What We Ate This Month: January 2016

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“Are you on a diet? This one looks less like cake.” – says the lady in the department next to mine, meaning well when asking if I wanted something from the tray of desserts she was toting around offering people.


This is probably the question I get asked the most. I decline food. I’m a decliner. I decline chocolate. I decline cake. I say ‘no thank you, I’m full from lunch’ to a vast array of cute and delicious looking mini treats that will make me tremendously ill due to my food intolerances.

This particular time, when asked if I was on a diet, I did my usual giggle and said, ‘No, of course not!’

One of her co-workers looks at me. 

“I can’t have dairy, chocolate, gluten, eggs or soy…so basically anything fun!”, I explain. 

He laughs and tells me there’s leftover Starbucks coffee in the kitchen, I should go help myself to some of that.

The second most asked question I get is, ‘Wait, so what DO you eat?!”.

THIS post is an attempt to answer that question.

I keep a meticulous track of our food. What we eat. What’s in the freezer. What food we have in the house and what I plan on doing with it. At the start of each month I do an inventory of our pantry and freezer and then everything I can make with the food and then everything I want to make that month. I have rarely, if ever, walked into a grocery not knowing what I needed, what I was going to use it for and which day I was going to use it. However, since the month and the meals are ever evolving sometimes the monthly plan changes and I swap meals around, get tired and resort to a simple stir-fry or pull something from the freezer that’s already cooked.

“Do you want 3/4 of a white onion?” – text from my neighbour offering me leftovers. 

I declined. Politely. I didn’t want to say ‘I’m not scheduled to need an onion until Wednesday’. 

We eat pretty simply and cheap. Healthy by proxy of disease and intolerances. Convenience is a big factor for me too. After working all day, I’m no more interested in creating a gourmet meal than I am in running a 25K marathon. Below you’ll find a list of the meals we ate in January first followed by further explanation of each dish. You’ll see a lot of meals doubled which just saves me time. Eat one now, eat one the following week and no cooking.You’ll also see a lot of stew just because I like to throw on a pot of stuff when I get home from work and then leave it to simmer away while I do other things. 

January 2016: What We Ate This Month

January 1st 2016: Loco Moco with Rice

January 2nd 2016: Spaghetti Bolognese

January 3rd 2016: Sweet & Sour Meatballs with Pineapple and Rice

January 4th 2016: Beef Stir-Fry and Rice

January 5th 2016: Irish Stew

January 6th 2016: Sausage Stir-Fry and Rice

January 7th  2016: Fricot

January 8th 2016: Chicken Drumsticks and Fries

January 9th 2016: Turkey Chilli and Rice

January 10th 2016: Loco Moco with Rice

January 11th 2016: Ham, Potatoes and Vegetables: We bought a baked ham for $5 on sale at the grocery store – we actually bought 4 of them and froze them – and we baked it. It took about 1.5hrs in the oven and required zero supervision from me. We had it along with mashed potatoes (with unsweetened cashew milk and dairy-free butter) and boiled carrots tossed in dairy-free butter and parsley. 

January 12th 2016: Leftover Ham, Potatoes and Vegetables – as above.

January 13th 2016: Chickpea & Sausage Stew with Rice

January 14th 2016: Meatballs and Pasta: Meatballs and Pasta: For the meatballs, I used this recipe and for the sauce, I used this recipe. 

January 15th 2016: Steak and Fries: We grilled up steaks along with baking frozen fries and had them alongside some peas. We also had Chimichurri sauce. We tried Chimichurri at The Keg when we were gifted $100 to spend there by The New Roomie and decided we would try make it at home. We bought some Argentinian Chimichurri mix from The Silk Road, Calgary, followed their instructions and spooned it over our cooked steaks. It’s been a staple ever since. 

January 16th 2016: Spaghetti Bolognese

January 17th 2016: Indian Butter Chicken Curry and Rice – From a packet, Asian Home Gourmet Indian Butter Chicken, except I substituted dairy-free butter for the butter and coconut milk for the yogurt. 

