How Canning is Like Down Hill Skiing
I think the number one reason I am not really into downhill skiing is what I call the Schlep Factor. This is the term I use for getting all your gear ready, getting dressed, getting to the mountain, carrying your skiis to the lodge, buying your pass, getting to the chairlift. All this so I can risk injuring my ACL? Um, no thanks. Don’t even get me started when my daughters get involved. It’s enough to keep me on one side of the fence on a snowy Saturday morning. And by side of the fence I mean safely at the gym in BodyPump class.
This is sort of how I feel about preserving vegetables and canning jams. Someone says homemade jam and I think Schlep Factor. I mean, all that equipment, all that trimming of stems, and giant pots of boiling water and just the right level of sugar or salt and brine and what if I screw up and make home made Botox instead of dilly beans?
This year since my garden didn’t suck for the first time ever, I did end up making dilly beans and pickles. And they are actually fantastic. But it was a ton of work and I had to talk myself into it for a few days to get ready.
A much less intimidating way of preserving all of the bounty of the harvest is freezing. Seriously, all you have to do is put the food into a container, open the freezer and put the container in. Then close the freezer. I can handle that. ZERO Schlep Factor. That’s why I am super excited that this month the Recipe Redux theme is Freezer Meals!! It’s the intimidation free, Schlep Factor free way of preserving!
Share your tips and tricks for making one – or more freezer meals. It’s the end of the gardening season for some of us; let’s store away that produce in heat-and-eat-from-the-freezer-meals. Show how convenient healthy freezer breakfast, lunches or dinners can be!
My Freezer Meal
I made this coconut chicken curry since stews are so forgiving in the freezer. When I was pregnant with my daughters I made all sorts of stews for our freezer and was so happy to defrost them throughout the winter while bouncing my baby on my hip. These days, with our soccer and ballet schedule, freezer meals are equally beloved.
I pulled out this recipe for British Style Chicken Curry made with coconut because it is one of my all time favorite recipes I have developed for EatingWell. The onions, carrots, celery and potatoes are so hearty. And the chicken in the sauce is sublime. It hits the perfect balance of coconut creamy, sweet, sour and a little bit spicy. I throw in frozen peas and cilantro toward the end to freshen it up.
- Freeze individual portions in 16-ounce containers
- Make sure to leave head-space because they will expand when they freeze
- Leave lids off until the stew is cold. Then seal shut.
- Don’t forget a label with the name of the recipe and the date.
British style chicken curry stew with coconut, carrots and peas. I add in fresh cilantro and lime at the end for a pop of fresh flavor.
- 2 tablespoons curry powder, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized cubes
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or canola oil, divided
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 14-ounce can “lite” coconut milk
- 1 14-ounce can reduced sodium chicken broth
- 4 cups gold potatoes cut into 1-inch chunks, about 1 pound 4 ounces
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ¾ cup frozen peas
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- Sprinkle 1 teaspoon curry powder and ¼ teaspoon salt over the chicken and toss to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut or canola oil in a large Dutch oven or Soup pot over medium high heat. Add chicken and brown, stirring once or twice until mostly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. It will continue cooking in a later step.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the pot and add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often until the onions are starting to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons curry and cook, stirring until fragrant but not browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add coconut milk, broth, potatoes, carrots, celery and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes and carrots are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Stir in the chicken and peas, increase heat to high, and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in cilantro and brown sugar.
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