Category Archives: Recipes

Lentil Chili

It’s fall and starting to feel like winter. That means fall festivals, football, and the beginning of holiday/family gatherings. I have lived in a lot of places around the country. No matter where I go, this time of year is ALWAYS the time for chili cook-offs. I admit I’m not usually craving a big bowl of chili. I prefer chili as part of a meal – on a baked potato, on Fritos, as part of a taco salad, etc.

This chili is different though. The flavors in this are spot on, and it is quick and easy to make (especially if you have a pressure cooker). It seems a little strange to have chili with lentils instead of beans. But everyone will love it. Even my little kids ate it!

Lentil Chili (Serves 8)

1 pound 93/7 ground turkey
½ large yellow onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrot
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14.5 ounce) cans no salt added diced tomatoes
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 ½ cups brown lentils
1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Pressure Cooker
1. In pressure cooker, sauté the ground turkey with onions, carrots, bell pepper, and garlic until meat is brown and vegetables soft.
2. Add the tomatoes, broth, lentils, chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, and pepper. Close pressure cooker. Bring to high pressure and cook for 10 minutes. Let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then manually release to open. Serve with ¼ cup shredded cheese per serving.

Stove top
1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, saute the ground turkey (if using) with onions, carrots, bell pepper, and garlic until meat is brown and vegetables soft.
2. Add the tomatoes, broth, lentils, chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, and pepper. Bring to a boil Reduce heat, and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Serve with ¼ cup shredded cheese per serving.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 378
Protein: 29 gm
Fat: 16 gm
Saturated Fat: 7 gm
Cholesterol: 70 mg
Carbohydrates: 33 gm
Fiber: 6 gm
Sodium: 322 mg

Source: adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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Eiffel Tower Salad

Earlier this summer, I had the amazing opportunity to go to Paris. I went for a few days back in college, so it wasn’t my first trip. But it was fun to go with adults and not with a college mind set. Art and museums and culture were very exciting, but delicious FOOD was high on my priority list. And Paris delivered (of course).

This salad blew my mind away. I got it at a little restaurant right next to the Eiffel Tower. Everything about it was just amazing. This is my best recollection of it. Enjoy!

Eiffel Tower Salad (Serves 1)

Eiffel Tower Salad

2 cups spinach or mixed greens
⅓ cup chopped tomatoes
1 inch of cucumber, sliced thin
½ cup cooked and chilled green beans (see note)
1 ounce blue cheese
1 hardboiled egg, sliced (optional)
2 tablespoons light honey mustard dressing

1. Layer ingredients, top with dressing. Serve immediately.

Note on green beans: While you could use canned green beans, they are among my absolute least favorite foods in the whole world. To be delicious and authentic, you want fresh green beans. Cook these for 2-3 minutes (just until they turn bright green) in boiling water. Then remove and put in ice water to stop the cooking. Chill until ready to use. You want the green beans cold.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 293
Protein: 16 gm
Fat: 17 gm
Saturated Fat: 7 gm
Cholesterol: 207 mg
Carbohydrates: 21 gm
Fiber: 4 gm
Sodium: 694 mg

Source: my memory from a restaurant in France

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Fig, Pig, and a Goat Pizza

I’ve been reading a lot about decision fatigue, particularly related to meal planning. Do you struggle with meal planning? I’ll admit it is not my 100% percent favorite activity. I do try to follow a few rules that make it easier.

1) We always eat leftovers on Monday.
2) We always eat breakfast for dinner on Tuesday.

Boom! 2 out of seven days are done and I didn’t even have to think about it. Usually. Breakfast for dinner at our house is usually clear out random ingredients in the fridge into a hash or omelets. Or just pancakes. Because my kids like it, and one night a week with no arguing over dinner is AMAZING.

Beyond those hard rules, things are more nebulous.

3) Mix up the proteins (not eat chicken 3 times).
4) Mix up the ethnicity (no tacos, burritos, and quesadillas in one week).
5) Weekend food on Fridays and/or Saturdays.

