Lentils with Mustard-Herb Butter -Another 5 star!

I’ve had this recipe for months and months and months. I put it in my meal planner, buy the ingredients and when it comes time to make it, I don’t. I think it seemed intimidating. The original recipe included salmon and had the French translation at the end of the title. I think that’s why it was intimidating. I like to cook, but I’m no chef, and I certainly don’t consider myself sophisticated enough to make French food! So in an effort to clean out our freezer I decided to just do it!

The night I made this, my husband took a nap and I just took a deep breath and with great determination, entered the kitchen. I read the directions a couple of times and decided to make the lentils first (cause anyone can boil some legumes, right?). Then I made the mustard butter. Then I chopped the leeks and it all just fell into place entirely WAY too easily. Before I knew it, dinner was ready, I woke my husband up and he said “already? How’d you do that so fast?” and that’s when I realized I’d actually finally conquered this oh-so-intimidating recipe and did it like I was a professional! As it turns out, French food isn’t intimidating, it’s just all about the butter!

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When we sat down at the table, I took another deep breath and tasted the lentils. HOLY COW! They were packed with this amazing flavor! My husband and daughter loved them too! It was definitely a 5 star recipe. The next day I even ate the lentils cold, that’s how good they were!

These were so good I thought I’d just post the lentil part of the recipe so that it could be a vegetarian dish (hey! It’s Meatless Monday after all). The salmon was good, but that’s not what made this recipe worthy of 5 stars. However, I’ll post how to cook the salmon at the very end so that if you do want to have this recipe as originally written, you can.

Lentils and Mustard-Herb Butter (with Salmon) (Saumon aux Lentilles)

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Salmon-with-Lentils-and-Mustard-Herb-Butter-em-Saumon-aux-Lentilles-em-241768

  • 3 tablespoons butter softened
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives, optional
  • 1 teaspoon chopped tarragon, optional
  • 2 teaspoons grainy mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup French green lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

If you want to add salmon:

  • 4 (6-ounce) pieces skinless salmon fillet
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

 

 

Directions

Cook lentils: Bring lentils, water, and 3/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid, then drain lentils.

Make mustard-herb butter: Stir together all ingredients with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

While lentils cook, chop leeks, then wash . Cook leeks in butter in a heavy medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add lentils with reserved cooking liquid to leeks along with 3 tablespoons mustard-herb butter and cook, stirring, until lentils are heated through and butter is melted. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and keep warm, covered.

For the salmon:

Sauté salmon while leeks cook: Pat salmon dry and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper (total).

Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then sauté salmon, turning once, until golden and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes total.

Serve salmon, topped with remaining mustard-herb butter, over lentils.

Hello my name is Tabitha and I have a freezer hoarding problem…

I may or may not have a freezer hoarding problem. It would depend on who you ask. But I’m 90% sure if you ask anyone I’ve ever lived with they’d say “yes, yes she does”. More often than not I can’t buy anything in the freezer section at the grocery store unless it’s in a malleable package which will fit in a nook or cranny. But even that’s questionable… Perhaps a therapist could help me figure out why! I mean, it’s not like it would sustain us in an emergency since it would melt after a day or so. I seriously cannot explain it! But it is a fact of my life and now I’m in a bit of a pickle. We will be moving soon and we don’t own big enough ice chests to hold it all. Not to mention we don’t exactly have a place to move just yet. That’s where the pickle part comes in. Since I don’t know where we’ll be living, I don’t know what will happen to my freezer full of food!!! I was telling a friend about it last week and she looked at me and said “why don’t you eat it?” Duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… right! OF COURSE!!! Hahaha!! Seriously. I’ve. got. issues.

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So the next morning when it was cool-ish, I went through the freezer and wrote down everything that was in there. Then I went to www.plantoeat.com and planned out our meals, according to the freezer, for (almost) three weeks! Yes, I said three weeks. I told you I had a problem!

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Why write a post about it? It was my mom’s idea actually. She thought it could help others, especially in the time of a low budget week. Cause let me tell you, my grocery list was very short! It’s time to get creative!

