I have decided to Introduce a new category today to capture some of my healthy mid-week meal creations.
For those that know me well, you will know that I have been following 5:2 (aka intermittent fasting) for almost 2 years. It has helped me shed almost 25kg and keep it off, and I can safely say that I have never felt better.
Now I am in no way saying that everyone should jump onto 5:2 – it may work for me but might not be best for others. If you are thinking of starting, and in particular if you do have any ailments or are on medication, it’s probably best to speak to a doctor first.
But regardless of whether you follow 5:2 or not, if you are feeling like a healthy mid-week boost, I hope you find some of these recipes useful.
As these are midweek meals, the idea is simplicity – you should be able to whip most of these up within half an hour.
The first off the rank is Faux Pho.
I have swapped out the traditional rice noodles for zucchini noodles – aka “zoodles”; and in this particular case I have used store-bought beef stock, but I do aim to get better at making stocks & soups in advance. If you have a stash of good quality beef stock in the freezer, this is a prime time to use it.
The rest of the ingredients are pretty traditional – just carefully measured.
Faux Pho (Serves 2; approx. 180 cal per serve)
- 100g beef fillet
- 3 medium zucchini
- cooking salt
- 1 red birdseye chilli
- 0.5 cup fresh bean sprouts
- 2 tbsp chives, chopped
- A few sprigs of Vietnamese mint, coriander or Thai basil
- 1 lime
- 600ml beef stock, the best you can find
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 small star anise
- Using a julienne peeler or mandoline, slice the zucchini into long, thin strips so they resemble noodles.
- Put the zucchini noodles into a sieve and salt liberally – make sure to toss the salt through so all the noodles are covered, and don’t be afraid to use a lot here, it will be rinsed off later. The purpose of this is to sweat the noodles, this will ensure they keep their texture when cooking and don’t end up a soggy mess.
- Set zucchini aside for about 20 minutes.
- Put the beef stock, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and star anise into a small saucepan and heat gently.
- While the stock is heating, slice the beef fillet as finely as you can with a sharp knife and set aside.
- Finely slice the chilli, cut limes into wedges and place these onto a plate or bowl along with the bean sprouts and fresh herbs.
- Heat a deep fry pan or saute pan on medium-high heat.
- Rinse the zucchini noodles thoroughly with water to remove the salt
- Add zucchini noodles to saute pan and cook, covered, for about 3 minutes or so – these don’t need long, they are ready when they have just started getting tender and are heated right through.
- Check on your stock and make sure it’s fully warmed – it needs to be quite hot (just about boiling point) but you don’t want it boiling furiously otherwise you’ll evaporate too much of your precious soup!
- Discard the star anise.
- Assemble the noodles in 2 bowls with the slices of beef and chives
- Pour hot stock over the beef – half in each bowl
- Serve with your plate of accompaniments and add these to your taste. I usually add half the chilli and squeeze 1 wedge of lime then taste the soup before adding any more.
- That’s it – a tasty midweek meal, and I barely miss the rice noodles!