Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had the time to blog in over a week! Finally today, I had the time to try this healthy and delicious red lentil soup. It contains my favorite spices, cumin and chili powder; and my favorite herb, cilantro. This recipe is by Melissa Clark, New York Times Cooking. It can be made with either chicken or vegetable broth. When I make this soup again, I will be cooking adding more lentils, since I prefer a thicker soup. This is incredibly easy to make and a very tasty to enjoy!

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion (about 1½ cups), chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch of ground chili powder
  • 1 (48 ounce) package of organic chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 large organic carrot, peeled and diced
  • Juice of ½ lemon, more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. Using a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté for about 4 minutes, until golden.
  2. Add tomato paste, cumin, salt, pepper and chili powder and cook for 2 minutes longer.
  3. Pour in broth and water. Add lentils and carrot. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes, until lentils are soft. If needed, add more salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Using a regular blender or immersion blender, purée half the soup, then put it back into pot.
  5. If necessary, reheat soup. Add lemon and cilantro. Serve immediately. 4 servings.

DSC_1032

Advertisements

Delicious Avocado Cilantro Dressing

Delicious Avocado Cilantro Dressing

This is probably one of the best salad dressings I have ever made! It’s made made with all healthy ingredients—avocado, Greek yogurt, cilantro, garlic and lime juice—and tastes great! So simple to make, just place all ingredients in a blender or processor and blend. I adapted this fabulous recipe from Pinch of Yum, just using a little less salt and water. Personally, I prefer a thicker dressing, but you can add more water, if it pleases you. Just serve on a bed of lettuce with some grilled chicken or beef and you have a wonderful meal!

Delicious Avocado Cilantro Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado
  • ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ to 1 cup water
  • 2 cups cilantro leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Roasted Carrots with Citrus Dressing

Roasted Carrots with Citrus Dressing

After a long enjoyable weekend of visiting with our daughter and attending basketball and football games in Ann Arbor, Michigan, it time to get back into my regular routine of working and blogging! I don’t know about you, but when I travel, I feel that I don’t eat enough vegetables and fruits. With that being said, I think it is only appropriate that today’s post is about a delicious and healthy carrot recipe I found in Health magazine, November 2015. Since there is only two of us at home, I reduced it in half, so I only roasted one pound of carrots! I recommend that you gradually add the salt, pepper and cumin, because I used much less. This is a simple, healthy and tasty vegetable dish that can be prepared with ingredients commonly found in your refrigerator and pantry.

Roasted Carrots with Citrus Dressing

Roasted Carrots with Citrus Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound organic carrots, quartered lengthwise
  • ¼ pound shallots (about 3), quartered lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon organic cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoons chopped pistachios, toasted (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Using a large bowl, toss together carrots, oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Place in baking sheet in a single layer.
  2. Roast for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with orange and lime juices. Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with pistachios and cilantro. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Roasted Carrots with Citrus Dressing

Green Beans with Cilantro Pesto

Green Beans with Cilantro Pesto

Green beans are one of my favorite vegetables. When I saw the packages of Haricot Verts, which is French for green beans at Trader Joe’s, I had to buy some. I love this variety of the vegetable, because they are sweeter, longer, thinner and more tender than most American varieties. I thought they would taste delicious with the cilantro pesto recipe that I had seen in America’s Test Kitchen, Fresh Cooking, 2015. The Test Kitchen used the pesto in a cold bean salad, but I used it in a hot steamed vegetable side. Along with the cilantro, it has fresh lemon juice and toasty walnuts and garlic. My husband and I found this dish to be very tasty warm, but we think the cold salad version would be terrific too!

DSC_0053Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 2½ cups cilantro leaves and stems, trimmed
  • ½ cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 green onion, sliced thin
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed

Directions:

  1. Over medium heat, toast walnuts and garlic in a medium skillet, stirring often, until fragrant for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. After the garlic cools, peel and chop coarsely.
  2. Using a blender or food processor, process cilantro, oil, green onion, lemon juice, walnuts and garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth. Pesto can be made up to 2 days in  advance.
  3. Steam the beans until tender crisp. Transfer to a large bowl. Toss with the pesto and serve immediately. Add salt to taste. 6 to 8 servings.

