Tag Archives: Food

Favorite Chicken Recipes

Ratatouille with Chicken Sausage and Chickpeas

I love summertime at the farmer’s market because there are so many colorful vegetables:

Recipe June Photo1

Ratatouille is one of my favorite summer dishes because it’s delicious and gives me an excuse to buy all the beautiful vegetables! Another nice thing about this dish is that it’s easily modified; it can be a vegetable side dish, it can be served with pasta or crusty bread, it can be a vegetarian main course if you add some type of legume, or it can be an omnivorous main dish if you add some type of meat.

When we first got married, my husband was wary of vegetables like eggplant and squash. He found them much more palatable when mixed with vegetables he already knew and loved, like bell peppers and tomatoes, and he found them downright delicious when I added chicken sausage to the mix! I adapted this recipe from  Everyday Food Magazine, adding chicken sausage and chickpeas for additional protein and fiber, making it a one-pot meal.

Recipe June Photo2

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. eggplant, peeled in strips and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 1 lb. zucchini, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 yellow or red bell peppers, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 8 oz. fresh sausage
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Preparation

Heat oil in a Dutch oven. Remove chicken sausage from casings and cook, breaking it up into smaller pieces. Add onion, cooking til soft, and add garlic. After about 1 minute, stir in eggplant and zucchini, season with salt and pepper. Add 3/4 cup water and cover until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add peppers and simmer about 5 minutes more. Stir in tomatoes and thyme, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and heat until warmed through. Stir in the basil and serve ratatouille.

 

Asian Chicken Cabbage Salad

What to do with all that leftover cabbage after making fish tacos? I’m not sure how “Asian” it is, but I have loved this chicken cabbage salad that is both light and satisfying. This recipe is adapted from Katherine Martinelli’s blog.

chickencabbage

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup mirin (sub white wine vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken
  • ½ large white cabbage, shredded
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1 package snow peas, cut in half
  • 1 bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 cup sliced scallions
  • ¼ cup almond slivers, toasted
  • 1 package ramen noodles, broken up
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

Preparation

Put the soy sauce, mirin, water, sesame oil, and brown sugar in a small pot over low heat. Heat, stirring, just until the sugar has fully dissolved. Whisk in the olive oil and set aside to cool.

Roast the chicken in the oven set at 350 for 25 minutes, or until no longer pink in the middle. Cut into bite-size pieces.

Put the cabbage, carrot, snow peas, pepper, scallions, almond slivers, and uncooked noodles (discard seasoning packet) in a salad bowl. Pour half of the dressing over and toss vigorously until every piece of vegetable is coated. Add the chicken and more dressing until the salad is well dressed. The remaining dressing will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for at least 1 week.

Garnish with the sesame seeds and serve (salad can be made up to a few hours ahead and refrigerated; simply omit the noodles and toss in just before serving.)

 

Chicken with Artichokes and Sun Dried Tomatoes

You can keep chicken in your freezer and artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, and couscous in your pantry so that you have this meal on hand at any time. Add salad or cook up some frozen vegetables to round out this quick dinner from Everyday Food.

chickenartichokes

Ingredients

  • chicken breasts for 2, boneless and skinless
  • 8 sundried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and slivered
  • 4 scallions, green and white parts separated, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 can or jar artichokes, drained, rinsed and halved
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous

Preparation

Places chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. With a meat mallet or skillet, pound to 1/2″ thickness. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and saute until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from heat.

Bring a small pot of salted water to boil; add couscous. Boil until couscous is tender but still pleasantly chewy, about 10 minutes. Drain and toss with scallion greens.

To pan add garlic, white parts of scallions and 1/2 cup water; bring to a boil. Add artichokes, sundried tomatoes and a bit more oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until artichokes are heated through. Spoon over chicken and serve with couscous.

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I tried many chicken tortilla soup recipes before I found this one from Central Market that gets the seasonings just right– it turns out simpler is better! You can use fresh or canned tomatoes, fresh or frozen corn, fresh hatch chilis or canned green chilis, depending on whether or not they are in season.

