Persian Beef Pilaf

Persian Beef Pilaf The recipe I used as the basis for this dish was from a soup cookery book.  Although it is cooked in a broth, by the end of the cooking process there wasn’t much liquid left and it was more like a wet pilaf.  Most importantly, it was really tasty and filling!

Servings:    7

Pro Points:    6

Simple Start:    Yes

Filling & Healthy:    0

Cooking time:    1hr 10min (+1hr soaking time)


  • 1.2l water
  • 2 beef stock cubes
  • 225g extra lean steak mince
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 75g yellow split peas (soaked for 1 hour in plenty of water)
  • 1tsp ground turmeric
  • 1tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp ground black pepper
  • 1tsp salt
  • 225g brown rice
  • 350g spinach, chopped
  • 25g dill, chopped
  • 75g spring onions, chopped
  • 150g 0% fat natural yogurt

For the garnish

  • 1/2 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 1tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1tsp healthy oil



  1. Pour the water into a large saucepan, add the stock cubes and bring to the boil.
  2. Add the beef, onion, soaked yellow split peas, spice and salt. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the rice and simmer for a further 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the spinach, dill and spring onions then simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the garnish: fry the onion in the oil over a moderate heat until golden brown. Add the mint then cook for a further 5 minutes until crisp. Set aside.
  6. Stir the yogurt into the rice mixture and heat through.
  7. Serve with the garnish sprinkled on top.



Slow Cooker Balsamic Beef

I often develop my own recipes by altering other people’s.  I came across this recipe just before Christmas and it was so delicious I’ve made it twice since!  It didn’t need anything changing to make it more delicious and I can’t take the credit so click here to take you to the recipe itself.Slow Cooker Balsamic Beef

It fits with the Simple Start plan and if you’re counting points you just need to point the amount of beef you serve yourself (plus any sides of course).

Although slow cooker recipes tend to be easy anyway, this really is INCREDIBLY easy and gives you an amazing result.

If you have a slow cooker, if you cook nothing else this week, give this recipe a go.

If you don’t have a slow cooker, buy yourself one and then try this recipe!

Top Tip: I used the leftovers (although it was difficult to save any!) as a filling for a wrap to take to work for my lunch.

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Put a twist on this classic by using pork, chicken or turkey mince.  I like to use a beef stock cube to add richness to the sauce but you could match the stock to your choice of mince if you prefer.

Servings:    4Spaghetti Bolognaise

Pro Points:    Chicken [3]

                        Beef [4]

                          Pork [5]

                          Turkey [3]

                         + extra for spaghetti

Simple Start:    0

Preparation time:     10mins

Cooking time:    40mins


  • Olive/vegetable oil or oil spray
  • 1 large or 2 small onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 500g of your choice of chicken mince, extra lean beef mince, extra lean pork mince, or turkey breast mince
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 400g passata
  • Beef stock cube, made up with 100ml of hot water
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced thickly
  • 2tbsp dried mixed herbs
  • Salt & pepper
  • Spaghetti to serve



  1. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan.  Add the onions and garlic and fry gently over a medium/low heat for approximately 5mins until softened.
  2. Add your choice of mince.  Increase the heat slightly and fry until browned.
  3. Add the tomatoes, passata, stock and mixed herbs and stir well.
  4. Bring up to the boil.  Stir in the mushrooms then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25min until the mushrooms are cooked through.
  5. Season to taste and serve with cooked pasta.


Top tip: Add some chopped mixed peppers and extra tinned tomatoes or passata to make this go even further (and reduce the points per serving if you are counting Pro Points).  E.g. If using chicken mince and adding 3 peppers, you are able to get 6 servings at 2pp each (excluding pasta).


Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie

I adapted this from the recipe in the Simple Start material as I don’t like Quorn mince.

Servings:    4Cottage Pie

Pro Points:    8

Simple Start:    0

Preparation time:     15-20mins

Cooking time:    50mins


  • 900 g Potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • Spray oil
  • 350 g extra lean beef mince
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 1 medium leek chopped finely
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 225 g swede or turnip, chopped
  • Beef stock cube, made up with 500ml hot water
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Mixed Herbs
  • 3 tablespoons skimmed milk
  • Salt and Pepper, to season
  • Vegetables to serve


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190˚c/180˚c fan/375˚f/Gas mark 5.
  2. Put the potatoes into a large pan of water, bring to the boil and cook for 15-20mins until tender.
  3. Meanwhile, soften the onions in a large non-stick pan with the oil spray.
  4. When the onions have softened, add the mince and stir until browned.  Then add the leeks, carrot, swede or turnip cook gently for 5mins to soften the vegetables.  Stir frequently and add a splash of water if necessary to stop the mixture from sticking.
  5. Add the beef stock and the herbs.  Stir well and simmer for 10-15mins.  Season the meat mixture to taste.  While the mince is cooking, mash the potatoes with the skimmed milk.
  6. Spoon the cooked mince and vegetables into a large oven proof dish and top with the mashed potatoes.
  7. Cook in the oven for 25-30mins until piping hot throughout and browned on top.  Serve with cooked green vegetables.

Top tip: If you’re not a fan of peeling potatoes, use New Potatoes to create a ‘rustic mash’: cook and mash them with their skins on.

Slow-Cooked Beef Rogan Josh

Beef Rogan Josh

This is incredibly easy and makes a delicious alternative to a takeaway on a Saturday night.  The spice level is medium-hot but this can be altered by adding more/less chillies as desired.

Servings:    4

Pro Points:    3 (+ extra for rice)

Simple Start:    0

Preparation time:     10mins

Cooking time:    4-6 hours


  • 2 medium/3 small onions
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 each red & green pepper, cut into strips
  • 400g lean braising beef
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 200g passata


  1. Finely chop half of the onions and cut the other half into wedges.  Put into slow cooker with the sliced garlic.
  2. Crush the coriander seeds and break the cinnamon stick in half.  Add all the spices to the slow cooker and stir to combine.
  3. Cut the beef into large chunks and add to the slow cooker along with the peppers, tomatoes and passata.  Stir well.
  4. Cook on low for 4 hours or high for 6 hours until the meat is cooked through.
  5. Season to taste and serve with brown rice.

Top tip: Make extra and freeze the left-over portions for a great homemade ready meal.