Delicious… Two Chubby Cubs’ Schnitzel
What shall we eat? It’s a question that should inspire, not make you moan, and open a takeout app on your phone.
Enter James and Paul Anderson, who are on a two-man mission to help the nation get excited when it comes to good food.
“All you need is 30 minutes,” James says. “No technical skill required.”
James and Paul are the married duo behind food blog Two Chubby Cubs. They live in Newcastle and have been together for 15 years, but it was their weight loss journey together that put them on the map.
“Until 10 years ago, Paul and I were always fat or losing weight,” says James, 37, a former lawyer in training and now a full-time food blogger.
“So we started a blog where we cooked things that didn’t feel like diet food.
“None of us are chefs and Paul hasn’t even passed his GCSE food tech. But we started making foods that don’t compromise on taste so that while you’re dieting, you don’t feel that you’re robbing yourself.”
HEART & HEALTHY: Paul and James share their recipes
The blog took off and in 2019 James and Paul were invited to the ITV reality show This Time Next Year, tasked with losing 10th each in a year. At the time, James was 28th and Paul 26th.
“It almost happened – James was 4lbs off target and I lost 8th in total,” says Paul, 36, who also works as a medical assistant on the NHS. Their success inspired the first of the couple’s three cookbooks, the third of which – Two Chubby Cubs: Dinner Time – is due out late this month. They also have over 100,000 followers on Instagram.
“We’re not chefs, we cook healthy recipes that don’t require technical skills, and use ingredients you can find in the supermarket,” says James. “We go for minimal effort and minimal costs.”
And eating well is doable, whatever your budget, they say.
“The secret is to make meals that use ingredients so you don’t throw anything away,” explains James.
“For example, say you used half a bell pepper in a meal, chop the other half into a stew or salad, or roast it and add it to risotto or pasta,” says James.
“Cooking from scratch is cheaper than a takeaway – and takes less time,” adds Paul. “Plus, if the meals you prepare are delicious, filling, and interesting, you’ll look forward to them just as much.”
Here, the Cubs share five exclusive recipes to feed the family in 30 minutes.
- Two Chubby Cubs: Dinner Time by James & Paul Anderson (£20, Yellow Kite) comes out May 26
BEEF WITH DIPPER SAUCE
- 8 shallots, or 2 onions
- 2½ cm piece ginger, grated
- 2 stalks of lemongrass
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground fennel seed
- 1 tsp salt
- 700 g beef cubes
- 1 lime, quartered
TO MAKE THE DIPPER SAUCE:
- 4 tablespoons low-fat peanut butter
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 drops sriracha
- 1 clove garlic, pressed or grated
1. Place all ingredients (except beef and sauce ingredients) in a food processor and pulse to a thick paste. If it is too thick, loosen with a few tablespoons of water.
2. In a large bowl, mix the pasta with the beef until well coated and let it marinate for at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight.
3. Thread the meat onto skewers and grill under high heat for 15 minutes, turning frequently.
4. Meanwhile, mix the dipping sauce ingredients and set aside.
5. Serve the beef with the sauce on the side and lime wedges to squeeze over.
BEEF WITH DIPPER SAUCE
CAJUN STEAK DIRTY RICE
- 250 g long grain rice
- 400 grams steak
- 4 bacon medallions, diced
- ½ onion, chopped
- 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cube of beef stock
- 6 mushrooms, diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- ½ red, ½ yellow and ½ green bell pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
1. Cook rice according to package directions, drain and set aside.
2. Spray a large frying pan with a little oil and place over medium heat. Add steak to the pan and cook to your liking.
The cooking time depends on the thickness of your steak. Once done, remove and let rest.
3. Wipe the pan, spray with a little more oil and return to the heat. Add bacon and onion and cook until bacon is crisp.
4. Stir in the Cajun seasoning and Worcestershire sauce.
5. Dissolve the stock cube in 200 ml of boiling water, stir and set aside.
6. Add mushrooms, carrots and peppers to the pan along with the stock and stir.
7. Cook until most of the moisture has evaporated, stirring frequently, then add the rice and mix until heated through.
8. Cut the steak into cubes and add to the pan while stirring. Serve sprinkled with the spring onions.
CAJUN STEAK DIRTY RICE
MAKE IT YOUR OWN: Are you missing an ingredient? Give it a try and add something else. By putting your own stamp on it, you might end up with something you like even more.
USE THE VOL-VET INGREDIENTNT: Diet books recommend swapping things like full-fat Greek yogurt for fat-free. do not. If your dinner tastes good and is really satisfying, you won’t reach for a treat afterwards.
ENGAGED THE CHILDREN: Let your kids choose a recipe they like and involve them in cooking it. This makes them more likely to devour the piece and you also spend quality time together as a family.
USE YOUR RESTS: Don’t throw away leftovers. Use as a filling for a delicious sandwich, bake in a frittata or to add flavor to a risotto. This reduces food waste and helps the environment and your bank balance.
BATCH COOK: If you make a big barrel out of something and freeze it, you’ll always have something delicious on hand for dinner — all you have to do is warm it up.
FRITTATA DE CORSE
- 500 g potatoes
- 6 eggs
- 1 tbsp dried Provencal herbs
- 120 g soft goat cheese
- 1 bunch mint leaves, roughly chopped
1. Peel the potatoes, cut them into 2 cm cubes and place them in a large pot of boiling water. Cook for 5 minutes, until cooked through, then drain.
2. Break eggs into a bowl and beat with the spices. Stir in the potatoes.
3. Spray a large frying pan with a little oil and place over medium heat.
4. Pour in the egg mixture, crumble in the goat cheese and sprinkle over the mint. When the edges are firm but the center is still a little soft, turn onto a plate. Cut into wedges and serve.
FRITTATA DE CORSE
- 4 pork loin steaks, all visible fat removed
- 120 g panko breadcrumbs
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp bell pepper
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp flour
1. Preheat oven to 200C fan/425F/gas 7. Wrap each steak loosely in cling film and roll with a rolling pin to about 1cm thick.
2. Mix panko breadcrumbs, lemon zest, oregano, thyme and paprika in a shallow dish. Beat the egg and place in another shallow dish. Place the flour in a third bowl.
3. Gently coat each steak with flour, then dip in the egg and coat with breadcrumbs.
4. Place the steaks on a non-stick baking tray, brush with a little oil and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes.
- 30 g salted butter
- 250 g fancy mushrooms, cut into pieces
- 5 cloves garlic, pressed or grated
- tsp dried thyme
- 150 g couscous (natural or mushroom)
- 200 ml vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese or vegetarian Italian hard cheese
- Pinch of salt and black pepper
1. Over low heat, gently melt the butter in a frying pan and add mushrooms and garlic, cook slowly to soften and after a minute or two add the thyme.
2. Place couscous in a bowl and cover with stock, then stir in butter, mushrooms and garlic, cover with a tight fitting lid and let stand for about 5 minutes.
3. Loosen with a fork, season and serve with Parmesan cheese.