Here are some meals that we ate last week:

Taco Tuesday

It was just me & mini-me so we had:

Frozen Pre-packaged Chicken Enchiladas (which I had bought for my husband to eat while I was out of town, and he didn’t)

Un-Refried Refried Beans (1/2 recipe so I didn’t have to freeze the leftovers!)

Zucchini (from my mom’s garden)

(A Non-Crock Pot) Wednesday

Antioxidant Supreme smoothie (which wasn’t good enough to share the recipe with you all)- using the frozen blueberries, strawberries & mango I had in the freezer

Salmon with Lentils and Mustard-Herb Butter (look for this recipe, coming soon)- using frozen salmon and lentils I already had in the cupboard

Fun Friday

Frozen cheese tortellini mixed with a bag of frozen veggies

Summer Sunday

Frozen Pumpkin Croissants (I finally managed to remember the night before to defrost them!!! Wahoo!)

So that’s what we’ve had so far to help clean out the freezer. Unfortunately it isn’t enough to see a dent in the freezer big enough to feel accomplished, but we are getting there!

Stay tuned for more freezer hoarding updates!

Camp Blogaway

Is it possible to learn too much? Cause if so, I totally did. I had no idea sitting and listening to people talk could be SO exhausting! Someone I told said they would have fallen asleep during the 9 hours of hearing people speak on Saturday but there was no way that could have been possible! All of the speakers were so full of valuable information I didn’t want to miss a word!! I wrote nine pages of notes in tiny writing so I could fit it all in and wouldn’t forget a thing.

We got to sleep in cabins in the woods in bunk beds. Thankfully there were only three of us, so we all got a bottom bunk! My roomies (@PersianKitchen & @TarynJeffries) were friends from last years camp, but they took me under their wing and showed me the ropes, which was MUCH appreciated! Thanks girls! It was all much needed break from the hustle and bustle of city life!

Some highlights of the weekend were, of course, the swag bags (!!!)

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We had huge delicious meals and I ate myself silly at each one. I have no self control when it comes to buffets, I mean none, and although it wasn’t exactly a buffet, there was a ton of food being served and I had to try some of each thing! Image

And the most amazing thing of all? I lost a pound! For real! Of course, I could have worked it all off helping Officer Franklin push my cousin Katherine’s car uphill at 6’000 feet (in my gold glitter shoes):Image

Cute, right?! And soooo not practical for doing such things as:

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But I managed to be a bad ass and almost have my heart explode out of my chest! Ha! And of course that was all after this happened: Image

That’s my car on the left being jumped by @mistermartha! I can only assume that as I rolled into Camp Blogaway at 8 PM on Friday night after sitting in traffic for 4 hours (uh huh) I was a bit frazzled and left a dome light on. My husband asked me how I could not have noticed and I told him that his stupid dark tinted windows might have prevented me from seeing it!!

I met a bunch of super great food bloggers from all aspects and levels of food blogging. I met hobby food bloggers all the way to food bloggers who make a decent living. I’m inspired and ready to roll! Now if only I could hire a time manager…

Until next year Camp Blogaway!

 

@TarynJeffries

Hello Muddah! Hello Fadduh!

Here I am at Camp Blogaway
Camp is very entertaining,
And they say we’ll have some fun if we start wine tasting!

(I’m a terrible poet, but I know it)

I get to go to camp this weekend! Food blogger camp! I’m so excited! It happened suddenly and strangely, but I figure it was meant to be! I’m going to learn so much and get to meet a lot of people and I just can’t wait. But I’m going to have to wait a little, in traffic, as I make my way across the LA basin in rush hour traffic… on a Friday afternoon… but hey! It’ll be worth it!

The fam gets a break from routine and will enjoy some daddy/daughter bonding time. And I get a break from this blasted heat and go up to the mountains and hang out with my cousin, Katherine, from http://www.bombayblonde.com! Yay!

 

 

What is it With Car Chases?

