Start counting sleeps
Nevermind cooking for this week… it’s just about time to start looking forward to Christmas! I’m not really ready to start looking back on the year just yet, save to say that it has been a rollercoaster, eventful, surprising, stressful but wonderful one!
We have just come back from a lovely, week long family holiday in Mpumalanga. I had time to relax, catch a few rays of sun on my nearly translucent winter skin and think up lots of ideas for the blog (and of course for business). The mind never actually stops working on something or other!
See what’s cooking this week
Those early birds who have subscribed over the past few weeks would have received the brand spanking new and gorgeously colourful Meal Planner in a new email format today! Yay for you!
In case you haven’t signed up just yet, you can do so *right now* on the home page in the “sign up” bar… and of course, you can get this week’s planner right here!
It’s all free because I want to help everyone eat better, cook better and feel better! The only thing I ask is for you to keep giving me all your feedback, photos and ideas to make this little idea be the best that it possibly can!
Last week’s meal planner was introduced with fanfare as we were featured on one of my absolute favourite blogs, Mom of Two Little Girls! It’s such an honour to be featured in this brilliant series by someone I completely admire and adore! Link to her post here.
You can also download last week’s printable meal planner on my post here!
The fun thing is that this week, we will be cooking together (if you choose to start on Monday) and you will see my photos pop up as we go along! Hopefully I can stick to my own recipes! Please don’t be shy to post your photos in the comments on Facebook and also share any tasty changes or additions you have made. I love, love, love all your yummy ideas too.
Our recipe cards are all ready to go too! Subscribers can download and print them now, stick up on your fridge or whatever works!
If you are not subscribed I am sad to say you will have to wait until the week’s roundup to get the recipe cards. On the menu this week is:
Seafood Rice & Chorizo (the easy version)
Speaking of imminent holidays, I have decided that my little layer of winter blubber also needs to disappear before beach time. Yes, my guys love me just the way I am but I like to be comfortable in my own skin. I don’t have a whole lot to lose, but I don’t have much time either! First step is lots of water.
More on that later though, for now I need to go shopping! Wishing you a beautiful week!
The last few weeks have really been a bit rough, exhilarating and amazing, but rough. So much so that I have neglected my beloved blog (although I have been able to keep our Facebook page and Instagram going full steam with all our dinner ideas – so please check in there whenever you want to!)
I will post a piece soon with all the news, save to say that it has been challenging, exciting, painful and there may be steam coming out of my ears at this very moment, as my brain is working at the speed of light!
Snapshot of this week’s dinner ideas
1 Butternut, cut into pieces, with skin (or without)
Pack of Broccoli,
A pack of thin sweet carrots
1 Red onion, sliced
Crushed garlic to taste (I used garlic flakes)
Salt & Pepper
A few tablespoons of double thick Cream
I cheat a little bit by steaming my veggies in the mic, before I put it in the oven. Put the Butternut, Broccoli and Carrots in a microwave safe bowl and add a little bit of water. Cover tightly with cling film or a roasting bag. Make sure there’s a little hole in the film or bag to release some of the steam – you don’t want the veggies to go ‘BOOM’!! Microwave on high for about 3 – 4 minutes.
Drain the excess water. Add all the veggies into an oven dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake in the oven on 180° for about 30 – 45 minutes. After the first 20 minutes or so, add a few tablespoons of double thick cream and mix about. Crumble Feta cheese over and put back in the oven.
You can use your own discretion when it comes to when you want to take it out of the oven.
Tuesday – SuperDad cooks Lamb Chops
Succulent, grilled lamb chops with mashed potato, mixed corn and peas and a side of butter beans dressed with vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Wednesday – Spicy Beef & Vegetable Curry
Brown 800g beef cubes in a large pot with some olive oil over high heat, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the pot and set aside.
Sauté 2 chopped onions until soft, then add 1/4 cup of korma curry paste and mix. Add 6 diced potatoes, 2 cups cauliflower, 2 tins chopped tomatoes and a cup of beef stock.
Add the beef and juices into the mix. Season with salt and pepper. I also added about 2tsp each of turmeric and paprika, just because. Add in a cup of frozen peas.
Cook in normal pot for at least an hour, in low cooker for 8hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.
Serve with Basmati rice and some plain yoghurt.
Gluten free, high in protein!
Thursday – Caldo Verde (Green soup with Kale)
We have made this one before! Link here
That was the week’s roundup! Followed by a busy and beautiful weekend with family!
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)!
Yesterday’s dinner is a classic… Not your average Cottage Pie!
I think it was the first dish I really made “from scratch” donkeys years ago and now it has become one of my family’s favourites. Made with a super special mashed potato topping. This is a must to make and totally flop proof!
Cut 8 potatoes into quarters and place in a pot of cold water with salt. Bring to boil and cook for 12-15 minutes, or until soft.
Fry 1 chopped onion and 1-2 tsp crushed garlic in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add 2 tbsp flour and fry together, stirring often, for about 2 minutes. Add 300ml beef stock, stirring it in little by little until you have a smooth consistency.
Add 1kg beef mince, season with ground salt & black pepper, 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce. Let it cook, stirring occasionally, until the mince is evenly browned. Add 1-2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (diced carrots, peas and corn), lower heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Set oven to grill.
