Monthly Archives: April 2013

Lentil Chickpea Coconut Curry

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Since trying lentils for the first time last summer, I’ve become mildly obsessed with them and usually cook them anywhere from one to three times a month. I love lentils with brown rice, or with sausage, but my favorite way to eat lentils is in a delicious curry. I was originally going to post a recipe for Chana Masala (chickpea curry), but decided I needed to include my beloved lentils and also some greens.

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If you enjoy curry, I definitely recommend giving this recipe a try. Hearty lentils and chickpeas are simmered in a flavorful tomato-curry sauce with kale and coconut milk, served over rice. This meal is so filling and satisfying, I bet most wouldn’t guess that it’s vegan. I admit I sometimes miss meat in a vegetarian or vegan meal, but this isn’t one of them. Lentils and chickpeas are both packed with protein, very low in fat and diet superfoods in my book. I’ve been making this meal in some variation or another for months now, and it really has become one of my favorites. This is the first time I made it with coconut milk and I love the way it mellows out the strong flavors a bit. The amount of spices are based off my personal preferences, so you may find you want more or less of something – just have fun playing around with it!

Lentil Chickpea Coconut Curry

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Ingredients:
serves 5-6

  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups of water, veggie stock or chicken stock
  • 1 cup dry brown or green lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 15 oz. can fire-roasted tomato sauce or diced tomatoes
  • 5-6 stalks kale, torn into small pieces or 4-5 cups spinach (I used both)
  • 1 Tbsp yellow curry powder
  • 1 tsp red curry powder or garam masala
  • 1 tsp red curry paste
  • 1 tsp cumin + 1 tsp coriander (or 2 tsp cumin if coriander is not available)
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained (feel free to use the whole can if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • juice of 1 lime (about 2 Tbsp)
  • fresh cilantro and scallions to garnish, warmed Naan to serve

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Directions:

  1. In medium saucepan, cook rice according to box directions. You can do this step in advance, or let the rice cook while you’re preparing the rest of the meal.
  2. In a 3-4 quart cooking pot, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over low heat. Add diced onion and carrots and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add minced garlic and continue cooking.
  3. Once veggies have softened and browned a bit (about 15-20 minutes), add water or stock to the pot, along with your lentils and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then return to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato sauce or diced tomato to the pot and stir in kale. (If using spinach, don’t add it until later – see step number 5.) Season with all of the spices (yellow curry powder through red pepper flakes) and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until kale is tender and the curry has thickened.
  5. Stir in chickpeas, coconut milk, and lime juice (and spinach, if using) and simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve curry over rice, with a garnish of fresh cilantro, scallions, and warmed Naan. πŸ™‚
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Start by sauteing your veggies

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Once veggies are tender, add 3 cups of water or stock to the pot, along with lentils and 1 bay leaf. Simmer for 10 minutes.

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Stir in tomato sauce, kale and spices and cook for another 10-15 minutes.

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Once kale is tender, add chickpeas, coconut milk, and lime juice to the curry. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

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The finished product!

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Maple Roasted Chickpeas

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I had a brownie recipe that I was excited to share with you guys today, but unfortunately the batter just did not come together and I had to add a bunch of extra ingredients to get it to the right consistency. The brownies ended up coming out okay, but I didn’t feel confident about posting the recipe on here when I wasn’t exactly sure what went wrong. They were Zucchini Brownies, which I was excited about because I had never used zucchini in a dessert recipe before and they looked surprisingly fudgy and delicious. Oh well, better luck next time.

Luckily I had a back-up recipe in mind. Lately I’ve been seeing recipes for roasted chickpeas floating around the internet. I was skeptical at first, thinking the idea of roasting canned chickpeas didn’t sound appealing at all but many blogs claimed they were crunchy and addictive. I decided to give them a try and I admit I ate them all by myself in one night.. oops. Luckily they are a healthy snack, low-fat and packed with protein, so you don’t have to feel guilty about eating so much.

