Tag Archives: snacks

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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Beetroot Dip

 

Many commercially available dips can be high in fat, high in calories and contain fillers like breadcrumbs as well as undesirable  preservatives, acidity regulators, extra salt and even sugar.

Dips are really easy to make yourself, especially if you have a food processor, and beetroot dip is one of the easiest as it has only 3 ingredients.  It is also one of the cheapest if you use homebrand beetroot (75c per tin in Woolworths and a product of Australia) and this beetroot dip is low in fat, especially saturated fat.

When eating dips, one of the traps can be what you serve them with.  Many savoury style biscuits are very high in fat and so is the trendier dipping choice, lavoche.  I prefer to use vegetable sticks (VERY low in calories!) or pita crisps which are quick and easy to make yourself (watch for upcoming post).  Just dry bake sliced pita breads in a moderately hot oven for about 20 minutes.

I encourage you to give this a go as it is deeelicious.  Enjoy 🙂

Beetroot Dip

Serves 8

  • 1 x 425g tin sliced beetroot, drained
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish cream

Place beetroot, tahini and horseradish cream in food processor and process until smooth.  That’s it!!

Per serve 55g = approx 3 tablespoons = 56 calories 🙂

Served with 1/4 large lebanese bread = approx 120 calories

 

 

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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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Anzacs made with Olive Oil

Staying on my healthier biscuit theme, I love anzacs and always thought of them as a healthier choice, I guess due to the oats.  Of course the first time I made them I quickly realised that they weren’t so ‘healthy’ but that certainly didn’t stop me from continuing to make and eat them!

In the past I’ve tried to make an anzac with less sugar and butter, but they have never come close to the deliciousness of the original.  So I decided not to bother for a slight saving of calories and fat!

Thinking outside the square this time, I chose to just try reducing the saturated fat by using oil instead of butter and this seemed to work.  This version also has slightly less sugar than the original recipe and an increase in fibre from using wholemeal flour.

Note that this does not cut down the calories, just reduces the saturated fat – however this is important for everyone, and especially important for those with high cholesterol.  Regardless, these biscuits are very moreish.  Enjoy 🙂

Olive Oil Anzacs

Makes 20

  • 1/2 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons sandy brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons golden syrup
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons olive  oil
  • 2 teaspoons boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Preheat oven to 170 degrees.  Line 2 flat trays with baking paper.

Sift flour into a medium sized bowl.  Add oats, coconut and sugar.

Place golden syrup and oil in small saucepan and heat until bubbles just start to appear on the surface.

Add boiling water and bicarbonate soda and stir until well mixed through.

Quickly pour into bowl with dry ingredients and mix through thoroughly. 

Shape heaped teaspoons of mix into balls and place on trays, flattening well.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.  When cooled, if there are any left, store in an airtight container.

Original recipe – each 14g biscuit has 65 calories, 3.7g fat, 2.6g saturated fat, 3.7g sugar, 0.5g fibre per biscuit

New version – each 14g biscuit has 64 calories, 3.7g total fat, 1.4g saturated fat, 3.1g sugar, 0.8g fibre

I figure that is an improvement!

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Zucchini, Walnut & Cranberry Loaf

I fully embrace any way in which you can increase your vegetable intake so this sounded like a good recipe to try – plus I got a heap of cheap zucchinis recently so was looking for something to do with them other than make soup!

This cake in many ways is similar to a carrot cake (so I may try it with carrots next and will let you know how that goes).  Zucchinis make a good base for a cake as they are pretty tasteless, however they add plenty of moisture.  Walnuts add a great crunch as well as being a good source of the essential omega 3 alpha linolenic acid and dried cranberries add a nice tartness (even though they are covered in sugar!)

This cake is very moist so it keeps quite well and is not too sweet.  I urge you to try it.  Enjoy 🙂

Zucchini Walnut and Cranberry Loaf

Makes 14 serves

  • ¾ cup wholemeal plain flour
  • ¾ cup white self raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 ½ cups (200g) grated zucchini
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup brown sugar

Line a loaf pan with baking paper.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Sift together flours, soda, cinnamon and nutmeg into a medium sized bowl.  Add walnuts and cranberries and stir to coat with flour mix.  Add zucchini and set aside.  In another smaller bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla.  Add oil and sugar and whisk well. Pour egg mix into flour bowl and fold through until thoroughly combined.  Plop into prepared pan and smooth top.

Bake in oven for 30-35 mins until firm to touch.  Note that this cake doesn’t rise very much when cooking.  Wait until cool before cutting. 

This mix can also be used to make individual cakes or muffins

Makes 14 yummy slices at 150 calories each

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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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