I was looking through my Kitchen Captivated column archives over the weekend realizing just how much soup I make. It’s for sure my go-to meal. Soup accomplishes several important tasks: generally healthy (as long as its not cream or cheese based), lots of vegetables, one-pot meal and most importantly, its something tasty, comforting and typically the entire family will eat it.
So all that to say, whether it’s vegetable, tomato or chicken noodle, I would say my big orange pot gets put to pretty good use each week.
This winter I’ve been making a ton of lentil soup. I wasn’t sure if the kids would like it but they gobble it up. It’s not much to look at, but it is so delicious and hearty and a great meal to help combat the winter blues.
Easy Lentil Soup with Ham
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, diced
- 2 red potatoes, diced
- 1 28 ounce can of organic diced tomatoes
- 3/4 cup red lentils (rinsed)
- 1 pound ham hock
- 2 boxes organic chicken stock
- 1/2 bag (2 big handfuls baby spinach)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- splash of balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
In a large pot, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Sauté onion, carrot and celery for 5 minutes until onions are translucent and the veggies start to soften. Salt and pepper. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Add tomatoes and potatoes. Sauté for an additional five minutes. Add the ham hock, chicken stock, lentils and spices. Salt and pepper. Cover the pot and cook on low for several hours or put into a 300 degree oven for several hours. Stir occasionally. When the ham begins to fall off the bone, your soup is ready. Remove the bone and any fatty pieces of meat. Stir in spinach and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes while spinach wilts a bit. Before serving, remove bay leaves.
You can also use a ham steak in place of a ham hock. Just dice it into bite size pieces.
I’ve been making salads like crazy the last couple of weeks. Maybe because its January or because its gray and foggy almost constantly where I live and a big plate of crunchy veggies somehow makes me think of spring. Ok, let’s be real, it’s January and I could use a few more salads and a whole lot less of just about everything else.
I discovered caramelizing sweet onions ahead of time, saving them in the fridge to use throughout the week, after reading Shauna Niequist’s, Bread and Wine and now I can’t get enough. They are so good in a salad, and now I feel like I HAVE to have them all the time.
Anyway, this blog isn’t really about onions, it’s actually about the salad dressing. My friend gave me the recipe to a lovely lemon vinaigrette that is bright and acidic, a tiny bit sweet and perfect over greens, veggies and a little goat cheese or feta (and don’t forget the onions)!
I think the original recipe is from Betty Crocker and as I almost always do, I improvised a little based on what I had. It’s hands down my favorite dressing right now.
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- the juice of one lemon (between 1/4-1/3 cup)
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- a splash of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Combine all the ingredients in a jar with a lid. Shake it up until well combined and store in the fridge for a couple of days.
My favorite salad:
- baby spinach
- English cucumber
- red pepper
- goat cheese
- sunflower seeds
- garlic croutons
- caramelized onions
- grilled chicken or turkey deli meat
To make the onions, slice up two large walla walla sweet onions. Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat with 1/2 tablespoon butter and a tiny splash of olive oil. The key with onions is low and slow. As they begin to soften and change color, lower the heat a little and stir often. Salt them halfway through. When they are a nice caramel color, take them off the heat and let them cool. Store in the refrigerator to use all week-long.
Have we talked about cauliflower yet? It’s not exactly a wellspring for conversation, but around our house, its taken up prime residence on our dinner plates and in our garden.
I mean look at this beauty; all purple hued and gorgeous. I think you could tie a ribbon around the stem and make it a bouquet.
I’m always looking for new ways to convince
trick my children to eat vegetables. Luckily, everyone in our family loves this easy recipe.
- 1 head cauliflower, rinsed and chopped into pieces
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I don’t really know how much… a glug? enough to lightly coat the cauliflower)
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (again, I’m not really sure…a heavy sprinkle??)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a cookie sheet, spread cauliflower out, douse in olive oil and liberally salt and pepper. Roast the cauliflower for about 20 minutes, turning the vegetables halfway through. Pull out of the oven when toasty brown and fragrant. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Cover cookie sheet in tin foil and let rest for 5 minutes so the cheese can melt.
This might not be the best ‘summer’ recipe because who wants to turn their oven on, especially that high, when its already 90 degrees out? But, because we have an abundance of cauliflower growing in the garden (and I might have just planted more), we are cranking on the oven regardless.
How do you get your kids to eat veggies? Any recipes to share?