Tag Archive | easy

Middle Eastern Lentil Soup

Recipe generally from here (http://www.food.com/recipe/shorbat-adas-middle-eastern-lentil-soup-287666)

  • 6-8 cups chicken broth (depends on how thick you like your soup)
  • 1 12 cups small red lentils
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (very fine if you dont plan on blending the soup)
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 34 teaspoon cumin
  • 1teaspoon turmeric
  • olive oil
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until softened
  2. Add the cumin and turmeric and stir together for ~30 seconds
  3. Add the broth (I use about 6 cups to start because I like thicker soup. If its looking too thick towards the end of the cooking process I’ll add a little more to get the thickness where I like it.
  4. Stir in the lentils, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer for ~20-30 minutes (sometimes the cooking time will vary, but the lentils should be very very soft.
  5. Before serving I usually mix it up with my immersion blender. You can do the same in a regular blender if you want (it just always ends in a disastrous explosion for me so I like the immersion blender). If you shop the onion fine enough in the beginning, you can get away without blending it.
  6. Some restaurants serve this with good olive oil drizzled on top, I usually forget.

Pesto and Grilled Veggie Sandwich


I’m not typically one who enjoys sandwiches for dinner, but this is an exception for me. It looks complicated but was really easy (took about 25 minutes for the whole thing) I got the main idea of this recipe from here. On the side I had some baked sweet potato fries  with pink dipping sauce found here.

Note: For the pesto, you can use store-bought. This pesto recipe was also used here and here.



1/2 cup part skim ricotta (non-fat won’t be very flavorful)

1-2 oz of fresh basil leaves (start with 1, add more if you prefer)

4 cloves of garlic

2 tbsp parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp salt

Fresh ground pepper

Sandwich (yields 3)

3 small  square Ciabatta rolls (approximately 3×3  inches). Other “sturdy” breads might work also, but I haven’t tried them.

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Dried basil (optional)

1 large or 2 medium zucchinis (or zucchini and squash), sliced (I cut it in half through the diameter so that I have 2 cylinders, and then cut into 1/4 inch slices)

1/2 onion, sliced into 1/2 inch rings

2 plum tomatoes (I prefer these because they are less watery)

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (not from the shaker)(could probably substitute shredded mozzarella if that’s what you have, but I like the saltiness of the parmesan)

Salt and pepper


  1. Assemble the pesto ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust seasoning if needed
  2. Add oil to heated grill pan.
  3. Add zucchini to the grill pan and season with salt, pepper, and a dash of dried basil (you can leave out the basil or replace it with something like oregano or Italian seasoning). After about 1:30-2:00 minutes, flip over (there should be light char marks). Season as before, and cook for about 1:00 – 1:30 minutes or until the zucchini is soft, but not mushy. Set zucchini aside.
  4. Repeat grilling process for onions (they will take a little less time).
  5. While preparing the bottom half of the sandwich, place top half of the buns open side down on the grill pan (heat turned off), just to warm them.
  6. Spread 1 tbsp of pesto on the bottom bun.
  7. Take the bottom bun and layer the zucchini (4-5 slices), tomato (3-4 slices), and onion on each bun.
  8. Top with parmesan cheese. Don’t add the top of the bun yet.
  9. Place the sandwich without the top bun under broiler for 3-4  minutes (keep an eye on it because your food can go from yum! to yikes! In a matter of seconds. Meanwhile, spread 1 tbsp pesto on the top bun.
  10. Remove from oven and place the top of the bun on the sandwich. If I have extra basil left over, I place a whole leaf on top of the sandwich also.

Note: This method your sandwich will be warm. If you prefer it hot, then before broiling, heat the sandwich at 375 for approximately 5 minutes.

Garlic and Herb Olive Oil Dip


Here is my rendition of the garlic – spice – herb dip that I get at a popular Italian restaurant that I quite enjoy. It’s the main reason I go there, so I decided I needed to figure out how to make it myself. It may not be an exact replica, but it satisfies my craving 🙂

Ingredients: (serves approximately 4)

2 large cloves garlic (3-4 if they are small), minced (passing it through the mincer gets a lot more flavor out of it for this recipe, chopped won’t be the same)

1/2 tsp fresh finely chopped rosemary

1/4 tsp dry basil

1/8 tsp dry oregano

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

1/8 tsp sea salt  (and maybe an extra pinch)

Fresh ground pepper

1/3 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil

Loaf of delicious bread (I love an herb Focaccia for this!)


