Sunday, 15 September 2013

Week Two: 7-Layer Taco Dip

7-Layer Taco Dip


  • ·         4 cups shredded lettuce
  • ·         3 avocadoes, mashed and mixed with 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • ·         1 ½ cups greek yogurt, mixed with taco seasoning (1 packet, or equivalent home-made)
  • ·         1 tin black beans, drained
  • ·         3 medium diced tomatoes
  • ·         2 cans sliced black olives
  • ·         Grated cheese



  1. Starting with lettuce on the bottom of your dish, add each layer on top of the next, ending with cheese on top. Serve with corn chips.
This was delicious! I altered it a bit, to work with what we had or could find in the store. I didn't prepare my black beans the night before, so grabbed a couple of tins of re-fried beans that I like to keep in my cupboard. We also used green olives instead of black; they were de-stoned at least, but not pre-sliced! So that took me a while....
I'll probably look harder for black olives next time, because they have a mellower flavour. This recipe made a LOT of dip, which was a perfect relaxed meal for our family.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Week Two: Jacket Potatoes

Jacket Potatoes
·        6-8 medium large white potatoes
·        Butter
·        Baked beans
·        Grated cheese
·        Salt, to taste

1.     Pierce potatoes with knife or fork.
2.     Microwave for 15 minutes, or until all are soft.
Serve with butter, beans, cheese and a salad (or mixed vegetables).

My husband found it hilarious when he saw this recipe in my book. Yes, it's easy to throw together and really, a recipe isn't required to make it, but my goal is to get my children more involved in cooking, and hopefully they'll become more independent in the kitchen, so a "recipe" like this is perfect to get them started.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Week Two: Black Bean Wraps with Mexican Rice and Pico de gallo

Black Bean Avocado Mash
·        2 whole avocadoes, mashed
·        2-3 cups black beans, mashed
·        1 green bell pepper, chopped
·        1 tsp cumin
·        ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
·        Salt, to taste
1.     Mash/mix all ingredients together.
Mexican Rice
·        1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed
·        Oil
·        ½ red onion, chopped
·        2 tomatoes, diced
·        Steamed rice
·        Salt, to taste

2.     Sauté garlic and onion in oil, add tomatoes, then rice. Season to taste.

Pico de gallo
·        2 tomatoes, diced
·        Fresh coriander, chopped
·        Dash of lime juice
·        Dash of venigar
·        ¼ red onion, chopped
·        1 clove minced garlic
·        Salt and pepper to taste

3.     Mix together
Pile all 3 elements onto wraps. EAT.

I couldn't find any avocados in the shops when I tried to make this recipe, which made me very sad (I love avocados!). As an alternative, I settled for cream cheese, thinking that it would give a similar texture, at least. My children enjoyed the rice and bean mixture in their wraps, but were not fans of the pico de gallo. It has raw onion and coriander in it, which makes the flavour really strong - it's more of a relish than anything - but I loved it! It's very easy to throw together and really gave the meal a bit of zing.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Week Two: Red Lentil Dahl with Pulao Rice

Red Lentil Dahl
·        8 cups water
·        2 cups red lentils
·        6 cloves minced garlic
·        2 Tbs freshly ground ginger
·        2 tsp ground cumin
·        1 tsp cumin seeds
·        1 tsp ground coriander
·        1 tsp garam masala
·        1 tsp sea salt
·        Lemon juice, to taste
·        Pepper and salt to taste

1.     Boil lentils with spices. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes.
2.     Stir frequently towards end of cooking time, adding more water if it gets too thick.
3.     Stir in lemon juice, salt and pepper.



Pulao Rice
·        2 cups basmati rice
·        2 cinnamon sticks
·        6 whole cloves
·        3 bay leaves
·        5 cardamom pods
·        1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
·        3 cups water
·        ¼ tsp salt
·        ½ cup frozen peas
·        ½ tsp saffron

1.     Cook rice with spices. Add frozen peas toward end of cooking time.
Add saffron 5 minutes before rice is fully cooked.


Don't be put off by this dish if you don't have all the spices; I have frequently made it without saffron, cardamom pods, cumin seeds and fresh ginger. It still turns out wonderfully, and it's so CHEAP once you have the spices in your cupboard. It's worth checking out the world foods section of your local supermarket to get hold of these spices, rather than the actual spice section. They tend to be cheaper there.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Week Two: Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup
·        Oil
·        Onion, chopped
·        3 carrots, peeled and  finely chopped
·        2 celery stalks, finely chopped
·        2 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped
·        2 zucchini (courgette), cut into half-circles or triangles
·        2 cloves garlic, crushed
·        1 cup green beans, cut into 1” lengths
·        1 bunch chard, finely chopped
·        1 tin tomatoes
·        3 cups water
·        2 cups cooked beans (navy, flageolet, or other)
·        1 bay leaf
·        Parmesan cheese, grated
·        Salt and pepper, to taste
·        2 cups SMALL pasta shapes (or broken pieces of spaghetti), pre-cooked
1.     In a large pot, heat oil. Add onions and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add other vegetables, one at a time, cooking 2-3 minutes each.
2.     After chard is cooked, add tomatoes, water, beans, bay leaf and cheese. Simmer until all vegetables are tender.
Season to taste. Add pasta and cook until it has warmed through.

