food blogger

Summery Grilled Sweet Potato & Bacon Salad

Grilled Sweet Potato and Bacon Salad

Grilled Sweet Potato and Bacon Salad

Ingredients

  • 800 g sweet potato, peeled, cut diagonally into 1cm slices
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200 g rindless bacon rashers, cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 orange, rind finely grated, juiced
  • 2 baby cos lettuces, trimmed, cut into thin wedges
  • 60 g baby rocket
  • 150 g snow peas, trimmed, blanched, thinly sliced
  • 2 green shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted, roughly chopped

Instructions

  • Heat a grill pan or electric grill to high heat. Place sweet potato in a bowl.
  • Drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Season.
  • Grill sweet potato, for 2-3 minutes each side or until tender and lightly charred. Transfer to a plate.
  • Cook the bacon, stirring often, in a nonstick frying pan over med heat for 10 minutes or until golden and crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain the fat.
  • Combine the mayonnaise, orange rind and juice in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Arrange the lettuce, rocket, sweet potato and snow peas on serving plates. Sprinkle with bacon and shallot, drizzle with the mayonnaise mixture and top with walnuts.
https://mammachefjozi.com/summery-grilled-sweet-potato-bacon-salad/

Fabulously Fast Vegetable Egg Fried Rice

Finished in a flash, this vegetable egg fried rice is so fuss free it’s an absolute life saver. If you know you’re going to be pressed for time, cook the rice on a Sunday afternoon and keep cold in the fridge. All you need to do is fry up the veggies, crack open an egg and pour a glass of wine!

Fabulously Fast Vegetable Egg Fried Rice

Category: Meat Free Mondays

Cuisine: Asian

4

Fabulously Fast Vegetable Egg Fried Rice

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked brown or white rice
  • 1-2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, corn, green beans)
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • sprinkle dried chilli flakes
  • 3 green onions, diced

Instructions

  • Add oil to a large pan over med-high heat and saute onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add a sprinkle of dried chilli flakes and cook for half a minute.
  • Add in the vegetables and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring.
  • Move the veggies to one half of the pan. Add egg and allow to cook for 1 minute, then scramble it with a fork or spatula and stir in with veggies.
  • Add rice to pan. Add soy sauce and stir over medium heat for 6-8 minutes until browned. Remove from heat and stir in green onions.

Notes

Gluten free, Sugar free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian, Meat Free Monday

https://mammachefjozi.com/fabulously-fast-vegetable-egg-fried-rice/

 

Baby Kingklip with Tuscan Style Vegetables

Something fishy

The Mediterranean Diet prescribes plenty of fish and less meat. This baby kingklip recipe is gluten free, sugar free, super low carb and super high in nutrition.

It also tastes divine, especially made with baby kingklip, takes only 30 minutes to make and it’s so very easy!

Baby Kingklip with Tuscan Style Vegetables

Browsing around my local Food Lover’s Market for fish, I wanted something other than Hake. I noticed that 500g Hake fillets were R70 and 500g Kingklip portions were R140. Then I spotted the Baby Kingklip at R89 for 800 grams and thought this was quite a good deal. Something different and for a great price relative to their fully grown kin.

Anyway, on to the recipe!

Baby Kingklip with Tuscan Style Vegetables

30 minutes

Category: Weekday Meals

Cuisine: Fish

4-6

Baby Kingklip with Tuscan Style Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1/2-1 tsp chilli flakes (to taste)
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 tins peeled & diced tomatoes
  • 2 tins cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 200 g fresh baby spinach, washed and dried
  • salt and pepper
  • 800 g baby kingklip or hake fillets, patted dry and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • fresh parsley and lemon to garnish
  • juice of 1 lemon

