This is a fairly simple meal to prepare, but you do need to get your hands dirty rolling meatballs. But you can view this as enjoying a meal. It’s an excellent way of adding some veggies to your main meal, if you don’t have time to make a salad to go with it. You can increase the refuelling capacity by having extra rice to suit your needs, and conversely you can reduce the kilojoule intake by having more salad and less rice. I actually used turkey mince instead of chicken mince which tasted great, although it was probably a little higher in fat as it was the leg meat or brown meat rather than the low fat breast meat. This meatball dish would also work well with pasta as a carbohydrate source, but give the raita a miss as it wouldn’t suit as well. You could also add some chilli in the mix if you like a bit of spice!
450g chicken mince
½ medium sized eggplant, cut into 1cm cubes
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
1 tbsp finely sliced green onions
1 ½ cups tomato pasta sauce
200g tub low fat natural yoghurt
100g low fat ricotta (optional)
1 small Lebanese cucumber
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tsp chopped mint leaves
Spray a large frying pan with oil. Add eggplant and and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until very soft. You can add small amounts of water to the pan to prevent sticking. Cool.
Put mince, zest, mint and onion into a large bowl, then add cooked eggplant. Mix together and mould ~20 meatballs with your hands.
Spray the pan with oil again, and brown the meatballs. Add the tomato pasta sauce to the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the Raita by grating the cucumber and squeezing out the excess liquid. Mix the yoghurt, mint, ricotta and garlic, to a paste then fold in the cucumber
Serve the meatballs with steamed rice, green salad and Raita.
This soup is a delicious meal my mum used to make quite often when I was living at home. I don’t make it too often, but when winter arrives its the kind of meal that warms you to the soul. It is super easy to make in one pot, and doesn’t require any fancy ingredients. Soup is never that attractive as a dish, but the smell and the taste really gets me excited. My mum has an Italian backgound, so there may be a basis of Italian or Meditteranean style to this recipe, but certainly with an Aussie twist. This is also a handy meal to cook and freeze the leftovers. If you eat it as an entree, there will be plenty of leftovers for another day.
(Serves 2-3 hungry athletes for main or 4 for entree)
1/2 head of cauliflower
1 – 3 potatoes
1 brown onion, finely diced
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 litre of veggie or chicken stock
1/2 tsp celery seeds (optional)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
ground black pepper to taste
fresh flat leaf parsley
This meal is a fabulous winter warmer. It can be made with variable carbohydrate content, depending on your energy needs as an athlete. If you are having a light week, reduce the potato quantity to 1, whereas if you are in a heavy training phase, boost up the carb levels by using 3 medium sized potatoes and serving the soup with some yummy crusty bread. Soups can be quite filling due to the liquid content, therefore making it a challenge to reach your required carbohydrate content in one meal. If you find this the case, then have the soup as an entree and follow it up with a main meal to help increase carbohydrate, as well as increase protein content which is minimal in this dish. If you are aiming for weight loss, this could be a very low calorie meal by using no potato at all. However there is also low protein, so maybe include an egg or some meat with the meal to help with satiety. Soup can also be really useful as a post excercise recovery snack in winter. It has carbs, plenty of fluids for rehydration and sodium for replenishing electrolytes.
Chop the cauliflower into small florets (don’t discard the stems)
Peel and chop the potatoes into large cubes
Fry up the onion and garlic in a splash of oil until opaque
Add the cauli florets, stems and potato pieces to the pot and stir fry for a few minutes
Pour the stock into the pot and make sure there is enough stock to cover all the vegetables
Add the celery seeds
Bring the liquid to the boil, then reduce the temperature and simmer for about 1 hour (This will depend on how large the chunks of vegetables are)
When the vegetables are nice and tender, turn off the pot, and allow to cool slightly
Use a hand blender (or a bench top blender) and wizz the ingredients till smooth
Add the grated cheese, turn the stove top back on, and heat through while stirring to melt the cheese
Add black pepper
Sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve
I find a hand blender easier, as you don’t even have to take the soup out of the pot, just blend in the cooking pot. Using a bench top belnder requires the soup to be a lot cooler before blending otherwise you need to be extra careful because soup will burn if it spills while too hot. Also depending on the size of your blender, you may need to do it in batches which also becomes tricky.
