I know my posting has been a little erratic of late, but I have lots of posts on the back burner, so bear with me, they’ll get here soon.

Tonight I have an easy recipe to share with you. I’m always looking for weeknight dinner recipes that I can pull together largely from the contents of my pantry. I’m not really the queen of meal planning, largely because I so often give into cravings. But I don’t like grocery shopping every day either. This meal was delicious, and fairly easy. The original recipe called for beef and some vegetables that I didn’t have on hand, but a few substitutions left me with a dinner I would happily repeat.

Recipe After the Jump

saag aloo
Last night my roommate and I started talking about our grocery bills. Now, I almost never go out to eat, have a habit of spontaneously feeding random people, and love to cook… so, I would expect that I spend more on groceries, or at least more on groceries per person, than the average American. Still, I couldn’t resist running the numbers to find out just how much I have spent at the grocery store this month.  The actual number, $284, doesn’t bother me too much, but if I break that out per week that is $71, to technically feed one person… and that is only if I don’t go to the grocery store again till May.  I was going to go to the farmer’s market day, but instead I decided, that I would challenge myself to make it until Thursday without buying more groceries.

This shouldn’t be too hard, as my fridge and freezer are still quite full of food. But it is random food, food I bought without a plan or is leftover from a previous meal. Which means, it is the perfect food for some creativity. On taking stock of my fridge this afternoon, I realized I had half an onion, tomatoes, a full bag of spinach, and a jalapeno pepper. Excitedly I thought, I could make palak paneer! But, I was missing the “paneer” part. If I made my favorite palak paneer recipe, I would also need cashews and cilantro-ginger-garlic paste. But, never fear, I did have peanuts, ginger, garlic, and potatoes.

If you want a fabulous Saag Paneer recipe, you can’t go wrong with Mahanandi’s takeon this classic North Indian dish. I like it better than any restaurant version I’ve had, and it is better for me (no heavy gravy to weigh down the sauce). But this rendition is also quite good, and worth repeating as tracking down inexpensive paneer can be challenging.

Recipe after the jump

If I mapped my life in flavors, I think I would name as “savory” all of those activities that we do because they are good for us, only to find that they are among the most pleasurable activities in life. Activities like yoga, or running, or making headway on a to-do list, or reading a book for school… maybe even “work” itself. I almost never want to go for a run, or do yoga, but when I do, I always feel happier for the going. Now, it might be a bit of an exaggeration to say that is exactly the way I feel about eating or cooking savory foods… but, I do have quite a sweet tooth, and I am far more likely to get excited about dessert than I am about dinner, and I do always feel better when I eat something healthy for dinner instead of diving into the brownies and ice cream. So here I am today, to pass along to you a winning savory dish. These noodles are flavorful and different, sort of a play on the classic pad thai, but infused with fresh flavors. Just like pad thai, they would be great with a wide variety of proteins (chicken, shrimp, tofu, egg). I replaced some of the cilantro with Thai basil, because they have similar flavors, except Thai basil has what I can only describe as licorice undertones. It is very flavorful, so if you do go with the Thai basil, you might want to cut back a little on quantities.

Recipe after the jump

chicken curry

Today I just couldn’t seem to get moving. My allergies were killing me, even though the pollen count was its lowest in days. I think at this point the problem is the accumulated effect of two weeks of staggering amounts of pollen, two weeks might I add, in which I decided it would be a good idea to start running again. Well, my sinuses are paying me back for my foolishness. But, as I was lying on my couch watching a movie after a long day on campus, and daydreaming about dinner, this curry came to mind. It is one of the few dishes that I repeat on a fairly regular basis (you know, every couple of months or so), so that pretty much guarantees that it will be good. Some day I will have to play around with simplifying the steps, I’m sure more things could be added to the pot all at once, I’m just not sure how that would go… Oh, and if you are nervous about being able to tell when the chicken is done, just leave it simmer a little longer or cook it separately.

Recipe after the jump