Instructions

  • In a large, deep pan with a lid, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add onion and 1 tsp garlic. Saute until onion has softened. Garlic mustn't brown.
  • Add chilli flakes and rosemary if using. Add diced tomatoes and cannelini beans. Stir well then cover the pan, and reduce heat to simmer while cooking the fish.
  • In a large non stick pan on med-high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp garlic. When garlic is sizzling, add fish fillets and cook for a couple of minutes. Lift the edge of the fish when it is becoming opaque on top, and see if it is nicely browned on the bottom. Carefully turn the fish using a spatula. While fish cooks on the second side, add fresh spinach to the bean and tomato mixture. Stir well, and replace the lid. Turn off the heat. Allow the spinach to wilt. Check for seasoning. Stir.
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the cooked fish fillets.
  • Divide the vegetable mixture among your plates or bowls.
  • Top each with a fish fillet, and garnish with parsley and a wedge of lemon if desired.
https://mammachefjozi.com/baby-kingklip-with-tuscan-style-vegetables/

Mediterranean Chicken & Potatoes

Mediterranean Chicken & Potatoes

50 minutes

Category: Weekday Meals

Cuisine: Mediterranean

4-6

Mediterranean Chicken & Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 8 skin-on , bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 4 tsp crushed garlic
  • 3 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 6-8 potatoes, quartered
  • 1 red onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 red pepper (capsicum), deseeded and cut into wedges
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 4 tbsp pitted Kalamata olives
  • Lemon slices, to serve

Instructions

  • Pat thighs dry with paper towel. In a shallow oven dish, combine lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, vinegar, garlic, basil, oregano, parsley and salt. Pour out half of the mixture into a jug and set aside for later.
  • Add the chicken to the mixture in the oven dish and coat evenly. Cover and marinate for 15 minutes if rushed; 1 hour if time allows; or over night, turning each chicken thigh occasionally in the marinade.
  • Preheat oven to 220°C. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan or skillet over med-high heat. Sear the chicken on both sides until golden brown (about 4 minutes per side). Place chicken pieces back into the oven dish, then arrange the vegetables around the chicken. Drizzle vegetables with the marinade from the jug, tossing them through the oil mixture to coat evenly.
  • Cover the dish with or foil and bake until the potatoes are soft and the chicken is completely cooked through (about 35 minutes). Change oven setting to grill, uncover and cook for a further 5-10 minutes, or until chicken and potatoes are crispy and golden brown.
  • Serve with olives and lemon slices.
https://mammachefjozi.com/mediterranean-chicken-potatoes/

The Most Extraordinary Macaroni and Cheese Ever!

Yes it is the best ever Macaroni & Cheese

Being a recipe by Nigella Lawson, you just know it’s going to be something you can’t get enough of! She proclaimed it to be the best ever Macaroni and Cheese and you know what? She really was telling the truth!

most-extraordinary-macaroni-cheese-ever

Furthermore, you might expect a ton of cheese and unhealthy ingredients but there’s only half a cup of cheddar and a third of a cup of feta. I used wholewheat macaroni to add some extra fibre to the mix. Plus hidden sweet potato for the kids! It’s a very sneaky and absolutely amazing trick.

This is our Meat Free Monday dish, not quite vegan but vegetarian. For any other day I think it would also be great with some added crispy bacon bits.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Macaroni and Cheese

Category: Meat Free Mondays

Cuisine: Vegetarian

4

Sweet Potato Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 500 g sweet potatoes
  • 300 g wholewheat macaroni
  • 4 tbsp soft unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 500 ml full fat milk
  • 1 tsp english mustard
  • ¼ tsp paprika (plus another quarter tsp to sprinkle on top)
  • 75 g feta cheese
  • 125 g mature cheddar (plus 25g to sprinkle on top)
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil, with the lid on to speed up the process (and save electricity).
  • Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them roughly into 2–3 cm pieces. When the water is boiling, add salt to taste, then the sweet potato pieces, and cook them for about 10 minutes or until soft. Scoop them out of the water into a bowl using a slotted spoon. Lightly mash with a fork, without turning them into a purée. Keep the water in the pot to cook the pasta later on.
  • In another saucepan, gently melt the butter and add the flour over medium heat, whisking until smooth. Take the pan off the heat, slowly whisk in the milk. When it’s all combined and smooth, put back on the heat. Using a wooden spoon, continue to stir while simmering gently until the sauce has lost any floury taste and has thickened.
  • Add mustard and ¼ teaspoon of paprika. Season lightly to taste, keeping in mind that you will be adding Cheddar and salty feta later.
  • Cook the macaroni in the sweet potato water, checking 2 minutes earlier than packet instructions state, as you want to make sure it doesn’t overcook. Reserve about half a cup of the pasta water and then drain.
  • Add the macaroni to the mashed sweet potato, folding in to combine.
  • Crumble the feta cheese into the sweet potato and pasta mixture. Fold in the white sauce, adding the 125g grated Cheddar as you go. Add some of the pasta cooking water, should you feel it needs more moisture.
  • Check for seasoning again, then, when you’re happy, spoon the macaroni cheese into a large rectangular oven dish. Sprinkle the remaining Cheddar over the top, dust with the remaining ¼ teaspoon of paprika, then sprinkle the sage leaves over the top as well.
  • Bake for 30–35 minutes, until piping hot and bubbling.
https://mammachefjozi.com/most-extraordinary-macaroni-cheese-ever/

