When you know you’re about to get snowed in, it helps to have a plan for what you’re going to eat when you’re all cooped up. Once it became clear that DMV meteorologists had actually gotten predictions for the Jonas Blizzard right, we knew we were in for a doozy. Queue the mass rush to grocery stores and empty shelves in the days leading up to any actual precipitation. Thanks to my abnormal, self-employed schedule I got to hit up the grocery stores when there weren’t as many folks there and get all the ingredients I needed to bring my culinary vision to life. My biggest meal prep take-away? Plan ahead and get it done early so you don’t have holes in your pantry or refrigerator.
For me it wasn’t hard to decide on a menu, but if you struggle with that it helps to scour your favorite food blogs for ideas. I knew I wanted to make soul and belly warming meals that would make forced nights in feel special. I also needed them to be hearty enough to refuel us after all our shoveling.
Night one was a really tasty (and pretty spicy) Thai coconut lemongrass soup which I’ve mapped out for you below. The following night was pan-seared chicken thighs with caramelized onions, roasted beets and a side of sautéed mushrooms and kale. Breakfasts were protein-heavy. One morning we did eggs in a hole (so much fun if you’ve never tried) and the next we lightened things up with green smoothies. Warm, hearty, and healthy meals. Check, check!
Thai Coconut Lemongrass Soup with Shrimp
Makes 4 meal-sized portions
- 1 – 14 oz can full-fat coconut milk
- 1 – 14 oz can “lite” coconut milk
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 Tbs coconut oil
- 2″ grated fresh ginger root
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 Tbs red chili paste
- 1/2 large red onion, peeled and finely diced
- 2 stalks dried lemongrass
- 1 red pepper, finely diced
- 2 cups brown, white or shiitake mushrooms, rinsed, dried and sliced
- 2 lbs large uncooked shrimp, tail-on
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/2 cup toasted cashew pieces
- 2 limes
- 1 serrano pepper, seeds removed and sliced thinly
- 2 cups cooked brown rice (optional: make a blend of brown rice, quinoa and amaranth for a more hearty flavor)
- In a large, heavy-bottom pot, sauté the ginger, garlic, Thai chili paste and red onion in coconut oil over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes, or until the onion is tender. Season to taste with salt.
- Add in coconut milk, stock and lemongrass and bring to a low boil. After a 3-5 minutes, add the red pepper and mushrooms. Cook another 3 minutes, then add the shrimp and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the flesh of the shrimp is opaque.
- Spoon a 1/2 cup of rice into each bowl and ladle soup over it. Squeeze half a lime over each serving. Garnish with fresh cilantro, toasted cashew pieces and hot pepper slices to taste.