Ingredients

For Soup

  • vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 8oz can green chiles
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 – 2 lbs chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Juice from 1 lime

Toppings

  • Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • tortilla chip pieces

Preparation

Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add the remaining ingredients except lime juice and toppings. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes to an hour. Off the heat. Stir in the lime juice, ladle soup into bowls, and add the toppings.

 

Chicken Meatballs

Meatballs are very versatile: they’re great to have for appetizers, plain or dipped in marinara, you can add them to a soup, or any pasta.

These meatballs are part of Ina Garten’s Italian Wedding Soup recipe. I like to make a big batch, flash freeze the raw meatballs and store them in a plastic Ziploc in the freezer for future use. When I want to use them, I just put the frozen meatballs on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

chickenmeatballs

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 pound chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1 to 1 1/4-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You should have about 40 meatballs. They don’t have to be perfectly round.) Bake until cooked through and lightly browned, 15-20 minutes.

 

 

Catfish, Gumbo, Red Beans & Rice

Catfish with Okra and Corn

Okra and corn are in season in the summer, but it’s been so delightfully warm that I’ve bought the frozen versions, and I’m pretending it’s summer already! This quick dinner recipe serves 4 and comes to you courtesy of Eating Well.

catfishokracorn

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of fresh or frozen okra
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • olive oil
  • 1 3/4 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1 lb. catfish, cut into four portions

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 450. Combine okra, corn, and 3/4 tsp Cajun seasoning on a large rimmed baking sheet. Toss with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast, stirring twice, until the vegetables are beginning to brown, 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, sprinkle both sides of the catfish with the remaining Cajun seasoning. Heat some oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the fish and cook until cooked through and starting to brown, about 4 minutes each side. Serve with roasted vegetables and a salad or green vegetable.

 

Sausage Gumbo

This is another (non fried) way to use okra. Instant rice makes it a bit faster, but you could use regular brown rice and add to the cook time. This Eating Well recipe serves 8.

sausagegumbo

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces hot Italian turkey sausage links, removed from casings
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen chopped okra
  • 3/4 cup instant brown rice

Preparation
Cook sausage in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and add oil. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and Cajun seasoning and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and cook, stirring to coat the vegetables, until the flour browns, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to release their juices, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth, cover, increase heat to high and bring to a boil.

Return the sausage to the pan, along with okra and rice; reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the okra is heated through and the rice is tender, about 10 minutes.

 

Red Beans & Rice

This recipe, also from Eating Well, is great for all times of year and can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the Canadian bacon.

redbeansrice

Ingredients

  • 4 1/3 cups water, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 15-ounce cans red kidney beans, or pink beans, rinsed
  • 6 ounces sliced Canadian bacon or ham, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped celery leaves
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper or cayenne pepper

Preparation
Combine 3 1/3 cups water, rice and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to low, cover and cook until all the water has been absorbed, about 45 minutes.

About 10 minutes before the rice is ready, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onion is lightly colored and tender, about 3 minutes.

Place 1 cup beans in a small bowl and mash with a fork. Add the mashed and whole beans, the remaining 1 cup water, Canadian bacon, celery, celery leaves, bell pepper and ground chipotle (or cayenne) to taste to the pan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened into a gravy and the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Serve in shallow bowls, spooned over the rice.

Entree Salads

Bulgur Salad with Kale and Salami

This is a recipe I come back to time and time again. It’s from Whole Foods and is great warm or cold.

bulgurkale

Ingredients

  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cup medium-grind bulgur wheat
  • 6 cups (about 1/4 pound) roughly chopped kale
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced salami, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted olives
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation
Bring broth to a boil in a large pot. Stir in bulgur then cover and simmer until just tender, about 10 minutes. Uncover, scatter kale over the top, cover and cook until wilted and tender, 4 to 5 minutes more. Set aside off of the heat, covered, for 5 minutes then uncover and fluff with a fork.