Green Beans with Cilantro Pesto

How I Got Fresh Cilantro and Parsley to Last 3 Weeks

How I Got Fresh Cilantro and Parsley to Last 3 Weeks

Since my cooking style is simple and healthy, it is so important to me that I use the best and freshest ingredients whenever possible, because I use relatively few items. In the past, I have found it challenging to keep cilantro, parsley and basil last longer than one week. For months I have been trying out different methods of storing fresh herbs. I even purchased a container that uses a special carbon filter to absorb the gases. I am pleased to tell you that the best and cheapest method I’ve found is to store cilantro and parsley in “covered” Mason jars with some water!

How I Got Fresh Cilantro and Parsley to Last 3 Weeks

I purchased my herbs on September 5th. When I got home, I trimmed the ends and added 1½-inches of  cold water to the Mason jars. Then I covered the herbs and the jars with the plastic bags that they came in and placed them in the refrigerator. Every couple of days I would replace the water.

How I Got Fresh Cilantro and Parsley to Last 3 Weeks

The picture above was taken on September 26th, exactly three weeks. The cilantro is starting to turn yellow, but still good enough for me to make my cilantro pesto!

Since I don’t have my own little herb garden, indoors or outdoors, this is probably the best way to store these two particular herbs. Unfortunately, the lighting in my house is not conducive to growing herbs indoors. Growing outdoors is challenging, because I live in the desert. But next spring I’m going to try to grow them in some kind of self-watering container, so that I will be able to grow my own parsley, cilantro, basil and mint! I hope that this post will help some of you foodies out there!

Cauliflower “Rice” with Coconut and Cilantro

Cauliflower "Rice"

I always thought that brown rice was healthier than white rice, but I was wrong. They both have the same 45 grams of carbohydrates and contain over 200 calories per cup. So I got really excited when I saw this recipe for cauliflower “rice” in Against All Grains by Danielle Walker, Victory Belt Publishing, 2014. Not only is cauliflower an excellent source of vitamins C and K and has antioxidant benefits, but it has less than 5.1 grams of carbohydrates and less than 29 calories per cup.

This dish makes a great accompaniment to beef, chicken or fish. It also a wonderful side dish for vegetarians! You can really taste the coconut flavor along with the cilantro. The honey adds a mild sweetness and the lime juice adds a slight tang! What is great about this dish is that you eat a lot of it without getting all the calories and carbs that you would get from rice!

Cauliflower Rice with Coconut & Cilantro

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 teaspoons organic coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon organic honey
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • Sea salt

Directions:

  1. Using a food processor or a grater, “rice” the cauliflower. (I chopped up the larger pieces that wasn’t grated).
  2. In a large nonstick frying pan, melt the coconut oil over low-medium heat. Sauté the cauliflower for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients. Add salt to taste. Cook cauliflower for about 10 minutes, until tender and liquid is absorbed. 6 to 8 servings.

Cauliflower "Rice"

Cilantro Brown Basmati Rice

DSC_0685

My daughter and I both love brown rice and it is so much healthier for you than white rice. Unfortunately, my husband prefers only white rice. I wanted a delicious and healthy grain side dish that would go with chicken, beef or fish, so I decided to add some flavor to it and maybe he would find it more appealing. This was done by adding cilantro, garlic, lime juice and olive oil to the brown rice. Success! He loved it!

DSC_0682

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic brown basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, rinse rice 2 to 3 times. Add water, oil, garlic, salt and lime juice. Stir well. Uncovered, bring rice to a boil over medium heat. Stir thoroughly. Cover rice and simmer for about 35 minutes until water is gone.
  2. Transfer to a medium bowl and fluff rice. Add cilantro and freshly ground pepper. Mix well and serve. Makes 4 servings.

DSC_0686