Vegetable and Bean Chilli

I spoke a little while ago about make ahead meals. Ones that I can prepare in advance, then reheat when dinnertime arrives. Well the other advantage of these meals is that you often have leftovers too – which can be portioned and frozen for future meals.

And so with the husband making his way back from Sydney the other day – I dove into the freezer and pulled out two portions of this vegetable and bean chilli. Reheated on the stove top, and kept warm until he walked in the door. Served with quinoa, and finished with some fresh parsley.

 This vegetarian chilli is packed with beans, spices and vegetables. In fact, it is so filled with flavour that you don’t miss the meat component at all. And while on this occasion I served the chilli with quinoa, you could easily substitute the quinoa for rice or even tortillas. The addition of fresh avocado or some  natural yoghurt or sour cream would also work beautifully if you had any on hand.

Print Recipe
Vegetable and Bean Chilli
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and fry for a few minutes.
  3. Add the spices, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring.
  4. Add the vegetables, and stir to coat with the spices.
  5. Add the tomatoes, beans and water, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Stir through the spinach, cacao powder and parsley, and heat for a few minutes, Season to taste.
  7. Divide and among serving bowls, and serve with quinoa or rice and extra parsley.
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Vegetable quinoa soup

IMG_0393 Thus hubs has been struck down with ‘man flu’. Or so it seems. So in order to get him back on his feet as soon as possible – or at least attempt to – I’ve been focusing on veggie-rich meals. Lots of vitamins, and nutrients, and lots of garlic. IMG_0389 One such meal – was this vegetable quinoa soup. Comprised literally with whatever vegetable I could find in the fridge, and pulled together with some herbs, stock and a secret ingredient….quinoa! IMG_0391 A one pot meal – that successfully warmed us from the inside out. Full to the brim with tasty vegetables, bulked up with quinoa for some added protein. IMG_0392 Served with a sprinkle of chopped parsley, but I think other fresh herbs would work just as nicely too. IMG_0397 Vegetable quinoa soup (serves 3-4)

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 leek, sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • 1/4 cauliflower – broken into small florets
  • 1/4 pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 L vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • Water as required
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, to serve
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add the leek, garlic and spices – and heat, stirring, until the leek starts to soften.
  2. Add the vegetables, and stir well to coat with the leek/spice mix.
  3. Add the stock, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the quinoa, and cover. Cook for a further 15 minutes or until the quinoa is soft.  Add more water if the soup is too thick.
  5. Ladle into serving bowls and top with a sprinkle of parsley.

What about you? Tried any new soup combinations lately?

One pot meal – Smoky pulled pork

IMG_0327Over the weekend, I sent out a “help me” to my fellow Canberra foodies. For I had pulled pork on the menu – that called for a tin of chipotle chillies, but no idea where to find them. My fellow foodies were ever helpful, and it wasn’t long before I had a tin of these beautiful peppers in my hot little hand. IMG_0309 (FYI – I found them at The Essential Ingredient in Kingston, and am also reliably informed that the Asian Grocer at the Fyshwick Markets stocks them also). My inspiration came in the form of a recent Donna Hay magazine, and with a few adjustments, we soon were on our way to pulled pork heaven. IMG_0310 What I loved about this dish, was that it was really a ‘one pot’ meal. No browning of the meat, no separate cooking of the ingredients required.  Literally it was one of those “throw it all in and walk away” meals – that still impresses on flavour. IMG_0311IMG_0312 Covered, cooked on low, and we were greeted by beautifully tender pork a couple hours later…. IMG_0314IMG_0320IMG_0322 A word of warning – this dish yielded a lot of pulled pork. So much so – that it would easily feed 10 or so if you were to serve it with some side dishes. IMG_0324 As for us – well we put it to a couple uses. First – and perhaps most delicious in its simplicity – the pork was served in toasted Turkish rolls with coleslaw. IMG_0326 The second night – when the heat had intensified even more (yes those chipotle chillies sure do pack a spicy smoky punch), I made some cheese and pickle scones – and also served the pork with a side salad. IMG_0331 The third night…..well you get the picture! Let’s just say this is definitely a dish we will make again – but probably when we have occasion to feed many mouths! Smoky pulled pork (serves 8-10) (adapted from Donna Hay)

