets

Plain pikelets have 86 calories each

Seved with 1 heaped teaspoon of 100% fruit jam and 1 tablespoon of yoghurt each = 104 calories each

Plain pikelets can be frozen for up to 1 month.  Reheat in oven or microwave or you could even try toasting them!

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