Meat Free Monday
Creamy and delicious, filling and nutritious, this vegetarian casserole is fast as flash to the table. Gluten free and perfect for a Meat Free Monday dinner when you just want to pop a dish in the oven and have it come out steaming and ready to please the whole family.
Photo and original recipe from taste.com.au
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!
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!
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.
Find the original recipe by Nigella here.
Pauli’s Anytime Brinjal & Peppers Veggies
I must honestly tell you that Pauli’s sauces and veggies have become an absolute staple in Mamma’s house! Literally from breakfast to dinner, midnight snack and daytime snack, there is nothing you can’t do with their range. If you have followed me for a while, you would have noticed them pop up every now and then in my recipes.
There’s only one thing I really dislike eating and that is brinjal. As a child, the silly things grew in my back yard. Every day when I got home from school I had to water them (and the tomatoes and the rest of the veggie patch). I didn’t grow up in a house of cooks at all and the brinjal (silly eggplant) would be basically boiled and plopped on a plate for dinner. It actually made that exact sound… plop. It was awful!
Enter Pauli’s sauces! One lovely, sunny day in Jozi, I was fortunate enough to go over to the place where it all happens. The kitchen at Pauli’s is warm and inviting, your senses tingle with the smells of spices and freshly chopped chillies and brightly coloured vegetables. The place has a glow about it – not only from the heat of the chillies, mind you!
A whole spread was laid out and we chatted over breads and cheese, the whole range of sauces and veggies. Inevitably I was reintroduced to the brinjal in a few different forms. At first, not wanting to say I can’t stand the offensive little eggplant, I took a teeny weeny little forkful… hang on a minute… I had to go back for another little forkful!
Happily, I could then tell them about my brinjal issues and how I never ever would have picked up that bottle before! I could honestly declare myself converted! The only disclaimer is that I will only eat brinjals if they come in a Pauli’s bottle. I’m still nervous of brinjals in their natural form.
Since then, Pauli’s have become a MammaChef Jozi blog sponsor, an HR business client and more importantly a friend and an inspiration. Every so often, I will be featuring some dinner inspiration with Pauli’s sauces. You can find their stockists here and also have a peek at their fantastic website, gifts, recipes etc. Of course you can drop me an email with your order and I’ll make sure that the good stuff gets to you asap!
Here’s the Meat Free Monday recipe from their very own recipe book, featuring Pauli’s delicious (and I really mean that) brinjal & peppers!
Nothing says “comfort food” like a warm, creamy baked canneloni. Loaded with lots of good, green spinach to make it healthy too!
This will definitely become a firm family favourite.
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!
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 MomentTime 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.
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?
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.
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)….
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.
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.
Due to a massive power failure on Monday and soccer training etc., we had an easy backup dinner in the form of roast Woolies chicken. Our #MeatFreeMonday recipe therefore is a fabulous friend feature by Christél Schutte.
Homemade Tomato Soup which also doubles as a pasta sauce if you prefer!
Salt and Black Pepper.
1 Red onion chopped up with garlic, sautéed in a pot with olive oil or butter for a few minutes.
Add about 8 chopped up Roma tomatoes. Roma tomatoes from WOOLWORTHS SA are the best for soups and sauces.
Add a bit of your favourite white wine.
Let it simmer for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft.
Secret ingredient is tomato paste – it gives it the beautiful red colour.
At the end, add a bit of pouring/cooking cream for thickness.
At this stage you have the best pasta sauce. Add some chopped up olives. Snip up chives or coriander or both. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
Take tomato mix off the stove and blend with a stick blender until soupy.
Sprinkle with chives and/or coriander. Crumble some Feta. Eat with croutons or ciabatta bread.
If you find the tomato too acidic, adding a teaspoon or two of sugar will relieve this.
Beautiful, warm, delicious!