Menu Planning

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African Peanut Stew January 11, 2011

Filed under: Main Dish,Soup,Vegan — bhrastich @ 3:42 am

Oh me, oh my. This was a winner! I’m just sad that I had this on my menu for the past two weeks or so and I just now got ’round to making it. I seriously think I could eat this once a week, or maybe everyday for lunch. If your mouth doesn’t like a bunch of flavors at once, this may not be for you. I asked Kyle what his thoughts were on it and he said he couldn’t tell since he wasn’t sure if he tasted everything yet. Not only was this delicious, it was so incredibly easy.

The only thing hard for me is that sometimes I don’t think about making dinner so early in the day, so by the time I should have started it, it’s too late.  While I do menu plan for each week, I don’t necessarily plan a specific meal each day. This allows me to be flexible if I’m in the mood to do a more involved meal or an easy to throw together one or what we may be in the mood for taste wise. It works for us, but just sometimes I do forget if I need to prep eary- say marinade something or like this meal- takes a while to cook. This one I tell you, is worth the wait! It smells so good, I didn’t want to wait for it!

So here it is:

Spicy African Peanut Stew

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed (about 1 c. total)
  • 1 1/2 t. curry powder
  • 1/2-3/4 t. garam masala (depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1 T. minced ginger
  • 2 t. minced garlic
  • stevia to taste (I used some florida crystals, about 3/4 of a t)
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes, in juice
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 2 c. vegetable stock
  • 2 T. natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 c. red lentils, drained and rinsed (can substitute quinoa, if desired)
  • Optional garnishes: cilantro, chopped peanuts, sour cream or plain yogurt (vegan, if desired)

Add all ingredients into crockpot, cook on high for 1 hour and turn to low for several hours. I used soy yogurt and peanuts, which were amazing on it for garnish. Had I had cilantro, I would have added it, but both Wal-Mart and Hy-Vee were out- bummer! I served this with naan bread that I toasted, sooooooo yummy!

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Sweet Potato, Tomato and Chipotle Soup November 12, 2010

Filed under: Main Dish,Soup,Vegan — bhrastich @ 4:14 am
This was an interesting one. With some tweeking it could be more suitable for our family. From past experiences in using chipotles in recipes I knew that 2 would be too much and figured I would be safe with one. Well, one was still on the spicy side and there was no way the kids were going to be able to eat it. Granted, the pepper was on the larger side, so I would say a small chipotle could have made it family friendly or maybe a half with some of the adobo to give it the smokey flavor. Here’s a tip when using chiptles- I know a can is pretty cheap, but being the cheap-o that I am, I freeze all the extras. I would even recommend covering a baking sheet and laying each pepper on there to freeze individually and then throw them all in a ziplock. I also save the adobo sauce since some recipes I have call for it. And again, being a cheapie, I saved a huge amount of the little gerber baby food containers with lids and reused them when I made my own baby food. So I store all kinds of stuff like that in the freezer- like tomato paste which I never use a whole container of and any other freezer friendly sauces. And while I mentioned baby food. The consistancy of this soup was a little too much like baby food. My sweet potatoes were on the large side, so I think I would keep it to medium potatoes or just add more broth/water. It was very good served with some whole grain sourdough from Trader Joe’s! I thought it was a good recipe, just needing some tweeking for our family.

3 T olive oil

  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 14 oz tomatoes, diced
  • 4 c vegetable stock or water
  • ½ c maple syrup (I used 1/4 c and it was plenty sweet)
  • 2 chipotle
  • 2 t salt
Sauté the onions and garlic in oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Add celery and carrots and cook about 5 minutes, until softened.

Add sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer until vegetables are soft, 30-40 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients, purée until completely smooth, and serve with a sprinkle of parsley.