Something for everyone.

When you are on a dietary regime, or catering for someone with specific dietary requirements, it can feel daunting or aggravating when you put your mind to the task in hand.

I hope this post will show it is doable. This meal used easily available ingredients and took less than 1 hour to prepare. Now this is obviously not one you will want to try after a day at work but it is not bad in other, more relaxed, circumstances.

My eldest son is back from Uni and this has placed demands on catering. He is very sporty and his trying to lose a little weight whilst building his fitness further over the summer. This means he likes lots of chicken, salad and halloumi cheese.

Reuben likes chicken, meat, pasta, rice, couscous and the odd vegetable like mushrooms and peppers. He can tolerate onions as long as they are cooked and softened…and chopped into very small pieces.

Ezra’s girlfriend, Marisa, is also with us for a week and she is a vegetarian.

I, of course, am managing me meals carefully although now I am trying to maintain my weight to within three pounds of fourteen stone.

The challenge was a meal for five that met all these requirements. Maggie was the easiest to please but even she had a requirement/request which I had to be a little deceitful about. There will be a little more about this later.

This meal was the product. It has not be carefully measured out so please be willing to play around with ingredients.

The Menu

  • Vegetarian Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Meaty Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Pan Fried Chicken Breast Pieces
  • Sweet Potato Chips
  • Salad with Feta Cheese

As I have already said this is a little looser than most of my posts so I will rely on prose rather than a detailed methodology.

Mushroom stuffing:

I finely chopped two small onions, one yellow pepper and crushed two large cloves of garlic . These were cooked in a non stick frying pan with a squirt or two of spray oil with water later on to stop the mix sticking.

I put the remains of a jar of red lentils on to cook in water. I would have used veg stock but I was out of veg stock cubes. This is where the deceit comes in. Maggie wanted and expected a mushroom stuffing filled out with breadcrumbs. I wanted a recipe that did not use bread crumbs so chose to use lentils instead. The quality was 250 grams as a maximum quantity.

The veg mix was seasoned with black pepper and mixed herbs (no oregano in the cupboard) and then mixed with the cooked lentils.

Separately I cooked six slices of bacons (trimmed of fat) and cut into small pieces.

The veg and lentil mix was split into 1/3 and 2/3 with the bacon being added to the smaller portion. I then added grated mozzarella to both mixes. Again this was no more than 250g of mozzarella in total.

The meaty mix was used to stuff two portobello mushrooms and the pure veggie mix was used to stuff four portobello mushrooms.

These were baked in a hot oven for about twenty minutes.

Sweet Potato Chips:

1 large sweet potato peeled and chopped.

These chips were sprayed with oil spray and cooked in my air fryer for twenty minutes.

Pan Fried Chicken Breast:

One large chicken breast was cut into 6 pieces and pan fried using spray oil until golden brown on both sides. These pieces were served with the meaty mushrooms.

Salad:

This is the complex one. I emptied one bag on mixed leaf salad into a bowl and decorated with spring onions (halved lengthways), slices of cucumber and cherry tomatoes.

This was served with a plate of cubes of feta cheese, approximately 125g.

The outcome was a success. Maggie like the mushroom mix even if it had no breadcrumbs, Reuben enjoyed his mushroom (although he spurned the sweet potato chips) and both he and Ezra added chicken breast to their plates.

Marisa had seconds and I was able to eat within plan, allowing myself some feta as a measured extra on top of a healthy portion of mozzarella.

The only negative was when Ezra counted up the calories consumed using his app. There was a discussion about what amount of each ingredient had been used as he asked for them in either fluid ounces, grams, cups etc depending on who had posted which ingredient on this app. The outcome was that there has been far to few calories in the meal to meet the balance he desired. I pointed out this was how I had managed to lose weight.

His body, being the temple it is, he then opted to go and buy chocolate and crisps to make up the different…

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