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Easy & Healthy Slow cooker Beef Stew

13 Nov

 

stew-words

As you are all aware I am all about EASY cooking. I hate complicated recipes with a million steps that take forever to make. I am after easy, quick & nutritious meals that I can put on the table for my family with a minimal amount of effort.

Hence why I loooove my slow cooker. That thing is awesome, its almost like a personal chef hanging out in your kitchen while you get on with conquering the world or the housework!

This stew is simple & easy to make, its a throw everything in, let it cook for hours & then finish it just before serving deal.

I try & get everything into the slow cooker while readying the kids for school, that way meal prep doesn’t cut into my work day & when the kids come home from school we can hang out – because I already have dinner covered 🙂

To make for fast prep time, I don’t even peel the vegetables, we purchase Organic vegetables which I just wash & chop which helps to cut down on prep time & also delivers more nutrition per serve. But we all know I do it, because I am lazy!

The flavours of this stew are hearty & simple, you could definitely add some fresh herbs like Rosemary or Thyme, but my little people object to “green stuff” in their food so we stick with traditional hearty beef flavours & lots of vegetables.

This makes a lot of stew, so if you don’t like left overs (you must be crazy) halve the recipe. I like to serve the leftovers on toast or top it with dumplings so that my family doesn’t feel like they are eating the same thing all the time. But it means you get two meals out of one dinner – which is a huge win in my book!!

Slow Cooker Beef Stew a’la Mama Going Natural

  • 1.5 kilogram chuck beef roast, or some other cheap cut, cut into 4cm cubes
  • 2 onions roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 5 Tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 750mls Beef stock (I used bone broth – but either will do)
  • 2 Tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried Thyme leaves
  • 4 Bay leaves (just be sure to pick them out before serving or the kids will complain about the foliage in their food)
  • 4 large carrots roughly chopped
  • 6 large potatoes roughly chopped
  • 2 large sweet potatoes chopped into large pieces as they can fall apart during cooking
  • 1 cup frozen pea’s
  • Himalayan salt & pepper to season
  • 1/4 c plain spelt flour
  • 1/4 c water

Place the beef, onions, garlic, tomatoes, beef stock, worcestershire sauce, thyme, carrots, potatoes & sweet potatoes into your slow cooker & leave on low for about 6-7 hours, or if your in a hurry place it on high for 4-5 hours.

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I like to place a tea towel over the top of the slow cooker to keep all the steam in & help the cooking process along – it seems to cook things faster even though the slow cooker is on low as it’s retaining the heat.

About thirty minutes before dinner add in your frozen peas, taste & season your sauce with salt & pepper. Mix the spelt & water together in a small bowl until there are no lumps, stir this into your stew & cook covered for another thirty minutes so it can thicken up.

This recipe normally makes two meals for our family of four, so you will have left overs!! Left over stew tastes even better the next day over toast or you can top it with dumplings, bake it in your favourite pie shell recipe or top it with mashed potatoes & a little cheese to make a heartier version of cottage pie. Two meals for the effort of one, makes this Mama very happy.

Enjoy

 

Left over roast Chicken Soup

13 Sep

chicken-soup

Eating Organic isn’t cheap, but we feel like it’s worth it for our families health.

Organic chickens are quite expensive here in Australia, so when I buy one I need to get the most out of it, this recipe allows our family to get two meals out of the one Roast Chicken.

This soup is perfect to make the day after having a roast chicken dinner, any chicken that has been left over can be turned into a healthy & hearty soup, ensuring zero waste & helping to stretch the family budget.

This soup can be made using just about any vegetables that you have lying around in the crisper, it’s perfect for cleaning out the fridge!

It is simple, hearty & tasty as its not a broth style soup, but more a cream of chicken soup.

It makes a great, cheap end of the week meal, you can use up any leftover vegetables & get the most out of your roast chicken left overs, instead of leaving them to spoil in the fridge (like I used to do!).

Our kids love it & I am sure it’s helping us to keep the winter flu germs at bay.

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Left Over Roast Chicken Soup a’la Mama Going Natural

  • Four large potatoes cut into 1 cm cubes
  • Three large carrots cut into 1 cm cubes
  • One Zucchini cut into 1 cm cubes
  • 1/4 cauliflower cut into 1cm cubes (stalks & all)
  • 2 onions finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons good quality virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Thyme Leaves roughly chopped
  • 1.5L chicken stock
  • 1/2 c frozen pea’s (additional item, because I have a pea lover in the family)
  • Your left over Roast Chicken Carcass
  • Himalyan salt & pepper to season
  • Cream or Natural yoghurt for serving (makes soup so much creamier)

Place your olive oil in a large heavy based pot to warm (I like to add a few shakes of himalayan salt & pepper to the oil to season it). Place in your cubed vegetables, onions, thyme & garlic. Cook gently over a low to medium heat to sweat out the vegetables for approximately 10 minutes.

Once the vegetables start to look cooked, add in your chicken stock & let it simmer gently for 10 minutes.

