Tag Archives: meal

TNP, vol. IV(egan) – Pumpkin Stew

  • 1 c mashed pumpkin, chunky
  • 1 can lentil soup
  • 2 c cherry tomatoes
  • 3-4 L kale leaves or 1/2 c blanched/squeezed
  • 1.5 c vegetable broth
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 M onion, diced
  • 1 S-M jalapeno, diced (with seeds)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp rock salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

pumpkin-lentil-stewI know what you’re thinking — “you have an 11lb pumpkin’s worth of pumpkin and all you can do is puss out with soups?” And for that I’ve got three responses:

  1. A stew is an entirely different animal than a soup. Well, not entirely. It’s just much more about the solids than the liquid.
  2. I also made pumpkin oatmeal, which is a good step above soup.
  3. Be gentle; this is my first pumpkin.

Preheat oven to 425. Start your garlic and onions on ML in the coconut and 3 tbsp olive oil. While they become friends go ahead and blanch your kale and ready those cherry tomatoes (I wasn’t planning on using them but by Thor’s Hammer I was not about to let them get a day wrinklier on the counter). Toss cherry tomatoes with 1 tsp olive oil and place in a baking pan. Sprinkle with sea salt and put in the oven for 20m, or until their skins begin to split.

While those roast, go back to the pan and turn heat to M. When hot, add spices and jalapeno and stir for no longer than 1 minute. Add pumpkin; mix. Add lentil soup and kale, mix gently until hot. When done add the tomatoes to the pot and serve. I did a pretty good job covering up that inside-of-an-aluminum-can taste that no soup on a grocery store shelf can hide… even with a little processed food in its foundation, this stew gets 5 spoons! The chunky pumpkin is an excellent stand-in for the potatoes usually found in this recipe and the cherry tomatoes provide an unexpectedly flavorful bite. Make sure, however, to look for a low-sodium can of soup to offset that sea salt.

There is still 1/2 c puree in the fridge, and a quart of cubes in the freezer… something else will have to be made. I will continue to sally forth, roughly handling gourds wherever I go.

The Neverending Pumpkin, vol. I – The Initiation

pumpkinIn my pantry today:

  • 1 11lb pumpkin

Having never before opened up my own pumpkin, there was no frame of reference here for just how much pumpkin is in a pumpkin.

My folks sent us home with one several weeks ago and it has been lounging as a kitchen table centerpiece since. Time came, though, to pony up — either cut it open and use it or set it outside to rot. The kitchen table wants not to continue ringing in the new year set on autumnal harvest mode.

punkinseedsThe first step was to address the seeds. I jabbed the top off and removed, then rinsed the seeds. I let them soak in cold water over night and roasted them the next day with a little salt and cayenne pepper.

I roasted half of the pumpkin and made puree happen. That required skinning the roasted slabs of pumpkin, putting the flesh through the food processor, then letting it rest for an hour in a colander under a plate. I made sure to save the water that squeezed out — it looks like water, but still packs all the same pumpkinoatmealnutrients as flesh proper. About two cups of puree resulted from this. Half of that was stirred into the following morning’s steel-cut oatmeal with a little brown sugar. And then the remaining pumpkin? I had to procure help getting it diced into cubes in order to sally forth.

gallonopumpkinchunks

This is a gallon plastic bag full of raw pumpkin chunks in water (to keep them from browning à la apple)

From this pumpkin I assumed I’d get seeds and a meal (maybe two). From the second half of the yet-to-be-cooked pumpkin resulted in a gallon and quart of 2″ cubes.

A quart of chunks was frozen in a bag of water, then what will follow over the next day or two will be a couple of meals made with pumpkin — I know from the enormous amount of recipes online that I could have made something sweet, but I wanted better for pumpkin. I wanted to give it top — not dessert, but dinner — billing.

Truth be told, I have never cared for pumpkin pie, so all the sweet-sounding things didn’t trip my wires the way most sugary things might. So I guess I didn’t necessarily want better for pumpkin, but perhaps for myself.

Stay tuned for at least one pumpkin-bacon and one vegan pumpkin dinner!

Parsley-Kale Pesto (or, “I can’t believe it’s kale!”)

In my pantry today:

  • 4 c (cooked) whole wheat thin spaghetti
  • 2 c parsley
  • 1 c marinated kale
  • 4 L cloves garlic
  • 1 c walnuts
  • 2/3 c olive oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste, y’know?)

Kale-Parsley PestoWell we had spaghetti sauce and salad stuff, but neither one of us necessarily felt like being transported tonight via flavor to the isle of Sicily. Maybe something a wee bit lighter (-seeming, at the very least) like olive oil and garlic? Then a bulb came on above both our heads at the same moment — pesto!

Since kinda-recently learning of coconut oil’s health benefits I’ve been trying to incorporate it into my cooking — the trick there is not to make coconut pasta, so tread lightly. It, the whole wheat pasta and walnuts are the main proteins here (unless you wanna count the Parmesan too, but ’tis a mere pittance), nevertheless feel free to add chicken or shrimp if you don’t believe in things like that.

Parsley-Kale PestoAlso, ha! Made ya like kale, right?

