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 #21: Huevos Rancheros (Eggs with Spicy Salsa)

huevos-rancheros-2-1

Delicioso! This month’s theme was chosen by Ann, and wow, it was a goodie! Breakfast, they say, is the most imprtant meal of the day. (Side note: Who exactly are the mysterious”they”? “They” say a lot, but I tend to agree with “them” on this one!) I entered into this challenge with curiosity and muchos excitement. We’ve never done a breakfast challenge for our Monthly Mystery Munchies, so this was an excellent, and challenging, idea.

huevos-rancheros-closeup-3

See, I frikken love all things spice. And eggs. Gotta love eggs. The result, you ask? Huevos rancheros – a traditional Mexican breakfast consisting of a tomato-y veggie salsa, topped with eggs, and rolled in a tortilla. This dish is flexible though, so I served it on seedloaf. We also had it for dinner last night, and it was bomb! Yummers! I desperately wanted to make guacomole, but ffs, all the avos were hard. Blah. Anyway, we soldiered forth (we = The Husband and I. He loves giving input, because he is the guinea pig, a role he happily, uh, relishes. See what I did there?). Oh, and “ffs” stands for “for food’s sake” – get your mind out of the gutter!

As much as choosing one recipe was a challenge, this one is not only a fiery start to the day, but it’s easy to boot. Fry up some sweet peppers, chillies, garlic, and tomatoes. Add egg. Top with coriander. I mean! See, easy, yes? Yes! I played around with this recipe and the final result is, in my opinion, muy bueno! I’m pumped about Ann’s recipe – “Hearty Breakfast Quiche“! QUICHE, people! #BeStillMyBeatingHeart #QuicheForBreakfastIsTheNewBlack! Ch-ch-check it out at Grubbs n Critters, and feast your eyes (and tummies) on her latest offering and so much more.

Happy New Year folks, and may it be a year filled with gastronomical delights!

Huevos Rancheros (Eggs with Spicy Salsa)

  • Difficulty: Easy (or over-easy)
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Supplies:

1 onion, thinly sliced
2 gloves garlic, thinly sliced
Mixed sweet peppers, I used yellow and red, sliced
1 green chilli, sliced (I leave the seeds in for an extra bite, but you can remove them)
1 teaspoon dried cumin
2 bay leaves
1 x 400g tin tomatoes
2 large tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large eggs
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Tortillas/toast/whatever you want to serve it with
Fresh coriander to garnish

Making It Happen:

Heat the olive oil on medium. Add the onion and fry until softened and lightly browned, about 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for another 2 minutes.
Add the cumin and chillies and fry for 30 seconds.
Add the peppers, tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Fry your eggs to your liking (I perfer them with runny yolk but solid whites). Scoop the salsa onto your tortilla/bread/whatevs, place your egg on top, garnish with coriander and remember to remove the bay leaves.

Crazy About… Kale and Spinach Soup

Kale soup 3

All hail kale! This recipe is the perfect fit for healthy and easy, and it happens to be winter, which is an excellent excuse for soup! Superfoods? Check. Budget-friendly? Check. Ridiculously low in calories? Check check. I’m so down for this! Instead of only using kale, I added spinach, onions, leeks, celery, broccoli, tomatoes, chickpeas, butter beans and chilli flakes. Sound good? It is! You can serve this yummy soup as a starter or main, for lunch or dinner. Here ya go…

Kale and Spinach Soup

  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 stems celery, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 leeks, sliced
200g baby kale, chopped
300g spinach, chopped
300g broccoli
1 x 410g whole peeled tomatoes
1 x 410g butter beans
1 x 410g chickpeas
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cups vegetable stock
Greek yoghurt (optional)

Making It Happen:

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and fry the onion, celery, garlic and leeks for 5 minutes until soft.

Stir in the spinach and kale, season with salt and simmer for 2 minutes.

Pour in the vegetable stock, tomatoes, broccoli and chilli flakes. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the spinach and kale have thoroughly wilted and the broccoli is soft.

Blitz in a food processor or using a handheld blender. Return to the pot and add the beans and chickpeas, simmering for 1 minute.

Add lemon juice and stir well. Serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt.

 

Crazy About… Warm Butternut and Avo Salad with Herb Dressing

Avo butternut salad 1 2

It’s too cold for mojitos (cries into pillow), so I decided to use my mint and lime in a herby, minty salad dressing instead. I love it when plan B works! This meal is packed with superfoods, and the mint and coriander add a lovely, fresh taste to the roasted veggies.

Avo butternut salad 3

This is a warm salad, perfect for cold, wet, wintry days. Just because summer’s gone, doesn’t mean you have to give up salad! Just serve it warm, and you’ve got an easy, delicious, healthy meal!

Warm Butternut and Avo Salad with Herb Dressing

  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

800g butternut, peeled and cubed
250g spinach, cooked
2 large ripe avos
1 red pepper & 1 yellow pepper
Zoodles (zucchini noodles)
1 disc feta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tbablespoons minced garlic

Dressing:

1 large handful mint
1 large handful coriander
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Making It Happen:

Preheat your oven to 200°C. Par-cook the butternut, either by steaming or boiling, until just soft. Place the butternut in an oven roasting dish, add sliced peppers, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil or steam the spinach, set aside.

Dressing:

Blitz all ingredients. That’s it.

Cook the zoodles for 1 minute in the microwave.

In a large salad dish, layer spinach at the bottom. Top with cooked butternut, peppers and zoodles. Place avo on top, then feta, then drizzle with dressing. Serve warm.

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.

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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… Roast Vegetables with Balsamic Glaze

Balsamic glazed roast veg 2 1Roast veggies are always delish, but sometimes one needs to add a little somethin’ extra. This balsamic glaze is the perfect choice to zhuzh it up – easy, sweet and healthy. Here ya go…

Roast Vegetables with Balsamic Glaze

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Veggies:

500g sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into rounds
250g button mushrooms, halved
500g baby tomatoes
3 carrots, julienned
5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
Sea salt
Parsley for garnishing

Balsamic Glaze:

⅓ cup vegetable stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lime juice
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Making It Happen:

Balsamic glazed roast veg 1Preheat oven to 200°C.
Prepare the veggies and place them in a large roasting dish. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with paprika, and roast for 45 minutes, turning after 20 minutes. Once cooked, remove the garlic skins.

 

Balsamic glazed roast veg 4 1For the glaze: Add all glaze ingredients to a saucepan and stir well. Bring to a boil slowly, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the glaze is reduced and sticky. Pour over the veggies and serve hot.

 

Crazy About… Sautéed Lentils

Lentils veg 7Easy! Tasty! Healthy! Check, check, check. I do enjoy a culinary trifecta! This recipe takes less than 15 minutes to cook (it takes me longer to put my face on), it’s packed with flavour, it’s low-carb and low-fat, and can be served as a side dish or a main meal. Last night we had it with honey and mustard chicken breasts, and this afternoon I had it alone for lunch. It was delish as both. Here we go…

Sautéed lentils

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: super duper easy
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Supplies:

500g lentils, cooked
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed and sliced
500g baby tomatoes, halved
1 green pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 sprig rosemary
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and black pepper to taste
Olive oil

Making It Happen:

Lentils veg 81. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the onion and garlic on medium for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sliced peppers, and rosemary and simmer for another 5 minutes.

 

 

Lentils veg 6 12. Add the lentils and lemon juice, and simmer for 2 minutes.  Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.