Well, at least the person being chased by 7+ police cars and a helicopter was courteous enough to honk his horn to warn other drivers as he blew through our intersection this morning! That’s life in the big city, I suppose. It happens entirely way too often. Like, there was one last week in the middle of the night. I am a deep sleeper so it only wakes me when there is an incessant stream of sirens. This morning it happened five minutes before my alarm went off so I wasn’t in such a deep sleep, which is why I heard the person honk their horn! Thoughtful, I’m telling you, that person was thoughtful.

I remember after I moved to San Diego I was watching TV and they broke in the newscast with a high speed chase. It happened to be on the freeway I could see from my apartment so I went tearing outside to see it with my own eyes. I was SO excited! The big city life, the energy buzzing, I loved it!! It was awesome! I also loved sitting in rush hour traffic. I still remember the giddy feeling I had being crammed on the freeway with a million other cars, on my way to a substitute teaching job. I came from a mid sized town where these things never happened and now I was an adult, doing adult things, and it rocked! 11 years later, I’m totally and completely over the big city life! I want to live in the middle of nowhere and be able to hear my own heartbeat! And if nothing else, watch TV with the doors opened and the closed captioning off…

Crockpot Lasagna Soup

Crockpot Lasagna Soup

It seems as though I’ve been on a cooking hiatus. Perhaps I have. February was a crazy month what with the holidays, illnesses and my birthday. Hopefully we are back on track so things can get settled and we can move forward. However, my daughter came down with a fever yesterday. And I, unknowingly, sent her to preschool… oops. After I picked her up, we went to Whole Foods and we were saying out in the parking lot, how hot it was (yes, I did just say it was February). Then we went inside to the produce section and she was suddenly freezing, like night and day in a matter of seconds. I laughed and told her it felt good in there. She kept going on about how cold she was so I said “do you have a fever?” and kissed her forehead and guess what? It was warm! I gave her my yoga jacket and she was still freezing. When we got home I tried to take her temp with one of four thermometers we had that had a semi-working battery and got three different readings, but the first, 100.7, was enough to let me know she definitely had a fever! She said she was too tired to eat, so I sent her to bed without lunch and she fell asleep the second her head hit the pillow. Once she woke up, she progressively got worse until she was in tears because her head hurt so badly. I gave her acetaminophen and within the hour she was feeling much better. I ran to the store to get yet another thermometer since my husband went on hunt #2 to find batteries for the thermometers we had and came up empty handed. Yes, a few weeks ago I went to a couple of different stores looking for batteries and everywhere I went, they were out! All I can conclude is that they stopped making those sizes… I should google that.

Anyway, I woke up at 12:30 to check on her and her temp was 103.6. She woke up and seemed fine so I took off all the blankets (bad idea they were, I realize) and by the time I came back with the acetaminophen, her temp had gone down to 103.3. *phew* I sat with her for a while cause that’s what a worried mom does, and she eventually said “you can go now, mom”. (“OK, my mini-teenager…”.) An hour later I checked her temp again and it was somewhere in the 101 range so I could sleep!

So that’s what is going on here, fever and endless cartoons. And endless cleaning for me.  Weeee. But back to my cooking hiatus! What better way to ease my way back into cooking then to crockpot? Do it during the day when you have the time and energy and voila, when you’re hungry, dinner is ready! I’ve tried and failed too many times to know that returning to cooking after a hiatus and attempting to cook at dinner time often ends up in eating out or a frozen something-er-other. I set out to make the soup, only to have endless distractions with a sicky and texts and phone calls and moths (later my friends, later) and blah, blah, blah, that I ended up throwing it all on the stove and turning it on low. This wasn’t a five star meal, and I ‘m not sure I would even rate it a 4 star. Though I wouldn’t give it 3 stars because it was much better than that! Don’t get me wrong, it was really good, but it wasn’t anything I’d be interested in making again. I didn’t think it was  “wow, wow, wow!” If you’re watching your calorie intake, this would be a good soup for you, especially if you made it with ground turkey, or even cauliflower or a veggie mix. The only significant fat is the meat, and then the cheese if you decide to add it at the end.

