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.

 

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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.

Gnocchi Alfredo with Chicken, Bacon and Mushrooms

Gnocchi Alfredo 7This recipe sounds shmancy and a mission. It’s not. While it will impress the crap out of your guests, or just you, it’s not difficult at all. This is the gist: fry stuff. Add cream. Mix stuff. Bake. Drool.

In this house, we are obsessed with gnocchi. And cheese. I blame myself for getting The Husband into it. We all have our crosses to bear. A few weeks ago we went out for dinner and The Husband had penne alfredo and mentioned, in passing, that I should try to recreate it, but with gnocchi. What’s that? A challenge? A pasta challenge? I’m in. I was extremely disappointed when a lot of recipes used pre-bought alfredo sauce. Really? Do you have any idea how easy it it? Don’t tell your guests, because as far as they’re concerned, based on the taste, you slaved for several hours. But really folks, it’s one of the least complicated and most yummiest recipes you’ll ever make. You’re welcome.

Gnocchi Alfredo

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Gnocchi Alfredo 11 package gnocchi (500g)
500g chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 pack shoulder bacon, sliced
400g chopped mushrooms
4 crushed and sliced garlic cloves
2 tablespoons flour for dredging
250ml cream
Fresh parsley + more for garnishing
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
300g cheddar, grated
300g mozzarella, grated
Salt and pepper

Making it happen:

Gnocchi Alfredo 21. In a large pan, heat the olive oil on medium. Fry the bacon, mushrooms and garlic for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

 

 

Gnocchi Alfredo 32. Cut the chicken breasts into chunks, toss them in the flour and coat thoroughly. Heat the butter on medium and fry the chicken pieces for 5 minutes until golden brown.

 

 

Gnocchi Alfredo 43. Return the bacon and mushrooms to the pan, add the cream and 2 stalks parsley and simmer for 10 minutes.

 

 

Gnocchi Alfredo 64. Heat your oven to 190°C (375°F). In the meantime, cook the gnocchi per package instructions.
Place the chicken, bacon and mushroom mixture in a large dish and toss with cheddar. Sprinkle mozzarella on top and bake for 20 minutes.

 

Gnocchi Alfredo 8

 

Crispy Cheese Potato Bake with Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms

Crispy Cheddar Veggie Bake 8What’s better than cheese? Crispy cheese. Yes, please and thanks in advance. This dish is quick and easy to prepare and deliciously tasty. Creamy potatoes, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms topped with bubbling cheddar, it requires no cheese sauce. The onion soup powder, when combined with the cream, thickens perfectly in the oven, leaving you with perfectly cooked veggies smothered in crispy melted cheese.

Crispy Cheese Potato Bake with Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Crispy Cheddar Veggie Bake 14-5 potatoes, thinly sliced
300g Brussels sprouts, par-cooked and halved
200g chopped mushrooms
60g white onion soup powder
1 cup cream
300g grated cheddar
Paprika
Non-stick spray

Making it happen:

Crispy Cheddar Veggie Bake 31. Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F). Turn the heat down to 180°C (350°F) as soon as you put the dish in. Spray a deep casserole dish with non-stick spray. Par-cook the Brussels sprouts until they’re just tender.
Thinly slice the potatoes and place half of the potatoes across the casserole dish. Place half of the mushrooms and Brussels on top of the potatoes.

Crispy Cheddar Veggie Bake 52. Sprinkle half the packet of soup powder over the veggies and sprinkle paprika evenly over the soup powder. Put half the cheddar evenly on top. Repeat.

 

 

Crispy Cheddar Veggie Bake 73. Pour the cream evenly over the dish and bake for 45 minutes until the cheese is crispy.

 

 

 

Crispy Cheddar Veggie Bake 10 1If you’re not into crispy cheese (say it ain’t so), cook for 30 minutes. If you are…

<— This.

 

Savoury Mince with Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Green Peppers

Savoury mince is one of those things that tends to ping on my ‘boring’ radar, but when made with the right ingredients, as well as a good balance of herbs, it’s something that will keep you coming back. It’s easy and versatile too, and I appreciate those qualities in a recipe. Serve it with rice, potatoes or pasta, which you can cook while the mince is simmering, and the whole thing will take you less that forty minutes!

Savoury Mince with Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Green Peppers

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Savoury mince ingredients 1 2Ingredients:

  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400g chopped mushrooms
  • 2 chopped green (bell) peppers
  • 1 sachet (50g) tomato paste
  • 1 sachet (or cube) low sodium beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:
Savoury mince 3 2
1. Fry the onion and garlic in olive oil on medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, mushrooms and green (bell) peppers, and simmer for 8 minutes. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the juices in the pan.

 

Savoury mince 10 2

2. In the vegetable juices, simmer the mince for 2 minutes until partially browned. Add the tomato paste and simmer for a further 8 minutes.