Find the original recipe by Nigella here.

Broccoli Bacon Cheese & Chicken Bake – an Instant Family Favourite

Broccoli, Bacon, Cheese & Chicken Bake

This recipe looked fantastic when I found it, but was even better than expected! An instant family favourite, the boys loved it, yes, even though it was mainly broccoli. That’s always a measure of a successful dinner… the broccoli and chicken baking together result in such tasty juices at the bottom of the dish. If you were to add rice to the mix (not necessary at all) you would have a lovely broth to go with it.

Blanch the broccoli before baking to enhance the colour and flavour.

Broccoli Bacon Cheese & Chicken Bake – an Instant Family Favourite

4-6

Broccoli Bacon Cheese & Chicken Bake – an Instant Family Favourite

Ingredients

  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 packet diced bacon
  • 6-8 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup mozarella/white cheddar cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 200 C.
  • Place chicken breasts flat on a cutting board, drizzle with a little olive oil & cover with cling wrap.
  • Bash with your fist to flatten them evenly (great stress reliever).
  • Remove cling wrap and season with ground salt & black pepper.
  • Spray an oven dish with olive oil cooking spray and place chicken breasts into the dish.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to boil, add broccoli and boil for 2 minutes to blanch.
  • At the same time, fry bacon bits in a small pan until golden.
  • Drain broccoli well.
  • Add broccoli and bacon bits to dish with chicken. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the top.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
https://mammachefjozi.com/broccoli-bacon-cheese-chicken-bake/

Pauli’s Food Co. Wholegrain Calamari Wraps with Saffron Chutney Chilli

Wholegrain Calamari Wraps with Saffron Chutney Chilli

I have come to absolutely adore Pauli’s Food Company’s sauces and marinated veggies, not only because they’re the perfect companion to any dish ever but also because they have such a great attitude towards food and they’re pretty great people too! No preservatives, additives, colourants and just simply delicious, good food made with love and the freshest ingredients.

Pauli's Food Co. Wholegrain Calamari Wraps Saffron Chutney Chilli

Check out their website for stockists.

These calamari wraps are absolutely amazing with Pauli’s Saffron Chutney Chilli. Add some optional humus or plain cream cheese.

Pauli’s Food Co. Wholegrain Calamari Wraps with Saffron Chutney Chilli

Category: Weekday Meals

Pauli’s Food Co. Wholegrain Calamari Wraps with Saffron Chutney Chilli

Ingredients

  • Wholegrain tortilla wraps
  • lettuce, sliced into ribbons
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • baby cucumber, quartered and sliced
  • yellow pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 400g calamari rings
  • Pauli's Saffron Chutney Chilli

Instructions

  • Heat butter in a frying pan on the stove over med-high heat.
  • Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add a splash of olive oil (this will stop the butter from browning too much).
  • Add the calamari rings and lemon juice.
  • Saute until just opaque (2-3 minutes).
  • Heat tortilla wraps as per packet instructions, I prefer heating them in a non stick pan.
  • Place lettuce on wrap, with tomatoes, cucumber, peppers and top with calamari rings.
  • Wrap up, serve and enjoy!

