How To Decide if It’s a Lentil Soup Day

It’s a lentil soup day.

A lot of readers liked Spanish Style Lentils and so do I. But today I’m making my time tested lentil soup recipe which you can find here The Pandemic Pantry -Lentil Soup. Or if you’re feeling adventurous try one of the Lentil Recipes – The First Mess which to be honest I haven’t tried yet.

I’m glad I don’t need mushrooms because I used the one I bought recently in another dish.

Absolutely not an altered photo. Just one very large button mushroom.

I added more carrots and so far at the 30 minute mark I’ve used the entire quart of organic low sodium chicken broth. I did not use the mutant carrot because it went bad before I could use it.

You’re starting to see some interesting produce nowadays.

Today’s post was for the critic who complained about the lack of pictures in this blog.

White Bean and Sweet Potato Stew

Sunday is a good Beanday. A day of rest. Maybe a few, but not too many errands. Hang out the rest of the day at home and make a pot of beans for the week.

This morning I was compiling a dried bean inventory so that I wouldn’t buy more of what I already have on hand. My beans are in various containers in the pantry and on the kitchen counter. Some packages of dried beans are unopened. My quick inventory told me I had green split peas, adzuki, black beans, black eyed peas, red and brown lentils, chickpeas, pinto, mayacabo, white beans, and an unidentified variety which I had to research to figure out I had Cranberry beans!

The white beans were stored in a plastic baggie and fearing they may have been in the pantry since the last time I made Wing and Leg Navy Bean Soup I thought I would cook them. After a triple rinse I quick soaked them (rinse, drain, pour boiling water over all and cover for one hour). Drain again, cover with fresh filtered water, a little onion powder, garlic powder, one bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to super low, and simmer for several hours.

Now I had a pot of beans before deciding what dish to make. After exhausting the possibilities I decided upon a White Bean and Sweet Potato Stew. My inspiration came from the same source as Spanish Style Lentils. So if you’re a visual learner, here you go:

Here’s a link to the original recipe – https://spainonafork.com/spanish-white-bean-and-sweet-potato-stew-recipe/

Here’s what I’ll eating all week.

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup canned stewed tomatoes
  • dash apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups cooked white beans
  • 1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 cups organic vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika and 1/2 tsp regular sweet paprika
  • freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized stock pot
  2. Add the onion, bell pepper and carrot. Saute until the onion is translucent. Add garlic and both paprika powders. Saute briefly for about a minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes, vinegar and simmer for five minutes. Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Continue to simmer until the mixture thickens.
  4. Add the beans, sweet potato, and two cups of broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer covered for around 30 minutes. Check and stir throughout this process and add more broth to desired thickness and to prevent sticking/burning of the stew.
  5. When the potatoes are tender the stew is done. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and salt.
  6. Makes approximately six large servings.

Now I need to figure out what to make with the butternut squash I baked in the oven.

Spanish Style Lentils

I always wondered how they make lentils in Spain. So I went You Tubing.

Then my mind wandered and thought “I wonder if this chef has a website?”

Of course he does. https://spainonafork.com/classic-spanish-lentil-stew-recipe/

And since I’m feeling lazy today (while giving credit where credit is due) check out either the video or website for ingredients and instructions for the Classic Spanish Lentil Stew, known in Spain as Lentejas.

My tweaks:

  • no red pepper because I didn’t have one in the fridge
  • only two cloves of garlic plus granulated garlic to taste
  • 1/2 cup canned stewed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce (adds sweetness)
  • 2 carrots instead of one (because I like carrots)
  • 2 bay leaves instead of one
  • One quart organic vegetable stock instead of five cups (thicker stew, less soupy)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika and 1/2 tsp regular sweet paprika (watch that smokey paprika because it can be quite strong and overpowering)
  • no added salt

This is an excellent recipe if you are gradually adding vegan dishes into your diet.

The Boss liked it.

Vegetarian Badass Black Eyed Peas – 2022

Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

I make black eyed peas once a year for good luck and good leftovers.  This year will be different. One of my goals for the year is to make black eyed peas more than once a year.

“What’s all the chopping I hear?”

