Five-Alarm Red Lentil Soup

I can’t believe I have NEVER in my life had lentils! I will say that I had a hard time finding the Red Lentils. I of course assumed they would be in the bean isle. Lentils are located here…just not the RED lentils. I finally found them in the ethnic isle at Meijer. From what I have been told there is a big difference between the green and red lentils. I will have to find a recipe with the green lentils to try. I LOVED this soup. Ashley from our office brought in this soup for her lunch. The aroma filled the room, so of course  had to ask for the recipe. It is a super simple recipe with just the right amount of heat. I mean anything that calls for 3/4 cup Sriracha sauce has to be good! I took a bowl over to my daughter’s house for her to try. She loved it as well. So if you are lookign for a simple recipe with a lot of flavor give this soup a try. NO BULL it is delicious!

FIVE-ALARM LENTIL SOUP

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 red onions, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons ground cumin
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 cup Sriracha, plus more for garnish
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 pound red lentils
8 cups vegetable stock ( I used chicken stock)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sour cream, for garnish
Chopped fresh cilantro or chives, for garnish

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and carrots and saute until they begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, paprika, cumin, bay leaves, tomato paste, and Sriracha, cooking for 1 to 2 minutes, until aromatic.

Add the tomatoes, and scrape up any of the brown bits that have accumulated at the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Pour in the lentils and vegetable stock, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the lentils are softened and cooked thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Discard the bay leaves.

Ladle into bowls. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkling of cilantro and perhaps a last-minute squiggle of Sriracha for color and zip.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

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Roasted Cabbage!

A simple recipe for roasted cabbage.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day you have to serve cabbage of some sort. Actually I love cabbage. I had found this recipe for a roasted version and I was really looking forward to trying it. I must say it was delicious and very simple! The best part is the charred outer edges. This is a simple side dish that I will prepare more than once a year. I suggest if you enjoy cooked cabbage giving this recipe a try!

1 head of cabbage

olive oil

fennel seeds

salt and pepper

Cut cabbage into 1/2 or a little less rounds. Drizzle with olive oil sprinkle with fennel seeds ,salt, pepper and roast in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes.  ( I have a Trivection oven and it only took 15 minutes when cook on speed bake…I love this oven! )

 

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Baked Crab & Artichoke Dip With Pico De Gallo Topping!

Creamy Hot Crab Dip!

A creamy, cheesy dip loaded with crab, artichokes, and Asiago.

Everything taste better with Pico De Gallo! NO BULL !! This is a delicious hot crab dish that looks amazing served in your cast Iron skillet right out of the oven! You know how some things just taste better in in a cast iron skillet….well this in one of those recipes! I served this at a party and everyone loved it. I purchased my crab meat at the fish counter. It was actually in a can, but kept cold. It was pretty good, I was quite surprised!

Ingredients

  • For the crab dip:
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup fat-free greek yogurt (I used 0% Fage)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese, divided (could also substitute Monterrey jack or Mozzarella)
  • 14 oz can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained
  • 8 oz jumbo lump crab meat
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • For the pico de gallo:
  • 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onion tops, chopped
  • Squeeze of lime juice
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Beat the cream cheese, mayo, and yogurt together until smooth.
  3. Add the white and light parts of the green onions (dark green parts will be used for the pico), lemon juice, and 1 1/4 cup grated cheese.
  4. Fold in artichokes and crab.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Transfer to a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish and spread evenly, sprinkling the remaining cheese on top..
  7. Bake for ~20 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown.
  8. To make the pico, toss all ingredients together and set aside until ready to serve.
  9. Remove the dip from the oven, top with pico, and serve with blue corn tortilla chips, crackers, or toasted crostini.
  10. Best when hot or very warm, leftovers will keep a couple of days. Can be assembled ahead of time and then baked at the last minute.

Notes

Yields: 8 servings

Posted in Appetizers | 1 Comment

Fruit Salad Drizzled with Honey and Lime! HELLO!

Delicious fruit salad with a honey and lime dressing!

This is a great fruit salad! The addition of lime and honey is yummo….NO BULL! You can add any fruit you wish, I added raspberries, black berries and blueberries  to mine!

