Weigh-in number four, and after a fairly naughty weekend, but clawing it back with a frugal week I dropped another two pounds. This brings my total weight loss to 11 pounds since I started four weeks ago. One more week to go of the challenge, but I plan to keep going for the rest of this year. Not only do I have my 40th birthday in July, but it’s our 10th wedding anniversary in November and it’d be great to see how much weight I could lose before then.
So onto this week’s challenge…
Challenge five: Serve a surprisingly healthy meal
It was so nice to get home and have the ingredients in my fridge to make the recipe for this week’s challenge. I got back late from an amazing weekend in Amsterdam with my gorgeous university friends all celebrating turning 40 this year, so I felt the need to jump straight back on the Weight Watchers Wagon!
I find pasta hugely comforting, especially on a rainy evening when you’re feeling a bit tired. It’s not a food I really associate with being on a diet, but with the Simple Start approach you can choose wholewheat and know that it’ll fill you up. Wholewheat pasta has certainly improved a lot over the years. This recipe calls for tagliatelle, but I got sent spaghetti – and aside from the fact that you have to cook it a bit longer, none of the boys noticed any difference.
I wasn’t sure how asparagus would go down with everyone either, as it’s not something I usually cook with. The smell of asparagus cup-a-soups used to make me want to retch when I was at university and it kind of put me off. However lightly blanched in the pasta water and tossed with the creamy sauce, the green spears were salty, sweet and delicious.
Matthew and Arlo loved them, but Sam didn’t like the flavour. That’s almost a success!
Creamy tagliatelle with bacon, tomato and asparagus
10 Pro Points per serving
400g wholewheat tagliatelle
300g asparagus, woody ends removed and stems roughly chopped
Calorie controlled cooking spray
4 bacon medallions, sliced into thin lardons
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
200g 0% fat Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring a large pan of unsalted water to the boil and add the pasta. Cook according to the packet instructions until al dente. Add the asparagus for the last 4 minutes of cooking time. Drain well, reserving around 150ml of the pasta cooking water.
2. Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick frying pan and spray with the calorie controlled cooking spray. Add the sliced bacon and cook until crisp. Add the tomatoes and cook for a further minute or so, until starting to soften.
3. Meanwhile, mix together the Quark and Greek Yoghurt with around 100ml of the reserved cooking water. Reduce the heat under the bacon and tomatoes and add the Quark and Yoghurt mixture, plus enough of the remaining reserved cooking water to make a thick, smooth sauce. Heat gently without boiling.
4. Return the cooked pasta and asparagus to the pan and add the sauce and herbs. Season to taste and serve immediately.
If you’re making this for a vegetarian you can cook a separate portion of quorn bacon with a proportion of the tomatoes and creamy mixture and then toss through the pasta. That’s what I did for Matthew.
I also added the zest of a lemon to the sauce for an extra zingy layer of flavour.
Finally I added a spoonful of full fat cream cheese to the boys’ part of the sauce to luxe it up a bit for them.
Other meal ideas…
Another busy week lies ahead juggling work with half-term, so i’ve done a spot of batch cooking to get me through the week without ready meals.
I had a pile of cherry tomatoes that had seen better days, so I popped them in a saucepan with a small glug of olive oil and cooked them slowly until they fell apart and transformed into a lush sauce. I seasoned it and added the leftover basil and chives from the pasta recipe along with a splash of balsamic vinegar. I plan to have this either with some steamed fish or grilled chicken or with some more wholewheat pasta.
The other surplus in my fridge was mushrooms. A kilo! I’ve made it into a broth-based soup which i’ll blitz up and mix with a little low fat creme fraiche for a quick and easy lunch. I adore creamy mushroom soups, so this is my healthy alternative.
I hope i’ve given you some meal inspiration for the week ahead… and now on to the matter of winning cool stuff…
For the fifth #StepIntoSummer challenge Weight Watchers are giving away a Crock-Pot Brushed Stainless Slow Cooker. Such a brilliant gadget if you’re too tired to cook a meal from scratch every night after a busy day.
If you fancy winning it then simply tweet about your spin on surprisingly healthy meals on Twitter using hashtag #StepIntoSummer
Let us know how you’re getting on with this week’s challenge on Facebook by tagging @WeightWatchersUK and using hashtag #stepintosummer for your chance to win the slow cooker.
Inspired to get back on the Weight Watchers Wagon? Check out Weight Watchers latest sign-up offers
Disclosure: I have been paid for the time spent creating this series of blog posts for Weight Watchers, as well as receiving deliveries of ingredients to make the recipes and a six month membership to Weight Watchers. All views are my own and it is a product I genuinely endorse having used it several times successfully in the past.
I’m entering this recipe into a range of blog challenges this month…
First up it’s Speedy Suppers with myself and Sarah Trivuncic over at Maison Cupcake… we’ve not been inundated with entries this month so do pop along and add one of yours if you have time *pretty please*
Next it’s popping along to Pasta Please, Jac of Tinned Tomatoes event, but hosted this month by the very lovely Nazima at Franglais Kitchen where the theme is Pasta Sauces. You should check it out for some inspiration.
And finally it’ll rock up at Ren’s Simple and in Season, where it’ll probably hang out with a nice chilled glass of white wine.
Phew what a busy recipe!!!!