Monday, December 14, 2009

Make Ahead Meals- Curry and Mexi-Bake

As my pantry items dwindle, it's becoming even more important that usual to make meals and ingredients ahead of time.  Mike ended up buying some rice last week because he had to make dinner quickly for the kids on Friday- I can't really blame him.  He didn't really sign up for this pantry challenge.  I pretty much just imposed it on him.  But we agreed that if there are pre-cooked grains and beans ready to use, he won't be tempted to shop.

This week's theme is boring pantry ingredients made interesting with spices and home-canned fun ingredients. I've planned a curry and a Mexican themed casserole.

I found a 1/2 box of Alter Eco brand Fair Trade Ruby Rice in my pantry today.  I thought I was out of rice about a week ago, but found this, some arborio rice and some sushi rice in little bags.  Since I also had some more lacinato kale frozen out in the garden, some canned jackfruit and a couple potatoes, it seemed like I could throw those all together to make a curry.  Everest makes an amazing jackfruit curry that I've ordered the past 3 times I have gone there, so if mine is half as good as that one, I'll be happy!  The spices I used are: cumin seed, mustard seed, fennel seed, turmeric, garam masala, salt.  For the sauce I used some dehydrated coconut milk, a jar of home-canned tomatoes and a jar of home-canned harissa.  So far it smells good...

The casserole consists of a layer of polenta (the last of it!), a layer of mashed pinto beans and a layer of home-canned tomatillo salsa mixed with an extra can of tomatillos.  The beans are seasoned with garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, epazote and Mexican oregano.  And salt.  Can't forget the salt.

I'm starting to wish for some oil now.  I have a smidge of coconut oil and a bottle of sesame oil left.  No more canola oil, olive oil, local sunflower oil or grapeseed oil. Wonder what popcorn will be like popped in sesame oil???

We also just ran out of nutritional yeast and are almost out of regular sea salt.  I have plenty of Hawaiian pink salt and other fancy salts to use, though.  I might have to break down and buy salt and oil in order to use up the rest of my beans and grains, though!  Since I've made it 2 weeks, now I'm wondering if I can do 3 weeks.  But I might go crazy before then because I just used the last of the cumin.

I'll take some pictures of these dinners plated, because the photos of them packed away in their Pyrex containers are less than appealing.


Catherine said...

Where did you get your epazote? I had to leave some out of a recipe a few weeks ago, because I just couldn't find any!

Liz said...

Penzey's carries it and I grew some this past year, so I refilled my jar with some that I dried. I hear it helps reduce the gas from beans- I'll try anything!

Anonymous said...

I think I would die without nutritional yeast...I would have to make an exception for that one :-)

You are doing great--I am very impressed!


jessy said...

keep us posted on how the curry turns out, Liz - it sounds lovely! i think your idea to buy more oil so you can use up the beans & grains is a good one. i loooove me some stovetop popcorn - lately we've been using safflower oil. i do wonder how sesame oil would do. hee hee... i have popped popcorn sans oil before - it took a bit longer, but it did work. i just found out that our local natural foods store offers olive oil, canola oil, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, etc. in bulk - so after we use up our oils i'll refill 'em with them.

making yummies ahead of time is the best - i followed your lead and instead of simply prepping some ingredients for meals this week, i totally made some meals ahead of time. we've got a gigantical batch of chili to work through (which used up the last of our pinto beans and a bunch of azuki & black-eyed peas), some bean 'n rice burgers, hummus, corn muffins, and brown rice bake. huzzah! pantry challenges are so much fun!

Jeannette said...

I dont think I could last if I was out of oil, nutritional yeast, and salt!