1  pineapple chunks, drained well
1 can mandarin oranges, drained well
2-3 ripe kiwi, peeled and sliced into thick half moons
1 cup grapes, halved
1 cup strawberries, quartered

Zest from one lime, about 1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon poppy seeds (optional)
Combine the fruit in a medium-large serving bowl. Add the lime zest and poppy seeds, if using, and gently toss. Drizzle the honey over the fruit and again, gently mix until the fruit is evenly coated with the honey. Serve.

Posted in Dessert Recipes, Salad Recipes | 1 Comment

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni And Cheese!

A tasty combination of Mac and Cheese and Buffalo Chicken!

I  made this dish to take to a super bowl party and everyone loved it. Just be sure people realize it is not just macaroni and cheese when they are dishing it out or they may be in for a surprise NO BULL!  It is not extremely hot, but it is strange to think you are getting ready to eat something, and it turns out to be something else. LOL I love buffalo wings so this sounded pretty good to me.  I like the crunchy crust from the Panko crumbs! My husband really liked it as well.
Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
7 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 pound (16 oz) elbow macaroni
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup Buffalo wing sauce (preferably Frank’s. If you are worried about the heat factor add half the amount)
2 tablespoons  flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 pound (16 oz) yellow sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
2/3 cup sour cream
1 cup panko breadcrumbs (found in the grocery store next to regular breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook 2 minutes. Then add 1/2 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a separate saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half and add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth.

Combine the chicken mixture, cooked pasta, and cheese sauce and toss to combine.

Put the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko, blue cheese and parsley. Sprinkle over the macaroni and bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Best served immediately. Makes around 8 servings.

Posted in Chicken Recipes, Pasta, Side Dish Recipes, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Cobb Salad

Cobb Salad filled with goodness!

One of my other favorite foods besides soup is a delicious salad. NO BULL , I think I could l be happy eating one or the other every day. I found this recipe and basically used it for the dressing recipe. I made this for a party I was attending.  I used romaine and head lettuce in my version. I’m posting the recipe as written, you can make the modifications you would like. Because I was making if for a crowd I doubled the dressing recipe and added more egg, avocado, and of course bacon. I also added a sprinkle of blue cheese on the top as a final touch. I have now taken this to several parties by request!

INGREDIENTS

 

  • 1/2 head of romaine
  • 1/2 head of Boston lettuce
  • 1 small bunch of frisée (curly endive) I didn’t use this!
  • 1/2 bunch of watercress, coarse stems discarded All lettuces should be rinsed, spun or patted dry, and coarsely chopped
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 2 ripe avocados, seed removed, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 whole skinless boneless chicken breast (about 3/4 pound total), halved, cooked, and diced ( I used Rotisserie Chicken)
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped fine
  • 2 hard-boiled large eggs, separated, the yolk finely chopped and the white finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1/3 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Roquefort

METHOD

1 Cook the bacon in a skillet on medium heat until crisp on both sides. Remove from skillet and lay out on paper towels to absorb the excess fat. Allow the bacon to cool. Crumble the bacon and set aside.

2 In a large salad bowl, toss together well the various lettuces and watercress.

 

3 Compose the salad. Arrange the chicken, the bacon, the tomato, and the avocado decoratively over the greens and garnish the salad with the grated egg and the chives.

4 In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, the mustard, and salt and pepper to taste, add the oil in a slow stream, whisking, and whisk the dressing until it is emulsified. Stir in the Roquefort. Add sugar to taste, 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Whisk the dressing. Serve separately or toss in with the salad.

Yield: Serves 4.

Posted in Chicken Recipes, Salad Recipes | Tagged | 1 Comment

Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole From Pintrest!

A great comfort food meal!

I am so addicted to pintrest website right now. Every recipe I have made from this site has turned out great. Even my 15 year old loved it. It has been ages since I made a chicken and rice casserole. I came home from work tonight and made this in no time. I cooked both the wild rice and the white rice in the same pan and had no problem.  I always have frozen chicken tenders in my freezer. Someone taught me to put the desired amount in a freezer bag and quickly cook them in the microwave. I always start with 5 minutes and turn often. Add time until done cooking.  I’m surprised at how tender the chicken comes out. This is a great little trick when you need chicken in a hurry.  Serve this meal with a salad! 

Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

3 stalks celery, finely diced

3 carrots, peeled and diced

2 Tablespoons fresh minced garlic

2 Cups shredded, cooked chicken breast

2 Cups steamed white rice

16 oz prepared wild rice (I get mine at Trader Joes, LOVE it)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

______

Cheese Sauce

4 Tablespoons butter

1/4 Cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 Cups chicken broth

2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese

Top with 1 1/2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Heat oil into a medium dutch oven or pot over medium heat.  Saute onion, celery and carrots until softened, about 10 minutes.  Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in chicken, both rices, salt, pepper and garlic salt.  Reduce heat to low.

2.  To prepare cheese sauce melt butter into a medium saucepan over medium high heat.  Whisk in flour, salt and pepper then slowly pour in chicken broth whisking continuously.  Whisk until thick and nearly boiling then stir in cheese until melted.  Pour cheese sauce into rice mixture then transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish. Top with additional cheddar cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted through.  Serve.

8-10 servings

Posted in Chicken Recipes | 1 Comment

Gooey Baked Fontina Cheese Dip.

Another successful recipe I found on pintrest. I knew this would be good when I saw it was a recipe from Ina Garten. This is the easiest appetizer you will ever make. Simply cube the cheese add the garlic and herbs and pop into a hot over. I made this for my kids during a Christmas celebration and they loved it. This would be a great appetizer to take to a party, just have everything assembled in your cast iron skillet and pop in the oven for only 6 minutes and you are done. Serving this in a cast iron skillet looks amazing. I pulled this out of the oven and the kids all ooohed and awwed.

Baked Fontina
source: adapted from How Easy is That? by Ina Garten

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs Italian fontina, rind removed and cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Adjust top rack of the oven so that it sits about 5 inches under the broiler unit. Preheat broiler.
  2. Spread cheese out in the bottom of a 12-inch cast iron pan.  Drizzle olive oil over the cheese.  Mix together the garlic and herbs in a small bowl and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the cheese.  Sprinkle salt and pepper over the top of the cheese.
  3. Bake for 6 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and melted through.  Carefully remove the pan from the oven and set it on a heatproof surface – the pan will be hot!  Serve immediately.
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TEXAS SHEET PIE

A super simple dessert!

This is an awesome recipe for a crowd.  You can use any pie filling you choose. I chose Cherry and Apple. I took this dessert into work and the guys in the shop loved it. Super simple and fast to make. Take it to your next pitch in.

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cans pie filling, your choice

Directions:
1. Cream sugar and butter in mixing bowl. Add eggs, salt and milk. Mix thoroughly.

2. Slowly add flour to mixture and blend slowly. Next add baking powder and baking soda. Mix well.

3. Measure 1-1/2 cups of pastry and set aside. Lightly grease a cookie sheet (10 x 15- inch) that has sides. Pat the remaining pastry all over and up the short sides.

3. Pour pie filling onto the pastry. With remaining pastry, roll out on floured surface and cut into shapes or strips. Arrange on top of pie. Make an egg wash using 1 egg that has been lightly whisked. Using a pastry brush, paint the egg on all pastry that is showing.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

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Christmas Cranberry Ginger Fizz!

While decorating the house we made this festive cocktail. This recipe makes 4 drinks. With 1 1/2 cups of vodka 2 is the limit. I’m really glad I bought the mint springs. I almost skipped this, as funny as it sounds it really was a treat to smell the mint every time you take a sip. The secret to this drink is the crushed ice. Makes a crunchy delicious cocktail. 
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 orange, cut into slices
  • 1 1/2 cups vodka
  • 1 cup chilled Ginger Ale
  • 4 mint springs
Preparation
  1. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
  2. Heat the syrup to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Add the cranberries and simmer for 2-3 minutes until they just begin to burst. Remove from heat and let cool in syrup.
  3. Place syrup with cranberries in a large pitcher; add the lemon wedges and orange slices.
  4. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, vigorously mash the fruit.
  5. Stir in vodka and let steep for at least 5 minutes.
  6. Strain into a medium pitcher. Add Ginger ale.
  7. Fill 4 glasses with crushed ice ( very important part)
  8. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and then pour half the cranberry mixture into the shaker and shake vigorously for 10 seconds, strain liquid into two glasses. Repeat.
  9. Mound additional ice on top of each glass and garnish with 3 candied cranberries and a mint sprig.
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