January 18th 2016: Meatballs and Pasta: For the meatballs, I used this recipe and for the sauce, I used this recipe

January 19th 2016: Beef Stir-Fry and Rice – For this one we tried a package sauce I bought at Co-Op. I would not recommend it.

January 20th 2016: Sausage and Pepper Pasta

January 21st 2016: Chicken Vindaloo Curry and Rice

January 22nd 2016: Chicken Drumsticks and Fries

January 23rd 2016: Sausage and Pepper Pasta

January 24th 2016: Eat Out: Fatburger – We had a Groupon. I had the lettuce wrapped Fatburger and a lemonade. 

January 25th 2016: Steak, Potato and Peas: Same steaks as January 15th, with mashed potatoes (with unsweetened cashew milk and dairy-free butter) and peas. 

January 26th 2016: Irish Stew

January 27th 2016: Eat Out: I was home late after being at a leaving party for a manager at work so we had Safeway Roast Chicken and McDonald’s Fries.

January 28th 2016: Chickpea and Sausage Stew with Rice

January 29th 2016: Beef Madras and Rice

January 30th 2016: Pork Chilli and Rice – I added some ground chipotle powder and some jalapeños. 

January 31st 2016: Eat at Friend’s House: We had Smashburger, who have the BEST website for people with food allergies. #fact.

*A note about rice: We have a rice cooker so for just the 2 of us eating, I throw in a half a cup of rice and let it cook away by itself while I’m preparing the rest of the meal.

*No, I am not sponsored by The Silk Road Spices, Calgary. I just really like their spices!

January 1st: LOCO MOCO

This is a Hawaiian dish The Canadian One fell in love with back in April when we were off in Oahu getting married (more on that another time). It’s basically white rice nestled under a hamburger and a fried egg and then covered in brown gravy. The versions he tried, and there were multiple over the week we were there including our wedding night dinner, also contained fried onions. The one at the Dole Plantation had the hamburger smothered in beef chilli which is the one I tried and loved.

Just to go back to the fact that he ate this on our wedding night.

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Wedding Day!

We had, originally, booked a table in a fancy restaurant for the evening of our wedding. It was just to two of us so we figured we’d splurge on somewhere nice. However, the night before our wedding, we ate take out on our hotel balcony from a place opposite our hotel called Chai’s Waikiki Hawaiian Fusion. It was cheap, tasty, I could walk there and back in heels and there was a lot of food. I had the Grilled Hawaiian BBQ Chicken with Pineapple Salsa, Salad and Rice and he had the Loco Moco. The following day, we decided we wanted the take-out again and so we cancelled our fancy restaurant booking and headed to the take-out place in full wedding outfits, got our food (both getting the exact same orders from the night before), ate it on our balcony and then blew our fancy restaurant money on overpriced, colorful cocktails at the bars downstairs. It was glorious.

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Moving on. 

A quick Google for Loco Moco recipes lead me down a rabbit hole of similar-yet-slightly-different variations of the dish so I came up with a kind of hybrid version. Since I can’t have dairy, gluten or egg, I used my own trusted recipe for hamburgers.

RECIPE: BURGERS / MEATBALLS

Previously, I covered how to make pork burgers and meatballs here. This recipe uses basically the same concept of same ingredients, different foods. If I’m making a big batch of this, I will usually use a combination of ground beef and ground pork but if I’m just making two burgers, I’ll use only ground beef.

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To make what’s in the above picture, I used:

1kg ground beef

1kg ground pork

1tb garlic powder

1tb onion powder

A big squirt of tomato ketchup, BBQ sauce or some other kinda burger sauce – I used burger sauce I had in the fridge.

A large handful of breadcrumbs

4 tb of milk – I used unsweetened cashew milk…and I measured with a shot glass. So it was like 2 shots of milk but start with 1 shot and add as needed. 

