Lentil Curry

So, as my first attempt using lentils in a meal I would consider this a complete success! I LOVED the flavors of this dish and it was simple and healthy too (not to mention Mike even gave it his approval)! I got the recipe from an old ward cookbook my visiting teaching partner just gave me - gotta love ward cookbooks! I definitely see lentils again in our near future!

- 2 t. olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 c. chicken or vegetable broth (I used chicken)
- 1 c. lentils, rinsed and drained (I just realized I didn't do that)
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 3-4 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 peeled apple, cored and chopped (I used a Granny Smith)
- 1 t. curry powder
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. celery seed
- 1/8 t. anise seed (I have no idea what that is and didn't include...still yummy)

- Heat olive oil in a large pot and saute onion and garlic until tender.
- Add remaining ingredients and simmer about 60 min. or until lentils are tender.
- Serve over brown rice.

Why I LOVE Rice Cakes

Some of you may know that I have Celiac Disease and although I sometimes sneak an occasional flour-filled treat when I can't resist, at home I try to be as gluten-free as possible. I use rice cakes, the plain old salt-free or lightly salted variety, pretty much everyday.
Here are some of their many uses:
*Rice Cakes with peanut butter (optional jelly or honey on top)
*Rice Cake Sandwiches...ham, turkey, tuna (the trick is to melt cheese on the rice cake to hold it all together, otherwise they tend to crumble apart. My favorite is to layer miracle whip, mustard, cheese, meat and tomato and place under the broiler in the oven)
*Rice Cake Pizzas...top as you desire (I personally prefer Ragu traditional spaghetti sauce, no chunks, and cheese, mozzarella or cheddar. You can melt the cheese under the oven broiler or heat them in the microwave. If you use less sauce you can actually pick them up to eat them like little pizzas and if you use more you'll need a fork - I like them both depending on my mood)

Some people think I'm crazy, but ricecakes are WAY cheaper than GF bread and I've grown up using them. Ella and Addie love the ricecake pizzas and when I would come home from college I remember my little brother and sister begging me to make them each one when I was preparing them for myself!

Book Club Hors D'oeuvres

Well, not the greatest picture, but the night went well. We had a BIG turnout (17 people!) and everyone seemed to enjoy the food. Susan provided dessert (little mini chocolate and strawberry pies) which were delicious and I provided (thank you mom for the cute serving dishes!):
* Black Bean Salsa with scooper tortilla chips
* Pepper Jelly over cream cheese with crackers
* Veggie Bars (thank you Mckell!)
* Fresh Fruit

Veggie Bars

I hosted book club last night and Mckell made these for me (thank you!). They come from Jamie's recipe and they were a HUGE hit! They are sooo good...I couldn't stop eating them :-)!

- 2 cans of reduced fat crescent rolls
- 1 standard size bar of cream cheese
- 1 hidden valley ranch dressing packet (the powder mix)
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 1 broccoli crown
- 1/2 cauliflower
- 10 baby carrots
- 1/2 red pepper
- 1/2 orange pepper

- Place the crescent rolls unrolled and flat on a baking sheet. Press the seams together to make one large rectangle. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes (until nice and golden). Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- In a bowl combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, and ranch mix. Stir well. When the roll is completely cooled, spread this on top.
- The broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots are chopped finely in a food processor. The peppers are chopped finely by hand. Mix them all together and then pour onto the ranch spread. (I spread the broccoli mix on and then topped with peppers)
- Cut and serve!

Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

I got this recipe from Jamie's Cookbook. She has another recipe I really want to try, but this week I'm all for the simple meals, if you hadn't noticed by our menu :-). This is super simple, but still tastes good!

1-2 Chicken Breasts
1-2 cups Frozen Broccoli
Terriyaki Marinade
Zesty Italian Dressing

- Cut of the chicken breasts into strips and put into pan (I put a little sesame oil in first). Season chicken as desired, I used some crushed red pepper, ginger and garlic salt. Brown chicken on both sides.
- Pour in Italian dressing and Terriyaki Marinade to desired amount. I put half and half and next time I think I will put more marinade than dressing in. Stir to coat chicken.
- Add frozen broccoli and stir again. Place under broiler on low and let it cook for few minutes. (if your pan is like mine and has a plastic handle, just cover it with boil to place in over)
-Serve with rice. She suggests calrose rice because it is so sticky...we used brown rice tonight.

Curried Broccoli Pasta

This is another recipe I found on Taste Buds and I have the feeling it is going to be a new staple for me and the girls. It has two of my favorite things...curry and broccoli and the rest of the ingredients are things I always have on hand. YUM! I LOVE it!

1 1/3 cups pasta (I put more than this, it depends on how saucy you want it- I used my good old gluten free penne)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
3 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt (I used FF sour cream)
1/3 cup chicken broth
4 teaspoons all purpose flour (or cornstarch)
1 teaspoon prepared mustard ( I used honey dijon)
Dash Salt

Cook pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat oil. Add curry powder and stir-fry over medium-high heat for 1 minute.
Add broccoli; stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes or till crisp-tender.
For sauce, in a small saucepan, stir together the yogurt, chicken broth, flour, mustard, and salt. Stir into broccoli mixture.
Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more.
Add pasta to broccoli mixture; toss to mix. Heat through. Serve immediately.

