Chicken and Eggplant Meatballs

Key Features

  • Variable carbohydrate level
  • Excellent protein source
  • Low fat
  • Nutritious and flavoursome

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!

INGREDIENTS
(Serves 2-3)
Meatballs

  • cooking spray
  • 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

Raita

  • 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

Method

  1. 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.
  2. Put mince, zest, mint and onion into a large bowl, then add cooked eggplant. Mix together and mould ~20 meatballs with your hands.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. Serve the meatballs with steamed rice, green salad and Raita.

Cauliflower Soup

Key Features

  • Very easy to make
  • Variable carbohydrate
  • Very low fat
  • Great winter warmer
  • Excellent winter recovery snack

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.

 

INGREDIENTS
(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.

Method

  1. Chop the cauliflower into small florets (don’t discard the stems)
  2. Peel and chop the potatoes into large cubes
  3. Fry up the onion and garlic in a splash of oil until opaque
  4. Add the cauli florets, stems and potato pieces to the pot and stir fry for a few minutes
  5. Pour the stock into the pot and make sure there is enough stock to cover all the vegetables
  6. Add the celery seeds
  7. 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)
  8. When the vegetables are nice and tender, turn off the pot, and allow to cool slightly
  9. Use a hand blender (or a bench top blender) and wizz the ingredients till smooth
  10. Add the grated cheese, turn the stove top back on, and heat through while stirring to melt the cheese
  11. Add black pepper
  12. Sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve

Methodology Tips:

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.