These Maple Roasted Chickpeas are a simple 4-ingredient recipe that makes a quick and healthy snack. I chose to use maple syrup because I’ve become quite fond of it over the past few months, but you could alternatively use honey or brown sugar. For a more savory flavor, you could use garlic, cumin, or cayenne pepper for extra heat. There are endless possibilities to how you can prepare them and they are incredibly inexpensive to make. My house smelled like french toast as these were roasting in the oven – mmm.

Maple Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp canola or olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup (I used the fake kind, but if you have the real stuff then go for it!)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • optional: 1/2 tsp cinnamon

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400ΒΊF. After draining and rinsing chickpeas, lay out on a paper towel and pat dry as much as you can.
  2. Pour chickpeas into a small mixing bowl, along with the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine.
  3. Spread chickpeas out on a baking sheet lined with foil in a single layer and cook for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until they are crisp and browned. Let cool and enjoy πŸ™‚
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After rinsing and drying your chickpeas, add them to a bowl with maple syrup, oil, and brown sugar and stir to combine.

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Arrange chickpeas on a baking sheet and bake for at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, stirring every 10. I didn’t line my baking sheet with foil, but I recommend it because the maple syrup gets pretty sticky.

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Chickpeas will look something like this when they’re finished

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πŸ™‚

Honey Mustard Chicken Wrap

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After a crazy few days last week, I’m ready to get back on track with my posts.

This recipe was inspired by my sister-in-law, Mirva. Mirva, my brother Chris, and my niece Naomi live only a few miles away from me so I’m often over their house spending time with them or watching the little one. Mirva often likes to experiment with cooking and she is nice enough to share her creations with me, which I always enjoy. Recently when I was over, she made chicken baked in honey mustard sauce. It was so tasty and reminded me of how much I enjoy honey mustard.

In typical Hannah fashion, I thought of how I could re-create this recipe in a slightly healthier way. That thick, creamy honey mustard sauce you’re used to being served in restaurants is typically made with lots of mayonnaise. I do eat mayo every once in a while, but I thought a good substitute for this recipe would be – you guessed it – Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is fat-free or low-fat and loaded with protein, compared to mayonnaise, which is fatty and has less nutritional value. Making this simple swap gives you honey mustard sauce that is still thick and creamy, but a bit tangier and much healthier.

This Honey Mustard Chicken Wrap includes tender chicken, fresh tomatoes, spinach, a sprinkle of cheese, and is finished off with a light and super easy-to-make 3-ingredient honey mustard sauce. It’s a filling and flavorful wrap that you can feel good about eating, and the sauce could be used for a number of other recipes.

Honey Mustard Chicken Wrap
makes one wrap

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 3/4 tsp honey
  • 1 whole wheat wrap
  • 1 small breast grilled or baked chicken
  • 2 slices of tomato
  • small handful of fresh spinach (or lettuce)
  • 1-2 Tbsp shredded cheese

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Directions:

Β To prepare the honey mustard sauce, whisk together the Greek yogurt, yellow mustard, and honey in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside. Lay out your wrap on a flat surface and layer with chicken, tomato, spinach, and cheese. Pour honey mustard sauce on top and roll up your wrap tightly. Enjoy with a salad or some sweet potato fries πŸ™‚

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Prepare the honey mustard sauce by combing mustard, honey, and Greek yogurt.

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Lay out your wrap and place chicken on first

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Pile up with your toppings: honey mustard sauce, cheese (optional), tomato, and spinach or lettuce

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Roll up your wrap and enjoy πŸ™‚

One Crazy Week in Boston

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Today I have a text-only post; I hope that’s okay with everyone. I aim to post recipes twice a week, but this week’s events threw me off schedule and it seemed necessary to pause for a reflection.