Salt and pepper – just shake as much as you want in

Mix together. If it’s too wet, add more breadcrumbs. If it’s too dry, add more milk. Shape into whatever you are making: meatballs or hamburgers.

The recipe is pretty fluid. Sometimes I don’t add garlic. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I add paprika. Or chilli powder. Or oregano. Or nutritional yeast. I experiment a lot with different flavours. Sometimes I’ll just use ground beef and nothing else. 

Then I’ll cook the meatballs, cool them and freeze them in batches of 12 in the freezer. I make sure to bake at least 40 as a few invariably get eaten during the packing-into-the-freezer-baggie process.

RECIPE: LOCO MOCO – Makes 1 Meal for 2

Loco Moco is basically a bed of white rice with a hamburger nestled on top, a egg on top of that, fried onions sprinkled on the egg and gravy poured over the whole thing. Its beauty is in its simplicity. Cooking for more, add more burgers, rice and eggs. Easy. For two people, you will need: 

2 hamburgers

2 eggs

White rice

Sliced onions

Gravy – I guess any kind of beef gravy will do, I have my own recipe below. 

Usually I’ll make the white rice and some fried onions (slice onions, fry them in vegetable oil until crispy and golden) first and then I grill the burger. I leave the egg and the gravy to last. 

The gravy is a little more intricate: Add to pan (if you used a grill pan or frying pan to make the burgers, use that and scrape up all the lovely burger bits) 1 cup of beef stock, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (which is not always gluten free but has never harmed me so I just gloss over it), salt and pepper. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Take off heat. Mix 1 tb of cornstarch with 2 tbs of water and add to pan. Return to heat. Whisk whisk whisk until thick. If you want thicker, add more cornstarch/water mixture, if you want thinner, add more water and whisk.

Construct Loco Moco: Rice then burger then onions then egg (if using) then pour gravy over it and then eat.

Glorious.

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January 3rd: SWEET & SOUR MEATBALLS WITH PINEAPPLE AND RICE – Makes 1 Meal for 2 with leftovers

Sweet & Sour Anything is a difficult thing for us to eat. With The Canadian One being diabetic, the classic versions of Sweet & Sour sauce I kept coming across all contained sugar and sugar and sugar and pineapple juice, and that’s just not quite going to work for us. I found a nice recipe in The Joy of Cooking and set about adapting it as I had half a can of chopped pineapple leftover and I wanted to use it up. The only meat I could find to mix with is was the meatballs which I’d left out from the day before’s burger/meatball making bonanza to make with pasta sauce then changed my mind when I saw the pineapple in the fridge.

I love pineapple.

Sweet & Sour Anything with Pineapple and Rice – Adapted from Joy Of Cooking

For this recipe, I immediately started to see what I could sub out that was high in sugar. First to go was the actual sugar in the recipe. It called for 1/2 cup of sugar so I substituted a tablespoon of Splenda. For the 3/4 cup of pineapple juice I simply added 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice and froze the rest from the can. I added ½ cup of diced onion, 1 tb of No-Sugar Ketchup and cut down on the chicken stock and vinegar as there were just two of us.

1 cup chicken stock

1 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup onion, diced

1 tb no-sugar ketchup (or any ketchup) 

2 tbs pineapple juice

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/3 cup white vinegar (or less to taste)

A sprinkle of salt

3-4 slices of pineapple, diced

1 tb cornstarch + 1 tb of water

Add a little oil to the pan. Fry onion for 2-3 minutes stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn. Next you can add whatever raw meat (diced chicken, pork, beef) you are using and fry until lightly browned. If you are using cooked meat like meatballs or leftover chicken or ham, skip to the next step.

Add green pepper and stir-fry a little more. 

Next add all the other ingredients except the pineapple and cornstarch.

Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add pineapple and cooked meat if using. 

Simmer for 10-15 more minutes.   

