easy dinners

Democratically Elected Meal Planner – The Boys’ Favourites

The Democratic Meal Planner – One kid, one vote!

 

In light of all the political goings on around us recently, I decided to give democracy a chance to rule the meal planner. I feel like I’m making myself sound very much like a food dictator… She who holds the wooden spoon, rules the plates! It’s for their own good though, trust me!

Meal Planner November 2017

The boys are very modern in their political views and combined their votes to effect community rule over the first two days. This worked out very well for them as they got to have both their favourites. SuperDad is always happy with pasta and basil pesto is also a favourite. Of course they go so well together as a combo! Somebody had to be the carb police and that happened to be me (can’t quite get rid of the dictatorship). My favourite treat as a meal must be salmon. It has become so expensive, even in frozen steaks, that we really only have it on the odd occasion.

Fish shopping tip!

I did discover something quite interesting though… Our local Food Lover’s Market has a fantastic fish section and if you can hold your breath long enough, you might just find a very good deal!

As an example, the prepared, fresh salmon portions on the day were R299.00 per kilogram. In comparison, Woolworths’ fresh Norwegian salmon portions are R500.00 per kilogram, but that’s not the point. If you select a whole salmon, they will fillet it for you, package the quantity that you want and the price on the day was R179.99 per kilogram. That is a major difference!

As usual, just going that little bit further to be aware of where our food comes from, I looked into the sourcing of the salmon and found this on Food Lover’s Market website:

Although Food Lovers market currently procures farmed Norwegian Salmon which is on the WWF-SASSI orange-list we are implementing a procurement strategy that aligns with SASSI procurement guideline for Salmon. This means that all Norwegian on Food Lover’s shelves will come from farms that are affiliated to the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI – http://globalsalmoninitiative.org/) by January 2019. These farms have committed to work towards meeting the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standard for responsible aquaculture by 2020. Food Lover’s has full traceability back to all source farms and is annually tracking progress of these farms towards their 2020 ASC target.

Sustainable is good and I like the accountability and action plan.

This post really is becoming quite political! I have a soapbox and everything! I think it’s about time for the good stuff!

The Recipe Cards

Remember you can sign up to the newsletter to get your meal planner and recipe cards all together in advance, in your inbox! Alternatively you are two weeks behind… and have to come all the way here to MammaChef Jozi to download them… Then again, I love your visits and the more the better! So I tell you what, do both!

Boys’ Choice Monday – Caldo Verde (Portuguese Green Soup)

Democratically Elected Meal Planner_Caldo Verde

Boys’ Choice Tuesday – Spagheti Bolognese

Democratically Elected Meal Planner_Simple Spaghetti Bolognese

Mamma’s Choice Wednesday – Salmon & Roast Vegetable Salad

Democratically Elected Meal Planner_Salmon & Roast Vegetable Salad

SuperDad’s Choice Thursday – Chicken & Basil Pesto Pasta

Democratically Elected Meal Planner_Chicken Basil Pesto Pasta

Needless to say, we all thoroughly enjoyed this week’s dinners. Blake, who is four, has recently taken to proclaiming every meal as the best food he has ever eaten! The people have spoken!

Alright, I think that is more than enough of my political commentary. I will leave you with this thought. Whatever your mood, whatever is going on in life, try to get yourself just one level up on the emotional scale! If you’re feeling dejected, try to find something that makes you feel content. Anxiety looks for something that brings peace and so on. The point is to raise your vibration! I’ll expand on this a little more later on. If you can (and it’s always possible)… Smile!

