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BROWN LENTILS

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So, I found a tin of brown lentils in my pantry, while scouting around for what to cook! I have been adding tinned foods to my pantry to stock up during the pandemic, just in case we run out of fresh produce! I checked out for recipes and found many tempting and easy meals to prepare from just a tin of brown lentils. Here they are:

1.  Soup

Add a can of brown lentils, rinsed and drained, to your favourite winter soup.

2.  Power rice salad

Mix cooked brown rice with canned brown lentils, rinsed and drained, then add pine nuts, currants, tinned corn and fresh herbs such as chives and parsley.

3.  Vegie burger

Add chopped onion and grated carrot to a can of brown lentils, rinsed, drained and mashed. Mix in chopped fresh herbs, fresh breadcrumbs and an egg to hold it together. Shape into patties, coat in flour, spray with oil then pan-fry, grill or bake until golden.

4.  Nutritious dip

Place 2 cans of brown lentils, rinsed and drained, into a food processor with 1-2 garlic cloves, the juice of 1 lemon and a splash of olive oil. Process until you have a smooth paste, adding more oil if necessary. Serve sprinkled with chopped coriander.

5.  On the side

Great with grilled fish. Sauté a chopped onion in oil until soft. Add a can of brown lentils, rinsed and drained, and a diced tomato. Cook until the tomato is soft and lentils heated through. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and balsamic vinegar to serve.

6.  Main event

To turn the above dish into a main course, substitute roasted red capsicum for the tomato. Top with chopped parsley, pitted black olives, chopped walnuts and cubed feta, and serve drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

7.  Curry in a hurry

The next time you make an Indian curry, throw in a can of brown lentils, rinsed and drained. This goes well with pumpkin and potatoes.

8.  Delicious dhal

Sauté a chopped onion in oil until soft. Add 2 chopped potatoes, dried Indian spices (cumin, turmeric and cardamom), and stir until fragrant. Cover with water and cook until potato is tender. Add 2 cans of brown lentils, rinsed and drained, and 2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves. Cook until spinach is wilted. Serve with a dollop of low-fat natural yoghurt.

9.  Classic combo

Together these ingredients create the perfect flavour combination – mix canned brown lentils, rinsed and drained, with some baby spinach leaves and finely chopped red onion. Dress with yoghurt and lemon juice.

10.  Lentil bolognaise

Make your favourite bolognaise sauce, or cannelloni or lasagne filling, substituting the minced beef with canned brown lentils.

I hope you enjoy these delicious and nutritious meal ideas – with a can of Brown Lentils!

Stay healthy and safe!

~ Mary

 

Rice and dhal

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indian-meal-consisting-roti-rice-dal-vegetable-kofta-32193992One of the most easiest, healthy and time saving meals to prepare! Steamed Rice and dhal. A nutritious meal and easy on the digestive system. This meal originates from India. Dhal means lentils. You can add other tasty nutritious accompaniments as well – a tablespoon of plain yoghurt or Raita, fried or baked papadams, tomato salad or herbal chutney made with Coriander or Mint. Here is the recipe –

Steamed Rice for 2-4 people

1 1/2 cups of Basmati Rice (washed till water is clear and strain out water)

3-4 cups of boiling water

Salt to taste (optional)

Method:  In a cooking pot or saucepan, boil water. When boiling add the washed rice and salt.

Stir to prevent rice sticking to the bottom of the pan.

This could take about 5-10 minutes of cooking. Stir and check if grains are cooked.

Turn of heat.

Strain the rice through a colander. Stir the rice through so it doesn’t stick together.

Serve cooked rice in a Rice Serving Platter.

Dhal

1 cup of red lentils or mix 1/2 cup of moong dhal with 1/2 cup of red lentils

3 cups of water

Salt to taste

1 level teaspoon tumeric or adjust less according to taste

Curry leaf (optional) a few sprigs

1 clove of garlic (peeled and finely sliced) (optional)

1/4 onion finely sliced

1 tablespoon oil

Method:  Wash lentils till water is clear and strain.

Put up a saucepan of water on the stove, add salt and allow to boil on low heat.

Add the washed lentils with the tumeric. Stir well and bring to the boil. Allow to cook for approx 15 mins till grains are soft.

You can puree the cooked lentils if you wish in a blender when cooled down or push it through a sieve. This is optional.

In a separate pan heat and add a little oil on very low heat. Add the sliced onions and allow to brown lightly, add the garlic and brown lightly, add the curry leaf. Add all these fried ingredients to the dhal and give a little stir. It will sizzle a bit, so take care, but this process actually adds more flavour to the dhal.

Serve in a bowl or tureen.

For added nutrition, you can add 1/2 cup of mixed finely chopped vegies of your choice and allow to cook for a few minutes. (Chopped carrot, a little cauliflower or finely chopped beans, or a little finely chopped eggplant).

Serve in a bowl or tureen.

Accompaniments:

Raita

In a small bowl mix in about a cup of natural yoghurt, beat with fork and add salt to taste, squeeze of lemon juice, a little fresh ground black pepper, a pinch of chilli powder (optional), 1/4 teaspoon of cummin.

Mix well together. Decorate with a sprig of mint leaves or coriander leaves.

Papadams

Papadams can be purchased from Asian food stores. These are sold in packets, in small to medium sizes, of various flavours.

Papadams can be fried in a little oil, which turn crispy. Or you can crisp them in the microwave for 30-40 seconds.

