Weekend Vegetable Lasagna

Weekend Vegetable Lasagna

Slow baked vegetable lasagna

Slow baked vegetable lasagna

This is a real tasty vegetarian dish or another one of those recipes when you feel you need some vegetables in your diet and is made on top of the stove. (for 4)

It takes 4-5 hours to cook so is great for a weekend lunch. Adapted from Italian home recipes

What you need

1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta or cottage cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 tins chopped peeled tomatoes
1 teaspoon Italian mixed herbs
1 punnet  baby marrows, thinly sliced (2 ½ cups) Use a peeler if you can
1 medium eggplant thinly sliced
1 cup macaroni or 4 lasagna noodles, broken up

The process

In a small bowl, mix together Mozzarella, Ricotta, Parmesan, egg, oregano, and garlic powder.

Spread 1/2 can of stewed tomatoes (broken up) on bottom of oven proof dish.

Sprinkle Italian spices over tomatoes.

Sprinkle 1/3 of zucchini over sauce and top with 1/3 of cheese mixture. Spread 1/3 of macaroni over cheese mixture. (If using lasagna noodles, spread 1/3 of noodles over cheese mixture.) Repeat layering, ending with remaining tomatoes and spices. Firmly press ingredients into the pot.

3 – Cover and cook on low heat for 4-5 hours. Allow lasagna to rest 20 minutes before cutting into wedges to serve.

You will thank us for this one!!

Month end meals

Month end meals

riceAt this time of the month many are a little tight and I have had a lot of requests for tasty economical meals, so here are a few great ideas for meals that taste great and cost very little. In my view rice is a very under rated product that can be easily fancied up and for a tasty, healthy meal. I found a really inexpensive brown rice at PicknPay the other day which you will love. It’s called Spekko brown rice. Brown rice has a distinct nutty taste and is far better for you.

Meal idea

1 cup rice
1 chicken or veg stock cube
750ml water
1 onion chopped
handful of frozen peas

Cook the rice in the stock per the instructions on the pack.

Fry the onions until soft on a medium heat.

Heat the peas in the microwave or in boiling water.

When the rice is done and soft, mix in the peas and onions and serve with this Chicken and tomato casserole or the Recession proof lamb casserole.

You can add whatever it is you have in your fridge to the rice, I have often added small cubes of butternut, grated carrot that has been cooked up with the onions or cooked a beaten egg into a pancake type thing, rolled it up and sliced it to add to the rice for a Chinese feel.

I hope this gives you some inspiration to be a little creative and to just try things out! Add left over chicken to it for a complete meal on its own, you know what I mean!

Brinjal Curry

Brinjal Curry

brinjal curry recipe

Brinjal Curry

This one is really fantastic if you have vegetarian friends that your meat eating mates will also love. It is very tasty, does not take much effort apart from making sure you give it a stir every now and then so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pot.

Next time I make it I will also add 2 medium diced potatoes and a little extra water just to add another texture and make it go further. I had 9 people around for dinner and used it as a vegetable not a main meal. It will feed 4-6 people as a main with rice 0r 10-12 as a vegetable.

What you need

1 kg baby brinjals halved or 1 kg chopped brinjal
2 medium onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon clove or 1 clove crushed up
1 teaspoon salt
1 Cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
3 cardamom pods
2 star anise
10 or so curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons mild curry powder
1 tin chopped peeled tomatoes including liquid
1 cup vegetable stock
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon Garam Masala
Chopped fresh coriander to serve (makes a big difference)

The process

Pop your brinjals onto a baking tray and then into a 200 Celsius oven for about 15 minutes to start the softening process.

While that’s on the go, place a large pot on a medium heat and cook your onions and garlic in a little oil until softened. Now add all of your spices except the cumin and Garam Masala, mix them well and allow to cook for about 2 minutes.

Now add your brinjals, stir and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stock, stir well, cover and allow to simmer, stirring every now and then until the brinjals are nice and soft, about 1 hour.

