Dinner time has really changed since the babe came along. My cooking, and honestly everything that I do can't get my full attention anymore because a chubby little beautiful being is at my beckon call. This is not a complaint, but merely a confession that my garlic sometimes burns and my chicken has come out under-done because I can't be as attentive as I used to be.
It's an adjustment. I end up wearing the babe a lot (we have an Ergo Baby and we love it), but sometimes he just doesn't want to be in there so I put him on his gym mat and he bats at his toys and cries for me after about five minutes, so I pick him up and make the rest of dinner one-handed. I know this is a stage and soon he'll be able to play independently (and yesterday I quartered a tomato with one-hand, so I'm learning new skills!) but again, simple meals are key here.
As is frugality. I'm a working/stay-at-home mom. I'm keeping my hands in a few projects in my field because I love what I do, but by no means is it full-time work. So we're on one income, which means I buy food on sale: stew beef was the special this week at our Hannafords.
My first thought was beef stew and my mom makes the most delicious recipe but I was craving something with a kick, so, a little internet search and a few alterations to a recipe and I've got a spicy, hearty (dairy-free, gluten-free) curry that'll warm you right up.
The recipe below is adapted from this one found on epicurious.
Coconut Curry Beef Stew
1 lb stew beef cut into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried clove
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 cinnamon stick (or 1/2 teaspoon dried cinnamon)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 cups light coconut milk (if you only have regular coconut milk use 3/4 cup coconut milk and 3/4 cup water)
2 tomatoes quartered
2 tablespoons mango chutney (I used Trader Joe's)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
cilantro to garnish
Brown the stew beef in one tablespoon of the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Place the beef aside. Add the other tablespoon of oil in the pot and saute the onion for about five minutes. Add the beef back and add all the spices; cook for another minute or two. Then, add the coconut milk, tomatoes, chutney, lemon juice, ginger, curry powder, salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for an hour and a half (the longer, the more tender the beef). Garnish with cilantro and serve over rice.
When I make anything with curry, roasted cauliflower is usually my go to side. I'll take a head of cauliflower and break into small pieces, toss in oil and spice with salt, pepper and curry powder to taste, roast on a oiled cookie sheet at 400F for about 25 minutes (tossing once in the middle of the cooking process) and toss in a bowl with raisins, cilantro and a drizzle of agave.