Couscous Salad with Chickpeas and Fresh Veggies

It’s our second anniversary! Yay, we’re toddlers! It’s been two years since Ann, the hardworking, dedicated, passionate chefsordinaire at Grubbs n Critters, and I, started our Monthly Mystery Munchies, and it’s been an awesome experience. It’s been challenging, exciting, interesting, but, most of all, it’s been a hugely rewarding and positive experience. Ann, thank you for your commitment, enthusiasm, patience and friendship! Here’s to another two years!

This month, the theme was simple: green, yellow and red. That was it. I loved the simplicity of it, but also the wide range. I mean, anything goes, as long as it’s those colours. That’s the fun thing – we could make a meat dish, veggie dish, side dish, main dish, dessert, baked dish, anything! Absolutely anything! And how fun when I made a cold couscous salad, and Ann made a swiss roll! It’s all open to interpretation, which makes it curious and fun!

I chose couscous salad with baby tomatoes, red onions, a trio of peppers, olives and chickpeas. I serve this salad as a main course, and when I say it’s ridiculously easy, I’m not joking. There’s no cooking involved, except for preparing the couscous. That’s it. The whole thing literally takes five minutes – wash and slice the veggies while the couscous is standing in hot water. Mix together. Top with chickpeas. Done.

Ann made a giraffe-inspired Swiss roll and it looks delicious AF. I basically produced a five-minute dish, and she totally pushed the boat out! She added peaches as her ‘yellow’, but the kids weren’t feeling the vibe. I personally think it’s a great addition! Aaand she used red velvet colouring as the base, and stuffed it with so much yesssness (that’s a word, I promise! (I’m looking at you, mascarpone cheese!) The result? Well, check it out for yourself. (It does not disappoint!)

So, if you’re into raw, fresh ingredients, and you don’t have much time to prepare dinner, this is your guy. You can serve this as a side dish, which works well too. No fuss, no missioning, just easy, quick food. YES! However, if you’re looking for a Swiss roll stuffed with all things cream, Ann’s recipe is the way to go.

Couscous salad with fresh veggies

  • Difficulty: My 5 year old niece could ace this
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Supplies:

2 cups cooked couscous (soaked in water and chicken stock)
500g halved baby tomatoes
1 sliced red, yellow and green pepper
1 sliced red onion
Kalamata olives
30g crumbled feta
1 drained tin chickpeas

Making it Happen:

Cook the couscous per package instructions but add chicken stock to the water.
While the chicken stock is soaking, slice the veggies.
Add the chicken stock to a large dish, then add veggies and the drained chickpeas.
Crumble with feta and season with freshly cracked black pepper.

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Monthly Mystery Munchies #19: Chilli Hummus with Roast Veg

hummus-1058003_1920Hummus! This is what came to mind when Ann gave me the outline for this month’s Monthly Mystery Munchies challenge. A minimum of three veggies and one non-meat protein. Hummus is something I’m slightly obsessed with, particularly with added chillies. Side note: The first time I made hummus, I used three chillies. You know, because I’m badass and I love spicy food, thinking “oh, I can totally eat this, watch me!” I cried. I literally cried. I hadn’t finished blitzing the hummus in the food processor when I had a taste, and I took a mouthful of half a chilli, seeds and all. Mouth on fire, I washed my hands and then rubbed my eyes. Bad move. Really bad move! Apparently the chilli oils cling to the skin, so washing your hands ain’t gonna be enough. Just so that you know.

veg-hummus-3-2So what exactly is hummus? It’s easy and delicious, that’s what. It’s an Egyptian dip or spread made from chickpeas, tahini (ridiculously easy to make), garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. Blitz everything together until smooth and serve with veggies. You can serve it with raw veggies, like carrots, celery, peppers, etc, or cook them, as I did. What I did in the case of cooked veg is I mixed the hummus with the veggies once they’d cooked. The leftovers I used as a dip for a barbecue. You can leave the chilli out, or add it for a zing, just don’t touch your eyes!

Please head over to Grubbs n Critters for Ann’s interpretation of this month’s theme. I love our Monthly Mystery Munchies challenge, and Ann is theeee best partner. She is always game, always keen and enthusiastic, and always inspires me!

Chilli Hummus

  • Difficulty: crazy easy
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Supplies:

2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained and 4 tablespoons reserved
2 tablespoons tahini (see recipe below to make your own)
2 garlic cloves
1 bullet chilli
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh basil or coriander for decorating (optional)

Making It Happen:

Using the metal blade attachment, blitz the garlic in the food processor.