Notes

I would cook the calamari in the Pauli's sauce if not for the boys. It's slightly too hot for them so I add it to ours after as a condiment. Add humus, cream cheese or any veg you prefer to add. A super quick meal guaranteed to leave smiles on faces!

https://mammachefjozi.com/paulis-food-co-wholegrain-calamari-wraps-saffron-chutney-chilli/

Beautiful Intention Part 2 – Eating Balanced & Nutritious Meals

Eating positive!

Beautiful Intention Part 2 - balanced nutritious meals

 

Now that we’re drinking more water and have the blood flowing through the body smoothly, one of the basics is in place. The next step is to consider the food. Here’s your guide to cooking and eating healthy, balanced and nutritious meals.

Obviously there are a multitude of different diets out there, many of which make some sense and many of which just don’t.

My personal opinion with regards to healthy eating is the same as with most things, life’s too short to be worried about a complicated diet that involves a million rules, counting of any kind (I count enough in my business) or not having wine! I feel it’s best to keep it simple and delicious, again treating your body with love and not punishment.

I also mentioned my food philosophy in a post from last year, which essentially echoes the philosophy of Jamie Oliver.

The philosophy of eating

The main thing is that food shouldn’t be made to be an enemy. The latest research that aimed to determine which was the most evil between carbohydrates and fat may surprise you in its outcome. You can read the article here. What it boils down to (and while I’m at it, don’t boil your veggies) is that neither actually makes much difference!

What does matter is the quantity (amount of calories) and quality of the food you’re eating! You don’t have to go counting every calorie but eat sensible portions and make healthy choices. One thing that must be avoided though, is sugar.

Why avoid sugar?

I always want to know the why’s. Aside from weight loss, here’s a quick list of reasons to avoid sugar from MindBodyGreen.com

  • Directly linked to higher levels of anxiety, stress and depression
  • causes inflammation which in turn
  • negatively impacts the immune system
  • increases blood pressure
  • adversely affects mental function
  • Speeds up ageing and can cause acne
  • Blood Sugar spikes and crashes, affecting energy levels
  • Increases risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

How to avoid sugar

Cooking your meals from scratch using fresh ingredients means that you avoid eating processed foods, premade sauces and meals that contain high amounts of sugar (and sodium).

Ditch the sweets for fresh fruits and berries, nuts and look for snack or treat recipes you can make with eg. raw honey, nut butters and dark chocolate. There are soooooo many different options for healthier choices.

Dump the fizzy colddrinks and fruit juices and instead, drink water*, unsweetened rooibos or herbal teas etc.

Don’t choose low fat products as they generally contain added sugar to make up for the taste.

Healthy eating

Beautiful Intention Part 2 - balanced nutritious meals

After all this, what are the healthiest food and diet choices?

Firstly, crash diets and fads are so old hat. The only way to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle is with a sustainable eating plan, balance and moderation and yes, some exercise. You don’t need a gym, walking is also great and there are various fantastic workout apps including all different kinds of exercise.

Back to food!

The Mediterranean Diet is my guideline of choice for several reasons. It’s widely known as the world’s healthiest diet mainly because it largely reduces risk of heart disease, strokes and cancer. Let’s be honest, if your heart has stopped working it won’t really matter what your body looks like.

It also wards off chronic disease, promotes brain health, aids weight loss and slows ageing… what more could you possibly want?!

The key aspects of the Mediterranean Diet are:

  • plenty of fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits
  • fish and white meat, with red meat in moderation
  • whole grains along with nuts, beans, lentils and seeds
  • olive oil for the win!
  • lots of herbs and spices for wonderful flavour without excess salt
  • limit dairy to hard cheeses and plain yoghurt
  • a glass of red wine daily (again, moderation applies)

Stay away from the cakes, sweets and processed foods. Stick to produce as close as possible to it’s natural form. Choose whole grain over white.

Give yourself a treat now and then! Don’t be mean to yourself for having a block or two of that choccie, it’s not going to crush the scale tomorrow morning… a small treat once a week is fine.

What appeals most to me about the Mediterranean Diet is that it’s the closest to the way we eat as a family in any case, therefore I don’t have to make different meals for different people.

