Quick meals to heat & eat

Quick meals to heat & eat

Rustle up a delicious meal within minutes.

If you do most of the meal preparation beforehand, you won’t even have to spend much time in the kitchen.
We show you a few options for quick meals, including a delicious pear soup, quick beer bread, coffee scones and a luscious lasagne.
All you’ll need is an oven or a Weber, or a Dutch oven on the coals to reheat the frozen food or to quickly bake some delicious bread.
The lasagne in this feature takes a bit of preparation, but it’s fantastic and will be able to stand up to any braai chop or snoek on the coals.
If you wonder about indulgences such as butter, cream and cheese in the quick meal recipes: You’re on holiday now, so relax! Put the broccoli and bean sprouts back on the menu next week.

BLUE CHEESE AND PEAR SOUP – A fruity surprise

Pear soup isn’t the kind of thing you’ll find in your granny’s hand-written recipe book, but the subtle, sweet taste is unbeatable on a summer’s day. If blue cheese is too strong for you, use 250g Cheddar instead of the Cheddar-and-blue-cheese combo.

You need

  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 whole clove
  • ½ stick cinnamon
  • 2 large, ripe pears, peeled, cored and cubed (or use a 410g can pear halves)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cubed
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 200g blue cheese, crumbed
  • 50g Cheddar cheese, finely grated
  • 100g full-cream yoghurt or 125ml cream
  • freshly grated nutmeg

Here’s how

  1. Sugar‘n’ spice. Heat the water and sugar with the clove and cinnamon stick in a saucepan. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and then bring it to the boil. Add the pears and simmer for about 5 minutes or until soft. Drain the pears.
  2. Sauté, simmer & purée. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the onion. Sauté over low heat – the onion shouldn’t brown but just turn transparent. Add the pear and stir for a minute or so. Add the potatoes, stir for two minutes and then add the chicken stock and wine. Simmer the soup for half an hour and then purée it in a food processor.
  3. Say cheese! Pour the soup back into the pot and stir in all the cheese over low heat. (If the soup bubbles while you add it, you’ll end up with stringy bits of cheese!)
  4. Put it on ice. Pour the soup into a Tupperware container, leave it to cool and put it in the freezer. When you want to serve it, heat through and stir in the yoghurt or cream. Add a sprinkling of nutmeg.

Which wine? A good, fruity Sauvignon blanc will complement the pear.

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BEER BREAD – It couldn’t be simpler

Preparation time 40 minutes

Freshly baked bread is the perfect holiday comfort food – whether on its own or with soup.

You need

  • 500g self-raising flour
  • a 340ml can beer

Here’s how

  1. Crack the can. Blend the flour and beer, and put the dough in a greased loaf pan or Dutch oven. Sprinkle with a little flour.
  2. A hot spell. Bake the bread for about half an hour in an oven preheated to 180°C or over moderate coals until the bread is golden brown. If a testing pin comes out clean (a sosatie stick will work fine), it’s ready.

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BEEF AND MUSHROOM LASAGNE – Fix ‘n’ freeze pasta

Why not make your own pasta for a change? But if you’re in a hurry, the shop version will also do.

You need

For the pasta

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk

For the meat sauce

  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 (or 6) cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 punnet button mushrooms, sliced
  • 500 g lean beef mince
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely grated
  • ½ apple, peeled, cored and roughly grated
  • 1 can (410 g) whole tomatoes
  • ½ cup red wine
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • a pinch each of ground cinnamon, cloves, ginger and coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon oregano

For the white sauce

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cake flour
  • about 1 cup of milk
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping

  • 4 tablespoons coarsely grated Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese

Here’s how make the pasta

  1. Work those arms. Make a hollow in the flour and break the eggs into it. Add the extra egg yolk and beat with a fork. Gradually add the flour while beating until it forms a stiff dough. Place in a plastic bag and leave in the fridge for half an hour.
  2. Iron things out. Roll the pasta dough out thinly, sift a bit of flour over it and fold the dough before rolling it out again. Repeat the process six times. (Or invest in a pasta machine and roll out the dough on the No 5 setting – it’s a lot easier.)
  3. Hang on. Sift flour over the sheets of dough and hang them over a wooden spoon placed between two vases or two chair backs.

