Lentils = Protein

It’s hard to get my mostly-fresh-fruit-and-veggie-eating littles to consume protein too. They love eggs and red meat and salmon – sometimes chicken, if it’s fried. But that will cover like 6 of the 4000 meals that need to be made … in a day. (Doesn’t it feel like the meal prep and dishes are just one continuous stream throughout the day right now? Pepper in some laundry and then it’s already time to go to bed.)

Anyway, they love this lentil (kinda) soup recipe. I say kinda because there isn’t a bunch of broth. If you like yours more broth, just add a 1/2 more around 20 min mark in the cooking process. And the kids don’t know about the anchovies!

Lentil (kinda) Soup

  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup black lentils (or any other that you have), rinsed
  • 1/2 large onion, diced super small so kids don’t notice
  • 2 carrots, diced super small because of picky children
  • 4 anchovies in oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (I’ve started buying the kind in the jar because holy crap this is a lot of cooking we’re doing these days)
  • Cumin to your liking (I used 1/2 tsp)
  • Good amount of salt to your liking
  • Olive oil
  • Pickled jalapeños for the grown ups as a topper

Kid approved.

Start a medium pot with a good amount of olive oil (2-3 TBSP? Sure). Heat on medium/low. Add onions, carrots, garlic and anchovies. Melt down the anchovies so you don’t see them as whole pieces anymore. They should just add color to the veggies. After they cook for a few mins, add a dash of salt and cumin. cook for another 5 mins being sure to not burn.

Add the rinsed lentils and broth. Bring to boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer with the cover on until the lentils are tender. Salt to taste.

Lots of toppings go great with this from fried eggs to pickled jalapeños to avocados and sour cream to all of the above.

Enjoy!

Hug Porridge

We desperately need hugs. Our beloved dog passed away. I made this to help comfort our hearts and it was effective.

Hug Porridge

6 garlic cloves, sliced thinly

1/4 cup veggie oil

2 tsp dried red chili flakes

1/2 yellow onion, diced

2/3 cup uncooked rice

8 cups water

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 bunch of Dino kale, deveined and cut into ribbons

2-4 tsp of salt

1/2 lemon

Fried eggs

In a large pot, add the veggie oil and garlic. Cook on med/low heat until the garlic is golden brown. Remove all but a TBSP of the mixture to a separate bowl.

In the separate bowl with garlic and oil, add the chili flakes. Stir. This is now the coveted chili garlic oil you’ll douse on every including this porridge.

On the pot with garlic oil, add the onion and cook until soft and slightly caramelized. Add water and chicken breasts. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to a quick simmer. Cook uncovered for 20 mins. Take out chicken and continue cooking until the porridge becomes slightly thickened, stirring often.

While the porridge continues cooking, shred the chicken.

Once porridge is almost as thick as you’d like it, add in the kale and chicken. Season with salt. Cook for 4 mins.

Squeeze 1/2 lemon and stir.

Top with a fried egg and chili garlic oil (be careful, it’s spicy and a little goes a long way).

Enjoy your hug.

Spring In A Bite

Spring is just around the corner and these are a perfect first bite of the season. I made them for a party and they held up perfectly. The stored ones for lunch got a little dry. I’d recommend making them fresh or try wrapping them with a damp towel if you’re storing them for tomorrow’s lunch. Enjoy!

Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

  • 4-5 rice paper wraps (the circle ones that you have to rehydrate)
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • ½ hothouse cucumber, julienned
  • 2-3 carrots, julienned
  • ¼ head purple cabbage, very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 head napa cabbage, very thinly sliced
  • large handful baby spinach
  • Firm tofu (can be flavored) cut into 1/4″ strips
  • fresh cilantro, mint and basil
  • You could also add lobster or other meats and rice noodles if desired.

Peanut Sauce

  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1½ Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • juice of ½ lime
  1. Put all veggies and herb on a platter for eat assembly.
  2. Whisk together all Peanut Sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  1. Fill a shallow bowl with warm water.
  1. Working one at a time, dip a rice paper wrap in warm water until it becomes just pliable, about 10 seconds. (You don’t want the wrapper to fully soften while you’re soaking it; it should still have structure when you pull it from the water and will continue to soften while you apply fillings.)
  2. Lay wrapper flat on a large clean surface and arrange a small amount of each topping in the center of the bottom-third, beginning with spinach and striving to keep the pokier ingredients (peppers, cucumbers, cabbage, carrots) last, where they will be more protected within the roll.
  3. Gently bring the bottom of the wrapper up over the ingredients, completing at least one full roll before folding in the left and right sides; continue to roll until fully wrapped. (Roll should be somewhat snug — and yes, it takes a couple of tries to get it right.) Set aside and repeat until all fillings have been used.
  4. Serve rolls whole or sliced in half (for presentation purposes only) with Peanut Sauce on the side.
  5. Enjoy!

