THE HEALTHY HAG

I COOK … I EAT … I SHARE.

Lentils, lentils and more lentils … oh my! March 22, 2010

I’m a lover of the lentil … have you guessed yet?  How could anyone hate these glorious little gems?  So easy to cook, so versatile, so delish, so cheap!  There are so many kinds to choose from too – keeping the boredom at bay.  So, after weeks of adding lentils to just about anything and everything (okay, I was on a bit of a bender you see), here two of my faves, that are ridiculously quick and beyond simple to compile:

QUINOA LENTIL SALAD

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup dried green lentils

1 bay leaf

1 cup quinoa

1 tsp each turmeric, salt and coriander

¾ cup raisins or cranberries

¾ cup walnuts

2 green onions, diced

¼ cup fresh parsley (or half the amount dried)

4 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp  white wine vinegar

¼ tsp salt

3 Tbsp olive oil

Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

1. Add add lentils and bay leaf to 3 cups of water and cook thoroughly (read package for specific timing).

2. Meanwhile quinoa, tumeric, coriander and salt to 2 cups of water,  bring to a boil, cover and simmer, 10-12 min.

3. Once both pots are cooked, cool then mix together.

4. In a separate bowl whisk together the lemon juice, honey, vinegar, salt, oil and pepper,

5. Stir in dressing to main grains, then add chopped walnuts, cranberries, chopped green onion and minced parsley and combine thoroughly.

CURRIED LENTILS AND BEANS

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium onion

2 Tbsp veggie broth

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ginger

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp salt

1 cup tomatoes, diced

½ cup chickpeas (canned)

½ cup mixed beans (canned) – I used black eyed peas

1 cup cooked lentils (red cook the fastest but almost dissolve completely)

1 ½ cups water

1 cup leafy greens (I used baby spinach)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Sauté onion in oil for 3 min, then add garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt, tomatoes, broth, beans and lentils, simmering covered, until ingredients are softened and flavours are well combined (approx 5-10  min).

2. Add 1 cup greens, simmer again for 2 more minutes.

3. Serve hot over rice, naan, pr pita!

Advertisements
 

Summery Strawberry-Rhubarb Muffins February 26, 2010

It’s mid winter here and we’re being reminded that sunny days are still so far away.  All the snow and doom and gloom led me to fondly reminice about summer, about tasty strawberries and mouth watering rhubarb.  That’s when it hit me – I have both neatly frozen away in the freezer!  Locked in time at their peak by my loving mom-in-law who’s thumb must be greener than Martha’s.  Anyhoodle… after a visit to the monthly indoor farmers market (where I picked up some lovely locally made organic spelt flour) it all came together like cookies and cream.  Healthy?  YES!  Delicious?  YES!  Easy-peasy?  MAIS OUI!  100% Organic?  HELLS YES!  Get ‘er done folks!

.

INGREDIENTS :

4 cups flour (I used 2 spelt and 2 whole wheat)

1 cup sugar

2 TBSP baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup sunflower oil

2 cups milk (I used 1 cup 1%, and 1 cup almond milk)

2 eggs

2-3 cups frozen fruit, defrosted and diced (I used 2 cups rhubarb, and 3/4 cup strawberries)

.

DIRECTIONS:

1) Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

2) In a separate bowl, mix together all wet ingredients (but not the fruit).

3) Fold wet ingredients into dry, just combining.

4) Stir in fruit gently – do not overmix!

5) Pour batter into lined muffin trays and bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, until golden.

6) Allow to cool and ENJOY!!!

.

NOTES:

– These freeze really well, if they last.  

– You can swap in any fruit you like really.  Try blueberries, raspberries, apples or even peaches.

– Best to use whole grain flour, but works well with bleached flour if you’re in a pinch, however you’ll loose out on the nutrition though.

– I made half the batter into mini loaves, so go nuts if you don’t have a nice muffin pan.

 

Homage to Aunt Marg!! Mac’n’cheese and Buttery Raisin Scones January 28, 2010

So growing up I was lucky enough to have all 4 grandparents PLUS an extra couple of great aunts that basically were like yet another pair grandparents (all lived within a 20 min radius).  Lucky – you think?? I was super close with my Aunt Marg, and spent many a weekend and vacation with her … and she’s mostly the reason I got into cooking and baking as a young kid.  She was an old fashioned chef with the tastiest classics under her belt.  I could always expect my favaourite meal of the year on my birthday – mac ‘n’ cheese and warm buttery scones.  Don’t ask.  So, when it came time for my brothers birthday a few weeks ago, I offered to make him a tasty meal in honour of our good old Aunt Marg (she passed quite suddenly 6 years ago), and he was like a little kid he beamed with glee.  What was the result?  One banging dinner the entire fam enjoyed… beyond delish and so reminiscent of dinners with Aunt Marg we were all taken back to over-heated apartments and the soft laugh she bellowed so often.  What’s your favourite childhood meal?

