Savoury Butternut Squash – Broccoli Muffins With Feta

These are just perfect to make on a rainy afternoon, and eat them all up whilst they are still lovely and warm. I have a very picky toddler and seems like my baby girl is following her big brother’s footsteps. Lucky me. Not. I was hoping that at least one child of mine will eat properly. Nope, I can keep envying other parents with their small children eating raw carrot stick and steamed broccoli, but non mines. Anyway, that is why I try to smuggle some extra healthy ingredients into their dishes and also hoping that they will venture beyond the usual tastes and textures.

Muffins, both sweet and savoury are usually big hits in our house. I normally need to avoid whole pieces of vegetables being visible and use lots of cheese, for the savoury muffins to get green light. This recipe meets both criteria. Also contains more of the “friendly” veggie (butternut squash) and less of the “unfriendly” one (broccoli). Great for snack or even as a lazy main meal with some more cheese or healthy spreads like hummus.

Tip: by adding lots of fresh rosemary instead of chives, these muffins can be turned into more of a grownup’s snack.

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

250g plain flour

100g butternut squash diced

80g broccoli (4-5 small florets)

1,5 tsp bicarbonate soda

1 tsp baking powder

200ml milk

50g butter melted

100g feta cheese crumbled roughly

1 egg

half a tsp salt

1 tbsp of chopped chives

some grated cheddar to sprinkle on the top (optional)

Method:

Steam the vegetables until they’re tender. With a hand mixer, blend the butternut squash into a smooth paste. I guess it could work with just mashing it with a fork. As a smooth paste, it adds some extra liquid to your batter (so does the broccoli). After this, I normally just add everything one by one in no particular order and just mix it quickly (with a wooden spoon, by hand).

Preheat oven to 160C. I found that because of vegetables, they bake a bit slower than without them, but they can burn just as easily. Therefore, it’s better to keep it around 160C instead of 180C. So the baking time is slightly longer than with normal muffins: 12-14 minutes.

They are lovely warm or cold, or even reheated in the oven.

One Messy Mama
Real Mum Reviews

Vegan Paneer And Butternut Squash Curry

It’s so good to have a big bowl of spicy and warm comfort food on a cold winter day. Vegetarian and vegan curries can satisfy the pickiest meat eaters too. The spices do the trick. If you can’t get vegan paneer, you can substitute it for other vegan cheese, as long as it’s soft enough. Add extra chickpeas, spinach, or green peas to make it a bit different every time you prepare it. We love it, it’s one of our standard midweek meals. It’s also quite easy and quick to prepare. Takes no more than 40 minutes from scratch.

Ingredients:

225 or 250g package vegan paneer

500g butternut squash, chopped into small cubes

1 yellow onion, chopped finely

2 garlic cloves, minced

handful of fresh coriander, chopped roughly

2x 200g chopped tomato tins

1 tsp of fresh ginger, minced

1.5 tsp of medium curry powder

1 tsp of Garam Masala

1 tsp of turmeric

1 tsp of paprika

1/2 tsp of lazy chilli

2 tbsp olive oil

pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper

Method:

First, cube the cheese and in a small frying pan, on a little olive oil, fry them for 10 minutes. I like them when they only start going golden brown and become crunchy on the outside but they still remain soft inside. Set them aside.

Then, add the onions to a large skillet (I sometimes just use my wok) and fry them for 5 minutes on the remaining oil. Add all the spices, and simmer for another 2-3 minutes until they become fragrant. Add the butternut squash cubes (and any other vegetables you’d like to use). Another 10 minutes simmering. Finally, add the tinned tomatoes,  salt and pepper and the coriander. Cook it for 10-15 minutes, softening the butternut squash. When it’s ready, add the paneer, gently mixing, so you won’t crush them.  Serve it with plain or jasmine rice.

 

 

 

 

Rich Lentil Soup – One Pot Super Meal

I love rich, hearty, almost stewy soups, without meat of course. I’m talking about the ones you could enjoy with a piece of crusty bread and some red wine on a cold day. This lentil soup is like that. Lots of vegetables, some hot chili and green spices. Lentil is a core vegetarian ingredient in my view. Rich in fibre, folate, iron and magnesium, which are important contributors to heart health. Great protein source: 26% of lentil’s calories are attributed to protein. And that’s just the main ingredient! The good thing about a one pot dish is, that basically all you need to do is chop everything and let them cook on the hob. There’s a bit of a chopping involved, however after that, you can sit and rest until it’s ready. Takes a bit more than an hour in total and you can feed around 4-5 people with the measurements given below. My son loves it too.

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Ingredients:

2 cans of green lentil, drained

1 can of Haricot beans, drained

200g butternut squash, diced

2 carrots, sliced

1 parsnip, sliced

3 sticks of celery, sliced

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 leeks, trimmed and chopped

2l vegetable stock

1 ts of each: dried oregano, dried rosemary, dried thyme

3 tbsp of olive oil

salt and pepper

optional: 1/2 ts of chilli

Directions:

In a big casserole pan heat the oil and add all the vegetables, you’ve been chopping in the last 15 minutes 🙂 plus the spices. Let them cook for 15 minutes, keep stirring. Add the stock, bring it to boil and cook until the carrots are cooked half way through, about 20 minutes. Then add the lentil and the bean. Cook for another 20-25 minutes. When it’s ready, serve it with bread or baguette and you can add some sour cream too. Enjoy.

 

Creamy risotto with butternut squash and chestnut mushrooms

Not sure what are your little one’s feelings towards risotto, but Bobcat is not a big fan of it. If he likes it, eats it when it’s freshly prepared (such a gourmet this child), but when it’s reheated, he refuses it. I cannot really blame him, combinations such as asparagus and cherry tomato are very boring for small toddlers. This winter risotto recipe, however, was a great success. He loves butternut squash for a start, could eat it every day. Even though, I prepared it more as a grown-up meal because I wasn’t sure if he’s going to like it. Hence the wine and the seasoning, but don’t worry about the alcohol, as it cooks off. It’s probably a law in Italy anyway, no risotto without wine. Ready in about an hour. Great meal for the whole family. Serves about 4 adults and a toddler, or two, 🙂

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Ingredients:

1/2 butternut squash chopped (about 1 large muesli bowl)

250g chestnut mushrooms sliced

300g risotto rice

1 medium onion finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic minced

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

100ml white wine (I used Gewuerztraminer because that’s what I had at home, but it doesn’t really matter)

500ml vegetable stock

Handful of sage leaves finely chopped

30g Parmesan grated

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Melt the butter and the olive oil in a big casserole pan. Add all the vegetables and the spices and let them soften for about 10 minutes. Stir it frequently. (Until the onion goes glassy.) Lower the heat to the minimum. Add the rice, keep stirring for a minute more and then add the wine. Let the wine cook off, then add the stock but only a ladleful at a time, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. Keep stirring all the time. When the stock is gone, your rice will be still a bit hard, so add some more hot water until it’s you reach the softness you wanted. Generally, around 25 minutes cooking and stirring we’ve got to do. (Don’t add more stock, it will be otherwise overwhelmingly taste as stock. There’s still a bit of salt and cheese to come.) When you’re happy with the texture, add the cheese and the other spoonful of butter. Stirring butter into the ready risotto by the end of cooking will add the creaminess we’re looking for. Serve it immediately with grated Parmesan on the top. And with a glass of vino for yourself, if you’re allowed.