Soup Week – Spiced Red Lentil, Tomato and Kale

6bcc6-goodeats

Hey there!  It’s been a while since I did a “Good Eats” post.  MONTHS is more like it.  It’s also been months since I cooked anything.  But this weekend, we decided we needed homemade soup.  Maybe it’s all the cold rainy day’s we have been having over here in PA. Instead of making one big pot of something, we decided to try three new recipes.  I want to share them with you here.  This way, I can praise those who originally came up with them and also so that I can reference it again for my own use.

Let’s start off with this Spiced Red Lentil, Tomato and Kale Soup from Oh She Glows. I purchased this cookbook prior to Allyson coming home for her winter break. It’s a 6 week long break and I wanted to have some vegan recipes on hand for her. I have heard so many rave reviews about this cookbook! Then a friend from work was kind enough to bring me her copy to look at before I made my decision to buy it or just make copies from hers. I was tagging so many mouthwatering recipes that I decided that day to buy the Kindle version. This recipe was the first one that caught my eye. I wanted easy recipes with not a lot of ingredients.

spiceylentil

FROM THE WEBSITE:

Yield: 5.5- 6 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp coconut oil (or other oil)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 & 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp smoked sweet paprika, to taste
  • 1/8th tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 14-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 5-6 cups vegetable broth, more if desired
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • fine grain sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 handfuls torn kale leaves or spinach

1. In a large pot, sauté the onion and garlic in oil for about 5-6 minutes over medium heat. Add in the celery and sauté for a few minutes more.

2. Stir in the bay leaf and the spices (cumin, chili powder, coriander, paprika, cayenne). You can add half the spices and add more later if you prefer.

3. Stir in the can of tomatoes (including juice), broth, and lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and then simmer, uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes, until lentils are tender and fluffy.

4. Stir in kale or spinach and season to taste adding more spices if you wish.
Our thoughts:

I used kale which really adds to the heartiness of this soup.  Also, my store did not have red lentils so I used regular ones.  I have never made lentils before but this took more like 45 minutes to cook.  Maybe red ones cook faster? Actually that is when I took it off the heat because I was losing broth.  The lentils were still only half cooked.  But, by the time we got to eat it, they were just right. Next time I will buy extra broth just in case this happens again.  I thought the spice factor was just right. If you are used to eating spicy foods, like my husband, you will want to up the heat. Dan was a little skeptical about this recipe (probably because there is no meat in it).  However, he really liked it a lot.  The spices give it a nice warmth without overpowering the flavors of the vegetable broth, lentils and kale.

Are you a fan of lentils?

What is your favorite way to prepare them? 

Good Eats – Beef and Cabbage soup!

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Well hello again! It’s been a while since I made a new recipe or came up with one on my own. With all of us on different “diets”, it makes it difficult to cook and please everyone.  So, we go out to eat pretty much all the time now.  More so since Allyson is away at school. I am not complaining but sometimes, that gets tired. However, I have been craving cabbage and soup for about a week.  I like stuffed cabbage but don’t like all the work. So I decided to combine the two with some changes along the way. Yesterday, I whipped up a large pot of beef and cabbage soup that was so much better then I ever anticipated! Since I suffer from CRS, I thought I better write this one down.  Keep in mind that cooking, unlike baking, does not require actual measurements- especially with soup. But this is basically how it went:

FullSizeRender

2 lbs ground beef

2 -14oz cans of dark red kidney beans

4 c box of beef stock

6 c box of beef broth

5 cups of chopped cabbage (almost 1 large head – you want bite size)

1 -8 oz (? small can ) of tomato paste

1 large yellow onion – chopped

2 cloves of garlic – minced

2-3 cups of water to top off the batch so all the cabbage is covered

Salt, pepper, chili powder and cayenne pepper to taste

Why stock AND broth? Because that is what the store had. Just go with what is available. Not sure when to use a stock vs broth? This is a great explanation of the two.

Brown meat (S&P to taste), drain and add to the pot reserving juices in pan.  Saute onions and garlic in beef juices approx. 5 minutes then add to pot.