If I don’t feel like having pasta for example, I simply don’t dish the pasta portion and happily have the delicious protein and veggies or salad. It’s uncomplicated, easy to cook, incredibly tasty, GOOD food!

Change your mind – change your life

Food is a friend. You don’t need to make it your enemy. Approach food with positive energy, cook with love, feel the joy of sharing healthy, nutritious meals with your family and caring for your body in the most loving way. You will be surprised at how much this changes your relationship with food as well as your body!

Favourite Weekday Meal Feature – Mediterranean Tuna Lettuce Wraps

Mediterranean Tuna Lettuce Wraps

The perfect weekday meal for hot summer evenings when you just can’t bring yourself to eating anything that has been near a stove.

These tuna lettuce wraps are healthy, refreshing and substantial enough to fill even the hungriest of tummies! Gluten free option with lettuce as a wrap only, or add some fibre with a wholegrain tortilla wrap. It’s juicy, crispy, tasty and ready in a flash!

Click on the image for the recipe card.

Favourite Meal Feauture Mediterranean Tuna Lettuce Wraps

Your Meal Planning Inspiration for a Rainy Week

Inspiration from everywhere

Has Summer forgotten about us? Wherever you go lately, people are discussing how strange the weather has been. Of course we won’t complain about the rain, we just wish we could send some of ours down to Cape Town to alleviate the drought… which reminds me of the campaigns I’ve seen all over Social Media, making travellers aware of the restrictions in place. If you are heading to Cape Town this December, one of the campaigns you can follow on Twitter is #waterwisetourismCT with very helpful tips and updates for conscious water usage.

The inspiration for this particular week’s meals therefore came from everywhere but the weather! My eldest son came back from a holiday with his father on Monday and got to choose dinner… and so it became Pizza Monday! In my opinion, any week that starts with pizza can only be a great week!

The Meal Planner

Download your meal planner here and click on the recipe name below for the printable recipe card.

Meal Planning Inspiration Pauli's Tomali Marinated Chicken

Tuesday’s recipe came from the lovely people at Pauli’s Food Co. I often rave about their sauces but this is the first time that I decided to try one of their recipes. There are so many delicious ideas on their blog as well and I was fortunate enough to be given quite a few of their recipe cards on my last visit to them. This Pauli’s Tomali Marinaded Chicken Pieces was one of them.

Meal Planning Inspiration Cottage Pie with Sweet Potato

My Low Carb Cottage Pie has somewhat celebrity status in our house. It’s completely flop proof (I promise) and I have a few different variations of the same recipe. I have done a vegan cottage pie using lentils and sweet potato, of course there’s the regular potato mash version which is the perfect comfort food and when looking for some low carb inspiration I just added a little twist and topped it with sweet potato mash instead.

Meal Planning Inspiration Chicken & Red Pepper Pesto Pasta

Thursday’s dinner popped into my mind as I was walking through the isles of the grocery shop, listening to a very chirpy rendition of Jingle Bells.

This Chicken & Red Pepper Pesto Pasta includes some spinach to add some healthy greenery to your gut. I used Ina Paarman’s Red Pepper Pesto and this is a dish you can literally serve up in 15 minutes!

There are so many options for pasta now and you can find just about anything to suit your dietary preference. Use some wholewheat pasta, gluten free pasta or even butternut spaghetti to change it up.

I shall call this one Fridge Friday, as the inspiration really came from the fridge. I had cooked some beetroot that was waiting to be roasted, had some carrots and hey presto! Kassler Chops & Roast Carrot, Beetroot and Lentil Salad

Meal Planning Inspiration Kassler Chops & Roast Beetroot Carrot Beans

On the day, I ended up using Canellini beans instead of lentils, which were still tasty but I would have preferred lentils I think.

Over the next few weeks I will be trying out some “Festive” recipes. To help me with some inspiration for those, let me know what makes a festive recipe for you? Is it something that takes hours to cook like a turkey with all the sides? Is it summery and light (if you’re in a Summer Christmas zone like us, of course)?

Drop me a little note in the comments below or give me a shout on any of my social media! Love hearing from you as always!

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