I usually arrive at Safeway on Saturday armed with a recipe and shopping list for a cookup that will get me through a week of lunches. (For weekly cookup ideas, check out my Pinterest page.)
By no means are the recipes I choose extravagant. I mean, as a recent college grad with a load of debt, I’m probably watching my pocketbook more than most people. But now that I’ve got a few months of paleo eating under my belt and a better idea of how much it costs to eat this way, I’ve realized that I’m probably missing out on some opportunities to be frugal.
Cooking for one is definitely not ideal budget-wise, but buying in bulk is tough for me. For one thing, I’ve got limitedfridge space, which I share with two others…and already monopolize (sorry housemates!). For another, I get around either on foot or by bike. Getting multiple pounds of raw meat back home is always a challenge, even with Safeway just a few blocks away.
So in order to save a few dollars this week, I decided to start my shopping trip in the meat department and plan a menu based on protein price rather than a pre-determined recipe. Beef stew meat was on sale, so that’s what I bought.
I’ve been feeling inspired by all the yummy and simple-looking slow cooker curries I’ve seen floating around on Pinterest, and curry is one dish I can make with my eyes closed. So beef curry it was!
This dish is warm, richly flavored and comfortingly spicy. A touch of lime juice and a healthy topping of cilantro brightens it up for summer, though it would make an excellent winter comfort stew. You’ll be pumped to have this waiting for you in the fridge at lunchtime.
- 3 lbs. grass-fed beef stew meat
- 2 14-oz. cans coconut milk
- 4 cups beef of chicken broth
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- 1 medium head broccoli, rough chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, rough chopped
- 1 medium-sized eggplant, cubed
- 1 bunch kale leaves, chopped
- 2½ T fresh ginger, minced
- 2 T curry powder
- 2 T cumin
- 1 T red chili flake
- 1 T turmeric
- 1 T cayenne (I like it spicy, but adjust to your spice preference)
- 1 T cinnamon*
- 1 T paleo-friendly fish sauce
- Juice of 1 lime
- Kosher salt to taste
- Handful fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
- Start by prepping your veggies. Place chopped eggplant, green pepper, green onion and broccoli in a large bowl and set aside. Return chopped kale to refrigerator for later use.
- If desired, trim excess fat and/or cut beef cubes into smaller pieces.
- Mix spices, fish sauce, broth and coconut milk in a small bowl.
- Add beef, eggplant, green pepper, green onion, broccoli and liquid mixture to slow cooker. Mix to ensure liquid coats meat and veggies evenly.
- Set slow cooker on low for 9 hrs.
- After 9 hrs has passed -- but before you turn off the slow cooker -- stir in kale and lime juice, and check to ensure beef is tender. If not, you can always continue cooking for another hour or so.
- Once kale has wilted, turn off heat.
- Top with fresh cilantro and serve with steamed cauliflower rice.
- Pack for lunch throughout the week or serve to those you care about.
*Don't fear the cinnamon! I know it sounds weird, but it gives the dish a lovely, spicy warmth. Cinnamon and beef have a great relationship.