  • 2kg boneless pork shoulder, skin removed and cut into 8cm pieces
  • 1 orange – rind grated + juiced
  • 2 cups orange juice – extra
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled
  • 1 tbs sweet paprika
  • 200g can of chipotle chillies in adobo sauce
  • 400g can tinned tomatoes
  • 2 extra tomatoes, diced
  1. Place the pork in a large saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients.
  2. Bring to the boil, then cover tightly, and simmer on low for 2 hours.
  3. Remove the lid, and continue cooking for a further 30-45minutes – stirring as required.
  4. Remove the pork pieces, and shred using two forks.
  5. Return the pork to the pan, stir well to combine, and reheat gently.

What about you? Are you a fan of pulled pork?

Tray baked fish & vegetables

IMG_9710 I really can see the allure of ‘one pot’ meals. Be it a slow cooked stew, an aromatic curry or a tray baked dish such as this one. And I’m not just saying that because our 15 year old Vulcan dishwasher died last week. Ok maybe I am? Either way – I appreciated the simplicity and lack of dishes that this meal created. Just veggies (zucchini, pumpkin, onion and potato) tossed into a baking tray and drizzled with olive oil. IMG_9695 Cooked for 30 minutes…then topped with some pieces of ling – seasoned with Moroccan spices and a little spray of olive oil. IMG_9706 (Ps. Fishmongers make for a fun family adventure, it seems, as C had a ball running around looking at all the seafood on display – including the live fish!) Back into the oven for another 20 minutes and…well…dinner was served. IMG_9708 Finished simply with a “salsa” – made with tomatoes, coriander, capsicum, spring onions and lime juice. IMG_9707 Between the beautifully tender veggies, the moist fish and the zesty fresh-salsa – well my tastebuds were in heaven! IMG_9712 And the lack of dishes afterwards…well that was a welcomed sight too! What about you? Are you a dishwasher or ‘by-0hand’ person when it comes to washing dishes?

One pot vegetarian chilli wonder

This meal, that graced our dinner table (some time ago now), highlights just how easy home cooking can be. Using ‘whatever’ ingredients I had on hand… IMG_9151 (onions, garlic, quinoa, frozen peas, chilli powder, capsicum, carrot, oregano and cumin) Along with a trio of beans… IMG_9152IMG_9153 We had ourselves quite the vegetarian chilli party! IMG_9160 I would give you a recipe, but there really is no need. IMG_9161 Just heat some olive oil in a large pot, add the onions, garlic and your vegetables. Throw in the other herbs, quinoa and water (using a 1:2 ratio), and some tinned tomatoes, simmer for half an hour, and you are done! IMG_9162 On this occasion we served the chilli alongside a green salad .. IMG_9167 Jazzed up with some cucumbers, raw cashews and dried cranberries. IMG_9165 Too easy! The best part being that there are inevitably leftovers to enjoy for lunch or dinner the next day! What about you? Are you a fan of one pot meals? I certainly am – especially when it means there are less dishes to do afterwards!