“I’m making a vegetarian version of my world famous Badass Black Eyed Peas.”

“Hmm…”

This recipe makes four servings as I suspect I’ll be the only one eating it.

1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 carrots, scraped and diced
1 large green pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 T Mexican oregano
1 tsp apiece cumin, paprika
1-2 cups vegetable broth
1 15 ounce can stewed tomatoes
1 cup black eyed peas (dried)
Salt & pepper to taste

  1. Place the dried beans into a bowl large enough to hold the beans when fully plumped up.  Rinse the beans with water several times.  Fill the bowl with fresh water and soak overnight.
  2. In the morning drain then rinse the beans. Drain again.
  3. In a medium size pot heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  4. Saute the onion, and green pepper until softened about five minutes.  Add the garlic and saute another minute.
  5. Add your spices, carrots and saute another minute until aromatic.
  6. Pour the can of stewed tomatoes into the pot. Break up the tomatoes with your stirring spoon.
  7. Add the beans and enough broth to barely cover the beans.
  8. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low. Partially cover the pot with a lid and let ‘er go for a couple of hours.
  9. Check the pot and stir occasionally to prevent sticking.  Add more broth as the peas cook and the dish thickens.

Salt, pepper, and favorite hot sauce. Season to taste.

End Notes

Note the process starts the evening before if you’re using dried beans. You can always substitute two cans of black eyed peas, drained and rinsed. If you use canned beans, decrease the cooking time on the stove top to around 30 minutes.

I reduced the quantity of dried beans because I think I’ll be the only one eating these beans. There was sufficient salt in both the canned tomatoes and broth so I felt no need to add any more.

Texas Corn Bread or serve over rice.

This dish was inspired by Suzy at https://www.themediterraneandish.com/black-eyed-peas-recipe-greek/.

If you have celery hanging out in the fridge add some at the same step as the spices and carrots.

Badass Black Eyed Peas – 2021

Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

I make black eyed peas once a year for good luck and good leftovers.  Two years ago I finally captured the recipe in this blog format. Last year due to supply chain issues there was no ground turkey so I used cow. This year there was plenty of ground turkey but I used stewed tomatoes and beef broth. The beans should turn out tasty but the voice inside my head says,

“Self.  You need to document the changes in the recipe .”

So I did. Here are the links to the earlier Badass posts.

Badass Black Eyed Peas and Black Eyed Peas – Pandemic Version 2021

4 slices center cut bacon
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp each smoked paprika, chili powder
1 T Mexican oregano
1 T cumin
1 qt no sodium beef broth
2 T tomato paste and one 15 ounce can stewed tomatoes
1/2 lb black eyed peas (dried)
1 lb ground turkey 85/15
Salt & pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

  1. Place the dried beans into a stock pot large enough to hold the beans when fully plumped up.  Rinse the beans with water several times.  Fill the pot with fresh water and soak overnight.
  2. In the morning drain then add fresh water to the beans. Change the soaking water at least twice.
  3. In a large stock pot fry the bacon in the olive oil until the strips are crisp and the fat is rendered.
  4. Saute the onion, celery, and green pepper until softened about five minutes.  Add the garlic and saute another minute.
  5. Add the turkey and brown, breaking up the clumps as you go.
  6. Toss everything else into the pool.  Spices, tomato paste, broth, and beans.
  7. The black eyed peas should be drained and the chicken broth needs to barely cover all of the ingredients.
  8. Bring to a boil then simmer for several hours with the pot partially covered.
  9. Check the pot and stir occasionally.  Add more broth as the peas cook and the dish thickens.
  10. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and your favorite hot sauce.
  11. Yum.  Makes about 6-8 servings.

Odd Notes

This dish will taste better on day two. At the two hour mark I tested for seasoning and amped the beans up a bit. The beef broth works well and now I’m glad I wrote this down because in a year I will have forgotten this substitution.

This year I reduced the quantity of dried beans because someone in the family once told me I put too much beans in my chili. So the 2021 version is meatier than in past versions.

Texas Corn Bread of course.

Happy New Year! I hope this dish brings you much good luck in 2022.