About 10 minutes before serving, stir in the cumin and garam masala.

It is best to make this the day before and then reheat it before serving.

Potato and Mushroom Bake

Potato and Mushroom Bake

potato and mushroom bake

Potato Bake with mushrooms

There are few dishes that give you that home comfort feeling like a great potato bake and this one, which I recently served with a Prime Rib Roast and Melanzanewas such a huge hit I am being forced to make it again… very soon 🙂 Just gotta love it when people enjoy your food! (makes enough for 6 people) Use an ove dish that is about 30cmx20cmx8cm high or similar

The three dishes for the meal required a bit of planning because they were all done in the oven so prepare the melanzane first and into the oven, prepare the potato bake next and then leave them in the oven until almost cooked. Then remove them and pop the prime rib in the oven high up in the oven leaving the second rack on the bottom. When you are about 1/2 an hour from serving, pop the potato bake and the melanzane back into the oven.

What you need

5 Medium potatoes sliced thinly
2 medium onions sliced thinly
1 punnet button mushrooms sliced
2 x 250ml fresh cream
1 packet dry cream of mushroom soup
Pepper
1 and 1/2 cups Good cheddar cheese for the topping

The process

Place a layer of potato, then onion, then mushrooms, then about 1/3 of the mushroom soup, repeat until the dish is 3/4 full (should be 3 layers.

Now pour the cream over the top and cover with a layer of cheese.

Pop into the oven on 180 to 200 Celsius for 40 minutes or so and the top is golden brown and bubbling. Check that the potato is cooked through by poking with a knife.

This is seriously delicious for a braai, as a vegetable with a roast or just because you want something that reminds you of home if you are in a far flung place away from home.

Melanzane alla Parmigiana

Melanzane alla Parmigiana

Melanzane

This has been such a hit amongst my friends that I just had to feature it again. I served it with a Prime Rib Roast and potato bake with mushrooms – all in all a huge success.

I had the most incredible Melanzane at Fournos in Benmore the other day that was everything a Melanzane should be, Creamy eggplant layered with tomato and topped off with a nice crust of Parmesan. It was so delicious I had to go back and get another helping. Well here it is folks, the most awesome Melanzane Parmigiana you will ever have. You can have this as a meal on it’s own with a bit of French loaf and a side salad for a brilliant vegetarian meal or as a vegetable with your meat. You will need an oven dish that is about 22x20cm and about 6cm high. Makes 4 -6 portions.

What you need

2 large cloves garlic sliced
2 400g tins chopped peeled tomatoes
2 large egglants sliced (or 3 smaller ones)
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Handful of fresh basil leaves (optional)
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper

The process

First off heat your oven to 180 Celsius.

Next put a small pot on the stove on medium to low heat and place both tins of tomatoes into the pot, stir and then leave to simmer while you prepare the eggplants.

Chop the ends off your eggplant and slice into 1-2cm thick pieces lengthways so you have these long strips of eggplant.

Place a generous amount of Olive oil into a pan on a medium heat and fry the garlic, remove and add to the tomato sauce. Now fry the eggplant slices until lightly golden on each side. Place on kitchen paper to drain. This should take about 3 minutes per side and is important not to rush, you want nice creamy eggplant.

While these are cooking stir and taste the tomato sauce adding a little salt and pepper to taste (I also add about 1 teaspoon of sugar which really does the trick). You want to reduce the liquid and have the tomatoes still a little chunky but soft and a thickened sauce. Toss in the basil leaves ripping them as you put them into the sauce.

Now take your oven dish and spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom, then cover with eggplant and another slightly thicker layer of sauce. Sprinkle over a small amount of Mozzarella and then repeat the process until you have used up all of the eggplant. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the top, sprinkle the last of the Mozzarella and then top off with every last piece of the Parmesan.

make sure you have a nice layer of Parmesan covering the top.