That last one may seem strange. But I went on an awful streak of planning big elaborate meals on Saturday night. The last thing I want to do on Saturday night is cook. But if I’ve planned pizza or burgers, I much less inclined to want to go out (since that is what I’d likely go get).

This pizza has been a HUGE hit for the adults in our house. The kids, I’ll be honest, stick to cheese or pepperoni. But I’m 100% ok with that. This sounds a little odd, but trust me. It’s delicious and simple. Perfect for this upcoming weekend. Enjoy!

Fig, Pig, and a Goat Pizza (Serves 4)

(Sorry for no picture this time. We ate it too quickly)

1 pizza dough (I use half of this recipe)
¼ cup jar fig jam/preserves
6-8 thin slices of prosciutto
4 ounces goat cheese
4 cups arugula
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425. Prepare pizza dough according to directions, including parbaking for 7 minutes.
2. Spread jam evenly over pizza. Crumble goat cheese over the top. Drape prosciutto slices around the top.
3. Bake until done, about 8-10 more minutes.
4. Whisk together lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper. Lightly dress arugula with dressing. Serve on top of pizza slices or on the side. (avoid lots of dressing getting on the pizza).

Recipe notes: I’ve used a couple different brands of fig jam. My new favorite has been a balsamic fig paste. If your jam is very chunky, you can cut up the figs to spread them out. I’m too lazy. In searching online, there is a lot of division over putting the prosciutto on before or after baking. We honestly didn’t taste much difference. If you have a preference, follow your heart on that.

Source: adapted from several sites online

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Salsa and Egg Avocado Toast

What is your opinion on hard-boiled eggs? Growing up, I never cared for them much. In college, I rediscovered them somehow and was hooked. My husband won’t touch them. My kids were mildly interested when we were dyeing our Easter eggs, but quickly lost interest.

If you are in the positive camp but are looking for some more “creative” ideas, look no further. I love this avocado toast. It is great for a quick breakfast or lunch. Go peel some colorful eggs and enjoy!

Salsa and Egg Avocado Toast (Serves 1*)

Salsa and Egg Avocado Toast

2 slices whole wheat bread
1 avocado, smashed
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1 ounce cheddar cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons salsa

1. Toast bread to desired degree of doneness.
2. Spread avocado over toast. Top with egg, cheese, and salsa.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 755
Protein: 32 gm
Fat: 52 gm
Saturated Fat: 13 gm
Cholesterol: 401 gm
Carbohydrates: 47 gm
Fiber: 18 gm
Sodium: 861 mg

Recipe Notes: This makes a BIG serving. I would likely recommend starting with just one toast. But I HATE recipes that use up half of something (like an avocado) that doesn’t save particularly well. And the size of cheese is really easy to use up pre-sliced sandwich cheese. So I know the nutrition looks a bit crazy – mostly due to the avocado. Just take a deep breath and remember avocados have healthy fats.

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Wild Rice Pilaf

I find it useful to browse through my fridge and pantry occasionally to see what random items are lurking there. I often find ingredients I bought for one specific recipe then forgot to use the rest. Happen to anyone else?

Well, in case anyone is hesitant to try the delicious Chicken and Wild Rice Soup I posted recently for fear that the rest of their package of wild rice will go to waste, today’s recipe is the solution. This recipe was easy and delicious and cleared out the wild rice left in my package from the last batch of soup I made. Enjoy!

Wild Rice Pilaf (Serves 4-6)

Wild Rice Pilaf

½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts
2 to 3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 to 2 strips lemon zest
¼ -½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 cup wild rice, preferably whole not broken
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons feta cheese crumbles

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts, garlic, strips of lemon zest, and thyme. Swirl and cook until the nuts and garlic are beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.

2. Add the wild rice and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until lightly toasted, about 1 minute tops. Stir in the chicken broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check the texture of the rice and, if needed, continue simmering until tender. Add more ¼ cup water as needed, if liquid runs out in the pan.