1. Combine all ingredients except for olive oil on to a small plate.

2. Add olive oil on top and mix with a fork in a pressing and swirling motion (you may want more or less olive oil so it’s best to just eyeball it according to your personal preference)

Browned Butter Garlic Mashed Potatoes


Scott and I love huge amounts of garlic, so feel free to cut it back if it’s not you’re thing. Another thing I did is that I used my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer. If you prefer to rice your potatoes or use a hand mixer, go for it. If you do have the Kitchen-Aid stand mixer use the timing/method described here (but with your own ingredients) http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/578636-CREAMY-MASHED-POTATOES. It worked great!

Just as a note this makes about 5 “side servings.”Using medium sized Yukon Golds or Red Potatoes, I go with the rule of 1 potato per person (or per serving). You can easily double, triple, etc this recipe to get what you need. A little “adding to taste” may be needed just because it’s hard to get the exact amount of potato every time.

One last note, if you’re making this for a big dinner, its good for a “make-ahead.” These can be reheated (covered with aluminum foil) in the oven the next day.


5 medium Yukon Gold or Red Potatoes

1/3 cup whole milk (warm this up a bit to keep your potatoes hotter)

1/3 cup sour cream

2 tbsp butter (Add another tbsp if you want a buttery flavor)

5 cloves chopped garlic (or roasted garlic) (Reduce amount to 2 if you don’t like a strong garlic taste)

1.5 tsp salt plus more for boiling potatoes (or to taste)

1/4 tsp pepper (or to taste)


1. Washed mashed potatoes well and place in a large empty pot.

2. Add water until potatoes are covered and add a few pinches of salt.

3. Bring to a boil, uncovered, and boil for ~ 20-25 minutes. When you stick a fork in the potato, it should be soft, but offer some slight resistance (as in they shouldn’t be super mushy)

4. Drain the potatoes and place back in pot (removed from cooking surface) to dry them out.

5. In the meantime, melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Once melted, allow to sit for approximately 4 minutes (until the butter is a nice golden color).

6. Mash up your potatoes without anything in them until fairly smooth (it’s ok to still have a few chunks at this point)

7. Add the browned butter, and remaining ingredients (sour cream, milk, garlic, salt, pepper).

8. Continue mixing until they have reached desired consistency

The Hummus I’ve Been Waiting For


My Jewish friend from Turkey made amazing hummus. I asked for the recipe and one of his “tricks” was to use the water from the canned garbanzo beans. This is the method he told me to follow (with just a few modifications to the proportions).


2 16 oz. cans garbanzo beans (chick peas)

2 tbsp lemon juice (I  usually need 1-2 lemons depending on their juiciness)

1 tbsp tahini

4 cloves garlic (minced)

2 1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp kosher salt

Extra virgin olive oil



  1. Drain the cans of garbanzo beans BUT RESERVE THE LIQUID IN A BOWL!
  2. Place the garbanzo beans in a food processor with 1 cup of the reserved liquid (don’t throw the rest out yet!) and blend until fairly smooth (it will still be a bit grainy)
  3. Add the minced garlic (yup, I found thanks to my friend that mincing makes a difference)
  4. Add the lemon juice, tahini, salt, and cumin and blend again
  5. At this point, if you like your hummus pretty thick and grainy it will be done. Otherwise, add 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid and blend again until smooth
  6. Repeat step 5 until it reaches your desired consistency (I stopped at 1/4 cup though)
  7. Serve with some extra virgin olive oil and paprika sprinkled on top

Whole Wheat ‘Oh Crap I Don’t Have Buttermilk’ Biscuits


I got excited about making biscuits for breakfast this morning (mostly because I had nothing else to eat). I’m doing my thing and I get to the last ingredient, buttermilk. Who normally has buttermilk on hand? Not me…so I was going to just substitute with some regular milk and see what happened, until Scott saw the sour cream. He was like, “why don’t we use this instead?” Good idea Scotty. So I mixed milk and sour cream. That’ll do pig.

