Red Lentil Curry with Spinach over Wheat Berry – lunches this week

Slightly adapted from Naturally Ella

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So, this past weekend, it turned very cold here in MN. We’re talking sub-zero kind of cold. Naturally, I was looking for a recipe to make for my lunches that would warm me up.

Enter Red Lentil Curry with Spinach. I just want to say…WHOA!  OK, you guys, this is one of the simplest and quickest recipes I’ve come across in a long time. AND, one of the most flavorful recipes I’ve had in a long time.

I have to admit, I didn’t try any while I was cooking it up – at 8pm on Saturday night – so I truly didn’t know how good it was until I ate it for lunch today…I like to live life on the edge. I figured I bring enough food to graze all day, if I had to forego the main course, I wouldn’t starve. And, I indeed didn’t starve…I cried that I only had the small portion. I was wanting more. So, now…

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I am really looking forward to lunch tomorrow, just kidding, but not really!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup Whole Fat Coconut Milk
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup red curry paste
  • 3/4 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups fresh spinach

Instructions

  1. In a high-sided skillet,over medium-high heat, mix coconut milk, water and red curry paste. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add red lentils. Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until lentils are soft.
  3. Remove from heat and add spinach. Stir the spinach until it is wilted and mixed thoroughly.
  4. Serve over 1/4 cup of prepared wheat berries.

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Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole

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Slightly adapted from Teaspoon of Spice

Do you ever feel like you’re in a rut? You keep making the same thing, the same day every week? For us,  we have Sunday steak. This meal usually consists of a steak, my husband grills, and either a salad for me or Brussels sprouts.  He usually has a baked potato! We live life on the wild side!

So,  when I placed this casserole on the table instead of our regulars, dinner got a little exciting. Okay,  maybe it wasn’t exciting for my husband (he’s more the “this food in front of me is sustenance.  If it tastes good,  then bonus for me” kind of guy). But,  for me,  I was venturing on a bold new adventure in Sunday night dinner. Boldly standing tall and proclaiming “We shall have variety in our food”. And then we dined!

There are a few reasons I really like this recipe:

  • Lower calories  – 195 per serving (6 servings total)
  • Easy to make – literally took me about 40 minutes from start to table.
  • Cheesy,  cheesy, cheesy

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Yukon gold or other yellow potato
  • 3 cloves of garlic,  sliced
  • 3 oz fat-free cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Panko
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chives

Instructions

  1. Peel and quarter potatoes.  (Can leave skin on, if desired)
  2. Place potatoes and garlic in large stock pot, and then cover with cold water.
  3. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook potatoes until they are tender,  about 10 – 15 minutes.  Drain all but 1/4 cup of water from potatoes.
  4. Return potatoes to the pot,  setting the reserved liquids off to the side for later use.
  5. To potatoes,  add cream cheese,  yogurt,  and half of the cheddar cheese. Using a potato masher,  mash potatoes to the consistency desired.
  6. When mashed,  stir in salt,pepper, and about 3 to 4 Tbsp of the reserved potato water.
  7. Turn potatoes out into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Gently and evenly spread potatoes in dish.
  8. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.
  9. While potatoes are baking,  mix Panko and remaining cheese until well combined.
  10. Remove potatoes from oven and heat broiler to high setting.
  11. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture on top of potatoes and broil for 3 to 5 minutes (taking care not to let them burn).
  12. Top with chives.

Zucchini Spaghetti with Lentil Marinara – lunches this week

20160103_104558-1.jpgSlightly adapted from Lemons And Basil

First off – my father-in-law gave me this cool julienne peeler for Christmas.20160103_104813-1.jpg I just used it for the first time today…and I have to say, I’m ready to julienine everything in sight! Potatoes,  butternut squash, apples…the possibilities are endless.

Now, where did that dog and cat go? 😉

I love how it slices perfect zucchini noodles! 20160103_102315-1.jpg

Ingredients 

  • 2-3 large zucchini, julienned or spiralized
  • 1/2 dried lentils, rinsed and sorted,  then cooked to package directions

For the sauce

  • 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup  tomato paste
  • 1/4 medium red onion,  finely chopped
  • 2 small garlic cloves,  minced
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp  oregano
  • 3 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Instructions 

  1. Cook lentils according to package.
  2. While lentils cook,  put all ingredients for sauce in food processor,  blend on high for 25-30 seconds or until thick sauce forms.
  3. Add sauce to small pan and cook over medium heat to bring to a boil,  reduce heat and simmer 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Once lentils are cooked,  add to marinara sauce. Take off heat and set aside.
  5. In a large skillet over medium-low heat,  add zucchini and cook until soft and pasta-like (about 5 minutes).
  6. Evenly divide zucchini and top with marinara sauce.
  7. Enjoy!

