Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Red Lentil & Roasted Cauliflower Tacos with Creamy Chipotle Sauce

One of my vegetarian friends had a new baby and I wanted to make a meal for her family to share. I decided on red lentil tacos. Red lentils, who knew? I loved these lentils and struggled to actually give them away (although not a hit with the family).  Lentils are high in protein AND filling. And the best part? This is quick to make!

This recipe is only a base for the versatility of red lentils. Change up the spices and make it your own! In the original recipe, I read that red lentils cook quickly because they are already split while other lentils take a long time.

Red Lentil & Roasted Cauliflower with Creamy Chipotle Sauce
Feeds 4


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (or use regular paprika)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 cups water

Creamy Chipotle Sauce:
   1/3 C mayonaise
    2-3 Chipotle's plus sauce from the can
    juice of 3 limes

Roasted Cauliflower:
    olive oil
    cauliflower, broken into medium florets

For Serving:
    Corn Tortillas
     Favorite Taco Toppings

Preheat the oven to 400

1a. Toss cauliflower (any color!) with olive oil until just coated and toss with salt in a rimmed baking pan. Roast 25-35 minutes until tender and browning.
1. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook ~5 minutes until starting to get soft
2. Add garlic and cook one minute more
3. Add all the spices and cook 30 seconds until fragrant
4. Add lentils and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer 15 minutes until lentils are tender. Adjust salt to taste
5. Meanwhile, in a mini blender combine all ingredients for the chipotle sauce
6. Serve lentils warm with cauliflower and desired toppings. Add Chipotle Sauce on top.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

CJ'S Chewy Chocolate Dream cookies.

Have you been craving the perfect chocolate cookie lately? Well, these cookies are bound to satisfy you. Eat them right out of the oven, frozen, plain, or in a bowl of ice cream. Whatever way you eat them, there is no hiding the incredible taste and flavor of these delicious chocolate cookies.

                                CJ's Chewy Chocolate Dream Cookies

1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup White Sugar
1/2 cup Butter
1 Egg
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1 cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
2/3 cup chocolate chips (for melting)
1/2 cup chocolate chips ( If you want a crunch. If you don't want that, make it just 1 cup of chocolate chips.)

Preheat oven to 350 F
Cream in electric mixer butter, and both kinds of sugar. Add egg, mixing until combined, then put in vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Very slowly, add the flour mix to the wet mix, and combine. Put a pot of water on to boil, then find a heatproof glass bowl (or use a double boiler). When the water is boiling, put the glass bowl on top of the pot and pour the 2/3 cup chocolate chips into the glass bowl. Stir until melted. After they are melted like this:
turn the stove off, and spoon the now melted chocolate chips into the mixer fast, so they don't harden. Turn the mixer on, and mix until combined. Mix in the rest of the chocolate chips. If you wish to add nuts, add a couple handfuls of chopped walnuts. Put onto trays:

 and bake for first 8 minutes, then if they do not look done enough, bake for a minute more, and repeat until done. Serve as desired. Enjoy!

Friday, March 17, 2017


This week we bought some red lentil pasta and we decided that since it is red we would eat it with pesto instead of red sauce.  Disappointingly, the red lentil pasta turned tan after cooking.  The pesto was great though! I wanted to use it with everything! We even planned to marinate chicken but the chicken spoiled.  This recipe makes 3 Cups of thick pesto but we still have a lot left because I watered it down for pasta sauce and a little goes a long way. It's even good as a dip!

Pesto is super simple to make and a great way to eat your greens! Not a big hit with our toddler but what else is new?

1/4 C basil
1 bunch spinach, washed, stems removed
1 bunch green kale, washed, stems removed and blanched 30 seconds
3 cloves garlic
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 C raw cashews
2T olive oil or water

1. Put everything in a food processor and blend it. Add more oil or water to get the desired consistency.
2. Refrigerate until ready to eat

To use as pasta sauce: heat desired amount in a small pot over medium heat and add pasta water or regular water to make into sauce, stir

To use as a marinade: mix with a little oil and rub all over chicken. Put chicken in a ziplock in the fridge until ready to cook.

