This month’s Monthly Mystery Munchies theme was difficult. I felt like a thief… A really confused thief, but I had theeee best time playing around with recipes. Ann from Grubbs n Critters, who is my sweet dear friend and my Monthly Mystery Munchies partner-slash-best-blogging-friend, suggested we do a recipe swap. How much fun!? Too much (there is no such thing!). The idea is to take a recipe the other has made over the last 24 months, and make it our own. I am easily confused, I openly admit, and I suck at making decisions, especially when all the options are fantastic. There were two I wanted to make, but I didn’t have the heart to change the first one in any way, so I decided to make Ann’s baked chicken cutlets in orange-plum sauce. It’s settled.
Or is it? No, apparently not. I made the recipe and I was like, really? How am I supposed to change this? How can I improve it? No pressure! I decided to try orange-pomegranate instead of orange-plum, and I was pretty happy with the results. I swapped Worcestershire sauce with balsamic vinegar, and baked the chicken breasts in the fruit and honey while frying the veggies. I was definitely apprehensive about this dish, because I genuinely didn’t want to change anything, but this is exactly why we do it – to challenge ourselves, and each other, and sometimes my husband, who has to put up with my to-ing and fro-ing and “but do you think it will taste as good?”, or “I’m definitely sticking with this recipe” until 5 minutes later “maybe I should try another one instead?”, the next day “what if I try granadillas instead?”. Bless. He deserves a medal, but since he got several of Ann’s delicious meals over the course of three weeks, I think he’ll be fine.
Ann has undoubtedly produced something amazing. She always does, every month, without fail. Please check it out here. Ann, thank you so much for your wonderful suggestion this month. Although this was the hardest one to date, I enjoyed it immensely!
Baked Orange-Pomegranate Chicken
For the chicken marinade:
4 boneless, skinned chicken breasts
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
80g pomegranate seeds
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
½ teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon turmeric
For the veggies and rice:
1 onion, chopped
1 green, yellow, and red pepper, sliced
150g baby tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons tomato puree
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Fresh coriander to garnish
Brown and wild rice to serve
Making It Happen:
First check how long your rice will take to cook. Time it so that it’s cooked as soon as the chicken comes out of the oven (30 minutes).
Mix the balsamic vinegar, pomegranate seeds, orange juice, zest, honey and turmeric. Marinade the chicken for an hour or longer. Remove from the fridge half an hour before cooking, and let it come to room temperature. Cook in a preheated oven on 180°C (350°F) for 30 minutes. At this stage, cook your rice.
While the chicken is cooking, heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the baby tomatoes, puree and sesame oil, season with salt and pepper, and fry for another 5 minutes. Add the peppers and fry for 5 minutes.
Add the cooked rice to the fried veggies, and serve with the baked chicken. Garnish with coriander and serve.
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
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
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.
I would do anything for loaf… An old classic, meatloaf is an easy and scrummy dish that never goes out of style. Why? Because it’s delicious, packed with flavour and cost-effective too. So many people aren’t into it. I was one of them, until I tried my first meatloaf a few years back. I was happy to eat my words, as long as I could have a second helping of meatloaf! Tangy and sweet, you don’t need extra salt because you’re using Worcestershire sauce. Bonus!
Sidebar: When I Googled meatloaf, the singer, Meatloaf, came up. Amusing but not quite what I was looking for. Do we know yet what he meant by “I would do anything for love but I won’t do that“? What is “that“? WHAT? Why are you still doing this to me, Mr Meatloaf? Not cool! It’s one of the greatest mysteries of the modern world. Answers are welcome in the comments section.
Meatloaf (The Food, Not The Singer)
500g lean mince
1 chopped onion
1 chopped green pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon hot sauce
¼ cup milk
½ cup ketchup
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 slices dry white bread for crumbing
Making it happen:
1. Heat your oven to 180°C.
In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and fry the garlic, green pepper and onion on medium for 5 minutes until soft. Stir in the ketchup and milk and simmer for another 3 minutes.
2. Remove the crusts from the dry bread and blitz in a food processor until you have bread crumbs. Heat non-stick spray in a pan and fry the bread crumbs on medium until crispy and golden brown. Alternatively you can use ready-made bread crumbs and skip this step.
3. In a bowl, mix the mince, bread crumbs, lightly beaten egg, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Mix with a wooden spoon, don’t mash it though. Stir until well combined. You can also use your hands, sometimes that works better. Up to you. (You don’t have to tell anyone.) Add the fried veggies to the mince, mixing until thoroughly combined.
4. Spray a bread tin with non-stick spray. Spoon the mince mixture into the bread tin and smooth the top with the back of a tablespoon.
5. Bake for 1 hour, remove from the oven, let it rest for 10 minutes and then cut it into slices.
During the week, we try to eat healthily. Our usual menu consists of something like chicken breasts with steamed spinach and broccoli or fish with roasted zucchinis and mushrooms. However, I often get bored of cooking (and eating) the same thing but in the quest for fewer carby, fatty meals, I regularly find myself at a bit of a loss for what to cook.
I love mince, but I associate it with spaghetti bolognaise (yum) and lasagna (yummier) but for the past few months I’ve been making meatballs and serving them with veggies like roasted butternut and green (bell) peppers (I’ve also served them with mashed potatoes which is very yespleaseandthanks) . These meatballs are really tasty and I look forward to cooking (and eating) them every week! They’re easy to make, like super easy – put everything into a food processor and mix, and only takes 15 – 20 minutes in the oven. I don’t fry them, I put them directly into a baking dish and cook them for 15 minutes. It’s that easy! If you don’t have a food processor, you can still make this pretty quickly, see instructions by hand.
Makes 12 Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 15 – 20 minutes
500g lean beef mince
1 sachet/50g tomato paste
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon parsley
Salt & pepper for seasoning
Method if using a processor:
Cut the onion in half and blitz it for a few seconds in the food processor until finely chopped. Add the mince, blitz for a few more seconds until combined. Add the remaining ingredients and blitz until well combined. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to do this in two batches. Put one large tablespoon’s worth of mince mixture into your hand and roll to form a ball.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, depending on your oven and how you like your balls.
Method by hand:
Halve and slice the onion thinly. In a large bowl, add the mince and mix well. Add the remaining ingredients, mixing thoroughly until well combined. I’ve done it this way a few times (it was a very dark time in my life when my food processor broke and I had to wait a month to replace it) and I found it much easier to mix the ingredients with my hands instead of using a spatula. Sorry if that grosses you out; they were clean, promise!