Hearty vegetable soup with tomatoes and chicken

This is another one of my low-cal, low-carb, low-fat recipes for my pre-op diet before I have weight loss surgery next week. 

Hearty vegetable soup with tomatoes and chicken - gloriouslygoodfood.com

The recipe is one of those ‘chuck things in’ kind of recipes, so the vegetable quantities are approximate.  Play around with it and find what suits your palate in terms of actual vegetables used and ratio of one to another 🙂

Ingredients (for two hearty / filling portions containing virtually no fat and half the amount of protein I was advised to have in one day during my pre-op diet)

  • 1 chicken thigh (boneless, skinless, all visible fat removed), approx. 100g raw weight
  • 1l chicken stock (I make this with 2 Knorr chicken stock pots and 1l water, but you can make your own low-fat stock or buy other stock cubes / pots)
  • 2-3 baby carrots or one standard carrot, scraped, topped and tailed (cut into smaller chunks if using a standard size carrot)
  • 2-3 broccoli florets
  • Approximately 200g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 very small potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 small courgette, cut into chunky slices

Method

Place all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil, then simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until all ingredients are cooked and the harder vegetables are tender enough to break easily with a spoon. 

Once the soup is cooked, remove the chicken thigh and set it aside, then place the remaining ingredients (all stock and all vegetables) into a food processor.  Blend until smooth or, if you prefer, leave a few chunkier pieces in. 

Chop the chicken into pea-size pieces.  As this makes two portions,
place half the chicken pieces into a food storage container or bag and add half the soup.

If you don’t want that much soup in one go, you can of course split this into more portions.  If you are following a pre-op diet like mine, make sure you have enough protein in your other meal of the day if you have less than half the chicken thigh in one meal.

Serve the remaining half of soup, with the remaining half of chopped chicken pieces, immediately. 

Gloriously simple, gloriously good!

Disclaimer: I am not a dietitian or medical professional.  These are simply ideas based on meals I have created to suit my own dietary needs and, as I’ve enjoyed them, I wanted to share them. If you are unsure about the suitability of any ingredients or recipes on my blog for your own requirements, please check with a health professional first. 

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Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce | Low-Cal Meatballs | Low-Fat Meatballs

Turkey meatballs in tomato sauce

A delicious low-fat / low-cal alternative to traditional meatballs in tomato sauce

Whilst I am a bit of a geek when it comes to preserving Italian traditional recipes and I have always considered meatballs in tomato sauce (as a sauce for pasta) to be a very American interpretation of Italian food, I do occasionally enjoy these little morsels (I just don’t pretend they’re Italian…a bit like when I eat pizza in the UK…but that’s for another blog post!).

Turkey is a fantastic ingredient when you want low-fat/low-cal alternatives to other meat in recipes.  It does require hefty seasoning as it’s not as strong-tasting as other meats, though, so do bear that in mind when you cook with turkey.

As I’m currently following the 5:2 Diet (2 non-consecutive very low-cal / “fasting” days per week and 5 ‘normal eating’ days per week), I’m always looking for different things to eat on the 2 low-cal days and these meatballs are a lovely dish to have.  For those in our house that aren’t on a diet, I serve them with pasta, while I just have them on their own with plenty of the tomato sauce, in a bowl.

Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce | Spaghetti with Meatballs
Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce, served with Spaghetti

Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 1 hr
Serves: 4
Approx. calories per serving: 320

Ingredients – for the tomato sauce

  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 stalks celery

    Turkey meatballs simmering in tomato sauce
    Turkey meatballs simmering in tomato sauce
  • 2 carrots
  • a few sprays of 1 Cal cooking spray oil (olive oil)
  • 2 cans/cartons of chopped tomatoes (ca. 400g each)
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • Optional: a few ground dried chilli flakes

Ingredients – for the meatballs

  • 500g minced turkey leg meat
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • Optional: a few ground dried chilli flakes

Method

Wash and trim the celery, scrape and trim the carrots, peel 1 onion and 2 cloves of garlic

Place celery, carrots and onion (chopped into chunks) and garlic into an electric chopper/blender or chop them very finely by hand

Spray a few sprays of the 1 Cal cooking oil spray into a non-stick sauté pan (it’s important to use a pan deep enough for the sauce but wide enough to accommodate the meatballs later), turn the heat on high and as soon as the pan is hot, add the chopped celery, carrots, onion and garlic

Dry-fry on a high heat for a few minutes, stirring regularly to avoid burning, then turn the heat down and simmer for approx. 5 mins

While this is happening, turn your attention to the meatballs: Peel the remaining onion and garlic cloves and chop very finely (ideally in a blender/electric chopper)

Place in a bowl and add the minced turkey leg meat (if you are mincing/grinding the meat yourself, grind the onion and garlic with it)

If you want to add some chilli flakes, add them at this stage

Add some salt, to taste

Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce | Spaghetti with MeatballsMix (and squish!) well with your hands, ensuring all ingredients are amalgamated and the meat is almost like a paste.  I like to use vinyl gloves for this process so my hands don’t get caked in meat…it’s more hygienic, too!

Roll small individual meatballs (you should get approx. 36 meatballs) and keep them to one side

Pour the chopped tomatoes into the pan with the celery, carrots, onion and garlic (use a little bit of water to ‘wash out’ any tomato clinging to the sides of the carton/tin)

Season with salt (and if desired, chilli flakes) to taste

Turn up the heat, bring to the boil, then reduce back down to a simmer

Carefully place the meatballs on top of the simmering tomato sauce, leaving a small gap between each of them so they don’t stick to each other.  Do NOT stir at this point or they’ll fall apart!

Place a lid over the sauté pan and leave them.

After about 10 minutes, check on your meatballs, they should look cooked on the outside, having changed colour and retained their shape.  At this point, stir very, very gently and carefully, just enough to coax the meatballs further into the tomato sauce, place the lid back over the pan and leave.

You can repeat the very gentle stirring process 1-2 times during the rest of the cooking time, but don’t over-stir as the meatballs run the risk of falling apart otherwise.

Cook for about an hour on a low heat with the lid on, removing the lid for the last 5-10 minutes if you wish to thicken the sauce.

Serve with pasta, or crusty bread, or rice…or if, like me, you’re on a low-cal / low-fat day, eat on their own!

Deliciously simple, deliciously good, deliciously low-cal!

Mmmmm delicious meal tonight…roasted vegetables!

I should have written this one up, but it was one of those ‘spur of the moment’ dinners and I didn’t quite have as many ingredients as I’d have liked. Having said all that, it was still absolutely delicious so I should have photographed it anyway.

I will…soon!

Tonight I (hubby under my supervision/instructions lol) just sliced a few carrots, some courgettes, loads of onions, slung in a load of whole (slightly crushed but with skin) garlic cloves, a drizzle of olive oil, some salt, chilli flakes & oregano and roasted in a stone baking dish for about 30 mins on a high heat. 

Done…simple and Gloriously Good!

I ate the veg on their own as I wanted a very low-cal meal, whereas hubby & the kids had them by way of a pasta condiment, and it was delicious…well, I had to try as part of quality control 😉

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