Paprika Pork

As January is firmly over the horizon and we are all quickly running out of February, it becomes harder to cling on to that New Year’s “I’m going to be a health nerd” commitment that you promised you’d stick to this year.

It’s not so much the snacks (energy balls!) or the breakfasts (overnight oats!) but dinners that become a struggle. You’ve had a hard day at work, you just about managed to get yourself to the gym to make that monthly fee worthwhile and you still have to cook and eat.

We had the same problem the other week, but stumbled over this recipe. Parpika pork.

It ticked all the boxes. It was quick (30 minutes), easy (mostly throwing things in a pan) and cheap (pork, veg and spices). Plus it was delicious.

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Ingredients (serves 4)

600g Pork loin (any other pork should also do though)
300g Mushrooms, sliced
2 Small onions, halved then thinly sliced
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1.5 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp corn flour
3 tbsp tomato purée
250ml stock (from one chicken stock cube)
4 tbsp sour cream
Boiled rice

Directions

Add half the oil to a large pan over a medium high heat, then throw in the pork. Let it sizzle around a bit. Maybe wiggle the pan to make yourself look more pro. Once it’s all stopped being pink on the outside, pop it in a big bowl, juice and all.

Now is a good time to do your rice. We follow this foolproof Delia recipe to make sure it’s perfect.

Add the other half of the oil to the pan, then add the onions. Do something else for 3 minutes while they soften. Maybe read another review? When you come back they’ll be all soft and lovely – unless you cut them too thick, then shame on you, go read another review…

Throw in your mushrooms. Stir every now and again for about 7-8 minutes. Once the mushrooms have wilted and darkened, it’s time to put the pork back. Juice and all. Stir around until it’s hot again.

Add the paprika, chicken stock and tomato purée, give it a good old stir and then simmer for 5 minutes.

Mix the cornflour with 3 tablespoons of cold water to make a little gloopy paste, then add to the pan and stir to thicken your sauce. If you found that the sauce was thick enough, don’t bother adding the cornflour unless you want your dinner to have the consistency of meaty toothpaste.

Bring to the boil, remove from the heat, then stir in your sour cream. Serve with the awesomely cooked rice and shovel into your face. Hmmm.

Nutrition
Per serving (quarter of recipe, without rice)

Calories 300

Total fat 11g
Saturated: 3.1g
Polyunsaturated: 2.4g
Monounsaturated: 5.0g
Trans/hydrogenated: 0.0g
Cholesterol 82.8mg
Sodium 486.6mg
Potassium 265.9mg
Total carbs 9.0g
Fibre: 1.4g
Sugars: 2.9g
Protein 39.8g
Vitamin A 1.8%
Vitamin C 6.2%
Calcium 2.7%
Iron 5.2%

Is it clean?
Depending on your definitions, this can be considered a clean meal. The ingredients you may take umbridge with are the corn flour and the stock cube. Corn flour is the starch extracted from corn. While corn is ok, the extraction means it’s refined/processed. The nutrients are zero and there isn’t any rubbish in it, but it goes against the ethos of “clean”. Same goes for the stock cubes. Usually it is just dried from regular stock and seasoned, so it’s up to you as to whether it ticks your box or not!

I adapted this recipe from one my wife found in a recent Asda magazine, but I changed a few things (more paprika, more pork, fewer mushrooms) to make it nicer!

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No-bake Energy Balls

Eating clean is hard. It’s not finding things to eat. Recipes are easy to find but there is a part of my brain that wakes up every now again and demands that I eat four times my body weight in Haribo. The hard bit is ignoring it.

I have found a way of shutting it up, getting something yummy in my gob and getting a little boost of energy at the same time.

No-bake Energy Balls are quick and easy to make and just as quick and easy to eat. They make for great snacks that provide a good balance of complex carbohydrates, fibre, protein and omega 3, as well as keeping you away from the Haribo. For now.

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Ingredients (makes around 10 balls)

  • 30g Desiccated coconut
  • 60g Porridge oats
  • 30g Ground flaxseed
  • 40g Crunchy peanut butter (approx 2 tbsp)
  • 30g Runny honey (approx 3 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 Medium banana
  • 53g milk chocolate (approx 4 squares of a bar)

Directions
Put it all in a bowl. No particular order needed. On my second batch I left the honey until last so the oats didn’t soak it all up, but it really didn’t make a difference.

