Food Storage & Other Adventures in Motherhood

Food Storage Friday: Pumpkin Coconut Curry

by heather

For Christmas my husband bought me a book on taking better pictures. I really need to get around to reading it.

When I tell my friends that I spend about $250 each month on groceries for our family of five I get various skeptical responses. People assume that we live off of Top Ramen and potatoes, or that I spend all of my time gardening and baking. (My kids would actually eat Ramen noodles every day if I let them, but I generally trying to push things like sandwiches and produce. Also, our gardening attempts have all been epic failures and I only bake a few times each month.) We actually eat a variety of healthy foods. This meal is one example. Last fall I bought two pumpkins for $3.50 each, one we carved (and then ate), the other I saved. Uncut pumpkins will stay good in a cool place for months. This week I pulled it out and cooked it. One pumpkin gave me 12 cups of cooked squash. This recipe only needs 4 cups. So I’ll probably make pumpkin pie shakes and squash and bean quesadillas with the rest. Last fall I also bought a 25 lb bag of sweet yellow onions for $3.99, making each onion only pennies each. Another cheap part of this meal is rice. When I bought my brown rice it was about 30 cents per pound. A half pound of rice, once it is cooked, is more than enough to feed my family. Every other week we order a Bountiful Basket, plus extras. So I spend $50-60 each month on fresh produce and we incorporate that into our meals (this time the carrots). Even if we don’t get  traditional stir-fry veggies in our basket a particular week, I can get what I need for this meal for $4 or less. This time I added about $1’s worth of soft tofu, but last time I didn’t. The most expensive part is the canned coconut milk. It was $2, but generally I try to get it for less than that and stock up. All total this meal cost about $8 to make, it made about 8 servings, plus the sauce recipe gives me an additional 8 servings that I froze for later, which essentially gives me another half of a meal. (Yes, I’ve tried it and this recipe does freeze and reheat well, but only the sauce.)

I am not a big fan of yellow curry, but I liked this even if the picture doesn’t really do it justice.Originally this was

Pumpkin Coconut Curry Sauce

a recipe for Butternut Curry Soup. I was not feeling adventurous enough to try adding the kale garnish.  I made it for lunch one day and my husband said “You know what this needs? A plate of rice and veggies” The rest is history. I’ve done it with both the butternut and the pumpkin, and am somewhat partial to the butternut, but only a little.

Pumpkin Coconut Curry

Food Storage Ingredients:
rice, prepared according to directions
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp dried chopped ginger
dash of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1& 1/2 cans (14.5 oz) of vegetable broth
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 can (14.5 oz) peas, drained (optional)
splash of rice vinegar
1 teaspoon of salt
salt and pepper to taste

Fresh Ingredients:
6 cups fresh veggies, chopped (I used 1 red pepper, 1 onion, 1 carrot, 2 cups of fresh mushrooms. I used the canned peas for part of this because I had them in my food storage and I thought I would give them a whirl. Use what makes you happy.)
4 cups cooked pumpkin or butternut squash*
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 package (14 oz) silken tofu, well-drained and patted with a paper towel (optional)

1. Saute onion in 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a soup pot until onion is clear. 2. Add ginger, curry, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, broth, squash and apple to the pot. Cook over medium low heat until the apple is just softened. 3. Blend everything with an immersion blender. (Or if you don’t have one blend it in batches in a standard blender.) 4. Stir in coconut milk and reduce to lowest heat setting. 5. Stir-fry fresh veggies and garlic in olive oil. 6. After they are just starting to crisp, add tofu. When veggies are nearly cooked, add rice vinegar, salt and pepper. (If using peas, add here). Serve veggies with rice and sauce.

*Every time that I have attempted to cook pumpkin or squash according to the instructions I find online or in a book it actually takes significantly longer to cook than it’s supposed to. Sometimes more than twice as long, and I feel like I’m wasting a lot of time checking it. This time I opted to cut the pumpkin in chunks and cooked it in a large crock pot  with 1/2 cup of water for 5 hours on high. Much less hassle. I cooked both the rice and the pumpkin a day ahead.

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