Remove from heat. Whisk the cornstarch and water together and add to pan.

Return pan to heat and stir until thickened.

Serve over rice. 

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January 4th / 6th / 19th: STIR-FRY

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Stir-fry is my go-to when I’m feeling lazy. It’s quick, easy and I can use up a bunch of veggies from the fridge all in one shot. I usually throw a half a cup of rice in the rice cooker before I do anything so at least that is on and requires zero attention from me. For my beef stir-fry I use thinly sliced beef, different colored bell peppers, sliced onions and carrots cut into little sticks. If I think I may be making stir-fry in the week, I usually cut up all the veggies at once and store them in little Tupperwares in the fridge so I can just throw together a stir-fry at the last minute. 

And by ‘last minute’ I mean, I have woken from a nap to discover there is nothing defrosted and it’s 7:45pm. 

For the beef, I buy a huge round of beef from Costco and cut it up. I get four steaks, four baggies of stew meat and 2 baggies of stir-fry beef. To get it so thinly sliced, I cut the beef into thinish slabs and lay them out on parchment paper. Very carefully, I then balance the parchment paper on a tray and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes. One it’s frozen, I take it out, slice it up nice and thin, portion it back into separate baggies, label and refreeze. This way it will defrost super quick, cook super quick and be table-ready from the freezer to the plate in 30 minutes.

For the stir-fry on the 4th, I used a Chinese 5-Spice Sauce (below) and for the Beef Stir-Fry on the 19th, I used an Asian Home Gourmet Szechuan Sauce I picked up at the Co-Op. I recognized it from living in Korea and couldn’t remember if we liked it so figured we’d try it again. We didn’t like it and I now remember why we only ever had it that once. 

For the Sausage Stir-Fry two days later on the 6th, I used the same veggies as the Beef Stir-Fry as I had halved the bell peppers and onions for the first stir-fry and wanted to use up the other halves before they went weird in the fridge. And the onion smell each time I opened the fridge served as both an inspiration to cook anything stir-fry and a reminder to buy a new baking soda thingy for the fridge. I also used two smokies we had in the fridge and sliced them up into half-moon shapes. 

The sauce for the one on the 6th, however, is the best part. For this one, I made my homemade stir-fry sauce: Spicy Stir-Fry Sauce. OK, so the name is a little obvious BUT it IS soy-free, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Just to be clear, I know I can’t have dairy and have been told to limit or eliminate gluten from my diet. The soy is on the fence. The whole saga is documented here but for the sake of argument, I basically eat something that may have soy in it, if it makes me sick, I don’t eat it again, if it doesn’t make me sick, I do eat it again. It’s a very simple process. I’ve avoided tofu and soy sauce anyway just to limit them but I can tolerate soybean oil and the teeny bit of soy that’s in some foods. For the soy-free ‘soy sauce’, I use this recipe. I make a large batch and then freeze it in an ice-cube tray for later use.

RECIPE: SPICY STIR-FRY SAUCE 

3-4 tbs soy sauce or not-soy soy sauce

2 tbs white vinegar

1 cup of beef / chicken / vegetable stock

1/2 tb Splenda

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tb minced garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder

1 tb Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp onion powder

1-2 tsp Sriracha

2 tsp cornstarch

I sometimes also add 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika or ground chipotle powder just to give it a little more of a smoky flavour. 

Throw all the ingredients EXCEPT the cornstarch into a bowl/jug/something to hold it all in and mix it about a little. I put it all in a mason jar and shake it. Works like a charm. 

RECIPE: CHINESE 5-SPICE STIR-FRY SAUCE

1 tbs Chinese 5-spice powder (I use this one

½ – 1 cup of beef stock (depending on how saucy you want your stir-fry)

2 tbs soy sauce or not-soy soy sauce

1 tb cornstarch.

