Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Great Lentil Recipe

I grew up on lentils mainly because my mom always told me that they are good for you (they are..loaded with protein and fiber) and cheap (they are...$1 per bag). But I strayed away from them for awhile because I didn't know how to cook them with any kind of variety. But I stumbled upon a cookbook that had a really neat lentil recipe in it and decided to give it a try. Keep in mind that this recipe is very flexible...where it says sausage substitute ground turkey or chicken thighs or legs.

And if you have any questions about the recipe post a comment and I will be sure to help you out.

Sausage and Lentil Stew

1 2/3 cups lentils
3 cups water
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lb Italian sausage (removed from the casings or sliced) or substitute 4 chicken thighs
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced small
2/3 cup chicken broth

1. Heat up a frying pan with a couple of turns of olive oil. If you are making this with chicken thighs, salt and pepper the thighs and brown in the pan on both sides (about 6 minutes on each side). If you are making with sausage or other chopped meat, add the meat to the heated oil and brown throughout.
2. Place meat to the side when it is all cooked.
3. In a separate saucepan or pot coat just the bottom with olive oil and heat the pan.
4. On medium heat, add the onion, garlic, and carrots and saute for a few minutes until the onion becomes clear and soft.
5. Add the lentils to the mixture and stir for a few minutes to incorporate the lentils with the vegetables.
6. Add the water and stir well.
7. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the lentils become tender. Approximately 25 minutes.
8. When the lentils are done, add the chicken or meat mixture and the chicken broth to the lentils.
9. Cover and simmer until the meat is cooked throughout. Approximately 15 minutes.
10. If you want to add more variety, cook some pasta or elbow macaroni and serve the lentils over the pasta.

This makes a great meal and great leftovers. You can add whatever meat you want or you can make it completely vegetarian. It's your choice. Have fun with it.

Bon Appetite

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Organizing Your Kids

It's a subject I have been thinking about for some time now. As my teen boys grow into adulthood I am beginning to help them with some of those life skills that will be necessary once they leave the house and go off on their own. Organization is one of them but it's a struggle. It's hard enough to get them to study and do their homework. But I keep pressing on hoping that something will rub off on them and when they do get to college they will at least take a small bit of organizing knowledge with them.

So how do you teach them? For me, it's all about making organization easy and fun. For example, my oldest son could never get his clothes into the hamper. But by chance I took him to Target one day and there were some nifty cool hampers there. He wanted one but when I pointed out that I wasn't going to waste money on something that was not going to get use. He assured me that was not going to be the case. I gave in and bought it for him and I have found that he does use it. Problem solved. One down and only 200 more to go. LOL

As for the other teen organizational problems my intent it to blog about it in a series entitled "Teen Organization". I hope to be able to provide many different suggestions on how to keep your teens organized from my own experiences as well as other people's experiences.

How do you get your kids to be organized? Leave a comment if you have any kind of ideas.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Moroccan Chicken and Couscous Soup

I don't usually buy cookbooks and the only books I own are baking cookbooks. This is mainly due to the fact that I cook by method not by recipe unless it is something rare and exotic and needs a recipe to follow. Baking is a different story because the ingredient amounts are pretty important. But the other day I found a cookbook on how to make all sorts of dishes with chicken and I was intrigued. I love chicken and am always looking for different dishes. So I splurged and want to share this new recipe with you. Originally I made it with chicken but this week I splurged and made it with Italian sausage instead. It came out just as delicious. Also, remember to use this as a method. Quantities will vary depending on the number of people you are feeding. You may substitute any veggie or meat you want.

Moroccan Sausage and Couscous Soup

2 tbsp cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
1 lb boneless skinless chicken cut into strips
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp ground cumin
1 3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 sweet potato peeled and cut into small cubes
1 zucchini, cut into cubes
3/4 cup tomato puree
1 quart water
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup couscous
1/3 cup chopped parsley

1. In a large pot, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. About 5 minutes.

2. Increase the heat to moderately high. Add the chicken, cayenne, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes.

3. Stir in the sweet potato, zucchini, tomato puree, water, and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender. About 10 minutes.

4. Add the couscous to the soup. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let stand covered for 2 minutes. Add the parsley and serve.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Menu Monday - Sept 7

Please forgive me for my tardiness. I had a menu planned but just had trouble getting access to my blog yesterday. It wasn't the internet but just my kids who were hogging my computer all day yesterday. Either way here is my menu for the week. Happy Cooking!

Monday - leftover baked ziti

Tuesday - Moroccan sausage and couscous soup, green salad

Wednesday - Shrimp tacos, black beans and rice

Thursday - Chicken and lentils

Friday - Grilled tilapia,mashed potatoes, corn

Saturday - date night. Finally.

Sunday - Arroz con pollo