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.

Hasselback Potatoes with Rosemary

I can’t believe I haven’t posted this recipe yet. I make this nearly every week! I adapted it from this recipe. These potatoes are delicious with rosemary but I bet you could use other roasted herbs like sage, thyme, oregano, etc and it would taste great.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Russet baking potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh sprigs of rosemary, washed, dried, and needles removed

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F. Scrub and dry the potatoes. Slice the bottom part of the potato off, about 1/4 inch, so that the potato rests flat against the cutting board. Repeat with the other three.
  2. Using chopsticks placed above and below the potato or just being very careful, slice the potato from left to right, leaving about 1/8-1/4 inch intact from the bottom (the chopsticks will provide a good ending point for this, preventing your knife from slicing further down). Continue slicing the potato into thin slices, about 1/8-inch apart. Repeat with the rest of the potatoes.
  3. Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub the olive oil mixture all over the potatoes. You can also do this with the bottom portion of the potatoes, to make “potato skins.” Place on a baking tray lined with foil and sprayed with Pam.
  4. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes. Remove the potatoes and sprinkle with the rosemary and more salt. You may drizzle more olive oil on them if you like. You can nestle the rosemary inside the folds of the potato too. The potato skins will be ready at this point, so remove them from the tray.
  5. Bake at 400F for another 30 minutes. Enjoy!

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Steak and Bell Pepper Fajitas with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I usually buy the pre-sliced steak and bell peppers at the grocery store, but this time I wanted to find a recipe that I could make from scratch. Here it is!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds steak (skirt, flank, sirloin–I used flank)
  • 2 peppers (red, green or yellow), sliced into strips
  • 1 onion, sliced into strips
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 T lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper (I used red pepper flakes)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Tortillas

Directions:

  1. Combine the olive oil, lime juice, spices, and garlic in a bowl and whisk until incorporated.
  2. Place the sliced vegetables in a container with a lid or a resealable plastic bag. Place the meat in another.
  3. Pour 1/3 of the marinade onto the vegetables and another 1/3 onto the steak. Seal the containers or bags and shake. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour or longer.
  4. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat and drizzle with olive oil. Add the sliced vegetables and saute for about 5-10 minutes, or until vegetables are starting to get soft. Remove the vegetables from the skillet.
  5. Drizzle a bit more olive oil into the skillet and add the steak. Cook, turning every few minutes, for about 15 minutes or until steak is desired temperature. Add the reserved 1/3 marinade and vegetables and toss.

Serve on tortillas with: avocado slices or guacamole, black beans and cilantro rice, sour cream, cheddar cheese, mashed sweet potatoes (see recipe below), or plantains. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • A pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400F. Scrub the sweet potatoes and dry them. Wrap each potato in foil, making sure to crimp the top and sides so steam does not escape when cooking.
  2. Place potatoes on a lined baking sheet and bake at 400F for 1 hour 20 minutes. When done, remove from oven and let sit about half an hour.
  3. Once the potatoes have cooled, slice them lengthwise and scoop out the potato, discarding the skin. Mash in a bowl with the butter, nutmeg, and salt.

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Beef and Potato Stew (Slow Cooker)

This hearty beef stew comes from one of my favorite food blogs. This is the best beef stew I’ve ever tasted!

Ingredients:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 pounds stew meat, cut into chunks
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound baby red potatoes, quartered
  • 4 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley leaves (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the beef chunks and cook for about 5 minutes, until browned. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Place beef, potatoes, onion, carrots and garlic into the slow cooker. Add the beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and dried herbs, including the bay leaves. Season with more salt and pepper if you want.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. I cooked this for 4 hours on high heat, and it came out delicious!
  4. Once the 4 (or 8) hours are up, combine 1/2 cup of the beef stew broth with the flour and stir well. Add this to the slow cooker, cover, and let cook for another 30 minutes.
  5. Garnish with fresh parsley if you want.

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Pan Seared Chicken Breasts

The October 2016 Cooking Light magazine has a great article written by Kenji Lopez-Alt, the chief creative officer of Serious Eats (seriouseats.com). I love reading his monthly column, since he provides useful tips and tricks in the kitchen. This month’s column was dedicated to creating a golden crust on chicken breasts. I tried this recipe last night and it came out delicious. I did not have canola oil, so I used olive oil instead. Also, my chicken breasts were pretty thick, so it took about 15 extra minutes to cook. I wanted to add this recipe to my blog because I will definitely make it again. Here it is:

Ingredients:

  • 4 (6 oz) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 T canola oil (I used olive)
  • 1 tsp butter (I used 1 T)

Directions:

  1. Wash and dry the chicken with paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides and place on a plate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a saute pan on medium-low until oil shimmers. Add the chicken, smooth side down, and let it cook for about 9 minutes, until the bottom side is golden brown.
  3. Add the butter and lift the chicken breasts to make sure the butter swirls all over the pan. Cook another minute or until the color turns darker golden brown.
  4. Turn the chicken and cook another 6 minutes or so until the temperature registers at least 155F.

Note: If the chicken breasts are thick, they will need more time in the pan. I left them on for about 25-30 minutes total.

 

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Parmesan Pasta with Olive Oil and Garlic

This is a very easy dish for a weeknight:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 box angel hair pasta (4 servings)
  • 3 T grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 T olive oil
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Parsley flakes

Directions:

Boil a pot of water and add salt. Cook the pasta according to the package directions (4-5 minutes).

In a separate skillet, heat the olive oil to medium heat and add the garlic, red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt, and parsley flakes. Saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until garlic is fragrant and remove from heat.

Drain the pasta and toss with the olive oil mixture. You may also reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water and toss it in too. Sprinkle pasta with grated Parmesan cheese!