Cast Iron Skillet Cookie

Courtesy of Sallys Baking Addictionimg_20151205_201650.jpg

All I can say is yum. My husband and I had a sweet tooth a couple of weeks ago,  and I was really wanting cookies-enter the cast iron skillet skillet cookie.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup,  unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs,  room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup M&Ms baking bits

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Lightly grease skillet.
  3. In a large bowl, using a hand-held or stand mixer, beat the butter for 1 minute until smooth and creamy.
  4. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
  5. Beat in eggs and vanilla on high, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl, as needed.
  6. In a second bowl, whisk the flour,  cornstarch, baking soda, and salt together until combined.
  7. On slow speed, slowly dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be thick.
  8. Add chocolate chips and M&Ms, mix on low until combined.
  9. Using a spatula or wooden spoon,  spread the cookie dough evenly into the prepared skillet.
  10. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until puffed, browned on the sides,  and lightly browned on top.
  11. Allow cookie to slightly cool in pan set on a wire rack.

vegetarian ribollita

Ribollita is an Italian peasant stew. When meat was too expensive to use in every meal, veggie-packed stews would be made. Not only were they tasty, they were filling and healthy.20151126_130102-1.jpg

I made this pot of goodness for Thanksgiving, along with a turkey and all the trimmings. The small amount of red pepper flakes added to the stew give it a slow-forming heat that warms like being wrapped in your favorite fluffy blanket. This stew is warm and comforting on a cold winter’s day.

Slightly adapted from Cooking Light/December 201520151126_110225-1.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz rustic Italian bread, cut into large cubes
  • 4 cups water, divided
  • 8 oz purple cabbage, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 8 oz Tuscan kale, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion,  diced
  • 1 cup (1/2-inch) chopped carrot
  • 1 cup (1/2-inch) chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf  parsley
  • 2 Yukon gold potatoes,  cut into 1/2 cubes
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted tomato puree
  • 14 oz can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°.
  2. Spread bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until toasted.
  3. Bring 2 cups water, cabbage, and kale to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook for 20 minutes or until cabbage mixture is wilted and tender. Drain.
  4. Heat large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add 1 Tbsp oil, onion, carrot, celery, and parsley to pan; cook 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Add potatoes; cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in cabbage mixture, salt, and red pepper flakes; cook 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in remaining 2 cups of water, vegetable stock, tomato puree, and beans; bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, partially covered for 30 minutes, storing occasionally.
  8. Stir in bread cubes; cook for 20 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
  10. Serve and enjoy.

Beautiful chocolate chip banana bread

 

wpid-20151121_155020-1.jpgSo,  I had a few bananas in my freezer, and I needed to make a little space….what better way to use up bananas than to make bread.wpid-20151121_154801.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 very ripe bananas
  • 3 cups fluor
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Grease and flour two bread pans. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, combine butter, sugar,  and honey. Mix on medium for about 5 minutes or until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add eggs. Mix until combined.
  5. Add bananas. Mix until combined.
  6. Sift flour, salt,  and baking soda.
  7. Blend thoroughly into mixture.
  8. Using a wooden spoon,  fold in chocolate chips. Make sure to scrape the bowl well,  sometimes some of the honey, butter and sugar stick to the bowl. *
  9. Split batter evenly between the two pans.
  10. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

*I like to scrape the sugary, buttery goodness out of the bottom of the bowl after I’ve split the batter in the pans. I put big globs in each pan for a surprise pocket of the sugary goodness.

crockpot cuban black beans

A different spin on serving black beans. This can be served as a side or as a meal.

These beans have a slight spicy kick and are very filling.  You can serve this over rice for an elegant dinner or crush some tortilla chips on top for a less formal meal.

