Yesterday I had a bit of a dilemma: it was a fasting day, and also a bank holiday. Bank holidays and sunshine can only mean one kind of meal in our house; barbecue! We do love a barbecue, I love them because it means I don’t have to do all the cooking, Ross loves them because cooking over hot coals is manly, and the kids love them because they like meat on sticks and burgers.
When I think of barbecues, I tend to think of oozy cheeseburgers, relish covered bangers (with or without onions, your call), and creamy potato salad. I didn’t want to have to miss out just because I had a limit of 500 calories, and so a challenge was set. Could I stick to 500 calories, AND feel full and satisfied AND not miss out on the grilling action?
Here are a few ideas for a 5:2 barbecue.
Balsamic chicken skewers
This is adapted from a Donna Hay recipe. Marinate chicken breast mini fillets (or just cut a regular chicken breast fillet in half or even thirds if you get a beast of a bird) in 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar, 8 fl. oz chicken stock, some crushed garlic and a couple of teaspoons of sugar. In the original recipe, the chicken is griddled, and the the marinade reduced down to an amazingly sweet sticky glaze. I didn’t do this, but instead brushed the chicken with the balsamic vinegar and stock whilst it was cooking. It went down a storm. There are lots of advantages to making these with mini fillets instead of using whole chicken breasts:
- They cook faster on the barbecue, meaning that once they are nicely browned and caramelised on the outside, they’ll be done on the inside. Nothing wrecks a barbecue quite like salmonella.
- Mini fillets are a great size for little fingers, there were 5 children eating at our barbecue yesterday, and they all loved the chicken on a stick!
- Finally, if you’re on a fasting day, a mini fillet means you get a tasty bit of lean meat without worrying too much about calories. A 100g portion has around 100 calories.
Say hello to my new very favourite way to cook asparagus. Simply squeeze over some lemon juice and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss in a tablespoon of oil and grill for a few minutes, until tender.
Asparagus is very low in calories, and is said to be an aphrodisiac. I ate loads. Watch out, husband.
Vegetable and lamb kebabs
An old favourite! cubes of lamb, peppers, onion and mushrooms pushed on to skewers and barbecued. You don’t need any oil to cook these, as the lamb releases fat as it cooks. Filling, and very very tasty!
Barbecues and salad?
Does salad have a place at a barbecue? Some say no, but I say yes, yes it does.
We had a green salad made up with romaine lettuce, an avocado, celery and cucumber. Although avocado is relatively high in calories, it’s GREAT for skin, hair and nails, and being from the plant kingdom, has no cholesterol. It’s completely wonderful sprinkled with a little salt and dipped in hot sauce.
I also prepared a tomato salad by slicing up a few different types of tomato, and drawing out the juice with a little salt. Doing this really intensifies the flavour of the tomatoes. I added black olives and chives over the top and crumbled on some feta cheese. Delicious, and it took me mere moments to put together.
So there you go, tasty morsels of barbecue goodness for whether you are dieting or not.