Put all that stuff in the food processor and let it whirl until — magically — pesto appears! Adjust the oil if you want it more/less soupy. With the minimal amount of coconut in a dish that roars of garlic, there was a faint hint of Thai in this dish… just enough to make it delicious and foreign, but not enough to make it taste counterintuitively unfamiliar.

I had enough left over from our [2 person] meal that I used 2 tbsp of it to make a pesto vinaigrette (this stuff, red wine vinegar and a little more olive oil) and still had 1/3 c of it to put in the freezer. 5 spoons.

Tomato-Topped Tortellini (or, “Salad Capricious”)

In my pantry today:

  • Trader Joes® spinach tortellini
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 M sweet onion, minced
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • dash asafoetida
  • dash sea salt
  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar

tortellinitomatoHeat the oils to ML and address it with your minced finery. Turn them back to L and let sit for an hour or two; this seems like a huge investment for an otherwise simple meal, but trust me on the flavor quotient. If you don’t have that much time to invest, don’t worry your heart — this will still turn out beyond edible.

Closer to mealtime, boil/drain your tortellini and prep tomato and cheese slices until the slice:cheese ratio works for you. While the love for cheese can connect almost all of is it also comes with a wide gradient of loves; slice for yourself and don’t look back.

Add your oil, garlic, onions and Parmesan to a pot where you’ve replaced the tortellini drained. Toss gently and let sit for 5m before serving topped with slices of tomato/mozzerella. Drizzle the tiniest bit of balsamic vinegar over the whole shebang, close your eyes and dream of Italy. 5 spoons!

Getting Over The Hump, Italian-Vegan Style

In my pantry today:

  • 1 32 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 14 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 5 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1.5 c macaroni, dry
  • 1/2 c Nutrela
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin 
  • 2 dashes of salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 3 drops doTerra oregano essential oil
  • Parmesan cheese to taste

meatlessmarinara

I started my morning by tossing some stuff in a crock pot and walking away. First, it was slice-chunks of onion and garlic in 1/3 c olive oil resting covered on the highest setting for about 20m. Stir in Balsamic vinegar, cumin and turmeric. Add a quick dash of salt. Cover and let continue to cook for another 20m. Now this all seems very time-dependent and I know most of us are not common to such luxury; in my defense all of the time between food handlings was wisely spent cleaning up after myself and getting ready for a day outside of the home. Food needed to be ready this evening so as to keep us away from unintentional glucose emergencies that end up requiring an errant drive through. In the cupboards were cans of tomatoes and macaroni. I am nowhere near a regimented dietary state, but I can foresee history’s repeats and perhaps solve a steep caloric intake of not-really-food items with a nice marinara. The power of a nice marinara should not be underestimated.

nutrelacrumbled

Before leaving the house, turn the crock pot to its lowest setting. Return home several hours later and rejoice at the odor which awaits you. Decide that the Nutrela deserves another chance because you have no other desirable proteins and a little extra time. Boil it for 17 instead of the 7 instructed on the box. Shrug at the point of defeat against texture; drain and fastidiously squeeze out the additional water inside each nugget (that’s not as bad as it sounds — just lay them all out and press a clean cloth into them with a firm hand). Dice them until they become almost a ground sausage consistency. In a small saucepan add the now-ground(ish) Nutrela with 1/2 tsp garlic paste and 1 drop oregano essential oil. Take a second to tenderly smash while stirring to ensure the not-meat’s submissive essence then set aside for a nutrela2few minutes while the macaroni finishes boiling. Add two drops of oregano oil to the marinara; stir. When those little elbows are drained, mix some marinara into the saucepan and serve over macaroni that was pelted before and after said sauce with Parmesan (or substitute a vegan option, since this recipe is vegan until this part). So the Nutrela downgrades a 5 spoon marinara dinner to a 4 spoon dining experience. Nutrela you are not a terrible foe, but my battles with you have only just begun.

Pan-a Stew-a: A Remedy for all Ills or Difficulties

In my pantry today:

  • 1 10 oz can chicken breast, drained
  • 1 14 oz can butter beans, drained
  • 1 L sweet potato, diced
  • 1 c kale, minced
  • 4-8 baby carrots, or whatever’s left in fridge
  • 1-2 c Basmati rice, cooked and cold
  • 1/2 L sweet yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 14 oz cans chicken broth
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/3 tsp cumin
  • 1/3 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Parmesan cheese to top

panstewThis will be a cold February night’s remedy for all ills and difficulties; it will be, as well, a panacea of flavors. Get those large onion and small garlic minces into butter and olive oil heating to the M side of ML. After about ten toe-tapping minutes, add sweet potatoes, turmeric and 1 can of broth. Stir to coat. Another 5 minutes in, fond the last dregs of a still-viable bag of baby carrots and add them to the pan as well. Cover and boil over MH until potatoes begin to show signs of tenderness towards your fork. Add kale, chicken, rest of seasonings and rest of broth. continue cooking on L, covered until dinnertime. Five minutes before said time, increase the pan to M, add rice and slap the cover back on. As pan reaches the zenith of M turn it back off. Let sit for 2-5m then serve topped with Parmesan. 100 reasons for 5 spoons tonight!

