Garam Masala Meatballs with Turmeric rice

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Imagine my evenings (I’m sure for some it’s not hard…)

Tired mom drives close to the speed of light down the highway, racing to her destination… day care. Upon arrival, some polite chatter with the person entrusted to mold and meld my babes, inquiring about their their day. Hopefully no apologies required, (a few F bombs have dropped).

I then try to quickly and calmly stuff them into the car as they run around appearing like a cross between squealing hyenas and an octopus (hyocs, octayenas…???).

Fortunately, this often involves lots of hugs. Unfortunately, they seem to grow thousands of arms competing for body area to hug. I’ve fallen when not braced properly.

The ride home is half filled with happy chatter and half filled with a chorus of “mom, we’re hungry”, “can we watch ponies?”, “mom, she keeps touching me”.20140723-224702-82022154.jpg

We arrive, I unlock the door, the dog charges us and the octyenas sort of quickly make their way inside as I herd the dog and the cat, carrying bags, my purse and backpacks.  I then either try to be super woman getting snacks and lovely brain enriching activities out and on the go, or I say f*@k it and put on the bloody ponies…again.

Sashay  into the kitchen, ready to prepare yet another perfectly balanced meal of both flavour and health.

I manage to get supper organized with only 6 interruptions, one involving food, two settling disputes, at least one accident and one boo boo that needs kissing, (of course something else happened too). Finally  presenting my masterpiece to the adoring family and pretending that a bomb hasn’t exploded in the kitchen.

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Miraculously all is well. The kids come to the table and happily shove nourishment into their little pieholes,  babbling about Pokemon cards and colouring. I breathe for the first time since I got in the car and we settle into the rest of our nightly routine.

For obvious reasons I need food to be quick, easy and tasty. I also want to enjoy my dinner so it needs to be kid friendly and manageable by little hands. Hence my love of tacos and meatballs. However, combining the two could be weird or boring or both.

But, I have been blessed to live in a country that has given me global inspiration and grocery stores that stock spices and flavours to play with. Even in the small town I live in I can still created ethnically inspired dishes that open up my kids experience of the world through food. Giving me hundreds of ways to create new versions of a meal that fits my families needs.

This dinner is such a perfect example of that. I have been making  chicken meatballs for my family as a staple meal for years. Recently I started using them in tacos and then somehow that morphed into trying different ethnic variations, including spices like curry powder, ginger and turmeric. I’ve never eaten a lot of meat so I also  have what my husband calls ‘filler’ to go along with the meatballs. In this case it became a rice dish that I actually think almost steals the show and makes an amazing side or a great vegetarian option for your tacos :). I love it. The raisins are a bit sweet and the rice is so fragrant. Plus the turmeric makes it an absolutely gorgeous colour.

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I can have everything ready in about 45 minutes too. And part of that is in the oven cooking time so I don’t feel tied to the kitchen or like I’m missing out on my family.

For my tacos I make the meatballs and rice then slice up tomatoes and cucumbers. Plain yogurt mixed with cilantro, mint or even basil, plus a bit of salt and olive oil make a super easy sauce to top it all with. For a salad just toss that all in one bowl.

And if the idea of tacos is just too weird, ixnay (say no to) the tortillas and serve your meatballs on the rice with the salad instead. That was my lunch today… People were jealous.

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Garam Masala Meatballs

2 packages ground chicken thigh or ground turkey (around 900 g)
1/4 cup panko
1/4 chopped fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, basil, oregano, chives)
1/4 chopped feta
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 Tsp curry powder
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 350
Mix all the ingredients gently together and form into small balls. About a tbsp scoop.
Place the meatballs in a baking dish and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes and cooked through .

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Turmeric Rice

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 an onion finely diced
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 Tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt (omit if you are not using a salt free stock)
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup Basmati rice
2 cups veggie stock or 1 cube salt free veggie bouillon and 2 cups water

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

In a medium sized pot add the olive oil and heat over medium low heat. Add the onions and sauté until they soften. Add all the ingredients down to and including the salt, cooking for only a few moments. Add the rice, stirring regularly cook for a minute or two. Toss in the raisins and then pour in either the bouillon or stock and bring to a boil.
Once boiling reduce to low heat, cover and cook for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow it to sit another 5 minutes. Fold in the cilantro and serve

 

 

 

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What can I say. We’re a family that likes our food and when hubby’s ashore he makes sure to get his fill 🙂

I hope you all enjoy these as much as I do and please let me know what you think. I also have a Facebook page where I post nightly meal ideas, photos and meal prep www.facebook.com/myweeklydish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Meal Plan for Your Busy Life

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My best friend got me into meal planning. She started because she doesn’t care about food and hated having to think about what to make each night. This was a completely bizarre concept to me. First, I don’t think there is anything other then my hubby and my kids that I love more then food. Second, it seemed like a lot of work that would ruin my creative mojo when it came to cooking. But grocery shopping each night, eating out when I got lazy or busy and throwing tonnes of food away really started to add up and I decided to give it a try.