This soup takes a bit of work, with all the peeling and chopping. I will probably use my slow cooker next time.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Week Two: Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan
·        Chicken breast (enough to feed your family)
·        2 eggs
·        Bread crumbs
·        Pasta sauce
·        Parmesan cheese
·        Sliced mozzarella cheese
·        Oil
·        Salt & pepper to taste

1.     Dip chicken into beaten eggs (add salt & pepper to eggs), then dip in chicken in the breadcrumbs.
2.     Brown chicken in hot oil.
3.     Pour a thin layer of sauce in a casserole dish. Place chicken in dish and cover with more sauce.
4.     Sprinkle with cheese, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, at 175C.
5.     Remove foil, place slices of mozzarella cheese on chicken. Bake for 10 minutes more.
Serve with salad.

This seemed like more effort than it was worth, because I didn't notice the bread coating on the chicken once it had been cooked in the sauce - it all sort of fell off the "meat" into the sauce! However, we've only tried this recipe once, and it was with "quorn" rather than chicken (a vegetarian meat substitute). Maybe that was the reason why? Or perhaps it needed to be browned for longer... the jury is still out! But when we get to week 2 again, I'll try browning it for longer to see what happens. 

Monday, 9 September 2013

Week Two: Meals, Shopping List, Recipe

·         Minestrone Soup (with bread rolls)
·         Chicken Parmesan (with salad and bread)
·         Penne with Roasted Vegetables (and garlic bread)
·         Red Lentil Dahl with Pulao Rice
·         Black Bean Wraps, Mexican Rice and Pico de Gallo
·         Jacket Potatoes (with beans, cheese and salad)
·         7-Layer Taco Dip (with corn chips)

Shopping List


®   Bread rolls
®    
®   Coriander (ground)
®    
®   Cumin
®    
®   Cumin seeds
®    
®   Garam masala
®    
®   Garlic
®    
®   Ginger
®    
®   Navy beans
®    
®   Red lentils
®    
®   Small pasta shapes
®    
®   Pasta sauce
®   Avocadoes x 6
®   Mozzarella
®   Baked beans
®   Mushrooms
®   Basmati rice
®   Grated cheese
®   Black beans
®   Italian herbs
®   Cardamom pods
®   Grated parmesan
®   Cayenne pepper
®   Onions
®   Cinnamon sticks
®   Tinned tomatoes x 4
®   Corn chips x 2 bags
®   Eggs
®   Flour wraps
®   Carrots
®   Greek yogurt
®   Peas (frozen)
®   Green bell pepper x 1
®   Bread crumbs
®   Large potatoes x 10
®   Zucchini (Courgette) x 4
®   Lemon juice
®   Salad
®   Lettuce
®   Butter
®   Lime juice
®   Summer Squash x 2
®   Pepper
®   Penne
®   Saffron
®   Red Peppers x 2
®   Sea salt
®   Green beans (frozen)
®   Sliced olives x 2 jars
®   Celery
®   Taco seasoning
®   Potatoes
®   Tomatoes x 5
®   Chicken (or Quorn)
®   Vinegar
®   Oil (I usually use coconut oil)
®   Whole cloves


Penne with Roasted Vegetables
·        2 red peppers, cut into strips
·        2 zucchini (courgette), cut into cubes
·        2 summer squash, cut into cubes
·        Mushrooms, halved
·        1 onion, sliced into strips
·        Oil
·        Salt, pepper, Italian herb mix
·        1 lb penne pasta
·        3 cups pasta sauce
·        1 cup grated cheese
·        1 ½ cups frozen peas
·        Grated parmesan
·        2 Tbs butter, cut into small pieces                                

1.     Roast peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onions with oil, salt pepper & herbs until tender at 230C; about 15 minutes. Stir if needed.
2.     Boil pasta about 6 minutes, until al dente.
3.     Toss pasta, vegetables, sauce, cheese, peas, salt & pepper (to taste) all in a large bowl. Mix until combined. (I just boiled the pasta in a too-large pot and added the veggies after the pasta was drained, to save on dishes)
4.     Pour mix into a large casserole dish. Top with parmesan and butter. Bake at 180C until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.

This makes a LOT of food. We have four children, and usually manage to get through large meals easily, but this made enough for a huge lunch the next day! I found it completely delicious and I think it would be a perfect meal for a large crowd.