Transfer bulgur and kale to a large bowl, add salami, parsley, olives, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper and toss gently to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Warm Quinoa, Spinach, Mushroom Salad

This is a vegetarian, gluten-free, grain-based salad that can easily be made vegan by omitting the cheese. This recipe is originally from Everyday Food.

quinoaspinach

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 pounds fresh mushrooms, including shiitake, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 1 pound baby spinach
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Preparation
Whisk together vinegar, oil, salt and pepper to make a vinaigrette. Pour half the vinaigrette in a large pan. Heat, add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are cooked down and have released their liquid.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan combine quinoa, 3 cups water, and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Cover and simmer until liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.

Place spinach in a large bowl. Add hot mushrooms, quinoa, and reserved vinaigrette. Top with crumbled feta and serve warm.

Halibut Salad Nicoise

This recipe serves 4 and is based on a recipe by Eating Well. You can substitute a tuna steak and add halved hard boiled eggs for the more traditional tuna nicoise.

halibut

Ingredients

  • 1 lb red potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 lb green beans, trimmed
  • 2 halibut steaks
  • salt
  • pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salad greens
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives
  • parsley, chopped
  • vinaigrette

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 450. Place the potatoes and green beans on a baking sheet, season with salt and toss with olive oil. Place the halibut steaks on another baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables until the potatoes are soft all the way through, 15-20 minutes. At the same time, bake the halibut 12-15 minutes until cooked through and flaky.

Meanwhile, arrange salad greens, tomatoes, and olives on four plates. Cut the halibut steaks in half, top each salad, and squeeze lemon juice over the fish. Arrange roasted vegetables on the plates and garnish with parsley. Serve with vinaigrette.

Taco Salad

Keep this classic salad simple, but make it more nutritious! This is always a pleaser in our house and can be made vegetarian by substituting a can of black beans for the ground beef.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 oz can green chiles
  • 1 tbsp chile powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • shredded cheddar or Monterrey jack cheese
  • salad greens
  • frozen corn, warmed
  • red or orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • prepared salsa
  • tortilla chips

Preparation
In a pan, cook ground beef until browned. Add onion and cook until onion is soft. Add green chiles, salt, chile powder, and cumin. When all ingredients are incorporated and the spices are fragrant, off the heat and sprinkle the beef with shredded cheese.

On plates arrange the salad green, bell pepper, and corn. Top with warm beef and use salsa as a dressing. Garnish with tortilla chips.

Beanie Weenies for Dinner

We were in Piedras Negras, a town at the Texas-Mexico border. Just across the Rio Grande was Eagle Pass, Texas. A group of young, energetic people from our church had gone to volunteer its manpower to a mission that was building homes there. We spent the afternoon under the sun, hauling loads of concrete in wheelbarrows and laying cinder blocks. At the end of the afternoon, we set our tools down and, famished, headed to the dinner line. Some women from the neighborhood had cooked for us, and as we passed through the kitchen, each of us was handed a Styrofoam bowl of…beanie weenies.

I looked to see what else they were serving, but there wasn’t anything else. No vegetarian option, no whole grain, no vegetable in sight, not even iceberg lettuce. Just soupy beans (which could have used a little salt, truth be told) and chunks of hotdog floating in them. Even as a child I had never liked hotdogs, and I was not at all convinced they even really counted as food. What was I going to eat?

We had come from Austin, the land of organic home vegetable gardens, gluten allergies, and arugula salad with beets and goat cheese. Health is a major priority there. I was even accustomed to hearing people refer to their food in terms of its nutritional value (“Little Jimmy, you’ve got to eat two more bites of protein before you can have more carbs”). The nutritional value of this food was iffy, at best.

But there was something more at play than the nutritional value of this meal. What about the spiritual value of this meal?

The human spirit is the immaterial part of our being that is manifested in our attitudes, and then our words and actions. Sometimes I’m so concerned about the material things I’m putting into my body that I’m completely blind to the immaterial parts of myself that are coming out of me. And all too often, when I’m not paying attention, what comes out of me is irritation, complaints, self-centeredness, and ingratitude. If my body looks and functions perfectly, but my spirit is cold, self-absorbed, and inflexible, what good is it?

