I’ve been reading the Hartwig’s It Starts With Food and they have this brilliant and fool-proof meal map toward the back of the (really compelling, thus far) book about building your meals with a protein, a fat, vegetables, and spices. They list tons of options that aren’t really anything novel, but having it outlined so practically makes me wonder why I ever eat the stupid foods I’m prone to when in a hurried/tired/hungry moment. More on this book later. It’s going to be the kick I’ve been asking for.
It’s encouraged me to prep more meal components simply every few days, buy according to what ingredients are fresh, on sale, local, etc., and then pull out the pieces to different meals a few times a day. This has also proved to be excellent on-the-go cooler meals. We had a picnic yesterday with pre-cooked, cubed chicken breast, curry seasonings, raisins, roasted carrots, and spinach. How easy is that to throw together?! Simple, cooked ahead, stored separately, assemble to eat meals. I’m grasping this is the ideal way to eat in between recipes, always lending the option when I don’t have time to cook something new or am uninspired to follow the meal plan, which now at the end of the month, is the most frustrating thing ever.
For example: 1. pre-cooked chorizo. pre-roasted carrots. pre-washed and torn lettuce. single serve guacamole. 2. make 2 scrambled eggs and combine in a big bowl of deliciousness.
Another example: 1. pre-cooked coconut curry with beef. 2. pre-roasted and mashed sweet potatoes. 2. assembled with fresh spinach, dollop of plain yogurt, chopped tomatoes, and lemon juice. Recipe for the easily make-ahead curry below.
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp yellow curry
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 Tbs coconut oil or olive oil
1 cup coconut milk
2 Tbs unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, parsley, OR basil leaves, torn
1 tomato, chopped
Juice of one lemon
1 pound protein (such as ground beef, cubed beef/lamb/chicken, beans, or tofu)
Saute protein in oil in a skillet over medium high heat until it’s cooked through. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Back in the skillet, turn the heat down to medium and cook onion, garlic, and jalapeno until tender and onions are translucent. Be careful not to burn the garlic! Add the protein back into the pan and add the dried coconut, salt, pepper, and spices. Stir well and cook for a minute. Add the coconut milk and basil leaves. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens a bit. The curry can be cooled and stored at this point. To serve, heap over steamed green beans or spinach and/or roasted sweet potatoes or cauliflower. Top with diced tomato and lemon juice. Nom.