cheesy gnocchi bake: recipe reacharound

Afternoon folks – keeping well? Here for the cheesy gnocchi bake? Of course you are, it’s a scorcher, but…

Apologies for the lack of posts, but as reasons go, as previously mentioned, we’ve got a killer reason. Now, because I know our readers consist of two types:

  • learned folks who will offer me sage advice which I’ll promptly ignore in favour of spending my days trying to perfect every voice from ‘One Day More’; and
  • nosey gossips who demand every morsel and detail and will be fumin hun if we don’t tell…

I shan’t go into detail. Maha. But that’s also the last time I’ll allude to it because frankly, Mr Shankley, I’m sick of talking about it.

Before we get to the blog, just a reminder that our diet planner is coming out very soon! If you liked the cookbook you’ll love the planner, and if you buy it and hate it, at least you can scrawl rude words on my cartoon face. There’s 26 recipes, six months of challenges and places to write stuff, and well, in short, it’s tremendous. You can order it here and it’ll even open in a fancy new window to stop you getting distracted.

As we press on with all the exciting things that need attending to, we’re going to revisit some of the older blog recipes and give them a gussy-up. Actually, I believe the term to use is glow-up, where something that was once a wreck to look at is transformed into something beautiful simply by shaking out their hair and taking their glasses off. I’ve tried doing exactly that, but if I shake my face, my lips don’t stop moving until three days later and people assume I’ve developed an essential tremor. Also, if you look back at our old blog entries, our recipe style was something else: a paragraph of guff with ingredients missing and measurements all awry. Oh, and let’s not forget that St Margaret of the Church Hall Massive does like to change the syns occasionally just to be tricksy.

We, because we’re filthy, will be calling these revisitations our ‘recipe reacharound’. Because who doesn’t look a reacharound? I wouldn’t know. I’m so rotund these days that it would take a relay team and a safety car to give me one of those. We aren’t planning on doing all the old recipes again because Christ, some of the combinations we used to come up both sicken and disgust me, but over the next year we might find ourselves revisiting a few. But just the old favourites, eh?

So, first in our reacharound is the saucy cheeseburger gnocchi bake from 2015. It’s an amazing dish – quick to make, easy to pad out and has enough cheese on it to drown a horse, though why you’d want to do that is anyone’s guess. When we published it Uptown Funk was at number one, no-one had heard of the coronaVIRUS and one of the biggest news items was that someone had taken a picture of the sun and it looked angry. I mean, as memorable days go, it’s not a winner. But looking back at the blog entry is hilariously sweet: I was gushing over the fact we had 1,000 followers. Seems incredible now we’re well over 500,000 but let me say, without a slip of sarcasm, that we’re still thankful for each and every one of you. If you have been reading since day one, I’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment!

For some reason I thought the best lead-in for a recipe was to talk about my cat vomiting, which I’d probably steer away from now. But one thing remains a comfort: even half a decade ago, my cat was a stone-cold bitch. Don’t get me wrong, I love her and her permanently angry human face, but she exudes anger and vitriol like you wouldn’t believe. If she came through the cat flap covered in blood and waving a flick-knife around in her paws, I wouldn’t question her. I long worry for the day when I wake to find the corpse of my husband, his throat clawed open and her merciless eyes fixed on me from across the bedroom. She’d probably teach herself to speak human if only so she could silkily whisper in my ear that I’ve always been a fat disappointment to her as I died. The other cat is fine, by the way – he’s far more mellow, which I put down to the fact he spends 22 hours a day licking at his willy. I wish I could, but he’d probably scratch my face if I tried it.

Good news though: we longer have that carpet. Every cloud…

To the cheesy gnocchi bake then!

cheesy gnocchi bake

Honestly, how’s that pan of cheesy gnocchi bake for a sight for sore eyes?

cheesy gnocchi bake

You want the top of the cheesy gnocchi bake to crisp and bubble. Don’t be afraid to add more cheese, we won’t ever tell.

cheesy gnocchi bake

Cheesy gnocchi bake is one of those dishes that tastes amazing but looks shite plated up – cover with hot sauce, it hides all sins. Syns. Shush.

cheesy gnocchi bake

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 large servings

We previously used Quark for this recipe, and you can do so too if you're not a fan of flavour and fun in your meals. We swapped it out for Philadelphia Lightest which adds a much nicer creaminess but does add 10 syns - so if you are trying to make this lighter, drop it. If you wanted to take it a step further, you could swap the gnocchi for small boiled potatoes, but honestly.

This cheesy gnocchi bake - like all of our recipes - is very easy to customise. Good additions would be sweetcorn, peas or different, strong mushrooms. Quorn mince does work well if you're that way inclined.

Ingredients

  • 100g of button mushrooms, sliced finely
  • two large peppers (one red, one green, or use whatever you have) diced fine
  • one large onion, diced fine
  • one garlic clove, minced fine
  • 500g chilled gnocchi (we use ASDA gnocchi because we've let ourselves go, and that's 6 syns for 500g)
  • 500g of lean mince
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 250g of Philadelphia Lightest (swap for Quark if saving syns) (10 syns)
  • 160g of light grated mozzarella (4 x HEA)
  • teaspoon of dijon mustard and a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • one beef stock cube

This serves four big portions and comes in at 4 syns each.