Grocery Store Bargains

With food inflation absolutely skyrocketing I decided to write a post about finding bargains. Yes, bargains in the grocery store. A little while ago I boasted about finding a dozen eggs for $0.89 and wrote Egg Salad (because you will be eating more eggs). Well eggs in my part of the world are no longer this cheap but you’ll never guess what I found at the store yesterday.

$0.49 a pound!

Even though The Boss is not a dark meat chicken person at this price she will be eating dark meat chicken for dinner. Besides, The Boss really likes Chicken Thighs with Spinach which I’ve made several times since discovering the how to video online. I just need to figure out some decent recipes for preparing drums.

The increasing domestic demand for thighs is incentivizing producers to keep chicken legs, which have historically been heavily exported overseas, in the US market. But since every bird has one drumstick for every thigh, it leaves more drumsticks in the market, often at bargain-basement prices.

Big Chicken’s Drumstick Dilemma — https://tastecooking.com/chicken-drumstick-dilemma-dark-meat-thigh/

My big old roasting pan came in handy. Cover the bottom with foil for easier clean up. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Artfully place the drums in the pan, coat with some olive oil, and add some herbs and spices. I used salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and thyme. Bake for 45-50 minutes flipping over once about halfway through. After removing from the oven let the drums sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

De-boned chicken drumsticks.

The picture represents about half of the drums. The other half got served with squash and rice on the side. There’s plenty of leftover chicken to top a green salad, make chicken salad, quesadillas, tacos, Ampaipitakwong Fried Rice (aka Pete’s) or just about any other dish that has cooked chicken in it. Like my One Rotisserie Chicken series except you get to cook the chicken.

One Rotisserie Chicken, 50 Meals – #1 Salad

One Rotisserie Chicken , 50 Meals – #2 Spinach Salad

One Rotisserire Chicken, 50 Meals – #3 Sour Cream Chicken Enchillada Casserole

I picked up two packages of drums. Not bad for two bucks.

Iki Marinade 2.0

Iki Marinade 2.0

1/8 C. olive oil

1/8 C. canola oil

1/4 C. light thin Thai soy sauce

2  1/2 T. light brown sugar

2 T. apple cider vinegar

2 1/2 T. ketchup

1/2 T. granulated garlic powder

1/2 T. onion powder

Dash red pepper flakes

The Story Behind Iki 2.0

For the story behind Iki 1.0 the original click here.

Ever wonder how two cooks can make the same recipe and they come out different?  One cook makes the dish and it tastes good.  The original cook makes the same dish and for some reason no one wants to explain, it doesn’t just taste good it tastes great.  Wonder no more!  The secret is simple.  The original cook uses certain brands of ingredients and also changes the recipe.  A digital cookbook is the perfect place to document such changes.  As always I leave the original alone and highlight what changes I’ve made.

What Changed

I moved away from all olive oil to a mixture of olive and canola oils.  The soy sauce I use comes from Thailand and is the Happy Boy Thin variety.  While I prefer this brand you may not be able to find it in your local Asian grocery.  Also be aware that MSG is listed as an ingredient so avoid if you have any sensitivity to this substance.  Both of these changes lighten the marinade.  Kikkoman which is found almost everywhere is an example of a dark soy sauce.  The amounts of brown sugar and ketchup are a little higher than in the original.  Thus, this version is a slight bit sweeter.  Finally, garlic powder subs for fresh garlic and I’ve added onion powder to the marinade.

Why Change?

Why not?

Buttermilk Pound Cake

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 sticks butter

4 large eggs

3 cups sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Grease and flour a bundt pan.  Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Mix buttermilk and baking soda.  Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl cream butter, sugar, and salt.
  4. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each egg.
  5. Add half the buttermilk mixture and mix well.
  6. Add half of the flour and mix well.
  7. Add remaining buttermilk mixture and mix well.
  8. Add remaining flour and mix well.
  9. Add vanilla.
  10. Pour batter into your greased and floured bundt pan.
  11. Bake at 325° for one hour and 20 minutes.  Due to oven and atmospheric variations, check the cake after one hour and 10 minutes.

“Why do I always have to make dessert?”