Make the meat sauce

  1. Shed a tear. Fry the onion in the olive oil until brown and transparent. Add the garlic and mushrooms and fry for 3 minutes. Add the meat little by little, and stir all the time until brown. Stir in the carrot and apple. Add the tomato, wine, salt, pepper, sugar, spices and oregano. Let it all simmer until you have a thick sauce.

Beautiful béchamel

  1. Rich and yummy. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the cake flour. Stir it for 1 to 2 minutes and then add the milk bit by bit. Stir all the time. Add the Parmesan, stir and remove from the heat. Lasagne take-away
  2. Layer by layer. Layer the lasagne in tinfoil containers as follows: White sauce, pasta, meat sauce – until all the ingredients are used up. End with white sauce. First sprinkle the Cheddar and then the Parmesan. Put the cardboard lid on top and freeze.
  3. When you get there… Heat the oven to 200 °C while the lasagne thaws, remove the lid(s) and bake for 20 to 30 minutes.

Tips for frozen foods

  • Tinfoil containers with cardboard lids are handy for freezing pre-prepared meals. You get large family models and small square ones for individual helpings.
  • Don’t keep prepared food in the freezer for longer than a month. Preferably make it the weekend before you leave on holiday.
  • Freeze everything solidly before stowing it in the cool box or the Engel fridge in the back of the bakkie.
  • Wrap the frozen containers in a few layers of newspaper as soon as you take them out of the freezer. Pack them in the car freezer or in the cool box with a few ice bricks or bags of ice.
  • Keep the frozen containers in the cool box or put them in the fridge as soon as you get to your holiday destination, and only take them out when you’re ready to thaw the food.
  • Heat the food through before you serve it.

MG 2752 Quick meals to heat & eat

ROASTED TOMATOES – A bit on the side

Use green tomatoes if you can find them, but firm red ones are also okay. If you grow your own tomatoes in the garden, pick them just before they’re ripe.

You need

  • 4 large green (or red) tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil

Here’s how

  1. Sunny side up. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Halve the tomatoes horizontally and put then in an oven pan, sliced side up. Alternatively, you can cook them on the stovetop – use a thick-bottomed pan or cast-iron pot with a lid.
  2. Season them. Mix the salt, pepper and sugar, and sprinkle a thick layer on the tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil over them, and bake for 25 minutes or until they’re tender. (On the stovetop, turn the heat down low and keep the lid on so the pot forms an “oven”.) Serve as a side dish with the lasagne.

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COFFEE SCONES – The java’s inside

Take a Tupperware container full of these scones along for the weekend – they’re good for a picnic and to serve as dessert after dinner. And if there are any left, tuck into scones for breakfast too!

You need

  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 1⁄3 cup strong filter coffee
  • 2⁄3 cup milk
  • 1 cup freshly roasted coffee beans, coarsely ground
  • 2½ cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 120ml cold butter
  • ½ cup treacle sugar

Here’s how

  1. Go nuts. Roast the nuts in an oven pan for 8 minutes at 180°C. Take them out and turn up the oven to 200°C. Rub off the skins of the nuts and chop finely.
  2. Strong coffee. Blend the filter coffee and milk, and add the ground coffee. Put to one side so it can steep.
  3. The final crumbs. Combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Rub the butter in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
  4. Ensemble. Add the nuts and brown sugar, and pour the coffee mixture in through a strainer. Spoon in a tablespoon or two of the coffee grounds and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon to form a soft dough.
  5. Make a wheel. Flatten the dough on a surface sprinkled with flour into a round 7cm in diameter. Cut it into eight wedges and put them on an ungreased baking sheet. (You can also bake the scones in a muffin pan.) Bake the scones for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave the scones to cool.

Which wine? Soetkaroo Red Muscat d’Alexandrie works well with this dessert.

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Pasta machine

A pasta machine is easy to use and easy to clean, and you don’t need Eskom to make it work. Home-made pasta is just so much better than any you can buy in the shop. You’ll find one at homeware stores such as @home, Woolworths and Boardmans, or ask at your nearest deli.

Other recipes to try out
Breakfast rusks
Egg and bacon jaffles

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