Sunday, September 16, 2012

Curry Lentil Soup

Mmmm lentils. Lentil soup is such an amazing go-to recipe. Quick and easy (aka under an hour), it's a filling and great vegetarian soup. You can really throw whatever you want in there - all kinds of curry pastes, curry powders, etc. - and chances are that it will come out yummers all the time.

I've mentioned this before, but lentils are also super healthy for you. They're a great little protein-packed food. And red lentils are perfect for soups. I do warn, do not try to use green or french lentils with this recipe. They won't break down as easily and you may be disappointed with the results. So stick to red! 

This soup is filling but light. It really deceives you in that it's flavorful, but it won't leave a lump in your stomach. I served this with some avocado slices which I highly recommend. Because let's be honest, when is it ever a bad idea to add avo? Yeah, that's what I thought. 


Creamy Artichoke Dip

FOOOTBALL! It's football season again and I couldn't be happier. For me, football is all about the party. The party, you ask? Yes, the party.

To me, football isn't just about the sport. Yes, I know a lot about football and I like watching both the NFL and college (go Browns and go Michigan!) but what I love is getting together with lots of friends, both at our house and at bars, and celebrating together. Does it matter if we are all cheering for the same team? No, not necessarily. But it's about eating good food, drinking cheap beer, and screaming loudly at the TV.

So this weekend marked the first time Brett was back in town for football season. A couple of friends came over to watch the Michigan v. UMass game. Truth be told, it was a complete blowout. We won by 50 points. But it was still an excuse to have people over. I sipped on micheladas and ate artichoke dip. Yum, right?

This recipe actually comes from my mother. When I first moved to DC I was invited to bring a dish for a potluck and was assigned an appetizer. Now, having just graduated from college I was pretty cooking inept. I was used to having people cook for me. And I was faced with preparing something other than easy mac. So I asked my mom for an easy but delicious recipe and this is what she sent to me.

Since then, I have made this countless times. And it is always gobbled up. Like, lick the bowl clean kind of gobble up. And as you'll see it is super easy to make.

But if you want to bring a dish that will have everyone worshiping you and begging for more, this, my friends, is what you bring.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pan Seared Scallops with Roasted Tomatoes, Leeks and Creamy Polenta

Is there anything better than scallops? They're such a perfect food. Sweet and plump and so meaty, scallops probably come to a close three-way tie for my favorite seafood, alongside soft shelled crabs and lobster. So when I was going along the aisles for inspiration in the store for a dinner recipe, I spied the scallops and my first thought was yyyesss...but....

See, Brett was at the time at the Democratic National Convention. So I was cooking dinner for a good friend, and for myself. So while I usually know exactly what Brett will want, when cooking for others I often question myself. But I saw some great, plump, organic scallops and I thought well - hope my friend likes scallops! Turns out, yay he does!

I paired these buttery pan-seared scallops with oven roasted tomatoes, sautéed leeks mixed with spinach and served over a feta infused polenta. The combination was amazing. The scallops were meaty and well seasoned, the tomatoes served as a good charred base, the leeks and spinach added sweetness, and the polenta added a good creamy and filling base. This is a really impressive looking dinner and while it takes about 1.5 hours, it's SO worth it. So enjoy!

Strawberry Mango Smoothie

Smooooothies! I guess I am already getting nostalgic, even though I haven't hit the end of summer, I am still kind of craving the days for needed to grab a cool drink.

(Actually.

To be honest.

I'm so ready for fall.)

BUT any time of the year is good for smoothies! And this one is super easy and super delicious. It's a great snack, breakfast, lunch, whatever. Don't make it the meal for your whole day but it's good! Also I added in flax seed.

For those of you who aren't familiar, flax seed has been dubbed as powerful plant foods on the planet. And according to WedMD there’s some evidence it may help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, anddiabetes. Even if you have picky "NO SUPERFOOD" eaters, I honestly can attest that no one will be able to differentiate between the flax seed and seeds that come from strawberries. Tell em it's strawberry seeeeeds!


Monday, September 3, 2012

White Wine Braised Chicken with Figs

I've always been slightly obsessed with figs. One of the only cookies that we could eat when I was a kid was fig newtons. We weren't a big sweets household. But the taste of figs always reminds me of being a kid.

While I eat a lot of fig spread, but I rarely actually cook with figs. They have a relatively short growing season so I rarely see whole figs in the grocery store. But I knew that Whole Foods was selling them now, so I decided to incorporate figs with a recipe.

This recipe slow braises chicken in white wine and chicken broth, cooked long with onions and shallots, and finally combined with the figs. And to top it all off, a creamy goat cheese polenta serves as the anchor for the recipe. You could easily substitute the polenta with mashed potatoes or pasta, but the creaminess of the polenta goes really well with the dish. The recipe serves 4-6 people.