I have a bad habit of stocking up my cabinet with things like quinoa, dry beans, lentils and canned goods. It’s nice that I always have something on hand to create a meal but I often forget about them until my cabinet is literally over flowing. My mother used to be somewhat of a food stocker as well with a walk-in pantry that was completely filled at all times plus spare pantry space in the basement (also stocked) so maybe it’s genetic. I guess we’re dry and canned food hoarders. Wish I could say we do it for a logical reason like an emergency supply but it’s not the case. We just like having a large supply of these items on hand.
Since I couldn’t fit any new groceries in my cupboard I started using up some of these dry goods and threw together a few great experiments including this particular recipe for French Lentil Salad. I love lentils and it’s one of those things you can’t go wrong with unless of course you over cook them. This recipe is now a favorite and even Mr. and Birdie enjoyed it as well. Lentils are easy to make a quick side dish and are a great source of fiber, folate, iron and other trace minerals. Adding the tomatoes and fresh herbs adds Vitamin C and other plant benefits like phytochemicals. Goat cheese? Well…goat cheese just makes everything better! If your dairy free or vegan you can easily omit.
Have some lentils hanging around? Give this recipe a try…it’s a keeper!
French Lentil Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
- 1 cup French Lentils
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 sprig Rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoon Honey Mustard
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3 Tablespoons Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley or Basil, roughly chopped
- 1 cup Heirloom tomatoes, halved if cherry variety or cut into 1-inch chunks
- 3 ounces crumbled goat cheese
- Combine lentils, broth, Rosemary and Bay leaf and cook according to package directions. You want lentils al dente so check to make sure they don’t overcook.
- Once lentils are cooked, remove from heat, drain any excess liquid, remove the rosemary stems and bay leaf and let cool completely.
- Add the olive oil, honey mustard, balsamic, salt and pepper into a small bowl and mix well.
- Add the tomatoes, parsley (or basil) to the lentils and toss with dressing until well blended.
- Sprinkle the goat cheese and gently blend. Serve.
- I’ve also made this salad with a lemon viniagrette that is equally as delicious. Just use 3 tablespoons olive oil, juice of one lemon, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar.
3 Tomatoes http://3tomatoes.net/
I love my crockpot. No really…I LOVE it. I get this amazing feeling of satisfaction when dinner is ready to go at the end of the day, kitchen clean, and all we have to do is a few additional steps to get a healthy meal on the table. The crockpot is one of the most useful kitchen tools especially for busy days when you don’t have a lot of time to spare.
I never owned or used a crockpot before I had kids. I just thought they were something you used to make soups. My sister-in-law bought me one when the babies were born and my initial thoughts were… I guess she really thinks I’m going to need this. Yep…she was right.
At first, I struggled because honestly, most crockpot recipes are ho-hum and nothing to write home about. After a while I found a few good recipes in a 70′s crockpot cookbook my mother-in-law gave me (sometimes you’ve got to stick with the classics). Then, I started playing around with my grandmother’s Chicken Cacciatore recipe. Keep in mind, her recipe is traditional with a rustic, full flavor so this doesn’t mimic her recipe at all. I had to change it significantly to become an easy crockpot friendly meal. Using white wine and rosemary gives this recipe a lighter flavor perfect for a week day meal. I typically serve this with a side salad and steamed veggie side like broccoli.
I love recipes that use a tomato sauce because it’s comfort food for me. While many of you may have grown up with meatloaf and mashed potatoes as comfort food, my Italian family always had sauce simmering. The aroma of tomato sauce mixed with herbs, onions and garlic brings me enormous comfort and joy. As a dietitian I love that you can make something so simple that provides great health benefits. Cooked tomato products provide a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and the antioxidant Lycopene.
Like all recipes, you can also change it up to make it your own. In my past experiments I’ve added green bell peppers, basil in place of the rosemary, red wine in place of white, tomato paste or omitted the mushrooms. They were all good…I just enjoy this particular version the best. Give it a try and see what you think!
Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 chicken breasts or thighs
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced (optional)
- 2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 to 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1-pound penne pasta
- Parmesan cheese
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. If using chicken breasts, cut in thirds so you have smaller chunks. Sprinkle the chicken with garlic salt. Brown the chicken pieces on each side. You don’t need to cook it through…just brown it.
- Place the chopped onions, garlic and mushrooms at the bottom of the crockpot. Layer the browned chicken over the onions.
- Add tomato sauce, wine and herbs. Cook for 6 to 8 hours, depending on your crockpot’s range.
- Before serving, cook pasta according to directions and serve with the chicken and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
- Note: you can skip the browning step if you need to throw everything in the crockpot and go but the chicken won’t be as moist or retain as much flavor.
3 Tomatoes http://3tomatoes.net/