5 cute ways to spoil your Valentine
What would Valentine’s Day be without a few sweet gestures to brighten up your partner’s day?
- Do a treasure hunt. Spread little gifts and clues around the house, ending the search at a beautifully set dinner table. On the menu? Your most delicious roast chicken yet.
- Picnic in the garden. Pack a gourmet picnic basket (BBQ chicken wings and all) and create a magical spot for a picnic in your backyard. Don’t forget soft blankets, cushions and lanterns.
- Bake bread together. Start the evening by trying out a new bread recipe. As soon as it’s ready to eat, serve with gourmet cheese and other indulgent toppings while watching the sunset.
- Get up early and go hiking. Celebrate with a Valentine’s snack at a scenic spot. Surprise your beloved with coffee, home-made rusks and heart-shaped cookies.
- Dig out all your love letters. Sometimes we need to be reminded of those early days when we were head-over-heels in love. Dust off the cards and notes you wrote to each other over the years, grab a glass of something and a nibble to eat, and spend an hour or two together, reading them again.
5 budget-busting shopping tips
More month left at the end of your money? We share a few simple ways to make your rands stretch further.
- Check your eye line
We bet you didn’t know this, but the most expensive items on the grocery shelves are usually at eye level. Instead of grabbing the first thing you need, look up and down to find the more affordable brands.
- Fill up on beans
Beans are a great way to bulk up meals, plus they’re a super source of vitamins and minerals. Although canned beans are good value for money, dried beans are even cheaper. Just don’t forget to soak them overnight.
- Buy in bulk
When your favourite chicken products are on special, consider buying more than you usually would. Just make sure you have enough freezer space.
- Shop according to season
Steer clear of imported fruit and vegetables and choose local, in-season produce (e.g. choose asparagus in the SA spring). You’ll save a lot in the long run.
- Take stock
Don’t throw out any leftover veggie scraps or meat bones. Instead, use them to make chicken stock, which you can freeze.
Master the art of roast potatoes
Potatoes and roast chicken make for a deeply satisfying combo. We share a simple recipe for making perfect potatoes:
Beat the clock
Only have 30 minutes to dish up dinner? With these clever hacks, it’s totally doable.
- Make chicken stock once a month and freeze it in an ice-cube tray. Add stock cubes to sauces and soups as needed.
- Don’t waste time peeling veggies. The peels are delicious and nutritious.
- Make chicken pie in a jiffy by shredding the cooked meat with an electric hand mixer.
- Sauce too runny? Add a dry lasagne sheet. It’ll quickly absorb the excess liquid.
- Place your baking sheet in the oven as it heats up. This will reduce the cooking time of your veggies or schnitzels.
- Invest in a food processor. You’ll never manually chop onions, carrots and celery again!
What makes a healthy lunch?
Tucking into nutritious chicken during your lunch break can help curb late-afternoon cravings. Here’s how to layer your lunchbox:
Start by adding chicken (preferably without the skin) and lots of veggies to your plate or lunchbox.
Add a small helping of fat. Go for avocado, olive oil, nuts, seeds or cottage cheese.
If you’re having a carbohydrate, stick to fibre-rich options (e.g. seed loaf, bulgur wheat or brown rice) or starchy vegetables (e.g. sweet potato or butternut).
Make the meal sing with a dash of lemon, lime, orange juice or vinegar.
Steer clear of sugary, high-kilojoule drinks. Enjoy your meal with a glass of sparkling water instead.
Perfect chicken burgers on the braai
Flame-grilled chicken breasts make for fancy, flavourful burgers. We share a few secrets.
- The uneven thickness of chicken breasts can make it hard to braai them to perfection. The solution? Gently pound or butterfly the breasts before you put them on the fire.
- Marinate the breasts for at least 30 minutes. A marinade made with plain yoghurt, buttermilk or amasi makes for succulent chicken.
- Clean your braai grid with a halved onion and smear it with a dash of cooking oil before braaiing your breasts.
- Braai the breasts for 8 – 10 minutes or until cooked through. At the same time, braai a few slices of pineapple and lightly toast the insides of the buttered buns.
- Build your burgers with the toasted buns, juicy chicken breasts, pineapple slices, mayo, lettuce and tomato. Seconds, anyone?
Make your own spicy chicken rub
Add flaming-hot flavour to a whole, roasted chicken or chicken cuts with this home-made spice rub.
- Mix 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper, 1 tsp paprika, ½ tsp cayenne pepper, ½ tsp dried thyme, ½ tsp dried rosemary, ½ tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder and ½ – 1 tsp chilli flakes (depending on how hot you want your rub to be).
- Crush the spices together – either with a mortar and pestle or with a spice/coffee grinder.
- Rub the spices all over the skin of the chicken and leave in the fridge for an hour or two.
- Braai or cook your chicken in the oven, and tuck in!
How to host a cooking class with the kids
Host your own cooking class with the kids this weekend! We share a few tips.
• Print out our recipe for chicken burger pita breads.
• Let the kids check which ingredients you have and which ones need to go onto the shopping list.
• Get the kids to help with the prep: they can set the oven, help make the tzatziki (while you supervise), and fill the pita breads.
• Let them clean the kitchen and do the washing up with your help. This is an important skill that every little chef should learn.
How to make crumbs for schnitzels
You’ve got chicken breasts, but you don’t have crumbs. And now you’re in the mood for schnitzels.