Resuming My Cook-Once-A-Week Routine!

Back when we used to shoot a lot of weddings, I got in the habit of cooking lots of meals for dinner in batches on one evening, and freezing the individual dinners. It was great on the nights when I was up for all hours, working on wedding photos. We would just pull something out of the freezer, throw it in the oven, and have a healthy, homemade meal in about half an hour. Since our son was born, I somehow got out of the habit of doing that. I decided that it was time to start again! We have gotten in the habit of having too much takeout food when things get busy and I knew that this is exactly what we need.

I started by asking my husband to keep an eye on E for an hour or two so I could cook. Then I started making a huge batch of sauteed chopped veggies in my wok (4-5 bell peppers, various colors, one whole chopped onion, 4 cloves minced garlic, tomato, and a bit of coconut oil, and a tiny bit of salt & pepper). I also started cooking a bunch of rice on another burner. On a third burner, I started cooking up a bunch of lean ground beef with a bit of salt, pepper, and dried oregano. On the fourth burner, I started boiling water for pasta. I grabbed a couple of boxes of Indian food mixes that I found in the non-perishable section at Trader Joe’s, two cans of organic garbanzo beans, a jar of pasta sauce, and a can of diced tomatoes. I also had a package of marinated carne asada my husband found at Target that was set aside in the fridge, ready to barbecue. Here is what I made with the above ingredients! I made multiple batches of most of the meals, so it actually ended up being enough for almost two weeks!

Meal #1: Trader Joe’s Punjab Eggplant. Added garbanzo beans and veggie mix, served over plain jasmine rice.

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Meal #2: Gluten free rice pasta with lean ground beef meat sauce and veggie mixture. aliciainwonderlandblog.com

Meal #3: Barbequed carne asada with rice mixture. I added the can of diced tomatoes, some salt and pepper to some plain rice, and added in a bit of the veggie mix and some garbanzo beans. This marinade on the meat was amazing, and I was really excited that we found one that did not have soy in it!
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Meal #4: Trader Joe’s Punjab Choley with extra can of added garbanzo beans and plain jasmine rice.aliciainwonderlandblog.com

It was so easy, and really didn’t take that long! For each meal, I took the frozen portions out, put them in an oven safe dish and baked for about half an hour at 375 degrees F. It is such a relief not having to worry about what I am going to come up with each night for dinner. 🙂 Also, I am quite proud to say that even my meat-loving Texan husband was a big fan of the two vegan meals we had last week. Definitely a major win for me!

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Lamb Kabobs Recipe

My grandfather used to make some amazing kabobs that everyone in our family remembers fondly. He used to say that his recipes were from his Lebanese mother’s family recipes. After both of my grandparents on my mom’s side had passed away, I found a middle eastern cookbook in their kitchen with two very well-worn pages; a tabbouleh recipe and a kabobs marinade recipe (two things that he cooked frequently). Unfortunately, we will never know if he was actually following these recipes, and whether or not his mother’s recipes actually existed. I tried the kabob recipe in the book, and after some experimentation and modification to my own tastes, I came up with a similar version that my husband and I love. I can’t remember if it is exactly like my grandfather used to make, but we think this version is pretty darn tasty.

Ingredients:
16 oz. can of peeled tomatoes
juice of 1 lemon
1 yellow onion, diced
2 dried bay leaves, crumbled
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp garam masala
salt & freshly ground pepper
lamb steak
chopped vegetables for skewers

I start by crushing the diced onion in a mortar and pestle to release some of the juices. Then I combine the onion, tomatoes, lemon juice, bay leaves, olive oil, garam masala, salt and pepper into a large bowl and mix to create marinade.

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I use a jar of peeled tomatoes from our garden, but regular canned tomatoes can be substituted.
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The marinade before mixing it all together.
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Then I trim the excess fat off the lamb steak, and cut it into cubed chunks.
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Once the lamb is cut up, I put it in the marinade and let it sit in the fridge as long as possible, usually a full day. When we are ready to cook them, I skewer the lamb chunks on with some chopped veggies, and grill them on the barbeque. I usually put them with some red and yellow bell peppers, onion, mushrooms, and sometimes some cherry tomatoes. The final result is shown below!5