Sunday, November 18, 2007

|lentil tacos - who knew?|

My hubby and I have long been fans of the taco. When we first got married, we ate tacos almost every week made out of ground beef. One day we decided to try turkey meat instead and discovered you couldn't really tell the difference. A few years later, when we were losing weight, we tried the "fake meat" kind (made out of the soy-based crumbles you find in the refrigerated section of the store). They were awesome, too.

This past weekend we tried another taco variation and I'm pleased to report that it's delicious. It tastes just as good as the "fake meat" kind - without that odd fake meat flavor - and I'm pretty sure it's cheaper and more nutritious than any of the other kinds. I'd say it'll be our new favorite taco.

Here it is...Lentil Tacos:

  1. Sort, rise, and drain about a cup of lentils. We used brown lentils, but I'm sure any kind would be just fine. The brown ones look the most like meat, though!
  2. Boil them in about 3-4 cups of water until they're done. It only takes about 20 minutes. Lentils are quick-cooking because they don't have to be soaked first.
  3. As they're boiling, saute up some diced onions. Add a small can of diced green chilis and about a half a can of drained corn to the mix.
  4. Once the veggies are heated up, add about 1/2 cup water and a package of taco seasoning mix. If you want to make your own taco seasoning, I recommend a mixture of cumin, chili powder, cayenne powder, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  5. Drain the lentils. Dump them into the veggies. Stir and heat through.
  6. Serve em up on regular tacos shells.
Enjoy! Maybe I should have called this the "ode to lentils" blog.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

|lentils and balsamic - surprisingly delicioso|

Found a nummy recipe in New Vegetarian Cuisine by the editors of Prevention magazine. It's a decent little cookbook I found at the library. Anyway, it called for lentils and balsamic vinegar and I thought - really? But it turned out really good.

Of course that probably has something to do with the fact that I used my bottle of Fini which is the BEST balsamic vinegar in the world. Mmmm. You can get it at Williams Sonoma (piece of trivia - the guy who started Williams Sonoma was named Williams and he added the Sonoma part just cause it sounded hip).

Okay, on with the recipe...

  1. Boil some cubed potatoes and lentils in a pot of boiling water. Add some tarragon to the pot (and some salt, too - I think there should always be salt in a pot of boiling water).
  2. While that's a-cookin', saute some onions, zucchini, and carrots in a bit of olive oil. Cook em until they're soft. Add some garlic in there, too. I highly suggest doing your carrots first and adding the zukes later or they'll get really soggy.
  3. Drain any remaining water off the lentil/potatoes. Add the potatoes and lentils to the veggies. Add some salt and pepper along with a few tablespoons of balsamic. Heat through.

Friday, November 2, 2007

|fun with veggie chili|

Veggie chili is a beautiful thing. I'm not even sure why you need to make it with meat ever. I learned from my mother-in-law that you could throw veggies into regular chili and started adding more and more veggies until I discovered the meat wasn't really necessary. Yesterday was my first time making chili in the crockpot and it turned out pretty good, so I figured I'd post the recipe.

A word about one of the ingredients. "Six Guns Chili Mixin's" is the coolest chili packet ever. I can't find there where I live, so I have to buy them in Kansas. But they are awesome. It comes with several pouches of seasonings, including a packet of masa to add at the end for thickness.

1) Put all these ingredients in the crockpot:

  • Onions (diced)
  • Beans (I used red and black; canned or dried is okay - just pre-soak if they're dried)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (add the juice, too)
  • Corn (canned or frozen)
  • Mushrooms (you can use whatever other kind of vegs you want, but mushrooms are a must)
  • Whole mess of veggies - basically just fill it up with whatever you want...this time I used zucchini, a few carrots, sweet potatoes, acorn squash, and turnips (I can also vouch that celery, all kind of peppers, and okra are all good things)

2) Add your flavoring packets (or a combination of chili powder, cumin, garlic, pepper, cayenne pepper - just add way MORE than you think you'll takes a lot to make it flavorful). Add some water, too.

3) Cook all day long. Check to make sure your beans and vegs are done. Make sure you've got some broth yet.

4) To make it thick and yummy, add some masa (corn flour). Add a couple tablespoons of it to some water until it's about pancake batter consistency. Drizzle it into the chili a few minutes before serving.