“Because you are an excellent baker and all of your desserts taste wonderful.”

“Why don’t the neighbors ask you to make appetizers instead?”

“Because your desserts are better than my appetizers.”

Sometimes it takes time to decide what to make for a  neighborly get together.  Pound cake sounded good so we dug out this old recipe from the box.  Our first house was located on a cul-de-sac.  It was and still is a great spot to raise a young family.  A young family of four lived across the street and Rhonda was the source of this recipe.  I’ve not changed the ingredients but the instructions have been somewhat modified.

Don’t forget the strawberries and whipped cream.

pound cake

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins (updated)

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

1 stick butter

1/2 C light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 C whole wheat flour

1/2 C white flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3 large ripe bananas smashed

1/4 C sour cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium size mixing bowl cream butter and sugar. Add egg and beat some more.
  3. Add smashed bananas. Stir to mix.
  4. Add flours. Sprinkle baking soda and salt evenly.  Stir with a fork until the dry ingredients are just moistened.  Do not over-mix.
  5. Place baking cup papers into a 12 cup muffin pan.
  6. Fill each cup 3/4 full.
  7. Bake 20-22 minutes.

 

Update 04.15.17

I’m at the point in life where I buy just 2-3 bananas at a time.  Since bananas conspire to all ripen simultaneously buying a small number of fruit also cuts down on the amount of muffins in the freezer.

The Boss ate the last one from the freezer this week.  So I had to make more.

Since recipes gradually change over time today was a good day to update my World Famous Whole Wheat Banana Muffin recipe.  As always I’ve left the original intact for all you purists out there.  The changes are subtle but they do make a difference.

Butter not margarine and sour cream instead of buttermilk or yogurt.  Two eggs instead of one.  I find these little changes make a softer, fluffier muffin.

And for non-family member readers this recipe is not Daughter-in-Law Approved (yet).

 

Semi-Organic Beef Vegetable Soup

  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 C sweet onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots,peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 small Yukon Gold potatoes, diced, skin on
  • 1 medium green squash, diced
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pound top blade roast
  • 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes with juice
  • 4 large white button mushrooms, thick dice
  • 1/2 C frozen corn
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • pinch dried parsley
  • pinch dried thyme
  • 1 quart organic beef broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Makes about four healthy servings.

  1. In a small stockpot heat olive oil until hot.  Salt and pepper the roast.  Brown the beef on both sides over medium high heat.
  2. Add the celery and onion.  Reduce heat to medium and saute for several minutes.
  3. Add garlic powder and thyme.  Add enough broth to almost but not completely cover the roast.  Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer.
  4. Simmer slowly for two hours.
  5. After two hours, remove the roast to a cutting board and allow to cool.
  6. Add the rest of the beef broth and tomatoes to the pot.
  7. Add the potatoes and carrots. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  8. After 30 minutes add the squash , mushrooms and corn.  Simmer for another 30 minutes.
  9. When the roast is cooled, trim any excess fat, cube and add to the soup.
  10.  Adjust your seasonings.  Add parsley.

My meals since Friday evening have been soup, cereal, soup, soup, toast/banana, soup, and soup.   The jeans are getting a little loose.  I cannot remember a weekend of such healthy eating ever.  Yes, The Boss is still sick.  Friday I made chicken soup.  Last night I made Vegetarian Vegetable Soup.  Today I decided upon Beef Vegetable for a change in pace.

A high quality beef vegetable soup is the end result of the right cut of beef and some high quality broth.  This recipe is semi-organic because most of the ingredients were organic but some were not.  The beef broth was hand selected store bought prepared organic broth.  I used top blade which IMO makes a big difference  due to the cut and marbling.

Tips

I remembered the mushrooms.   Use vegetables you have on hand.  I also decided to leave out peas because peas are not one of my favorite vegetables.  The corn adds a touch of sweetness.  Note the roast is braised whole for several hours, cooled, cubed and returned to the soup.  The beef stays tender this way.  You won’t end up with tiny hockey pucks.

A salad on the side and crusty bread would make this a meal.

So would a three pound top blade roast.  But with that much beef you might as well make Pot Roast.