Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Za’atar Oil

Recipe adapted from Milk Street’s Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Aleppo Pepper Oil

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon salted butter (I use 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 medium yellow onion cut into 1/2 inch-dice (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup red lentils (picked over and rinsed)
  • 2 tablespoons long-grain white rice (I skip this)
  • 5 cups water
  • kosher salt

For Serving

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper (I use za’atar)
  • Chopped fresh mint leaves, to serve (optional)
  • Lemon wedges, to serve (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan over medium, melt the butter. Once it has stopped foaming, add the onion then sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, paprika and cumin, then sauté for 1 minute.
  2. Add the lentils, rice, water and 2 teaspoons salt, then bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a lively simmer, cover and cook until the lentils and rice are tender and broken down, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt. I like to use an immersion blender to puree the soup. I also like to boil it down until it is thickened to my liking.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium, heat the olive oil, swirling to coat the pan. Add the Aleppo pepper and cook until a few bubbles appear and the oil is bright red. Remove from heat and set aside. If using z’atar, stir in extra-virgin olive oil until desired consistency is reached, .
  4. Serve the soup with Aleppo pepper or za’atar oil drizzled over each serving. Serve with mint and lemon wedges.

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DIRECTIONS

In a large saucepan over medium, melt the butter. Once it has stopped foaming, add the onion then sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, paprika and cumin, then sauté for 1 minute.

Add the lentils, rice, water and 2 teaspoons salt, then bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a lively simmer, cover and cook until the lentils and rice are tender and broken down, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium, heat the olive oil, swirling to coat the pan. Add the Aleppo pepper and cook until a few bubbles appear and the oil is bright red. Remove from heat and set aside. Serve the soup with Aleppo pepper oil drizzled over each serving. Serve with mint and lemon wedges.

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15 Minute Allspice & Panko Crusted Chicken

My grandma starting making this long before “Shake and Bake” existed. It’s surprisingly delicious. The allspice is essential – don’t try to make it without!

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds chicken thighs
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoned Salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Place a wire rack over a sheet pan and spray with cooking spray. For easy clean up, line the pan with aluminum foil.
  3. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, mix together Panko, flour, allspice, Old Bay, salt, and pepper and mix well. I don’t add any butter or oil to the breadcrumbs, but mixing in 3-4 tablespoons will result in a richer, more golden coating.
  4. In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together the egg and a spoonful of milk or water.
  5. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dip both sides of chicken in eggs and then transfer to the Panko mixture. Dredge both sides in the mixture while pressing to adhere.
  6. Transfer chicken to prepared wire rack, spacing evenly apart. Try not to place too close together. I once tried making a double batch on one sheet pan and they didn’t cook properly.
  7. If you’d like, spray the chicken with cooking oil.
  8. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature at the thickest part of the chicken is 165. If you’d like the bottom side to brown, flip the chicken and set the oven to broil for a minute or two. I personally don’t mind the browning on one side only.

Bone-in chicken thighs work well too, but cooking time will increase to approximately 30 minutes.


Chicken Francese

Photo from Real Food Tastes Good

Tyler Florence isn’t the first person that comes to mind when thinking of easy recipes, but this one actually is. It’s a great weeknight dinner, but elegant enough for entertaining. Original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients

  • 4 Thinly sliced, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5 pounds)
  • All purpose flour, for dredging
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, with rind, cut into the rounds
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Directions

  1. Put some flour in a shallow bowl and mix with salt and pepper.
  2. In a wide bowl, beat the eggs with 2 tablespoons of water.
  3. Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet.
  4. Dredge both sides of the chicken flour, and then dip in the egg wash to coat completely, letting the excess drip off.
  5. When the oil hot, add the cutlets and fry for 2 minutes on each side until golden, turning once. Remove the chicken to a large platter in a single layer.
  6. Toss the lemon slices into the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the wine, broth, and lemon juice, simmer for 5 minutes to reduce the sauce slightly.
  7. I like to tip the pan to drain any leftover oil, without wiping – so to leave any browned bits in the pan.
  8. Roll the butter in some flour and add it to the skillet, this will thicken the sauce. Stir to incorporate and dissolve the flour.
  9. Reduce the heat to medium-low and return the chicken to the pan; place the lemon slices on top of the cutlets.
  10. Simmer gently for 2 minutes to heat the chicken through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

Turkey & Black Bean Chili

Adapted from a food network recipe by Matt Martinez.