.

MAC’N’CHEESE

.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

¼ cup TBSP butter

2 ½ TBSP flour

2 cups shredded OLD cheddar cheese

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 cups milk (I used 1%)

½ cup bread crumbs (I used multigrain)

1 pinch cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

.

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cook macaroni according to the package directions, then rinse with cold water, drain and set aside.

2. In a large stove-top & oven-friendly casserole pot (I use my big Le Crueset for this), melt butter over medium heat, and then sauté onion and garlic for 3-4 min until soft (not browned!), then stir in flour and combine.

3. In a separate small pot, bring milk to a steam (not boil!) then add milk slowly to onion/garlic/flour mixture, stirring constantly, and lightly simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Stir in cheeses and cayenne pepper to casserole pot, and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick, adding salt and pepper to taste.

5. Remove from heat and add macaroni to casserole dish, and stir well, then sprinkle with bread crumbs to cover completely.

6. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, then place under broiler for a few minutes until top is slightly browned.

7.  Allow to cool for 5-10 min before serving, and serve HOT!

.

BUTTERY RAISIN SCONES

I always wanted scones with my mac’n’cheese – I still love the combo for some reason.  So buttery and so comforting, these scones are juicy with raisins, and are a semi-sweet treat you can enjoy all on their own too.  I loved to wipe up all the leftover cheese in the bottom of my bowl with these.  Oh good grief – huge cravings now!

.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups flour (use regular white if you can)

2 TBSP baking powder

2 TBSP sugar

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ tsp nutmeg

½ cup COLD butter (I then use a grater and grate the butter in for easier mixing)

¾ cup raisins

¾ cup buttermilk

1 egg white, lightly beaten OR 1 TBSP butter melted

.

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat oven to 425F, and mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl.

2) Grate in butter until mixture is like large crumbs, then stir in raisins and buttermilk.

3) Drop dough (using a ¼ cup measuring cup – or very large spoons) onto a greased baking sheet, brush tops with egg whites OR butter and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

4) Remove from oven and serve immediately!

 

The Weekly Soup – Red Lentil

I live for lentils.  Okay not literally, but I get excited about lentils the way some people do about bacon.  I could add them to just about everything and be one happy camper.  Packed with flavour, protein and fiber (okay, and phosphorus, copper, thiamin and potassium, you get the point) lentils come in a variety of forms and typically are cheap cheap cheap.  Oh did I mention they are pretty darned easy to prepare too?  If you’re a lazypants, buy the canned, however you can really control the flavour and texture (and sodium!) if you buy them dried, and they’re even cheaper.  This soup is creamy, slightly sweet and hearty.  Perfect for fall, winter or a chilly summers night.  PS – it’s dairy free too!

.

INGREDIENTS:
1 TBSP coconut oil (this is a great way to add more flavour, but you could use olive oil if you’re desparate)
1 cup onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp salt

2 cups red lentils
2 cans coconut milk (I use the powdered kind that you add to water – it’s handy to have, and less fatty)
4-6 cups water (enough to cover all ingredients)
1/2 cup carrot or zucchini, diced

1/2 cup celery, diced
2 cups sweet potato, diced
1 TBSP fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 TBSP curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp pepper
.

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a dutch oven or large stockpot over medium heat, sauté onion for 2 min in coconut oil, then add garlic and salt, stir, and cook for 1-2 min.
2. Add all remaining ingredients, combine and cover and bring to a boil.
3. Stir well, reduce heat to simmer, cover again, and cook on low for 30-45 min, until lentils are cooked through and creamy.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with your favourite naan or pita bread!

 

Harvest Loaf January 17, 2010

 

I love loaves… add to that something savoury and nutritious?  I’m sold.  This little gem will impress your guests, be kind to your hips, and won’t break the bank.  Try subbing in your favourite squash or whatever you happen to have on hand.  Oh, and it’s totally dairy free so it’ll knock the socks off your dairy-freer pals.  You could even make this one vegan by using egg substitute for the 2 eggs.  Impressive, I know!!!!

