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!

Meatball Soup

The LO loved this and so did my hubby. My elder daughter was not a fan but it’s not abnormal for her to dislike new foods these days. It was so easy and makes the best leftovers for lunch or dinner.

That garlic chili oil from the other day continues to make everything better.

Meatball Soup

(inspired by Bonappetit recipe)

Meatballs

  • 1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. ground beef

Soup

  • 1 Tbsp. (or more) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 head of cabbage, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 4 stalks kale and/or chard, removed from veins and sliced
  • Handful sugar snap peas, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 1/2 cup shelled fresh (or frozen) English peas
  • Lemon wedges

Make meatballs:

  • Mix yogurt, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper in a large bowl just to combine. Add beef and mix with your hands (or a wooden spoon) until well blended but take care not to overmix, or meatballs could be dense.
  • Using your hands, lightly pack meatball mixture into tangerine-size balls (about 1½” in diameter) and place them on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high. Working in batches and adding more oil if needed, add meatballs to pot, making sure to leave enough space between them so you can move them freely, and cook, turning occasionally to help them keep their shape, until evenly browned on all sides, 5–8 minutes. The trick is to make sure the meatballs don’t fall apart. Let them get sufficiently browned on each side before trying to move them. Once cooked, set aside in a bowl.

Make Soup:

  • Add shallots, garlic, and cabbage and greens to pot (no need to wipe out). Season with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes
  • Add broth and vinegar to pot and bring liquid to a simmer. Cook until cabbage is just tender. Return meatballs to pot along with any juices that have accumulated and simmer long enough to let flavors meld, 6–8 minutes.
  • Just before serving, add sugar snap peas and English peas to broth and cook until no longer raw, just a minute or two (you want them to retain a little bit of bite).
  • Serve with garlic chili oil and lemon wedges.
  • 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.

Kimchi Fried Rice

Remember those miso turnips that I made the other day? Leftovers found their way into this kimchi fried rice and it was perfect. Also, if you’ve got a pork chop or steak or chicken, grill it right quick and add that on the plate too. This can be a main meal or just a side to your protein. It’s tangy and spicy and the perfect amount of probiotics. I ate mine with a fried egg on top because – chickens in my backyard are laying, laying, laying.

Kimchi Fried Rice

  • 2 cups cooked Jasmine rice
  • 1- 2 carrots, cut Julianne
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • Precooked veggies of choice, I used miso turnips
  • 2″ knob of ginger, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup kimchi (I love either makin my own or buying from Wise Goat Organics)
  • Canola oil
  • 3 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP gochujan (we use it on everything. Make this a staple)
  • 1 TBSP sesame oil
  • 1 TBSP kimchi juice
  • Toppings of choice (fried egg, nori, black sesame seeds, green onion, steak…all of the above)

In a bowl, mix gochujan, soy sauce, sesame oil and kimchi juice. Set aside

Heat a bit of canola oil in a large skillet. Cook onion, carrots, garlic and ginger. Until tender. Add rice and kimchi and pour over gochujan mixture. Fry for 2 mins.

Note: The key is sauce to rice to veggie ratio and everyone has different preferences. I like a slightly sticky rice with lots of veggies. But, you’re the chef. You decide what’s best for you.

Serve as a side or main. Top with whatever you fancy.

Lola Momma’s Picadillo

My MIL was supposed to come back to the states this month from the Philippines for her annual 3 month stay. But it’s too risky to get on a plane. She’s going to stay home. We miss her so much. So, I made one of my favorite dishes that she makes when she comes. It’s so comforting and sweet. Serve it up over rice and maybe top it with a fried egg. It can be eaten any time of day. Enjoy!

Lola Momma’s Picadillo

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 4-5 baby Yukon potatoes or 1 large Russet, diced into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/2 orange or red bell pepper, diced slightly smaller than potatoes
  • 2 carrots, diced into littler cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup raisins (I know, trust me)
  • 1,5 – 2 cups water
  • 1 TBSP fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar

In a medium pot, begin to brown the ground pork. Add the garlic midway through and cook until pork is no longer pink. Add tomato paste and cook for 1 min. Add potatoes, raisins, carrots and enough water to cover the veggies. Simmer until cooked through adding more water as needed. Add fish sauce and sugar to taste.

Enjoy comfort in a bowl.

