Hummus! 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.
So 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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
I made this recipe three times in one week, because I was “testing” it, you see? Actually, I also “forgot” to take photos, so naturally I had to keep making it. Not that I needed an excuse as The Husband was a willing participant. Enthusiastically so. I had chicken mince in the freezer so why not, yes? Folks, this is healthy, easy and yummy. Trifecta!
Couscous with Chicken Mince and Vegetables
500g chicken mince
500g butternut squash, cubed
1 yellow, red, and green pepper, sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 tin (400g) chickpeas, cooked
1 disc feta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
130ml chicken stock (check your couscous package)
Making It Happen:
1. Peel the butternut and cut it into small chucks, about 1 inch x 1 inch. Steam or boil until just soft, about 5 minutes.
Slice th onion and fry with garlic until soft, about 5 mins on medium heat.
Add the chicken mince and fry for another 5 min. Then add peppers and fry for another 2 minutes.
2. Add sun-dried tomatoes, butternut and chickpeas and saute on medium heat for 5 minutes.
3. Cook the couscous per package instructions and then add it to the veggies. Stir well, season with salt and pepper and enjoy!
Yorkshire 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
120g plain flour
6 tablespoons canola or sunflower oil
Making it happen:
1) 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.
2) 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.
3) Pour into the heated muffin cups and cook on the top shelf for 20 minutes.
4) 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.
Homemade marinara sauce is incomparable to store-bought sauce. The ingredients are perfectly blended to give you a herby, tomato-y sauce packed with flavour, and all of the ingredients are easy to come by. You can add a cup of cream if you like, and I tend to alternate. With ravioli, I add cream. With meatballs and spaghetti, I leave it out. It’s entirely up to you. I use both tinned whole tomatoes and fresh baby tomatoes. When the baby tomatoes burst, they release a wonderful flavour that’s tastier than large tomatoes.
Marinara sauce is versatile and doesn’t have to be limited to pasta. You can use it in casseroles if you want a tomato-based flavour and it makes a wonderful tomato soup. I’ve used it on meatloaf many times, or blitz it in the food processor and serve with a ciabatta as a soup. Once you’ve made this sauce, you will realise its potential to be used in many different dishes and it’s easy! Like, super mission-free and takes a total of half an hour.
500g baby tomatoes
1 tin whole peeled tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
7 garlic cloves, crushed and sliced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon oregano
Fresh parsley for garnishing
Mozzarella for sprinkling (optional)
1 cup cream (optional)
Olive oil – 3 tablespoons
Salt and pepper
Making it happen:
1. Heat the olive oil on medium. Add the garlic, onion and oregano and fry for 5 minutes.
2. Add the baby tomatoes, tinned tomatoes and tomato paste. Turn down the heat, add the basil leaves, salt and pepper and simmer for 25 minutes, with the lid on for the first 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
OPTIONAL: Stir in the cream. Top the dish with mozzarella and fresh parsley.
3. The sauce boils down, with the baby tomatoes bursting and releasing their flavour.
Serve with a variety of food – in this case meatballs and spaghetti.
I love a good marinade, I really do. What makes this recipe so inviting is that you can prep the pork chops the night before, or the morning of, leave them to marinate in this delicious, tangy and sweet sauce, and pop them out of the fridge when you’re ready to cook. No standing over the hob frying them; whip them out of the fridge, plonk them in the oven and you’re done. They are so tender and juicy, not a hint of dryness, and the taste… oh man, the flavours.
Marinated baked pork chops
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (obsessed)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (live for)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 4 pork loin chops, fat trimmed
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Making it happen:
1. Mix all ingredients. In a baking dish, lay your pork chops flat and coat in the marinade on both sides. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
2. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Bake the chops for 20 – 25 minutes, turning after 15 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes and veggies. Done.
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
- 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
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.
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.
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.
I’ve been using this choc chip cookie recipe for years. It’s foolproof, creamy, chocolatey and chewy. They are easy to make, don’t take long – 5 minutes prep, 15 minutes in the oven, and taste delicious. I use dark chocolate in my baking because it has a stronger flavour than regular milk chocolate. However, I was craving peanut butter, so I added half a cup. Be still my beating heart. Delicious! I will never make regular choc chip cookies again!
Yields: 12 large Prep time: 5 minutes Baking time: 15 minutes
80g melted butter
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup white sugar
½ cup peanut butter – I favour crunchy but you can use smooth
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 170°C (340°F). In a large bowl using a whisk attachment on medium, cream together the butter, peanut butter and white and brown sugar until smooth, about 20-30 seconds.
Sift in the flour, baking soda and salt and mix until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. The mixture will be crumbly.
Beat in the eggs and vanilla and stir until fully blended. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.
Line your baking trays with parchment paper, put 1 large teaspoon of batter in your hand, form a ball and place on the baking tray. Leave a large gap between the cookies as they expand quite impressively! Bake at 170°C for 15 minutes until golden brown around the edges.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Makes 12 large cookies (there aren’t 12 in this picture because we got hold of them and demolished a few!).
Chocolate brownies. Fried banana splits. Creamy vanilla ice cream. All delicious on their own but topped with caramel sauce, they are heavenly. This sweet, gooey sauce is made even better by adding a touch of salt and you just can’t get it wrong, it’s that easy and quick too! How quick? Ten minutes. That’s it.
1 cup brown sugar
75g (5 tablespoons) salted butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup cream
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla paste or 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
In a heavy-based medium pot, melt the sugar over medium-low heat. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon to prevent from sticking. The sugar will form clumps, continue stirring, and it will start to melt.
Continue to stir until the clumps have melted.
As soon as the sugar has melted, take the pot off the heat and add the butter, and, you guessed it, stir continuously.
Stir in the cream slowly, sprinkle in the salt and add the vanilla. Wait for it to cool thoroughly before tasting!
Yep, that’s right, that’s all there is to it!
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!