Mix it all about. You may need to mush the peanut butter down a bit so you don’t end with one energy ball that is just a lump of peanut butter covered in oats and coconut.

Once that’s done you can get on to making the balls. Grab a small handful of the mixture, wrap your hand around it and squeeze. I then push the excess back into the ball at both ends with my thumb while my hand is still closed. Shape the lump into a ball and there you have it. Your first no-bake energy ball! Well done!

Repeat 9 times or until your mixture runs out.

Pop them gently into an airtight container and keep in the fridge. I say that last for a week but they could last longer. They’ve never survived long enough for me to find out.

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You can add different things in there to make your own versions. I’ve been tempted to replace the chocolate with some cranberries or similar dried fruit. I did try leaving out the chocolate, melting it down and using it to cover the outside of the balls. Fancy trying that as well? Don’t. They’re too delicate for that. They fall apart and you’re left with an oaty, cocnutty, chocolatty mess instead of an awesome snack.

Nutrition
Per ball (recipe makes around 10 balls)

Calories 120

Total fat 7.2g
Saturated: 2.0g
Polyunsaturated: 0.7g
Monounsaturated: 0.7g
Trans/hydrogenated: 0.0g
Cholesterol 0.0mg
Sodium 10.1mg
Potassium 0mg
Total carbs 9.6g
Fibre: 1.7g
Sugars: 2.8g
Protein 2.9g
Vitamin A 0.0%
Vitamin C 0.0%
Calcium 1.0%
Iron 3.9%

I adapted this recipe from one I found through Pinterest, but omitted a few things (chia seeds?) and changed a couple of measurements as it was an American recipe using their silly cup system…

Banananut Butter Overnight Oats

After the initial boyish excitement of signing up to throw myself around an obstacle course for charity my brain quickly realised that I would need to eat well, not just train well.

That’s why I’ve been trying to eat clean as often as possible, eating less processed things and trying to balance out my diet. Lunch and dinner are easy to vary, but I’ve struggled with breakfast recently. Porridge was a first call for breakfast but after 3 weeks this has gotten a bit boring, so I’m trying something that I don’t think any person has ever achieved before: making porridge oats interesting.

But I found an answer and that answer is banananut butter overnight oats.

They sound fancy, they look fancy, but they’re really incredible easy and yummy. Get the ingredients, pile them into a jar, shake, pop into the fridge, go to bed, eat in the morning. Done.

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Ingredients

  • 65g Porridge oats
  • 10g Ground flaxseed
  • 50g Crunchy peanut butter (approx 2 tbsp)
  • 150ml Skimmed milk
  • 18g Runny honey (approx 2 tsp)
  • 80g Greek yoghurt
  • 1 Medium banana

Directions
Didn’t you read the bit above the ingredients list? Whack everything but the banana into a jar. Shake it up. It doesn’t even matter what order you do it in!

Once you’ve had enough fun trying to not throw a full jar across your kitchen, pop it into the fridge and then go to bed. When you get up and are ready for breakfast, slice the banana over the top and dig in!

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I thought this was easy and yummy, really giving porridge oats the lift I was searching for after 3 weeks of bland.

You can change the thickness of the oats by using semi-skimmed instead of skimmed or just add less milk and more yoghurt. I found the above amounts to be a bit stodgy so I’d suggest adding 25ml more milk and 10-15g less yoghurt, or even both. Sort your own breakfast out. I’m not your mum.

You can also add in different things, like fruit, nuts or coconut. Once I’ve had my second helping of this one tomorrow I’m either going to make an apple and cinnamon version or one packed with berries! Nom.

Nutrition
Per serving (recipe makes 2)

Calories 493

Total fat 18.4g
Saturated: 3.3g
Polyunsaturated: 1.6g
Monounsaturated: 0.4g
Trans/hydrogenated: 0.0g
Cholesterol 0.0mg
Sodium 139.4mg
Potassium 181.1mg
Total carbs 49.9g
Fibre: 7.2g
Sugars: 18.7g
Protein 16.7g
Vitamin A 0.5%
Vitamin C 7.5%
Calcium 4.8%
Iron 16.0%

I adapted this recipe from one I found on Pinterest, but had to change some amounts and also work out measurements as it was an American recipes using their silly cup system…