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Courtesy of My Recipes

Ingredients:

  •  1 pound dried black beans
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large onion)
  • 1.5 cups chopped red bell peppers
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds,  crushed
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 (10 oz) cans diced tomatoes with green chilis,  drained

Instructions:

  1. Sort and wash beans, place in large bowl.
  2. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans.
  3. Let stand for 8 hours.
  4. Drain beans and transfer to slow cooker.
  5. Add 2 cups water and the next 10 ingredients (through oregano).
  6. Stir well.
  7. Cover and cook on HIGH for 5 hours or until beans are tender.
  8. Stir in vinegar and tomatoes.
  9. Serve over brown rice, if desired.

lunches this week – smokey cabbage stew

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Courtesy of Gourmandelle

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium cabbage
  • 2- 14 oz cans Cannellini beans
  • Large onion, coursely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves,  minced
  • 1 Tbsp sweet paprika
  • 3 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 5 Tbsp no salt added tomato paste
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper,  to taste
  • Water

Instructions:

  1.  Chop cabbage.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Add onion and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add cabbage and 1 cup of water. Cover with lid and let soften for 10 minutes.
  5. When cabbage has softened,  add all spices, except the tomato paste.
  6. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
  7. Add beans,  with water,  and tomato paste. Cook for 15 minutes. (If needed,  add more water so it won’t stick to the bottom of pan and burn.)
  8. Let set 10 minutes before serving.

 

lunches this week – cheesy baked spaghetti squash

slightly adapted from http://www.skinnytaste.com

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Hello Sunday Smiles,

Spaghetti squash is one of those foods that amaze me.  A vegetable that is so normal looking before baking, but add a little heat, and it miraculously turns into a spaghetti-like dish. Amazing.

On that note,  who discovered this? I mean,  did someone one day say,  “let’s bake this and see what happens”. However it happened,  I,  for one, am ecstatic. Bring on lunch!

Have a great week! wpid-20151011_153020-1.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash (5 1/2 cups,  cooked)
  • 1 Tbsp  Brummel and Brown Greek yogurt butter or regular butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups regular almond milk or 1% milk
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 8 oz reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups baby spinach (about 4 oz)
  • 1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cut squash lengthwise,  in half. Remove and discard seeds.
  3. Brush olive oil on cut sides of squash and place cut – side down in a baking dish.
  4. Bake until tender,  about an hour.
  5. When baked,  separate the stands of squash with a fork and place in large bowl. Discard shells.
  6. Keep oven at 375°.
  7. In a medium sauce pan,  heat butter over medium heat.
  8. Add onions,  and cook for about 2 minutes.
  9. Stir in flour, and reduce heat to low and cook, stirring continually for 3 to 4 minutes.
  10. Add milk and vegetable broth and continue, raising heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil and becomes smooth and thick,  about 2 minutes. Stir continuously season with salt and pepper.
  11. Once thick,  remove from heat and add cheddar cheese, and mix well until cheese is melted.
  12. Add cheese sauce to cooked spaghetti squash. Mix well.
  13. Add baby spinach, carefully mix.
  14. Transfer mixture to a baking dish.
  15. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and pine nuts.
  16. Bake until bubbly and golden,  about 25 to 30 minutes.

chicken, bacon, and pesto lasagne roll ups

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Pasta,  in any form,  is delightful.  And these lasagne rolls are no exception. And,  they are so easy to make. wpid-20151010_173405.jpg

The sauce is light and creamy; the stuffing of chicken, ricotta, and pesto compliment each other, bringing a symphony of taste exploding in your mouth. wpid-20151010_180602-2.jpg

Courtesy of http://www.heatherlikesfood.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
  • 12 oz bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
  • 8 lasagne noodles,  cooked
  • 3/4 cup Romano cheese, finely grated and divided
  • 16 oz part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup prepared basil Pesto
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cloves garlic,  finely minced
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cook lasagne noodles according to package directions,  drain and drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the top of them to prevent sticking.
  3. In a small saucepan melt butter and cook garlic,  about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute,  stirring continuously.
  5. Whisk in milk and chicken broth and stir until it comes to a boil and is thickened.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 cup of the Romano cheese.
  7. In a small bowl,  combine ricotta cheese with remaining 1/2 cup Romano cheese ah be 1/2 tsp  kosher salt.
  8. Pour 1/2 cup of sauce across the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  9. One at a time, lay a lasagne noodle on a cutting board and spread 3-4 Tbsp of the ricotta mixture on the noodle,  followed by 1 Tbsp pesto.
  10. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup chicken and a Tbsp of crumbled bacon over pesto.
  11. Roll noodle carefully and place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.
  12. Pour remaining sauce over the rolls and top with mozzarella cheese.
  13. Cover pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until sauce is bubbly.