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.

Beetroot Risotto

Key Features

  • highly nutritious and colourful
  • vegetarian
  • high carbohdyrate
  • low fat

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.

 

INGREDIENTS
(Serves 2-3)
  • 2 whole beetroots
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 sprigs fresh or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 100ml red wine
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • olive oil
  • 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.

Method

  1. Boil the beets till tender, approximately 30 minutes. Drain most of the juice from the pot, keeping about a cup.
  2. Chop the beets into small cubes
  3. In a separate pot cook the onion, garlic and fennel in the oil until translucent
  4. Add the Arborio rice and cook for a few minutes longer till rice is coated
  5. Add the wine and cook till evaporated
  6. Add half the stock, 1 ladel at a time, stirring regularly while cooking
  7. Add the diced beetroot and thyme to the pot, followed by the remaining stock and continue stirring
  8. Use the beetroot juice if the risotto gets a little dry and the rice is not done
  9. When the rice is soft but still slightly al-dente, turn the element off, add the parmesan and pepper and stir vigorously

Other options:
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

Sweet Potato Frittata

Key Features

  • High protein
  • Simple to make
  • Highly nutritious

This simple recipe is so easy to make, and is fabulous for any meal, any time. I particularly like it for taking with me on a picnic, as you can prepare and cook it the night before, then cut it up and enjoy it as finger food with a variety of other nibblies. It is highly nutritious and is one of those dishes where you can use anything in your fridge or pantry as ingredients.

 

Ingredients
(serves 4 small appetites or 2 hungry athletes)
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp dried, or 4 sprigs of fresh parsley
  • a dash of chili if desired (dried)
  • 1 small sweet potato, cubed
  • 1/2 knob of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 cup light milk
  • 1/2 cup light cheddar cheese

This simple dish is great for athletes, as it is so easy to prepare and make. You can whip it up after a hard training session as a recovery meal, as it is an excellent source of protein, balanced with some carbohydrate and other vegetables.

Method

  1. microwave the potato so it is cooked and soft
  2. whisk the eggs and milk, add pepper and a little salt to taste
  3. fry the onions and garlic in a dash of olive oil, till soft
  4. add the parsley and chili, cook for a further 2  minutes
  5. add the broccoli and cook covered for 2-3 minutes
  6. mix in the potato
  7. transfer to an oven-proof dish (as pictured)
  8. pour over the egg mixture, sprinkle with cheese
  9. bake in a moderate oven for 30-40 minutes until browned on top

Alternatives:

  1. This dish was baked in the oven, however it can be cooked up in a frying pan with a metal handle, skip step 7 and add the eggs to the mixture in the frying pan. Cook till almost firm, then place under the grill to brown the top.
  2. You can replace the sweet potato with regular white potato, and the broccoli with any other green vegetable you prefer. It also works well with potato, mushroom and tomato as the vegetable combination.
  3. Include a pre-cooked puff pastry base to turn this into a quiche. Traditionally quiche doesn’t normally have potato, however this is an essential to include for the athlete to add carbohydrate and ensure it is a great recovery meal.