Place in your oven for about 40 minutes until you have a bubbling cheesy crust that has a little of the tomato sauce oozing through.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. This lets the cheesy crust harden a bit which makes all the difference.

Double or trebble this recipe with no problem at all!

Spinach & Feta Muffins

Spinach & Feta Muffins

spinach and feta muffin recipe

Spinach & Feta Muffins

These muffins are awesome! Not only can they be made in advance, but they are so versatile and light that they can be served for breakfast, lunch and supper. In fact, they are the best Sunday-night supper for all you lazy buggars (like me) who couldn’t be bothered to cook after a wonderful weekend! – Recipe by Rozanne

Folks, these little guys are a must try and for a little change try adding a handful of cubed(about 1cm) a steamed butternut or even a little red pepper but probably the best of all is to add some cooked chopped bacon. They are fantastic and can be frozen and ready for you in minutes. G

What you need

200ml milk
100g baby spinach leaves
500ml flour
5ml salt
15ml baking powder
100g feta cheese
60ml oil
1 egg
12 cherry tomatoes

The process

Grease a muffin pan and preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Heat up the milk in a pot and add the baby spinach. Make sure the stove is on a low heat and cook until the spinach is wilted.

Cool the spinach and milk mixture slightly and blend it until smooth. This shouldn’t take long!

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Next, Crumble up the feta cheese and add it to the dry ingredients. Mix together until the feta is evenly distributed through the dry ingredients.

Add the egg and oil the the milky-spinach mixture fold it in gently. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until JUST combined. It’s very important that you don’t over-mix the batter to ensure light fluffy muffins.

Spoon the mixture into muffin pans and top each muffin with a fresh cherry tomato. Bake for approximately 20 mins and serve warm with lots of butter!

Just a little hint

These delicious muffins look really great if they are made in small terracotta pots (just make sure you grease them well).

Bacon wrapped Chili poppers

Bacon wrapped Chili poppers

bacon wrapped chili poppers

Chill Poppers in Bacon

Man these little beauties are a real treat that you can make in the oven or on the braai. I must warn you that this recipe only makes 12 and from experience, you will need more than 2 or 3 per person as a taster. When you buy your chili poppers buy the longer ones unless you like them really spicy, I like them not too spicy so buy the ones that are at least 7 or 8cm long.

What you need

12 Jalapeno Chilis
250g Cream cheese
1/2 cup grated strong cheddar cheese
1 packet streaky bacon

The process

First off wash your jalapeno’s and then dry them. Take a sharp knife and cut off the stalk. Then roll them between your palms to loosen the seeds which will start falling out as you roll.

If you have a cocktail spoon this is the perfect implement to clean out any remaining seeds, otherwise just rinse them under running water as you roll out the last few seeds. You could also split them and clean them out that way but I like to keep the whole pod intact.

Set them aside and in a bowl mix together the cream cheese and cheddar cheese, add a touch of salt and a grind of pepper.

Now fill each Jalapeno with as much of the cream cheese mixture as possible. It’s messy work but make sure they are crammed full.

Now take a piece of bacon and start by wrapping the end closed and then winding around the rest of the Jalapeno.

Thats it, once they are done, pop them on the grill and cook until the bacon is cooked and the cheese oozing out. If you are doing them in the oven, pop them on a baking tray and grill, turning from time to time until bacon is cooked.

Serve them as is straight from the oven with a little french loaf to grab the oozing cream cheese.

Have fun with these, they are fantastic.

Cheesy Baked Cauliflower with bacon and leeks

Cheesy Baked Cauliflower with bacon and leeks

baked cauliflower with bacon and leeks

Baked Cauliflower

Cauliflower on it’s own is not one of my favourite vegetables but this recipe makes Cauliflower an entire meal or a side vegetable dish that tastes fantastic and will feature on my plates with steaks, chicken and roasts regularly from now on. It’s very easy to make not for weight watchers but well worth it. This makes enough for 6-8 people as a vegetable side dish perfect for Sunday Roasts or a whole meal for 4 as a weekday quick meal. It will keep in the fridge for a few days so go for it, make a full portion.

