Saturday, 9 June 2012

Turkey Mince Ragu with Pasta

My Mum decided not to go to university because she had had enough of exams. She has a number of stories related to her hatred of exams but one that is always struck me goes a little something like this. When studying for her A-levels she was so nervous that she completely lost her appetite. She literally couldn’t look at a plate of food without feeling physically sick and so instead spent the whole time grazing on small bowls of fruit and nuts. Her parents were convinced she was anorexic, she lost so much weight they had her clothes taken in, despite my Mum’s protests saying it was just exam nerves. But, her parents, as worried as they were, decided once exams were over she should go and stay with an aunty who would hopefully feed her up and knock her out of this “anorexic” stage with plenty of steamed puddings and stews. Funnily Mum was just nervous...and within weeks of finishing her exams she’s piled back on all of the weight and more and her old clothes were now useless! Not necessarily a bad thing if you ask me. Now the reason this story mesmerises me so much, is that, I just can’t imagine feeling so nervous I can’t eat! When I came to take MY A-levels, I found it impossible to concentrate without a big bowl of salted Doritos or popcorn by my side.

Needless to say I went the opposite to my Mum and didn’t fit in any of my clothes once exams were over for all of the wrong reasons! Every summer for me the pattern has been the same, but this year I was determined to break the cycle, and I’m proud to say that for once I managed to buck the trend! I didn't quite go to the extremes that my Mum did but by watching my revision snacking and eating healthily I've actually managed to loose weight. Though it wasn’t easy I must admit.

For anyone who is trying to lose weight cooking from scratch really is the key, that way you can really make sure you know exactly how much fat is going into what you eat, and by making a few sensible substitutes you can have your favourite foods for half the calories.

One of my favourite substitutes is mince. Instead of beef/lamb, I use turkey mince! It is a much, much leaner mince but tastes equally delicious!

Here are a couple of example of healthy turkey mince recipes I’ve cooked in the past:

Turkey and Sweet Potato Pie

Home-made Turkey Burgers

This recipe is a little bit different, here the turkey mince isn’t a direct substitute for beef/lamb, but makes a dish in its own right, Turkey Mince Ragu with Pasta. The texture is more dry than a spaghetti bolognaise and has an extra kick with the chilli which makes it a lovely dish for a warm summers eve.


Pricing (based on Asda’s own unless otherwise specified):

Turkey mince 44p, chilli 11p, garlic 5p, red onion 20p, courgette 10p, yellow pepper 70p, broccoli 20p, plum tomatoes 30p, cherry tomatoes 50p, pasta 25p

Total = £2.85


  1. Yeah, nothing squashes my appetite. Apart from the first flush of love, I remember not eating much when I first got with my husband. But other than that, happy or sad, I eat!!
    I love the sound of this recipe, I don't think I've ever tried turkey mince. I could stand to lose a few pounds so might try it out.

  2. Awwww love does make you do crazy things :P though for just makes me eat even more hahaha! Long distance love means every time you see each other its a great excuse to say "thank you for driving all this way" with a big three course meal, or a great excuse to grab a take-away/head to a nice restaurant...I'll just have to keep on eating lots of yummy turkey mince in the meantime to counteract it all :)

  3. Turkey is an extremely healthy alternative to beef mince! Nah, I've totally gained weight during exams, I think I eat when I'm stressed! I get my results in a week and a half, and I only finished exams last week! Good luck good luck for your results, I hope they're what you wished for:D

  4. Results are such a fast turn-around arent they! My mates had exams last week and we get ours on Weds! I unfortunately finished crazy early haha! Exams are definitely not your waistlines friend :P will you be having professional exams as part of your career? I don't know how I'm going to survive law school exams haha!

  5. "has an extra kick with the chilli which makes it a lovely dish for a warm summers eve." I don't follow your reasoning there. I usually go for spicy kick with chilli during colder months - not often in Summer!  ツ

  6. I love chilli in the summer! Especially fresh chilli it has an edge to it rather than a mellow warmth. Why else would hot countries such as India and MExico cook with chilli if it wasn't great in the heat :)



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