 

 

Savoury mince 8 2

3. Re-add the vegetables to the mince. Drizzle in the Worcester sauce and sprinkle in the oregano, parsley, black pepper and beef stock. Stir thoroughly and simmer uncovered on medium-low for 15 – 20 minutes until it’s thickened. Serve with potatoes, pasta, in tortillas or, my preference, wild rice. This is also great for the kiddies and keeps well for a couple of days.

 

 

 

Chicken, Bacon and Mushroom Pies

It’s cold and wet in Cape Town so pies. Is there really any better meal than fresh and crispy just-out-of-the-oven homemade pies on a chilly winter’s day? I’ve been making this recipe for about five years and it’s a keeper. I use individual pie dishes as opposed to one large dish and I get four individual pies with a little bit left over, which I stuff into the remaining pastry and bake for The Husband’s lunch.

The aromatic flavour of thyme coupled with the buttery chicken is a win-win. When you add these ingredients together, the creamy aroma will not go unnoticed and the bacon and mushrooms finish the dish off perfectly. It’s a filling dish that will leave you satisfied and warm!

Servings: 4     Prep time: 20 minutes     Cooking time: 15 – 20 minutes

Chicken bacon mushroom pies ingredients200g streaky bacon, sliced
500g chicken, cut into inch-size pieces
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, or 1 teaspoon minced garlic
400g chopped white mushrooms
3 tablespoons plain flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup water
400g ready rolled puff pastry
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs for painting the pastry

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 2 (2)In a large pan on medium heat, fry the bacon, mushrooms and garlic until the mushrooms have browned, about 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 2.5In a bowl, sprinkle the paprika and thyme into the flour and coat the cut chicken thoroughly.

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 3 (2)Melt the butter in a large pot and add the contents of the bowl. Fry on medium heat until the chicken changes colour, about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the chicken and stir frequently to prevent it from sticking.

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 5 (2)Add the bacon and mushrooms to the chicken, pour in the stock and extra water and stir. Simmer for 10 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 4While the food is simmering, preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F). Roll the puff pastry out on the counter, sprinkling some flour underneath to prevent it from sticking. Measure your pie dishes by placing them on the pastry and outlining them. Cut out the four pieces and stretch them, if necessary, covering the sides.

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 6 (2)Fill the pie dishes ⅔ full and cover the top with pastry, extending it over the sides. You may need to use a little bit of water to stick the sides down onto the dish.

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 7 (3)Beat 2 egg yolks and paint over the pastry. Bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until the pies are golden brown on top. Let them stand for about 5 to 10 minutes as they will be very hot inside.

I was not trying to be romantic with the candles – we had a power failure just as the pies came out of the oven!

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 8 (2)

 

Cottage Pie

We’re in the midst of extensive kitchen renovations and I knew that for six weeks I wouldn’t be able to cook, so I made a whole lot of home-cooked meals which I froze. This is my idea of microwave meals and cottage pie is at the top of the list! It’s delicious and it’s the type of dish you can cook and serve the next day or freeze until it calls your name. It’s screaming my name right now! This is the perfect winter meal or, if you’re like me, the perfect meal to freeze and reheat on a blisteringly hot summer’s day in the Southern Hemisphere!

Servings: 6   Prep time: 5 minutes   Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients:

500g lean mince
2 onions, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons oil
30g tomato paste
250g mushrooms, sliced
8 carrots, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
Sprinkle of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons flour
1 sachet or cube beef stock (my preference is Ina Paarman’s real beef liquid stock in a sachet but you can use any beef stock)

Method:

Cot pie stove (2)On medium-high heat in a large pan, fry the onion and garlic for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mince and fry for another 2 minutes, stirring to prevent from sticking, until lightly browned. Add the tomato paste, mushrooms, carrots, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, thyme and pepper. Do not add the salt yet, do this after you’ve added the stock  to prevent the dish being too salty. Fry, stirring, for another 5 minutes.

 

Add the stock in water and flour, stirring to mix well. Cover, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes until thickened.

Meanwhile, make the mashed potatoes:

6 potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
200 ml milk
1 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1 teaspoon mustard (optional)
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
200g cheddar

 

 

Peel and quarter the potatoes, place them in a dish, cover with water and cook on high power in the microwave for 20 minutes or until soft. Drain them, add the butter and stir until melted. Pour the milk in and mash until smooth and creamy. Stir in the mustard and nutmeg and season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Cot pie cheese 2 (2)Preheat your oven to 200°C or 400°F. Take the mince mixture off the heat and pour into a large casserole dish. Spread the mash evenly over the mince and sprinkle with cheddar.

 

 

 

 

 

Cot pie done 2 (2)Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown on top. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve, or refrigerate and serve the next day. I cooked and froze this a month ago and it still tastes as if I made it today!