Start of a new series, on work-night take-out alternatives.
Being someone who has very erratic blood sugar (I have to eat something every 2-3 hours, or I will a) get a migraine or b) start screaming at someone for no good reason), I understand very well what it is to feel the pull of the restaurants that line your road home from work/carpool. When I’m really hungry, that’s when all of a sudden a Big Mac sounds like a good idea. Heck, even catsup on cardboard sounds like a good idea.
The point is, take out is okay, sometimes, and if you make the right food choices. But, and I think we get this premise by now, more home-cooked meals means a healthier lifestyle. So I am going to do another food series (like the chili one, back in December). This series will be all about meals that you can make in a super-hurry, cheaply and with staples that you may already have at home. And for fun, it will also be based on common takeout meals: like Chinese, subs, pizza, etc.
So here is the first idea; an Americanized version of Indian food. You will need a few non-standard ingredients (like a premium curry powder and a jar of ginger), but for the most part it is very straight-forward. You like picking up Indian? Give the kids the night off from a restaurant and whip this up instead.
Don’t hesitate to leave out ingredients in the third step, or to substitute others (like broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, raisins or currants). We made ours without the tomatoes or carrots this past week, and it was still good. Also, do not substitute milk for the cream; just omit if you don’t have it. Substitution is key, if you are good at improv: the point is to get a healthy, yummy dinner on the table with minimal fuss.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil (like safflower) over medium-high heat in a nonstick saute pan or wok. Add 1 pound ground chicken or diced chicken and stir occasionally as you dice an onion.
- Add the onion to the chicken with 2 teaspoons pressed garlic, 2 teaspoons jarred ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoons premium curry powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika.
- When meat is browned and onions are soft, stir in 1/4 cup mango chutney (optional), 2 cups French cut green beans (fresh, frozen, or–heaven forbid–canned, drained), 1 cup shredded carrots, 1 can diced tomatoes and 1 can drained chickpeas. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, and allow to cook for a few minutes, until chicken and veggies are all cooked through.
- Stir in 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt and 1/2 cup cream. Stir until heated through. Taste for salt and pepper.
- Serve with (preferably) naan or chapati, or basmati rice or even pita (in a pinch), as well as Sriracha and optional chutney of choice.
*To continue with the Takeout series, click here.