Quick Red Lentil Stew

I saw some red lentils in the store today and I just had to have them. I pretty much followed this recipe, but with a few modifications. I halved the amount of coconut milk and use cayenne pepper instead of a serrano chile. Also, swiss chard is a great substitute for spinach. Finally, I added roasted cauliflower at the end for a sweet touch.


Vegetarian Chili and Cornbread :D

Leeann here, writing about an old favorite of mine: Emeril’s delicious Vegetarian Chili with this absolutely perfect Buttery Cornbread. Both super easy (though not the quickest) to make, and super delicious!

The vegetarian chili recipe is absolutely excellent; I made it for a potluck last fall and it was a huge hit. I make a few alterations: 1) no serrano peppers (I seem to have misplaced mine…), 2) canned corn instead of fresh (no one tastes the difference and it’s way less effort), 3) white instead of portabello mushrooms (portabello would probably be more delicious, but they’re also more expensive), 4) double the cumin, 5) don’t peel the tomatoes (again, not worth the effort), and 6) I don’t make the essence. Seriously; the recipe is absolutely delicious on its own. Top it with sour cream, avocado, cilantro, cheese, whatever… delicious!

The buttery cornbread is one of my favorites; it comes out perfectly every time. Make sure to thoroughly grease the dish to make sure the bread doesn’t stick. When cooking, keep putting in a toothpick (or I use a knife since we don’t  have toothpicks) till it comes out clean; once it does, I usually leave it in a minute or two extra to give it some brown color and toasty-ness. Yuuuuummmmm!

Between the chili, cornbread, and rice on the side, the recipe makes plenty; there was more than enough left for Lindsey, Miguel and I to eat for lunch the next day… and beyond!

It’s also the perfect recipe to warm us up on these cold, cold California nights.

Missing Ithaca’s ChiliFest,


20150225_200330 20150225_200348

Beef Stew & Balsamic Vinagrette Salad… a good standby

In the theme of budget planning, this month I tried out a really simple beef stew (recipe here) with a simple salad of greens, peppers, and tomatoes tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette (recipe here). Itemized spending: $12 on 2 lb of beef, $4 on potatoes and beef broth, and $5 on salad greens and other bits… so about $20. Not as cheap as I’d hoped, but a bit better than last month!

The beef stew was actually pretty good! I ended up doubling the amount of beef broth and other spices (garlic, paprika, salt, etc.) to make sure the meat was covered and to make sure the flavors came through. It’s not quite as flavorful as I’d like, but I’m hoping it’ll taste better after sitting overnight.

The vinaigrette was good, but I would have preferred more balsamic and less oil. I’ll have to ask Mom for her recipe – always liked hers the best 🙂

On a “lighter” note, Lindsey bought me a useful recipe book: The Carbohydrate Addict’s Cookbook. I AM NOT AN ADDICT. Carbs are delicious, filling, and all in all The Best. But I should probably cut back on them. Will try some recipes this month and keep everyone posted (especially Lindsey)!

Home cookin’ and warm dishin’,



Turkey burgers

The theme for this month is to be a little bit more budget conscious in our meal planning. We made some great stuff last month, we also ended up spending a bit more than we planned.

To kick off the new month I made some simple turkey burgers from TJ’s ground dark meat ($3.99/lb). I’ve learned in the past that turkey meat can really stick to itself when made into a patty, so I tried a few tricks to keep it tender, moist, and flavorful:


  • 1lb dark turkey meat
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced or pressed)
  • 1in. cube grated fresh ginger
  • sliced almond
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water

Saute the onions for about 7 minutes until very tender. Then add the garlic for two minutes. Removed from heat. Mix all ingredients by hand in a bowl. Make into patties and let sit for a few hours. They cook quickly, so be careful not to overdo it (10 minutes, max).

Serve on bread with cheese, hummus, mustard, avocado and other condiments.




Cauliflower almond risotto: una ganancia!

Had some extra cauliflower and leftover arborio rice this week, and figured I’d try diversifying form my typical mushroom risotto. I made a recipe based off this cauliflower almond risotto. It was delicious!! Some recommendations:

– use a bit of white wine while first cooking up the arborio; this is typical when cooking risotto, but for some reason the recipe doesn’t call for it

– when first heating the oil prior to adding onions and garlic, be sure to keep the heat low

– also when first cooking the oil, add thyme, rosemary; the dish doesn’t have a lot of flavor on its own, and this will diversify it a bit

– definitely have some delicious parmesan cheese (or we ended up with a parmesan, romano, and asiago cheese mix from TJ’s); cheese is key to risotto.

Overall a delicious dish, and we doubled it to keep eating 🙂

In asiago, arborio, & amor,



Sweet potato coconut curry :D

Soooo I had a lot of sweet potatoes and lentils left… so I decided to use them together slightly differently than I did last time! Ended up making an interesting play off of Japanese coconut curry: this sweet potato and lentil coco curry! Super easy: basically just cut and cook! And I absolutely loved it; all the coconut made it pleasantly sweet even without adding any extra sugar… and Lindsey knows how much I love sweet things! I actually ended up putting a bit of tabasco sauce on it just to mix the flavor up a bit, and that made it even more delicious. We had it with white rice and made twice what the recipe recommends, which gave us enough to eat that day, plus a couple extra meals. Could be even better (and healthier) with a few more veggies. Definitely recommend!


Cheddar cauliflower soup + salad

Made some delicious cheddar cauliflower soup this weekend, perfect for the California “winter”! Lindsey appropriately described it as “healthy comfort food”; all the cheese from the cheddar soup and shredded cheddar made it super delicious, but the cauliflower kept it from being too heavy. Our only issue was that we’d run out of paprika, and the flavor was a little monotone without any kick. Good standby for a low-carb comfort dish!

We paired it with some kale and cabbage salad with maple sesame dressing. Now this one was a WIN: the salad was super crunchy, lasted well in the fridge, and the dressing was delicious and perfect. Only improvement for next time is that we needed double the dressing to cover the whole salad.

Crunchy, cheddar, yum!


20150124_184928 20150124_184700 20150124_144139