Chilli Con Carne

Photo by Lesyy/iStock / Getty Images

Chilli Con Carne is a favourite in many households, including my own. I find this is a great recipe to cook at the start of the week with the option to freeze for times of need or to reheat for lunches the next day. A few healthy facts about this recipe:

  • I have modified the traditional recipe by including more vegetables. You can include even more by adding grated zucchini to the mix and serving this dish with a side salad. Adding the extra vegetables lowers the total saturated fat and energy content per serve and increases the fibre content.
  • This recipe has approximately 25g of protein per serve, which is an excellent amount to consume after exercise or any meal during the day for active people.
  • This recipe is great topped with Greek yoghurt instead of the traditional sour cream. Greek yoghurt it much lower in total fat, saturated fat and energy, with the added bonus of some calcium and extra protein.
  • This recipe is great served on its own for a light meal or served with rice, spuds or wraps for a more active eat.

Ingredients (serves 8)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

2 red capsicums, diced

1 large carrot, diced

2 tablespoons of cumin

2 tablespoons of ground coriander 

1 tablespoon of paprika

1/2 - 1 tablespoon of chilli powder (depending on your preference)

500g of lean beef mince

800g (2 large tins) of kidney beans

1 large tin (400g) of diced/chopped tomatoes

700g jar of tomato passata

1 cup of mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

To serve

Thick Greek yoghurt

Grated cheddar 


Rice, baked potatoes or wraps



Heat a large, heavy based pan over medium-high. Add the olive oil, onion, garlic, carrot and capsicum. Cook, stirring, until onion is translucent. Add the paprika, cumin, ground coriander and chilli powder and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cooking until fragrant and everything is starting to brown.

Add the mince and brown for a few minutes, stirring and jabbing frequently with a big wooden spoon. Pour in the diced tomatoes, mushrooms, kidney beans and passata. Bring to boil, then reduce and simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until sauce reduces, thickens and darkens slightly. Taste the mix to see if you need to add more heat, salt or pepper - you want it to have a bit of heat without too much!

Sprinkle with coriander leaves. Serve accompanied with rice, spuds or wraps and a nice big dollop of Greek yoghurt and a handful of grated cheese.

  •  A great recipe to make at the start of the week and reheat for a quick and easy dinner.

  •  Keep frozen portions in the freezer.


Nutrition information per serve (for the chilli only) 1332kJ (317 cal), protein 26g, fat 12g, saturated fat 3g, carbohydrate 22g, sugars 9g, fibre 11g, sodium 461mg


This recipe was inspired by Heidi Swanson's baked oats.

As soon as I saw the original recipe I just had to try it Heidi's way and my own way.

Eating oats baked is a more indulgent way to enjoy this old-time favourite, yet you still reap the many health benefits. 

Eating oats this way provides about the same amount of carbohydrate (~40g), a little more protein from the nut and seed topping (~12g) and a little more fat compared to oats cooked in milk and topped with fruit, but overall a nutrient dense and filling way to start the day.

I have been enjoying baked oats on the weekend when I am looking for a carbohydrate rich, higher protein breakfast following a long run. I just enjoy this with a cup of milk for adequate protein for muscle recovery and enough carbohydrate to refuel my muscle glycogen stores. 

I believe the whole family would just love this recipe for a heart-warming breakfast on a cold weekend morning. 

Ingredients (makes 6 serves)

2 cups of oats

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

 1 teaspoon of baking powder

 100g of a nut and seed mix (I used almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds)

 A pinch of salt

 1 egg

 2 cups of milk

 60g unsalted butter or margarine, melted

 3 tablespoons of maple syrup

 1 teaspoons of vanilla essence

 2 cups of frozen mixed berries

 1 large ripe banana (or two small bananas), sliced


Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

In a bowl combine the dry ingredients - oats, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and 50g of the nut and seed mix.

In a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients - whisk the egg then add the milk, melted butter (or margarine), maple syrup and vanilla essence.

Line the base of a 20cm x 20cm oven proof dish (grease if required) with the banana and 1 ½ cup of the berries.

Scatter the dry ingredients on top of the banana and berries.

Slowly pour the wet ingredients over the oat mixture, then give the dish a good thump on the bench/chopping board (without breaking) to make sure the wet ingredients mix through.

Scatter the other 50g of the nut and seed mix and ½ cup of berries over the top.

Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes or until brown on top.

Remember to use recipes for inspiration and mix up the ingredients to your own liking. You could also use tinned apples instead of the banana and walnuts instead of the nut and seed mix.


