Tag Archives: using up the garden

Low Carb Lamb Curry–Quick!

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This is not a fancy recipe. This is a “I need to use this lamb before it goes bad and I have a ton of zucchini from the garden and hey, look, there’s a can of coconut milk in the cupboard” type of recipe. It is not very pretty, either. But it was filling and good and I didn’t have to throw out expensive lamb or waste the fruit of my garden!

Quick and Easy Lamb and Zucchini Currylamb curry

1 TBSP coconut oil
1 large zucchini, sliced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground lamb
1-2 TBSP Bangkok Blend seasoning from Penzey’s
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp dried cilantro
1 can coconut milk

Heat a large skillet and add  the coconut oil to melt. Cut the zucchini into sections about 1 inch wide and slice, adding to the skillet as you go. Mince the garlic and add to the skillet as well. Sautee for a minute or two, then add the lamb, breaking up with the spoon.

There was a lot of liquid in the skillet at this point, so I had to stir a lot to get the lamb cooked. You could brown the lamb in a separate skillet and add to the zucchini when done, but I wanted this to be quick and easy, so I just worked through it.

Add all spices and simmer for a few minutes to reduce the liquid a bit. Add coconut milk, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Taste for seasoning. Allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes or so to thicken and blend seasonings. Taste again and adjust spices as needed.

This turned out to be more a soup than a traditional curry, although it was thicker the next day. You could also add a bit of cayenne pepper if desired. Fresh herbs and spices are always better, but this was a quick lunch I threw together while working, so I used the dried for speed and ease.

As I have been making the switch to low carb eating, I have had to change a lot about the way I eat and cook. For a while, it seemed like I was eating far too many of what I call component meals–meat, veg, salad, all separate. I like more complex flavors and dishes, and I like to make everything in one skillet, especially if I am cooking for only myself. This kind of recipe really helps me to feel like I am eating interesting food while staying on the low carb diet that seems to be helping me so much.

Curried Beef Stew

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I made beef stew last night, and it was so good I knew I had to document it before I forgot what I did. This recipe was the basis for my efforts, but I made a few changes. I didn’t measure the spices, so the numbers below are just guesses, but it should give the general idea.

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Curried Beef Stewstew

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into bite size pieces
2 – 3 TBSP olive oil
2 – 4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 yellow squash (from my garden!)
2 cups beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes
2 TBSP sweet curry powder
1 – 2 tsp cumin seeds
½ – 1 tsp ground coriander

Fry the beef in the olive oil until mostly browned on all sides. Add the garlic and saute another minute or so, then add the squash. Chop the squash and add to the pot as you go–the thin top third of the squash, I cut in half and sliced, the middle third, I cut into 4 sections and sliced, and the thickest bottom part, I cut into six sections and sliced, so I got thin slices around 1 inch by ½ inch or so. Sautee for 2 – 3 minutes to get the squash softened, then add the tomatoes, broth and  spices and stir thoroughly.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes to let the flavors blend, stirring occasionally.

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I really couldn’t believe how well this turned out–and I bet it will be even better today! I had planned to make cauli-rice to serve with it, but I didn’t feel like it at the time, so I just served the stew in bowls alone. Everyone liked it, although my mother was over, and she thought it was a bit spicy. If she hadn’t been there, I might have put more spice in it, but I refrained because I know she doesn’t like things too hot.

Menu, Week of 11/27

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I went shopping on Black Friday with my mom and aunt, then I had to take my car in on Saturday to get the brakes fixed. They were making some grinding noises, but not every time I used the brakes, so I thought I might be getting in there before it became a huge issue, but that turned out not to be the case. $429 later, I am making a menu plan that relies heavily on what is in my pantry/freezer/garden. Yes, garden–there are still kale, broccoli, radishes and a few other greens available out there, plus some tomatoes and tomatilloes we picked two weeks ago when putting the garden to rest for the year. There are Brussels sprouts, too, but they are still growing, and may not be ready this week. Something gnawed at my plants all spring, summer and early fall, but they appear to be growing now. Hooray for cold tolerant veggies!

Sunday: Pepperoni pizza with chickpea flour crust
I know, no veggies to speak of. We were tired.

Monday: Turkey and rice soup made with the turkey carcass, fried green tomatoes, crustless chocolate pecan pie
I am working from home today, so the turkey has been boiling away all morning, and my house smells like T-day again. I will freeze some, because I am making a huge pot of stock–we had nearly 20 pound bird–and then make the soup with rice and whatever veggies we have in the fridge. We pulled a lot of tomatoes off of the tomato plants two weeks ago before we pulled them for the year; lots of them have turned red, but some are still stubbornly green, so I will fry them up since my mother is coming over. She and I are the only ones who like the fried green tomatoes. The pie is leftover from Saturday night.

Tuesday: Tomato and Crab soup, goat cheese and pecan Nut Thins
I do have some red tomatoes to use up, and this soup looks very interesting. I don’t like to go all out cooking when the kids are at their dad’s house, though, so cheese and crackers on the side is enough to round out this meal.