Is the healthier woman the one who insists on having her personal preferences catered to? Or is she the one who accepts with a glad heart the hospitality that has been extended to her?

Is the healthier woman the one who looks critically on the eating habits of others? Or is she the one who is humbled by and grateful for the labor and love that went into the food’s preparation?

Is the healthier woman the one who is a slave to her diet of quinoa and kale? Or is she the one who is free to eat all foods without guilt and fear?

Does she grin and bear it (and possibly complain about it later), or is she truly joyful when she sits around a table of food she didn’t cook?

In Piedras Negras we had just spent the day working hard all together, with friends old and new. Now the work was done and we could rest all together around a table. We had come to serve people in another culture, and with their fellowship and this dinner, they were serving us too. This was so much bigger and better than whatever happened to be in my bowl.

I write these things in large part as reminders to myself. But as we come together with family and friends during this season of celebration, I pray that your time and your feasting would be, above all else, joyful, peaceful, and loving.

 

Why Are So Many Yoga Teachers Vegetarians?

There are many reasons people decide to eat a vegetarian diet. The most common reason is probably for health,  but also up there are love for animals and environmental sustainability. Some are vegetarians for just one reason, some for multiple reasons. But there does seem that a disproportionate number of yoga instructors also happen to be vegetarians. Why is that? Is there a yoga reason to refrain from eating meat?

Among dedicated yoga practitioners, there is actually a pretty big divide about whether or not a yogi ought to eat meat. Those who have given considerable thought to the topic and decide that yogis need not be vegetarians are usually those who have tried it and determined that it’s not good for their health. Many of those say that they felt depleted and were more likely to get sick when they were vegetarians. Often their doctors recommended that they incorporate meat back into their diets to be healthier.

But there are many who advocate vegetarianism or veganism as necessary for the life of a yogi. They often point to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which is the most widely-known text of yoga philosophy. The Yoga Sutras describe an “eight-limbed” path to right living, and the first limb of this system is called the yamas. The yamas deal with morality, the attitudes and actions people take toward the world outside of themselves. The yamas address issues like truthfulness (satya), non-stealing (asteya), sexual restraint (bramacharya), non-greediness (aparigraha), but the characteristic associated with vegetarianism is listed first in the yamas: ahimsa, non-harming and compassion for all living things. The idea is that when a person eats meat, he is causing an animal to be killed, which is violence and harm done to the animal.

On a practical, rather than philosophical, level, there is the ancient yogic wisdom that the body and mind are better primed for meditation on a vegetarian diet. According to this wisdom, because digesting meat is more complicated than digesting vegetables, energy flows more freely throughout the body on a vegetarian diet, and so the practitioner is more balanced and prepared for higher-level activities. Another yoga text, The Hatha Yoga Pradipika specifically names meat and fish among the foods “injurious to a yogi or yogini.” (Happily, this same text recommends eating “tonics” that are “well-sweetened, greasy, [made with] milk, butter, etc., which may increase humors of the body…”

See a list of all injurious and beneficial foods, according to The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, here.

Go-To Quick Dinners

It would be no understatement to say that the fall is a ‘bustling’ time of year. And the closer we get to the holidays, the less time there seems to be for such pesky things as cooking dinner. I know we’re all looking for quick ways we can put a healthy dinner on the table, so today I’m sharing a few of my “go-to” quick dinners, many of which use ingredients I tend to have on hand anyway, so I can put something together, even if I haven’t been to the grocery store in a while.

I keep frozen vegetables and some type of lettuce on hand to make a quick and healthy side for any meal.

 

Sweet Potato with Black Beans
Serves 2

SWEETPOTATO

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato, washed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Shredded cheese, for garnish
  • Avocado, for garnish

Preparation:

Poke holes in the sweet potato with a fork and heat in the microwave for 6-8 minutes, until cooked through.

Heat the beans in the microwave until warmed.