One of my favorite one-pot meals. This is a quick and incredibly flavorful turkey chili with vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil (I use 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika (I use 2 teaspoons)
  • 3/4 tablespoon cumin (I use 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3/4 tablespoon salt (I use 1/2 tablespoon)
  • 3/4 tablespoon black pepper (I use 1/2 a tablespoon)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (optional)
  • 3/4 tablespoon dried leaf oregano (I use 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped sweet white onions (I use 1/2 cup)
  • 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped green chilies (I skip this)
  • 1 (14 ounce) can whole stewed tomatoes (I drain the tomato juice into the pot and then chop up the tomato chunks before adding them to the pot)
  • 2 whole chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (I use one, deseeded, and think it’s plenty spicy)
  • 1 cup fresh corn (or frozen it fine)
  • 1 cup finely chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup chicken stock (I add 2 cups)
  • I like to add 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Directions

  1. Preferably using a cast-iron skillet, brown the turkey in the oil for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, allowing it to brown.
  2. Add all the ingredients except zucchini and chicken stock, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the vegetables and stock, and cook for approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Adjust seasoning to taste, and serve immediately.
  5. I like to serve this with fresh baked corn bread crumbled on top.
  6. *tip – Since you only need one chipotle pepper, separate the peppers in a ziplock bag and freeze for next time.

Breakfast Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 pizza ball from pizza dough recipe
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted (optional)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup grated cheese (I like combo of jack and cheddar)
  • 2 slices of crispy bacon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 scallion, chopped

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 475-F.
  2. Press the dough into a 10-12 inch pizza pan or sheet pan.
  3. Spread butter evenly over dough; top with sauce. Poke a few holes with a fork all around pizza.
  4. Place in pre-heated oven and cook until crust is nicely browned.
  5. Meanwhile, scramble eggs into creamy goodness – break all the eggs into a non-stick pan and sit constantly, over low heat until just set.
  6. Remove from oven and top with eggs, cheese, and bacon.
  7. Return pizza to the oven and bake until cheese is melted, approximately
  8. Top with scallions.




Perfect Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 cup overly ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spoon and leveled)
  • 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 banana cut into chunks (this banana doesn’t need to be as overly ripe as the others)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350-F. Prepare muffin tins.
  2. Beat the sugar and butter together until creamy.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Add the bananas and mix.
  5. In a small bowl mix the baking soda, baking powder, and yogurt together and then add it to the mixing bowl.
  6. Add the flour and salt. Mix until just incorporated.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips, banana chunks, and walnuts.
  8. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

White Beans in Tomato Sauce

This is a very simple dish that comes together in 10 minutes. It’s my son’s absolute favorite meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans cannellini, great northern, or navy beans (or 1.5 cups dried beans soaked overnight in a brine of 1.5 tablespoons kosher salt to 3 quarts water)
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce (preferably Hunts)
  • 1 cup chicken broth (I usually use 1 teaspoon Better than Boullion Chicken)
  • 1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a medium pot or Dutch oven.
  2. Add onions, salt, and pepper and cook, partially covered, until the onions are soft, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add tomato sauce and beans and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer for 20 minutes or serve immediately.

Serve over rice.


Hearts of Palm & Avocado Salad

Somehow, without even trying, I ended up with a new family favorite salad. This clean-out-my-crisper-salad turned out so delicious, it deserves a recipe of its own.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups red curly leaf lettuce (or endive)
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 1 Reed or Haas Avocado, cubed
  • 1/4 sweet onion, thinly shaved
  • 1 cup hearts of palm, thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Dressing

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or any)
  • 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey 
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • Freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Place ingredients for dressing in a mason jar and shake to combine, or whisk in a bowl.
  2. Place all the vegetables in a bowl and toss with the dressing.

3 Ingredient, Gluten Free Coconut Cookies

In my failed attempt to make coconut macaroons with unsweetened shredded coconut, I discovered a simple coconut cookie that is really nothing like a macaroon, but delicious nonetheless.

Ingredients

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 14 ounces unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. In a large bowl add all ingredients and form into desired shape. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
  2. Set the oven to broil and allow to brown to desired shade, approximately 1-2 minutes.

Tip: I had some extra sweetened condensed milk and decided to drizzle some on top of the cookies once they were finished baking. It turned out to be a wonderful glaze.


Strawberry Salad with Shallot-Honey Vinaigrette

Recipe from All Recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz package baby spinach or mixed greens
  • 1/2 pint strawberries, quartered or sliced
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Place almonds, sugar and a pinch of salt in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar caramelizes, approximately 3 minutes.
  2. Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing.
  3. Add candied almonds and strawberries to lettuce and toss with dressing.