Curried Lentil-And-Vegetable Stew

Despite cooking with zucchini and tomatoes last night, we had an entirely different dinner last night.  An abundance of homegrown tomatoes and zucchini are transformed in this Indian-inspired dinner.  

I was unable to find pre-cooked lentils, so I simply purchased quick cooking lentils, and they were ready in six minutes.  The stew starts by sautéing onion in a little EVOO and then adding zucchini and garlic.  Once those ingredients cook for three minutes, add in the tomato, curry powder and ketchup.  Yes, ketchup.  It’s our secret ingredient adding a little tang, a little sweetness and a little acidity.  The curry powder adds a PUNCH of flavor.  Cook, stirring constantly, for one minute before adding in the vegetable stock that is mixed with cornstarch (one tablespoon) to help thicken up the stew.  Finally, add in the lentils and salt and allow to cook for three minutes.  The entire pot gets a pop of freshness from the juice of one lime.

Serve a bowl full of this flavorful stew with cool, tangy Greek yogurt on top.

lentilcurry

Nutty Fried Rice

Good morning!  I am hopeful that everyone reading had a wonderful weekend.  We ended up staying in South Carolina with my brother and SIL an extra evening so we could enjoy the gorgeous weather on Sunday instead of being in the car.  And the extra baby snuggles made the drive yesterday morning totally worth it.  My newest nephew is absolutely precious.  He’s calm and hardly cries and has a head FULL of hair.  I could stare at him all day.  We enjoyed dinner out the first night at The Oak Table.  We also had a pizza night as well as a steak night thanks to my SIL’s parents.  Counting down to our next visit already!

This week is pretty typical – thankfully – and we’re preparing for my niece’s first overnight visit by herself.  Cannot wait to spoil her silly.  After we arrived home yesterday I came up with the meal plan for the week and gave Big Guy some options to pick from.  I should have known he would pick Nutty Fried Rice over ANYTHING because we adores cashews and stir fries.  This dish is full of broccoli, shiitake mushrooms and rice but has an absolutely addicting sauce that is mixed in for the ultimate nuttiness.

My favorite bites definitely included cashews – my favorite nut!

nuttyfriedrice

Just a reminder that the key to dishes like this one is to prep ALL your ingredients before you ever start cooking.  I also love that this stir fry uses precooked brown rice (Uncle Ben’s) as a timesaver.  If you’re allergic to peanuts, sub in almond butter, cashew butter or even sunflower seed butter.

I promise you’re going to go NUTS for this dinner!

Sweet Potato Medallions with Almond Sauce and White Bean Salad

And another weekend has come and gone.  Why, oh, why must the weekends fly by?  Our weekend included my new favorite margarita, watching the Derby at home, a sushi date and a fun Sunday afternoon in the sunshine.  It was basically a perfect weekend.

This week is full of the usual but I’m so excited for Friday to arrive because that means I get to meet my newest nephew, Tanner.  And since we’ll be visiting my brother and sister-in-law, I’m going to prep a few freezer meals for them to have in the coming weeks.

About this salad.  It’s so unique but incredibly easy with only FIVE ingredients (not counting EVOO and S&P).  I decided to make this salad last week in an effort to use our homegrown sweet potatoes before they go bad.  (p.s. sweet potatoes last forever)  To make this salad, microwave the sweet potato so that it’s softened and then cut into disks. Brush the potatoes with a little EVOO and then cook on the stovetop until browned on each side.  The almond butter drizzle is made with almond butter (duh), a little warm water and lemon juice.  Finally, prep the salad greens by tossing with white beans (use whatever you have on hand!), some lemon juice and EVOO plus salt and pepper.

Arrange the potato sliced on top of the beans and greens and then drizzle with the almond butter sauce.  So simple!

sweetpotatosalad

I literally can’t think of an easier salad plus it’s vegetarian and perfect for meatless Monday.

I hope you have a great start to the week!

Marinated Kale Salad

Just like avocado toast, kale had it’s moment of being the “it” food.  And while I enjoy kale, it’s not necessarily my first choice of greens.  However, over the weekend my Momma prepared a “killer kale” salad and I couldn’t help but want more kale this week.

While I was putting together my menu for the week yesterday, I came across a recipe in my Cooking Light binder and decided it was the perfect dinner for meatless Monday.  Marinated Kale Salad is made my first massaging the kale with EVOO and a little salt and allowing it to “rest” at room temperature for up to an hour.  The kale is then seasoned with a mixture of lemon juice, mustard and garlic.  I sliced a red onion and soaked it quickly in hot water before tossing it with lemon zest (instead of sumac) and sesame seeds.  The kale is finished by tossing in a can of chickpeas and some pepper.

