Monthly Mystery Munchies #17: Spinach and Caramelised Onion Dip

 

Spinach dip 4 1

This month’s Monthly Mystery Munchies challenge was so much fun! We’re going into summer here in the Southern Hemisphere, and as a nation, we’re obsessed with barbecues. Like, obsessed to the point that rain or shine, we make it happen! An obligatory part of said gatherings is snacks, and with snacks comes dips. Ann’s criteria for this dish is that it be a ‘signature dip’. She absolutely wowed me with her creamy chicken liver cheesy pâté cheesy dip. I MEAN! Killin’ it! With mine, I didn’t have to think too hard about it, although there are a few that I concoct, this one wins every time.

Spinach dip 3 2

You see, there is something so moreish about spinach, sweet, caramelised onions, and sour cream. It’s also easy to prepare and keeps well in the fridge for up to two days. In terms of what to serve it with, that’s fun too. My favourites: broccoli florets, carrot sticks, potato chips, mini cheesy sausage rolls, tortilla chips… basically anything you want! Please go to Grubbs n Critters and check out all of all recipes, and be prepared to leave drooling!

Spinach and Caramelised Onion Dip

  • Difficulty: easy
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Suppplies:

250g cooked spinach
3 onions, I used 2 x red and 1 x yellow
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon butter
250ml sour cream
Sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper

Making It Happen:

In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil on medium high. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and butter, stirring to spread the butter.

Spread the onions evenly across the pan. Fry for 5 minutes on medium high, stirring to prevent onions from sticking, then turn the heat down to medium low and saute for another 10 minutes.

Add the brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and salt and saute for 30 minutes.

Add the spinach to the onions and stir in the sour cream. Serve.

 

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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… 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… 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.

Chicken Florentine

If you’re looking for a new favourite meal, this is your guy. It’s dish-intensive but sooooo worth it! Hopefully you have a dishwasher, or kids, because kids need responsibilities and dishes need washing!

I don’t know where to start when describing this dish. Bacon. Chicken. Two different types of cheese. Creamy mushroom soup and extra cream! It’s a taste-fest like no other. The Husband immediately informed me that this is his new number one. I never thought I’d see the day. I mean, dude would live on lasange if he could, but along came this delight and knocked it off its top spot. They say change is good… except when The Husband asks you to make it again two days later!

Chicken Florentine

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Chicken Florentine 1Supplies:

  • 500g boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks
  • 200g bacon, cut up and cooked
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 500g spinach, par cooked
  • 400g chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tin condensed creamy mushroom soup
  • 1 cup cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon Italian herbs
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 200g grated cheddar
  • 200g grated mozzarella
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Making it happen:

Chicken Florentine 21. Cut up the bacon and fry in 2 tablespoons of butter on medium heat, until cooked, about 10 minutes. Set aside but keep the juices in the pan.

 

 

Chicken Florentine 32. Cut the chicken breasts into chunks. Dredge them through flour, shaking off the excess. In the same pan, fry the chicken pieces on medium heat until no longer pink, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and fry for another 5 mins. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Chicken Florentine 93. Add the mushrooms to the pan and fry on medium heat for 5 minutes until soft. Meanwhile, par cook the spinach, just enough until it softens slightly. Spinach, when uncooked, takes up a large amount of space, and you’re only par cooking it until it shrinks.

 

Chicken Florentine 84. Preheat your oven to 200°C (mine takes 10 minutes to heat up to that temperature, making this the perfect time to switch it on). Pour the condensed mushroom soup and cream into a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the Italian herbs and lemon juice and stir well. Add the cheddar and stir until melted.

Chicken Florentine 65. In a deep dish, spray cooking spray at the bottom and layer the spinach across the dish. Place the mushrooms over the spinach and pour half the sauce over the mushrooms. Spread the chicken pieces on top and pour the remaining sauce over the chicken, making sure you cover the entire dish. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Serve with rice or pasta.

Chicken Florentine 7

 

Monthly Mystery Munchies: Lamb Saag and Aloo Curry

It’s the third installment of Monthly Mystery Munchies with myself and Ann at Grubbs n Critters. This month I chose lemons/limes, thyme and coriander as our ingredients. I really enjoyed playing around with these ingredients and pairing them with others. The recipe that won is lamb, saag (spinach) and aloo (potato) curry. I never say ‘no’ to curry and lamb is the ideal meat for this. Naturally I added potatoes because in my mind, curry without potatoes is like… summer without blue skies, mojitos without mint (I just recoiled), Bono without his sunglasses – unexpected, disappointing and unnatural.

Ann made spiced chicken with saffron, thyme and lemon gravy. Okay, lemon gravy? I’m all in. Saffron? What a treat! Check it out, it’s droolicious. She added other interesting and complimentary ingredients and you can see this is a winner.

I too added a plethora of other ingredients – veggies, spices and herbs, and finally got the balance right. What one needs to keep in mind when using so many ingredients is that balance is key – especially with spices. They shouldn’t be overpowering because that can ruin the dish in one easy step. They should all work well together to create the ideal blend. From fragrant coriander (cilantro) to succulent lamb to the bite of the chillies, this comes together beautifully! This meal contains many superfoods and superspices (yep, that’s a thing), so not only is it delicious, tasty and fragrant but ridiculously healthy too! Here we go:

Monthly Mystery Munchies: Lamb Saag and Aloo Curry

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1kg lamb knuckles, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • Olive oil
  • 4 leeks, chopped
  • 2 green chillies, sliced (I always keep the seeds in)
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed and sliced
  • 1 inch piece ginger, grated
  • 5 cardamom pods, crushed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 500g baby tomatoes, halved (or 1 tin chopped tomatoes)
  • 250g spinach, chopped
  • 1kg potatoes, halved
  • Vegetable stock
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Fresh coriander (cilantro) for garnish
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

Lamb Saag and Aloo 3 21. In a large pan, heat up the olive oil and fry the lamb on medium low until browned. You might have to do this in batches. Fry for ± 5 minutes, turning halfway through. Set aside. Fry the leeks in olive oil for 5 minutes.
Add chillies, garlic, ginger and cardamom and fry for a further 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, spinach, thyme and remaining spices and simmer for 5 minutes.

 

 

Lamb Saag and Aloo 5 22. Add the lamb and potatoes, pour in 250ml vegetable stock and bring to a boil with the lid on. Uncover and simmer for 1 hour, pouring in the lime juice during the last 10 minutes.

 

 

 

 

Lamb Saag and Aloo 7 23. If you have the time, let the curry stand for a few hours. Garnish with coriander, however much you like (we like a lot!). Curry is always better when it stands for a while so this is the perfect dish to cook the day before.