Exquisite Bacon, Garden Pea & Baby Asparagus Risotto with Manchego Cheese


Me & Risotto have a love affair situation going on. It’s creamy & flavoursome, warm and comforting, it’s like a hug in a bowl really. It has long held a bad reputation for being difficult to master but that is far from the truth. It takes a little loving with the time to stir & tend to it, but difficult?… No. This version has beautiful vibrant green asparagus & peas & a note of sweet & nutty manchego cheese. You can have a nice comfy portion for 9 propoints (7 on F&H). Serves 4. Here’s the skinny:  
240g Arborio Risotto Rice

8 Lean Bacon Medallions Diced

2 Large Shallots Diced

80g Frozen Garden Peas

A Bunch of Baby Asparagus 

1 Clove Garlic

45g Manchego Cheese Grated

1 & 1/2 Litres Chicken Stock made with 1 Stock Cube

A Handful of Fresh Thyme Leaves

Salt & Black Pepper 

Place your stock into a saucepan over a low heat for the duration of cooking so it stays nice and hot. Heat a large based saucepan over a medium heat & spray it with oil. Cook the Bacon & Shallots for about 5 minutes until the bacon is cooked and the shallots are soft. Trim the ends off the asparagus & add it & the frozen peas to the pot cook for another 3 to 4 minutes stir it gently so you don’t break up the asparagus. Add the crushed garlic & stir for a further 30 seconds. Add the rice to the pot & cook for 2 minutes stirring regularly until the rice goes a bit translucent around the edge with a white centre. Start adding the stock 1 ladel at a time and gently stir the risotto regularly. Wait until the ladel of stock is absorbed before adding the next one. You probably won’t use all the stock just use as much as the risotto absorbs within the cooking time. It will take 20 minutes to fully cook the rice. 


About 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time season with salt & pepper and the fresh thyme. When it’s cooked take the pot off the heat & stir in the grated manchego cheese. Put a lid on the pot and allow the risotto to rest for 3 to 5 minutes prior to serving. Serve & enjoy!  


Sweet Vanilla & Cream Cheese, Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

Ah the weekend! You know how much I love a lavish brekkie at the weekend! After 5 mornings of porridge it doesn’t quite cut it for the end of the week. I used an extremely handy madigascan vanilla grinder by Dr Oetker that I picked up but you can split a vanilla pod & use the seeds either. This was sweet & heavenly for just 6 propoints & only 1 on F&H. Here’s the skinny: 2 Slices Calorie Controlled Wholemeal Bread

2 Eggs

65g Philadelphia Lightest Cream Cheese

1 Punnet Strawberries 


Vanilla seeds

A Tiny Dash of Skimmed Milk   Start by chopping the strawberries & place in a bowl, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sweetener, stir it through & set aside for at least 5 minutes to marinade so the sweetener draws out some of the strawberry juice & they become nice & glossy. In a separate bowl mix the cream cheese, as much vanilla seeds as desired and a teaspoon of sweetener. In a shallow dish that the bread will fit into later combine 1 egg with the egg white of the second egg, some more vanilla seeds, a half a teaspoon of sweetener & a tiny dash of skimmed milk and mix well.   

Spread the cream cheese mixture thickly over one slice of bread & layer the glossy strawberries on and top with the other slice of bread. Very carefully lower the sandwich into the egg mix (using a spatula will help). Leave for 2 minutes to soak up some of the mix. Preheat a non stick frying pan over a medium high heat and spray it with oil. Carefully turn the sandwich in the egg mix and leave for another 2 minutes to soak up the egg mix. Fry the sandwich for approximately 4 minutes a side or until cooked through. Sprinkle with sweetener, serve & enjoy! 