What you need

1 large cauliflower
2 leeks thinly sliced
1 250g packet bacon
150ml milk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
500ml cheese sauce (bought is also okay
3 or 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
handfull of grated cheddar cheese

The process

Break the cauliflower into florets and steam or boil for about 10 minutes until tender but still with a little crunch.

While that is going on, fry your bacon and then add the finely sliced leeks, cook for a minute or two until the leeks have softened, add the mustard and give it a quick mix, remove and set aside.

Place the cooked cauliflower into an oven dish, sprinkle over most of the bacon and leek mixture and then give it a turn to mix in the bacon and leeks. Sprinkle the remainder of leek and bacon mix over the top.

If you are making your cheese sauce start now.

Pour the cheese sauce over the top and then mix together the breadcrumbs and olive oil in a separate bowl, mix, add the grated cheese, mix, sprinkle over the top.

Bake in a 200 Celsius oven for 15 minutes. Thats it, a delicious vegetable dish.

If you like the sound of this recipe, try the baked potato recipe and be sure to read the comments for tips on getting crisp skins.

Mediterranean vegetable salad

Mediterranean vegetable salad

Mediterranean vegetable salad

This is fantastic vegetable dish that can be served hot as a vegetable on the side of a roast beef or cold as a salad or even as a snack at the braai with some ciabatta or other crusty bread. It has such a great flavour a vegetarian would be happy with a bowl of it on it’s own. Give this a try, it’s a perfect summer, eat oudoors vegetable dish, kids who are not mad for vegetables will even enjoy it. (enough for 6 people)

What you need

2 large eggplants cut into small cubes
2 medium onions thinly sliced
4 celery sticks chopped
1 x tin chopped peeled tomatoes (400g)
about 100g or a handfull of bottled green olives
2 tablespoons capers
Olive Oil
120ml white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons caster sugar

The process

In a pan on a medium to high heat, add about 3 tablespoons olive oil add the eggplant cubes and cook until they are browned. remove from the pan leaving as much of the oil as possible and drain on kitchen paper.

To the same pan, add the onions and fry until they are browned and soft, this should take about 10-15 minutes. Now add the celery and cook for about another 4-5 minutes, add the tomatoes with their liquid, the vinegar, cater sugar, olives and capers, mix and allow to simmer for 5 minutes or so.

Finally add the eggplant to the mixture and simmer with the lid off for another 10 minutes, taste and season with pepper and salt.

Remove from the pan and allow to cool.

It is best to make this salad the day before and leave it in the fridge overnight before serving, the flavours all meld together beautifully.

Remove from the fridge an hour or so before serving if you are having it cold or pop in the micro for a few minutes if you are having it warm.

Bringal and Red pepper pate

Bringal and Red pepper pate

brinjal pate

Brinjal pate

There are so many brinjals at the moment and they cost next to nothing so this is a great recipe to use them. It is vegetarian and a real winner that takes no time at all to make. It is a creamy delicious pate that I always slosh a good amount of olive over before serving. It’s a bit like Baba Ghanoush with fewer ingredients that has a wonderful fresh taste.

What you need

1 large brinjal
1 large red pepper seeds removed
1 large clove garlic
1 medium grated onion
2 teaspoons olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

The process

Cut the brinjal the red pepper(remove seeds from the pepper) in half.

Heat your oven to 200 Celsius, place the brinjal and red pepper into an oven proof dish with the oil, cover and bake until the brinjal is tender and soft.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Pull the skin off the red pepper and scoop the inside of the brinjal leaving the skin behind.

Pop it all into a blender and blitz until smooth.

Thats that, place in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, top off with some fresh roughly chopped parsley and serve with melba toast, hot pita breads or whole wheat bread.