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Turkish Red Lentil Soup (Corba)

I’m on the record as stating that soup is not a meal, in and of itself, with very few exceptions.

This is one of them. (My mom’s baked potato soup is basically the only other)

Delicious & easy Turkish red lentil soup, ready in half an hour

I also don’t like lentils usually.  That is, until I went to Istanbul last year and we ate in a Kurdish family’s house and were served corba as an appetizer.  Corba is a hearty red lentil soup, super flavorful and comforting.  When I returned to the States, I started pinning recipes right away so I could try it myself.  I learned that red lentils are very different than the dark ones I’d had before, and didn’t have as many texture issues for me.

I’ve made this recipe a few times, trying to get the texture and flavors just right.  For some weird reason I have issues with it separating a bit (so becoming a little watery), but since I like it better with crushed up crackers in it anyway, I decided to just let that go.  One time I even tore up half a bagel into the soup, and the texture was awesome!

Healthy & easy red lentil soup

One of the great things about this soup is that it comes together really quickly—like half an hour from start to finish.  So you can get home from work, get it simmering, and go about your business until it’s time to blend everything up and serve.  Efficiency FTW!
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Risotto Primavera

This recipe is the perfect blend of hearty winter fare and bright spring veggies…

Risotto Primavera

It’s kind of weird that I’ve never made a risotto primavera, given my love of risotto. But when I was home for Passover this year, we were trying to come up with a delicious side dish and my mom mentioned risotto. We thought about all the veggies we had, and all the fresh herbs, and I decided that it was the perfect idea.

kansas lilacs

I’ve said this a million times, but people always think risotto is so difficult. But it’s not! It just needs a little TLC…you can’t rush it, but 90% of risotto is in gently stirring. You get too rough with it, try to turn the heat way up to rush it, and that’s when things go south.

Plan for an hour. But it’s an hour of stirring, drinking wine, talking to guests—it’s the perfect dinner party dish. [Read more…]

Crockpot Chicken Pot Pie with Drop Biscuit Topping

Last weekend I had a plan. I knew that I only had two days of work to get through before break, including two work lunches and a dinner with friends, so I didn’t need to cook enough on Sunday for leftovers. I also wanted to be healthy, so I had some brussels sprouts sitting around and I planned to pick up a salmon filet for dinner, call it a day.

Then this pot pie totally derailed my Sunday dinner plans.

Chicken Pot Pie with Drop Biscuit Crust done

See, last Sunday (and several days thereafter) was just relentlessly gray. Gray, misty, chilly. One of those days where the only then you want to do is curl up in your jammie jams on the couch and read a book, then watch TCM for hours. The kind of day where you get the idea of chicken pot pie stuck in your head and you’re unable to dislodge it despite your best efforts and lazier tendences.

Chicken Pot Pie with Drop Biscuit Crust dipped up

The thing is, I’d never made pot pie before. And honestly, I like pot pie just fine (anything with “pie” in the name, really), my mom’s is good, but pot pie isn’t a thing I’ve ever really craved. Pasta-as-comfort-food is more my style. So I didn’t have a triend-and-true recipe that I was willing to undertake, since I definitely didn’t want to deal with pie crust. In my mind, I was picturing making the filling in a slow cooker, and then topping with a drop biscuit crust—seemed easy enough. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a crockpot chicken pot pie filling recipe I liked (that didn’t include cream of chicken soup) or even a biscuit-topped pot pie for cooking times and so forth, so I decided to make it up as I went, pulling bits and pieces from some recipes and just using my brain for the other parts.

chicken pot pie with drop biscuit crust cooking

This chicken pot pie is probably the best I’ve ever had. Okay, not probably, DEFINITELY. It’s warm and hearty and comforting and feels decadent, but is secretly really healthy and easy and basically perfect. It’s great as leftovers. The biscuit crust is amazing. I could just eat the filling as a stew (which is saying something because I’m not keen on stew). What I’m saying is that you need to make this pot pie now. [Read more…]

French Onion Pasta

When I first saw this recipe, I was suuuuper excited, because I love french onion soup. I mean really lurve it.

French Onion Pasta

I will say that this pasta doesn’t quite live up to that level of insane richness, but the idea is still there.

french onion pasta thyme chopped

You start by caramelizing onions down to the point of sweet jamminess, then add broth (and a little wine in my case). Let those flavors hang out for a while, let the pasta soak up all that delicious liquid, and top with arugula and parmesan. Done.

french onion pasta onions cooking

My one complaint with this dish is that I feel like the onions end up getting lost in all the broth…I was hoping for more onion. I think if I made this again I’d use at least one more onion, and I’d look at using something more like the melty Gruyere that true French onion soup uses, vs. parmesan (which never melts quite as luxuriously for me). But all-in-all, this was warm and comforting. [Read more…]

Butternut Squash & Sage Lasagna

I have been wanting to try this recipe out FOREVER!

