Healthy meals for tired moms

Healthy meals for tired moms

By Renate Engelbrecht

Thursday, Oct 27

This week’s got the better of me. On Tuesday, Elian (our son of almost 3) got stung by a bee at school and as he walked in at home after his dad fetched him, I knew we had to race him to the doctor. We now know that he is allergic to bees. So, he got admitted to hospital that they could monitor him overnight and of course, one of us had to stay with him. I couldn’t leave him, so I stayed. Needless to say, I haven’t slept very well the last couple of days, and I truly feel like my body is asking for some proper, healthy, wholesome food. Hospital food unfortunately doesn’t make the cut. So, I started looking for some healthy meals for tired moms.

While I am still on my fitness journey with Ignite Fitness (yes, it’s been one tough ride even just to get to the gym between everything else), SAMFA’s low-calorie mushroom-inspired recipes came to my rescue today, as always. The bonus is that this recipe will even work for vegetarians or vegans, or those families keen on cutting back on meat every now and again.


Plus, it’s a braai recipe that works for everyone when it comes to healthy meals. So, when the kids get home (and there’s no rain) we might just spend some time outside and get dad to throw these on the braai for us. It’s quick, easy and tasty!

Mushroom and couscous braai butternuts SAMFA
Image: SAMFA

Mushroom & Couscous Braai Butternut, one of my new favourite healthy meals

Serves 6


3 medium butternuts


1 cup couscous
250ml chicken or vegetable stock, just boiled
200g baby leeks, sliced
300g baby portabellini / baby button mushrooms, sliced in half
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small chili, sliced and deseeded if desired (optional)
100g feta cheese, crumbled
Handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
3 Tbsp za’atar spice blend (available at Woolworths)

Tokara olive oil, for cooking
Salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat the braai to medium high heat.

Cut each butternut in half and scoop out the seeds.
Brush the halves with Tokara olive oil and season well with salt.
Wrap in tinfoil and place on the braai.
Braai for 30 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through and soft when pierced with a knife.

When the butternut is almost ready, prepare the filling.

Place couscous in a bowl and pour over the stock.
Mix and cover with a lid or tight plastic wrap.

Using a large cast iron pan on the braai or stovetop, heat a drizzle of Tokara olive oil.
Add the sliced leeks and cook until tender.
Add the baby button mushrooms and cook until tender.
Add the garlic and chili and cook until fragrant.

Fluff up the couscous with a fork and add to the pan. Toss to combine.

Remove filling from the heat and mix in the roughly crumbled feta cheese and parsley.

Unwrap butternut halves and fill generously with the mushroom stuffing.

Sprinkle liberally with za’atar and serve straight away!

If you do use this recipe as one of your healthy meals, feel free to take pictures and share it with me on social media by tagging Suitcase & Chardonnay on Instagram or Facebook. Happy healthy dining!


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