I topped my salad with an egg for a little extra protein.

kalesalad

This salad was hearty yet light, a little zippy from the lemon and full of flavor from the garlic and the red onion.  By massaging the kale with EVOO and allowing it to marinate, the kale softens just a bit but stays crunchy.

And while this salad might not be quite as incredibly as the one my Momma made (walnuts, sautéed mushrooms, bacon and goat cheese took hers over the top) I sure did feel healthy eating it.  And since kale is so hearty, the leftovers will make perfect lunches this week.

Kale yeah!

Indian-Spiced Pea Fritters

A freezer staple gets a make-over and becomes a delicious meatless dinner.  We all have sweet peas stashed in our freezer.  Some of us may eat them and others may use them as an ice pack.  As for me, I always have a bag or two but I rarely put them to use.  This recipe happened to be in the latest Cooking Light magazine and I was flipping through on Sunday thinking of our meal plan for the week, I couldn’t help but make this since we had ALL the ingredients on hand.  My bank account appreciates me not needing to buy anything else.

About one and a half cups are pea need to be thawed for these fritters.  Once thawed, lightly mash the peas.  (Honesty, I think I should have mashed mine a little more than I did.  So don’t be scared of mashing too much.)  To the peas add in breadcrumbs (I used gluten-free), sliced green onions, garam masala (love this spice!), a little red pepper, salt, and two eggs.

Heat up a little oil on the stove top and then add in half of the fritters, about 1/4 of a cup each.  The fritters cook about 3 minutes on each side, carefully flipping to keep together.

The pea fritters are served with 2% Greek yogurt.

peafritters

I rounded out the whole meal with a simple salad.

The pea fritters gave me a little trouble on the stove-top (fritters ALWAYS stress me out) but they were delicious.  So simple yet the peas were completely transformed.  If you don’t have garam masala, I highly recommend you give it a try.  It’s a mix of spices: cardamon, coriander, cumin, peppercorns, fennel, mustard seeds, cloves and red chile peppers.  So don’t be scared of the spice name.

Oh, and since St. Patty’s day is Friday, this is the perfect GREEN dinner.

Sweet Onion Risotto with Sautéed Kale

Welcome to another edition of “cook once, eat 3 times.”  I prepared this dinner on Monday night and will be using the leftover risotto to make dinner tonight.  Risotto is not a “quick” dinner due to the time that’s needed to allow the rice to absorb the liquid but if you do this on a night or day when you have more time, you can easily prepare two more meals that week using the leftovers.

This risotto recipe is unlike any other risotto I’ve prepared in that you use brown rice instead of arborio rice and you precook the rice.  First you bring liquid (I used chicken stock) to a boil along with the rice and simmer for about 15 minutes.  You drain the rice, reserving the liquid.  The reserved liquid is combined with more chicken stock.  Lots of chopped onion is sautéed in olive oil with lots of garlic and then you add in the rice.  Add in the wine and once it’s cooked off, turn the heat down and begin adding the stock mixture 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until it’s absorbed.  This whole adding liquid and stirring constantly game goes on for about 25 minutes.  Once all the liquid is absorbed, reserve some of the risotto for another night and then add in the salt, pepper and cheese (I used manchego because our store wasn’t hitting on much Monday).

And then you prepare the kale sauté that tops it all off.  Kale (I used baby kale) is sautéed in a  little bit of EVOO.  Once wilted, add in golden raisins and chopped pecans along with salt, pepper and a splash of vinegar (I used white wine vinegar).

risottokale

I was incredibly impressed by how creamy the rice was despite not using arborio rice and I adored the kale topping.  Especially the raisins (sweet) and pecans (nutty and salty).

Stay tuned for how I use the leftover risotto….

Butternut-Cauliflower-Coconut Curry

I’m back from a nonstop weekend in Charlotte!  I still can’t believe how much I crammed into three days.  A holiday home tour in the Fourth Ward District of Charlotte…two workouts…trip to Columbia, SC to a reveal party for my brother and sister-in-law (it’s a BOY!)…visiting baby boy Braxton (twice)…Christmas shopping at South Park….And three nights of the best sleep in months.

I arrived back home yesterday afternoon and spent the afternoon playing catch up with Big Guy.  In between making lists and shopping on the internet, we enjoyed a big warm bowl of butternut-cauliflower-coconut curry.  

I used a little help from Trader Joes by using pre-cut butternut squash and bagged cauliflower (life savers – and honestly, it’s budget-friends to purchase pre-cut butternut squash).  The curry is full of onion and garlic and lots of curry powder.  Coconut milk is added at the end to add creaminess and richness.  I absolutely adored the crunchy chickpeas on top.  I think I could eat an entire sheet pan of those little nuggets.

curry

The next several weeks are going to be super busy but I’m urging you (and myself) to enjoy it all – even the stressful moments.

And if you aren’t aware…19 days until Christmas!