Thursday, April 26, 2012

Freezer Meal: Sweet Potato-Chickpea Curry & Naan Bread

Last Sunday, Ava and I went to our third freezer meals exchange group. We take turns hosting the big swap. We trade family meals that we'll use for the next month. We trade 4 complete meals, but we plan to have more people in the group so we can have 5 meals to trade and people can have their pick for variety. One of the moms couldn't make it this month, but three of us met up tonight to swap meals. I'm really happy to have these meals in the freezer because we average one freezer meal per week. It's so convenient! The advantage that I found with the group is that we keep ourselves on track with the bulk cooking and then trade for a variety of different meals. We started the group in January and held our first meet-up in February an original four La Leche League moms. Since we're like-minded moms (eco-friendly, health-conscious) we started out with the guidelines to use as much local, organic ingredients as possible. Our meat choices must be local and natural too. We cook a family meal and provide an entree, side dish, and dessert. If your dish requires items from a pantry, then you need to provide it. We include the instructions for reheating and finishing the meal. When we started I bought some cheap casserole dishes to use for freezing. Anna told us how to package with freezing our meals into standard dishes and bags in the freezer to minimize space and eliminate the need for passing around dishes. I stocked up on plastic freezer bags, wraps, and foils and away we went.

We've discovered that it's helpful to spread out the cooking in multiple days. Yes, it requires some planning! I select my meal for the next month on the day we meet so I can spend the entire month planning. I consider the month ahead and plan the weekends when we're home to cook. It's working really well! I usually make an extra family portion for our dinner either cooking it fresh or adding to the freezer stash.

This month, I made a Chickpea-Sweet Potato, Cauliflower Curry with homemade curry paste with homemade Naan Bread, from my Simply in Season cookbook.I always cook dried chickpeas for the curry in the slow cooker. I provided a cup of Jasmine rice for every meal and a set of cookies for dessert (either Thumbprints or Sesame Sunflower Seed Refrigerator cookies).

I normally make the chickpea curry using a pre-made sauce from Trader Joe's. Since I was making such a large batch of curry I wanted to spread it out over 2 cooking days and make the curry paste from my favorite cookbook, Feeding the Whole Family. I spread it out in multiple steps: shopping for ingredients, cooking dried chickpeas in the slow cooker, cooking curry and naan bread batches in 2 different weekends, and baking cookies over 2 different weeks. It worked out very well! I used the time to make enough for our meal and then freeze the rest. This made it really easy to do the bulk cooking.

This version of the curry was made with: crushed tomatoes, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, coconut milk, cooked in coconut oil and seasoned with a generous portion of curry paste and sea salt. It was delicious served over the Jasmine rice. I finally nailed the Naan bread recipe, too! Aaron and Ava love it. You can reheat the naan in an iron skillet.

Next month, I'm going to make a Vietmanese meal with chicken Bahn Mi sandwiches and vegetarian pho. I'm going to pickle some veggies for sandwich. I'll reuse the small 4oz jars that I got from the pimentos that I bought for my March meal, Chicken Spaghetti casserole.

1 comment:

  1. This meal sounds delicious! And I LOVE pho but haven't ever made it. Shawn and I are going out to our favorite Vietnamese restaurant tonight. It's a hole in the wall but soooo good! Maybe we should go there with the families sometime?