3. Remove from the heat. Remove the lemon zest before serving. Fluff with a fork. Stir in black pepper, remains lemon zest, and lemon juice. Top with green onions and feta cheese before serving.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving):

Calories: 187
Protein: 9 g
Fat: 7 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 4 mg
Carbohydrates: 24 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 95 mg

Recipe notes: Make the lemon zest strips by running a vegetable peeler around a lemon. If that is too weird for you, you could just use the zest of ½ a lemon.

Source: slightly adapted from Tyler Florence, food network.com

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Oatmeal Whole Grain Bread

I woke up it to snowing this morning. After a night of not much sleep and several days of stress with a kid with the flu, it was the last thing I wanted to see. So I took some advice and made some homemade bread and soup. Cold weather screams homemade bread to me for some reason. And there isn’t much better in this world than a grilled cheese sandwich on homemade bread.

This bread is quickly becoming my go to. It sounds a bit odd for sandwiches, but I promise it works. I’ve made it with and without the cinnamon. I think I may slightly prefer it without cinnamon, but it isn’t an overpowering flavor when you use it.

Oatmeal Whole Grain Bread (Makes 2 loaves, 32 slices)

Oatmeal Whole Grain Bread

2 ½ cups boiling water
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
1 tablespoon instant yeast
5 ½ cups white whole wheat flour

1. Combine water through cinnamon in large mixing bowl. Cool to lukewarm (no more than 120 degrees F).
2. Add the yeast and flour, stirring to form a rough dough. Knead with a dough hook for 7 minutes or by hand for 10 minutes; knead until dough is smooth an satiny.
3. Lightly grease bowl. Place dough in bowl. Cover with a light towel or lightly greased plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour, about double in bulk.
4. Divide dough in half and shape into a loaf. Place in lightly greased loaf pans. Cover pans with towel or plastic wrap as above. Allow loaves to rise until they crown 1 inch over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.
5. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Immediately remove loaves to wire rack to completely cool.

Nutritional Information (Amount per slice):

Calories: 109
Protein: 3 g
Fat: 2 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 4 mg
Carbohydrates: 21 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sodium: 220 mg

Recipe notes: I have only made this with white whole wheat flour. If using “regular” whole wheat flour, I would probably split it with all-purpose. The original recipe called for 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour, 4 cups all-purpose. I’ve had no problems just using 100% white whole wheat flour.

Source: slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour

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Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

When I was in college, the food court had these amazing bread bowls with soup. My favorite was on Wednesdays – Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. It was delicious soup made even more delicious when it would soak into the bread bowl. (Why can I remember what soup they served on what day but I can’t remember what I’m doing once I walk into a room?)

I’ve searched for soup like it and never really found it. I figured it was nostalgia’s fault – I just remembered it being super amazing. But then I tried this recipe. It is even better than I remember the other soup being, which is saying something. Even better, it doesn’t take long to make. Since they are forecasting several inches of snow and ice tomorrow at my house, I will probably be making this to warm up. Enjoy!

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup (Serves 6)

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

5 bacon slices, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup thinly sliced carrot
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 tsp dried thyme
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
4 cups lightly packed chopped kale or other dark leafy green
½ teaspoon black pepper
6 ounces shredded cooked chicken breast
2 cups cooked wild rice
1 cup nonfat half and half
⅓ cup all-purpose flour

1. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon; cook until crisp. Remove from pan, draining on paper towels. Reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings in pot, discard the rest.
2. Add onion, carrot, and celery. Saute 3-5 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add garlic, cook 2 minutes more. Add chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes.
3. Add kale, salt, pepper, chicken and rice. Cook 3 more minutes. .
4. Combine half-and-half and flour in a small bowl. Stir into soup. Cook until thickened, about 2-5 minutes. Stir in bacon and serve.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 292
Protein: 17 g
Fat: 13 g
Saturated Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 36 mg
Carbohydrates: 29 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sodium: 150 mg

Recipe notes: In the soup pictured above, I used spinach because that is what I had on hand. I’ve also used kale. Whatever leafy green you like and have on hand works here. I have also substituted evaporated milk for the half and half with good results.

Source: adapted from Cooking Light

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