Sesame Steak Rice Bowls with Miso Turnips

We had a super thick ribeye that needed to be cut. And we were too lazy to fire up the charcoal grill. So, husband filleted the ribeye and marinated it in soy sauce, minced garlic and sesame oil. Tokyo turnips are growing at our local farmers. So I brushed some olive oil and miso paste on them and threw them in the oven. Rice was made and that’s how we collaborated on one of our most delicious SIP meals AND THE KIDS LIKED IT!!

Sesame Steak Rice Bowl and Miso Turnips

  • 4 cups cooked jasmine rice
  • 1 1/4 lb ribeye, 2″ thick, filleted or 2 ribeyes 1″ thick
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP sesame oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Bundle of turnips, sliced in half and greens removed.
  • 2 TBSP miso paste (I used red but white would be good too)
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • Kimchi (optional)
  • Nori Furikaki (add this to your kitchen staples)
  • Gochujang (add this to your kitchen staples)
  • 4 fried eggs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix sesame oil, soy sauce and garlic. Marinate the meat with the sesame/soy mixture for 15-30 mins.

Mix olive oil and miso paste in another bowl. Put turnip bottoms on a baking sheet. Reserve the green tops. Brush half the miso dressing on the turnips. Bake for 12-15 mins.

While turnips are baking, heat pan on medium/high heat and cook steaks (reserve marinade). Remove and let rest under foil for 10 mins. In the same pan, add turnip green tops and miso dressing. Cook until wilted and remove to another plate. In same pan, add steak marinade and cook for 2 mins and drizzle over steak.

If you want to go wild, fry an egg to top your bowls.

Assemble rice bowls with a cup of cooked rice, turnips and steak on top, kimchi and all you other fixings on top.

Enjoy!

SIP Wondrous White Bread

Ok, ya’ll. This is not the whole wheat, semi-healthy loaf of bread that’s full of fiber and good for … well, you know. No. This is the stuff we used to savor as cinnamon toast or flanking some bologna (the kind with a name). Yep. This is the good stuff with sugar and canola oil. YOLO! This is how I’m using my precious yeast.

Wondrous White Bread

  • 2 TBSP yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 1/2 cup flour (maybe less)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg + 1 egg and 1 Tbsp water for egg wash
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Add yeast; let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Mix the canola oil, egg, and salt in a measuring cup. Add to the yeast mixture. Then slowly add enough flour to form a soft dough. I usually add 3 cups then slowly sprinkle more as the dough sticks to my fingers or the bowl. Knead for 5 minutes. Make sure you do this for a full 5 mins.
  • Form dough into a smooth ball. Keeping the dough in the bowl, spray with non-stick spray and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place (70-80 degrees) for 15 minutes.
  • Punch down the dough.  Knead for 1 minute. Take the dough and cut it in two. This can make a full loaf and a mini one. I would do 2/3 and 1/3.
  • Form each into a loaf by rolling it into an oblong shape then tucking and pinching the ends under the loaf.
  • Line loaf pans with parchment. Place each loaf in a pan. Brush thoroughly with egg mixture.
  • Let loaf sit while oven is preheating to 400 degrees F, or about 10 minutes. I arrange the rack to the upper part of the oven because my burner is on the bottom.
  • Carefully put the loaves in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until outside is golden brown and internal temperature of loaf registers 195 degrees. If the top starts to brown too much, lightly place foil over the top to stop browning.
  • Let cool. Slice & enjoy!

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!

Gigante Meatballs

Make these when you have time because they’re delicious and they freeze well. I just pulled a bag out of the freezer for dinner added them to a pot of sauce and served it over spaghetti. So easy. They’re also great over polenta!

Giant Meatballs

THE MEATBALLS:

  • 1 pound 80% fat ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 6 Tbsp Italian style breadcrumbs
  • 6 Tbsp seasoned Panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups of your favorite marinara (more if you’d like more sauce. Up to 5 cups)
  • Mozzarella for top (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375˚F
  2. In a large bowl, mix meatball ingredients until evenly combined.
  3. Portion meatball mixture into 1/4 pound pieces, rolling into balls.
  4. Place meatballs in a large baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes.
  5.  Remove dish from oven and top meatballs with the sauce. Return to oven and bake for an additional 25 – 30 minutes, or until meatballs have reached an internal temperature of 165˚F. If adding mozzarella, add 10 mins before pulling out of oven.