Celery seeds can add great flavours to a soup, but it may not be something you have in your cupbourd. As an alternative you could use fresh celery chopped up and added to the soup pot which will have a similar effect to deepen the flavour base.
This dish was inspired by the classic Greek combination of feta cheese and olives. It is a tomato based pasta sauce with the added mediterranean flavour of fennel. Fennel is one of my favourite vegetables, I love to eat it raw, and I cook with it to. Olives added to a pasta dish is a great way to add some flare and colour to a pasta.
(Serves 2 hungry athletes)
250g dried pasta
1/2 an onion, diced
1/2 fennel, finely sliced
1 clove or 1 tsp crushed garlic
fresh red chilli, 1/4 – whole depending on desired spice level
500g tomato passata (sugo)
10-15 pitted olives, halved
50g fetta, 2cm cubes
3 sprigs of fresh parsley
pepper to taste
This meal is a really high carbohydrate meal that would be ideal before an event or game. It has buckets of flavour with the inclusion of naturally salty foods of olives and feta. There are lots of changes you can make to this dish to make it more simple (use dried parsley and dried chilli), or more tasty (include fennel seeds at the onset of cooking), or a bit naughty and higher in fat (add 2 tsps of cream to make a softer rosa style sauce).
Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling water till al-dente
Cook the onions and garlic in a splash of oil in a large frypan until transluscent
Add the fennel and chilli, cook for a further 3-4 minutes
When the fennel is slightly soft, add the pasatta and olives
When heated through and the liquid has reduced a little add the cubes of feta, pepper and parsley
You can add the feta a little earlier and cook it for two minutes if you want the cheese to melt and make a creamy cheese consistency
Toss the sance through the cooked pasta and serve.
This dish I made up with little bit of referencing from my cookbooks, but essentially because I had some fresh ginger root and a lime in the fridge, and the prawn cutlets were on special at my grocery shop! Voila. It tasted so fresh and healthy, with a slightly Japanese style flavour. It was also really easy to prepare and cook, and didn’t take up too much time.
400g raw prawn cutlet meat
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
juice of 1 lime
1 tbs soy sauce
2 tsps sesame seeds
chili powder or crushed dried (optional)
dash of sesame oil (or other)
jasmine rice, cooked
1 carrot, julienne
1 small zucchini, julienne
A great meal for athletes with the carbohydrate content able to be varied depending on stage of training and size. It is a really low fat meal while still packed with flavour and punch if you add chili. The vegetables can be changed to preferred options, and you could also stir-fry the vegetables with the prawns as an alternative preparation.
Place prawns, ginger, lime, soy sauce, chili and sesame seeds in a bowl and let marinade
Cook desired amount of rice
Julienne the vegetables, and steam or microwave for 2-3 minutes to the desired texture
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, and fry the prawns in two to three batches for a few minutes until opaque
This pasta meal is one I actually made up myself. Coriander is one of my favourite herbs (along with basil). I use it a lot when cooking Asian stir-fry dishes, but it also goes really well in this salmon dish. The dish is so quick to prepare it will only take 1/2 an hour, and it doesn’t require any tricky preparation techniques. It is a high carbohydrate meal as it is based on pasta, and is moderate fat due to the cream it contains (a tip below to reduce this). There is a range for the amount of cream in the recipe because you can reduce or increase the amount depending on how ‘creamy’ you like your pasta. This will also effect the fat content. The recipe asks for tinned salmon, but if you’re not on a budget you could also use fresh salmon.
3/4 cup sliced green beans
1/2 – 1 cup light thick cream
1 tsps brown sugar
1 small lime; 1/4 cup juice and 1 Tbs grated rind
1 bunch of coriander, chopped
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 red onion, diced
400g tin salmon
This meal is a great one for athletes with its high carbohydrate content. If you are wanting a lower energy meal, you can make the recipe to serve 3 and include a side salad to increase the fibre and nutrient density. To reduce the fat contect for athletes who are wanting to reduce skinfold levels, or keep them low, replace the cream with low-fat evaporated milk, which has a much lower fat percentage and still has a creamy texture. The green beans can be replaced with another geen vegetable like snow peas or even brocolli!