Let a smile be your umbrella on a rainy day

Christel’s Creative Cooking 

Christel’s eagerly awaited feature for the week is finally here! The delay is all mine, I must confess. This week for some reason just seemed to fly by me and I didn’t get to everything I had planned… 

She has also included a white sauce recipe, which could be a base for just about any sauce and a must have for any kitchen! So without any further delay…

Quick and easy tuna sauce
Quick and easy Tuna Sauce

2 medium red onions
3 tomatoes

Chop everything up, put the onions in a saucepan and fry until tender. Add the tomatoes and stir occasionally until saucy. Add salt, pepper, garlic flakes and a bit of sugar/honey (to take the acidity out of the tomatoes)
Add 1 (or 2) cans of tuna. 
Stir for about a minute to combine everything. Add a packet of Woolies ready made cheese sauce. Stir for a minute until mixed. Sprinkle with oregano flakes or fresh herbs. Eat on oven toasted ciabatta or mix into pasta.
You can also add mushrooms and/or green, red & yellow peppers into the mix. Or leave the tuna out completely and eat it with only vegetables.
If you really want to impress your eating companions… here’s the recipe to make your own White sauce from scratch:
It makes 1 cup
30g butter
30g plain flour 

250 ml milk

Seasoning

Place all ingredients in a saucepan over a moderate heat and bring to the boil whisking continuously. Use a spiral or ballon whisk as this will get rid of lumps and give the sauce a more glossy appearance.
Cook for a further 2-3 minutes until thick and smooth and there is no taste of flour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For cheese sauce add 1 cup grated cheddar to the hot sauce and stir to melt the cheese. You can add 5 – 10ml curry powder to the flour to make curry sauce. For parsley sauce you can add chopped parsley to the mix. You can add mustard to the mix for a mustard sauce.
The possibilities of what this sauce can become, are endless.

Cheesy Mexican Rice & Meat Free Mondays

Meat Free Monday

You may have noticed that MammaChef Jozi is an avid supporter of Meat Free Mondays (see the South African Facebook page here). So what’s the big deal?

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You don’t have to go vegan, but even one day of not eating meat has so many benefits.

Lowering your carbon footprint – this includes greenhouse gasses which are produced by livestock, farming, transportation and the masses of water it takes to produce meat.

Think of the animals – commercial farming methods have lead to unimaginable treatment of animals and going one step further than Meat Free Monday, it would be a good idea to be conscious of where your food comes from.

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Your health – Reducing intake of meat has been proven to lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and even cancers. When planning a meat free meal, we tend to focus on adding even more nutrition to our plant based meals, thereby including foods with more polyunsaturated fats, plant protein, fibre and vitamins.

Why Monday? Well, Monday just seems like a good day, doesn’t it?

So… if not, why not?

Cheesy Mexican Rice

I ended up making an enormous wok type pot of this and after dinner, there was only enough left for one of us to take for lunch. It was so, so very yummy and I really just chucked a lot of stuff in a pot and waited for it to cook (while having my little glass of wine)….

Cheesy Mexican Rice
Cook 1,5 cups rice (white long grain or any of your choice) according to packet instructions.

While the rice is cooking, saute 1 chopped onion and 1 tsp chopped garlic in a large oven proof wok or pot/pan for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 tsp dried oregano and paprika and stir well.

Add in a tin of brown lentils, 3/4 tin chopped tomatoes, 3/4 tin of red kidney beans, 1 cup frozen corn, 1 cup frozen peas, 1 Knorr vegetable stock pot and 1/2 cup water.

Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until the liquid has cooked down.

Set the oven to grill.

Add the cooked rice to the veg mixture, top with 200g finely grated mature cheddar cheese and pop the whole pan in the oven for about 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden.

Sprinkle chopped spring onion over the top and add as many optional extras as you wish – we added fresh chopped chilli and extra cheese (I love cheese). You could also add avo, sour cream, tacos for crunch, etc.

Pulled chicken wraps with all the trimmings

SuperDad does dinner

Last night turned into a switcheroo as Dad was working slightly late, leaving me on soccer duty and SuperDad on chef duty.

He seems to have the equivalent of “green fingers” in the kitchen. He doesn’t cook often but when he does, it’s always a big hit!

I did have something quick and easy planned as soccer nights leave very little time for cooking, so you could say he was set up for success. Enter Woolies Pulled Chicken with every colour of the rainbow that you could possibly fit into a wrap!

Seriously, when you arrive home in the dark and very close to frozen, to a poured glass of wine and a table set with a picture like this you can’t help but glow with happiness!


