Warm Up This Season With Lentil Soup: A Recipe You’ll Save in Your Cookbook

Lentil Soup

This is an easy recipe that will leave everyone wanting more! Lentils are a great source of fiber and have many other health benefits. The recipe below makes approximately 6 servings and includes meat products. If cooking for a vegetarian crowd, you do not need to include the ham and instead of chicken broth use vegetable broth. There are two sets of directions below:

1) slow-cooker directions

2) stove-top cooking instructions.

Please follow whichever suits your needs. Enjoy!

 

Here is a list of ingredients that you will need:

1 ½ cups dried lentils                ½ teaspoon dried thyme                 1 ½ cup chopped celery

3 cloves minced garlic               ½ teaspoon dried oregano              1 ½ cup chopped red onion

2 cups diced cooked ham         ½ teaspoon dried basil                    1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon black pepper         32 oz. chicken broth                         ½ teaspoon salt

1 Slow Cooker (at least 3 ½ quart)

 

Directions:

  1. Combine lentils, garlic, onion, ham, and celery, pepper, oregano, basil, thyme, and bay leaf into the slow cooker.
  2. Stir in the chicken broth.
  3. Put lid on slow cooker and set heat on low
  4. Let cook for 11 hours.
  5. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Prep Time: approximately 20 minutes

Cook Time: 11 hours

Total Amount of Time:  approximately 11 hours 20 minutes.

 

If you do not have a slow cooker, use a large deep pot.

Directions:

  1. Put 3 tablespoons in the pot over medium heat.
  2. When oil begins to sizzle, add in the onion. Stir frequently.
  3. When onion is soft (after cooking for approximately 2 minutes), add the celery, and let cook for another 2 minutes. Stir frequently.
  4. Next, add the garlic, pepper, thyme, oregano, basil, salt, lentils, and ham.
  5. Let cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  6. Stir in chicken broth.
  7. Add bay leaf
  8. Wait until it comes to a boil. Then, turn heat down to low and cover pot with lid. Let cook and stir occasionally for approximately 35 minutes, until lentils are tender.
  9. Add more chicken stock if soup is thicker than desired.
  10. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Prep Time: approximately 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Amount of Time: approximately 55 minutes

 

Other vegetables can be added for more flavor. Consider adding carrots, diced tomatoes, snap peas, and/or green beans.

 

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Ricotta Spinach Tart

Ricotta Spinach Tart

Revamp your holiday dishes with mini Ricotta Spinach Tarts.  To save from dining out this holiday, you can begin your festivities with the holiday season already in full force.  What is one of the universal languages world-wide?  Food…food is the center of all family and friendly gatherings.  By recapturing the mixture of butter and chopped spinach into a pie crust, you get that blend of savory mouthful exploding in your mouth.  The Mini Ricotta Spinach Tarts are deliciously made with heart and soul and as everyone else knows it is another favorite European dish coming straight out of the kitchen.

Particularly this buttery fusion of ricotta spinach tart can make any brunch or lunch a best kept secret for the holidays. This exquisite tart flavored with light creamy ricotta cheese delight will melt in your mouth while balancing out the richness of the chopped satin spinach delved into the golden pie crust. What you’ll need to make this divine dish is the following from one of the best recipes found yet sofar:

What you’ll need:

  • 2 shortcrust pastry sheets,
  • Thawed 400g fresh ricotta
  • 1/4 c spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 brown onion, finely diced,
  • 1 garlic clove, minced,
  • 2 tbs pine nuts, lightly roasted
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground
  • 2 tbs Parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper

The Method to the Mini Tarts

The method to making these 20 mini tarts in about 35 minute total cooking

time.  First, pre heat oven to 180°c / 355°f.  Lightly dry roast the pine nuts and set aside. Spray a little oil onto a mini muffin tray.  With a cookie cutter or rim of a glass, cut rounds from the pastry. Place rounds onto the tray and prick the base of the pastry a couple of times with a fork. Cook in the oven for 5 minutes, remove and with the base of a rolling pin, squash down any puffy bits that are appearing. Place back in the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Next,  lightly cook the onion for 5 minutes, add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Take off the heat and let cool slightly. In a bowl place all the ingredients, including the onion mixture and pine nuts, stir till well incorporated. The easiest way to fill each tart shell is to place all the mixture into a large zip lock sandwich bag, snip off a small corner and pipe the ricotta filling into each one.  Cook for 20 minutes or till puffed up.

This recipe goes without saying, they are deliciously made if you follow the directions right and they are simply made with that “fresh from the oven” flavor you wouldn’t believe that these are actually healthy to eat.  Thank you to the wonderful women who posted this on their blog…had to try this out of all the other “ricotta spinach tarts” recipes…this seems to fit just right.

 

Reference:

Katriina and Izabella. “Mini Spinach and Ricotta Tarts” (2014) www.FinSki’s.com www.finskis.com/recipes-3/mini-spinach-and-ricotta-tarts. Retrieved on 12-7-14

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