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Deliciously cheesy and stuffed with flavour, the sweet potato sloppy Joes recipe from Jan/Feb’s Slimming World Magazine tastes amazing! We’re so excited to be sharing it below. Of course, the mag (the UK’s number 1 slimming title, don’t you know) is packed with many tried-and-trusted recipes – and if you’ve ever wondered how an issue is put together, we’ve got a treat in store for you. 

We asked deputy editor Sarah Davison to show us a recipe photo shoot in action. Shot before the current lockdown, with our team social distancing, here’s a peek behind the glossy pages to find out how the magic happens. Over to you, Sarah…

Props cupboard

props cupboard-behind the scenes slimming world magazine-slimming world blog

First up, best dressed they say – and that’s definitely the case when it comes to food. Prop stylist Olivia is first to arrive, after an early morning raid on a specialist prop house. Armed with a treasure trove of plates, bowls, cutlery, cloths, trays and background boards, she carefully records and labels each item, and returns them at the end of the day – hopefully in one piece!

Food prep

preparing green salad-behind the scenes slimming world magazine-slimming world blog

While our food editor Rebecca and Olivia are choosing the best props for each recipe shot, food stylist Nicola gets busy preparing all the ingredients. Here, she plates up a leafy green salad to go alongside our hearty veggie shepherd’s pies.

The cooking

taste testing sloppy joes-behind the scenes slimming world magazine-slimming world blog

Then it’s all hands to the pump, creating the six recipes ready to be photographed. And as every chef knows, one of the most important parts of cooking is the tasting! Here, Nicola sinks in her spoon to check the flavour of our cheesy sweet potato sloppy Joes…

Plating up

Arranging beef noodles-behind the scenes slimming world magazine-slimming world blog

The shoot order is planned in advance, depending on cooking times and ingredients, but even so, plating up each dish at exactly the right moment is an art in itself. As is presenting it as beautifully as a Food Optimising recipe deserves! Here, every noodle and broccoli floret is carefully positioned to show off our Chinese-style pulled pork at its best.

Taking the shot

Sweet potato sloppy Joes-behind the scenes of Slimming World Magazine-slimming world blog

The first finished shot of the day, and what turns out to be our lead photograph: crispy baked sweet potatoes on a rustic wooden board with creamy coleslaw, and a tempting casserole full of sloppy Joe sauce – all looking picture-perfect against pretty teal-green cookware and cloths. Scroll down for this recipe.

In the edit

In the edit-behind the scenes slimming world magazine-slimming world blog

Getting THE shot requires time and patience, and we’ll often take many different test photos before settling on the final image. Our food editor Rebecca reviews each shot with photographer Alex, working with him to get exactly the right angle for showcasing our spicy tuna pasta bake.

Final result

salmon and dill traybake-behind the scenes of slimming world magazine-slimming world blog

Ta-da! The end of the day and our tasty salmon and lemon tray bake recipe is finally taking its turn in front of the camera. With golden roasties, caramelised onions and delicate citrussy fish, it’s a feast for the eyes as well as the tum!

Slimming World sweet potato sloppy Joes

serves 4
Syns per serving 6 (deduct 6 Syns if using the reduced-fat Cheddar as a Healthy Extra)
freezer-friendly (chilli only)
ready in 1 hour 30 mins

What you need:

500g lean beef mince (5% fat or less)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 red peppers, deseeded and finely sliced
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp hot smoked paprika
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 beef stock cube
8 small sweet potatoes
160g reduced-fat Cheddar, grated
chopped gherkins, to serve
fat-free natural Greek-style yogurt, to serve

For the coleslaw:
½ white cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, coarsely grated
1 red onion, finely sliced
60g fat-free natural yogurt
1 small garlic clove, crushed
juice of ½ lemon

What you do:

1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Place a large, shallow, lidded, flameproof casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Dry-fry the mince for 2-3 minutes until browned, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Drain off any liquid, then add the onion, garlic, peppers, spices, tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and the stock cube with 200ml water.

2. Bring to a simmer and cover. Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour, or until reduced and bubbling. At the same time, put the sweet potatoes on a non-stick baking tray and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until soft.

3. Meanwhile, to make the coleslaw, mix together all the ingredients. Season to taste and set aside.

4. Set aside the cooked potatoes. Heat your grill to high. Remove the lid from the casserole dish, evenly scatter over the cheese, then grill for 3-4 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

5. Scatter over the gherkins. Divide between 4 plates. Serve with 2 sweet potatoes per person, some coleslaw and a dollop of yogurt.

Slimming World Magazine, on sale now!

The Jan/Feb issue of Slimming World Magazine is available now, and it’s chock-full of delicious, slimming recipes (including the dishes from this shoot), real-life success stories and weight loss tips and strategies for handling tricky times. Slimming World members can buy the issue from our website for the best-offer price of just £1.95, or you can pick up a copy from newsagents and supermarkets.

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