Each person got to put together their own wrap with choice of fillings, toppings and sauces, which is always fun for the kids. Besides the vegetables we also added homemade guacamole, humus, jalapeños…

The chicken is so tasty that it barely needs any of the extras, but it does look fantastic!

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Let me know what your favourite wrap fillings are!

Jamie Oliver’s one pan salmon & veg

This week we are lucky to have Ouma visiting and cooking for us! With a week of birthdays and night time soccer matches she has been an absolute lifesaver as there really is no time for cooking!

I also get a chance to share some of my cooking inspiration with you!
Jamie Oliver is all about the fresh ingredients and herbs, big flavours and colours as well as being nice and easy. I am a huge fan of his 30 minute recipes and shows.

For me, salmon and veggies is a delicious treat meal and this recipe from Jamie Oliver is amazing! Doesn’t it look beautiful?
Get the recipe hereSalmon Veg

Recipe by a featured friend & MammaChef Jozi’s birthday

Mamma’s Birthday

I have decided that from now on, I will have no more birthdays. I think it would be a better idea to just commemorate my first birthday suit day! No more of this ageing nonsense!

MammaChef has had a beautiful, chilled birthday in Jozi with my boys and granny and spoiled myself with a yummy #Woolies lasagne, giant greek salad, red wine and doughnuts for dinner!

However, I will not leave you without something delicious today and this is thanks to the most wonderfully creative woman I know, my amazing friend Christél Schutte.
PS this recipe is banting friendly and easily vegan too!

Recipe:

Filled Shrooms with 3 different fillings.

Main Ingredient : big brown mushrooms

1. Butter, crushed garlic, Italian Parsley and cheddar cheese.

2. Butter, any flavoured cream cheese spread OR Feta Cheese broken up into small pieces. Cocktail Tomatoes, thinly sliced on top of that. And cheddar cheese.

3. Butter, spring onion or chives (cut into small pieces). Crispy bacon OR leftover mince. I used Speck which is an Italian dry-cured, lightly smoked ham. I fried it in a non stick frying pan until crispy. Parmesan cheese on top.

Salt and pepper on all of them. You can also use mozzarella instead of cheddar.

Pop into oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, 180°C, Grill. The bigger the mushrooms the longer it will take and the other way around for smaller mushrooms.

Easy for the kids to join in and you can get creative with your own toppings.
Replace butter with olive oil if you like.

PS… don’t ask MCJ how to thinly slice a cherry tomato! I reckon you need some MasterChef skills for that! Feel feel to give me some tips if you get it right!

Enjoy!

Chorizo Pasta

Continuing with the super quick and easy theme this week, this Chorizo Pasta is so simple and so very yummy! The only trick to this is that you must get very good quality chorizo… just any old one won’t do. We have a secret chorizo supplier, that is so secret, even I haven’t been to the shop (couldn’t tell you where it is either)! Therefore, I am very lucky that I get given a few from my sister in law to freeze and I am extremely lucky if SuperDad gets a chance to pop in there and get some for us, normally for a special occasion. For those who don’t have access to the holy grail of sausage, Woolies has a good quality one as well, this is a Spanish Chorizo.

Recipe:

Cook 250g gluten free penne pasta according to instructions on the packet. Here are some tips for cooking gluten free pasta:

  • Add plenty of salt to the water to add to the taste – 2tbs in a medium-large pot of water.
  • Do not add oil to the water.
  • Stir constantly for the first 3 minutes of cooking time to ensure that the pasta doesn’t stick.

Chop 1 onion and one yellow pepper (if I had a red one as well I would have used half of each). Fry in a glug of olive oil until soft. Add a teaspoon or 2 of crushed garlic, 1 sliced chorizo sausage and fry for 3-5 minutes or until the chorizo releases it’s oils and is nicely browned all over. Add 3-4 handfuls baby spinach and allow the leaves just to wilt before removing the pan from the heat.

Drain pasta and pour it into a pasta dish. Mix in the sausage and fried veg. Add pitted calamata olives, crumbled feta cheese. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, ground salt and pepper.

Do you have a go-to quick and easy meal? Please share with us!

Chorizo Pasta B

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