So I’ve always really loved my slow cooker. Always. But now, I really, really, really love my slow cooker. Without it, we would be eating cereal, ice cream, and peppermint patties for dinner. Which was ok while I was pregnant (I DID throw in some prenatal vitamins, ok?) but not so much anymore. At some point, I’d like not to LOOK pregnant anymore.
This dish is a 7AM, pre-work, post-feeding baby creation. As in, what do we already have that I can throw in the slow cooker, get dressed, get baby ready, go to work, come home, feed baby, and then feed Husband and me? This, is turns out.
- 2 breasts chicken, diced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 jalapeno, partially de-seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 can diced tomatoes (I liked using the ones with a bit of diced chili pepper)
- splash chicken stock
- about a teaspoon salt
- about a teaspoon pepper
- handful cumin
- about a teaspoon turmeric
- about 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- to serve:
- couscous, cilantro, sour cream/Greek yogurt
- Dump everything in the crockpot. That’s right. No pre-seasong, no pre-searing, just straight into the crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Serve over couscous (takes less than 2 minutes to cook! amazing!).
I was surprised by how delicious this was, given the haphazard way it came together. Hence, why I’m sharing it here with you. Huge bonus: it makes enough so that you don’t have to worry about dinner the following night.
It does make me wonder, though – what do normal, non-cereal eating working-outside-of-the-house people make for dinner!? Please (please) enlighten me.
A few weeks ago our dishwasher stopped working. This was not a big surprise; the appliances in our kitchen are all from the late 1970s, early 1980s if you’re feeling generous. The joys of renting an apartment is that you can know nothing about dishwashers, and yet, they still somehow magically get fixed.
Except in this case, we now have a new fridge and a new stove, but our dishwasher is still sad and broken. On the bright side, when we cleaned out the fridge, we also tackled the cabinets. I found a bag of red lentils my mom bought when the baby was first born. I also found a green curry paste that went bad in May 2013. Do lentils + curry = dinner? Though the can of paste went in the garbage, we dined on this delicious concoction last night.
Red Lentil Coconut Basil Curry
- coconut oil
- 1 onion, sliced thinly
- 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
- about 1 teaspoon grated ginger (I keep mine in the freezer for just this occasion)
- big handful curry powder
- about a teaspoon cumin
- about half a teaspoon cinnamon
- about a teaspoon salt
- just a sprinkle of red crushed peppers
- half a teaspoon turmeric
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 1 cup red lentils
- about 4-5 leaves basil
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- a big handful baby spinach
- juice from half a lime
- to serve: naan or rice, Greek yogurt, green onions
- In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil over a medium heat and add onions. Saute about 4-5 minutes, and add garlic and ginger. Cook until everything is nice and soft.
- Add all of the spices (curry powder, cinnamon, salt, turmeric, cumin, crushed red peppers) and the jalapeno and give everything a good toss through. (Don’t be afraid to add a little more coconut oil to keep the spices from sticking to the pan.)
- Add the lentils, coconut milk, stock and basil. Turn the heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the spinach and fold in gently, letting it wilt. Add lime juice and adjust seasoning to taste.
- Serve with rice or naan, and a dollop of Greek yogurt. Top with a bit of green onion for a nice finish.
The answer to the question above is a resounding yes. This is so, so good. Even better, it’s healthy (I think). Best of all, this cooks itself in about 25 minutes, total. That includes the time to cut your veggies and mince your garlic. Yes.
For the last four or so years that we’ve lived together, my husband and I have spent weekend mornings lazing around in bed. Around 10 AM, our bed became think tank HQ for plotting out weekend days and nights. There were big, strategic decisions to be made: where might we want to go eat for dinner? with whom should we try to make plans? what fun things did we want to do?
Now weekend mornings are just a little different. For one: they begin earlier, as the newest member of our household doesn’t understand the concept of sleeping in. For another: it’s a lot less think tank, a lot more operations management. When and where and how are we going to squeeze in naptime and feeding time and cleaning all the things time? For one more: we spend a lot less time planning Saturday night and more time planning Monday night. As in, what can I make for dinner that will be quick and easy and also quick and easy?
The husband came up with the below. Bonus: it’s good hot or cold and even sneaks you some veggies.
Almost Greek Tortellini Salad
- 1 package tortellini
- 1 red onion, chopped
- about 3-4 oz sundried tomatoes, preferably packed in oil
- 1 container cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quartered
- 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
- about 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- a big handful spinach
- obviously optional – olives. I hear some people like these.