Easy Cheesy Healthy Bolognese Pasta Bake

  I’m quite adept at coming up with ideas to use up leftovers & I had leftover mince, cheese & thyme from last night’s dinner so this is what was made. I always have a few staples & tinned plum tomatoes always inhabit my larder so this was a very easy healthy & quite a filling choice. Pasta is always my go to comfort food, it’s extremely versatile & incredibly satisfying to the tummy. Bolognese is always so packed with flavour & tasty be it served with spaghetti & cheese or baked in the oven in this gorgeous pasta bake. This serves 4 hungry people at 10pp a portion (1pp on F&H). Dinner is sorted! Here’s the Skinny:   400g Lean 5% Fat Beef Steak Mince

1 Onion Finely Diced

2 Large Carrots Finely Diced

2 Sticks of Celery Finely Diced

1 Red Pepper Diced

1 Clove of Garlic Crushed

2 Tins of Plum Tomatoes

1 Tbsp Tomato Purée 

1 Tsp Dried Oregano

A Few Spigs Fresh Thyme Leaves 

A Handful of Fresh Basil 

Salt & Black Pepper 

240g Dried Pasta Shapes

30g Reduced Fat Grated Cheddar

30g Reduced Fat Grated Mozzarella  Start by making the Bolognese sauce, this is not difficult in the slightest but it does require time to simmer down & thicken into a glossy flavour filled sauce otherwise the sauce will be watery & not as flavoursome. Heat a large pot over a medium heat & spray with oil. Add the onion & fry for approximately 5 minutes until softening. Add in the carrots, pepper & celery & fry for a further 5 minutes. Add the mince & cook until browned through. Add the garlic & cook for a further minute. Add in the tomatoes chopping them with a sharp knife once in the pot. Add the purée, the rest of the herbs (except the basil) & salt & pepper. Cook over a medium low heat uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour stirring occasionally until the Bolognese is thick & glossy. Meanwhile prepare the pasta according to packet instructions in a large pot of salted boiling water.   Just before adding to the bake tear the basil leaves into the bolognese & stir through. Place the cooked pasta shapes & Bolognese in an ovenproof dish & top with the grated cheese. Place in a preheated oven at 180c for about 30 minutes. Serve & enjoy!  


Please Vote for me in the Irish Blog Awards 2015

The last big ask! Voting for the blog awards 2015 has been extended until today at noon (23/09 12pm) a massive thank you to all who voted for skinnyjeansandtheinbetweens so far. If you haven’t yet I’d be eternally grateful for your vote in the 2 categories I’m shortlisted for. It takes just 5 seconds & the links are available below & also on the blog 💕 thank you for all your help! 😘 
I would really, really appreciate all your help if you could please take a second to vote for me in both of the categories; ‘Food & Drink’ and ‘Health & Well Being’ by clicking on both links here & casting a quick vote for Skinny Jeans and the In-betweens.
Best Food & Drink: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/P6VN8H3

Best Health and Wellbeing Blog: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PPBJNMZ



Magnificent Meatballs in a Glossy Beef & Thyme Gravy with Creamy Buttery Mash

Autumn comfort food at its finest! Meatballs are delicious in any shape or form but I was looking for something a bit different than spaghetti & tomato sauce so I devised this delicious meatball & gravy recipe & let’s face it, the only thing to accompany gravy is buttery mash! All this can be yours for 10 propoints (1pp on F&H). Serves 4. Light the fire, throw a movie on & indulge in Autumn comfortness!   
For the Meatballs:

500g 5% Fat Lean Beef Mince

2 Slices Calorie Controlled Wholemeal Bread

1 Small Onion Finely Diced 

1 Tsp Dried Oregano 

1 Tsp Dried Parsley 

1/2 Tsp English Mustard

1 Tbsp Tomato Purée 

A Dash of Skimmed Milk

Salt & Black Pepper 

Fresh Parsley (optional)
For the Gravy:

500ml Stock made with 1 Beef Stock Cube

2 Tbsps Cornflour 

1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce 

1 Tbsp Tomato Purée 

A Small Handful of Fresh Thyme

Black Pepper 
For the Buttery Mash:

800g Potatoes 

30g Reduced Fat Butter

Salt & Black Pepper

A Dash of Skimmed Milk

Break the Bread up into very small pieces & soak in a cup with a small amount of skimmed milk for a few minutes. Squeeze the excess milk gently out pf the bread with your hands & crumble it into a bowl with all the other meatball ingredients. Mix well (be careful to mix lightly but well if you mix too much the meatballs will be dense). Roll them into 20 meatball shapes & place in an ovenproof dish you have sprayed with oil. Bake them in a preheated oven at 200c for approximately 25 minutes or until cooked & browning. Meanwhile peel & cut the potatoes into medium sized cubes & cook in boiling salted water for about 18 to 20 minutes until soft & you can pierce with a fork. To make the gravy place the stock in a saucepan over a medium heat and add all the ingredients except the cornflour. Mix the cornflour with a small amount of cold water in a glass & pour slowly into the stock stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to avoid lumps. Keep stirring regularly until thickened into a gravy. (If it lumps a tiny bit at the beginning the stirring will take them out & if not whizz quickly with a hand blender.) Add the cooked meatballs to the gravy & coat them well. Mash the potatoes with a tiny dash of skimmed milk, the butter & season with salt & pepper. Divide the mash into 4 & plate with 5 meatballs each & some gravy on top. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired & enjoy!  


Delicious Thin Crust Cheese & Veggie Pizza

The easiest 2 ingredient dough in the world to make, no waiting around for it to prove just knead, roll & top! Who doesn’t like pizza? It’s so versatile you can top this with whatever takes your fancy. Add some Roast Chicken or Prosciutto if you fancy a meat version just remember to add the additional points. Buffalo Mozzarella & Pesto would also be fantastic the dough is 10pp so you can play around with toppings & add points accordingly this one was 14 propoints for the entire pizza. Here’s the skinny:  
For the Dough:

95g Self Raising Flour

100g 0% Fat Greek Yogurt 

A Pinch of Salt  

For the Sauce:


1 Tbsp Tomato Purée 

Dried Oregano 

Salt and Black Pepper 

To Top:

Red Onion Finely Sliced 

Red & Yellow Pepper Finely Sliced 

Mushrooms Sliced

Basil Leaves

30g Grated Reduced Fat White Cheddar 

30g Grated Reduced Fat Mozzarella 

Mix the flour and yogurt together in a bowl with a tiny pinch of salt until it forms a dough. Sprinkle a Tbsp of flour on your work surface (this is accounted for in the points) and knead the dough for 5 minutes. Roll it out into a large thin base. Mix the sauce ingredients (as much passata as needed) and spread thinly over the base. Top with the cheese & toppings of your choice. Bake in a preheated oven at 190c for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked through & browning. Slice, serve & enjoy!  


Velvety Smooth Cauliflower & Carrot Soup

There’s a distinct chill in the air the last couple of weeks that signals the end of Summer. We’re definitely not enjoying a balmy Indian Summer this year & that’s for sure. It’s time to dig out the coats, boots & woolly tights & it’s most certainly soup weather. You can expect an abundance of soup, stew & general winter warming recipes coming your way. Soup is a slimmers best friend, it’s so handy for lunches, filling, satisfying, tasty, warm & a meal in itself, consisting of vegetables & stock for the most part it’s extremely healthy & low fat too. Well I don’t need to sell the benefits of soup to you because if you’re on plan you’ll already know! This one is lovely & creamy from the cauliflower with the sweetness of carrot to lift it to the next level. It makes about 5 or even 6 servings & you can freeze it to boot. 0 propoints on all plans. Here’s the skinny:  
1 Large Onion Diced

5 Carrots Peeled & Diced

1 Head of Cauliflower 

1 Garlic Clove

1 Tsp Thyme (Dried or Fresh)

1 & 1/2 Pints of Vegetable Stock

Salt & Black Pepper 

Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat & spray with oil. Add the diced onion & fry for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the Carrots & continue to fry until softening approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Chop the cauliflower into florets & add to the pan with the stock & the whole clove of garlic. Season with the thyme, salt & pepper. Put a lid on the pot & continue to cook for around 30 minutes until everything is soft. Blitz well until smooth with a hand blender. Serve hot garnished with half fat creme fraiche & chopped chives if desired & enjoy!