Stuffed Cauliflower

In my pantry today:

  • 1 lg head cauliflower
  • 1 c quinoa, cooked
  • 1/2 c finely shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, in thin spears
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

stuffedcauliflowerSo this one is a doozy of a dish that I both went into suspecting and came out knowing with which I can do better. I will master this. It might not have helped that I decided to go my own way with the stuffing (as opposed to the scant every recipe online). I don’t blame myself, of course, I blame my cupboards. Regardless, the fundamentals won’t change. Start out by getting the bottom greenery off of and core out of your cauliflower, then wash it before submerging it for 15m or so in a large pot of boiling water laced with all of the above slated turmeric. Take it out and let it cool for another 10 or however long it takes you to complete the following:

Mix together 3/4 c quinoa with all the cheese and above-listed seasonings then set it aside. There will be time, too, to make the sauce to top it before baking.

  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 c half and half
  • 2/3 c vegetable broth
  • 2/3 c tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

Chunk up your onion and garlic and let cook in ghee over ML heat for 5-10 minutes. Puree like hell in the food processor. In the pan from which they came, heat the olive oil and pour the pureed contents back in. Cook over ML (erring on the side of M), scraping off the bottom as you go and adding in the coriander and cumin. Make it into a cohesive paste and begin adding your liquids while heating, now, to full M. Add the cayenne last then let sit until the big white head gets  turned upside down then stuffed gently and lovingly with the mixture from a couple paragraphs back. This is a little more difficult than it sounds like it might be — you see from the picture up there that a full stuff will take some training. Put in glass baking dish right-side up, cover with sauce and remaining quinoa and bake at 425° for 1 hour. 4 spoons for taste and aesthetics — when I figure out how to better stuff this thing, we’ll see about making it 5.

Leftover Roast Beef Travels South of the Border

In my pantry today:

  • 1.5 c sliced roast beef, cut into chunks
  • 1 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-1.5 c vegetable broth
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c minced yellow onion
  • 1/2 lime, wedged
  • 4 tsp Taco Seasoning ganked from a boxed taco kit in the cupboard
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
  • pinch asafoetida

leftoverroastbeefSo I wasn’t even really planning at its onset to write about what I assumed would be a boring, last-minute meal. I was under the MS weather yesterday and have no idea from whence this amazing creation came. Thanks have to go to my dad’s amazing 14lb roast beef — nothing would have ended up this tasty without it. I cut up about 1/2 of the leftovers he sent us home with, stuck the other half in the freezer then took a step back and regarded the pile of meat on the counter before me. We love Indian food, but obviously there really aren’t a lot of recipes there including cow. I had no way to make gravy and not enough of the ingredients needed to throw together a Thai salad. The options here were limited — but there was cooked rice in the fridge and beans in the cupboard!

Start out the same way I always do — garlic and onion in oil warming to M. Just before it gets to full on M, reduce the heat to ML and let cook for about ten minutes while you cut up the roast beef, drain/rinse the beans and then, say, empty the dishwasher. When you return to the pan dust in your seasonings and mix everything into a paste; scrape the bottom clean as you do this, adding in little drips of broth to help the process. Add in beans; when coated completely, add in broth little by little until beans are halfway covered. Turn heat to M as you do this until near-boiling. Top with diced roast beef and lime. Turn heat back to ML and cover pot; walk away for 5-10m while the limes cook onto things. Come back, remove limes and mix meat into broth, adding enough more to nearly cover things now. Bring to a low boil on M then reduce to MreallyL for a few hours, checking in once or twice to make sure all the meat remains covered in liquid. The meat ended up getting much more tender and flavoring the vegetable broth with the black beans and lime to come out in its own gravy. This was a lick-the-bowl good meal over rice and earned every one of its 5 spoons!

 

 

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!

Today’s Lentils, Tomorrow’s… Lentils.

In my pantry today:

  • 1-2c lentils (cooked)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 green jalapeno
  • 1 orange jalapeno
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1.5-2c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp safflower oil
  • 1 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp kala jeera
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 2 tsp hot curry powder
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

This wasn’t going to be a freezer storage item, but life falls as it may and tonight was not its night (and tomorrow’s gonna be the night for what’s in the crock pot overnight now). I’m going to chalk it up to a preliminary success in my desire to have meals prepared ahead of time.

Start not-as-finely-chopped peppers (it is important right away to note that the jalapenos should have no seeds left), onion and garlic out on ML in a ghee/oil combo. Make sure the mustard seeds and kala jeera are in there too. Stir and sit back — when the mustard seeds commence to poppin’ turn off the heat. Spoon contents of the pan into a food processor, add curry powder, asafoetida, flax, tomato paste and 1c almond milk then puree everything into a single, succulent sauce. Spatula it back into the pan, add lentils and however much remaining almond milk you’d like. Heat everything to a near-boil and turn off the stove. When the sauce cools, either eat or freeze! I did taste this before it went on staycation in the icebox and I cannot wait until it gets to come back out — 4 spoons.