- for the dressing:
- olive oil
- red wine or balsamic vinegar
- dash cumin
- salt, pepper
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- dash oregano
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the tortellini according to the directions; drain. While this gets going, prep all your veggies and put them into a large bowl.
- In a small side bowl, whisk all of the dressing ingredients together. (Note: the cumin adds just a hint of sweet that I really like against the general saltiness of the dish.)
- Add the warm, drained tortellini to the veggie bowl and give it a toss. Add the feta and give it a thorough mix before adding spinach and dressing. Serve warm or cold.
This was deliciously easy, which is a good thing since the pictures didn’t come out (see above, obvi). Which means I’ll get another crack at posting something a little more light-friendly. Also: the fact that you can serve this warm or cold makes it a perfect dish to bring to your new mom friends. Just saying: heating things in the microwave can be a challenge.
I know I complained about the weather in my last post, and my ploy seems to have worked. It’s now gloriously sunshine-y, and creeping up into the 70s. Hello, DC that I love – all glorious three weeks before it becomes so hot and muggy you start walking around with a scarf and a fleece again – to protect yourself when you enter the arctic tundra that is DC office buildings in the summer. #firstworldproblems
Of course, the one downside to the beautiful change in seasons is the slow creep away from those hearty, soul-filling foods. When my sister visited a few weeks ago (how surreal is this: the LAST time I will see her before I become a MOM), we spent almost a full day planning out a menu (clearly, we’re sisters, and daughters of our mom), and took full advantage of one of the last cold blasts of the winter season. OK, now I’m really ready for summer.
Lentil & Kielbasa Soup (an Ina Garten special)
- 1/2 pound green lentils
- olive oil
- 2 large onions, diced
- 2 leeks, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt, pepper, red hot chili flakes
- 8 stalks fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 4-6 stalks celery, diced
- 4 carrots, diced
- 10 cups chicken stock
- a big squeeze tomato paste
- 1/2 – 1 pound kielbasa
- big splash red wine
- to serve:
- parmesan cheese
- green onions
- Wash the lentils, and then, in a large bowl, cover them with boiling water. Allow them to sit for about 15 minutes. Drain.
- In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil and then saute onions. After a minute or two, add the leeks, the garlic, salt, pepper, red hots, thyme and cumin, and cook for about 15-20 minutes. Add celery and carrots; saute another 10 minutes.
- Add chicken stock, tomato paste, and drained lentils. Cover and bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer (uncovered) for about an hour – until the lentils are completely cooked through. Add kielbasa, red wine, and simmer until the kielbasa is hot. Adjust seasonings – and serve with your choice of topping.
As you can imagine, this soup gets even better when it sits overnight, soaking up all the goodness. If it’s not spring/summer yet where you live – make this. It will NOT disappoint.
There’s nothing I don’t love about Mexican food.
Onions? Check. Cilantro? Check. Heat? Check. Crispy, fried corn chips? Check. Melted, delicious dairy? Yes, please. Something you can make with veggies or with meat, so Husband doesn’t complain about wasting away? YUP.
Because we tend to have Mexican food fairly often, I keep a lookout for interesting twists. This quick-pickling innovation, from Cooking Light, really is as good (and as quick) as it sounds. Reduce the amount of jalapeño if heat isn’t your thing. But seriously, make these.
Ground Turkey Tostadas with Pickled Onions and Jalapeño
- 1 thinly sliced red onion, divided
- 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 small jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
- olive oil
- 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- large handful chili powder
- about half handful ground cumin
- 2-3 cloves minced garlic
- small handful smoked paprika
- small handful garlic salt
- handful pepper
- handful crushed red peppers
- corn tostadas
- to serve:
- sour cream, cilantro, cheese, avocado
- Combine 1/2 of your sliced onion, vinegar, water, a little bit of sugar, about 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the jalapeño in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for a minute. Remove from heat and place to the side while you make the rest of your meal.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil and add the other half of the onion, along with bell pepper. Cook down about 5 minutes, and then add ground turkey and garlic. Break the turkey up and add all of the spices. Cook 5-7 minutes, or until browned.
- Drain pickled veggie mixture. Top tostadas evenly with the ground turkey, pickled onions and jalapeños, a bit of sour cream, avocado, cilantro – whatever makes your heart sing.
While lamenting the effectiveness of the tostada as a food delivery system, Husband agrees: we should pickle more vegetables, more often.