Weeknight recipes

10 Oct

Frequent readers of this blog know I’ve been pretty hardcore about meal planning the last couple of months due to my CSA, my need to save money, and my desire to eat better. Naturally, these efforts necessitate cooking during the week, even when I’m tired and cranky (or, in the case of last night, fighting off some nasty allergies). I’m turning to meals that sound delicious but are not complicated, and so far I’ve had great success this week, so I wanted to share a couple. First off is a variation on my Basic Lentil Soup:

I adapted it for the slow cooker, though, since I still only have one working burner at home.

Slow Cooker Lentil Soup

  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1/3 cup barley
  • 3 small-medium carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 container of mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 3 scallions, sliced (white and green parts) — you could use a small onion instead
  • 2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tofurkey Italian Sausage, chopped coarsley
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The soup epitomizes what I love about the slow cooker: combine everything in your cooker, add eight cups of water, and set to cook. You can put it on low and let it cook all day while you’re at work, or you can set it to high, and it will be done in three or so hours. I did the latter since I was preparing it for lunches on Sunday evening. It makes a very thick soup that is filling but not too heavy.

Serves 6ish.

I love lentil soup because, really, you can add any vegetables you want and season it however you prefer. I went Italian this time, but it could just as easily been curried or made Mexican-style.

For dinner Monday and Tuesday night, we enjoyed a variation on Oh She Glows’ Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheeze.

I made the following modifications:

  • Used olive oil instead of Earth Balance.
  • Added two garlic cloves (instead of the powder), two scallions (though I would actually saute regular white onion next time for even more flavor), and a lot of crushed red pepper.
  • Mashed the roasted butternut squash with a fork and didn’t bother with a blender.

Our bowls contained the sauce, whole wheat spaghetti, shiitake mushrooms, the rest (FINALLY!) of the white beans, and kale. I would guess the ratios were:

  • 1 recipe of the sauce
  • 1 bag of spaghetti minus one serving (though I did boil the spaghetti fresh each night since I really hate the texture of leftover whole wheat pasta)
  • Half a container of shiitake mushrooms (button or cremini would work great, too)
  • 1.5 cups cooked cannelini beans
  • 1 bunch of kale, torn into pieces

Made 4 hearty servings.

Since I had roasted the squash on Friday night, the meal came together really fast, especially last night, since all we — Mr. X, rather, since I was feeling sick and, therefore, had regressed to a whiny baby — had to do was boil some pasta and reheat the sauce. I won’t say it truly tasted like a cheese sauce, but the flavor was delicious and very interesting. It also had a great consistency even without blending it.

Tonight we’re having variation #10 billion on X’s Spicy Portobello Chili, and he has demanded I update the recipe with our current favorite combination, so expect that post soon.

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2 Responses to “Weeknight recipes”

  1. cupcakekitteh October 11, 2012 at 1:55 am #

    Ooh yum, both the lentil soup and the macncheese look good!

    I’m trying to get better at meal planning so I can use up the weekly produce I get, but I am not so good at it 😀

    • Brigid October 15, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

      It can be a challenging habit to get into. I don’t always stick to my plan 100%, of course, but it saves me a ton of time, energy, and money in the long run.

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