Curried Lentil Soup

Easy and flavorful red lentil soup…this curried red lentil soup is simply the best!

I already showed you the soup along with this fabulous hearty Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread… and now here’s the recipe! This Curried Lentil Soup is also fabulous. Why would I share anything less than fabulous? Ha! Lentil soup is always a go-to vegetarian soup because it’s filling and flavorful without meat. This time, we’ve taken a regular ‘ole lentil soup and added red lentils and a south Asian flavor profile to  make something extra special.

Easy and flavorful red lentil soup...this curried red lentil soup is simply the best!

If you’re a fan of dal, you’ll like the soup. The flavors are incredible–garlic, ginger, onion…and of course, curry! There’s nothing better on a cold night, especially when served with some hearty bread. Mmm! The fact that this soup is made in about 30 minutes, thanks to the magic of the microwave [Iiiiiiii know–I never use the microwave in cooking, but it’s magic here], is an added bonus. Perfect for busy weeknights! Hope you guys enjoy!

two years ago: Honey Cornbread
three years ago: Sweet ‘n Spicy Apple BBQ Chicken & Slaw
four years ago: Peach Raspberry Clafouti
five years ago: Peach Shortbread
six years ago: Tropical Granola

Curried Lentil Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from Jenna’s Everything Blog

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 8 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 – 15 ounce cans petite diced tomatoes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • cilantro, chopped
  • plain yogurt

Directions:

In a large bowl, microwave lentils and half of the broth for 10-12 minutes, until liquid is mostly absorbed

In a stockpot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onion for 5-7 minutes, until soft and translucent. Season with pepper to taste, then add garlic, ginger, and curry powder. Cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.

Add the microwaved lentil mixture to the pot, then add the remaining broth and tomatoes. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, seasoning with pepper as desired.

Serve with cilantro and plain yogurt.

 

Oven Baked Tacos

You’ll love these crispy, melty baked tacos! The filling is made from both beef and beans, so it’s extra delicious!🙂

You'll love these crispy, melty baked tacos! The filling is made from both beef and beans, so it's extra delicious! :)

What’s better than–and easier than–regular tacos? Oven tacos! I’m totally serious! These have been a thing for a few years now, so you may have already seen them before. But if you haven’t tried them yet, you should. ASAP. They’re a great way to make tacos for a crowd and in general, they’re just a great change up from regular taco night. Plus, it’s also fun to make homemade crispy taco shells! Though it involves being extra careful when you’re working with hot oven racks, I bet kids would LOVE to watch corn tortilla shells transform into crispy shells.🙂 I mean… I do, so what kid wouldn’t? Haha.

You'll love these crispy, melty baked tacos! The filling is made from both beef and beans, so it's extra delicious! :)

I’ve made this recipe as written below a handful of times, but I’ve always thought about how I could switch up the filling but keep the concept the same. I haven’t ventured very far yet–just subbing black beans from refried beans, but that’s a tasty start! I think these tacos would be great with shredded chicken, carnita meat, fajita veggies, pinto beans, or any other filling your little taco-loving heart desires! No matter how you make it, this dish is a favorite. It’s hard to decide what the best part of these tacos are–the crisp homemade shells, the bubbly and melty cheese, or the flavorful beef and bean filling… but I do know that these tacos have been part of our regular taco rotation for a couple years now so I hope you try them! If you need any sides for taco night, why not try my Mexican RicePerfect Black Beans, or this yummy Guacomole Salsa? Enjoy!

You'll love these crispy, melty baked tacos! The filling is made from both beef and beans, so it's extra delicious! :)

one year ago: Turkey Sloppy Joes
two years ago: BBQ Baked Spaghetti
three years ago: Honey Lemon Thyme Iced Tea
four years ago: Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes
five years ago: Spiced Waffles

Oven Baked Tacos

  • Servings: 8-10 tacos
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from Macaroni & Cheesecake

Ingredients:

  • 8 to 9 corn tortillas [or for an easier twist, premade hard taco shells]
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 8 ounces refried beans [from half of a 15 ounce can]
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning  [about half of a store-bought packet]
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
  • taco toppings – chopped lettuce, avocado, tomatoes; sour cream; cilantro; etc.

Directions:

Begin by making the crispy taco shells. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In batches, microwave tortillas in a damp dishtowel or paper towel, if you prefer, for about 20-30 seconds until tortillas are pliable. Coat on each side with cooking spray, then lay on a cutting board or plate. When all are ready, open oven and carefully pull out the top oven rack partially. Drape tortillas over rungs so they are hanging upside down and forming that hard taco shell shape. If you prefer, you can remove the rack before you preheat the oven so you can do this step with a cool oven rack and just slide it back in. I found it easier to do it this way personally though. Bake for about 6-8 minutes, until crispy, then carefully remove from the oven with tongs and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

Adjust oven temperature to 400 degrees, then spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Meanwhile, brown ground beef in a large skillet. Remove grease, then stir in tomato sauce, refried beans, and taco seasoning. Heat on medium-low for a few minutes to heat through.

