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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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Chicken Tikka Masala

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It’s funny how quickly a new dish can become a go-to.

Easy Chicken Tikka Masala | Finding Time for Cooking

Indian food has been a challenge for a long time…in restaurants, even when it’s mild it’s usually too spicy for me.  But I’ve also had several recipes I was dying to try.  The intense combination of spices, held together with creamy sauces, is just too much to resist.

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I finally pulled myself together over winter break and gave this a try.  Part of that was just making sure I had all the spices I needed.  And I was shocked at how easy this dish was to make, how satisfying, and how great the leftovers were.  So I made it a few days later.  And the week after that.

It’s now in my regular rotation, because the lunch leftovers are unbeatable.  Pair it with some of my delish and easy homemade naan, and you’ve got an exotic and yet comforting winner.  Don’t be scared by the ingredient list, because you make the paste once and it will last you through several batches. [Read more…]

Tex Mex Breakfast Casserole

It is a truth universally acknowledged that I am a super lazy breakfast casserole maker.  Which is why I basically refuse to try new recipes, because they all have, like, a billion ingredients (which makes them expensive) and require way too much prep work.  So it’s pretty unusual for me to take on this recipe on a Thursday night for Friday morning department breakfast.

But boy, am I glad I did.

Easy Tex Mex Breakfast Bake

While this requires a tad more prep than my usual recipe (mostly cooking up the potatoes), it was super yummy and totally worth it.  The prep probably only took 30 minutes total, and I was also getting a coffee cake in the oven as well so I could have cut that down a bit with some focus.  The spice mix is awesome, and the tortillas add a great texture along with the black beans.  This is definitely going into my regular breakfast rotation.

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It’s also worth nothing that this is really doggone healthy as well.  Full of protein and fiber, and weighing in at around 100 calories per serving (assuming a 15-serving pan…probably more like 130 calories per serving if you have hungry people).  It was super filling and stuck with me all morning.  I had a second helping for a late lunch, in fact.

Tex Mex Egg Casserole

I made a few changes to the original recipe, including omitting the bacon out of laziness—also, turkey bacon doesn’t quite have the same effect.  I considered adding ground beef instead, but I was both lazy and cheap.  And honestly it doesn’t need it.  I also left out the cilantro (meh) and added cheese because…duh.  There’s a lot of flexibility in this recipe, so if there’s something you’re dying to add or substitute, go for it.  I’m not the boss of you. [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…]

Lime Curry Chicken

I’ll be honest—this recipe is a little outside my wheelhouse.  I wouldn’t have seen a pin labeled “lime curry chicken” and thought, “Oh man, I’ve gotta try this!”.  I’m a sucker for authentic Italian cuisine, Southern comfort adaptations, that kind of thing. My sister, on the other hand, gravitates toward flavors like curry, cilantro, lime, and the like, flavors with Asian or Mexican inspirations. It’s interesting how we can both have grown up eating the same food and diverged on very different flavor paths as adults.

So I was visiting her over the winter break and we whipped up this little recipe for dinner. The actual prep time didn’t take long at all, simply some grating and whisking together ingredients. But I would recommend letting the chicken marinate in the sauce for a half-hour or so before cooking, lets these flavors really soak in.

lime curry chicken finished closeup

This chicken was so flavorful and yet all of the flavors worked so well together. And it was so moist! It’s actually called “lime coconut chicken”, but to me you couldn’t taste the coconut milk flavor (which is totally okay in my book) and you COULD taste the curry. So I made an executive decision. We served with lime cilantro rice on the side, but it would be great with regular rice, noodles, or regular side dishes and bread.

lime curry chicken finished

The original recipe calls for it to be grilled (which was delicious), but I don’t have a grill and you’d be fine sauteing in a pan or even (if necessary) baking. I think saute is probably better than baking, but either would work. [Read more…]

Homemade Taco Seasoning

I believe in making condiments and such from scratch (peanut butter, jelly, etc.). But I don’t really use taco seasoning all that often—maybe three or four times a year—so I never really paid attention to all the Pinterest posts about making your own.

When I decided to try a Mexican crockpot chicken recipe last weekend though, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and try making my own taco seasoning. While I’m not technically allergic to the MSG that’s usually in store-bought seasoning, it usually gives me bad headaches and makes me stuffed up, and it’s super high in sodium. So it’s just not worth it.

The ingredients are basically all ones you’d have in your cupboard. I think the only thing I needed to buy was onion powder. It took me all of five minutes to mix up the seasoning, and it should last indefinitely.

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Touch of spice (Oven Sweet Potato Fries)

One of the surprises in my CSA box this week was a couple of giant sweet potatoes. I thought the seasonality was a little weird (those are a fall/winter veggie, no?), but was excited to get a chance to make my awesome sweet potato fries.

Now the thing to note about these sweet potato fries is that they’re softer, not crispy/crunchy. I’m going to try a new recipe soon that claims to make them crispy. But these are still delicious, healthy, and super easy to make.

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