As I was prepping the soup I realized a few things: a) my shopping list failed me and didn’t tell me I needed ground turkey OR chicken stock, so I made the soup minus those two things and when I could, I ran to the store and b) that the kiddo wouldn’t eat it with the onions and my husband doesn’t like cooked tomatoes, so I pulled out the hand blender and whirred away until it was all blended. I then browned the turkey in a separate pan and added it at the same time I added the chicken stock and the shell pasta, which by the way, I bought quinoa shell pasta in an attempt to begin reducing our gluten intake.

Crockpot Lasagna Soup

Adapted from: www.familyfreshmeals.com

Ingredients

1 lb.  ground turkey

3 cups chicken broth

4-5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 T dried parsley

1 T dried basil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes

1 6 oz. can of tomato paste

1 cup tomato based vegetable drink (like a V8 type drink)

2 cups uncooked shell pasta

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup water

Optional topping- shredded parmesan or mozzarella cheese

Directions

First mix together the can of tomatoes, and tomato paste in crockpot.

Next add broth, ground turkey, garlic, parsley, basil, onion, V8 and salt & pepper.

Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or on HIGH for 4-5 hours.

When 30 minutes are left of cooking time, add in the 1 cup of water and noodles. Stir to combine. Put lid back on and continue cooking for 30 minutes.

Open Faced Enchilada Veggie Quesadillas

It’s Taco Tuesday! So I decided to give these Open Faced Enchilada Veggie Quesadillas a try. I wasn’t sure what to expect, enchilada? Quesadilla? Humph. Whatever, they seemed easy enough!
First of all, I have to get this under control: onion. I follow the recipe, but I’m not sure if my onions are on steriods or not. When it says “one whole onion”, I use one whole onion, but I’m thinking a whole small onion is what they meant. It was like we were having enchilada onion quesadillas. I’m not a fan of raw onion (unless it’s minced and I can’t tell), but cooked onion is fine, at least used sparingly it’s fine! I had to take most of it off my dinner. In fact, there were so many onions I was thinking “fajita” should be added into the title somewhere.

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Anyway, when my husband saw dinner he said “Mexican Pizzas?”, which is exactly what they reminded me of! What a much simplier way to say it! As I tried to take a bite, I wondered what on earth I was doing wrong… then my husband said “how am I supposed to eat this?”. I told him “very carefully!”. It wasn’t until after dinner that I noticed a) they were smaller flour tortillas then I used (I used the Trader Joes Organic Whole Wheat Olive Oil Tortillas (hey, that’s almost as long as the title!) and b) the picture of them cut up. Ha!
As for it being kid friendly, it depends on the kid. My kid won’t even eat cooked onions, so I just took them and the bell peppers off and she gladly ate it up. I suppose you could even add black beans for some extra protein. I’d say I’d do that next time, except there won’t be a next time unless I feel like experimenting because as tasty and easy as these were, there are just too many recipes and so little time!

Open Faced Enchilada Veggie (Fajita) Quesadilla (Mexican Pizzas)

Ingredients

  • 4 whole Flour Tortillas
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Onion, Thinly Sliced
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt To Taste
  • ⅛ teaspoons Black Pepper To Taste
  • ½ cups Green Bell Pepper, Diced
  • ½ cups Yellow Bell Pepper, Diced
  • ½ cups Red Bell Pepper, Diced
  • ¼ cups Enchilada Sauce
  • ½ cups Black Olives, Chopped
  • 1 cup Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
  • ¼ cups Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
  • ¼ cups Sour Cream For Garnish

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place tortillas on an ungreased baking sheet, lightly spray with cooking spray and prick all over with a fork. Bake for 5-6 minutes, until they are puffed and begin to turn golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Keep the oven on. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onions to the skillet, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until onions turn translucent and begin to caramelize (about 8-10 minutes). When the onions are almost done, add the diced peppers and cook just until they begin to soften. Remove skillet from heat. Spoon about 1-2 tablespoons of enchilada sauce over each of the baked tortillas. Top with the onions and veggie mixture, olives and cheese. Place it back in the oven and cook for 5-6 more minutes, until the cheese has melted. Remove from oven and garnish with fresh cilantro and sour cream.  http://tastykitchen.com/blog/2013/03/open-faced-enchilada-veggie-quesadillas/