Add the rest of the ingredients plus the 4 tablespoons of reserved chickpea liquid, to the food processor and blitz until smooth, about 3-5 minutes.

Optional: Garnish with fresh herbs and some toasted seeds.

It’s literally that easy.

For the roast veggies:

Lay 4 chopped red peppers, 400g broccoli florets, 300g halved zucchinis, and 300g green beans in a roasting dish. Drizzle olive oil over the veg, crack some black pepper and salt, mix, and roast on 200C (400F) for 20 minutes. Mix hummus with the roast veggies and serve.
Alternatively, serve hummus with raw veggies.

Tahini

  • Difficulty: crazy easy
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Supplies:

1 cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil

Making It Happen:

In a non-stick pan, toast the sunflower seeds on medium for 2 minutes. Toasting the seeds will make the tahini ‘nuttier’ like me.

Using the metal blade attachment, blitz the sunflower seeds for 3-ish minutes. Add the olive oil and blitz for another 2 minutes.

Crazy About… Cauliflower Mash with Leeks and Garlic

 

Cauliflower mash 2

I never thought I’d see the day. Cauliflower mash instead of potatoes? No. Nope. Absolutely f-word-ing not! I thought it ghastly, recoiling at the very thought. Buuut you know, people change. At least, I started eating healthily, and thus decided not to judge, instead to rather be open-minded (and open-mouthed) to the healthier, cleaner alternatives. Yoga had a lot to do with this too, to be more mindful and conscious of what I’m putting in my body. Those two words – such yoga speak! Namaste (in the kitchen). The cook in me honours the cook in you.

Caulimash 2

Such began my adventure, and it’s been fun. Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring, and therein lay my problem with cauliflower mash. I mean, what does it even taste like? (I’m talkin’ about the version without lashings of butter.) Nothing, people, it tastes like a whole lotta nothing. Aaaand, coupled with the obvious reminder that it’s clearly not potatoes, presents a double insult. The solution is easy: Add stuff. Not butter though (sob) or sour cream (f-word), but healthy ingredients that don’t compromise its integrity (more yoga speak, seriously, I’m such a pro). When you eat food that’s naturally bland, it reminds you of its, well, nothingness, and therefore makes you (defo me) want other, unhealthier food. Obviously. But add some healthy ingredients, in this case leeks, enough garlic to repel your (my) husband for a few days (sorrynotsorry), fresh rosemary (from my garden no less, totes organic) and Dijon mustard, and you have a winner. The Husband is beyond obsessed with potatoes, like it’s abnormal that he thinks about them so much, but even he conceded that it was “really tasty” and admitted that he would eat it again. So, folks, I needed to share this with you. I used it as a potato substitute in cottage pie, but you can use it as a side dish just the same. Also, it’s easy, and I do love easy. Easy, healthy, yummy… the trifecta. I’m so #winning at life right now.

Cauliflower Mash with Leeks and Garlic

  • Difficulty: crazy easy
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Supplies:

700g cauliflower, cooked until very soft
3 leeks, chopped
1 (very) heaped teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Making It Happen:

Cook the cauliflower, either by boiling or steaming it, until very soft.

Meanwhile, fry the leeks and garlic in olive oil on medium heat until cooked, about 5 minutes.

Mash the cauliflower very well, then add the leeks and garlic. Stir in the Dijon, mixing well, and the rosemary.

Season with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Give it one last hearty stir and serve hot.

 

Crazy About… Stuffed Mushrooms with Bacon

Stuffed mushrooms 9I belong to the school of thought that believes bacon makes everything better (next week’s recipe: split pea soup with, you guessed it, bacon). However, if you don’t do bacon, you can make these stuffed mushrooms without. I grow spinach in the garden, so I’m always looking for ways to use it in yummy dishes. I mean, we have an abundance of it. Why can’t I just grow bacon? WHY?

These mushrooms are filling, so you can serve them as a starter or a side dish. I tried them both ways (The Husband was a willing participant) and they were sufficient as either and the ricotta cheese adds a delicious creaminess. Bacon.

Stuffed Mushrooms with Bacon

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Stuffed mushrooms 14 large mushrooms
200g streaky bacon
200g spinach, steamed until just wilted
150g ricotta
1 tablespoon canola oil
Salt and pepper

 

 

Making It Happen:

Stuffed mushrooms 21. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
Cut the bacon into small pieces. Fry in canola oil on medium heat until cooked. Set aside, reserving the pan juices, and reserving 4 tablespoons.
Meanwhile, cut the spinach into small pieces and steam until just wilted, about 1-2 minutes.