Butternut Squash & Sage Lasagna

Why haven’t I, you ask? Mostly because I tried actually cutting up a butternut squash once many years ago and it was terrible, my hands hurt and were orange and I don’t ever want to do it again. Ever. Because I’m a chicken. So I had to wait until I remembered to pick up already-diced butternut squash from Trader Joe’s. And, sadly, that took me forever.

Butternut Squash & Sage Lasagna baked

Butternut squash and sage is a captivating flavor combination to start with. Add in gooey mozzarella, grainy ricotta, pasta, and a hint of nutmeg? Awesome.

butternut squash & sage lasagna sage leaves

I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to put together, too. I roasted the squash a couple hours ahead of time, and the rest of the assembly was very simple—particularly since I used oven-ready lasagna noodles. While you could add chicken if you wanted (or even chicken sausage), it didn’t feel like it needed meat. It was hearty enough on its own, and would be great for a Meatless Monday type of meal plan. [Read more…]

Chicken & Avocado Enchiladas in Creamy Avocado Sauce

So I got a real treat this year for Father’s Day—I actually got my dad! It was a last-minute decision, but we got my dad a ticket down to Atlanta a few days before and so we got to spend a long weekend together. It seemed the travel gods were displeased with us, though, because his flight was super delayed (then cancelled, then he was put on another flight and arrived around 1:00 a.m.) on his way into the ATL, and then his flight leaving was also super delayed. Needless to say, we were tired!

chicken avocado enchiladas finished closeup

He came down to help me do handyman jobs on my new place, hanging pictures and the like. While we got some down time, we also were super busy and worked hard, so my papa deserved a GOOD meal on Father’s Day! I had bookmarked this recipe a while back, and while it’s not totally in my wheelhouse, it’s definitely in my dad’s.

chicken avocado enchiladas finished garnished

We attacked it like starving hyenas, totally stuffing ourselves, then finished off our evening with creamy, refreshing lemon cornstarch pudding and some wine. All-in-all, a successful Father’s Day! [Read more…]

Black Bean, Chicken, & Spinach Quinoa Casserole

I’ve been doing a lot of desperation cooking lately. What is desperation cooking, you ask?

Well, it goes something like this on an average Sunday afternoon…I look in my fridge and pantry and I have NOTHING (how is that possible?!) but I’m so hungry and I have to eat something and oh my word what will I eat, I’m going to starve and die and my cats will eat my face! But wait! There are seven completely random ingredients sitting around—what can I make???

chicken quinoa veggie bake finished

The answer is generally something healthy, serviceable, and tasty enough, if not earth-shattering. This recipe was one of my better desperation-fueled culinary attempts, and definitely falls into that category. Great news is it’s good for you, with protein-packed quinoa and chicken, fiber-full black beans, and superfood spinach. And cheese. Always cheese.  [Read more…]

Pasta with Gorgonzola, Chicken, Brussels Sprouts & Caramelized Onions

As everyone knows, I love a good pasta dish. And I love brussels sprouts. And Gorgonzola. So this recipe is very nearly perfect—that is, after I made a few changes.

gorgonzola caramelized onion penne finished

I originally found this recipe through Pinterest, a pin from Kraft’s website, but decided to tweak it a little. It called for asparagus, which isn’t really my thing, and was quite expensive this time of year. And I found a really fun kind of pasta, something a little fancier than penne.
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Roasted Cauliflower & Aged White Cheddar Soup

Here’s the thing anyone who knows me well (particularly my co-workers) can tell you: I love soup, but I refuse to acknowledge it as a real, standalone meal. Soup is delicious, but it is a PRELUDE to a meal. A pre-meal.

So what happens is that I see all these amazing soup recipes on Pinterest and pin the heck out of them, then they just sit there because I don’t want to go through the trouble of making both a soup and a real entree. And a dessert, because let’s face it, dessert is an important part of any home-cooked meal.

cauliflower aged cheddar soup finished

cauliflower aged cheddar soup cauliflower florets closeup

This soup, however, was surprisingly hearty and stayed with me for quite a while. I think I had other food with it initially, but I ate the leftovers by themselves and they made several great meals. The cheese added a great flavor (and saltiness, because sometimes vegetable soups can be very bland), but the cauliflower itself was the star. [Read more…]

Twist on a classic carb (Fontina Scalloped Potatoes)

A couple weekends ago I visited my best friend in Dallas. I got in super early on Friday morning and, after some pool vegging, we decided we wanted to try a bunch of new recipes and cook a big fancy dinner for ourselves, her boyfriend, and her roommate.

While pasta is my default carb, she insisted that we needed some kind of cheesy potatoes. So after intensive Pinterest perusal, we found this recipe—and it was delicious! The fontina (or in our case, muenster because we couldn’t find fontina) and the fresh thyme really give this a cool flavor, a little different from your average scallopped potatoes.

We paired these with chicken fried chicken, roasted asparagus, and sauteed kale.

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