Shelter In Place Yogurt

We’re pretty avid yogurt eaters + I’ve always wanted to try to make yogurt + being stuck at home + last tub of store bought yogurt in fridge + have instant pot = motivation to make yogurt (finally!)

This came out so well. I topped it with a bit of my homemade plum jam, granola, pecans, chia and help seeds.

Shelter In Place Yogurt

  • 8 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  1. Add milk to Instant Pot, close and lock the lid. Select yogurt setting; adjust pressure to boil. This can take up to 1 hour.
  2. Remove the insert with a pot holder and set on a trivet on the counter to cool until the milk reaches 100 to 110 degrees F, use a candy thermometer to keep track (it took me about 30 mins) set aside 1 cup milk.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt and reserved 1 cup milk. Stir into remaining milk in the insert. Add sugar and vanilla.
  4. Return insert into the Instant Pot. Select yogurt setting, set automatically at 8 hours. For thicker and tangier yogurt, set for 9-10 hours.
  5.  Transfer to storage containers; cover and chill until cold, about 6-8 hours, or up to 10 days.

Butter Mochi Muffins

The cutest/sassiest names website, snixykitchen posted this recipe and I love it. It reminds me of Hawaii and makes me so happy to eat (looking at you gluten-free)! They smell crazy good coming out of the oven. They’re crunchy on the outside and mochi chewy on the inside. I’m addicted. Thanks snixy!!

Butter Mochi Muffins

  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing pans
  • 2 cups (320 grams) mochiko sweet rice flour
  • 1 cup (200 grams) organic dark brown sugar*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 13.5-13.66-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon molasses (optional, added for flavor) – I didn’t use it
  • 1½ tablespoons each, black and toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and place the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Generously grease the sides and top of a 12-cup muffin tin** with soft butter.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweet rice flour, dark brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, coconut milk, eggs, vanilla, and molasses.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until completely combined.
  6. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup all the way to the top. Note: the thickness of your batter will vary depending on the brand and thickness of your coconut milk and temperature of your butter. If your batter is thicker than mine pictured, that’s okay and it will still bake up delicious!
  7. Sprinkle the tops with black and white sesame seeds.
  8. Bake 55-65 minutes*** until the top is brown and crispy and the muffin springs back when poked with a finger.
  9. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.****

NOTES

*Organic dark brown sugar is richer and more caramel-y than conventional, but you an use conventional in a pinch!

**Any muffin tin will do, but for ultimate crispy exterior, I recommend a dark non-stick muffin tin.

***If using a light muffin tin, you may have to bake the muffins a little bit longer.

****If keeping them for longer, they’ll lose their crispiness after a day or two in storage, but you can pop them in the oven for a few minutes to get them crispy again before eating.

Pink Mylk – Sakara inspired

One of my favorite discoveries in the past year was Sakara. It’s a meal program that inspired my cooking creativity just by taste.

Their Pink Mylk is one of my favorites over granola and freeze dried strawberries.

Pink Mylk

  • 1 Tbsp powdered Pitaya or Dragon Fruit powder
  • 2 shakes of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp Himalayan sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp Manuka honey
  • 2/3 cup oat milk

Combine all ingredients and shake vigorously. Serve over nut granola topped with shredded coconut and freeze dried strawberries.

Holy QUESO, Batman!!

Stop what you’re doing and make this NOW! Make it as a weekend snack. Serve it with margaritas. Bring it to your friends’ house in a fondue pot and be forever more, the most invited person to every eating event ever.

I love you, homesicktexan.com for this recipe – like love love!

Best Queso Ever (Bob Armstrong Dip)

Ingredients for the taco meat:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 bell pepper. seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne

Ingredients for the chile con queso:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 pound American cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, diced
  • Salt
  • Sour cream and guacamole for garnishing
  • Tortilla chips, for serving