Wednesday: Black beans and rice, canned pineapple
I put a lot of veggies in my black beans and rice, so I don’t think I need extras on the side. I may put some Italian sausage in the mix to add some bulk, too.

Thursday: Pork and Tomatillo Stew, cornbread
All the crockpot recipe that require you to add things in the middle of the day usually really bother me, because what is convenient about that? Aren’t crockpots supposed to be for days when you are gone all day? However, I work from home on Thursdays, so this will be fine. I have some tomatillos from the garden still that need to be used up, so there may be more than a pound in this…good for the freezer, right? I bought a gluten-free flour mix I will use in this.

The kids will be at their dad’s for the weekend, so I am not sure what I will have. Maybe tuna salad, although my mayo is looking pretty old. Maybe leftovers. I should be able to get through the week not buying much more than some egg, juice, bananas and soy milk.

I think I will make another turkey and kale frittata tomorrow night for quick breakfasts. We also have cereal, oatmeal and plenty of lunch snacks.

What will you be having this week?

This post will be linked up to Orgjunkie.com for Menu Plan Monday.

Using up the garden: Catching up

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I have posted a bit about what we are doing with the garden produce on the Garden 2011 page, but I wanted to start gathering more information here, because I do look back at these posts for ideas. I want to make sure I don’t forget some of the yummy things we have done to make sure that we actually use our produce! I haven’t been chronicling them as much this year, though, so I have a whole bunch of things to dump here:
  • Fruit smoothies are a great way to use greens. The stronger flavored greens like mustard, collard, turnip and beet greens don’t really work for me here, but spinach and kale are fantastic. I do smoothies a little differently every time, depending on what kind of juice or frozen fruit I have around, but the general proportions for 3 people: 2 cups juice, soy milk or a combination, 2 bananas 1 – 1 ½ cups frozen fruit, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and a big handful of greens. I like to blend everything but the greens before adding those. Sometimes I add a bit of vanilla yogurt. I really like frozen peaches in this, or berries or mango, but anything goes. I also add fresh fruit when I have some I need to use up, but I really like the frozen because it hold together better, and makes it seem very decadent–almost like soft serve ice cream for breakfast!
  • Polenta with sausage and greens was a delicious, satisfying dinner (see picture above).
  • I am so excited that we are actually getting beets this year! This is the third time we have planted them, and the first time we actually have beets to eat. The first thing we did with them was to have beets and greens curry with chickpeas. This was pretty and so delicious. I had my Indian food friend over, and she agreed that it tasted great.
  • I made a really great veggie-filled frittata with lots of greens from the garden, onions, garlic, sliced carrots, fresh parsley and basil, and goat cheese. I sauteed the onions, garlic and carrots in a bit of olive oil, then added a huge amount of greens–all the kinds I had available in the garden, mustard greens, collards, beet greens, kale, and chard. When the greens were wilted, I added four beaten eggs and some crumbled goat cheese, then cooked until it started to set and finished it in a 350 degree oven. I am making this again this week with carrots from my garden–the first time it was some baby carrots from the store I wanted to finish using.
  • I made this pickled beets recipe for my son’s birthday party, because he loves beets. He didn’t really love these, though–too vinegary, he said. My mother and aunt and grandma and I loved them, though! It was fun peeling the skins off after I had boiled the beets, too. I know, that sounds silly, but I had such fun just slipping them off so easily once they were cooked.
  • We also had a squash and broccoli side for the birthday dinner, with a sauteed onion, plus a yellow squash and some broccoli from the garden. So delicious and easy! I diced the onion, then started that sauteing while I sliced the yellow squash. I sauteed the onion and squash for a bit, then added the broccoli and a bit of water, put a lid on the skillet and let it cook for about five minutes. Fresh vegetables really do have the best flavor.
  • We went camping again this past week, and for dinner vegetable sides, I brought a big bag of garden veggies. I sliced a couple of small onions, a yellow squash, a zucchini, a couple of small patty pan squashes and added in some green beans. Then, at the campsite, I took some out each night, added them to a small pot with some canola oil, garlic salt and freshly ground pepper and cooked them on a mini-gas grill.
  • We also took a bunch of carrots along for lunch snacking (or anytime snacking). I cannot believe how many carrots we have growing out there!
  • I have added greens to many things, I can’t even remember them all. I know I added some to risottos, like this delicious tomato and sausage risotto. I added some to soups, like our favorite chickpea noodle soup. I think I added some to pasta dishes, too. Basically, whenever it seems reasonable, I go out and grab a bunch of greens to add to whatever I am cooking.
  • I am well into making a HUGE batch of the mint liqueur I made last year, although I just realized I made the sugar syrup with too much water today. That’s okay, though, because I can always add some more mint and rum and extra strong sugar syrup; there is plenty of mint still out there.

I am going to be posting more about what I am doing as I do it going forward, so I don’t lose anything. I am really enjoying my garden, and I don’t want anything to go to waste, or at least not much. I feel somewhat better about it going to compost than being thrown away, but everything that goes on the compost pile feels like a missed opportunity to me. That was some delicious, organic, as local as local gets food, and I missed it! I am much better than I used to be about that, but there is still room for improvement.