Combine all other ingredients in to the pot. Add the salt & three ground peppers to taste. Bring to a boil then simmer for at least an hour.

There are so many ways to make this your own!  If you want it more like a chili flavor, use cumin.  If you want it meatless, add a grain and some carrots, portobello mushrooms plus vegetable broth. This can also be thrown into a crock pot and left to sit on low for a few hours.

I hope you all enjoy this soup this much as I did.  This is going in the rotation as a winter comfort food.

Good Eats – Zucchini Salad

Holy smokes! Last night I made this quick and easy zucchini salad to accompany our grilled chicken and sweet potatoes (also grilled).  This meets all of our dietary guidelines of vegetarian, dairy free and sugar free – Score one for mom! Since we all liked it so much, I wanted to share it with you fine people.

zucchini

 

These measurements are all estimated and figure it will feed 4-6 people.  For our family of three, there was enough left for us to have some for lunch the next day.  So, use your judgement.

  • 1 cup Brianna’s Real french Vinaigrette dressing
  • 5 small zucchini peeled cut lengthwise and sliced thin *
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • sea salt to taste

~ Mix together, cover and store in the fridge while the rest of dinner is cooking to give the flavors some time to marry together.  Give it a quick stir before serving.

*if the zucchini is large and has seeds, make sure you scoop them out so that the salad does not get watery.

It has been decided that after eating this, we all prefer raw zucchini over it cooked. So, I am sure I will playing around with other flavor combos this summer!

Have you ever tried Brianna’s dressings? This french vinaigrette is very light and did not overpower the salad. I was originally looking to use a greek vinaigrette but those typically have cheese in it and sugar.  This french version was the perfect find! Their poppy seed is my favorite (and it’s dairy free!)! I like it on salad with strawberry, chia seed and tuna or crab.

I was not asked to review this dressing nor was I compensated in any way.  This is just me, showing love to a fantastic product.

Good Eats – Dairy Free Chicken Tetrazzini

Hello peeps!  Ok so here it is… recipe #3 from my meal prep last weekend: Dairy Free Chicken Tetrazzini.  Well, mostly dairy free.  I used regular butter instead of soy margarine.  Butter does not irritate my insides like milk and cheese does so I went for it and made out ok. Plus, who knows when I would use soy margarine again.  Honestly, it does not sound appetizing either. Other changes to the recipe were that I only bought 1 box of dried mushrooms which I noticed after I got home that it said it was a 1/2 oz.  It looked like a lot to me.  Instead of throwing away the soaked mushrooms, I chopped them up and added them to the mix. It was a good call.  Next time I would use more mushrooms and less peas.  This recipe is from About.com and you can get the link here.

                                                                            Yum!

“This dairy-free tetrazzini recipe is one of my homecooking favorites, both comforting and easy to make. For a vegetarian variation, simply substitute the chicken for a vegetarian meat substitute.”
Serves 6 to 8

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz can reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 ounces dried mushrooms, such as porcini
  • 1 pound pasta, such as linguine or fettuccine
  • 1/3 cup dairy-free soy margarine, divided
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onions
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups plain, unsweetened soymilk, preferably a refrigerated variety
  • 4 cups cooked chicken, chopped into pieces
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen peas
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Parsley, for garnishing

Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Bring the broth and water to a boil and pour over the dried mushrooms in a bowl just big enough to hold the mushrooms and liquid. Allow the mushrooms to soak, covered, for 20 minutes. Discard the mushrooms and reserve the liquid.
2. Meanwhile, boil a pot of salted water, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
3. Make the sauce. In a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, heat 1 T. of the soy margarine, adding the onions once hot. Stirring frequently, cook until the onions are slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining soy margarine stirring until melted. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until the flour smells slightly toasted but is not burnt. Gradually whisk in the milk and the reserved mushroom liquid, stirring constantly. Bring the liquid just below the boiling point, turn down the heat to low and cook until slightly thickened. Add the cooked chicken, peas and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Stir in the cooked pasta and portion into a medium-sized casserole dish. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 30-35 minutes. Serve hot, garnishing with fresh parsley if desired.

