Blog 3: My 3 Meal Time Must-Haves: Convenience, Simplicity & Results
I don’t want to cook a full family meal from scratch every night, but I also want to feel as though I’ve put something on the table that shows I’ve gone to a bit of effort.
Bland, boiled vegies and a dry, uninspiring piece of meat just won’t cut it at my place, but sometimes I just don’t have the time, the inclination or the care factor to whip up something creative and spectacular. Happily though, there are ways around the lack of inspiration and long preparation.
Frankly, there are ‘meal helpers’ and there are ‘meal helpers’. You can buy those sugar-laden simmer sauces loaded with artificial ingredients and plop your diced chicken into a pot with the contents of the jar. You might make some rice or you might go cook up some steamed or stir-fried veg. However you try to dress it up though, the main dish is still a pretty sad affair.
When I found Latasha’s Kitchen, I initially relegated it to the “just another meal helper” category. How wrong I was! I made up a fantastic Coriander Chicken Curry with LK Coriander Curry Paste and everybody practically licked their plates clean! Wonderfully, I didn’t even have to steam any vegetables because I turned this into pretty much a one-pot meal.
Coriander Chicken Curry
- ½ large eggplant
- 3 chicken thigh fillets
- 2 tbs olive oil
- ½ jar Latasha’s Kitchen Coriander Curry Paste Concentrate
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup coconut cream
- 1 cup cauliflower rice, raw (see here for instructions)
- Cut eggplant into large chunks.
- Cut chicken thighs into large chunks. (Tip: If purchasing thighs on the bone, cut around it but save the bones in the freezer to make stock or to flavour another recipe another day.)
- Heat oil in a 28cm pan. Add Latasha’s Kitchen Coriander Curry Paste Concentrate and allow to heat through to release magical aromas.
- Add eggplant pieces to the pan and stir through to get coated in curry paste.
- Add water and stir all ingredients. Simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes.
- Add chicken to the pan, coat in gravy and simmer over low heat until chicken is cooked through.
- Stir in coconut cream before serving.
Serve with cauliflower rice
- Put cauliflower rice into a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 60-90 seconds.
- Spoon into individual serving bowls and serve curry atop the cauliflower rice.
You’ll notice I didn’t even have any fresh coriander on hand to garnish this lovely dish. Don’t worry! Garnishes are wonderful but you’re serving up a fresh, home-cooked meal. Go easy on yourself.
Yes, you can of course use regular rice but I like to sneak in another serving of vegetables in this way (and also keep the carb content low for myself)! You can also serve this with roughly crumbled pappadums if you like, or with a side salad of crispy cucumbers, carrots and capsicum.
How Latasha’s Kitchen delivers on my 3 meal time must-haves
I’m after convenience, simplicity and results. If one of these elements is missing, I’m probably not going to choose it as a home dinner idea.
- Convenience – In the time it would take for you to order from UberEats, you can literally have a restaurant-quality meal on the table, and at a fraction of the cost! Having a few jars of Latasha’s Kitchen curry pastes and sauces in my pantry inspires me not to order in. When everyone’s asking what’s for dinner and it’s all up to you, you want to be able to open that pantry door and put your hands on something tasty that won’t take an hour to prepare. No recipes, no complicated ingredients and no endless instructions. But you also don’t have a jar of highly-processed confectionery masquerading as a meal base. Latasha’s Kitchen products help create satisfying meals with real flavours and no nasties.
- Simplicity – Yep, you do have to fire up the stove and you do have to do a bit of chopping and stirring, but I’m here to tell you, Latasha’s Kitchen makes everything so easy for you. You certainly don’t want to have a spice cupboard full of exotic ingredients; how expensive would that be? You don’t want to keep buying special herbs like coriander and lemongrass, only to throw them out if you don’t get around to using them. When you use Latasha’s Kitchen products, you’ll open a jar and find all the ingredients you need for a powerhouse of flavour which you can tone down if you want to, or revel in the sublime tastiness.
- Results – How many times have you cooked a recipe and it hasn’t turned out the way you’d hoped? Or you’ve spent hours slaving over the stove creating something special and no one’s been particularly fussed? Latasha’s Kitchen helps you prepare superb meals that will literally surprise whomever you are feeding. I’ve served up a homemade Latasha’s Kitchen curry a few times and had visitors ask for the name of the Indian restaurant that I bought it from! ‘Results’ can mean flavour, it can mean meeting (or exceeding) expectations or it can mean being proud of yourself for a job well done.
More meal tips
When you use a Latasha’s Kitchen curry paste or sauce, all you need to have on hand is the protein and a couple of your favourite vegetables. Here are some other ideas for meal planning and smart staples.
- When you see chicken, beef, lamb, pork or fish on special, buy it and freeze it in meal sized portions. One look in the freezer will help you decide what to cook for dinner.
- For a few weeks, whenever you cook for dinner, make a note (on your phone or in a notebook) about what you cooked, especially if it was enjoyed. That kind of log will come in very handy when you next need to think what to make; you’ll already have ideas to refer to.
- If you cook rice one night, cook extra and put it in the fridge or freezer. It will be ready for another evening meal and save you one task.
- Make double quantities of what you’re cooking and freeze two individual portions to take for lunches or for instant dinners another night.
- As you cut up vegetables, prepare more for another night. For instance, if you’re cutting and washing broccoli, pumpkin, cauliflower, capsicum, cabbage, carrots or beans (to name a few), prepare more than you need while you’re at it. Bag or put them in an airtight container and they’ll be ready for next time.
- Pantry staples (in addition to Latasha’s Kitchen products) that you can keep on hand to whip up a convenient, simple meal with fabulous results: canned or dried lentils, chick peas and beans; canned tomatoes; potatoes and onions; coconut cream/milk; quinoa; pasta.
- Fridge staples: paneer (or ricotta); tofu; yoghurt.
- Freezer staples: frozen vegetables; boxes of spinach cubes; leftover coconut cream/milk; leftover canned vegies; meal-sized portions of different meats and seafoods.
Dinner needn’t be a chore. It also needn’t be flavourless or uninspired. If you and your family love authentic Asian cuisine, particularly Indian and Thai, then invite Latasha’s Kitchen into your home and build your staples around the products. I started with one and was so impressed with it that I tried others and now, I literally panic if I don’t have a jar of Latasha’s in the pantry “for next time”.