Tag Archives: soup recipes

Lentil and Sausage Stew

 This time of year, decadence reigns. Buttery, cheesy, rich – these are flavors welcomed in December. Chocolate-dipped, whipped cream-topped, caramel-filled? It’s the holidays; why not? And of course, only the prettiest and most elegant will do – perfectly shaped cookies and pretty cakes adorn most food blogs right now. Not that I’m pointing fingers; after all, I posted the most decadent hot chocolate ever just a few days ago, and I have plans to start baking cookies very soon – after I can stop drooling over others’ holiday recipes and narrow down my own “to do” baking list!

But there are many days in December that aren’t holidays. Many of the days in December we are rushing about and stressed, struggling to balance the preparation for celebrations in addition to our daily duties. Those days call for easy meals that still warm the soul and nourish our bodies. Those meals don’t have to be decadent (in fact, it’s best for our health if they aren’t!), and they don’t have to be fancy. Sometimes, simple and rustic is best. A lentil and sausage stew can be perfect for such a day.

I haven’t found many lentil recipes that I’ve truly been in love with. Yes, they’re healthy, full of fiber, a good source of protein; but most of the times, I’ve been on the fence about lentils. Apparently, I just haven’t looked hard enough. This stew changed my mind about lentils – the flavor is so big and bold in this stew that I couldn’t help but enjoy a rather large bowl. The jalapeno sausage brought just a hint of heat to the broth, but the vegetables and parsley truly brightened the flavors, and the smoked paprika added an additional depth. This was a stew I could make again and again. Which reminds me, I still have some left over. Lunch tomorrow? I think so!

Lentil and Sausage Stew, adapted from Good Life Eats

1 T vegetable oil

12 oz jalapeno smoked sausage, diced

½ large yellow onion, diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ t fresh thyme, chopped

2 T sherry

3 c chicken or vegetable broth

2 c water

2 c dried lentils

1 t salt

½ t black pepper

1 t cumin

½ t smoked paprika

1 bay leaf

2 carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice

1 c spinach leaves, packed

¼ c fresh parsley, chopped

In a large pot, add oil and bring to medium heat. Add smoked sausage and brown, 4-5 minutes. Remove, leaving as much of the oil in the pot as possible. Add onion, carrots, and celery, and sauté until tender, 7-8 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and sauté another minute. Add sherry and scrape up any brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Then add broth, water, lentils, and seasonings and bring to a boil. Add sausage and carrots and reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer partially covered for 30-45 minutes, or until lentils and vegetables are tender. Stir in spinach and parsley and serve.

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Filed under Beans, Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Soups

Thai Curry Pumpkin Soup and Gluten-Free Chive Biscuits

pumpkin soupA few weeks back, I picked up this lovely pumpkin from Good Earth Organic Farm’s booth at the farmer’s market. I was told it was called a Cinderella Pumpkin. It was a lovely gourd, and it graced my kitchen for a while, bringing autumn charm into the house. However, it was time to do something more with my pumpkin. Since it was not a pie pumpkin, I thought a pumpkin soup would be lovely, especially if it were graced with coconut milk (one of my favorite ingredients).

pumpkin

I started to browse around for ideas on how to elevate my pumpkin and coconut milk soup, and came across Heidi’s simple recipe at 101 Cookbooks. I took cues from her recipe, and made this soup my own, adding a few spices and loosely measuring. What resulted was a lovely creamy, warming, flavorful soup – filling enough to be a main course (we did just that!), and wonderful when it’s dreary and/or cold outside. What’s even better? While this is not a super-fast recipe (although you could make it so, with canned pumpkin), it’s really easy, there is not a lot of time actively cooking, and it’s really hard to mess up. It also reheats beautifully for lunch the next day.

chive biscuits

And last week, I spotted a wonderful biscuit recipe over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free. I thought these biscuits would be a wonderful accompaniment to soup, so I threw together a batch. I changed up the recipe some, only because I wanted to use what gluten-free flours I had on hand, and I wanted to use only chives in the biscuits. But wow – just, wow! Amy sure does know her way around a biscuit! These were simply the best biscuits that ever have graced my kitchen, gluten-free or otherwise. I ate well more than my fair share of them. They will definitely be making another appearance soon!

