family dinners

Quick & Easy Dinner Ideas that Your Family Will Love

Where to find inspiration?

Our quick and easy meal plan for last week was really made up by the scruff of it’s pants! It did still come out very well but I have to say that with the weather being as odd as it has been the last few weeks, I found it quite hard to come up with inspiration. When it’s hot and sunny I would think of fresh and summery ideas. When it’s cold I would go for warm comfort food. I pushed through though and went mostly on what I had around the house already.

It was also SuperDad’s birthday and the guest of honour gets to choose whatever they want for dinner. He gave his vote to Blake, who decided on chicken leg and potatoes. Mamma played with the idea and waved my little wand (spoon) to come up with the week’s most popular recipe, which was grilled chicken and smashed potato salad. It received a big thumbs up from this adorable little boy, whose mommy sent me these gorgeous pictures of him absolutely loving his meal.

I have to add that we are all raving about his awesome Lego eating set! If you want to rush out and get yourself one, head over to Makro. I couldn’t find it online, but they can be found in store. Certain items also available at TakeAlot. The range is from Placematix and comes with cutlery as well.

Easy as Pie… so to speak

I find pie quite daunting to make, actually. In any case, my recipes must always be easy and quick to make so that’s where I start when looking for ideas. It does narrow things down.

Onwards and upwards to the yummy business!

Quick & Easy Meal Planner

Quick Easy Meal Planner_Mexican Veggie EnchiladasMeat Free Monday – Mexican Veggie Enchiladas

Quick Easy Meal Planner_Prawn Egg Fried RicePrawn & Egg Fried Rice

Quick Easy Meal Planner_Grilled Chicken Salad Smashed Potato OlivesGrilled Chicken Salad with Smashed Potatoes & Olives


Quick Easy Meal Planner_Baked Fish Rice VegetablesBaked Fish with Rice & Vegetables

Fish, rice and veg is plain, simple, the easiest thing ever and you can add any vegetables of your choice. I have a few rice lovers around so plain rice with anything is always a winner. Gluten free of course and adding the chickpeas gives an extra protein boost.

Mamma’s MomentHappy People Build Their Inner World

Time seems to be absolutely spinning past us and these past weeks have gone by in a blur. I have been so super busy between business and blog (definitely not complaining) that when I find a spare moment it’s gold, it’s so precious and I wouldn’t waste it on negativity.

Yet, I see people who still manage to complain about anything and everything. Do they not see that by focusing on all the negativity, they are creating more negativity in their own lives? Try, for just one day, not to complain and instead find something positive to focus on. See how it changes your perspective and even your reality.

Stay light!

MammaChef Jozi

Our New Look Meal Planner – Specially Designed to Make Life Easier

Mamma’s on Holiday!

As we speak, my boys and I are in the car listening to Guns n Roses “November Rain” with SuperDad’s trusty driving skills taking us all the way to Crystal Springs Mountain Lodge.

This is a much needed break and one that we have been looking forward to with so much excitement! The boys had no idea we were going until we were on the road leaving Joburg this morning! We haven’t had any kind of decent time off and it has been a highly eventful, super busy year for us.

Hopefully you are following all my little adventures and musings on Facebook and Instagram as well and you can expect to see all our holiday food and fun!

I am not leaving you with nothing to cook though!

Over the course of last week I emailed to some of my earlybird followers, the brand new MammaChef Jozi Meal Planner and AND super cool recipe cards! I am uploading all of them here for you as well but if you want to be one of the lucky ones to receive it in advance so that you can get your shopping done, you can comment here with your email address and I will add you to the list. It’s still free!

I am so proud of these, beautifully designed by my nearly life long friend, Karen, The Mistress of Brand – Organic Identity.

Without further ado then (because I am also navigating and the we might end up in Mozambique)…

The Very First Meal Planner and Recipe Cards

Click the heading to download the recipe card.

Gnocchi with secret lentils

meal-planner-gnocchi-pancetta-lentils

Broccoli & Beef Stirfry

meal-planner-broccoli-beef-stirfry

Roast Chicken & Stuffed Butternut

meal-planner-roast-chicken-stuffed-butternut

MammaChefJozi Italian Tuna Pasta

Download the week’s meal planner (which includes a handy shopping list) MammaChefJozi Meal Plan 16Oct2017.

Have an amazing week and remember to comment with your email address to join us!

