Sean O’Brien, Jack McGrath, Josh van der Flier, Adam Byrne, Peter Dooley, Tom Daly and James Lowe took part in Leinster Rugby’s Christmas Cook-off, with Leinster Rugby Senior Performance Nutritionist Daniel Davey, making some healthy meals that are ideal for a Christmas party during the festive season.

Watch the cook-off and see the recipes below.

Dinner Recipes

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders with baked sweet potato


1 lb chicken tenders (about 10 chicken tenders)
10 strips bacon, sliced in half
½ -1 teaspoon salt
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. chili powder
4 sweet potatoes – chopped into wedges


1. Preheat oven to 200C
2. Mix together salt, paprika, black pepper and garlic powder.
3. Sprinkle mixture evenly over chicken tenders, (top and bottom) completely coating them generously in the spices. 4. Wrap two sliced bacon strips around the chicken tender and pin together with a cocktail stick.
5. Mix together honey and chili powder.
6. Sprinkle this mixture generously over bacon wrapped chicken, top and bottom. Press the mixture into the chicken to pack it on.
7. Place the chicken on a greased grill pan.
8. Bake for 25 minutes or until chicken is done and bacon is crisp.
9. Serve piping hot! Garnish with parsley if desired.

Pitta Pizza Selection

Ingredients for the sauce

Passata tomato sauce
Dried oregano
Chilli flakes
Cheddar cheese
Chicken fillet
Homemade pesto sauce made with olive oil, basil and cashew nuts


1. Preheat the oven to 180-190C
2. To prepare this pitta pizza recipe, start by making the sauce. In a blender add all the ingredients for the sauce and pulse, until smooth. Have a taste and adjust the seasonings.
3. Layer one large baking tray with parchment paper and place the pitta breads on top. Spread each pita with 2 tbsp. of the tomato sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella. Add 2 tsp. of pesto sauce, layer the sliced tomatoes and sprinkle with a little bit more mozzarella cheese
4. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, until the cheese is golden and bubbling.
5. Take the pitta pizza out of the oven and garnish with rocket leaves. Enjoy!

Chilli beef stuffed potato skins


3 large potatoes, raw
2 large sweet potatoes
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper (about 1 cup) chopped
1/2 cup red onion, slices
1.5 lbs beef mince
Tsp. cumin
Bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped

Skins seasoning

1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 1/4 cup (~2 tablespoon on each half) reduced fat cheddar, shredded
Substitutes: low fat mozzarella; gouda recommended only for a treat meal

Garnish ideas

Greek yogurt


1. Set oven to 200C
2. Wash potatoes then pierce them several times with a fork. Place them on a baking sheet, then bake in the oven for about 50 minutes until you can easily pierce them with a knife or fork. Allow them to cool on a baking rack until they can be handled.
3. Set oven to broil.
4. Set a non-stick pan on medium-high heat and add a little olive oil. Toss in onions, garlic and bell pepper and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the onions are brown and translucent.
5. Add the minced beef and cook for an additional 6 to 8 minutes.
6. Slice each potato in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh but leave about a 1/4-inch in the potato. Set aside the scooped out potato for another recipe but don’t toss it away.
7. Add a little olive oil to the skins, then sprinkle on the skin seasonings.
8. Broil the halves for roughly 6 minutes, flipping halfway through. Begin with skin side up (open face down), then flip up for the remaining time, until the edges are crispy.
9. Remove the halves from the oven, then add mozzarella cheese, steak mix, then Monterrey Jack cheese.
10. Broil for an additional 2 to 3 minutes until the cheese has melted.
11. Remove from the oven, then garnish and enjoy.


Cinnamon Pear Oat Bake


2 Tbsp. coconut oil
2 ripe pears, chopped
2 apples, chopped
6 tbsp. blueberries


1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
2. Mix all of the filling ingredients together in a large bowl, then spread into your baking dish.
3. Make the topping: whisk the oats, honey and cinnamon together in a medium bowl.
4. Fold in the oats, chopped almonds and pecans.
5. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the topping is golden brown and the fruit juices are bubbling around the edges.
6. Remove from the oven, place on a wire rack, and allow to cool slightly before serving. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.


200g jumbo oats
2 tbsp. dried cranberries
3 tbsp. chia seeds
4 tbsp. Pecans
3 tbsp. chopped almonds

Chocolate Nutballs


1 scoop (40g) whey protein
50g dark chocolate
300g Hazelnuts
1 tsp. Vanilla essence
3 tbsp. Honey
1 tsp. coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp. Cocoa powder
50g 90% dark chocolate roughly grated


1. Roast the hazelnuts for 12 minutes at 170C.
2. Remove the nuts from the oven and peel off the skins.
3. Blitz the hazelnuts and honey in a food processor.
4. In a bowl, mix in the melted coconut oil, vanilla essence and a drop of water with the nuts and honey.
5. Add in the protein and chocolate then mix with spoon.
6. Using your hands form the balls and roll in the ground hazelnuts.
7. Place on a tray and refrigerate for an hour.