Meat Free Monday
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.
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.
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!
Another one of my favourite things about winter (other than my most comfy pair of slippers) is soup. This split pea soup is absolutely delicious served piping hot with a warm and crispy bread roll.
Since it’s a slow cooker recipe as well, there’s practically no work to be done other than chuck ingredients into the pot and go on your merry little way! Super easy! In fact, as I was on my way home on Tuesday afternoon, I suddenly realised that I would arrive home to delicious soup that has already been cooked and the only thing I had to do was pop the rolls into the oven, dish up and take a photo for you! Happy, happy, happiness!
If you don’t have a minute for chopping/grating stuff, WOOLWORTHS SA fresh split pea soup mix also works fantastically! Just add some herbs and bits and bobs and away you go!
- 1 Bay leaf
- 2 large carrots, grated
- 3 chopped celery ribs
- 1 Large leek, chopped and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon (heaped) crushed garlic
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley OR some fresh sprigs
- 500grams dried green split peas
- 6 cups Vegetable stock
- ground salt & black pepper
- Optional: diced ham or bacon
Toss all the ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours.
Our Meat Free Monday dinner is an amazing Triple tomato and basil pasta, as usual with gluten free spaghetti. My favourite gluten free pasta is San Remo from Pick n Pay – so good that my guys don’t notice any difference at all!
On a soccer night this is quick and easy to make, although I did stray quite a bit from the original recipe. To be honest, pounds and ounces are just confusing and with a gang of hungry boys I didn’t have time to Google each amount! So Mamma “wung it”, as we do!
Recipe (feeds 4-6)
In a large pot, start cooking spaghetti (approx 400g) according to instructions on the packet.
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add roughly chopped sundried tomatoes (1/3 cup) and chopped and peeled tomatoes (1 tin), simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring halfway. Add 2 teaspoons crushed garlic, salt, black pepper to taste (optional red chilli flakes). Stir well, simmer for 2 minutes.
Drain the pasta about 2 minutes before the end of its cooking time, leaving it in the pot.
Back at the stove, pour the tomato mixture over the pasta. Add 4 cups vegetable stock, approx. 180ml tomato paste, place over high heat and stir while rapidly boiling for about 5 minutes or until sauce has evaporated sufficiently to your liking and the pasta is cooked.
Remove the pot from heat, stir in 2 handfuls chopped fresh basil, cover and let stand for 2 minutes while opening a lovely bottle of red wine.
Serve with some extra basil and Parmesan cheese, if you wish.
Speaking of basil, let me tell you about the unfortunate basil incident…
I have a lovely little basil plant in my kitchen window and it gives me such a good feeling to use its leaves in my cooking. At one point, I noticed that it looked like some little buglet was munching on my basil! I couldn’t see any bugs and left it at that, until one evening I went to touch the plant and nearly squished a skinny little bright green worm who was making his way to the leaf right at the top of the plant! Could have been a hungry caterpillar, I don’t know! I screamed, I imagine he screamed and once everyone had had a chance to recover, he was relocated to a new home outside and away from my herbs!
The unfortunate part is that my basil plant did not recover as fast as the hungry caterpillar and I did and I now have to use store bought fresh basil. Tastes just as good though! 🙂
Share your thoughts and any yummy additions you made!
#MeatFreeMonday but with loads of cheese! Our chilly Monday comfort food is my secret recipe Macaroni and Cheese, with a super salad on the side.
Okay I will tell you the secret… I only use Ina Paarman creamy cheese sauce and top with matured cheddar and extra parmesan. It’s amazing and we never have any leftovers for lunch.
Salad: cucumber, cherry tomatoes, four beans, olives, feta, olive oil, balsamic, s & p