This has been one crazy week to live in Boston. Following the tragic Boston Marathon bombing on Monday, the FBI released photos of the suspects they believed were responsible and a massive manhunt went underway that ended up 2 miles away from my house. Shortly before I went to bed on Thursday, I heard on the news that an MIT police officer was shot and killed in Cambridge and though I felt uneasy about it, they weren’t yet sure if there was a connection to the bombing suspects. About an hour after I went to bed, I woke to concerned text messages from friends asking if I was okay and saying that there were reports of gunfire and explosions near where I live. I pulled up the news on my phone and saw that there was a huge shoot-out and explosions just miles away from my house and started to panic. I was unsure if I should wake up my roommates and try to get out of there, or if it was better to stay put.

Shortly after, my roommates woke up and we gathered in Emily’s room to watch the news and listen to police scanners for the next 5-6 hours. We learned that it was in fact the bombing suspects that were causing all of this commotion, and that the two suspects were brothers. The older was wounded and killed, but the younger one escaped and was on the loose. Many of the surrounding towns, including ours, were on lock down and we were advised not to leave our homes. It seemed that the police had the suspect cornered at one point but he then got away and we had no way of knowing where he was. Finally, near the end of the day, the suspect was found hiding in a covered boat in someone’s backyard and after another shoot-out, willingly climbed out of the boat and was brought into custody. We all breathed a huge sigh of relief and finally felt like we could relax a bit.

It was an insane 24 hours that I won’t soon forget and I think I’m still processing everything that happened. I’m thankful for the emergency responders that kept us safe and that all of my loved ones were unharmed, but I will always keep the victims of this tragedy in my heart. I’m more proud than ever to be from Boston and it’s been very heartwarming to see the compassion and support from fellow Bostonians or even those from far away. The more they try to tear us apart, the closer we become and that is what I love about my home.

β™₯

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili – In Honor of Boston

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I had a nice paragraph written about celebrating Marathon Monday in Boston and how it’s such a big tradition around here, but those words needed some revising after the tragic events that took place yesterday. I was in complete disbelief as I listened to the news stories about multiple explosions that happened just miles from my house and ruined what should have been a joyous event, injuring almost 200 people and taking the lives of three. I will never understand how people can be filled with so much hate or rage that they can justify such a senseless act. But as President Obama said when he addressed yesterday’s events on the news: Boston is a tough and resilient town, as are the people. Though I grew up about 30 minutes south of Boston, I’ve always considered it my home; even more so since moving just outside the city this past fall. We will pull together and move forward, but for now, my thoughts go out to all of those affected by this tragedy.

To honor my beloved Beantown, I’m posting a recipe for Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili. True to my Bostonian roots, I find chili incomplete without beans. This recipe evolved in a few ways: After seeing others add sweet potatoes to chili, I thought that was a great way to balance out the spicy flavors. I always eat chili with cornbread, so adding sweet potato made perfect sense to me and saves some calories as well. I love the combination of sweet potato and black beans, so I decided both of those things would need to present in this chili.

This Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili combines tender sweet potatoes, fire-roasted tomatoes, black beans, and Mexican spices to create a smoky, flavorful chili with a surprising hint of sweetness. I generally followed the same steps as for my 3-Bean Turkey Chili, but cut down the portions (though this recipe can be easily doubled to serve a crowd). I included ground turkey in this chili, but feel free to leave it out for a vegan recipe – or sub ground beef or chicken for something different!

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili
serves 3-4

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb. ground turkey (optional)
  • 14.5 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • salt, to taste
  • optional toppings: shredded cheese, scallions, diced avocado, Greek yogurt or sour cream, etc.

Directions:

  1. In a large frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over low heat. Add diced onion and sautΓ© for about 10 minutes, until softened. Add diced sweet potato, red pepper, and garlic and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 10 additional minutes.
  2. Once veggies are tender, transfer to a medium cooking pot. In the frying pan used for veggies, cook ground turkey until browned. Stir cooked turkey into to the pot with veggies, along with both cans of tomato and your spices. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in black beans and cook just until they’ve warmed up. Season with salt or any additional spices you find appropriate, serve with optional toppings, and enjoy. πŸ™‚

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I hope all of my readers and your loved ones are safe after yesterday’s events. Please keep Boston in your thoughts. β™₯