sugar free

Quick & Easy Dinner Ideas that Your Family Will Love

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!

Quick & Easy Meal Planner

Quick Easy Meal Planner_Mexican Veggie EnchiladasMeat Free Monday – Mexican Veggie Enchiladas

Quick Easy Meal Planner_Prawn Egg Fried RicePrawn & Egg Fried Rice

Quick Easy Meal Planner_Grilled Chicken Salad Smashed Potato OlivesGrilled Chicken Salad with Smashed Potatoes & Olives


Quick Easy Meal Planner_Baked Fish Rice VegetablesBaked Fish with Rice & Vegetables

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 MomentHappy People Build Their Inner World

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.

Stay light!

MammaChef Jozi

Democratically Elected Meal Planner – The Boys’ Favourites

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!

Meal Planner November 2017

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!

Boys’ Choice Monday – Caldo Verde (Portuguese Green Soup)

Democratically Elected Meal Planner_Caldo Verde

Boys’ Choice Tuesday – Spagheti Bolognese

Democratically Elected Meal Planner_Simple Spaghetti Bolognese

Mamma’s Choice Wednesday – Salmon & Roast Vegetable Salad

Democratically Elected Meal Planner_Salmon & Roast Vegetable Salad

SuperDad’s Choice Thursday – Chicken & Basil Pesto Pasta

Democratically Elected Meal Planner_Chicken Basil Pesto Pasta

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!

Let a smile be your umbrella on a rainy day

Split Pea Soup

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!

Split Pea Soup.png

Ingredients:

  • 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.

Mom’s (gluten free) spaghetti 

Spaghetti bolognese to me is like my most comfy pair of fluffy winter slippers… it just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. My ultimate comfort food (with loads of cheese) and I dare say one day my boys might tell people that nobody could make good old spag-bol like their Mamma! It’s their absolute favourite and makes a regular appearance on our weekly dinner menu.

Fry 1 chopped onion, 2 teaspoons crushed garlic over high heat until soft. Add 700g lean mince, season with ground salt, pepper and a dash or two of Worcester sauce. Brown well. The trick is to leave the mince to almost char on the bottom of the pan and then let the tomatoes pick up all the flavour.

Add 2 tins chopped and peeled tomatoes, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1-2 tsp paprika, Italian mixed herbs. Lower heat and leave to simmer for around 20 minutes.

Cook a large pot of gluten free spaghetti according to instructions. Always add about 60ml pasta water to the sauce before draining – adds a little extra shine and makes for a lovely consistency.

Stir in some finely sliced fresh basil before plating. Serve with grated mature cheddar or Parmesan cheese.

Mom's (Gluten Free) Spaghetti Bolognese

This recipe is dedicated to PicknPay – for the great special on mince, SanRemoPasta as always for the best gluten free spaghetti and last but absolutely not least, RobertsonWinery for an equally comfy and smooth Merlot!

Wishing you an amazing week!

xMCJx

Butternut & Quinoa Soup

Butternut soup seems to be a controversial meal (in my house anyway – leading to a great debate about soups which eventually led to a victory for green soup!)… Nevertheless, this to me was amazing today! Warm, just a little sweet, perfect!
It’s also totally vegan (unless you sprinkle with crispy bacon before serving, gluten free, dairy free and sugar free… Win!


Butternut & Quinoa Soup
2 cups vegetable stock
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and grated
800g butternut, peeled and diced
1 cup quinoa
1 sprig fresh sage
1 white onion, diced
Salt & pepper to taste
pinch of ground cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
optional garnishes: bacon, extra coconut milk and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper or paprika

Add vegetable stock, garlic, carrot, apple, butternut squash, quinoa, sage, onion, salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg to slow cooker. Stir to combine.

Cook for 6-8 hours on low, or 3-4 hours on high, or until the butternut is completely tender and mashes easily with a fork. Remove and discard the sage. Stir in the coconut milk.

Use a hand held blender to puree the soup until smooth. (Be very careful when working with the hot liquid.) Taste, and season with additional salt, pepper if needed.

Serve warm, with optional garnishes if desired and of course your choice of toasty and crispy bread, in our case ciabatta.

Let us know if you made any interesting additions or changes! Love to hear from you!

Colourful Paella!

The Mediterranean Diet prescribes lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, healthy oils, minimal dairy and a glass (or two) of red wine every day!


So today, let’s imagine we find ourselves on a beautiful beach in the Med, having a glass (or two) of wine, a good chat, a lot of laughter and a warm, colourful Paella!
Sidenote: I actually didn’t get a photo of the finished dish as my phone was annexed by a certain 8 year old…

Chicken meatballs with tagliatelle & homemade Napoli sauce

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.

Roast fish & vegetables

Fishy fishy Fursday! We have a vegan in the house so today’s dinner is all out partly vegan, gluten free, dairy free and sugar free… how fun does that sound? But it’s still yummy and you can always add cheese.


Roasted fish – lemon juice, thyme
Roasted veg – sweet potato, broccoli, mielies, baby carrots, baby spinach
Chickpeas with a teeny bit of vinegar
Olive oil, salt, black pepper on everything!

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