When the potatoes have cooked, drain well and place them back in the pot. Add a splash of milk, 1 tsp dijon mustard, salt to taste, 200g finely grated cheddar cheese, a sprinkle of paprika and mash until combined and smooth.
Empty the cooked mince into a large, deep oven dish. Spoon the mash on top and spread out evenly. Sprinkle some more cheese if you like and some paprika as well. Pop in the oven and grill for 5-10 minutes just until the topping has a lovely golden colour.
Feeds 4-6 with leftovers for lunch!
Christel‘s Creative Cooking recipe is our Meat Free Monday meal (for yesterday)…
This recipe could be a side with so many things! So yummy looking, yummy tasting and cleverly carb conscious too!
1 small packet of Zucchini. Cut into thickish slices.
1 small packet of mushrooms (you can also use brown mushrooms for a more earthy taste). Cut in half.
One pan/pot for the Zucchini’s, one pan/pot for the mushrooms. You can use one pot but mushrooms tend to become very watery and the Zucchini don’t like to swim 😉.
Pan fry lightly in butter until al dente (You don’t want it to get soggy). Add a bit of salt & pepper and oregano flakes while frying.
Remove from pan and let cool for a bit in a glass bowl.
Once cooled, crumble some Feta cheese and sprinkle with a little bit of WOOLWORTHS SA Nut & Seed Sprinkles. You can use any other nuts as well.
You can also drizzle with olive oil if you want.
You can eat it as is, on a #meatfree day or have it as a side dish.
Last week’s dinner ideas roundup…
Tuesday – pork schnitzel with spicy rice and veg
Wednesday – SuperDad’s pulled chicken wraps
Thursday – lamb chops and roast vegetables
#PizzaFriday – no need to elaborate!
All from WOOLWORTHS SA – even the pizza!
This week’s meal plan is still a secret… even from me, to be quite honest! I just haven’t had time to sit down and do the planning. Although I do have a few ideas bubbling in my brain.
Every now and then, even the most positive person might feel a hint of doubt creeping in. When this happens, refocus your thoughts straight away –
remember the reasons and motivations behind your goal,
remember that nobody can do what you do quite like you,
remember that you are loved,
believe in yourself and
Even the little spinach critics in our house loved this! Creamy spinach in juicy chicken breast, served with fluffy sautéed potatoes and broccoli (just because I felt like lots of green stuff).
Switch oven on to bake at 230 degrees C.
Peel and dice 6 potatoes, place into a large pan with a pinch or two of salt, cover with water and boil for 5 minutes. Drain, shake them onto a tray lined with kitchen paper and leave to cool.
Cook 2 cups of frozen spinach in the microwave as per packet instructions (or boil in a pot – with microwave cooking there is just less water to squeeze out of the cooked spinach). Empty cooked spinach into a bowl and mix in 1 cup feta cheese and 1 cup cream cheese, 2 teaspoons crushed garlic, salt and pepper.
Lay 4-6 large chicken breasts flat on a glass cutting board. Cut a pocket into the thick side of the breast. Try not to cut right through to the other side.
Use a spoon to divide the filling and stuff into the chicken breast pocket. Season with some more salt and pepper.
Heat some olive oil in an oven proof pan over medium-high temp, then add stuffed chicken breasts, on the flat side and fry for 5 minutes then turn over. Next, place the pan into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Once in the oven, steam broccoli florets.
Heat another glug of olive oil in a large non-stick pan, on medium high heat. Add potatoes in a single layer and let them sizzle but don’t stir until they start to brown underneath. Turn 2-3 times in a total of 8 minutes cooking time, so that they are nicely browned all over. I didn’t use a non-stick pan and mine became delicious fluffy potato squares. Still good but not quite what I was going for! Drain on kitchen paper and season with ground salt.
Check chicken – add an extra 2-5 minutes cooking time if your chicken breasts are super thick. If you poke the chicken with a fork and juices run clear, it is cooked.
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!
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!
This week’s meals are intended to be as quick and easy as possible due to the current state of sleeping arrangements in our happy home… Just to paint a picture for you, last night I went to lie down with my eldest son, Wade who is eight, to have a chat before bedtime. It’s possible I fell asleep before him!
I vaguely remember moving myself over to my little three year old’s bed when he called for me during the night, as he does on most nights. After a short blank which could have been sleep, I opened my eyes to see same three year old, Blake, get up and make his way to the bed where I should have been, to go and sleep next to Dad. I close my eyes for a second…
Lights on and Wade is looking at me. There has been a night time incident which requires new pyjamas and removal of sheets. I give up my temporary bed and head to the main bedroom where I shift over a sideways Blake and finally find a slither of space in my very own bed…. and I’m wide awake.
I possibly got a blink or two in before it became time to rise and shine!
Hence, quick and easy meals! Recipe below…
Place a large pan on medium high heat and preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Season 6 chicken drumsticks with ground salt & pepper, Portuguese chicken spice (or seasoning of your choice). Add olive oil to heated pan and brown chicken for 2 minutes per side.
While the chicken browns, place 600g baby potatoes in a plastic bag, loosely knotted, and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
Next, transfer chicken and baby potatoes into a shallow oven dish, add brussels sprouts if desired. Drizzle olive oil over potatoes and brussels, season with ground salt & black pepper. Roast in the oven for approximately 40 minutes. Pour a glass of wine!
With 10 minutes to go, steam baby carrots and green beans. Serve!
Yours in daytime snoozes,