The recipe is now adapted from one of my favorite cook books that I got from a restaurant I ate at in New York (mentioned here).They had the best biscuits ever and while I feel like mine don’t come out as good, they are still pretty darn tasty! So a couple things…

  1. Make sure your shortening and butter are cold.
  2. You can fool around with the flour proportions. As in, if you don’t want wheat biscuits (but you should because they are really good this way) you can use only all purpose flour. Alternatively you can use only wheat flour also, but it might get just a tad too crumbly.


1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp. baking powder

1 1/2 Tbsp sugar

3 tbsp cold butter

3 tbsp cold vegetable shortening

1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)

1/4 cup light sour cream

(for the buttermilk biscuits replace the milk and sour cream with buttermilk)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and stir
  3. In your stand mixer (or with an electric mixer),  on slow speed, add the butter and shortening and mix until the butter and shortening are approximately the size of a pea (the dough is still very loose at this point)
  4. Add the milk and sour cream (or 3/4 cup buttermilk if you happen to have it) and stir just until combined (don’t over mix!)
  5. Knead the dough on a well floured surface 2-3 times
  6. Flatten the dough out so that it is about 1/2 – 3/4 of an inch thick
  7. Cut with biscuit cutter (or I just use a cookie cutter). I heard its important not to “twist” the cutter when your making them, but I don’t actually know why. So push down and pull straight up. I usually get about 4 biscuits from the first “flattening”
  8. Recombine the dough and repeat until you’ve used it all
  9. Lay the biscuits on a baking sheet with parchment paper that has been lightly floured
  10. Bake for 15-16 minutes
  11. Serve with honey, jam, or whatever you fancy 🙂

Sage Butter White Wine Sauce


When I hear butter sauce, I hear massively unhealthy, but when I tried to make this myself after having it at a restaurant, I found a little bit goes a really long way. It basically comes out to about 1 tbsp of butter per person.

This serving size was good for one really hungry person if this is the only thing you are eating, or maybe two people if this is sort of a “heavy side dish.”  What motivated me to make this sauce is that I got some  pumpkin gnocchi from Whole Foods. I got a little over half of a pound of it, and used all of it with this serving of sauce, so you can get an idea of the proportions. I know this would also go really well with butternut squash ravioli (~6-8 medium raviolis, depending on how saucy you like things), which might be a little easier to find. By the way, one huge plus to this sauce, is it takes maybe 10 minutes at the most, more like 5. So definitely get your pasta/gnocchi started first.


1 tbsp butter

2 tbsp fresh sage leaves chopped (about 5 leaves) (you definitely want to use the fresh stuff for this recipe)

1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped (optional)

1 tbsp white wine (also optional, just add another 1/2 tbsp butter instead)

2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus a little extra for the top (not the shaker stuff)

Salt (definitely recommend a good finishing salt, I used Bolivian Rose which was good but just some plain sea salt will work too)


1. Melt  butter over low heat in a pan that will fit your pasta when it’s done cooking also

2. Once melted, add the sage and rosemary and allow to cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally

3. Add the wine and keep warm until your pasta is done. If your pasta/gnocchi is almost done, just turning the burner off and letting the sauce hang out should be ok.

4. Once you drain the  pasta/gnocchi add it to the pan with the sauce and toss with cheese

5. When serving, top with a little salt and fresh grated parmesan cheese

Arroz Con Pollo

Tidbits: So this is a recipe I got from a friend’s dad. It’s quick and delicious – and when I have chicken sitting in my freezer, it’s my go to recipe. You can leave the chicken whole, or you can shred it. I prefer to shred it – but it does take longer. Enjoy!


1 – 3 lb chicken, cut into 8 pieces, skin removed (or whatever chicken pieces you like – I leave the skin on for flavor! It comes off later if you shred the chicken)
2 tsp salt
Fresh grd pepper to taste
juice of (1) lime
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, diced finely
1 med grn pepper, diced (seeded)
1/2 head garlic, minced
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped drained pimientos
1 tsp grd cumin
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dry white wine (I use chablis)
5 cups chicken stock
1 14oz pkg valencia rice soaked for one hour with saffron threads, bijol, or
Badia yellow seasoning (or use the pkg of Vigo yellow rice)


1. Wash chicken, pat dry, sprinkle with salt, pepper and lime juice

2. In heavy casserole, heat 1/4 cup olive oil and brown chicken 6-8 min ea side. or until no longer pink. Remove chicken to plate. (let chicken cool until you can handle it to pull apart or shred)

3. Cook onion, bell pepper, and garlic until onion is transparent in chicken oil, about 6 min. Add tomatoes, pimientos, cumin and bay leaf and cook, stirring, 5 min. Add chicken and wine and cook 5 min.

4. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the drained rice, stir, cover, lower heat a bit and cook until rice is tender, about 17-20 mins.

Cubano Vegano Sandwicho


This is a vegan/vegetarian twist on the classic cuban sandwich. Now, if you’re not interested in the vegan/vegetarian version, I highly recommend you don’t dismiss this post and, instead, alter it to fit your liking. One addition that I think makes this sandwich great is the mojo seitan. Which, if you prefer, you could make mojo chicken instead and use real ham and I think it would still turn out fantastic. The majority of this recipe was taken from a terrific Latin recipe book called “Viva Vegan” which also happens to be available through Google Books. So if you like this recipe, I would check it out (there’s also a hard copy floating around the Alachua county library system).


Mojo Seitan (or chicken)

1 package of Seitan strips (about 2 small chicken breasts)

1/2 cup orange juice

3 tablespoons lime juice

3 cloves of garlic

3 tablespoons of olive oil

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt


1 loaf of Cuban bread

Mayonnaise of your liking

Yellow mustard

Sliced pickles of your choice

5 ounces of vegan/vegetarian/real ham

About 6 slices of havarti cheese

A few tablespoons of butter/margarine.


1. Preheat the oven to 375 °F

2. Starting with the seitan. Open up the package and separate the slices. If they’re big slices, go ahead and cut them smaller. You want kind of a pulled pork style. If you’re using chicken, you can start with it raw and just cut it into strips. You may want to cut it into smaller strips later.

3. Combine the other Seitan ingredients in a medium sized bowl and stir together. Add the seitan/chicken and toss.

4. Pour the seitan/chicken into a glass pan and then put into the oven. Bake for 14-16 minutes (maybe longer for chicken). Flip occasionally if necessary to prevent burning. Be careful not to overbake. The seitan/chicken should come out juicy.

5. Meanwhile, slice the cuban bread into top and bottom halves and then lengthwise into sandwich size portions. Spread the mayonnaise on one side and mustard on the other. Place cheese on the top piece of bread (or both top and bottom if you like cheese).

6. Place the slices of ham on the bottom half of the sandwich. Dry the sliced pickles on a paper towel and place them on top of the ham.

7. Once the seitan/chicken is done, strain the extra liquid and place on top of the ham and pickles.

8. Close the sandwich and press down hard. Spread the butter on both sides of the sandwich and place on a baking sheet.

9. Bake in the oven at about 200 °F for about 5-10 minutes, flipping once. (I prefer baking to grilling, since sometimes its a pain to keep the sandwich together in a frying pan).


Cajun Chicken Pasta

Tidbits: I once made this drunk and added too much cajun seasoning. Very salty. Don’t make this drunk. However, if you are in your right mind, it comes out delicious! It’s all in the seasonings. You can replace the chicken with shrimp…more vegetables. Whatever you like! You can also replace the heavy cream with half and half. But that’s no fun.


1  16 oz. package of fettuccine or linguine.

Chicken – however much you like. I use boneless/skinless breasts, or shrimp (about 1.5 lbs., peeled and deveined)

2 tspn cajun seasoning

2 Tbsp lemon juice

2 Tbsp butter

1 green bell pepper chopped

1 large yellow onion chopped

1 red bell pepper chopped

3-4 cloves of garlic minced

1.5 cups heavy cream

1/4 tspn dried basil

1/4 tspn lemon pepper

1/4 tspn salt

1/8 tspn garlic powder

1/8 tspn black pepper

2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese


1. Season the chicken with the cajun seasoning and lemon juice.

2. Saute the vegetables in the butter till onions are slightly transluscent on medium/medium high heat

3. Add whatever meat you prefer – cook thoroughly.

3. Y’all know how to make pasta, right…

4. Turn down the heat for the meat and vegetables, and add the heavy cream.

5. Add all the dry ingredients.

6. Once the pasta is finished cooking and drained, add it to the sauce.

7. Let simmer for a couple of minutes. Then let sit. It should thicken a bit while standing.