While your soup is simmering away begin to pull apart your chicken. I pull all the meat off the bones, even off the neck (waste not, want not!). I roughly chop this chicken into large pieces about 4cm’s cubed. I then place half of it in the soup pot to simmer away. I place the chicken skin in as well (if there is any left) but you don’t have to, I just feel it adds to the flavour.

Let your soup cook for another five minutes then pour half of it into a bowl or blender & puree till smooth & creamy. Pour this back into your soup pot & add the rest of your chopped chicken. Taste & season with salt & pepper accordingly.

Add your frozen pea’s (if you too have pea-loving kids) & let your soup simmer for another five minutes.

When you are ready to eat your soup ladle it into bowls & top with your choice of yoghurt or cream for an extra indulgent soup experience.

This soup is super easy & although it seems simple on the flavours it tastes great, but best of all the kids will scoff this without complaining!! That makes for a win around here!!

Enjoy

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Zuchini Slice

14 Sep

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Zucchini slice is a staple in our house, it makes the menu plan every week. Yes, every week!!I can make this slice in my sleep!!

This slice ticks all the boxes, its healthy, quick & easy to make, can be eaten hot or cold, is great to batch make & freeze, but best of all everyone loves it!

Miss four & six like it cold in their lunch boxes, Mr Mama Going Natural likes a huge slab heated after work as a pre-dinner snack & me, well I just like it anyway I can get it – because it disappears around here.

I like to make a double batch & once cold portion into single serves that I then cling wrap & hide in the freezer as quick lunchbox snacks. They go into the lunch boxes straight from the freezer & are ready to eat by lunchtime.

I make this zucchini slice with all the ingredients my family like, so feel free to add or omit any ingredients. If you don’t have rugrats I would recommend adding a little ground pepper – I can’t even add a single grain, my girls can sniff out pepper a mile away & will declare the offending food too spicy. I figure the mister & I are going to be stuck eating bland, un-herbed food for about another five to ten years! After which this house will be spice city!

The only other thing I would recommend is using as bland an olive oil as you can find, as that can add a certain spicy element – which the rugrats will sniff out.

What makes this slice so delicious is the caramelised bacon & the parmesan cheese, it makes for a yummy, flavoursome cheesey slice, just without all the calories.

Zuchini Slice a’la Mama Going Natural

  • 3 large zucchini’s grated
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 shallots sliced
  • 2 T parmesan cheese powder
  • 1 can corn kernels drained
  • 1 1/2 c grated tasty cheese
  • 5 rashes of bacon sliced
  • 5 sundried tomatoes sliced finely
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 c spelt flour
  • 1 t baking powder

Slice your bacon into cubes & then saute until nice & caramelised, let it cool while you assemble the other ingredients.

Place the Zucchini, shallots, corn kernels, sundried tomatoes & cheese in a bowl & mix well, add your cooled bacon. Add the eggs, oil, salt, flour & baking powder & stir till combined.

Pour into greased or lined baking dishes & bake for 45 minutes at 180 degrees.

You can sprinkle the top’s with additional cheese for added yum factor 🙂

Enjoy

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Nourishing Pumpkin & Chicken Soup

27 Jul

We are very lucky to have Christine from Health is my Oyster sharing one of her favourite winter warming recipes with us this week.

Christine is a Sydney based health & wellness writer & nutritionist-in-the-making who loves whipping up healthy, nutritious & tantalising treats.

So without further ado, I’ll pass you onto Christine & her yummy soup recipe.

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Nourishing Pumpkin & Chicken Soup a’la Health is my Oyster

As winter digs in, few things make life feel comforting and cosier than a bowl of nourishing soup. This recipe adds a delicious twist on a classic winter favourite. The bulb of garlic and curry powder adds depth of flavour and warmth and the shredded chicken makes this dish more than just a soup – it’s a satisfying meal that’s full of protein.

Pumpkin and sweet potatoes are rich in health-promoting compounds called carotenoids which give red, yellow and orange foods their vibrant colour. A well-known carotenoid beta-carotene, found in these root veggies, is then converted to vitamin A in the body, which helps maintain healthy mucous membranes, glowing skin and good vision.

  • Serves 4
  • Prep time: 15 mins
  • Cooking time: Slow-cook for approx 3-4 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Japanese pumpkin, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 2 cm ginger, sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin seed powder
  • 1/2 shredded BBQ chicken
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Water, approx 6 cups

Method:

1. Put all the ingredients (except the onion, garlic and oil) in a slow cooker with enough water covering all the ingredients. Set aside on low heat for about 3-4 hours until the veggies are soft.

2. In a hot pan of olive oil, fry the onion and garlic until well cooked. Set aside.

3. Once the veggies are soft, use a soup ladle to scoop out all the ingredients out of the slow cooker, leaving behind the liquid. Place the spiced veggies in a large bowl.

4. Add the shredded chicken to the veggies and mix well. Then add the onion and garlic.

5. In a blender, put as much of the soup ingredients as you can and blend until well combined. Repeat until all the ingredients have been well blended. The consistency should be thick and creamy.

