Ta Da! Dinner Made Simple

Lentil 1

It wasn’t exactly an incident,  but it was definitely a thing.  A little bit of a disagreement of sorts. It left me feeling inadequate and my family feeling hungry.

I was out all day. Working, then running errands, including taking my mother-in-law to her doctor’s appointment and shopping.  It was a long day. Unfortunately, I hadn’t taken anything out of the freezer for dinner that morning.  No planning ahead.  No thoughts about the hungry tribe at 6 p.m.

In the early evening, there was a discussion with my husband about maybe going out for Mexican and margaritas (holy shit, I could definitely use a margarita). But then Garrett got home and he was tired and had homework . . .

Long story short: Garrett didn’t feel like going out, but he needed protein; Guy doesn’t eat meat; Zach was on his way home from work and he was hungry. I was tired and had nothing planned.

There was a little bit of a scene. At least in my head: Why can’t someone else make dinner?  Why is it always my responsibility?  What’s the matter with leftovers?

Well, last night’s dinner was weird . . . I ran to the store for a rotisserie chicken for Garrett and then cobbled together a dinner for everyone from the chicken and what was on hand. I ended up spending 3 hours figuring out what everyone wanted, the running to the store, heating and reheating . . . uuugggh! Three hours, and it wasn’t even a real dinner!

Not tonight.  It was another one of those days.  I was gone all day long.  But I made a plan. A delicious plan.

Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 3 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 64 oz chicken or vegetable broth (2 cartons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon good quality curry powder
  • 3 cups lentils, rinsed
  • 1 can (13-14 oz) coconut milk

Directions:

Put all of ingredients, except coconut milk, in the slow cooker. Set it on low and leave it alone for 6-8 hours.  If you’re short on time, set it to high and let it cook for 3-4 hours. After the cooking, stir in the coconut milk and taste for seasoning.  If you like it with a little more curry flavor, add more curry powder!  Add salt and pepper, to taste, as well.

lentils

This lentil soup is everything that’s good.  Lentils are loaded with nutrition! A small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family, lentils are an excellent source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Not only do lentils help lower cholesterol, they also play a role in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. Lentils also provide good amounts of much needed and valuable B-vitamins and protein—all with virtually no fat. The calorie cost of all this nutrition? Just 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils. This tiny nutritional giant fills you up—not out.  And the soup is easy to make and has no added fat.

curry-powderAs for the curry, if you don’t care for the flavor of curry, leave it out.  The soup will still be flavorful and good for you. If you do like the flavor of curry, just use what you have on hand. Curry powder is just a blend of many spices, and comes in many varieties. I used a blend we bought while on vacation in the Caribbean–flavorful and a little spicy. But curry powder doesn’t need to be spicy–there are plenty of flavorful varieties that add great flavor without the heat. Experiment with the flavors and the heat levels and find a variety you like.

Anyway, I love this soup and I hope you do, too. It couldn’t be easier–and the ingredients are inexpensive, low fat and vegetarian. You can please everyone with this soup.

I made up for last night’s disaster, for sure.

lentil soup

 

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Slow-Cooker Finalist Recipe: Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup by Mary Sperling of Newberg, Ore. ABC
Lentil Soup by Mary Sperling of Newberg, Ore.

“GMA” put out the call and after hundreds of viewers e-mailed us their super slow-cooker recipes, we narrowed it down to the final five.

Check out the recipes from the fab five and click here to vote for your favorite.

 

Lentil Soup

By Mary Sperling of Newberg, Ore.
Ingredients:

3 carrots, chopped
3 ribs of celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
8 cups water or vegetable broth
2 cups lentils, rinsed
1 tsp. dried thyme

Directions Put all of these ingredients in the slow cooker. Set it on low if you are leaving it all day, high if you are starting it around lunchtime.

About 10 minutes before you are ready to serve the soup, add:
1 ½ tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground pepper
1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped

Variations:
You can add potatoes if you want more bulk. Add cubed potatoes at the beginning of cooking if you do.

Tomatoes are also good in this dish. Add one 14 ½ ounce can of diced tomatoes at the beginning of cooking if you like. I don’t use the tomatoes because my husband is allergic to them.

3 responses to “Ta Da! Dinner Made Simple

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