Two Chubby Cubs recipes: Five healthy dishes you can make in 30 minutes

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What shall we have for dinner? It’s a question that should inspire, not make you groan and open up a takeaway 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 eating well.

“All you need is 30 minutes,” says James. “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 joint weight-loss journey that put them on the map.

“Until 10 years ago, Paul and I were always either fat or losing weight,” says James, 37, an ex-trainee lawyer, now full time food blogger.

“So we set up a blog where we cooked things that didn’t feel like diet food.

“Neither of us are chefs and Paul even failed his food tech GCSE. But we starting making food that didn’t compromise on taste, so that while you’re on a diet you don’t feel like you’re depriving yourself.”

The blog took off, and in 2019 James and Paul were invited on to ITV reality show This Time Next Year, tasked with losing 10st each in a year. At the time James was 28st and Paul was 26st.

“We nearly did it – James was 4lb off the target and I lost 8st in total,” says Paul, 36, who also works as a medical assistant in the NHS. Their success inspired the first of three cookbooks from the pair, the third of which – Two Chubby Cubs: Dinner Time – is out at the end of 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 with ingredients you can find in the supermarket,” says James. “We’re about minimal effort and minimal cost.”

And eating well is doable whatever your budget, they say.

“The secret is to make meals that use ingredients up so you’re not throwing anything away,” explains James.

“For example, say you’ve used half a pepper in one 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. “What’s more, if the meals you’re preparing 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) is out May 26


  • 8 shallots, or 2 onions
  • 2½cm piece ginger, grated
  • 2 lemongrass stalks
  • 1½tsp ground coriander
  • 1½tsp ground turmeric
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1tsp ground fennel seed
  • 1tsp salt
  • 700g diced beef
  • 1 lime, quartered


  • 4tbsp reduced-fat peanut butter
  • 2tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 drops sriracha
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or grated

1. Put all ingredients (except beef, and sauce ingredients) into a food processor and pulse to a thick paste. Loosen with a few tablespoons of water if too thick.

2. In a large bowl, mix the paste with the beef until well coated, then leave to marinate for at least 6 hours, or ideally overnight.

3. Thread the beef onto skewers and grill under a high heat for 15 minutes, turning regularly.

4. Meanwhile, mix together the dipping sauce ingredients and set aside.

5. Serve the beef with the sauce on the side and lime quarters for squeezing over.


  • 250g long-grain rice
  • 400g steak
  • 4 bacon medallions, diced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 2tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 6 button mushrooms, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • ½ red, ½ yellow and ½ green pepper, deseeded and finely diced
  • 2 spring onions, finely diced

1. Cook rice according to the packet instructions, drain and set aside.

2. Spray a large frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium-high heat. Add steak to the pan and cook to your liking.

Cooking time will depend on the thickness of your steak. Once done, remove and leave to rest.

3. Wipe pan, spray with a little more oil, then put back over the heat. Add bacon and onion, and cook until the bacon is crispy.

4. Stir in Cajun seasoning and Worcestershire sauce.

5. Dissolve stock cube in 200ml of boiling water, stir, and keep to one side.

6. Add mushrooms, carrots and peppers to the pan along with the stock and stir.

7. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring frequently, then add the rice and mix to warm through.

8. Dice the steak and add to the pan, stirring. Serve sprinkled with the spring onions.


  • 500g potatoes
  • 6 eggs
  • 1tbsp dried herbes de Provence
  • 120g soft goat’s cheese
  • 1 bunch of mint leaves, roughly chopped

1. Peel potatoes, chop into 2cm cubes, and put in a large saucepan of boiling water. Cook for 5 minutes, until tender, then drain.

2. Crack eggs into a bowl and beat with the herbs. Stir in potatoes.

3. Spray a large frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium-high heat.

4. Pour egg mix in, crumble in goat’s cheese, and sprinkle in the mint. When the edges are set but the middle is still a little soft, turn out on to a plate. Cut into wedges and serve.


  • 4 pork loin steaks, all visible fat removed
  • 120g panko breadcrumbs
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 1tsp dried thyme
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 2 eggs
  • 2tsp plain flour

1. Preheat oven to 200C fan/425F/gas 7. Wrap each pork steak loosely in cling film and bash with a rolling pin until about 1cm thick.

2. In a shallow dish mix panko breadcrumbs, lemon zest, oregano, thyme and paprika. Beat the egg and place in another shallow dish. Put the flour into a third dish.

3. Gently cover each pork steak in flour, then dip in egg and coat with breadcrumbs.

4. Put steaks on a non-stick baking tray, spray with a little oil and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes.


  • 30g salted butter
  • 250g fancy mushrooms, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed or grated
  • ½tsp dried thyme
  • 150g couscous (plain or mushroom)
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 2tbsp grated Parmesan or vegetarian Italian-style hard cheese
  • Pinch salt and black pepper

1. On a low heat, gently melt butter in a frying pan and add mushrooms and garlic, cooking slowly to soften, adding the thyme after a minute or two.

2. Put couscous into a bowl and cover with stock, then stir through butter, mushrooms and garlic, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and leave for about 5 minutes.

3. Fluff with a fork, season, and serve topped with Parmesan.

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