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.

Mediterranean Pasta

Key Features

  • low fat
  • high carbohyddrate
  • fairly easy
  • super tasty

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.

 

INGREDIENTS
(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).

Method

  1. Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling water till al-dente
  2. Cook the onions and garlic in a splash of oil in a large frypan until transluscent
  3. Add the fennel and chilli, cook for a further 3-4 minutes
  4. When the fennel is slightly soft, add the pasatta and olives
  5. When heated through and the liquid has reduced a little add the cubes of feta, pepper and parsley
  6. 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
  7. Toss the sance through the cooked pasta and serve.

Ginger and Lime Prawns with Rice

Key Features

  • lean protein source
  • very low fat
  • variable carbohydrate to suit needs

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.

 

INGREDIENTS
(Serves 2)
  • 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.

Method

  1. Place prawns, ginger, lime, soy sauce, chili and sesame seeds in a bowl and let marinade
  2. Cook desired amount of rice
  3. Julienne the vegetables, and steam or microwave for 2-3 minutes to the desired texture
  4. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, and fry the prawns in two to three batches for a few minutes until opaque
  5. Also heat all the marinade to use as a sauce
  6. Serve the prawns, with the rice and vegetables.

Stuffed Squid with Olive Salad

Key Features

  • More gourmet
  • Variable carbohydrate content
  • Very low fat

This recipe is a fabulous light summery meal, with a slightly higher degree of difficulty in making, but well worth it! The idea came from the Masterchef series, where the stuffed squid was a pressure test. I have changed it to make it a bit easier to prepare at home, lower in fat, and higher in carbohydrates. Buying already prepared squid tubes is much easier than having to prepare a whole squid – my kitchen is not big enough for that! The salad is so simple and tasty, but I thought after making it that you could combine the rice into the salad to make a great rice salad. The squid stuffing has a great lemony bite.

 

INGREDIENTS
(serves 2 medium sized meals)
  • 2 squid tubes, cleaned and gutted by a fishmonger
  • dash of olive oil
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • 100g green beans, blanced
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup plain white rice

Keep the rice seperate from the salad if you want to manipulate the carbohydrate content of the dish to suit your different levels of training and sport. This dish is suited to the more skilled athlete in the kitchen, as the stuffing can get a bit fiddly.

Method

  1. put the rice in a pot with 2 cups of cold water, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to simmer till the rice is cooked. There should be no water left
  2. cook the garlic, anchovies and onions in a dash of oil, until soft
  3. combine this mixture in a bowl with the lemon rind, juice, parsley and breabcrumbs
  4. spoon the mixture into the squid tubes, and seal with toothpicks at the ends
  5. grill or panfry the squid over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, till golden and just cooked through
  6. meanwhile, combine the tomato, green beans, olives and vinegar in a bowl
  7. slice and serve the squid, with 1/2 the salad and adequate rice.

Grilled Fish with Pear Risotto

Key Features

  • Very low fat
  • High carbohydrate
  • Good source of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Quick and easy to cook

Risotto is a great one-pot dish and is very quick to make. It is the type of meal that you can substitute whatever ingredients you have in your fridge or pantry. This great tasting risotto is a perfect match with grilled fish. The recipe has been modified from Sally James’ Victor Chang Cardiac Research Cookbook, with the original recipe using beef, which I replaced with fish, as I thought it better suited the lemony risotto.

INGREDIENTS
(Serves 2 hungry athletes or 3 for a smaller portion)
  • 2 dashes of olive oil
  • 1 pear, peeled and diced
  • juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine (optional)
  • 3 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 10 basil leaves, finely chopped or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 Tbs grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 fillets whiting or other white fish

Rice dishes are a great source of carbohydrate, and risotto is a fabulous meal for endurance athletes, and any athlete that has to run! This recipe will produce 3 medium sized serves however, if your training load is high it will only suffice for 2 meals. Alternatively you can enjoy this meal with some bread. If you are carbohydrate loading, I would suggest you leave the fish out, and include bread.

Method

  1. using a deep non-stick cooking pot, panfry the pear in a dash of oil till slightly soft, set aside and add 1/2 the lemon juice
  2. fry the onion in another dash of oil, till soft, then add the rice, stir for 2 minutes
  3. add the wine, stir till mostly evaporated
  4. add 1/2 cup of stock, stir till mostly absorbed, then continue adding stock slowly 1/2 a cup at a time
  5. after 15 minutes add the pear back to the dish, with some pepper, and dried basil (if using)
  6. when the rice is almost ready, soft with a light firmness inside, add the remaining lemon juice, zest and fresh basil (if using)
  7. turn off the heat and add the cheese, stir vigorously
  8. meanwhile barbecue or grill the fish with a sprinkle of pepper, and serve atop the risotto
  9. serve with a side salad and enjoy your delicious meal!