Southwest Chicken Lasagna

I found this recipe on Taste Buds, a recipe blog by Anne Marie, who actually used to babysit me when I was little :-). Gotta love blogging and making connections with people again! She has lots of yummy desserts posted too, which are not my specialty, so check it out! This one is quick, easy, and tasty.

(I cut this recipe in half)
-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast; cooked & cut in 1 in. pieces (I used a can of chicken)
-30 oz canned black beans, rinsed and drained
-3 cup fat-free sour cream
-2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
-4 oz chopped green chilies
-2 tsp ground cumin
-1/2 tsp black pepper
-12 medium corn tortilla(s), cut into 2-inch strips (I did use 8 tortillas, but everything else cut right in half)
salsa, or taco sauce

-Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a lasagna pan with cooking spray.
-Place chicken in a large bowl and add beans, sour cream, 1 cup of shredded cheese, chilis, cumin, and pepper; mix well and set aside.
-Arrange half of tortillas in bottom of prepared lasagna pan, overlapping pieces to cover surface. Top tortillas with half of chicken mixture, layer with remaining tortillas and then top with remaining chicken mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese.
-Bake until filling is bubbly and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with salsa on the side.

Kim's Chicken Salad

Here is another recipe from my girls' weekend last month. Kim made this yummy salad and I just got the recipe. I only managed to take pictures of this one and Caroline's Chickpea Curry. Sara made a delicious salad (I believe it had romaine lettuce, feta cheese, grilled chicken, avocado and tomato in it), Liz served up yummy fajitas and I made my tortilla beef casserole. I really loved this chicken salad though! I ate mine with Baked Lays :-).

2 or 3 chicken breasts, cubed and cooked
2 large Fuji apples, diced
4 or 5 stalks of celery, diced

2 heaping Tbsp of mayonnaise
1 Tbsp vinegar
Pepper and salt to taste

DIRECTIONS: (from Kim)
I chop everything up, put it in a large bowl and then mix the dressing in a separate bowl. Since these are not exact measurements, make sure you mix and taste the dressing before you pour it on the salad. If I have a bunch of meat-eaters at dinner, I tend to add more chicken (you can substitute 2 or 3 cans of Costco chicken, in which case I shred it). If it's just me and Garrett, I add more apples at least to my plate because that's what I like (you can use any kind, but Fuji really taste the best to me in this - you want real sweet ones). You can add whatever else you want to the salad - sometimes I add walnuts. Some people substitute grapes for apples. Have at it! Good alone as a salad or with any kind of bread, including pita.

Baked Zucchini Casserole

This is another recipe I found on Kill the Gluten and adapted a little to make it a main course. We love zucchini and this was a great variation!

- 4 1/2 cups sliced zucchini (I used 6 cups and thought it was perfect!)
- 2 to 3 T. olive oil
- salt and pepper (I used some garlic salt too)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 c. spaghetti sauce
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
**I added 1/2 lb. ground beef while cooking the onions**

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add zucchini and saute. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a 9x13 pan.
In the same skillet, add onion (and beef) and saute until soft. Add spaghetti sauce and heat thoroughly. Pour over the zucchini. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top of the sauce.
Mix eggs and Parmesan cheese. Pour over the mozzarella cheese. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Let it stand for 15 minutes before serving.

On the Border Tortilla Soup

I got this recipe from a bag of On the Border tortilla chips and just now got around to trying it out. The recipe seemed so simple I was worried it wouldn't be flavorful enough, but it proved that even simple recipes can be tasty! I did add a few slices of zucchini and carrots (I KNOW the restaurant soup has zucchini and yellow squash in it) to make it more authentic, but it would be good without them too.

- 1/2 c. On the Border salsa (I just used some generic stuff I had in my fridge, but I do love their salsa and you can buy a HUGE jar at Sam's club for cheap)
- 2 large ripe avocados, mashed with 3 T. salsa
- 3 (14 oz) cans chicken broth
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used a can of chicken)
- 4 T. uncooked rice
- 1/2 c. onion
- 1/2 c. finely chopped cilantro
- 1/2 c. shredded Monterey jack cheese

- Heat chicken broth to boil in a large saucepan. Add chicken breast halves, reduce heat and cook until chicken is opaque.
- Remove chicken and cut into bite size pieces. Add salsa and rice to broth. Cook about 15 minutes until rice is tender.
- Return chicken to sauce pan, add onion. Simmer 5 minutes.
- Just before serving add remaining onion and cilantro. To serve, break a small handful of On the Border chips (also delicious and really cheap at Sam's Club) into bottom of each bowl. Ladle soup over tortilla chips. Top with cheese and 1 rounded scoop of avocado.
(since I used canned chicken I just threw everything in the broth at the beginning, including the veggies I added, and let it all cook together)