Instructions

  • preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • cook your gnocchi according to instructions, but if it's anything other than throwing them in boiling water, waiting for them to float and setting aside, you're doing it wrong
  • pop your onion and peppers into a heavy-bottomed pan (and one that can go in the oven and under the grill, mind you) with a little bit of oil and sweat it down until softened
  • add the garlic and mince and fry it off - you can this to be quite 'dry'
  • we crumble in a stock cube here but you can skip it if you're watching your salt intake
  • in a bowl, combine the Philadelphia, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper together
  • mix it into your beef and add the gnocchi
  • top with the grated cheese
  • pop into the oven for about fifteen minutes, then under the grill to crisp up for about another five minutes (keep an eye on it)
  • we serve in a bowl with a lake of hot sauce, but your experience may vary

Notes

Books

  • our slimming cookbook can be ordered online now - full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 2400 5* reviews - even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is launching soon and is utterly brilliant - you can order it here (it’ll open in a new window)

Food

  • we buy our flavoured oils from Yorkshire Drizzle and we used their chilli oil to cook off the mince and vegetables - you can take a look at their range here: it'll open in a new window
  • we have started using Musclefood again for meat - until we're happy that their quality is back to what it was, we will not be referring people there - but it's all under review. The mince we used here was superb however!

Tools

  • a decent sized frying pan that you can make this entire dish in will keep it as a one-pot dinner
  • we were asked where we got our silicone oven-mitts from that someone spotted in a video - they're from Amazon and are dirt cheap (£6) - you can buy them here and the good news is, once you've got your hot pan from the oven, you can grip your boob with the hot mitts and it feels lovely...so I'm told

Courses dinner

Cuisine easy dinner

I hope you all enjoy it! Please do let us know if you have cooked this by tagging us on Instagram or Twitter (@twochubbycubs for both) or via our Facebook channels. If there’s a particular recipe you want us to revisit, drop us a line!

Whilst we’re on a roll with one-pot dinners, you’ll find a lot to like here:

Enjoy!

J

syn free pizza stuffed meatloaf

I was just going to do a quick post tonight to accompany this pizza stuffed meatloaf but damn it, it deserves a proper articles. Partially because I’m too lazy to type and also because tonight’s guest writer Vicky looks the sort to smash your knees in over an unpaid catalogue debt, I’m going to hand you over to her. Vicky would like to talk about something not normally mentioned on this blog – being thin. Let’s go. Mind, because I’m an egotistical terror, I’ll be butting in throughout. REMEMBER, these articles are done by people who fancy taking a stab at writing but don’t have an outlet. If you can’t say anything nice, keep it schtum. For me! FAIR WARNING: there’s a lot of blue language in this post!


sticks and stones – by Vicky “Thundergash” M

So – James has invited us mere mortals to write in his blog – I feel like I’ve been invited to have tea with the Queen. Except it’s a Queen that swears a lot and slugs gin like a menopausal housewife. (James: our Queen does have a much better beard, mind)

We’ve been advised that we should write about what we know. Hmm. I don’t know loads – I’m just a normal 35 year old mum of 2 kids.

I do know about weight though. Oh, I know a hell of a lot about weight, on both ends of the scale (scale, geddit?) (James: I’ll do the jokes, please) (I’m kidding)

Firstly – I have Marfan syndrome (look it up if you want to be nosey) – it basically means I have long skinny limbs and according to textbooks I should be as skinny as a beanpole. Pfft. I was, as a kid. Skinny jokes were all I heard growing up and I absolutely hated my body. I was the tall gangly kid and to this day it annoys me that people can be told “you’re too skinny – you need to eat” yet fat comments are a no-no. Why can’t people just not comment at all? Wankers. I seem to have slipped from one end of the fat-scale to the other. I had legs like string – no, not those slender, sexy legs that people gaze lustfully upon. I’m talking bony with knobbly knees that invite cat calls of “oy Wednesday legs! Wednesday gonna snap?

(James: I feel really bad for laughing at that one, but see I’m a huge fan of word-play. Also, I didn’t need to look up Marfan syndrome – one of my exes had it bad. Now normally I wouldn’t say anything bad about anyone with a disability but fuck it, he was an absolute shitbiscuit, so I’ll say this now – if you ever want to experience seventeen seconds of sex that feels like you’re wrestling a human-sized Daddy Longlegs with a shit haircut and a willy like those long matches posh people use to light the Aga, give Neil from Northumberland a call).

Yep – being skinny was a fucking ball (a ball of shite more like) now I know I’m meant to say “embrace your body sisters (and brothers) love every part of yourself!” but try telling a 15 year old girl that. I hated my body. One day I hit puberty and widened. It seemed to happen overnight. I looked like an HGV reversing up a back lane. I got hips, thighs, an arse you could hide Shergar in and stretch marks all over – on my shoulders, my hips, my bastard thighs – you name it.