Cut the sweet potato in half, one half for each plate. Mash the insides with a fork and top with beans, cheese, and avocado. Serve with a green vegetable side.

 

Fish Tacos
Serves 2

FISHTACOS

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. tilapia filet
  • 6″ or 8″ tortillas
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • 2 lime wedges
  • Cabbage, shredded
  • Carrot, thinly sliced
  • Cilantro

Preparation:

Season the tilapia with salt,pepper, chili powder, and cumin, to taste. Heat oil in a small pan and cook tilapia over medium heat, flipping after about 3 minutes, until cooked all the way through.

Warm the tortillas for 10 seconds in the microwave and divide the fish between them. Top with shredded cabbage, carrot, and cilantro. Squeeze lime over the taco. Serve with canned pinto beans and salad.

 

Tuna Salad
Serves 2

TUNASALAD

Ingredients:

  • 2 small cans or 1 large can tuna fish, drained
  • Mayo
  • Pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • Apple, sliced small
  • Salt & pepper

Preparation:

Put tuna in a bowl and add mayo, salt, and pepper to taste. Add nuts and fruit, to taste. Serve with salad and bread.

 

Mediterranean Plate
Serves 2

MEDITERRANEAN

Ingredients:

  • Prepared hummus
  • 2 dolmas
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumber, sliced
  • Feta cheese, sliced
  • Pita bread

Preparation:

Arrange all ingredients on a plate.

 

Pasta with Vegetables
Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • Pasta, any kind (100% whole wheat for more fiber)
  • 16 oz. bag of frozen vegetables (or any fresh vegetables you have on hand)
  • 1 jar of pasta sauce
  • 6 oz. red wine
  • Spices (oregano, rosemary, etc.)
  • Parmesan cheese

Preparation:

Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta. Drain. Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan and cook the vegetables. Season to taste with salt and spices. Add the pasta sauce and heat all the way through. Add wine and bring to a boil. Top the pasta with vegetables and sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

 

 

Favorite Fall Recipes

pumpkin (1)

Roasted Winter Squash Salad
This is a delicious vegetarian (and vegan) entree that I found at 101cookbooks.com. It serves 4.

Salad Ingredients:

  • 3 cups winter squash (I used butternut), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • 3 medium red onions peeled and quartered
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 375. Toss the squash with oil and salt and spread onto a baking sheet. Do the same for the onions, but keep the onions and squash separate. Roast for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash and onions are deeply colored and caramelized.

For the dressing, puree sunflower seeds, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and honey in a blender until creamy. Use the warm water to thin the dressing to taste. Stir in the cilantro, taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.

In a large bowl, gently toss rice with onions and a dollop of dressing. Spoon rice and onions onto a plate and top with roasted squash. Drizzle dressing over the top and garnish with extra cilantro.

lentilsausage

Warm Lentil Salad with Sausage and Apple
This is a quick dinner, easily made vegetarian (and vegan) by leaving out the sausage. I got the recipe from Eating Well. It serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 fresh chicken sausage links, removed from casings
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small bulb fennel, diced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, finely diced
  • 6 cups fresh spinach or other salad greens

Preparation:
Place lentils in a saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 15-30 minutes to desired softness.

Meanwhile, whisk 3 tbsp oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Heat oil in a large skillet and add sausage, breaking it up and cooking all the way through. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Stir in lentils and heat all the way through. Add about 1/4 cup of dressing and remove from heat. Stir in fennel and apple.

Toss the spinach with the remaining dressing, serve spinach with lentil mixture on top.

 

Basic Apple Sauce
In the fall the grocery store begins to carry many kinds of apples, and my favorite thing to do with apples is make apple sauce. Sometimes we eat it plain for snack or dessert, and sometimes we stir it into our breakfast oatmeal as a sweetener. An apple corer-peeler-slicer makes this recipe go much faster.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs apples, I use a combination of Gala, Golden Delicious, and McIntosh
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

Preparation:
Peel, core, and slice apples into chunks. In a large saucepan, combine apples, cinnamon stick, and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and discard cinnamon stick.