To use in eggs: add pesto to scrambled eggs just as you stir it into the pan. Green Eggs and Ham!

Let me know how else you use your pesto!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Shepard'a Pie

Sometimes it's hard to decide what to do with ground beef. Today was one of those days so I made Shepard' pie. The toddler didn't eat it for unknown reasons but the rest of the family loved it. This recipe is so customizable to your tastes and what you have in your fridge, freezer and pantry. I was proud to have all the ingredients at home!!

1 lb ground beef or turkey
2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 T butter
Milk or broth up to 1 cup
Salt & pepper
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 C carrots, chopped
1/3 c frozen peas
1/3 c frozen corn
1/2 c broth
1 T worstescheir sauce
2 t olive oil

1. Boil water in a medium pot, add potatoes and cook simmering until soft when pierced with a fork. Drain and return to pot.
2. Mash the potatoes with a masher or immersion blender. Add butter and then milk in 1/4 c increments until desired texture. Season with sale and pepper. Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet.  Add onion and carrots and cook until onion is soft. Add beef, garlic and cook until meat is browned. Add broth and worstecheir. Cook 5 minutes on medium.
4. Add peas and corn and cook 5 more minutes. Liberally season with salt and pepper
5. Preheat oven to 400
6. In a 2 qt oven proof container or an 8x8 dish, add meat mix and layer potato on top.
7. Cook 30 minutes until potatoes are browned.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Zuppa Toscano

It was cold and rainy today and I thought it was the perfect day for soup! This recipe comes together quickly relying on the flavors of the sausage to make the soup. Maybe a bit too much spice for kids - we served ours a mild sausage instead.

Adapted from the kitchn where the measurements seemed off

1 1/2 quarts chicken broth
1lb spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1t olive oil
1 lb russet potatoes, sliced into 1/4" half moons
1 bunch curly kale, ripped into bite sized pieces
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves Garlic, crushed
1/2 C heavy cream

1. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium then add sausage and brown. Break up large chunks.
2. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft. 
3. Add chicken broth, potatoes and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20min until potatoes start to fall apart
4. Add kale and cream and cook until kale is bright green and wilted
5. Serve warm with warm bread

Friday, January 13, 2017

Chicken Tortilla Soup (No Beans)

There is a Mexican restaurant by us and it has delicious Chicken tortilla spup.  I looked for recipes like it but all the recipes have beans and no potatoes. This recipe has the right flavor profile but also no potatoes. It is delicious!  Very quick to make and can be adapted for the slow cooker! Plus it is a one-pot meal!

1lb chicken breasts or thighs, cut into small chunks
32ox chicken broth
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 lb carrots cut into rounds
2 ears corn, kernels removed
1 jalepeno, ribs and seeds removed, diced
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2T tomato paste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ancho chili powder
Olive oil
1/2 bunch cilantro

For Serving:
Lime wedges
Shredded cheese
Tortilla chips

1. In a large pot over medium heat add olive oil and then sauté pepper, onion, carrot and garlic until onion is soft.
2. Add spices and stir on the bottom of the pot vigorously for 30 seconds
3. Add all other ingredients except cilantro
4. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for at least 20min or until chicken pieces are cooked through but longer is fine
5. Add cilantro just before serving
6. Top with desired toppings

Spaghetti & Quick Meat Sauce

We used part of a can of crushed tomatoes for pizza sauce and then scrambled around to find other recipes for the rest of the can. I decided on spaghetti and meat sauce. I even had ground beef in the freezer! (We never use what we have in the freezer).  This meat sauce is really quick to come together and pretty tasty too.  You can make this in that 20 minute period where you realize you have nothing for dinner while the pasta is boiling!

1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
3 carrots, shredded (I shredded mine on a cheese grater because I didn't want big chunks of carrots in the sauce)
1 onion, chopped
2T olive oil
3/4lb ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 box long pasta of your choice
parmesan cheese for serving

1. Prepare pasta according to instructions
2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
3. Add garlic, onion and carrots and cook until soft
4. Add beef and brown breaking up with a spoon
5. Add salt, pepper and tomatoes
6. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer at least 10 minutes or until ready to serve
7. Serve sauce on pasta with parmesan on top