The sauce was so creamy! You could not tell this was made without cream or other thickening dairy ingredients.  This is another win in the casserole category!

Good Eats – Sweet & Spicy Pulled Pork

Howdy peeps! Sorry it’s taking me so long to post.  My bosses are away which means added duties at work which means making me so tired after work that I don’t want to think let alone write.  I could not let this week go by without sharing some recipes. I nailed my food prep this week making THREE new recipes!  Each one did not disappoint.  You should know that besides my #1 food weakness for buffalo wings, my #2 is pulled pork. Major comfort food! It’s certainly not healthy with all the sugar from the sauce but calorie wise, there are worse things I can think of.  One Carolina style pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw (as if there is any other way to eat it!) on MFP averages between 330-580 calories.  I can handle that! Although I do not eat it weekly monthly, I do enjoy a good sandwich once in a while. I know which restaurants make it well and others I know where not to order it again because they don’t get the sauce right.  I have tried at least five times in the past to make it on my own based off of recipes found on line.  Each time the end result landed in the trash.  This recipe was found randomly the same day I stumbled on this fellow PA blogger (and now follow), Leslee at Her Happy Balance!  Fate maybe? IDK but the recipe turned out AMAZING!

So here it is – straight off Leslee’s website:

Sweet & Spicy Pulled Pork

Prep Time:10 min Cook Time:9 hr Total Time:9 hr 10 min
Serves 8
Ingredients
  • 4.5-5lb Pork Butt
  • 1 Medium Sweet Onion
  • 1.5 Cups Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 Cup Root Beer
  • 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Liquid Smoke
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Liquid Aminos (or Soy Sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1.5 Tbsp. Minced Garlic (about 4 Cloves)
  • 1.5 Tbsp. Ground Mustard
  • 1 Tsp. Sriracha
  • 1/2 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Bay Leaf
For The Rub
  • 2 Tsp. Cumin
  • 2 Tsp. Cinnamon
  • 2 Tsp. Celery Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
Instructions
  • 1
    Chop up the onion and place it on the bottom of the crock pot. Next, place the pork on top of the onions in the crock pot. In a separate bowl, combine all ingredients (except for rub ingredients) and mix well. In a small bowl, combine the rub ingredients and then sprinkle on top of the meat and use your fingers to rub them into it. Take the bowl of the root beer and BBQ sauce mix and pour it over the meat. Cover your crockpot and cook on low for 8-10 hours. After 8 hours, I used a fork to pull the meat apart, then I let the meat simmer in the juice for another 1 hour before serving. Serve with slaw or banana peppers (optional) on a bun, enjoy!
Notes
  • I used Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce. And I did not trim the fat on the meat first, but I would highly recommend doing that as it makes the pulling part later a lot less messy.
her happy balance http://www.herhappybalance.com/

(My note-  I did leave the bone in and the fat on.  The meat fell away from it all very easily.  I have removed the fat in the past and I think that was the down fall each time.  The meat was always too dry and did not shred well.)

Here is what mine looked like:

Toss this on a roll and top off with coleslaw… Ooooo Weeeeee that’s good stuff! Slightly sweet, a little tangy, add a little spice but not much… this is perfection! I would make this again for sure – maybe for a  summer picnic or pot luck.

I know when in certain areas of PA, I ask the waitress if this sandwich comes with the slaw on top and I get funny looks.  Strangers have even come up to me to talk about this odd choice.  I never thought it was odd. This is how I grew up liking it.   Don’t knock it until you tried it as “they” say. It’s good stuff!

What about you – Do you like pulled pork or any similar BBQ pulled meat? If so, how do you eat it? 