Salad

Tomatoes

Onions

Cucumbers

Lemon juice

Salt

Method: Slice finely tomatoes, onions and cucumbers. Mix well together and add the salad dressing.

You can add fresh herbs if you wish – a few sprigs of fresh coriander or mint.

Here is an image of how an Indian meal is served with various accompaniments to enhance taste and flavour to the meal. Serving a meal attractively also makes it look appetizing and tempting to eat!

indian-thali-combo-naan-17512700

 

 

 

Baked Chicken and baby potatoes

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Chicken thigh fillets is my new find! The meat is tender and moist and really delicious! I used to buy chicken breast fillets but I find the thigh meat much better! It has more flavour. Here is a very simple and easy way to cook a quick evening meal.

1 kg chicken thigh chops
500 gram baby new potatoes, halved
30 g butter melted
2 bacon rashers chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely sliced

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Remove most of the skin from chicken thighs.
3. Crush garlic and rub all over tops of chicken.
4. Peel potatoes and cut into wedges each.
5. Add salt and pepper to potatoes, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
6. Sprinkle chicken with black pepper and place in roasting pan.
7. Place potatoes and bacon in and around thighs.
8. Pour chicken broth into side of pan.
9. Sprinkle lemon juice to taste over top of dish.
10. Bake at 350° for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until done.
11. Turn chicken and potatoes over halfway through cooking time.
12. Add more chicken broth during baking, if pan becomes dry during cooking.

Serve with bread or a salad accompaniment.

 

Simple food for Lent

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club-sandwich_2988403Lent is here! I have been thinking about what to give up for Lent. For many years I have given up eating chocolates. It has worked! Mind you the temptation starts just before Lent for me, I crave chocolate! And then I think to myself of people in poor countries where they never have chocolate at all and do we really need these luxuries in life? Lent is a good time to take stock of your life and get into a strict regime. Some people fast or abstain from meat, give up watching TV, drinking excess, smoking, etc. Those are positive steps to improve your life. How do you fill in that time? Maybe read spiritual books or meditate on the scriptures, pray, exercise, walking. I have read somewhere people are clearing the junk from their houses – 40 days of clearing junk! People are making a very big effort to simplify their lives!

I had a thought today! Why not give up buying Take Out food every day for lunch! That is a big ask, a big effort! Why be extravagant and pay extra $ for food! Keep it simple!

Think of the $ you will save if for the next 6 weeks you have home made lunches and dinners. After all you go to the grocery store, spend the time and energy and $ to shop for your family at home. Why not add a few extra foods to your shopping trolley to prepare for work or school?

Here is an idea…

The day before you do your grocery shopping, make a list for the next week of all the homemade lunches you can prepare, so that when you shop you can add those extra items in. Ask the family what they would like to make the decision making easier for you!

Here are a few suggestions …

  • Curried egg sandwiches with chopped celery. Cook up a batch of eggs, mash, mix with a little curry powder, salt/pepper, finely chopped celery, or avocado, add some mayonnaise and butter.  I have added some sundried tomatoes with this mix which is delicious!
  • Slices of cheese and pickled gherkins
  • Ham and Tomato with chutney or with coleslaw
  • Shredded chicken with coleslaw or mashed avocado
  • Bacon, lettuce and Tomato
  • Meatloaf slices with chutney
  • Tandoori chicken with lettuce, cucumber
  • Bake muffins to add as a special daily treat

Another good idea, is to make a roast on the weekend and save some leftover meat for sandwiches. I also use the leftover roasted veggies as well.

Make sure to include pieces of fruit for each day, for morning teas and lunch as well.

You save $ money, eat healthy food and you’re giving up something for Lent!

~ Mary

Cook your own take away meals!

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Recently I was laid up in bed with flu and had no food! No fun! So we decided to have take away food e.g. Chinese hot soup, noodles, pizzas, burgers, etc. It is great when the food is hot and delicious but it comes with a cost, especially if you have a large family!

Well when you are laid up in bed, you try and make up for lost time by at least planning how to organise and plan things in advance. I thought why not make a list of all your favorite take away meals and prepare them in advance and freeze it. That way, even if you are sick or tired you can prepare food in less time and have take away in your home once a week!

Some of my favourites are:

– burgers with fries
– Chinese food, Fried Rice, sweet and sour chicken
– Thai noodles
– pizzas
– Nandos chicken with chips
– fish and chips

The advantage is you know the quality of the food is fresh and nutritious too.

Burgers with fries or salad
For 4.
Burgers or patties: 500 gram minced beef or chicken (makes about 12 burgers)
2 finely chopped onions
Ground ginger 1 tablespoon
1 grated carrot
Herbs – a little chopped parsley
1 beaten egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 slices of bread soaked in little water and squeezed
Zuchini grated

Bread rolls, tomato slices, ketchup, onion rings, pickled gherkins, slices of beetroot
Potato chips

Method
Mix all the above ingredients well
Form into burgers
Place on flat tray and freeze. Frozen burgers can be stored in plastic containers before hand.
When ready to cook, take out of freezer night before and store in fridge.
Grill or bake in medium hot oven.
Toast buns while burgers are grilling
While burgers are getting cooked, prepare fresh hot chips
Have ready slices of tomato, onion rings, pickled gherkins, lettuce, ketchup.
Preparation and cooking time should take 1/2 hour.
Added Nutritional value of vegetables and herbs.

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