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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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Lemon Shallot Chicken

I literally don’t know what to call this chicken.

lemon-shallot-chicken

Sure, it has lemon juice.  And chopped shallots.  And garlic.  And paprika.  And brown sugar.  And chopped rosemary.

lemon-shallot-chicken-rosemary

It’s…complex.

lemon-shallot-chicken-shallots-chopped

And ugly.  Sorry, this dish won’t photograph well no matter how hard I try.  But it is really easy, unique, flavorful, and makes great leftovers.  So despite its ugly appearance, that’s a win in my book. [Read more…]

Cheesy Sausage & Grit Casserole

Sorry, friends. There’s no way to make this dish look pretty in pictures. But it IS super yummy!

I’m always on the lookout for new breakfast casserole recipes for our Friday morning work breakfasts, particularly ones that don’t take a million different ingredients and a lot of assembly time (because let’s face it, I get home late).  This one is is simple, affordable, and comes together super quickly.

Sausage & Grit Breakfast Casserole

Funny story about this recipe though…the original recipe instructions just say “boil salted water, then add grits”.  Because my background is pasta, where you heavily salt the water (then, obviously, pour a lot of it out), I boiled the water and tossed a handful of salt in, and of course salted my sausage and added (salty) cheese.  The result?  So salty, it was almost inedible.  It WAS kind of inedible, in my opinion.  Lesson learned—follow the instructions on the package! [Read more…]

Souper Jenny’s Hungarian Mushroom Soup

All this cold weather and the snow days we’ve been having have made me crave soup. So I dug out some old Souper Jenny recipes and this guy jumped out at me.

Hungarian Mushroom Soup from Souper Jenny

Souper Jenny is an Atlanta (Buckhead, to be specific) institution. The owner and her staff have been serving healthy, fresh soups, sandwiches, and salads to crowds often backing out the door for over 15 years. A while back a few co-workers and I got to do a cooking class with the head chef, where she walked us through making five of their awesome soups in a couple hours.

Hungarian Mushroom Soup spoonful

When perusing the recipes initially, I was least excited about mushroom soup. So I was shocked when we were tasting everything later and this may have been my favorite—or right up there with the lamb & Guinness stew. The flavors were so much more complex than I expected, the scent was amazing, and the creaminess really hit the spot. It was also super easy, a win in my book. [Read more…]

Roasted Vegetable Mac & Cheese

I used to be really scared of making mac & cheese. I mean the legit baked kind where the sauce starts with a roux and there’s whisking involved. Whisking is one of those things that kind of intimidates me. I have no idea why, but it seems very serious.

Roasted Veggie Mac & Cheese

Luckily, I’ve tried a few recipes over the past year that have helped me get over my fear of making bechamel sauce, including some different mac & cheese recipes (it all started with the beer mac & cheese last Thanksgiving). But every time I make it, I still get this anxiety right before I start whisking like my life depends on it…

roasted veggie mac & cheese veggies chopped

For some reason I was really just craving some comfort food last weekend, but needed it to be healthy comfort food—I’ll be on a beach in a swimsuit in a couple weeks (vacay, finally!) and do have a little bit of vanity left in me. So this recipe, with its hearty roasted vegetables, whole wheat pasta, and olive oil-based cheese sauce, called to me.

Roasted Vegetable Mac & Cheese

One of the things that really intrigued me about this recipe is that the roux—basis for the bechamel cheese sauce—is made with olive oil instead of butter. Honestly, I don’t know that I’ve seen a roux recipe without butter, so I was definitely interested to see how that went. And I quite liked it. It gives things a little bit of an olive oil-y flavor that, when combined with the flour and whole wheat pasta, was a different twist on a regular mac & cheese.  [Read more…]

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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Down-home main dish (Easy Chicken Fried Chicken)

I grew up in the Midwest, on and around farms, so the food I ate growing up would probably be classified as “meat and potatoes”. My grandma occasionally made some chicken fried steak, but it was still pretty healthy and bore little resemblance to the super Southern comfort food chicken fried steak I experienced when I moved to Atlanta. And that’s when my great love of chicken fried steak began. It is possibly one of the best foods in the world.

When I was in Dallas a few weeks ago, my friend and I decided to make a big cooked-from-scratch dinner for a couple friends, so we perused recipes on Pinterest and in some magazines to get ideas. She insisted on some kind of cheesy potatoes, so we decided to go with the whole “down home cooking” theme and have chicken fried steak for our main dish—but since she already had chicken breasts on hand, we switched to chicken fried chicken.

I’ve always been a little afraid of frying things (plus lazy, since that’s a lot of extra work and mess), but this was super easy. We looked at a few recipes, but ended up kind of making it up as we went along. This recipe is super easy, takes only a couple of ingredients (all of which you should already have on hand), and is basically foolproof. Plus, it’s really not that horrible for you, diet-wise.

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