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Monday, November 7, 2016

Recipe review from 10/31/2016

LOVIN' the weather we've been enjoying up here!  Crisp mornings and absolutely gorgeous afternoons - highs sitting about 50, though as I'm typing this it's closer to 60*.  While I would say this is unusual for my corner of the world, this is becoming more the norm than not. 

A busy week for both the Husband and I, late home pretty much every night.  Having leftovers ready in the fridge was a huge time saver! 

The Meal Plan:
Sat (L) leftover burritos   (S) Shepherds Pie
Sun (L) leftovers soup and burritos (S) leftover Shepherds Pie
Mon (yoga) leftover Shepherds Pie
Tues (PM yoga)  leftover Shepherds Pie
Wed (Husband in Madison)  soup
Thurs (yoga)  pasty
Fri - pasty

A Perfect Pot of Lentils (Ckng Lght, Oct 2016)
NOTE:  I halved this recipe when I made for the Lentil Shepherd's Pie.  I didn't want 5 cups of lentils - I only needed 2 1/2 cups.  Halving worked fine.  I had to laugh as I was typing this blog; I completely forgot the soy sauce and Dijon mustard!  Still turned out just fine. 

Ckng Lght notes:  Make a big perfect pot of lentils to start your week off on the right food. You can add them to salads, serve them as sides, or top with rotisserie chicken for an easy lunch. Start tasting for doneness at the 28-minute mark. They'll continue to soften as they sit, so be sure to stop the cooking process before they turn to mush. Red and yellow lentils do not work well here, as they tend to cook much faster and will fall apart. You want to maintain a bit of a bite, making these lentils better candidates for salads, soups, and stews.
photo from
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup sliced carrot
  • 3/4 cup chopped shallot
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted tomato paste
  • 2 cups green or brown lentils
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Heat a medium saucepan over medium. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add carrot, shallot, garlic, and tomato paste; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add lentils, thyme, and 4 cups water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 to 35 minutes or until lentils are tender. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Lentil Shepherds Pie (Ckng Lght, Oct 2016)  vegetarian, gluten free
This makes a full 9x13 pan.  This made enough for four meals for two of us.  They were rather large-ish portions...    Both the Husband and I thought this was quite tasty - the lentils retain their shape, so this doesn't turn into mush, it's flavorful, hearty, and re-heated beautifully on the stove. 

One item I would consider changing if/when I make this again (and I would make this again!):  sub a more hearty cheese for the Parmesan, such as a sharp cheddar, Gruyere, or Gorgonzola.   I would also consider subbing buttermilk for the regular milk.  Both would really add a flavor punch to the potatoes, and thus, the overall dish.  Of course, this depends if there are any little taste buds being served.  
photo from
  • 2 pounds medium red potatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 ounces chopped cremini mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked lentils (from A Perfect Pot of Lentils recipe above)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked bulgur
  • 3/4 cup unsalted vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas (I used edamame)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives 
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Place potatoes in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes or until tender. Drain.

  3. Return potatoes to saucepan. Add milk, 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cheese; mash to desired consistency.

  4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium. Add onion and garlic; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms and thyme, sauté 10 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add lentils, bulgur, stock, wine, soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer 15 minutes or until thickened. Stir in green peas.

  5. Spoon lentil mixture into a 13- x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray; top with mashed potato mixture. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle evenly with chives.
 Easy Split Pea Soup  (Ckng Lght, Oct 2016)  vegetarian option, gluten free
This is easy. This is good.  This can be made vegetarian by omitting the bacon and use vegetable stock in lieu of chicken stock.  If you have some leftover ham, use that for flavoring instead of bacon. 

I did skip the bacon in this this go around, but used chicken stock because I had was using for several recipes this week and didn't want to buy two different stocks.  This does require a bit of planning ahead - it will take about an hour, hour and a half from start to finish.  This stored well and made four or five? lunches for the week.  I admit I forgot how many servings exactly.  And it will depend the size of your bowls.   Recommended! 
photo from
  • 5 center-cut bacon slices**
  • 1 cup chopped onion 
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons white miso (soybean paste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound green split peas
  • 6 cups unsalted chicken stock*
  • 1 bay leaf 
  1. Place bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; cook 5 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon; crumble. [Omit if vegetarian]
  2. Add onion, celery, carrot, and garlic to drippings in pan; sauté 5 minutes or until slightly tender. Add miso, salt, pepper, and peas to pan; sauté 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add stock and bay leaf; bring to a boil over medium-high. Partially cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 1 hour or until peas are tender. Discard bay leaf. Stir in bacon (optional).

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