Monthly Mystery Munchies #25: Baked Orange-Pomegranate Chicken

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

  • Time: 40 minutes incl prep
  • Difficulty: Dude, it's easy
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Supplies:

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.

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

  • Time: Literally 5 minutes
  • 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.

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)

  • Time: 20ish minutes
  • 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

  • Time: 25 minutes
  • 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… 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
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • 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.

 

Marvellous Macaroni Cheese with Bacon and Tomatoes

Mac and cheese 12Mmmac ‘n cheese is the ultimate comfort food. This recipe is creamy, cheesy, tomato-y and bacon-y. Right? Let me break it down: macaroni pasta drenched in cheese sauce, mixed with bacon and tomatoes, sprinkled with spices and a hint of a tang with Worcestershire sauce and hot English mustard, and topped with a crunchy breadcrumb layer… Phew, what a mouthful! This gooey meal will leave you wholly satisfied and completely replete, yet still eyeing out the leftovers (if there is any!).

 

Marvellous Macaroni Cheese

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: Prep 20 mins, cooking 30 mins
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Supplies:

Mac n cheese 1500g macaroni
200g bacon, cut and fried
500g plum tomatoes, 2 set aside, chopped and fried
300g white Cheddar, grated
1 cup cream
1 cup 2% milk
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon English mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup breadcrumbs
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
4 tablespoons butter + 2 tablespoons, set aside
2 tablespoons Canola/sunflower oil

Making it happen:

mac and cheese 141. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the chopped bacon until just cooked. Remove from the pan and fry the chopped tomatoes, bar two, in the bacon juices until soft. Add the bacon to the tomatoes.

 

 

Mac and cheese 32. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Cook the macaroni per the package instructions and get started on your cheese sauce: heat the butter in a saucepan on medium. Once melted, add the flour and whisk into a roux. Add the mustard, milk, nutmeg and paprika, whisk and allow to thicken for about 5 minutes, then splash in the Worcester sauce. Add the grated cheese, stirring until it’s melted.

Mac and cheese 63. Your mac should be cooked now – drain it and toss it into a large casserole dish. Add the bacon and tomatoes, pan juices included, and pour in the sauce, stirring well to spread it evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Thinly slice the remaining tomatoes and place it on top of the mac.

 

Mac n cheese 154. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top and drizzle 2 tablespoons of butter over the top. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.

 

 

 

Mac n cheese 145. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Tip: undo jeans!

Monthly Mystery Munchies #6: Waterblommetjie Bredie

Waterblommetjie bredie 8I am so excited about this month’s challenge. Not only did I have a great deal of fun creating (and tasting) this recipe, but Ann and I have reached our half-year mark of our Monthly Mystery Munchies challenge and it’s been an incredibly fun, challenging and exciting experience. Thanks, Ann, for the wonderful idea!

 

This month Ann chose well! The theme? Stew with beans. My take? Waterblommetjie bredie. Don’t worry if you can’t pronounce it, it’s a South African stew with an Afrikaans name; literally translated it means ‘small water flower stew’. It’s indigenous to the Western Cape region of South Africa (proudly South African, proudly Capetonian) but if you’re not in South Africa, you can substitute the waterblommetjies with green beans, as that’s what they taste the most similar to.

I added chillies to give it a bit of oomph and used the most traditional stewing meat – lamb. Expensive but definitely worth it if you’re looking to treat yourself and your guests. Of course, I’m incapable of making a stew without potatoes and I used butter beans in keeping with Ann’s theme. I’d never normally think to add beans to this stew, but it came out abslutely beautifully and bursting with flavour! Who would’ve thought flowers (more like weeds) picked from ponds would taste so good? The Khoikhoi, that’s who. They taught the early settlers how to cook with waterblommetjies. How cool is that?!

Mosey on over to Grubbs n Critters and take a gander at what Ann came up with this month. No doubt it’s delicious!

Waterblommetjie bredie

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 1hr35
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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Supplies:

Waterblommetjie bredie 1500g waterblommetjies, soaked and hard parts removed
1kg lamb knuckles
1 large onion, chopped
2 green chillies, sliced (optional)
5 garlic cloves, crushed
500g baby tomatoes
1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed from stalk
1 teaspoon coriander
1 cup beef or lamb stock
1kg baby potatoes, halved
1 lemon, halved
1 tin butter beans, drained
Olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Making it happen:

Waterblommetjie bredie 21. Clean and soak the waterblommetjies in salted water for a minumum of 1 hour or overnight. Before you cook them, cut the tough parts off.

 

 

Waterblommetjie bredie 32. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and brown the lamb on all sides. Set aside.

 

 

 

Waterblommetjie bredie 43. In a large pot, heat another 2 tablespoons of olive oil and fry the onion, chillies and garlic on medium for 5 minutes.

 

 

Waterblommetjie bredie 54. Add the lamb to the pot. Add the tomatoes, rosemary and coriander and fry on medium for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 

 

 

Waterblommetjie bredie 65. Add the potatoes, stock and juice of half a lemon, stirring well. Bring to a slow boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

 

 

 

Waterblommetjie bredie 76. Add the drained beans and waterblommetjies and simmer for an hour. Do not stir too vigorously or overcook, you don’t want the waterblommetjies breaking apart or turning to mush!

 

Waterblommetjie bredie 107. Serve with rice once cooked, or cook in advance as stews get better with time!