RECIPE: BASIC STIR-FRY – Makes 2 meals for 2 sometimes with leftovers for the next day

Oil

1 cup of sliced chicken/beef/tofu/pork

2 carrots, sliced into sticks

½ each of 2 different colored peppers, sliced (or just one colored pepper. Red is nice. Or green. Orange is kinda cool. But not yellow. I’m kidding. Any colour pepper you’ve got is fine. It’s a stir-fry, not a painting.)

1 onion, sliced (try keep all the sliced veggies the same-ish size) 

The instructions for all the stir-fries are pretty much the same.  

Fry a small bit of oil in large frying pan or wok, if you’re feeling fancy and happen to have one. I use vegetable oil or canola oil. 

Then fry up some sliced onion and garlic, add the beef or chicken or whatever meat you are using. Fry until browned, continually stirring. 

Add the carrots and peppers and stir-fry for maybe 5-6 minutes.

For Chinese 5-Spice Stir-Fry: 

Add Chinese 5-Spice powder and stir-fry for 1 minute, stirring consistently.

Add beef stock and soy sauce / not-soy soy sauce. Bring to boil and simmer for 10-15 more minutes.

Mix cornstarch with 2 tbs of water. Remove pan from heat, add cornstarch mixture, return pan to heat and stir until thickened. 

For Spicy Stir-Fry Sauce:

Skip over the ‘add Chinese 5-spice powder’ step and just add your sauce mixture from the jug/bowl/jar and bring to boil then simmer for 10-15 more minutes. I usually simmer until the rice cooker beeps and the meat is cooked. 

Mix cornstarch with 2 tbs of water. Remove pan from heat, add cornstarch mixture, return pan to heat and stir until thickened.

For the package stir-fry sauce, follow the instructions on the package. Obviously. 

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January 7th: FRICOT – Makes 4 bowls of soup

The Canadian One would constantly talk about a soup his grandmother would make him called Fricot. I wasn’t until recently that we realized it was not written how it was pronounced, ‘Fricko’, it was actually ‘Fricot’, a traditional Acadian stew. As a result, the misspelling made it difficult to work out exactly what goes into it other than his memory of turkey and potatoes. The Canadian One’s cousin eventually gave us an idea of what went into it and through trial and error after each holiday with leftover turkey, the Quest for Fricot began. Of course, NOW we have looked up a recipe and realized it is very similar to the one we came up with and are rather proud of our little version. 

2 cups cooked and shredded turkey or chicken

1 cup carrot, diced

1 onion, diced

2 tbs butter

3 potatoes, diced

4 cups chicken stock

1tsp each of dried sage, thyme, marjoram

Salt and pepper

1 tsp garlic, crushed, optional but I like it

Melt butter in large pan. Fry onions and garlic a little until soft. Toss all other ingredients in. I throw in some Silk Road All-Purpose Blend sometimes. Just a tablespoon. Bring to boil. Simmer for 1-2 hours. I usually just put it on while I’m doing other stuff in the kitchen like watching Scandal on my iPad or Instgramming pictures of my cats. We serve it with buns or bread. 

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January 8th: CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS & FRIES – Makes enough for 8-10 drumsticks

Friday is Fry-day in our home. I like making fries on a Friday. I have no idea why or even how this happened. It just began as a pattern and stuck. The fries are pretty simple; they are frozen oven fries so I just follow the instructions on the package. 

For the sauce, we use an adapted version of Barbecue Chicken Legs by The Pioneer Woman

1 tsp onion powder

1-2 tbs tomato paste

1/2 cup no-sugar ketchup (or regular ketchup) 

1 tsp garlic powder

3 tbs white vinegar (more or less to taste) 

1 tb Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp molasses

2 tbs chipotle adobo sauce or 2 tsp ground chipotle powder

1/2 tsp mustard powder (optional)

1 tb Splenda (optional)

1/4 tsp smoked paprika powder (optional) 

Sprinkle of salt and pepper

Place all ingredients in a saucepan, heat gently and stir until throughly mixed. This bubbles and splashes a bit. Not gonna lie. I sometimes make double and freeze half. 