Supper Snapshot for the Women’s Day Week

Women’s Day Week

This week was a short one as we had a public holiday right in the middle – Women’s Day. In case you don’t really know why we commemorate Women’s Day, here’s some background from Wikipedia:

National Women’s Day is a South African public holiday celebrated annually on 9 August. The day commemorates the 1956 march of approximately 20 000 women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to petition against the country’s pass laws that required South Africans defined as “black” under The Population Registration Act to carry an internal passport, known as a pass, that served to maintain population segregation, control urbanisation, and manage migrant labour during the apartheid era.[1] The first National Women’s Day was celebrated on 9 August 1994.[2] In 2006, a reenactment of the march was staged for its 50th anniversary, with many of the 1956 march veterans.

More on this day and what it means in another post to come!

Supper Snapshot

Monday – Haloumi, Lentil & Vegetable Bake

Gluten and sugar free, packed with loads of healthy stuff and really, really delicious! Diced butternut, thickly chopped red onions, sliced leeks (we got the biggest leeks I have ever seen in my life!) baked at 200 degrees for 20 minutes. Add a tin of organic brown lentils, a tin of peeled and diced tomatoes, season with salt, pepper, mixed herbs and paprika. Bake for another 10 minutes.
Place thickly sliced haloumi on top of the veg and grill for around 8 minutes or until melted and golden brown.

Tuesday – Baked Hake, Mashed Potatoes, Sauteed Bacon & Cabbage

Wednesday – Chicken Broccoli Pasta Bake

Chicken strips sautéed in butter and olive oil with chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Penne pasta boiled with broccoli.
Mix all together in a large, deep oven dish. Add 1 cup fresh cream, 1-2 cups of mozzarella. Mix well. Top with Parmesan cheese and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

Thursday – Lamb Chops with Potato & Leek Gratin

The most succulent lamb chops with a creamy potato and leek gratin.
Sauté finely sliced leeks over low-medium heat for about 10 minutes. Should be soft but not brown. Slice unpeeled potatoes thinly and nuke them in the microwave on high for 5 minutes just to speed up the cooking time a bit. .
When leeks are cooked, season with salt and pepper, then pack alternating layers of the potato and leeks into an oven dish.
Pour in a cup of cream, sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Add a bit more salt and pepper to suit your tastebuds.
Bake at 180 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.
Lamb chops seasoned with salt and pepper, grilled on our George Foreman grill.

Friday – Toasted Cheese!

Good old toasted cheese on ciabatta bread.

 

The Last Suppers of the Month

Well into the second half

I honestly feel as if I blinked and half a year went past! It seems like everyone I speak to keeps saying how time is just flying past… everyone must be having fun! In this age of “busy-ness” it is so increasingly important to stop (pause or yield) even for just a second every now and then, to smell the roses. Of course you could also smell the coffee, or the curry, or the “little-boy-fresh-from-the-sandpit” hair… but make sure you make your moments last as long as possible!

Last week’s supper summary

I keep trying to think of a name for the weekly roundup and can’t seem to find any cool and catchy… It will come to me! I do welcome any suggestions too!

Monday

Veggie stir fry, egg noodles & honey soy sauce

Boil a packet of medium egg noodles according to instructions on the packet. Heat some oil in a wok (or just a large, deep pan) over high heat and add some chopped garlic. Add in the vegetables and stir fry away. Add cooked noodles to the vegetables, add Ina Paarman honey-soy sauce and mix well to distribute the sauce evenly. Serve up steaming hot, with some fresh chilli and an extra splash of soy sauce for the grownups. Meat Free on Mondays as usual!

Tuesday

Caprese chicken thighs

Deboned chicken thighs, pan seared. Place a slice of tomato, a slice of mozzarella and some fresh basil leaves on the chicken. Season with ground salt and black pepper. Pop the pan into the oven to bake until cooked through, while heating the ciabatta, for around 10 minutes. Steam fresh broccoli florets and peas.

