Crockpot Three Lentil Stew with Barley

Three Lentil Stew with Barley

My mom flew in from Austin today. I was worried she wouldn’t make it. It was 67 degrees here in Columbia SC yesterday, but today we were expecting ice and snow from Storm Leon. It has been predicted that we would get 2 – 4 inches (gasp!) of snow from the storm. The city had shut down in anticipation. If you are from other areas of the country, this is laughable. But, it’s a big deal here because most of the South is not prepared to deal with ice and snow. Most southern cities don’t have plows (and if they do, they only have a couple) and some don’t even have salt to treat the roads. Plus, the people in the South don’t know how to drive in icy conditions. South Carolina has some of the worst drivers in the country on a good day, so when snow and ice are added, the results can’t be good. Fortunately, the ice and snow held off until my mom’s plane landed and she got to our house safely.

I needed something easy to fix for dinner. The comfort and warmth of a soup or stew would be perfect for snowy weather. I decided to throw a lentil and barley stew together in the crockpot. I had several different kinds of lentils in the pantry and decided to use them. You could totally make this recipe with 1 1/2 cups of one type of lentil (although I wouldn’t recommend using red lentils, as they kind of just dissolve in the stew). This recipe makes a nice size batch. There is plenty for leftovers or to freeze for future meals.

Crockpot Three Lentil Stew with Barley

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red lentils
1/2 cup brown lentils
1/2 cup black lentils (I used beluga)
1 cup pearl barley
1 carrot, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 ounces (half a package) of mushrooms, chopped
1 or 2 zucchini, chopped
8  cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste

Add all of the ingredients to the crockpot. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours on high or for 6 to 8 hours on low. You may need to add more broth, depending on how brothy you want your stew.


Soba Noodles with Kale and Tofu

Soba Noodles with Kale and Tofu (640x480)

I have tons of unorganized food photos and half-written blog posts just waiting for me to combine and publish. I’ve been trying to spend a little time each week to organize my photos and then try to match them to an incomplete blog posts. Progress has been slow.

I initially made this soba noodle dish over a year and a half ago. At the time my mother was here helping me out (with my crazy toddler) while I was healing from a torn calf muscle. I remember really enjoying the dish, but lost the recipe so I haven’t been able to make it again. I recently searched for and found the blog where I had initially found the recipe. Yay!

Here is the original blog post: http://gastronomyblog.com/2012/03/31/healthy-soba-noodles-with-kale/

If I remember correctly, I pretty much followed her recipe with the exception of not using green onions/scallions (I rarely buy green onions and didn’t have any on hand). I also didn’t use the furikake because it contains fish (my mom is a vegetarian) and instead just sprinkled the dish with sesame seeds. I definitely recommend this recipe. I’m excited that I was able to find it again and I will be making it soon.


Chana Aloo (Chickpeas and Potatoes)

Chana Aloo
This was one of the first Indian dishes I ever learned to cook. I scribbled the recipe in a composition notebook over 15 years ago. I have made it countless times over the years. It is easy to prepare and super tasty. A nice introduction dish for someone who hasn’t eaten and/or cooked Indian food.

Serve the chana aloo with hot rice (I prefer Basmati) for a quick weeknight meal or as part of a more elaborate Indian meal.

Chana Aloo 2

Chana Aloo (Chickpeas and Potatoes)

2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed (I use Russet potatoes)
2 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes & their juices
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 15.5 ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
fresh cilantro, chopped

Boil the cubed potatoes in water until tender but not mushy, about 8 – 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion until it starts to brown. Add the garlic and sauté one minute more. Add the tomatoes, spices, salt, and chickpeas and cook until heated through. Add the potatoes and continue to cook until the potatoes are heated through. Taste for seasoning and adjust, if necessary, to suit your tastes. Sprinkle the fresh cilantro over the chana aloo and serve with hot Basmati rice.


Crockpot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Crockpot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Crockpot cooking is so easy. I’m not sure why I don’t do it more often.  I love wild rice soup and this version turns out well in the crockpot. The chicken comes out tender and velvety from slow cooking all day. I like the addition of the poultry seasoning, which reminds me of comfort foods like pot pie and cornbread dressing. This recipe makes a large batch, so there is plenty for left-overs or to share with others.

Serve the soup with a green salad and toasted French bread for a nice meal on a cold night.

Crockpot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup wild rice, rinsed
1 medium onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
4 ounces mushrooms, chopped
7 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup cream
salt and pepper, to taste

Add the chicken, wild rice, onion, celery, carrot, bell pepper, mushrooms, chicken broth, and poultry seasoning to the crockpot. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with enough water to make a thin slurry. Add the cornstarch slurry  to the other ingredients in the crockpot and stir to combine. Cover and cook on high for 3 – 4 hours (or on low for 6 – 8 hours). About 30 minutes before serving, take out the chicken breasts and allow to cool enough so they can be handled. Shred the chicken with two forks and return to the crockpot. Stir in the cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue to cook the soup until the chicken and cream are heated through.

Crockpot Chicken & Rice Soup


Hoppin’ John

Hoppin' John 2
I have eaten black eyed peas on New Year’s day for good luck for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure if they have helped, but I don’t want to jinx 2014. I am facing some serious challenges this year and need all the help I can get. Hoppin’ John is a delicious delivery system for black eyed peas. Served with fresh cornbread, it was a good start to the New Year.

Hoppin' John

Hoppin’ John

4 slices bacon, diced
1 large onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 green (or red) bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white rice
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes and juices
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
2 15.5 ounce cans black eyed peas

In a Dutch oven (or soup pot) over medium-high heat, cook the diced bacon until just crispy. Add the diced onion, celery, bell pepper, and minced garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the rice, diced tomatoes and their juices, broth, salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne, Old Bay, thyme, and basil. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Place the lid on the pot and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the black eyed peas and cook 5 minutes more until rice is tender. I like my Hoppin’ John to have just a little bit of liquid remaining, but you can add more if you like.