This week, our focus was on hearty and unprocessed. I mean, we still got to enjoy a healthy dose of Spring In January. But when you come home from vacation, is there anything you crave more than food that is as comforting as pulling on your old college sweatshirt?
Things I needed when I got home: Spicy Food, Vegetables, Things That Would Ward-Off Post-Vacation Illness.
Translation: Anything involving a vegetarian base and the following cast of characters: Garlic, Tumeric, Ginger, Cayenne.
That we got to use our chutneys and break out the naan was just a wonderful little side-perk.
The best part? I finally posted a recipe for this!
Monday – Simple, Perfect Chili from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Has anyone else noticed that half of the recipes in this cookbook include the name “Simple” or “Perfect?” So it only makes sense that this chili is both Simple and Perfect.
Whenever we make this, we add in the kidney and pinto beans that Ree suggests along with that can of tomatoes with diced chiles. It adds cheap (tasty!) bulk and the tomatoes give the whole thing a little more moisture.
Even though this recipe calls for two pounds of ground beef, we substitute one pound of ground turkey so that we can enjoy all of the fixins that come with the operation. Mostly because I can’t fathom eating a bowl of chili without cheddar cheese and sour cream dancing on top. And also because between the addition of the beans (hooray protein!), cutting the meat in half and lightening it up a bit drastically lowers the caloric punch.
And, Marcus will tell you with a clear heart that the turkey version does not taste any different from the beef. He does not mourn the missing pound of meat that just isn’t there. There’s a beast of a seasoning/sauce base in there.
If you don’t have a go-to chili recipe yet, this should really, really be it.
Tuesday – Melissa D’Arabian’s Easy Chicken Curry with Vegetables
After discovering it in the grocery store last year, we’ve been hoarding these tiny cans of red curry paste like they’re going out of style. I don’t know about you, but the only other choice at our local market is an extremely overpriced THAI-brand jar that looks like it only has one or two meals in it. So I feel much less guilty cracking open a mini-tin and using it all when they’re less than $1 a pop.
This could best be described as Clear Your Sinuses-spicy, but that’s kind of been the point of this week. But it was fun and different because we never make red curry. And coconut milk is at best an occasional interloper in our kitchen.
Modifications: We used two onions instead of one (they were tiny!) and tossed in the last bell pepper from our three pack. Since Trader Joe’s only ever sells reduced-fat coconut milk, we use that instead of the big guns. Just for kicks, I used one of our cans of stewed tomatoes instead of the regular diced.
Next time? I would steam the broccoli and serve the broccoli on the side, because simmering overcooks it and suddenly it’s retaining prolific amounts of molten-hot sauce. Scalding your mouth = not so fun.
IMPORTANT: This curry makes a TON of food for two people. Like it was easily a dinner and two lunches (for each person). So make it for a week when you’re planning on being busy!
Are you a spicy person? A savory person?
What’s your favorite comfort food?