Wednesday

Simple beef stroganoff

Cook 1,5 cups white rice according to instructions. Melt 1tbsp butter in a large pan. Brown 400g beef cubes (I used rump) then remove from pan and set aside for later. Add 2-3tbsp butter to the pan, saute 1 chopped onion and 1 cup sliced white mushrooms until soft and just golden. Add garlic and cook half a minute until fragrant. Add 2tsp dried sage, 2 tbsp flour and stir well for about 2 minutes. The aroma coming from the pan at this point is just amazing! (Stop and smell the sage)

Slowly stir in 1,5 cups beef stock, 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 0,5tbsp soy sauce. Add the browned beef back in. Simmer for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 3tbsp sour cream and 1tbsp cream. Serve with rice.

Thursday

Chicken tortillas

Chicken strips fried over high heat. Seasoned with salt, pepper, paprika, a few chilli flakes and crushed garlic. Add red onion and sliced peppers. Fill tortillas with whatever takes your fancy – mashed avo with lemon juice, sour cream, tomato, lettuce, jalapeños, cheese… Easy, yummy, healthy, good stuff! 

Easy for the weekend

Gluten free bacon pasta

Sautéed onion, garlic, bacon cut into strips. Tin chopped tomatoes, 1/4 cup pasta cooking water, 1 cup frozen peas. Gluten free penne pasta a la San Remo, fresh basil, Parmesan.

Saturday Shakshuka with Mince

This Saturday, I felt like something a little bit different. I had mince, bread rolls and eggs and I have been looking at so many delicious looking shakshukas all over the “food web” lately, I thought it’s about time to try my own!

It was really, really a fantastic meal! Definitely something we will be having often in the future!

Shakshuka with mince

Recipe 

Chop 1 onion and sauté with 1tsp chopped garlic over high heat. Add 500g beef mince and season with 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce, ground coarse salt and black pepper. Cook until well browned. 

Add 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, 1-2 tsp dried Italian herbs and smoked red chilli flakes to taste. Stir in 1 Knorr beef stock pot and half a tin of boiled water. Lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until sauce has reduced. 

Make a hole in the mince and crack an egg into it, repeat with 4-5 more eggs. Cover with a lid and cook for 5 minutes over low heat until egg is softly cooked. Remember if you are serving up from the pan that the egg will continue to cook, so dish up and eat as soon as possible. 

We served this with rolls toasted in the oven, sprinkled with some more chilli flakes and jalapeños for the chilli lovers!

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.

Fish & Chips with a twist

As Wednesdays are usually soccer nights, I always try to plan for a dinner that is as quick and easy as possible. I had a little more time than planned though, so I did a bit of creative cutting and frying of the chips.

fish chips.jpg

The fish was Country Fry from Sea Harvest, baked in the oven. Baby carrots and mixed peas and corn. Potato sliced with the skin on, shallow fried in a little canola oil until just golden and crispy.

Chicken fillet burgers

Crumbed Chicken Fillet Burgers with Healthy Stuff

I am half ashamed and half proud to say that I forgot that I wanted to bake some oven chips with our burgers, so it turned out to be quite a healthy burger dinner indeed!

I also confess that it would have looked better with white cheese, but in true Mamma style, I didn’t have any so I used regular ol’ yellow cheddar cheese and it was equally delicious, if not as pretty! Re-emphasising that this is MammaChef and not MasterChef! HashtagMommyCookingBlog!


Crispy, crumbed chicken breast fillets from Woolies, topped with cheddar cheese, melted in the oven. Served on a fresh bread roll with butter lettuce, dijon mustard and caramelised onions.

Our sides were coleslaw and a very healthy and refreshing salad of cucumber, cherry tomatoes, basil, chickpeas and avo.

Happy, happy little bodies and full tummies all around!

 

Last week’s roundup & a special occasion

Good grief, it’s Wednesday and I haven’t posted a summary of last week yet! Where does the time go?! Or should I say… time flies when you’re having fun! This is definitely the truth!

Monday:  (Meat Free) Zucchini & Mushrooms

Tuesday: Flop Proof Cottage Pie

Wednesday: Chicken, Chickpea & Spinach Curry

Thursday: Pan Seared Fish with Tomato, Basil & White Wine Sauce

Friday: Easy Peasy Gluten Free Chorizo Pasta

Please have a look at my gallery of Sunday’s incredible buffet lunch at Aurelia’s, The D’Oreale Grande Hotel at Emperor’s Palace

The family came together to celebrate my Sister- and Brother-in-Law’s 30th wedding anniversary! A very special occasion celebrating two extremely special people, their exemplary marriage and the beautiful family and memories that they have created. So much love (and so much food)!

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