Instructions

  1. To make the taco meat, in a large skillet heat the oil on medium-low heat and add the bell pepper, jalapeño, and onion. While stirring occasionally, cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
  2. Add the ground beef to the skillet, along with the cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Stir until everything is well combined and then cook the ground beef for 15 more minutes, or until browned. Taste and adjust seasonings. Turn off the heat and drain any excess grease.
  3. To make the queso, in a saucepot heat the oil on medium-low heat and add the jalapeño and onion. While stirring occasionally, cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
  4. Leaving on the heat, stir in the cumin, black pepper, and cornstarch until the dry ingredients are well combined with the vegetables. Pour in the chicken broth and while stirring cook until the sauce has thickened, which should happen in a couple of minutes.
  5. Turn the heat down to low and working in batches, slowly stir in a handful of the cheese. After it’s melted into the sauce, repeat the process until all the cheese is added. Stir in the tomatoes, adjust seasonings, and add salt to taste.
  6. This makes a lot of queso. To keep it hot and reduce the “skin” from forming, serve in a fondue pot. To assemble, layer along the bottom of the dish the taco meat, then pour in the queso and then top with the guacamole and sour cream. Serve warm with chips

Kinda Curry Curry

This is the simplest recipe that results in the kind of curry non-spicy lovers love. It’s full of veggies and protein of your choice.

  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves or garlic, diced
  • 3″ piece of ginger, peeled and diced
  • 10 whole cardamom pods, smashed and seeds removed
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 eggplant, chopped and roasted
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped and roasted
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 small purple cabbage, chopped
  • Handful of spinach
  • Handful of green beans
  • Extra firm tofu, chopped
  • 1/2 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup tomato purée
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375 and roast sweet potato and eggplant with a drizzle of oil and salt for 30 mins while you’re busy chopping and sautéing.

Sauté onions, garlic, ginger and cardamom seeds for 5 mins on medium in avocado oil or oil of your choice. Add carrots, cauliflower and spices. Cook for 1 min until fragrant. Add coconut milk and tomato purée. Cook for 10 mins. Add remaining veggies (except spinach) and protein (tofu in this case) and cook until veggies are just tender and protein is cooked. Add roasted veggies and spinach.

Serve over rice.

The Best Belgium Waffles

People! The holidays are just on the horizon and that means we can indulge a bit on the sweets and decadent breakfasts. Who am I kidding? We make these monthly.

These waffles are a family favorite. They freeze really well and can be popped in the toaster for a quick weekday breakfast. You can serve it with fried chicken or cheesy toppings to make it savory.

The trick to making the best waffles is the waffle maker and mix. You can get both at Williams Sonoma. The waffle maker is an investment. Well, shoot so is the mix but it’s sooooo worth it. The waffle maker is the All Clad 2 waffle maker. It’s great and consistent. The mod is the gluten free or regular Willams Sonoma Bellgem Waffle Mix.

Go out and splurge on this set for yourself, your kids or someone who has those little humans running around their house. It’s a great gift.

Notes: I heat the waffle maker to 4. I add an extra tablespoon of butter to the mix (and always let it sit 15mins before cooking). I use a 1/3cup mix for each waffle. I freeze them flat in the freezer and then bag them (otherwise they bend in funny shapes and won’t fit In the toaster).

Happy Waffle Wiggles!!

Eggs in a Spinach Nest

Make this! Make it just for yourself or make it for a family gathering. It is so delicious and comforting and simple and lovely. It says “spring time” on your plate and delivers sunshine to your belly. 

  
Eggs in a Spinach Nest (adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen)

• 12 eggs

• 2 lbs fresh spinach

• 1 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced

• 8 roasted garlic cloves in oil

• 1 shallot, sliced thin

• 4 TBSP unsalted butter

• 1 cup heavy cream

• a pinch of salt

• 1/4 cup grated parmesean 

Add a bit of olive oil to a large frying pan. Heat and add half of your spinach and wilt, about 30 seconds. Add the rest of your spinach and wilt again.  Drain in a colander and cool under cold running water. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Then chop.

Melt butter over medium-low heat in frying pan and cook shallots and mushrooms until soft. Stir in cream, salt, and chopped spinach. Remove from heat and place in 9×13 baking dish. Stir in parmesean.  (You can cover and put this in the fridge to cook the next morning or go ahead to the next step if you’re eating it today.)

Make 12 wells in the spinach/mushroom mixture. You’ll crack each egg into each well. 

Straight from SmittenKitchen: When you’re ready to bake the dish, or about 30 minutes before serving, put oven rack in upper third of oven and heat oven to 450°F. Crack an egg into each well. Bake until whites are firm and yolks are still runny. Takes anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes. The range is long due to different ovens and baking vessels. It’s better to have to check more often than to let them overcook.

[Cooking note: It is nearly impossible to get all 12 eggs to cook evenly. The ones in the center will be more runny; at the edges, they’ll be more firm. But don’t fret. I’ve found that almost all people have an egg preference (more runny vs. more firm) and each egg manages to find the right home. Just ask people their preference as you serve them.]

Remove dish from oven, sprinkle with additional salt and pepper, plus grated Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Everyone loved this one!!