Soba Noodle and Sesame Stir-fry

I just cooked this lovely flavoured stir-fry and just needed to share it. We were planning for a meal with plenty of veggies that had a good amount of carbs after a long run in the Adelaide Hills today and to get ready for training tomorrow. It still had to be quick and easy to prepare for a lazy Sunday night eat. This is what we came with…

Ingredients (serves 4)

Approximately 300g of dried soba noodles (you may need more if you have been really active)

2 tbsp of rice bran or any nut oil

2 medium-large chicken breasts (approximately 500g), thinly sliced

2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 butternut pumpkin, cut into 1cm x 1cm cubes

1 medium red capsicum, thinly sliced

1 handful of green beans, ends trimmed

1/2 bunch of brocollini, roughly chopped

3 spring onions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon of black or white sesame seeds


1 teaspoon of sesame oil

3 tablespoons of salt-reduced soy sauce

1 chilli, seeds removed and thinly sliced

Juice from one lemon

1 tablespoon of honey


Heat half of the rice bran oil over a medium to high heat.

Add chicken, onion, and garlic and stir-fry until starting to brown and set aside.

Turn the heat up to a high heat, heat the rest of the rice bran oil then add pumpkin and cook for 1-2 minutes, only turning when starting to brown on the bottom. Next add beans, capsicum and brocollini  and continue to stir-fry for approximately 2-3 minutes so the veggies are starting to cook through but are still crunchy.

While the vegetables are cooking, cook the soba noodles in boiling water for approximately 3 minutes then remove and rinse with cold water until ready to put in stir-fry.

Add the chicken, garlic and onion to the pan, stir through then add the soba noodles and the dressing.

Serve in bowls and garnish with sesame seeds and spring onions.

If you would prefer a vegetarian option, add some more vegetables and serve with a fried or poached egg on top – I think this would be just lovely.

Nutrition information per serve Energy 1628kJ (387cal), protein 30g, fat 14g,  saturated fat 2g, carbohydrate 30g, sugars 12g, fibre 8g, sodium 580mg

Turmeric spiced zucchini salmon patties with a zesty dill yoghurt

Easter is a great time to enjoy the company of friends and family, and celebrate with good food.

Although my family are not particularly religious we have always embraced the tradition of no red meat on Good Friday. Considering my dad is a bit of a fisherman and I was lucky enough to grow up on beautiful Lake Macquarie in NSW, we have always been spoilt with an abundance of fresh fish and seafood. Living in Adelaide, I am equally spoilt for great seafood.

Although fresh is often on the menu, salmon patties using tinned salmon often featured during our Good Friday celebrations. Tinned salmon is a fantastic alternative to fresh fish, providing a convenient and versatile option with the added benefits of oily fish.

Oily fish like salmon, tuna and sardines and other seafood (such as mussels and squid) supply omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fats help to lower circulating levels blood fats called triglycerides. They also help to reduce inflammation, which damages blood vessels, increasing a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease. Recommendations for most of the Australian population are to enjoy two to three 150g servings of oily fish weekly. Some recent studies have also suggested that supplementing these omega-3 fats instead of eating the real thing do not provide us with the benefits as once thought...

Food has a complex nature and you just can’t beat the real thing!

As we approached this Easter break I was thinking about the salmon patties that we used to have barbecuing during our Good Friday celebrations. I thought it would be nice to recreate these old favourites in my kitchen. So here is a modern twist to an old favourite.

This nutrient dense recipe is also gluten free for those who require a gluten free diet. Breadcrumbs can be substituted for the almond meal if desired; however this option will not be gluten free.

Other health benefits of some of the ingredients include:

  • Salmon – high in omega-3 fats to reduce inflammation, triglyceride levels and improve your overall cardiovascular health
  • Salmon and almond meal – high in protein to help build and repair muscles and tissues and enhance satiety after meals
  • Turmeric – may help to reduce inflammation
  • Zucchini – is currently in season (Summer and Autumn months) and will be providing you with antioxidants and fibre
  • Greek yoghurt and the bones in the salmon – will help to bump up your daily calcium intake, and
  • Dill (herb) – may help to relax muscles and fight bacteria.

Ingredients for patties

Large can (415g) of salmon

1 cup of almond meal

1 egg

1 large zucchini, grated – use paper-towel to absorb water from the grated zucchini

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

1 teaspoon of turmeric

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 cup of parsley, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to season

Olive oil to cook


Put salmon in a bowl and mash until skin and bones have been crushed and mixed through – this will increase the calcium and omega-3 content of the recipe.

Add ¾ cup of almond meal, egg, zucchini, lemon juice, turmeric, garlic, parsley and season with salt and pepper, mix until combined.

Use a 1/2 cup measurement to measure out and make 6 salmon patties.

Dust in remaining almond meal.

Put in fridge for about half an hour to firm if desired.

Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan over low-medium heat.

Cook each side over low-medium heat for approximately 4 minutes each side.

Zesty dill yoghurt


½ cup of low fat Greek yoghurt

Juice from ½ a lemon

½ cup of finely chopped dill

Pepper to season


1. Mix all ingredients and season with pepper.

2. Use as a dipping sauce or top each pattie with some zesty, dill sauce.