Spiced Lentil Soup

I’ve been digging around the junk drawer that is my draft folder.  In a concerted effort to clear out the mental clutter, I’m posting this drafts ‘as is’….

Spiced Lentil Soup

Adapted from Parents Need to Eat Too

BAH Note:  You could use as much as 1 1/2 cups of lentils which would give you a thicker, stoupy soup.

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup french green lentils
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • black pepper

Heat the oil in a dutch oven set over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrots, and sweet potatoes and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the vegetables being to soften a bit.

Add the garam masala, cumin, ginger, and salt and cook for approximately 1 minute until you begin to smell the spices.  Add the broth and lentils and bring to boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer 30 to 40 minutes until the lentils are tender.  Season to taste with additional salt, pepper, and spices.

{printable recipe}

Big Batch Perfect Rice

let's pretend all this rice is already cooked ok?
let’s pretend all this rice is already cooked ok?

I remember how the lid of my grandmother’s butter dish would clang as I removed the top and let my knife sink into the achingly soft stick of Land o’ Lakes (salted).  That creamy goodness quickly melted into the pile of snowy white grains, steaming hot from the stove.

Plain.  Simple.  Delicious.

So I ask you, is there anything better than a bowl of buttered rice?

Big Batch Perfect Rice

Adapted from Parents Need to Eat Too and Kim Severson

BAH Note:  This IS a lot of rice.  But the point is to portion it into smaller servings and stash them in the freezer.  I divided the cooked, cooled rice into 1 cup portions, put them into sandwich size plastic bags (rolled out all the air), and then froze them.  Reheating was easy…I added maybe 1 tablespoon of water to my dish and microwaved until the rice was hot and steaming.

  • 2 cups white rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups water

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Give the rice a quick rinse in a strainer while you melt the butter over medium heat in an oven safe pot.  Add the rice to your pot and stir to coat the rice with the butter.  Once the rice starts to smell a bit toasted, add the water and salt to the rice and bring to a boil.

Cover tightly with foil or a lid and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let the pot sit, covered, for another 10 minutes before digging in.

{printable recipe}

Weeknight Chicken and Mushroom Sauce


I mentioned how my friend Amber is responsible for my rather manic fascination with making strawberry shortcake crumb topping to recreate a childhood food memory.  I briefly mentioned how she readily shares the arsenal of tools that she has, sometimes having Amazon dropping an unexpected box of exactly what you need on your door step.  That’s how I came to have Weeknight Chicken and Mushroom Sauce.

No, Amber didn’t have dinner delivered to my house.  What she did was hear me say that I was overwhelmed by the struggle to be back at work (even if it was just one or two days a week at that time), take care of the Tater Tot, and cook dinner on a regular basis.  She heard me and she took action.  Thanks to Amazon’s freakishly quick ability to get product delivered, a day later there was a smiling Amazon.com box sitting on my doorstep.  Inside was a survival guide with recipes and strategies for how to keep The Mistah and I fed in spite of the crazy new demands on our time and attention.

A. Freaking. Men.

Better than a casserole that freezes beautifully (but that won’t fit in my poorly chosen side by side), Amber gave me the tools to fit cooking back into my routine.  I still have days where I struggle with it.  But I also have days where I thaw some chicken breasts, chop some mushrooms, and call it dinner.  Amber, I hope I can return this act of kindness to you because it’s made a world of difference to me.

Weeknight Chicken and Mushroom Sauce

Adapted from Parents Need to Eat Too

BAH Note:  This is what I scribbled on a piece of paper and tucked into the book at this recipe’s page – “easy weeknight supper  can cook chicken 3 minutes / side then cook 5-10 min @ 350 degrees”  In my scribbles, capitalization and punctuation seem to be optional.

If the idea of having to wash two frying pans makes you want to cry, once you remove the cooked chicken breasts from the oven (carefully, that handle is going to be HOT), wrap the chicken in a bit of foil to keep it warm and use that pan to make the sauce, omitting 3rd tablespoon of oil.  You’ll get to the same place, it will just take a little longer.

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons agave or honey
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels and season with a pinch of kosher salt and some black pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in an oven safe frying pan over medium heat.  When the oil shimmers, add the chicken breasts to the pan and cook for three minutes on each side.  Transfer the pan to the oven and continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the chicken is done.

While the chicken finishes cooking in the oven, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to another skillet and heat until it shimmers.  Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook until the liquid released by the mushrooms is mostly evaporated.  Add the sherry, agave (or honey), and vinegar to the pan and raise the heat to high.  Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and add the butter to the sauce, whisking to combine.  Taste for seasoning and add kosher salt to taste.

Add the cooked chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan and serve the chicken topped with mushrooms and sauce.

{printable recipe}