Chicken and Rice Casserole /Dairy Free

Happy Wednesday! I am so excited to be sharing this casserole recipe with you from Jen @ Gluten Free and Dairy Free Living!   When Dan and I were brainstorming on what to make this week, he had asked for chicken tetrazzini.  Having no idea what the ingredients were until I googled it, I quickly ruled it out because of all the dairy in it ( sorry hun ).  I really wanted to make some kind of casserole so on I searched for something dairy free.  After about 15 minutes, I came across this one for Chicken and Rice. The ingredients were simple (no cream of something soup, milk and a ton of cheese needed).

          I do not think it’s the lighting in the photo this time… it really did turn out this odd brown color

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces, patted dry
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb cremini or button mushrooms, sliced (I used baby bellas 1 -8oz pack)
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry or white wine (I just used extra chicken stock)
  • 1 1/3 cups chicken stock (more if you are making this with brown rice)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup raw, medium or long grain, white rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
Directions
1. Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Sauté chicken over medium high heat in olive oil until it turns golden brown.  The chicken doesn’t have to be cooked through, just browned on the outside
2. Reduce heat to medium.  Sauté onion until translucent.  Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.  Place in casserole dish.
3. Dry sauté the mushrooms until golden.  Place in casserole dish
4. De-glaze the pan with chicken stock or sherry.  Place in casserole dish
5. Add mayonnaise, coconut milk, lemon juice, rice, salt, Italian seasoning, and paprika to casserole and mix well.
6. Place chicken on top and cover tightly.  Bake for 45 min (longer for brown rice) at 375 degrees.  Bake for an additional few minutes uncovered if there is still liquid that needs to be absorbed. (mine took an additional 10 minutes)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I have never used mayo in a dish like this so it did scare me a bit.  Going into making it, I was not expecting too much in the outcome.  I don’t think Dan was either. However, we were both blown away at how good this was! It tastes just like chicken and stove top stuffing.  Dan went back for seconds and I had to remind him to take it easy since this was supposed to last all week.  He then said, “Yeah, that’s not happening.” LOL  That’s when I knew this was a keeper.  I definitely will be making this one again soon. 

One thing I want to learn is how to make creamy, delicious dishes but with dairy free ingredients. Some times I miss that quality in my food. I know that once I make some of these recipes, it will get easier to make substitutions.

How about you? Are you a whiz at altering recipes?

Good Eats NEW Recipe of the Week

Howdy peeps!  I have been thinking about food a lot the past few days. ( What else is new right? ) I have been coming across some really good recipes either posted by my fellow I’m Fit Possible peeps or by simply stumbling upon clean eating blogs.  I decided I was going to start something new here today: Good Eats NEW Recipe of the Week!

I want to pick a new recipe to incorporate into my weekly meal planning and share it on here with you.  This will get me eating outside the box more as I will be searching for new (and maybe a little fun) foods to try.

As I mentioned in my last post, there was a recipe going around on FB for “Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas”.  There was no direct link to the FB post but I was able to Google it and came up with this exact recipe from Real Mom Kitchen.  There are a TON of recipes up on this site!  I will be adding Real Mom to my list of foodies to reference back to for inspiration.

                                                                       (source)

Ingredients
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 large bell pepper, seeded and sliced (I use half a green and half a red)
  • 12 flour tortillas
  • Toppings such as cheese, sour cream, and guacamole – if desired

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken strips in a greased 13×9 baking dish.
  2. In a small bowl combine the oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt
  3. Drizzle the spice mixture over the chicken and stir to coat.
  4. Next add the tomatoes, peppers, and onions to the dish and stir to combine.
  5. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Serve on tortillas with desired toppings.
 
Now, I did double everything because this was part of my weekly meal plan for two. And I also dumped it all into a bowl and poured the sauce on top then mixed it together because I am lazy like that… no layering then stir again needed. I baked it for 25 minutes. The onion and pepper were cooked perfectly (not soggy but not crispy). The chicken has stayed juicy and tender too!  Dan topped his with cheese and sour cream. I skipped the toppings. We both liked the flavor – a little kick of heat, not overly spicy. This is gets a thumbs up! 
    Are you a fajita fanatic?
    Do you have a good original recipe that you might want to share with me?