Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Lots of Lentils

I've eaten a lot of different kinds of food in my life, by never had lentils.  Now, since my vegan in the house doesn't eat anything from an animal, I have to improvise when making food.   So I chose lentils, a great source of fiber and protein, to make Lentil Soup.  I had to figure out how to make it, played around with a few ingredients and VOILA!  I made a delicious easy soup.

This soup is very easy to make, it uses inexpensive ingredients, and the house smells so good while it's cooking.  Serve it with a crusty loaf of Italian bread or whole grain bread, to sop up all those tasty juices, or a few toasted croutons on top, and don't forget the grated cheese if you like.

Some of my ingredients, clean up the celery and peel the carrots.
 Mince the garlic, slice the celery and dice the carrots. Add it all to your Dutch oven or soup pot.
 Add salt, pepper and cumin, stir it all up.....
 .....and saute veggies until somewhat tender.  Then add the lentils and cook for a few minutes.
 I always use stock in my soups, instead of broth.  It costs a few pennies more, but worth it in flavor.
  Add a few bay leaves.....
 .....and stir them in.
Toss in a few sprigs of fresh thyme, you can throw stems and all in, just remove the stems and bay leaves before serving.
 The soup is lookin' good and the aroma is even better.
I use fresh spinach when I have it, I snip off the long stems, toss it in.....
 ......stir and the heat does the rest.
Soup's ready!
Homemade Vegan Lentil Soup

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 celery stalks with leaves, sliced
4 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups dried lentils
2 - 32 oz boxes vegetable stock
3 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
2 cups fresh spinach or 1 box thawed of frozen spinach wrung dry

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot on medium - high heat. Add the garlic, celery, carrots, onion, cumin salt and pepper.  Stir together and saute until the veggies are tender and slightly browned. Add the lentils, stir them in and cook for 3 minutes, stirring as they are cooking.  Stir in the stock, bay leaves and thyme.  Reduce heat to medium and let the soup cook for 35 - 45 minutes.  In the last 20 minutes add the spinach and let it cook down.  You may or may not need to add water as the lentils expand and thicken the soup.  If you do add water be careful, add a little at a time you don't want to water down the flavor. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs before serving.

Serve with a crusty Italian bread, whole grain bread or seasoned croutons on top.  Makes 6 -8 servings.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

It's Gobble, Gobble Time

Fall has arrived here in the East, and I am in full gear of making stick to your ribs kind of meals.  I love, love, love this time of year! It's a cozy time, more settled, less running around, a time to kick back and enjoy life on the quiet side.

While I was at the market back in the Summer, I bought half of a Honey Brined Turkey Breast and stuck it in the freezer.  It was time to break it out, since it has been on my mind during these cooler days of September. Check out what I did with it!

I started off with these three ingredients to make a tasty, juicy turkey breast and the start of my meal.
 I didn't see any sense in buying a bag of stuffing mix, because they are too big for just two people, so I opted for the easy way out and used boxed.  I made the cornbread stuffing according to the package directions, and then mounded it in the bottom of my baking dish.
 This was the packaging that my turkey breast came in.  As you can see it was about a 2 1/2 lb turkey breast.  I think only Wegman's sells these and they are fantastic!
 I placed the turkey breast on top of the stuffing, drizzled 2 tablespoons of honey over it and sprinkled 1/4 teaspoon of poultry seasoning over the top.  Add 1/3 cup of water to the baking dish, cover with foil and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 1 hour. In the last 10 minutes remove the foil so it browns nicely.  All ovens are different, so check to see if juices run clear before taking it out of the oven.
 WOW!  It was so juicy, sweet and delicious.  It was a mini Thanksgiving meal.
 Oh, and DO NOT forget the cranberry sauce. This turkey breast and stuffing served 2 of us with leftovers for 2 more people.  I also served a small wedge salad of iceberg lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes with ranch dressing, my dinner was complete and filling.  I WILL be making this again.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Mama Made Italian Roast Pork!

And again it's football season, so on Sundays it's easy eating in this house.  But, it has to be good food of course, no take out, no pre-packged stuff, just easy tasty guy food.  Italian Roast Pork sandwiches are front and center today with multi colored roasted Parmesan potato edges.  It's a SCORE!, for me because the pork goes into the crock pot to cook all day, all I have to do is cut potatoes and season them and off to the oven they go, then it's TOUCHDOWN TIME!
Recipe below.
To print recipe, click on it, highlight and print.
To view pictures in a larger format, click on them.

I cut the pork in half so it would fit in the smaller of the two crock pots that I have.
 A few simple ingredients make amazing roast pork, like some garlic.  It's Italian, ya gotta have garlic!
 I love the fragrance of fresh rosemary.....
 and flat leaf parsley.
 Sprinkle all the ingredients over the top of the pork tenderloin.....
 ......cover the crock pot, set on high, and let it do all the work!  The house smells amazing while it's cooking. When it's done shred with two forks.
Lightly toast kaiser rolls, top with cheese and pork.
 As a side dish I served roasted multi colored Parmesan potato wedges.
Cut into quarters, spread out on a baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper roast at 400 degrees.
 In the last 5 minutes of roasting, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake until cheese melts.
Serve along side your pulled pork sandwich.
Italian Pulled Pork Sandwiches
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pork tenderloin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 long sprigs of fresh rosemary, minced
5 sprigs of fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons water

Pour the olive oil into the bottom of a crock pot.  Cut the pork tender loin in half and place in the crock pot.  Sprinkle the salt, pepper, minced garlic, minced rosemary and chopped parsley over the pork. Add the water, cover and set on high.  Cook for 6 hours, add a little water if needed during cooking time so it doesn't dry out.  When it's done, shred with two forks and serve on toasted kaiser rolls with provolone cheese and/or broccoli rabe sauteed in garlic.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Million and One Ways To Make Chicken

I took boneless, skinless chicken breasts out for dinner last night.  Now all I had to do was figure out what to do with them.  Do you know there are a million and one ways to make chicken.  It's so versatile, can be paired with anything and it always tastes good.  I have to say we eat alot of chicken and pasta, beef prices are too high, even for just two people!  I stock up on all cuts of chicken when I see a sale, because there are so many ways to make it.

I made this recipe with my chicken breasts last night, I call it "Don't Hold The Mayo" chicken, baked in the oven with a crispy topping, along with a side of thyme steamed broccoli and carrots and herbed bread, it was fabulous!
Recipe below.
To print recipe, click on it highlight and print.
To view pictures in a larger format click on them.

Three ingredients is all it takes for moist, delicious chicken. Mix the breadcrumbs and grated cheese together for the topping.
 Squirt the mayo on and spread over the top of the chicken breasts.
 Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the mayo and bake until golden brown.
 Steamed up some broccoli florets and carrot slices with thyme as my side, and toasted herbed garlic bread to finish it off.
Dinner is served!
 "Don't Hold The Mayo" Chicken
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup regular or light mayonnaise
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Locatelli cheese or other Italian cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.  Wash and pat dry the chicken breasts.  Place chicken breasts on the baking sheet about 2-3 inches apart.  Spread the mayonnaise over the tops of the chicken breasts.  Pour the bread crumbs in a bowl and toss with the cheese. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the chicken until it's covered.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the juices run clear.  Makes 2 servings.