Lentil Stew

This is a great recipe for dinner on a fall evening.  It is easy, healthy and delicious.  Lentils are so good for you – they are high in fiber, folic acid (which is good for your heart), high in fiber and help to stabilize your blood sugar (which will make you feel fuller longer).  I love cooking soups and stews, we eat the dish for a few nights and freeze the rest for dinner in a few weeks!

When I get home from work each night, the last thing I want to do is spend hours in the kitchen on dinner.  So I try to prep meals a little at a time, for instance with this dish I chopped all my veggies the night before.  That saved me about 15 minutes and I was able to get dinner cooking right when I got home.

I used both red and green lentils.  The red (also called French lentils) are much smaller and not as dense.  This was a great combo for this soup and turned into more of a stew, as the red lentils broke down and made the base nice and thick.  This is a vegetarian dish (it does have chicken stock, but that can easily be substituted with vegetable stock), but since lentils are so packed full of protein – you won’t miss the meat!  I have found that a lot of vegetarian dishes are very hearty and try to go meatless a few nights a week.  Check out this blog – Love & Lentils –  for some more delish vegetarian dishes.

I hope you like this easy and tasty lentil soup!  I know my husband did!!

Enjoy! ~Jamie

1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
4 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups dry lentils
4 cups water
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup spinach, rinsed and thinly sliced
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

1) In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender (about 8 minutes). Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil; cook for 2 minutes.
2) Stir in lentils, and add water, stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve stir in spinach, and cook until it wilts. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Nutrition – Calories: 349 | Total Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 0mg


Caramelized French Onion Dip

French onion dip and chips = yum!  When I was a kid, my dip to chip ratio was about 75% dip and 25% chip and it was one of my favorite snacks.  But now that I am adult and try to eat healthy, this snack is no longer on my radar.  Until now!  I made a recipe that is pretty easy (I caramelized onions for the first time, which I will be able to use for other dishes) with only a handful of ingredients and it is low in calories and fat!  I got this recipe from Crumb Blog, which is a wonderful food blog.

This recipe also allowed me to practice my vegetable chopping skills!  Check out this video for an easy how to on chopping onions.

After I chopped these up, I was thinking – Wow!  This is a lot of onions!  But once you cook the onions down and caramelize them, they really shrink (and smell delicious)!

Other than cooking the onions, which took about 45 minutes, this recipe is a breeze.

So if you are looking for a great, healthy dip for your next party or tailgate, then make this Caramelized French Onion Dip.  Enjoy!

Caramelized French Onion Dip
Prep time: 5 mins Cook time: 45 mins Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 8

2 tbsp olive oil
1½ cups finely diced red onion
3 cups finely diced yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1½ cups plain non-fat Greek yogurt
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon juice
Dash Worcestershire sauce

1) Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet set over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until translucent and just starting to color.
2) Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown and caramelized (if the onions start to burn at any point, add a tablespoon or two of water and continue cooking). Stir in garlic, salt and pepper, and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until garlic is soft and fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
3) In a mixing bowl, stir together yogurt and mayonnaise until smooth. Stir in the cooled onions, lemon juice and Worcestershire. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
4) Transfer to a serving bowland cover. Chill for at least an hour (or up to two days) to allow the flavours to blend together, then serve with chopped vegetables or potato chips for dipping.