And lastly, before I share the recipes, I am excited to share with you that I have received 2 Blog Awards, given to me by two wonderful fellow food bloggers! Simply Life awarded me the One Lovely Blog Award, and Diana at Spain in Iowa gave me a Tasty Award! What can I say about these two wonderful bloggers? Thank you both so much! If you haven’t checked out these two blogs, take a moment and do so! Simply Life has a wonderful collection of tasty recipes, ranging from the fancy smoked salmon and pear on baquettes, to a lot of wondeful, family-friendly comfort food such as sweet potato risotto. Spain in Iowa has a wonderful collection of Spanish and Latin recipes, such as this pimientos asados recipe, to recipes using local ingredients, such as methods for preserving peaches. (She’s been preserving a lot of this summer’s bounty, check it out!) Thank you both for sharing these awards with me.

 

lovelyblog

Tasty-2For the One Lovely Blog Award, I am supposed to tell you all seven things you don’t already know about me, and pass this award along to ten other bloggers. So, here goes:

1. I have two dogs, Rocky and Jack. They are both Chihuahua mixes, and look like they could be brothers. However, they aren’t – Rocky is mixed with Manchester terrier (we think) and we adopted him in 2003. Jack is mixed with who-knows-what (we’ve considered a Corgi), and we adopted him in 2007. We adopted both of them at Operation Kindness, North Texas’ oldest and largest no-kill animal shelter. If you are local, and considering adopting a dog or cat, check them out. They’re located in Carrollton. (Not to get on a soapbox, but I’m a big proponent of adopting rescue animals. I personally choose to rescue an animal that might otherwise be euthanized, and give them a second chance at life, and do my part to keep the over-population of unwanted pets down. That’s all, I won’t get into this topic here!) Rocky and Jack are wonderful friends, and are always happy when I’m in the kitchen, waiting for a treat! They’re especially fond of carrots.

Rocky (on the left), and Jack

Rocky (on the left), and Jack

2. I play indoor soccer. I’m by no means an accomplished player (I started playing at the age of 22), but it’s great fun, and I am always learning. I love my teammates – everyone encourages one another, and it’s a great way to relax and stay in shape.

3. I cannot stand chocolate-covered donuts. (this precedes going gluten-free) I am generally not a picky eater by any means, but the thought of eating a chocolate-covered donut, or an eclair, makes me gag.

4. On the weekdays, I wake up at 5am. This allows me to get a little workout in before I get ready for the day, and arrive to work by 7am. (Unfortunately, keeping this schedule makes it difficult for me to sleep in on the weekends past about 7-8am, even if I’m out way too late the night before with the soccer team!)

5. I’m not much for “chick flick” movies. I would rather pass most of them by than waste money to see them. But give me a sports movie – where the main character (or characters) is the underdog or otherwise has to overcome some big hurdle, and in the end, that character wins the game (but of course, learns a lot about himself along the way) – I’m so there. (Think Hoosiers, Rudy, Chariots of Fire, Remember the Titans, even Miracle on Ice.)

6. I have little patience for most of the shows on the Food Network. It seems that over the years, they’ve changed their tune, and most of their shows are just not my style. Of course, it’s somewhat hypocritical for me to say that many aren’t about the food or cooking…because I watch Hell’s Kitchen and Top Chef, and sometimes, those shows are not about the food either! (I do like Alton Brown though.)

7. I like Velveeta. I know, I know, it’s practically not even real food. It’s artificially dyed and flavored. It’s horrible for you. I can only imagine that it likely does something awful to your insides, like if you eat too much, when you die, it will still be there, thousands of years later…but it seems that especially in Texas, you just can’t make queso without it. Velveeta+Rotel=YUM! Good thing I only eat it like once or twice a year.

And, to share this award, I’ll pass it along to ten bloggers that I truly admire and appreciate!

1. Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free – she is always SO willing to give me feedback on my posts, is available to answer questions, and besides, she has WONDERFUL recipes on her blog!

2. Amanda at Amanda’s Cookin’ – she really goes above and beyond to enhance the blogger community. She’s created a Yahoo Group for food bloggers, which has been an endless source of valuable information! She posts so many gorgeous baked goods and desserts as well!

