It's time for another Secret Recipe Club post! This month, my assignment was The Tasty Cheapskate. Food was not a big focus for Jean growing up, neither eating it nor cooking it, which is pretty much the opposite of my childhood. Luckily all that changed for her as an adult. Now she focuses on whole foods and budget friendly family meals. She even did a challenge where she fed her 6 person family on $6 a day! Incredible!
Looking through her blog, I found a lot of yummy baked goods. Like a bunch of different pull-apart breads, but especially this coconut and lime one. Also zucchini bread with lemon or with coconut. And self frosting nutella pumpkin muffins - shut the front door! But despite all those yummy delights, what I really wanted was a nice healthy meal - so my eyes lit up when I saw this Broccoli Barley Casserole. And I was even more excited when I saw that the original recipe used farro, which I have been meaning to start using for a long time, and that it could be made in one pot.
Start by sauteing onions and garlic in a Dutch oven. Then add the farro and allow to toast a bit.
Add in frozen spinach, water, and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the liquid is almost all gone and the farro is tender but still chewy, about 20 minutes.
Super comforting spiced lamb on top of creamy mashed potatoes - how could that be healthy? Well for starters, there are no potatoes - that is a cauliflower and white bean puree. This looks like comfort food, and it totally is, but it is all veggies and protein with no carbs!
Start by caramelizing some carrots to release that sweetness. Then brown up some lamb. I used lamb chops and discovered that there is very little meat on them - next time I am definitely using cubed meat.
When the lamb is browned, add in garlic, spices, chard, and chickpeas (more protein!). I wondered why the original recipe didn't call for tomatoes - they make so much sense here. So I went ahead and added them. The original recipe also just used paprika, which I thought was a little boring. I used paprika, cinnamon, cumin, and coriander.
Another change from the original was that it called for polenta to serve with the lamb. Polenta is cooked corn meal, and I am trying to avoid grains. So I used a cauliflower puree instead and it was creamy and delicious - a good counterpoint for the tangy spiced lamb.
I saw this recipe on the Food Network while getting my nails done and immediately wanted to make it. We didn't have any plans for Halloween night, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity. It turned out to be a pretty fortunate decision, because Jasper came up with the idea to invite some friends over to play a horror board game at the last minute (read 5PM Halloween night). I had already started making the chili and I knew it would be great for a crowd. Funny thing was, we hadn't seen each other in so long that we wound up talking all night and never getting to the board game!