Cook the pasta, adding the beans in the last few minutes so they are bright green
Meanwhile heat a splash of olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions and garlic for a few minutes
Add cream, lime rind, lime juice, sugar, coriander and salmon, heat till warm
Drain the beans and pasta, add to the pan and toss well
Serve with cracked pepper and grated parmesan cheese.
This fabulous risotto I first came across when travelling in Munich Germany, served to us by our German friend. Although I have made it many times since, it is always different to the first time. Maybe it was those German cheeses she used. Beetroot seems an unlikely match for a risotto, but the purple colour of the beetroot makes for an outstanding look to the meal. It will be a fabulous hit for your friends or family.
2 whole beetroots
2 tsp crushed garlic
2 sprigs fresh or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
1 cup arborio rice
100ml red wine
500ml vegetable stock
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper
Risotto is always a great meal for athletes due to the high carbohydrate content of the rice. This has an extra added carbohydrate bonus from the beetroot as well. It would make a supurb meal for the night before an event, being very low fat, and high carbohydrate. You may want to exclude the wine in the recipe, not to eliminate alcohol from the dish, as all the alcohol evaporates on cooking, but because you may be tempted to drink the rest of the bottle.
Boil the beets till tender, approximately 30 minutes. Drain most of the juice from the pot, keeping about a cup.
Chop the beets into small cubes
In a separate pot cook the onion, garlic and fennel in the oil until translucent
Add the Arborio rice and cook for a few minutes longer till rice is coated
Add the wine and cook till evaporated
Add half the stock, 1 ladel at a time, stirring regularly while cooking
Add the diced beetroot and thyme to the pot, followed by the remaining stock and continue stirring
Use the beetroot juice if the risotto gets a little dry and the rice is not done
When the rice is soft but still slightly al-dente, turn the element off, add the parmesan and pepper and stir vigorously
Serve sprinkled with walnuts, soft goats cheese and rocket leaves to spruce it up a little for a dinner party.
You can roast the beetroot wrapped in foil as opposed to boiling in step #1
you can use chicken stock instead of vegetable for a lightly different flavour
This dish was inspired by a meal I ordered at a local restuarant. There’s no doubt the original chef-made version was very high fat, but I have recreated it as a healthy alternative. It is a pesto flavoured risotto made with pearl barley instead of the traditional arborio rice. Pearl barley is a high fibre grain that needs to be cooked for longer than rice (due to the unrefined nature of it), and is often soaked overnight for quickest cooking. The feta cheese matches really well with the lamb in this dish, and the tomato just adds colour and a fresh cool flavour.
(Serves 3, or 2 hungry athletes)
2 cups of pre-soaked pearl barley (~1 cup dry)
400g boneless lean lamb (backstrap)
dash of oil
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups beef stock
1 cup broccoli florets
2 Tbs pesto
50g feta cheese
freshly ground black pepper
1 tomato roughly chopped into 2cm cubes
Barley has a slightly lower carbohydrate content per gram than other refined white rice due to the fiberous husk, however is comparable nutritionally to brown rice. You could also use brown rice as an alternative in this recipe. The lamb makes this recipe high in iron and suitable for female athletes, or distance runners. The lamb should be low fat to reduce the amount of saturated fat, however pesto contains a lot of fat but the good type of oil, so if you are trying to reduce body fat, reduce or eliminate the amount of pesto, and replace with 1/2 bunch of fresh basil to boost the flavour.
Soak barley overnight if possible, otherwise cooking time will be increased
Fry the lamb in a non-stick fry pan until cooked and slightly pink in the centre (or as desired), leave to rest steps 3 & 4, then slice thinly while waiting in step 5
Using a deep non-stick pot, fry onions on med-high heat with a dash of oil till soft
Add pearl barley to the pot, then add the baslamic vinegar, stir till mostly evaporated
Add 1 cup of stock and cook until mostly absorbed (~5 minutes)
Add broccoli and second cup of stock and cook until mostly absorbed (~5 minutes)
Add small amounts of water until barley is soft but still with a slight crunch
Add the sliced lamb
Turn off heat and stir in pesto, crumbled feta and pepper