Hearty Lentil Soup

Hearty Lentil Soup

We are having soup week at my house this week with the freezing temperatures. My three kids actually love lentil soup and this Hearty Lentil Soup was a hit last night. This vegetarian version is so easy and super healthy. It’s perfect for lunch or dinner with a salad and a side vegetable (or crusty bread). Lentils are low in calorie and super high in nutrition! They are great for heart health, digestive health, cholesterol reduction and more. Lentils are also high in protein with 26% of the lentil’s calories attributed to protein. Lentils are also loaded with folate, fiber and iron. Lentils need no presoaking, and they cook in less than an hour (in some cases, under 30 minutes). Of all the kinds available, red lentils cook the fastest, because they are sold with their hulls removed. But they also provide less fiber than the black, brown, or green varieties, which come with their hulls intact. To store lentils, keep them a cool, dry place, and they will stay fresh for several months. Enjoy and happy New Year!

5 Amazing Quinoa Soup Recipes

It’s been so bitterly cold lately so I have been looking for some great new soup recipes to try (especially ones with quinoa). Here are 5 amazing quinoa soup recipes starting with my Kale and Sausage Quinoa Soup (pictured above). It is so hearty and makes a great one dish meal. My kids loved it too! Enjoy it as you start your new year off on the right foot!

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili via Recipes and Me 

Harvest Chicken Quinoa Soup via Iowa Girl Eats

Tomato Soup with Quinoa and Feta via Mountain Mama Cooks

Red Lentil Quinoa Curry Soup via Lindsay Loves Veggies

Fast and Easy Chicken and Dumplings

Fast and Easy Chicken and Dumplings? Is that really possible? It is with this recipe. My friend Rick made this for my dad recently, and he and my 3 kids loved it! This is comfort food at its best. I love that this recipe uses rotisserie chicken, Bisquick Heart Smart and frozen vegetables. This speeds up the prep and cooking process but doesn’t sacrifice taste or quality. This makes a great weeknight or Sunday night main dish. You’ll keep this recipe on hand for years to come! See more recipes using frozen foods at Easy Home Meals.

 

Sausage and Fresh Spinach Lasagna

When I think of comfort food this time of year, I think lasagna. My 3 kids love it, and it sure makes my life easier when I prepare a one-dish meal. This Sausage and Fresh Spinach Lasagna recipe is one of my favorites because it combines all of my favorite ingredients. I lightened this recipe using part-skim ricotta, egg white and less cheese, and it came out fantastic. Serve with a salad or side vegetable, and that’s all you’ll need.

Summer Dessert Comfort Food: Peach-Blueberry Crisp

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I’ve been searching for a great crisp recipe using fresh peaches and blueberries that I bought yesterday from the farmer’s market. My sister just recently purchased Emeril’s book “20-40-60 Fresh Food Fast”, and showed me his recipe. I adapted his recipe just slightly reducing some of the butter and using whole wheat flour. It came out great! Enjoy the peak of delicious summertime fruit with this comforting dessert.

Weeknight Family Comfort Food: Spinach-Mushroom Baked Ziti

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Normally I can’t get my daughter, Leigh, to eat much protein. When I make pasta at home, she usually doesn’t like it with meat sauce, until she tried baked ziti at camp. I added spinach, mushrooms and garlic to this version, but if you’re kids are picky eaters, just omit those ingredients and use an 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Spinach-Mushroom Baked Ziti makes a great comforting weeknight dinner.

Traditional Thanksgiving Dressing with a Southern Twist: Biscuit-Cornbread Dressing

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Every year, I make cornbread dressing for Thanksgiving, which usually takes place at my house. Last year, one of my favorite friends told me that their mom makes her cornbread dressing with the combination of cornbread and biscuits: Biscuit-Cornbread Dressing. I was so excited to try it and of course, I was wowed at the results. It was awesome, really southern, and everyone loved it! My kids request it anytime they want pure southern down-home comfort food and are looking forward to having it again this Thanksgiving.

Note: If you don’t have the time to make your own cornbread and biscuits, use store-bought or packaged cornbread or frozen biscuits. You will need 3 cups of cornbread and 3 cups of biscuits.

Great Fall Comfort Food: My Favorite Lasagna

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If you’re looking for a great Lasagna recipe, look no further. This one can’t be beat. I used egg whites and low-fat cottage cheese, trying to shed some fat. I also love to use whole wheat noodles. Enjoy for a large gathering, Sunday night dinner or just when you want to have leftovers during the week.

True Fall Comfort Food: Shrimp-Cajun Sausage Casserole

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I love to prepare Sunday night dinners this time of year. It’s one of the few nights that my three kids and I aren’t racing from cross country, to dance, to football practice, and we can actually sit down and eat together.  Last week, I wanted something Cajun, yet comforting. I threw together this dish with some ingredients I had in my pantry and came out with this casserole. It’s perfect for fall and large dinners. Feel free to substitute chicken for the shrimp if you like.

Awesome Apricot Noodle Kugel Great for Brunches and Yom Kippur Break-the-Fast

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For years, I have searched for the best Noodle Kugel (casserole) for brunches, holiday gatherings and for Yom Kippur. This recipe for Apricot Noodle Kugel is so awesome. I prepared it for a holiday cooking class two weeks ago, and everyone went wild over it. It’s so easy and really is just dump, mix and bake. It’s prefect when you want a sweet noodle casserole for any holiday or large family event.