Friday, August 29, 2008

Last nights dinner: Modified Lentil Chili

So guess what, I have still yet to go to the grocery store! Can you say procrastinate?! haha So once again I have ran to the pantry and and came up with something to eat. I used the lentil chili recipe as a reference of sort, I did not by any means follow it to a T. That recipe is here: I also have a bad habit of not measuring a lot of things, so I will do my best to estimate the amounts I used.


1/2 lbs lentils (about 1-1/4 cups)
8 cups of water (estimate)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp onion powder
6 beef bouillon cubes
6-10 small-medium tomatoes (diced)
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp cumin
dash ground red pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 lbs hamburger
1/2 - 1 cup potato flakes (estimate)

First you want to prepare your tomatoes. Some like to scrap the seeds out, I am not one of those people, I think the seeds and juice are the best part! Anyway, get your tomatoes diced and put your lentils on to boil in about 4 cups of water (I put enough water so that where was a bunch of water swimming over the lentils) and add the bouillon cubes. Once the water is boiling, reduce heat and let them simmer for 30 min. Instructions from the above website:
"Place the lentils and the water in a large pot. Put the pot on the stove and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat so that the lentils are simmering gently. Cook for 30 minutes. Do not add the other ingredients until after the lentils have cooked. If the lentils begin to get dry, or if their water boils away then add more water. You want the lentils to remain juicy while they cook".

While your lentils are simmering, brown your hamburger. Make sure you break it up while it is still pink and continue to break it up while it is browning. This way you can have itty bitty pieces of hamburger that doesn't crowd the spoon while your eating.
When the lentils are finished you can add all the other ingredients, including the extra water if needed. That is really up to you, see I just added about 2 cups I think, until it was swimming again.
Allow this to simmer as long as you like. The longer you let it simmer, the more the flavors mix, but be careful because you can simmer all the liquid out of it. I let mine simmer about an hour, then added some potato flakes until it was as thick as I wanted it to be. If you like soupy chili you might want to omit the potato flakes. I then let this cook about 10-15 min longer. This served a small bowl (1 ladel) to my toddler, 4 bowls that held about 3 ladles worth, and 1 two ladle bowl for lunch the next day.

Well, really I have none. I added pretty much all my notes to the instructions since it was such a such a hybrid recipe. But then again, most of my recipes are strange hybrid of other recipes or just what I have in my cabinets close to shopping day!
I will add that you can make any modifications you like. I have found that most chili recipes are just a bunch of random ingredients thrown together with the same bases: beans, beef stock, ground meat, tomatoes, and chili powder. Explore your tastes and have fun with it!
Any even though this may not be the healthiest recipe you will read today, it is homemade, so you know what it in it!

3 lentils out of 5

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Last night's dinner: Black Bean Soup

So I got this recipe from ( I've been trying alot of things from there lately. It's a great site with all kinds of tips and recipes, I love it!
Anyway once again I was out of carrots and celery so I altered it a bit. My altercations will be listed at the bottom of the recipe. Maybe tonight I will run to the grocery store!


1 pound dry black beans
3 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 to 6 carrots, sliced
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
6 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

This recipe is not hard, but it does take a little bit of time for the beans to cook. In a large pot, soak the beans in 2 quarts of cold water overnight, or in 2 quarts of boiling water for an hour or two. After soaking, or the next day, drain the beans and cover them with fresh water. Bring the beans to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat. You want the beans to simmer gently for most of the cooking process. Cover the pot and simmer the beans for an hour. Add more water if needed, to keep the beans covered.

Taste the beans after an hour and see if they are tender. If they are, then you can add the vegetables now; if not, then let them cook another 30 minutes and try again. When the beans are perfectly tender add the vegetable oil, chopped vegetables and seasonings. Taste and add salt if you think it needs it. Put the lid back on the pot and simmer the soup for another 30 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. The soup will be rich and dark with vibrant colors from the vegetables peaking through. When everything is tender, it's ready to serve.

Some people mash the beans a little bit to thicken the soup. You may do this or not as you like. I like it with dollops of yogurt on top, but it is also good with a few boiled egg slices decorating the top. Makes 8 to 10 servings

I left out the carrots and celery and replaced them with a can of corn. We usually don't do canned stuff unless I know who canned it but that is all we had. I also replaced the vegetable oil for extra virgin olive oil and put somewhere between 1 tsp to 1 tbsp of dried parsley flakes in it. I didn't try it with the yougart or the eggs and I didn't smash it up either, but it turned out great anyway! Unfortuately I didn't get a pic of it, but it did make for some great lunch the next day!

MY RATING: 5 black beans out of 5 black beans!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Last nights dinner: Cream of Potato Soup

We are in dire need of a trip to the grocery store so our options for dinner are very limited. I wasn't feeling well yesterday and was busy chasing around a naked toddler (yay potty training/learning!). This caused me to forget to soak some beans for dinner. So I decided to make some pototo soup. Unfortunately I didn't have all the ingredients for my mother-in-law's recipe, so I made my own with what I had. Here is the recipe, other notes will follow.



6 medium red potatoes
6 chicken buillon cubes
5-6 cups hot water
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sugar

Rinse and chop potatoes into 1/2 - 1/4 inch cubes and place in hot water with the buillon cubes. Bring to a boil over med. high to high heat. While the potatoes are cooking melt butter in a sauce pan. Using a fork or a whisk to stir in flour, gradually. Make sure this stays smooth. Slowly add milk to the butter and flour mixture, making sure it does not become lumpy. If you are using a whisk you should be able to go a little bit faster. When all the milk is in and the mixture is smooth stir in salt, pepper, and sugar. Bring this to a boil and stir constantly. Allow this mixture to boil for a full minute. Now remove this sauce from heat. I like to allow this to sit for just a minute.
Check to see that the potatoes are tender. If they are, add the cream sauce to the potatoes. Bring to a boil and serve warm! This serves about 4-6 people.

To make soup a bit thicker, stir in shedded cheese just before serving or plain yougart for a tangy twist. You can also throw in some chopped carrots and celery for added vitamins and minerals, I didn't only because I didn't have any.

I like to use one of those vidalia onion chopper things to chop up the potatoes. This makes them a great size for kids/toddlers and they cook quicker when they are smaller!

The cream sauce part comes from the Creamed tuna and peas recipe on (

I'm not really positive about the serving, but my husband had 2 bowls, I had 4 (2 at dinner and 2 after the girls went to bed, man that makes me sound like a pig!), my daughter had 1 and my toddler had a very small bowl, plus there is one bowl left over for my lunch today! It just depends on how big your bowl is!

Chicken stock/broth for the bouillon cubes and water
Margerine/oleo/whatever for the butter
Almost any type of potato will work, whatever you have on hand
All-purpose flour for the whole wheat flour

Seeing as how I had no milk or sugar, I made some milk from some non-fat dry milk I had in the cabinet. This is a great thing to keep around for when you do run out of milk! And instead of 1 tsp of sugar I used 1/2 tsp fructose that I had in the cabinet.

If you eat no processed foods then you can make your own broth/stock or even your own bouillon cubes, but that is another blog for another time!

MY RATING: 5 out of 5 potatoes!