Curry It Up – Healthy & Easy for the New Year – Guest Post by Kristine Colwill

 

Coco Curry Close Up

When I was growing up in the Midwest, leftovers often went down like this: mix all leftover dinner items in a bowl with Cream of Mushroom soup and smear into a 9 X 13 pan.  Top with shredded cheese and tator tots and bake.  I’m not going to lie, that stuff is good.  But diet friendly?  Um… maybe not so much?

Saying that moving from the Midwest to CA post-College broadened my food horizons is a bit of an understatement.   As my 7 year old would say, it was as if I went to “food heavenland”.  I couldn’t believe all the restaurants and the diversity of food available.  No longer did we have to choose between TGI Fridays and Applebee’s for dinner.  There was Indian, and Thai, and Taquerias on every street corner.  I discovered Pho, and Ethiopian food, and that coffee beans could be roasted right there in front of you.  I enjoyed every food experience that came my way.

In my discovery of Thai food I was amazed at all the different types of curry, and I began to suspect that curry is the Thai version of leftovers.  I have nothing to back this theory up, and it’s probably not even true, but it has become true in our house at least.  Rather than throw everything into a pan with some canned goods and tots, we throw leftover meat and vegetables in a slow cooker and turn it into a curry.  

We affectionately call it our “Curry in a Hurry”. 

These curries are not a four star restaurant, write me up in Bon Appétit, kind of curries.  But you know what they are?  They are “stay on your healthy eating kick, get dinner on the table with no fuss, and have no complaints” kind of curries.  I love exposing my kids to Sushi, and Pho, and all kinds of food experiences, but there are also some nights when I just want dinner a done deal.   These are great for those Tuesdays nights after running around to kid sports practices, your spouse is out of town, and you just want the kids to eat their dinner and not complain, for the love of coffee and all that’s chocolate.

Either recipe can be made during nap time, so that dinner can be as easy as ladling some rice and curry into a bowl.  I put the curry in the slow cooker, and brown rice in my rice cooker at a delayed start at the same time, so there’s nothing to do but set the table come 6:00. 

Kristine Colwill Head ShotKristine Colwill is a writer (currently finishing up a cookbook), self-taught cook, avid traveler and devours fiction and cookbooks daily. She has been a dancer and a software developer in her past lives. She writes and lives in the beautiful state of Colorado… and is BFF with Joia* (* added by Joia)  You can see more of her awesomeness here.  

Coconut Chicken Curry with Vegetables and Brown Rice
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. • 2 cups unsweetened full fat Coconut milk
  2. • 1-2 tablespoons Red Curry paste
  3. • 1 tablespoon Fish sauce
  4. • 1 tablespoon Tomato paste
  5. • 1-2 lbs chopped boneless skinless Chicken breasts or thighs
  6. • 1 cup chopped mixed Mushrooms
  7. • 1 diced Onion
  8. • 1 – 10 ounce package frozen green Peas
  9. • 2 cups chopped Broccoli
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients except peas and coconut milk to slow cooker and cook for HIGH for 3-4 hours (depending on your slow cooker, until chicken is cooked through), add peas and coconut milk and cook 20 min more.
  2. OR
If have leftover cooked chicken and want to skip the slow cooker step
  1. Add 1 teaspoon oil to a stock pot over medium-high heat. Add peas, onion, and mushrooms; cook 3 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Meanwhile whisk together first four ingredients in a separate bowl. Add coconut milk mixture and 1/4 teaspoon salt to pot on stove; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute. Add chicken to pot; cook 1 minute more, or until thoroughly heated.
Serve with
  1. • brown rice with some fresh chopped cilantro mixed in at the end of cooking
  2. • Optional: top with chopped roasted cashews
Eat Sweat Pray Repeat http://eatsweatprayrepeat.com/
Vegan Vegetable Slow Cooker Curry with Coconut Milk
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. • Olive Oil
  2. • 1 onion, diced
  3. • ½ tbsp minced garlic
  4. • ½ tbsp minced ginger
  5. • 1 tbsp curry powder
  6. • 1 tsp sea salt
  7. • 1 can (full fat) organic coconut milk (the low fat kind will break down and get watery)
  8. • enough diced potatoes to line the bottom of the slow cooker in a single layer, diced about 1 inch in size (could use butternut squash or sweet potato etc)
  9. • about 4 cups chopped vegetables (I used cauliflower, carrot, broccoli and peas)
  10. Brown Rice - Cooked
Instructions
  1. Sauté diced onion in olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes. When almost done, add garlic and ginger and sauté one minute more. Add curry powder and stir to combine, remove from heat.
  2. Pour the coconut milk into a medium bowl. Add the onion mixture and the salt and stir with a whisk just to combine.
  3. Layer the bottom of the slow cooker with the single layer of diced potatoes. Add the mixed vegetables on top. Pour the coconut milk mixture over the vegetables. Add just enough water that you can see it start to peek out behind the vegetables. (when the vegetables cook they will create more liquid)
  4. Cook on HIGH about 3-4 hours. Then switch to LOW and cook about 30 minutes more.
Notes
  1. Serve with Brown Rice
Eat Sweat Pray Repeat http://eatsweatprayrepeat.com/

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