.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups flour

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 cup pureed squash (I used canned organic butternut, but you could use pumpkin or even sweet potatoes!)

1/3 cup canola oil (you could use almond or any other seed oil, but I’d avoid using Olive oil)

1/2 cup raisins

handful of pumpkin seeds

.

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat oven to 350F, and grease loaf pans.

2) In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and set aside

3) In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, squash and oil with a wooden spoon, until smooth.

4) Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix to combine, then stir in raisins.

5) Pour batter into loaf pans (I used 3 mini, but you could use 1 large), sprinkle with seeds, and bake at 350F for 40 min until browned and tester stick comes out dry.

6) Allow to cool for 10 min in pans, then remove and cool on a wire rack for another 5-10 min, and serve!

.

NOTE – these can be frozen and allowed to defrost at room temp.  

 

The Weekly Soup: Tomato Dill December 23, 2009

I went a little over zealous last week at the grocers with a sale of cherry tomatoes.  I am a sucker for a sale and when these little gems were 2 pints for $3 I just had to get some (okay more than some).  I then found myself with too many little red rubies staring at me every time I hit the kitchen. There was only so many Greek Salads I could eat in a week, so I decided to soup it.  I forgot how nicely dill and tomato go together.  This is a fresh style soup – and it can be served smooth or rustic – your choice.  Good for any time of year!!  I loved this with super crusty bread and tasted incredible the next day too.  I assume it would freeze pretty well, but mine didn’t make it that far. 

.

INGREDIENTS:

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 TBSP canola or olive oil

1 tsp butter

2 medium tomatoes, sliced (or 1 pint of cherry tomatoes)

1 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

Pepper to taste

1/3 cup tomato paste

2 TBSP (all-purpose) flour

1 1/4 cups cold water, divided

1/3 cup cream

1 tsp minced fresh dill (or 1/2 tsp dried)

.

DIRECTIONS:

1) In a small saucepan, cook onion and garlic in oil and/or butter over low heat until translucent.

2) Add tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper, and cook over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, then remove from heat then stir in tomato paste.

3) In a separate small bowl, combine flour and 1/2 cup of water until smooth, stir into tomato mixture, then gradually stir in remaining water until smooth (you can add more water if you want a thinner consistency).

4) Return saucepan to heat and bring to a boil, then continue to cook and stir for 2-3 minutes longer.

5) Place a sieve over a large bowl, pour soup into sieve, and press with the back of a large spoon to remove tomato seeds and skin.  NOTE – you can skip this step if you want a more rustic or chunky soup.

6) Return puree to pan and add cream and dill, and cook over low heat just until heated through (do not boil!!!!!!!).

7) Serve HOT!

 

The Weekly Soup: All alone-ey Minestrone December 16, 2009

I found myself with a night of me me me, so what do I do?  Cook.  It was cold, wet, damp and miserable enough out that I was desperate for comfort food that would not infringe on my upcoming Christmas binging.  The result was another soup – one that was sooooo good it only lasted a day (no freezing possibilities were even a glimmer in anyone’s eye).  The best thing about this soup is its versatility.  Add or remove whatever you want or have or feel like – maybe double the batch so at least there’s a chance it may last for more than a day.

.

INGREDIENTS:

1 TBSP olive or canola oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 tsp coarse salt

2 cups mushrooms, chopped

1 medium zucchini, chopped

1 pepper, chopped (red, yellow, orange will do)

1/2 can of sweet corn

1 celery stalk, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced)

4 cups good quality broth

1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz )

1 can mixed beans (19 oz)

2 TBSP tomato paste

2 tsps each of dried basil and dried parsley

1 tsp dried thyme

fresh pepper to taste

3-4 cups water

1 cup dried macaroni or shells

.

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat oil in a large stove-top pot at med-high, add chopped onion and sauté until translucent.

2. Add all remaining vegetables to the pot and sauté until well cooked and softened (about 10 min).

3. Gradually add stock, tomatoes, mixed beans, tomato paste, spices, and water (add as much as you like until you get your desired consistency – I used 3 cups).

4. Cover with lid and simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes – stirring occasionally.

5. Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil for macaroni or shells then add pasta to boiling water, and cook until al dente (just under the recommended time)

6. Add al dente pasta to soup and simmer for another 5 minutes.

7. Remove soup from heat, and serve sprinkled with fresh Parmesan and crusty bread.