For the drumsticks, we rub oil (usually olive oil) over the chicken and then sprinkle it with some salt and pepper and bake at 425F for 20 minutes, flip it and bake for another 20 minutes, then add the sauce, reduce heat to 350F, cover with foil, bake for 5 minutes, flip and kinda spoon the sauce over it (or use a brush if you have one) and bake for another 5 minutes. 

I dip my fries in the excess sauce. I just LOVE it. 

This also works as a wing sauce. Just FYI. 

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January 9th: LEFTOVER TURKEY CHILLI  – Makes 2-3 meals for 2

We had a LOT of turkey leftover from Christmas dinner. It being just the two of us, and given my penchant for buying large turkeys on sale and stuffing our freezer with them, it leads to an extraordinary amount of leftovers. And let’s be honest, after eating nothing but turkey for 2-3 days over the holidays, you’re done. You need something else. Like a steak.

Whenever there’s a large turkey cooked, I (meaning not me at all, The Canadian One) cuts off enough meat for 2 dinners and puts it aside and then cuts off all the rest of the meat, and I slice it, portion it out and freeze it. I would make stock out of the carcass however my current pot is not large enough and into the trash the bones go. 

This chili came about because during a month-end freezer inventory, I found a small baggie of frozen sweetcorn and a baggie with a cup of cooked kidney beans in it. Coupling that with a tin of chopped tomatoes, an onion and the remainder of a sandwich baggie of frozen tomato paste, we had ourselves a meal.

Vegetable or coconut oil

1 cup cooked turkey

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup cooked kidney beans

1 large can diced tomatoes

2 tbs of tomato paste

½ cup of sweetcorn

2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

A sprinkling of red chilli flakes or diced jalapeños (optional)

Heat oil in pan or pot. Add onion and garlic and fry until softened. 

After that, I usually just dump all of the rest of the ingredients into the pot, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. I’m sure there is an actual order I should be adding these all to the pot but in the interest of time and ease, I don’t seek it out.

This, incidentally, would also work as a slow-cooker recipe. Probably fry onion and garlic, add to slow cooker along with all the other ingredients and then put it on low for 6 hours. If anyone tries that, let me know. 

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January 13th: CHICKPEA & SAUSAGE STEW WITH RICE – Makes 2-3 meals for 2

This was more of a what-do-we-have-in-the-fridge type of stew more so than a gourmet-fancy-follow-a-recipe type of thing. I buy a lot of dried chickpeas, soak 3 cups of them overnight, boil them the following day and then freeze them in 1 cup baggies in the freezer to add to whatever I want. 

For this I laid out all the ingredients I could find on the table and came up with the plan to toss everything into a pot and hope for the best. I like all those things separately, there was no reason I could think of as to why it wouldn’t all work together. 

1 cup chickpeas

2 smokie sausages, diced

1 can of whole tomatoes

Some tomato paste, it looked like about a tablespoon. It was a frozen square. I feel like when it melted, it was about a tablespoon. I just threw it into the pot frozen. 

1 onion, diced

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced aka bashed with a frying pan until small 

1 red bell pepper, diced. It was actually 3/4 of a bell pepper because some of it had gone a little soft. 

2 tsp mild chilli powder

1 tsp cumin

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup of chicken stock

Red chilli flakes and chopped jalapeno peppers

Frozen sweetcorn, a handful

I fried up the garlic and onion in some oil and added them to a large pot. Then I basically threw everything else into the pot and brought it to a boil. Then I simmered it for about an hour with the lid on. 

You can also make this without the sausage. Obviously. 

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January 21st: CHICKEN VINDALOO CURRY AND RICE – Makes 1 meal for 2

This curry is HOT, I’m not gonna lie. The first time I had it, I put a lot of curry powder in it and had to add a little coconut milk to mine to mellow it out a bit. 

