The Democratic Meal Planner – One kid, one vote!
In light of all the political goings on around us recently, I decided to give democracy a chance to rule the meal planner. I feel like I’m making myself sound very much like a food dictator… She who holds the wooden spoon, rules the plates! It’s for their own good though, trust me!
The boys are very modern in their political views and combined their votes to effect community rule over the first two days. This worked out very well for them as they got to have both their favourites. SuperDad is always happy with pasta and basil pesto is also a favourite. Of course they go so well together as a combo! Somebody had to be the carb police and that happened to be me (can’t quite get rid of the dictatorship). My favourite treat as a meal must be salmon. It has become so expensive, even in frozen steaks, that we really only have it on the odd occasion.
Fish shopping tip!
I did discover something quite interesting though… Our local Food Lover’s Market has a fantastic fish section and if you can hold your breath long enough, you might just find a very good deal!
As an example, the prepared, fresh salmon portions on the day were R299.00 per kilogram. In comparison, Woolworths’ fresh Norwegian salmon portions are R500.00 per kilogram, but that’s not the point. If you select a whole salmon, they will fillet it for you, package the quantity that you want and the price on the day was R179.99 per kilogram. That is a major difference!
As usual, just going that little bit further to be aware of where our food comes from, I looked into the sourcing of the salmon and found this on Food Lover’s Market website:
Although Food Lovers market currently procures farmed Norwegian Salmon which is on the WWF-SASSI orange-list we are implementing a procurement strategy that aligns with SASSI procurement guideline for Salmon. This means that all Norwegian on Food Lover’s shelves will come from farms that are affiliated to the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI – http://globalsalmoninitiative.org/) by January 2019. These farms have committed to work towards meeting the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standard for responsible aquaculture by 2020. Food Lover’s has full traceability back to all source farms and is annually tracking progress of these farms towards their 2020 ASC target.
Sustainable is good and I like the accountability and action plan.
This post really is becoming quite political! I have a soapbox and everything! I think it’s about time for the good stuff!
The Recipe Cards
Remember you can sign up to the newsletter to get your meal planner and recipe cards all together in advance, in your inbox! Alternatively you are two weeks behind… and have to come all the way here to MammaChef Jozi to download them… Then again, I love your visits and the more the better! So I tell you what, do both!
Needless to say, we all thoroughly enjoyed this week’s dinners. Blake, who is four, has recently taken to proclaiming every meal as the best food he has ever eaten! The people have spoken!
Alright, I think that is more than enough of my political commentary. I will leave you with this thought. Whatever your mood, whatever is going on in life, try to get yourself just one level up on the emotional scale! If you’re feeling dejected, try to find something that makes you feel content. Anxiety looks for something that brings peace and so on. The point is to raise your vibration! I’ll expand on this a little more later on. If you can (and it’s always possible)… Smile!
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. The first National Women’s Day was celebrated on 9 August 1994. 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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Continuing with the super quick and easy theme this week, this Chorizo Pasta is so simple and so very yummy! The only trick to this is that you must get very good quality chorizo… just any old one won’t do. We have a secret chorizo supplier, that is so secret, even I haven’t been to the shop (couldn’t tell you where it is either)! Therefore, I am very lucky that I get given a few from my sister in law to freeze and I am extremely lucky if SuperDad gets a chance to pop in there and get some for us, normally for a special occasion. For those who don’t have access to the holy grail of sausage, Woolies has a good quality one as well, this is a Spanish Chorizo.
Cook 250g gluten free penne pasta according to instructions on the packet. Here are some tips for cooking gluten free pasta:
- Add plenty of salt to the water to add to the taste – 2tbs in a medium-large pot of water.
- Do not add oil to the water.
- Stir constantly for the first 3 minutes of cooking time to ensure that the pasta doesn’t stick.
Chop 1 onion and one yellow pepper (if I had a red one as well I would have used half of each). Fry in a glug of olive oil until soft. Add a teaspoon or 2 of crushed garlic, 1 sliced chorizo sausage and fry for 3-5 minutes or until the chorizo releases it’s oils and is nicely browned all over. Add 3-4 handfuls baby spinach and allow the leaves just to wilt before removing the pan from the heat.
Drain pasta and pour it into a pasta dish. Mix in the sausage and fried veg. Add pitted calamata olives, crumbled feta cheese. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, ground salt and pepper.
Do you have a go-to quick and easy meal? Please share with us!
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
This Monday calls for some comfort food! One big little boy with bronchitis and a long week ahead!
Some juicy chicken meatballs – chicken mince, bread crumbs, parsley, an egg
Napoli sauce – diced tomatoes, thyme, onion, garlic
(Gluten free) Tagliatelle
Add parmesan, chilli, salt and pepper to your heart’s content!
As for me, wine is poured and I’m off to make a Peter Pan outfit.