Shelter In Place Trend: Make Sourdough

I had no idea this was a trend until I started seeing pics of sourdough bread on social media. Making a started just seemed like a cool science + nourishing food activity for the kids. Also, being a sourdough starter mom is rewarding and a PITA. Enjoy!

Sourdough Starter

The Kitchn is the resource we used for making the starter (note, it takes 5 days if you can keep it in a room 70-75 degrees f.

Sourdough Bread

  • 1200 grams bread flour
  • 900 grams water
  • 20 grams fine sea salt
  • 20 grams starter

Make the leaven the night before baking. Mix 20 grams of starter with 200 grams of warm water. Wash your hands really well and stir with your hands to disperse.

Add 200 grams of flour and combine well. Cover and let rest at room temp for 12 hours or until puffed in appearance.

To test for readiness, drop a tablespoon of leaven into a bowl of room temp water; if it floats, it’s ready to use. If it doesn’t, allow for more time to ferment.

In a large bowl, combine 200 grams of leaven with 650 grams of warm water. Wash hands really well and stir to disperse with hands.

Add 1000 grams of flour to bowl (if using whole wheat, use 900 grams of bread flour and 100 grams of whole wheat flour). Wash your hands again really well. Use your hands to mix until no traces of flour remain. The dough will be sticky and ragged. Cover the bowl with a towel and let it rest for 25 to 40 mins at room temp.

Add 20 grams of fine sea salt and 50 grams of warm water. Use hands to integrate salt water into dough thoroughly. The dough will begin to pull apart, but continue mixing. It will come back together.

Cover dough with a towel and transfer to a warm environment, 75 – 80 degrees f (like near a window in a sunny room, or inside a turned off oven) Let dough rise for 30 mins.

Fold dough by dipping a very clean hand in water, taking hold of the underside of the dough at one quadrant and stretching it up over the rest of the dough. Repeat this action 3 more times, rotating bowl a quarter turn for each fold. Do this every half hour for 2 1/2 hours more (3 hours total). The dough should be billowy and increase in volume 20 – 30 percent. If not, continue to let rise and fold for up to an hour more.

Transfer dough to a work surface and dust top of flour. Use a dough scraper to cut dough into 2 equal pieces and flip them over so floured sides are face down. Fold the cut side of each piece up onto itself so the flour on the surface remains entirely on the outside of the loaf; this will become the crust. Work dough into taut rounds. Place the dough rounds on a work surface, cover with a towel, and let rest 30 mins.

Mix 100 grams flour and 100 grams rice flour in a different bowl. Line two 10-12″ bread proofing baskets or mixing bowels with clean towels. Use some of the flour mixture to generously flour towels (reserve remaining mixture).

Dust rounds with flour. Use a dough scraper to flip them over onto a work surface so floured sides are facing down. Take one round and starting at the side closest to you, pull the bottom 2 corners of the dough down toward you. Then fold that into the middle third of the dough. Repeat this action on the right and left sides, pulling the edges out and folding them in over the center. Finally, lift the top corners up and fold down over previous folds. Roll dough over so the folded side becomes the bottom of the loaf. Shape into a smooth taut ball. Repeat with the other round.

Transfer rounds, seam-side up, to the prepared baskets. Cover with a towel and return the dough to the 75 – 80 degree f environment for 3 – 4 hours. (Or let dough rise for 10 to 12 hours in the refrigerator. Bring it back to room temp before baking. )

About 30 mins before baking, place a Dutch oven or lidded cast iron pot in the oven and heat it to 500 degrees. Dust tops of dough, still in their baskets with the bread and rice flour mixture. Very carefully remove heated pot from oven and gently turn 1 loaf into pan seam side down. Use a lame or razor blade to score the he top of the bread a few times to allow for expansion. Cover and transfer to oven. Reduce temp to 450 degrees and bake for 20 mins.

Carefully remove the lid (steam may rise) and bake for 16-20 more mins or until crust is rich and golden brown.

Transfer bread to a wire rack to cook for at least 15 mins before slicing. The bottom of the loaf should sound hollow when tapped. Increase oven temp to 500 degrees, clean out the pot and repeat the process with the second loaf.

Recipe from NY Times’ Tartine Bread.