My mum would tut and kindly say “those jeans would look great if your hips were smaller” (cheers ma!)

as I got into my twenties (after giving birth to a 10lb 12oz baby) I looked like a road map naked, or perhaps a saddened zebra, with my big massive tits resting kindly on my deflated belly. Gorgeous eh? Anyway, here’s my point. I’m a size 16 or on a good day a generous size 14. To this day I get told “there’s nothing on you! I’d love your figure!” cos I do now have decent legs (ha! take that bullies!) but I still hate what I see in the mirror. No amount of dieting and exercise can hide my saggy tits, my C-section scar and how Mother Nature decided to gift my skin with probably 40% of it covered in stretchmarks.

What annoys me is the “I’d love your body” comments. No, no you wouldn’t. I dislike my body and massive hips just as much as the next woman.

Did I mention that I recently got engaged? I finally met a man who loves me and my dodgy bod. Does it matter that whilst I’m naked I often have “how can he stay hard when he’s looking at this?!” running through my head? Not to him. He’s 17 stone (James: pffft amateur!) and loves cake and bread. I LOVE his pot belly, I wouldn’t change a thing on him and sometimes (on a good day) I let it sink in that he feels the same way about me.

I suppose I should be happy and if this was a film I’d discover a way to love myself. But I’m not in a film. Haven’t been since ‘Vixen Vicky and the Broken Down Rugby Coach 8: Fill ‘Er Up.’ Reality isn’t like that is it? I know that if I won the lottery and could afford new tits and a new belly, I’d never be fully happy with myself. I did however discover shirt dresses and that belts create a waist. A decent bra can hide a multitude of syns. I’ll never have a bikini bod but a cute swimming costume with a little ruffle skirt can hide my thighs and the stretchmarks. I suppose I may not be happy with what I’m working with – but I can dress to create a way to carry it off, and unless someone’s looking fabulous and mentions it themselves never EVER tell someone they need to “lose a few pounds” to look good in their jeans or to eat more as they’re too skinny. You never know what they’re facing.

Just be kind to people.

Oh and enjoy your syns – that’s what they’re there for!


I’d like to applaud Vicky for her honesty and her very Radio 4 way of putting things. That’s if Radio 4 was hosted by Jordan and consisted solely of her gargling semen down the microphone for eight hours. I wish people did love themselves more. Without wanting to be all claphappy, everyone looks beautiful in some way. Even if you’ve got a face like a prolapsed anus, you might still have nice fingers. Teeth like a downed aircraft? Bet you’ve got a shapely bottom. Everyone has something good about them and I tell you now, from someone who spends a lot of time people watching, those who walk with confidence aren’t always the skinny, toned folk you might assume. I’ve given up caring what people think – I’ve met my husband, I’m happy with my lot, so now when I go to a beach I’ll pay no second thought to getting out my hairy back and my wobbling Mitchell Brothers titties. If you don’t like it, that’s tough banana. I like to feel the sun on my tyres as much as the next guy.

Anyway enough of that – I’m on the verge of breaking out a drum circle. Let’s get to the recipe for pizza stuffed meatloaf.

This recipe makes enough for four if you serve it, like we did, with some broccoli and cheesy sweet potato and kale mash, which you can find the recipe for right here. If I’m absolutely honest, we ate two servings each, but then we are both Notorious P.I.Gs. So, y’know, do what you will.

pizza stuffed meatloaf pizza stuffed meatloaf

to make pizza stuffed meatloaf you will need:

  • 500g beef mince 
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 30g grated parmesan (1x HEA)
  • 70g reduced fat mozzarella (1x HEA)
  • few slices of ham
  • handful of basil leaves
  • salt and pepper

We used one packet of mince from our Musclefood deal – you get four packs included in the price together with chicken, bacon and beef pieces – more than enough to keep you going for weeks! Click here to take advantage of that! This is actually very easy to make and looks impressive!

to make pizza stuffed meatloaf you should:

  • preheat the oven to 190 degrees
  • in a small bowl mix together the tomato puree, vinegar and oregano to make a paste – add more vinegar or water if you need to thin it a bit
  • lay out some baking paper and shape the mince into a rectangle shape, about 9″ by 7″
  • add two tbsp of the tomato sauce onto the meatloaf and spread out, leaving about 1/2″ around the edge
  • on one half, layer on a few slices of ham, half the grated mozzarella and half of the parmesan
  • use the parchment paper to ‘fold’ over the empty half on top of the other half, and pinch together the seams
  • carefully move the meatloaf onto a baking sheet
  • spoon 2 tbsp of tomato sauce onto the top of the mixture and sprinkle on the remaining cheese and some salt and pepper
  • cook in the oven for about thirty minutes
  • serve with your sides and revel in the fact it’s all so delicious and syn free!

Oh, if you’ve bought a basil plant just for the sake of a few leaves, stick the plantpot into a small container and fill it with water. This time of year it’ll grow quite merrily on a windowsill as long as you water it from the bottom! Just like I do with Paul.

J