Stuffed mushrooms 62. Remove the mushroom stalks. Mix the spinach, bacon and bacon juices. Add half the cheese, cut into small pieces, to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

 

 

Stuffed mushrooms 83. Spoon the bacon and spinach mixture into the mushrooms. Slice the remaining ricotta and lay on top. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon reserved bacon over the cheese. Bake for 20 minutes.

 

Crazy About… Asparagus and Green Bean Salad

Asparagus green beans 5This recipe is eeeeasy, people, and delicious, and healthy. I’m down! Ready in minutes, and served either warm or chilled, it’s tasty, low-fat, and delicious. Did I mention it’s delicious?

Asparagus and Green Bean Salad

  • Servings: 4 sides
  • Difficulty: ridiculously easy
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Supplies:

Asparagus green beans 1170g asparagus
200g green beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 disc low fat feta
Peppadews/ piquante peppers, halved
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

 

Making It Happen:

Asparagus green beans 21. Slice the asparagus and green beans into thirds. Steam them until al dente.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan, and add the asparagus, green beans, and peppadews. Fry on medium heat for 4-5 minutes.

 

 

Asparagus green beans 32.Crumble the feta over the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or chilled.

Crazy About… Greek Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Greek peppers 1 2Getting stuffed has never tasted this good! ‘Crazy About…’ is my new weekly recipe that’s easy, fun, and delicious (oh, and it looks pretty too!). Many of these recipes are versatile and can be used as starters, sides, or mains. The Husband and I have been on a health mission for the past couple of months, and I’ve had an enormous amount of fun trying out new, fun, and healthy recipes that I’m excited to share!

First up is Greek stuffed peppers. This Mediterranean dish can be served as a main dish – it has everything you need, from veggies, healthy fat in the form of olive oil, and protein provided by quinoa. If you’re doing a multi-course meal, this can be a starter or a side, too. See? Versatility! Let’s get stuffed…

Greek Stuffed Peppers

  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Stuffed Greek peppers 7 2250g mixed white & portabellini mushrooms, sliced
6 large peppers, assorted
2 cups shredded spinach
1 cup pitted olives
5 basil leaves, shredded
1 teaspoon garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon olive oil
⅓ cup quinoa
⅔cup low sodium veg stock
80g crumbled feta
1 teaspoon oregano
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Making it happen:

Stuffed Greek peppers 6 21. In a large pan on medium heat, fry the mushrooms and garlic in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Then, slice the olives into halves and add them to the pan along with the spinach, basil, oregano and lemon juice. Simmer for 5 minutes.

 

Stuffed Greek peppers 5 22. Add the quinoa and veg stock, bring to a boil and simmer for roughly 12-15 minutes, per package instructions, until cooked.

 

 

 

Stuffed Greek peppers 3 23. Cut the peppers in half and scrape out the seeds. Grill in the oven on 200°C for 3 minutes per side. Turn the heat to 180°C. When the quinoa has finished cooking, season with salt and pepper, crumble the feta and spoon into hollowed peppers.

 

Stuffed Greek peppers 2 34. Place the peppers in a roasting dish and bake at 180°C for 15 – 20 minutes.

Yorkshire Pudding – So Easy and Yummy

Yorkshire pudding 10Yorkshire pudding is the quintessential side dish to complete any roast. The key to getting them to puff up beautifully is to get the oil sizzling hot before pouring the batter in. With Christmas fast approaching (where has this year even gone?), this recipe is ideal – easy, quick and delicious. The ‘cups’ formed in each Yorkshire are ideal for holding the gravy. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

Yorkshire Pudding - So Easy and Yummy

  • Servings: 6 large
  • Difficulty: super easy
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Supplies:

Yorkshire pudding 1120g plain flour
3 eggs
150ml milk
6 tablespoons canola or sunflower oil

 

 

Making it happen:

Yorkshire pudding 21) Preheat oven to 220°C (430°F). Put 1 tablespoon of oil in each muffin cup and place on the top shelf of your oven while preheating.

 

 

Yorkshire pudding 42) Add the flour into a mixing bowl. Crack in the eggs and whisk, then add 50ml milk and whisk until fully mixed. Pour in the rest of the milk and whisk until well combined.

 

 

Yorkshire pudding 53) Pour into the heated muffin cups and cook on the top shelf for 20 minutes.

 

 

 

Yorkshire pudding 84) Serve this side dish with any roast, and smother with gravy! You may reheat the Yorkshires or make the batter ahead of time and refrigerate for up to 3 days before cooking.