Curried Lentils with Chickpeas and Okra

Curried Lentils with Chickpeas and Okra

This is a quick and easy meal that is perfect for weeknights. It’s spicy, vegan, and packed with protein and fiber. It’s also appropriate for LID (low iodine diet), which I will have to go back on in March to prepare for a nuclear whole body scan.

Curried Lentils with Chickpeas and Okra

2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, quartered and sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup okra, sliced (fresh or frozen)
1 14.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained
1 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon curry powder (I used Madras)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt (or to taste)
3 cups water
Fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until tender. Add the garlic and jalapenos and cook another minute. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. You may have to add a little more water if the mixture gets too dry. When the lentils are tender, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with hot rice.

 

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Trix Marshmallow Treats

Trix Marshmallow Treats

In November, I made Trix Marshmallow Treats for a bake sale at my oldest son’s school. They turned out so cute, especially when individually wrapped and tied with colorful curling ribbon. They also sold well. They are a fun and colorful variation of Rice Krispies Treats.

Trix Marshmallow Treats Wrapped 2

Trix Marshmallow Treats Wrapped (640x480)

Trix Marshmallow Treats

1 10 ounce bag mini marshmallows
1/4 cup butter
10.7 ounce box Trix cereal

Melt the marshmallows and butter together in a large sauce pan over low heat. Add the entire box of Trix and mix well. Pour into a greased 9 X 13″ pan and spread the mixture out evenly with your hands. I spray my hands with a little bit of cooking spray to help keep the mixture from sticking. Cut into squares with a sharp knife.

 

 


Collard Greens Tart

Collard Greens Tart

Every once in a while the planets align and something goes right. This was the case one day not long ago when I was cleaning out my fridge, looking for something to make for dinner.

I had fifty-gabillion bunches of collard greens that need to be cooked before I got another fifty-gabillion bunches from my CSA in a couple of days. The collards from my Pinckney’s Produce CSA are magical.  They are so tender and delicious. I have never had collards so good before. Well, I cleaned what I had in my fridge, and sliced them up very thin and cooked them in salted water until tender. I let them drain, with plans to freeze at least half of them (in hopes of finding another excuse to make the Hot Collards and Artichoke Dip).

While the collards were cooking, I came across a roll of store-bought pie crust, a small wedge of Collier’s Welsh cheddar cheese, and a package of baby bella mushrooms in the fridge. It was then that I just knew. I had to make a savory collard greens tart with these ingredients. I had to.

The tart turned out perfectly. It looked so beautiful….and green. I put a lot of collards on that tart shell. It sliced like a dream. My husband had serious doubts about the tart, but tasted it anyway. He was pleasantly surprised and inhaled half the tart (or at least a fourth). He declared it to be “very good” and all was well with the world.

Collard Greens Tart Sliced80)

Collard Greens Tart

1 very large bunch of collard greens, washed, stems removed, and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 8 ounce package baby bella mushrooms (or white button), chopped
1 large egg, beaten
4 ounces Collier’s Welsh cheddar cheese (or a sharp cheddar), shredded or finely cubed
1 pie crust (can be homemade or store-bought)
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Cook the prepped collard greens in salted water until tender. Drain well in a colander. When the collards have cooled, use your hands to squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Set aside.

While the collards are cooking, roll out and press the pie crust into a tart pan that has been sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Trim off any excess crust. I like the tart pans with the bottom that pops out, but use what you have.   Use a fork to pierce the pie crust in the bottom of the pan a few times. This will let steam escape and keep the crust from puffing. Bake the crust until it starts to get lightly golden, 6 – 8 minutes. I just think pre-baking the crust a bit will help the finished product from being soggy.

While the crust is baking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Cook the onions and mushrooms in the oil over medium heat until they are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the reserved collards and season to taste with salt and pepper. Take off the heat and mix in the eggs and the cheese.

Pull the tart shell out of the oven and spread the collards filling evenly over the shell. I use my fingers to press all the filling evenly into the shell. Bake for 30 minutes until set. Cool slightly before slicing and serving.

 


The Bee’s Knees

Bee's Knees

I was up late on Christmas Eve waiting for the little one to fall asleep so Santa could do his thing. While I was waiting, I shook up this cocktail. It’s a Prohibition-era cocktail, but it still holds it’s own today. I cannot remember where I got the recipe. A Google search brings up a bunch of different recipes and some cool historical facts about this libation.

The Bee’s Knees

2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce honey syrup (equal parts honey and hot water )

Shake ingredients together with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge or strip of lemon peel (or twist), if you would like.


Benne Seed Cookies (Sesame Seed Cookies)

Benne Seed Cookies

Benne Seed Cookies have been a part of my Christmas cookie repertoire for over 15 years now. These nutty little treats are a nice change from traditional holiday cookies. Since moving to South Carolina, I have found out that Benne Seed Wafers are a Charleston, South Carolina food tradition. Slaves brought benne seeds (sesame seeds) over from Africa and they became a part of the Southern food culture. They are thought to bring good luck, which I could certainly use right now. Charleston Benne Seed Wafers are thin. I like mine a bit more substantial, more cookie-like, so I add more flour than the traditional recipes.

Sesame seeds are super nutritious. You can find them in health food stores (bulk bins), Asian (Korean) markets, or order them online from places like Penzey’s.

Benne Seed Cookies 2

Benne Seed Cookies (Sesame Seed Cookies)

1 1/2  cups flour
1 1/4 baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sesame seeds (hulled), divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1/4 cup sesame seeds. In a larger bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar together with an electric beater until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing well.

With your hands, pull off pieces of dough and roll into 1-inch balls. Place the remaining 1/2 cup sesame seeds in a small bowl or dish. Dip the top of the dough balls in the sesame seeds.  Place the balls on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, seed side up. Space the balls about 2 inches apart in 4 rows of 3. Using the bottom of a glass, flatten the cookies a bit.

Bake the cookies in a 350° oven for 6 to 9 minutes (7 minutes is perfect for me) or until the edges just begin to turn golden. Remove the cookies from the oven and let sit on the baking sheet a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

These cookies keep well in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

 


Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup (640x465)

I’ve been making this soup a lot lately. It’s so easy and tastes so good. A one cup serving comes in at about 90 calories. I’m a big fan of adding toppings to my bowl of soup right before I eat it. Shredded cheddar cheese, diced avocado, more fresh cilantro, and/or crumbled tortilla chips are nice additions to this soup.

Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup

2 chicken breasts or 4 chicken tenderloins (about 1 pound)
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 cup frozen corn
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes and juices
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Add all the ingredients to the crockpot. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.