I now feel like I have a pretty good handle on it and I am hoping I can share enough that you can use my experience to make your life a little easier. Please feel free to riff off of these ideas and I’d love to hear how it all works for you and your family. If however, after you have read this you realize this is never going to happen, don’t despair. I will be posting my weekly menu with linked recipes (as I write them) so you can just use mine.

Here are my tips for making meal planning a part of your weekly adventures:

1) What does your week look like?
First, I try and think about my week ahead. If there are days that are going to be rushed or busy I want to make sure I have quick and easy meals. I look for days I might not have to cook or have to cook more. We usually have dinner with my parents once a week so I need to either plan for a crowd or I get a night off. The day I do our grocery shopping can be a long one (or feel like it) if I have both kids with me so I always try to make sure I have an easy dinner that night.

2)Lunches and leftovers
My husband does not like sandwiches. He’ll eat them out of necessity but he would rather have leftovers any day. I try to take this into consideration and plan on a dinner that gives us guaranteed leftovers every second night. This way he can rotate between what he loves and sandwiches if he runs out, but we never get a leftover backlog. I can also use leftovers in other dinners or freeze them for another night. I love opening my freezer to leftovers I can pull out for an easy dinner. It feels like I just won an hour of free time!

3)What do you already have?
When I first started meal planning I was so gung-ho I would look to cookbooks and the internet before my pantry and fridge. This meant stuff didn’t get used and I was spending more on new, fun ingredients rather then using ones I already had. Trying new things is awesome but having a fridge full of condiments, expensive cheeses and random vegetables is only good if you are planning on cooking with them more then one night. Instead, now I try to use anything from the fridge that didn’t somehow get used up and check the pantry for that forgotten treasure hiding in the back.

4)Mix it up
I find a combo of new recipes, family faves and mindless meals works best. We all have recipes that we can make without a second thought and I use cookbooks, blogs, Pinterest and friends to find inspiration for new meals. Life is just easier with the occasional pancake dinner or fried egg sandwich thrown in too. So far only my hubby contributes suggestions but I’d like to think the kids will want to participate when they’re older. I’ve also seen some deadly looking meal planning organizers on Pinterest and one day I’ll make one…maybe… probably not.

5)Reuse ingredients
If I can I try to find dinners throughout the week that use similar things. It cuts down costs and time too. A roast chicken early in the week can be made into soup or a chicken pizza for another night. Cabbage for tacos can be tossed into a salad. This has been something I figured out later then sooner, but I now always try to keep it in mind. Funny how easy this sounds and yet it took me years to get this one figured out.

6)Have a backup plan and be flexible
No matter how well I plan or organize my meals, life happens and it doesn’t always work. Sometimes a grocery store doesn’t have what I need or something else is on sale for a way better deal. “Talia, you can’t control the world”, has been a message that the universe and my mom keep telling me. So I accept that things happen and then roll with it. I either try to alter my recipe a bit or go with a backup plan. These are usually easy and made from ingredients that I keep on hand. Home made or frozen pizzas, sandwiches with veggies and breakfast can all be made quickly . If you know you have a quick backup plan at home it eliminates the need for an emergency fast food stop and gets you off the hook.

7)Have a Theme, Formula or Template
It’s hard coming up with new ideas all the time. Some weeks you’re tired, the weather sucks and the last thing you want to do is try to be super creative. I use a rotation of sorts to help me stay inspired and get new ideas on the table. Here’s a what the inside of my head kind of looks like:

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Pick a theme, chose your protein and then add your flavours. If you’re not someone who loves to cook or feels inspired, using the themes alone and then finding recipes that fit works just as well.

Once you get the hang of meal planning it becomes a natural part of the week. It takes me only a bit to do and it saves moolah. We rarely eat out and when we do its for a treat or special occasion, I almost never throw food away because its gone bad and I love knowing what’s for dinner without having to stress last minute.