6. Serve immediately with some cumin seed powder on top.

 

You can find more of Christines healthy recipes at : http://healthismyoyster.com/ or join her Facebook page to keep up to date with her healthy escapades: https://www.facebook.com/healthismyoyster

 

 

Crustless Quiches

15 Dec

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I have to admit that I am a little strange, I don’t really like Omelet’s & typically I am not really a Quiche girl, but I love these Quiches!.

This quiche recipe combines all my favourites, bacon, cheese, zuchini and zesty fresh herbs. Not to mention its super easy to make & you can add in any vegetables or herbs that you have on hand. Sometimes mine have mushrooms, sometimes they don’t, it all depends whats in the fridge when the Quiche cravings hit.

I love making the muffin versions of these as they make perfect snacks for little hands & a yummy addition to any lunch box.

They are a perfect on-hand staple as they can be frozen & pulled out of the freezer to top up lunch boxes or as a quick dinner at anytime, that’s if you don’t eat them all!! I have to make a double batch to ensure that any of mine make it to the freezer 🙂

Crustless Quiches a’la Mama Going Natural

  • 2 zuchini’s
  • 4 large swiss brown mushrooms
  • 3 shallots
  • 4 rashes of bacon
  • 3 sprigs of oregano
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 1/2 c grated cheese
  • 2 c milk
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3/4 c spelt flour
  • 3/4 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t himalayan salt
  • 1 t ground pepper

Grate your zuchini & place in a bowl, add chopped mushrooms, diced shallots & sliced bacon rashes. Pull off the leaves of your herbs & add them & your grated cheese to the bowl & stir well to combine.

In a jug mix the eggs, milk, spelt, baking powder, salt & pepper & whisk well to combine.

At this stage you can either mix your egg custard into your filling & scoop it into your dish or muffin pan, but I prefer to use a spoon & scoop in the vege mix to the top of each pan & then pour over the egg custard. This makes little quiches chockful of yummy goodness as opposed to little omelets (just my opinion).

Bake for 45 minutes at 180 degrees.

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Then enjoy zesty cheesy goodness & thank me 🙂

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Grain Free Dim Sum’s

14 Apr

We love Dim Sums.

Steamed balls of deliciousness – plain & simple.

Soft melt in your mouth pastry filled with the tastiest pork filling dipped in sticky, sweet soy dipping sauce. Mmmm, I am salivating at the thought.

Going healthy means giving up our Dim Sums, right?

Not for this Mama Going Natural.

After a few dismal failures we have finally hit on a Dim Sum recipe to rival our local Chinese shop. Actually a certain member of the family claims them to be better than the “Real McCoy” – now that’s high praise indeed.

So whats the secret to making delicious “Grain Free” Dim Sums – lettuce.

I know what your thinking “Ohh Gross”, lettuce belongs in salads – right?. Wrong!. Lettuce is the star & hero of this dish. It wraps around your succulent filling giving it a moist, soft, yet slightly crispy shell that is to die for.

Don’t believe me – try them – I dare you – I double dare you!!

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And I promise you that this recipe will make it into your family favourites, as it has mine 🙂

Healthy Grain Free Dim Sums a’la Mama Going Natural

You will need:

Dim Sums

  • Aprox 10 large iceberg lettuce leaves
  • Toothpicks  – for securing your rolls
  • 500gm Pork mince
  • 1/2 an onion finely diced
  • 1 T super finely diced Ginger
  • 1 garlic clove diced
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/8 t chilli powder
  • 1/2 t honey
  • 1 t Tamari
  • 1 t curry powder
  • 1 1/2 c finely diced cabbage

Cooking Water

  • 3 star anise
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1 T Tamari

Dipping Sauce

  • 1 T ginger grated
  • 2 T honey
  • 2 T Tamari
  • 1/4 t chilli powder

Mix all of the above Dim Sum ingredients together well in a bowl (minus the lettuce leaves & toothpicks). Set the mix to the side and wash your lettuce leaves. Place sausage shapes of the mix down the middle of each leaf & roll the leaf around the meat mix, securing with a toothpick. Don’t worry about the ends being tucked under as the mix holds together well in simmering water.

Once you have all of your lettuce rolled Dim Sums made fill a large pot 1/2 full with water & add all of the cooking water ingredients. Let it come to a gentle simmer. Don’t put your Dim Sum’s in boiling water as this may cause them to disintegrate. Cook your Dim Sums for approximately 10 minutes per batch & drain well.

To make the dipping sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl & season with salt & pepper to taste.

Break out the chopsticks and prepare to have your taste bud’s rocked!

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Now credit where credit is due. This is actually a healthier adaptation of my little sister’s Dim Sum recipe, so kudos has to go out to Lillie for making a rocking Dim Sum & inspiring me to “healthy it up” a little.

For the record while she did concede my Dim Sums were nice, she has decided to stick with the pastry originals – what can I say, she’s a purist like that!

Till Next time

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