Sweet Onion Lentils and Rice (Mother’s Day 2017)

For our Mother’s Day celebration this year we made a delicious recipe courtesy of Buzzfeed. Get a large pasta pot for this if you’re going to double the size! I’ve included the doubled ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 3 red onions (2 will be thinly sliced, 1 will be diced)
  • 4 T olive oil, divided in half
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups green lentils
  • 2 cups long grain rice (we used Basmati)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, for serving
  • 2 lemons, for serving

Directions:

  1. Make the caramelized onions: Heat 2 T olive oil in a large skillet on low heat. Add the onion slices, stirring for about 30 minutes, until they are caramelized and brown.
  2. In a large pot, saute the diced onion and garlic in 2 T olive oil until soft and translucent. This will take about 5 minutes.
  3. Add 7 cups of water, salt, and the lentils to the pot. Bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and simmer 10 minutes.
  4. Add the rice, cumin, cinnamon and bay leaves to the pot. Stir well and replace the lid. Cook covered on low for 15 minutes, or until rice is soft and cooked through.
  5. Fluff the lentil-rice mixture and serve topped with the caramelized onion slices and lemon slices. Top with parsley.

Skillet Lemon Chicken with Mega-Sweet Potatoes

It’s almost May! This year is flying by, and that means some fun new recipes for spring. Chicken seared on a cast iron or regular skillet tastes delicious. I buy the cutlets when I want a quick meal because they brown in 10-15 minutes. The lemon slices cooking along with the chicken in this recipe give it a sweet tangy flavor.

The chicken:

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken cutlets, about half an inch thick
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth

Directions:

  1. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat. Wash and pat the chicken dry.
  2. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parsley.
  3. Cut the lemon in half. Squeeze one half over the chicken. Slice the other half into 4 rounds.
  4. Drizzle the olive oil into the skillet and add the chicken. Let cook 4-5 minutes and flip, making sure the bottom half is browned.
  5. Cook the chicken an additional 4 minutes. Place the lemon slices on top of the chicken. Continue cooking 1-2 more minutes or until the chicken has browned. Flip the chicken over for the last couple of minutes so that the lemon slices are underneath the chicken.
  6. Pour 1/4 cup of chicken broth into the pan to deglaze at the end to create a tasty sauce.

The sweet potatoes:

Ingredients:

  • 3 sweet potatoes, cut into chunks with skin on
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 T melted coconut oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Toss the sweet potato chunks with the maple syrup, brown sugar, and coconut oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Place sweet potato chunks onto a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with Pam.
  3. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes.

Strawberry Crisp

Even though we are months away from summer, I’ve been making this strawberry crisp to celebrate the tasty fruit. The crumble is light and does not taste too buttery. I found this recipe on Green Valley Kitchen and modified it a bit. Serve it with a nice dollop of vanilla bean ice cream!

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 4 cups strawberries, sliced (I used 1 pint)
  • 2 T cane sugar (I used white sugar for this)
  • 1 T corn starch
  • 1 T lemon juice

For the crumble:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 T unsalted butter (softened)
  • Pinch of salt (I don’t add salt to mine)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. In a bowl, combine the filling ingredients and lit sit for a few minutes.
  2. Spray a bread pan with Pam or grease with butter and pour the filling into it.
  3. In a bowl, combine the crumble ingredients and sprinkle over the filling.
  4. Bake at 375F for 25-35 minutes.

Note: The recipe suggests you bake this in 4 8-oz ramekins. This would be better if you have a crowd or want individual portions, and it would certainly make serving it up easier!

Variation on Strawberry Crisp using almonds and a crunchier topping:

I use the same filling recipe, adding 1 t/4 tsp almond extract and 1 T flour to the mixture. Also, I increase the sugar amount to 3T.

This new crumble recipe comes from The Kitchn. I split it in half:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional) (I don’t use cinnamon for strawberry crumbles)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (I don’t use much salt)
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • I also added 1/3 cup oats

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Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus

After eating Panera’s veggie sandwich, I was inspired to try out a cilantro-jalapeno hummus recipe. I found a great recipe on Hungry Healthy Girl’s website. I picked up some cilantro, chickpeas, and tahini and started processing!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 jalapenos (I used half), minced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup (I used 1.5 – 2 lemons) lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • I added 1 tbsp olive oil to the recipe to make it smoother

Directions:

In a food processor, mince the jalapeno and garlic. Add the chickpeas and the rest of the ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl. This keeps for a week in the refrigerator!

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Blueberry Lemon Drop Martini

The best blueberry lemon drop martini I’ve ever tasted? It’s at Fleming’s. I needed to create my own version.

After a lot of experimentation, this recipe yielded the tastiest martini.

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 2 oz blueberry (Stolichnaya) vodka
  • 8 blueberries
  • 3 tsp simple syrup*
  • Ice

Directions:

Pour the lemon juice and blueberries into the cocktail shaker first. Muddle the blueberries a bit (this will release the juices and give the martini that pretty pink/purple color). Add the vodka, simple syrup, and ice. Shake for 20 seconds and pour into a chilled martini glass!

 

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*It is important that you use the right type of simple syrup because the two different recipes will yield different results. The original simple syrup recipe I used to make this martini has 2 parts sugar to 1 part water, and therefore, 3 tsp of simple syrup is very sweet. I think the martini tastes best that way. However, some use a simple syrup recipe of 1 part sugar to 1 part water, and 3 tsp of that will be less sweet. It makes a difference when mixed in with the drink. I prefer the first!

Garlic Dijon Salad Dressing

I have to reluctantly admit that winter is over. That last snowfall in April was a great way to finish off the season, but it is now May and temperatures are creeping up slowly. With spring in full swing and summer coming up close behind, it’s a good idea to try some fresh new vegetables and fruits in salads.

I’m on a mission to learn how to make great salad dressings. They help me eat healthy salads without getting bored of the same lettuce combinations. I usually rely on Trader Joe’s cilantro dressing, but it was out of stock that day, so I made this up.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Dash of Salt
Dash of Pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon (1 tsp)

Directions:

With a wire whisk, combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Serve with your favorite salad combination.

Salad idea: butter lettuce, scallions, pomegranate seeds, mango, pineapple

Dressing

Spiked Lemonade Martini (Lemon Drop Martini)

A lemon drop martini is one of my all-time favorite alcoholic drinks. As I searched for recipes that would call for ingredients I already had on hand, I came across many variations, so I decided to put a little twist on it. Unfortunately, I ended up using a lot more vodka than I thought I was using, but I will report the true measurements so they are completely accurate.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice (it’s not the same if you use the little yellow bottles)
  • 2 tsp. simple syrup*
  • Sugar to rim the glass**
  • Ice

Directions:

Combine the vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake for at least 20 seconds. Pour into a chilled sugar-rimmed martini glass. Enjoy!

Just a friendly word: This recipe calls for a pretty strong drink, so drink plenty of water in between sips or after!

LEMON DROP

 

*To make simple syrup, use 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. Boil the water and add the sugar. Allow the sugar to dissolve completely, stirring often. Remove from heat. You can store this in the refrigerator for future use!

**To coat a martini glass with sugar, you can either moisten the rim of the glass with lemon juice or with a light coating of the simple syrup you just made. With the glass face-down, dip the rim into a prepared plate covered with granulated sugar, making sure to coat all sides evenly.

Note: The original recipe calls for 1.5 oz vodka, 3.4 oz. lemon juice, and 1 tsp. simple syrup.