3. The folks at Food o’ del Mundo – Wonderful dishes, and always so inspiring! Not to mention, recently they went out of their way to help me out on posting to Foodbuzz, so I could be sure I get optimum results. What a friend!

4. Diane at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang – Awesome, inexpensive, gluten-free, healthy living meals! She continually comes up with great, simple ideas to feed a family, even with dietary restrictions.

5. Katie at Eat This. – Katie and I both went gluten-free (for similar reasons) at about the same time, so together we’ve come to understand what lovely and amazing gluten-free food options are available to us. She is definitely a wonderful resource for alternative grains, and sings the praises of millet, teff, and quinoa! She always has healthy and delicious recipes available on her blog.

6. Paula at Bell’alimento – What a lovely blog! She has delicious recipes, and she’s always available and willing to help someone out, even if it means “Stumbling” their blog that day!

7. Cindy at Jacob’s Reward – Cindy is an awesome blogger, even though it’s not a “food” blog. She diligently blogs nearly every day about the goings on at the Jacob’s Reward farm, is always friendly and available to help, and she’s more dedicated to her CSA and that farm than anyone I’ve ever seen! That, and her chickens give our family the BEST eggs…I’ve learned so much from her!

8. Jenn at Bread + Butter – Jenn’s recipes ALWAYS look drool-worthy. A few days ago, she posted about grilled cheese, which makes me nostalgic! She’s also a huge supporter of Tasty Eats At Home.

9. Marilyn at Just Making Noise – Marilyn’s recipes look so good, and they’re always healthy, with natural ingredients. She supports local produce and farmers as much as she can, which is pretty awesome, in my book!

10. Natalie at Natalie’s Killer Cuisine – Natalie makes decadent dishes, most of which cause me to gain weight just thinking about them! But seriously, her recipes are delicious, and she shows tremendous talent.

Thank you again to Simply Life and Spain in Iowa, I’m honored!

And now, to the recipes!

hawaiian and soup and biscuits 041

Thai Curry Pumpkin Soup, adapted from 101 Cookbooks:

1 large pumpkin, 8-10 lbs, cut in half and seeds removed (or you could use two large cans of pumpkin, or a butternut squash or two)

salt and pepper

2 T butter, melted

1 T olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 t grated fresh ginger

1/2 t ground coriander

2 t Thai red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen, which is gluten-free, and available at a lot of standard grocery stores)

1 14-oz can coconut milk

2 c vegetable broth

minced chives for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly season pumpkin halves with salt and pepper, and brush with butter. (can use olive oil if you prefer) Place skin-side down on a baking sheet, and allow to roast until tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove and allow to cool.

In a large stock pot, bring olive oil to medium heat and add garlic, ginger, curry paste, and coriander. Allow to cook for a minute or two, stirring, just until it becomes fragrant. Add pumpkin and coconut milk and stir, and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, remove from heat, and puree. (I used a hand blender, but if you don’t have one, you can blend in batches with your blender or food processor.) Place back on heat and stir in broth, a little at a time, until the soup is at the desired consistency. Taste, and add salt and pepper as necessary. Keep at a simmer for 5 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Garnish with minced chives. Serves 5-6.

Gluten-Free Chive Biscuits, adapted from Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free

2 c gluten-free flour blend (your favorite, or view the blend I adapted from Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free below)

1 T baking powder

1 t kosher salt

1/4 lb (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

1 c 2 % milk

1/4 c chopped fresh chives

1 egg mixed with 1 T water, for egg wash

Preheat oven to 4oo degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Sift together flour blend and baking powder. Stir in salt to mix. Add cold butter, and either using a stand mixer on low, or even using a spoon or your hands, mix until the butter is the size of peas. Add milk and beat until just mixed together. Add chives and mix until just combined.

Drop dough in large spoonfuls onto parchment paper. Brush tops with egg wash, and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt, if desired. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until browned and puffy. Makes 8 biscuits.

Gluten-free Flour Blend

1 c brown rice flour

1 c sorghum flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c arrowroot starch/flour

1 t xanthan gum

Mix together well and store in an airtight container.

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Filed under Baked goods, Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Soups, Vegetarian