1 tb Vindaloo curry powder (I used The Silk Road’s Vindaloo curry blend) Add more or less to taste. I suggest the first time you make it, use less and then build from there. 

2 chicken breasts, diced (or meat/vegetables of choice)

2 tomatoes, diced

2 tbs tomato paste

1-2 tsp red wine vinegar (to taste)

1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 cup water / stock

Blend the tomato paste, curry powder and vinegar into a paste and marinate the chicken in it in the fridge for an hour or so. I sometimes just gloss right over this step if I feel like it. I mean, we’re the ones eating it, if we don’t mind, who cares? If you DO mind, however, please do marinate it for a bit in the fridge. 

Fry up the garlic and onion until soft in a little oil. I use vegetable oil or coconut oil. 

Add chicken mixture and fry, stirring, until the chicken is browned on the outside. 

Add tomatoes and water/stock to pan. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. 

Serve with rice. 

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January 23rd: SAUSAGE AND PEPPER PASTA – Makes 2-3 meals for 2

This is a recipe I got from CrockPot Diabetic Recipes but adapted it for use on the stove and not the slow-cooker. 

I kept the basic ingredients the same except I used Mild Italian Pork Sausages and not the chicken sausages called for in the recipe.

4 mild Italian sausages (or any sausage, really)

1 onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced (again, I just whack it a few times with a pot until it’s all small)

1 large can of whole tomatoes

A mixture of sliced peppers (red, green, yellow, orange) making up about 2 cups, if you have them. If not just slice up 2 different coloured peppers. 

1 tbs dried basil

1 tsp red chilli flakes

Salt and Pepper

Remove the sausages from their casings, cut into little balls and fry in a frying pan with a little oil until browned. Tip into a large pot. 

Add onion and garlic to the frying pan and fry until soft. Tip into the large pot. 

Add all the other ingredients to the large pot. Stir it around, bring to boil, cover and simmer for an hour. 

Serve with pasta. 

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 January 29th: BEEF MADRAS AND FRIES – Makes 1 meal for 2

This requires marinating overnight. Unlike the earlier curry, I’ve never skipped over the marinating of the beef. Also, I usually serve this with rice but lately we’ve been having it with fries…and here’s why:

We had a friend visiting from Chicago a few months back and, as you do when friends come to town, we went out and got drunk, returning home at 2am…ish, starving. I threw some fries in the oven and located some leftover Beef Madras from dinner earlier in the fridge.

I heated it up, poured it over the cooked fries poutine-style and we ate it with a side of Sriracha and tomato ketchup. Now, you may be scrunching up your nose at this, but it was the best thing we had ever tasted and we felt like geniuses. It just worked. We have no idea why.

We later tried it again, after not consuming copious amounts of beer and vodka and it still worked. It was glorious and thus a new, unusual dish was born. 

You, of course, can serve this with just plain rice and not the fries, ketchup, Sriracha combo….but if you’re feeling adventurous, I urge you to try it. 

1 cup of stewing beef – I say 1 cup. I have really no idea how much it was. About 1 1/2 handfuls, I would guess. 

1 onion, diced

2-3 tbs madras powder (I used this one)

2 tbs red wine vinegar

2 tbs tomato paste

1 cup water

Mix the madras powder, tomato paste and red wine vinegar together, add the beef, squish about and make sure it’s all nice and mixed and then marinate overnight in the fridge. 

The next day, fry up the onions in a little oil and then remove from pan. 

Add the beef and curry mixture to the pan along with 1/2 cup water. Simmer gently until the water is almost gone. It will take maybe 5-10 minutes. 

Add the onions and the rest of the water to the pan. Bring to a small boil, cover and simmer for 1 hour, adding more water if it looks like it’s drying out. 

Serve with rice…or, as discussed, the fries/ketchup/Sriracha combo. Think about it. 

Report back if you’ve tried it. 

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