7 Meals in 36 Hours (Or, “Driving Through Driving Through”)

In my pantry today:

  • 5 freezer and 2 “tonight’s” dinners

See I wasn’t really writing about what I was doing while I was doing it and the photographs are shameful afterthoughts to two days’ work and to several new recipes. I’ve been meaning without much forward momentum to make more meals to freeze and have on hand — while we could eat prepackaged dinners from the Indian grocery as if they’re going out of style (assuming they’ve ever been in it), there’s got to be a cheaper and more nutritious business to be had. It will all start painlessly enough:

  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 1 medium bulb garlic
  • 1/3 c olive oil

Slice and mince the respective bulbs and put everything in the crock pot on H. Let cook until the onions begin to beckon translucence. Erstwhile, work on two meals worth of

Aloo Matar

  • 1 10 0z can whole white potatoes
  • 1 c peas
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 4 small-medium jalapeno peppers
  • 1 32 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • 2-3 tbsp coriander
  • 3-4 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

Chunky slice the onion, garlic and chiles. I left the seeds in the peppers this time because the four I picked were pitiful in stature. Melt ghee and sprinkle in the mustard seeds. Cook on ML until the onions begin their wilt then crank the heat to M. The mustard seeds should be popping by the time you mix the turmeric, ginger-garlic paste and 2 tbsp each: coriander, cumin into a buttery paste. Transfer everything to a food processor, pour in a dollop of broth and pulse until as smooth as possible. Return to the pan, add tomatoes and broth. Stir and bring to a low boil on M. Reduce heat to L and let cook down for a few hours before adding additional seasonings, sliced potatoes and peas. It’s not exactly like the store-bought version I so love, but it is an adequate substitute full of good things. 4 spoons.

Now go back to the crock pot. Everything should be sizzling at a light boil. Strain out all the onion and garlic chunks and throw them in the food processor. Pulse until as smooth as possible, then divide 2/3 of the goop back into the crock pot and 1/3 to a new pot on the stove. In this pot, there will be some kind of completely inauthentic version of

Red Bean Makhani

  • 1/3 pulsed crock pot doins
  • 1 11 oz can red beans
  • 1 6 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/3 c half and half
  • 1/3 c vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

Mix seasonings into the pot, making it even funkier a gunk. On heat rising to M, add in the tomato sauce, vegetable broth and cream. Throw in the beans and everything cook at a light boil on L for an hour or two. Then, return to the crock pot for marinarings. 5 spoons.

Crock Pot Marinara

  • 2/3 pulsed crock pot doins
  • 3 36oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 6oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1 14oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 4 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Put all of that in the crock pot and cook on L overnight. 4 spoons.

There’s enough going on in the Aloo Matar pot before the potatoes and peas went in that 1c was taken out as a base for a

Creamy Corn Curry

  • 1 c that stuff in pan #1
  • 1 c corn
  • 1 c diced frozen spinach
  • 1 16 oz container 1% milk
  • 1 5 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1/3 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

That little cardboard box of milk in the back of the cupboard? Empty it into a saucepan and bring it to a low boil, then keep it there for a couple hours. When it has thickened, skim off the skin and add the reserved stuff from pan #2. Stir cornstarch into the evaporated milk then thusly stir that into the milkpot. Add a little more almond milk to thin out any overthick attitude. Stir in corn and spinach, remove from heat. 4 spoons.

Five meals went into the freezer, and still there was enough marinara to make a

Cheesy Penne Bake

  • 3-4 c penne pasta, cooked
  • 2-3 c marinara
  • 1/3 c Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c mozzerella cheese
  • dusting of cayenne

Mix the pasta and sauce in a baking dish and sprinkle cheese atop. Bake in a 350 oven for 20m or until cheese is beginning to brown at the edges of the dish. This 5 spoon dish concludes a deeply satisfying almost-two-day-long act against the desire to hit a drive through at the end of a long day. I am so grateful to have had the ingredients and time to start taking care of this before the most hectic parts of the holiday season begin. Happy and safe Thanksgiving!

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