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!

Mango Smoothie with Tofu

Mango Smoothie with Tofu

As the heat wave of summer approaches, we can’t think of a better way to cool off than with a smoothie that’s both healthy and indulgent. Enjoy this Mango Smoothie with Tofu made with House Foods Tofu. This recipe will satisfy any craving and rejuvenate anyone on a hot summer day. It’s perfect for breakfast, after a workout or an afternoon snack.

House Foods Tofu offers both Premium & Organic products in five consistencies – soft, medium firm, firm, extra firm and super firm.  All varieties are made exclusively with 100% US grown soybeans and are Non-GMO Product Verified, gluten-free and Kosher certified.  Not only is House Foods Tofu low in fat and high in protein, it also has the ability to soak up any flavor and add body and texture to your favorite dishes.

Tofu Tacos for Cinco De Mayo

Tofu Taco

I am thinking about making a vegetarian for Cinco deMayo on Monday (or maybe the Kentucky Derby tomorrow). These Tofu Tacos are perfect for Cinco De Mayo. I made these for my 3 kids, and they fell in love with tofu. This recipe is so easy, fast and healthy! I used House Foods Tofu which offers both Premium & Organic products in five consistencies.   All products are made exclusively with 100% US grown soybeans and are Non-GMO Product Verified, certified gluten-free and Kosher.  Not only is House Foods’ tofu low in fat and high in protein, it also has the ability to soak up any flavor and add body and texture to a dish. Happy Friday everyone and have a great weekend!

Vegetarian Quinoa Recipe

My daughter, Leigh, had to make a Peruvian Quinoa recipe for her advanced Spanish 2 class, which gave her and I the chance to come up with a new quinoa recipe. We experimented with many recipes, but we loved this Vegetarian Quinoa. Luckily, for me, my three kids love quinoa, and it’s a fabulous ingredient because it’s gluten free, rich in protein, contains all 9 of the essential amino acids and so much more. Quinoa is high in iron which helps our red blood cells stay healthy, high in lysene, essential for our tissues growth and repair. This superfood is also high in Riboflavin (B2) which is super important for our brain health and improves our energy and metabolism. It also has twice as much fiber as other grains. Need I say more? Enjoy this for lunch as a side dish or afternoon snack. I spooned it over fresh arugula with some crumbled feta cheese, and it was a great, healthy lunch. Here’s to a great and healthy week ahead!

Easy Spinach Lasagna

While I am still digging out after my move late last week, I somehow have managed to get dinner on the table the past two nights. Last night, I made a roast since I think the kids and I were craving comfort food. Then yesterday I made an Easy Spinach Lasagna. I have to be honest. I have never used oven-ready lasagna noodles. Since I knew my schedule was tight, I thought that this is the best time to give them a try. The kids didn’t notice (and ate it all) so I am thinking that is a good sign. Feel free to add anything to this recipe such as other vegetables, beef, shrimp or even substitute fresh kale of the spinach. Here’s to a fabulous week ahead! Cheers!

Kale Orzo Salad

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know that my three kids are big fans of kale. I thought spring was the perfect time to come up with a Kale Orzo Salad recipe since it pairs nicely with grilled chicken or kabobs. This recipe also is perfect for spring or summer picnics or for a sunday side dish. Add grilled shrimp or chicken to make it a one dish meal or serve over arugula for a healthy lunch.

Vegetarian Pasta: Clean out the Freezer

I cleaned out the freezer this weekend, and I created the most awesome Vegetarian Pasta dish. My kids loved it, and they asked me if we were having company coming over. This is so easy and quick, under 30 minutes to prepare. Feel free to use any frozen vegetables in this recipe or add leftover cooked chicken or shrimp if you wish. People tend to forget that frozen foods and vegetables are picked at their peak and then flash frozen so they are just as nutritionally healthy and sometimes even more economical. Read more about the use of frozen food tips on Easy Home Meals and NFRA.

Also, check out my television appearance last week in New York on Fox & Friends First and  Fox & Friends on “What to Toss and what to keep”. It was such a blast! Video is here.

Quinoa Recipe and Quinoa Cookbook Giveaway

If you love quinoa like I do, you will adore this Quinoa Cookbook (part of the Idiot’s Guide) by Susan Irby, The Bikini Chef. I was lucky enough to travel with Susan to Italy a few years ago. Susan is an energetic, talented woman, Author, Radio Show Host of Bikini Lifestyles on AM 790 KABC in Los Angeles and on PBS Televison. This cookbook has over 180 quinoa recipes from energizing breakfast options, lunch soups, salads and sandwiches, finger foods, snacks, appetizers, main dishes and even an array of desserts. If you want to know more about quinoa and have access to great recipes, check it out.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling me your favorite way to use quinoa in cooking. Winner will be drawn on February 13 at 8 a.m CST.

For more entries do the following below and leave another comment for each:

1. Like Ingredients, Inc. on Facebook

2. Follow Alison Lewis on Twitter

3. Follow Alison Lewis on Pinterest

4. Like The Bikini Chef on Facebook

5. Follow The Bikini Chef on Twitter

Stuffed Shells with Kale: Kid Friendly

Who else is really into kale? I am, and it’s awesome that my 3 kids love it too. Not only is it so healthy, but it is very inexpensive and a lot goes such a long way. This recipe for Stuffed Shells with Kale is one of my newest favorites and was inspired by my friend, Kelley of Mountain Mama Cooks. I saw it on her blog, and I made it right away. My kids loved the recipe too so it goes on our family favorites list. Feel free to add other vegetables, beef or sausage, to change it up a bit. It’s perfect for weeknight dinners or even Valentines Day!

Kale Salad: Family Friendly, Gluten Free and Healthy

If you are trying to eat healthy and want to get your year started off right, this Kale Salad recipe is ideal. I recently made this for the kids, and they loved it. It is great on its own as a salad or side dish, served over arugula or greens or even mixed into a salad with chicken, shrimp or fish. For some information on health benefits of kale, see my article on the 10 health benefits in MindBodyGreen or how kale can save your sex life in this article (which I did not write) in MindBodyGreen. I hope you will enjoy this family-friendly, simple vegetarian recipe anytime of the year.