Make ahead meal – Curried lentils and sweet potato

(Disclaimer – This post was typed with one hand, and a sleeping baby on my chest. So apologies in advance for any typos!)  IMG_6257 When looking for inspiration for a make ahead meal, I tend to gravitate towards slow cooked meat dishes. However, as I also like to have at least a couple of meatless dinners throughout the week, coming up with a make ahead vegetarian meal was my aim yesterday. IMG_6244 Lentils and vegetables seemed the most logical choice. And when Charlotte went down for a nap in the afternoon – well I got to work. IMG_6246 Veggies – diced. Sautéed with some spices, then simmered slowly with lentils and vegetable stock until the lentils were tender. IMG_6247 Later that evening, I put the dish back on the stove and simmered it uncovered to allow some of the liquid to evaporate. Then threw in a good amount of spinach and allowed it to wilt. IMG_6249 The result? IMG_6252 A thick stew-like dinner, packed with goodness. IMG_6253 Finished with one of my favourite stew toppers. IMG_6256 Natural yoghurt! And a sprinkle of parsley – for some extra green. IMG_6259 I loved how the sweet potato had broken down owing to the long cooking time. It gave the dish a nice hearty consistency. IMG_6260 And between the curry powder and cayenne pepper, the dish also had a bit of a spicy kick to it. IMG_6261 Mellowed, of course, by the yoghurt. IMG_6264 I think this dish, or at least a version of it, will be making regular appearances in the BBB household. Curried lentils and sweet potato (serves 4-6)

  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1tsp minced garlic
  • 1- 2 tbs curry powder (to taste)
  • 1 tsp garam masalsa
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • Few handfuls of spinach
  • Natural yoghurt and fresh parsley to serve
  1. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add vegetables, garlic and spices, and sauté for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the lentils, vegetable stock and water, cover and simmer gently for 1 hour. (At this point I took the dish off the stove, then reheated it just before serving a few hours later).
  3. Before serving, add spinach and simmer until the liquid has evaporated and you have the desired consistency.
  4. Divide among serving bowls, and top with a spoonful of yoghurt and a sprinkle of parsley.

What about you? Are you a fan of lentils? I most certainly am, and should cook with them more!

Make ahead meal – Chicken Cacciatore

IMG_6236 In keeping with my ‘make ahead’ mantra when it comes to dinners at the moment, this meal was another one pot wonder that I had bubbling away on the stove throughout the afternoon. IMG_6190 Chicken cacciatore. Inspired by this recipe,  but tweaked a little then slow cooked for a few hours. IMG_6186 Chicken, veggies, herbs and pancetta. IMG_6187 Diced tomatoes… IMG_6188 Simmered with stock and olives. IMG_6189 Then come dinner time, it was just a matter of “reheat and eat”. With the assistance of another favourite for the base… IMG_6229 1 minute polenta. IMG_6230 The instant version may be a little more expensive than the regular version – but the fact it literally goes from dry grains to perfect polenta in only 1 minute (with the aid of boiling water), and there are no sticky posts to clean up, well convenience trumps price in this instance. IMG_6231 Topped with the chicken cacciatore (that was now oh so tender after being on the stove for so long) IMG_6232 And a sprinkle of parsley… IMG_6237 And we had dinner on the table in under 10 minutes owing to the afternoon cooking session. IMG_6241 Oh and did I mention that it makes plenty of leftovers? IMG_6239 And can be eaten with one hand (an important criteria when baby-wrangling in the evening….) IMG_6238 Double bonus! What about you? Do you look for good money or  time value when it comes to cooking?

Lemon chicken rice

We are all a tad sleep deprived over here, with Miss Charlotte being a little unsettled throughout both the day and night at the moment. A newborn’s prerogative I believe Smile We have, however, continued to eat well – with a view to keeping our bodies fuelled with healthy and nutritious food during these unsettled periods. Particularly with dishes that are simple and easy to prepare, and that provide lots of leftovers for quick ‘heat and eat’ lunches the next day. Such as this lemon chicken rice. IMG_5444 Just carrots and capsicum… IMG_5437 Basmati rice and stock… IMG_5438 Chicken breast (that I had poached and shredded)… IMG_5439 Frozen peas… IMG_5440 Lemon rind and juice… IMG_5441 Simmered until the rice was cooked… IMG_5443 And our one pot dinner was done. IMG_5444 Simple, easy and healthy. IMG_5445 And the perfect meal to prepare when time is lacking… IMG_5447 Delish! What about you? Do you ever cook with basmati rice? I normally only cook with brown rice, but it was a nice change to use a different variety this time.