meals

A Christmassy salad

This is a colourful salad that really suits a Christmas lunch or would be great alongside a BBQ any time this summer!

Salad dressing

 ingredients

1/4 cup lime juice*
1 tablespoon of grated lime zest*
1 large spring onion
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
4 or 5 drops of sesame oil
2 or 3 mint leaves

* depending on their size, 3 or 4 limes will be needed

method

  1. Put lime zest and juice in a bowl
  2. whisk in finely chopped spring onion and mint leaves
  3. whisk in both oils
  4. cover and refrigerate (for up to 4 hours) until needed
  5. bring dressing out of fridge for about 15 minutes before serving and then whisk before use

Christmassy salad

Ingredients

350g snow peas, trimmed
kernels from 2 ears of corn (or 1 1/2 cups of tinned kernels, well drained)
1 red capsicum, seeded
2 Lebanese cucumbers
350g cherry tomatoes
3 spring onions
1 red chilli
1/2 bunch coriander leaves
1 avocado

Making the salad

  1. prepare vegetables and add to salad bowl
    1. cut snow peas into pieces about 2 or 3 cm long
    2. dice the capsicum
    3. quarter the cucumber lengthwise then chop into wedges
    4. half the tomatoes
    5. thinly slice the spring onions
    6. slice chili into very fine circles
    7. roughly chop half the coriander
  2. toss the salad
  3. add half the dressing and toss
  4. add more dressing until the vegetables are coated, but not so there is a wet layer at the bottom of the bowl. Toss salad gently
  5. peel the avocado, remove its stone and then dice the flesh
  6. roughly chop remaining coriander
  7. spread avocado and coriander over the salad
  8. serve and enjoy!

I think this would go beautifully with satay prawns or BBQ chicken… what will you try it with?

Cheerful and quick salad

Last night we had one of those ‘hmm, what shall we have for dinner?’ nights so I ended up making up a new salad. And it turned out really well – refreshing and tasty, and even Christmas themed!

I just love this salad and plan on taking it to some upcoming BBQs and Christmas functions as it suits the theme (red and green being Christmas colours!), is easy, appeals to many and is very healthy. It’s also nice and moist (without a dressing) which was lovely with our grilled chicken last night.

My kids were fighting over the last serve of it, too…

healthy red and green salad

Colourful, healthy and even the kids will eat this salad!

Easy Christmas salad

chunk of watermelon

1 cucumber

1 stick of celery

2 tomatoes

Chop celery into small pieces.

Chop everything else into chunks.

Mix in a bowl.

Optional – garnish with some chopped mint.

Serve!

A vegan Christmas roast recipe

For anyone on a vegan diet or just after something tasty and different (and probably cheaper) for Christmas lunch, I wanted to share this nut roast recipe.

Nut and lentil roast

(serves 6)

1 cup ground peanuts
1/2 cup ground cashews or macadamias (for a real Christmas touch I’m going to try chestnuts this year!)
1.5 cups cooked lentils
3 finely chopped onions
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
1 small capsicum, finely chopped
2 large carrots, grated
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups wholemeal breadcrumbs (allow up to another 0.5 cup if mixture is too wet)
1.5 tsp each cumin and caraway seeds
2 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp chopped coriander (or 2 tsp powdered)
1.5 tbsp cornflour mixed to a paste with water

Saute onions, celery, garlic and capsicum with carrot.

Add spices and stir until fragrant

Mix in remaining ingredients

Put in an oiled loaf tin and press down

Bake in pre-heated oven at about 180 for 45 – 60 minutes until top is brown

 

Slice and drizzle with cranberry sauce for Christmas colour – it’s also nice cold so can go to a BBQ or be cooked in advance if oven space is tight.

A Holiday Soup Bowl Party

The women in my family would get together every year before the Christmas holiday to discuss and plan the festivities of the seasons. I’m a planner from way back and I love to have everything planned out, with the holiday school pageants, driving around to see the light displays, making crafts and planning the holiday dinner, time needed to be scheduled to ensure we didn’t miss a moment of holiday cheer.

When we first started this holiday meeting it was all eight of us picking and choosing dates that worked for us, a task that seemed to take hours.

We never gave any thought into having dinner that night, who had the time, there was Christmas planning under foot. There we were with our calendars, schedules and appointment books waiting for the local pizza shop to deliver a few supreme pies, a quick answer to our hunger pangs. Pizza was always a snack to me, not a meal and, as my girls will tell you, I always have a meal.

Squabbling one night over the pizza toppings, I mentioned it would be easier to open a can of soup.

Then it hit me. Soups for our yearly planning ritual. Something quick and easy we could throw together, even after a hard day of work. And me being me of course wrote it down, so I wouldn’t forget.

Four different bowls with different soups

A variety of soups is tasty!

The following year I made cute little soup can invitations for our planning date and mailed them off. Assigning each person a different item to bring. One brought assorted bread, one brought drinks, one brought the desserts and the remaining 5 each brought 2-3 quarts of any soup of their choosing.

It was a hit, not only did we get to sample a variety of soups and spend time together, the entire atmosphere changed. Our scheduling was completed in record time and occasionally we would have time left over to enjoy a holiday movie.

That was several years ago, and we all look forward to it every year. A yearly chore that seemed to be stressful and a bit unnerving, now is an evening the ladies of our family can’t wait to arrive. I can’t help but wonder if it was the holiday cheer that found its way into our date making or was it the power of a warm bowl of soup.

Easy-in-advance-lasagne recipe

If you need to take a dish to a Christmas function, but know you won’t have time to cook anything at the time, why not cook it sooner and freeze it? Then just pull it out of the freezer in time for the event – a great back up for unexpected visitors over the holiday season, too. This is an easy to make lasagne that freezes nicely…

Easy, prepare-in-advance lasagne

2kg mince meat plus 2 large jars of prepared sauce and 1 large tin tomato puree*
4kg cheese – a combination of two works well, especially if one is mozzarella for the stringy effect!
2kg penne, ziti or other tube pasta

make a layer of meat sauce

cover with pasta

cover with cheese

cover with sauce

repeat until the pan is full and/or you run out of ingredients, but make sure cheese is the top layer. Wrap tightly and freeze.

Bake at 180 C for about 30 minutes, plus 5 minutes uncovered – longer if cooking from frozen.

* If you have time, add chopped vegies into the sauce for more flavour and to make it a complete meal when serving it.

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