Remove pan from heat and fill each cooled taco shell with the meat mixture. Stand each filled shell up in prepared pan. Sprinkle everything with cheese, then bake for 10-12 minutes, until cheese melts. Serve with desired toppings and enjoy!

Note:

To reheat and retain the crispy shell, heat leftovers at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, checking carefully so nothing burns.

Spicy Ranch Chicken Rice Skillet

In 30 minutes you can have a deliciously wonderful dinner on the table! Take your go to easy dinner components–rice, chicken, and veggies–then toss them in a [slightly spicy] ranch sauce… and sit back and enjoy! 

Spicy Ranch Chicken Rice Skillet: In 30 minutes you can have a deliciously wonderful dinner on the table! Take your go to easy dinner components--rice, chicken, and veggies--then toss them in a [slightly spicy] ranch sauce... and sit back and enjoy!

If healthier skillet meals and casseroles are my favorite things ever now [minimal dishes, no real need for a side dish cause you have the protein + veggies + starch all in one happy mix], I can only imagine how valuable they’ll be once Baby Volde arrives in May!🙂 I’m planning on doing some freezer cooking before his arrival, but those meals will eventually be depleted and when I go back to work having these sort of tasty yet healthy meals on hand will be key to my happiness. I’m sure of it! So I’m making certain I find some good recipes now so I’m ready then. If this Spicy Ranch Chicken Rice Skillet doesn’t fit the bill for easy, yummy, and delicious while still being healthy, then I don’t know what would!

Spicy Ranch Chicken Rice Skillet: In 30 minutes you can have a deliciously wonderful dinner on the table! Take your go to easy dinner components--rice, chicken, and veggies--then toss them in a [slightly spicy] ranch sauce... and sit back and enjoy!

This meal is SO good, you guys. If you’ve ever looked around my blog or know me in real life, you know that I’m a Mexican/Southwestern/Tex Mex food addict. I could go for tacos, black bean and rice bowls, carnitas, enchiladas, or quesadillas just about any day. It’s not any one thing about that kind of cuisine–the spices, or the cheese, or the toppings, but all of that at once. And this dish, though it’s not “Mexican” at all, it reminds me of a Mexican/Southwestern/Tex Mex-influenced meal thanks to the combo of chicken, black beans, rice, and tomatoes, plus all the yummy toppings! Cheese! Sour cream! Cilantro! Scallions! Yum!

Spicy Ranch Chicken Rice Skillet: In 30 minutes you can have a deliciously wonderful dinner on the table! Take your go to easy dinner components--rice, chicken, and veggies--then toss them in a [slightly spicy] ranch sauce... and sit back and enjoy!

Seriously, this stuff is ahhhmazingly good! Plus it has veggies, so that makes it good for you! Ha.🙂 But it does, right?!? Don’t be put off by the “spicy” label on this recipe. It’s really only lightly spicy… the cheese and ranch combo cools things down, and if your family doesn’t do spice, then omit the crushed red pepper and cayenne and use regular diced tomatoes instead of fire-roasted. No matter how you make it, everyone will certainly love it! Though I’m a fan of making this dish with leftover roasted chicken, you can certainly make it with other proteins like ground turkey, chorizo, or even leftover shredded pulled pork for a new flavor profile. Now I have a new dinner idea for later this week because I just so happen to have a bunch of leftover pulled pork in the freezer! Score!🙂 Enjoy!

one year ago: Chocolate Coffee Bundt Cake
two years ago: Strawberry Yogurt
three years ago: Cumin-Scented Cabbage Salad
four years ago: Extraordinary Grilled Cheese
five years ago: The Best Egg Salad

Spicy Ranch Chicken Rice Skillet

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 30 minutes
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adapted from Well Plated

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups white rice
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 2 cups bell pepper, chopped [I used a mix of red, yellow, and orange]
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 – 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can no-salt fire-roasted tomatoes or petite diced tomatoes [depending on your preferred level of spice]
  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
  • 2-3 tablespoons homemade ranch seasoning [or one small package from the grocery store]
  • crushed red pepper, to taste
  • cayenne pepper, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup water or additional chicken broth, if necessary
  • shredded cheddar cheese, for serving
  • cilantro, for serving
  • chopped scallions, for serving
  • sour cream, for serving

Directions:

In a saucepan, combine rice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cook until rice is tender.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add onion and bell pepper and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds until fragarent. Reduce heat to low and stir in black beans, tomatoes, and chicken. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of ranch seasoning. Stir to combine, then add red pepper, cayenne, and black pepper to taste. Add additional ranch seasoning to taste. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes or until hot.

When rice is cooked, stir into veggie and chicken mixture. Add up to 1/2 cup additional chicken broth/water if it is too thick to stir. Serve with cheddar cheese, cilantro, and scallions. For a creamy treat, stir in a bit of sour cream. Enjoy!

Crockpot Chicken Quinoa Chili

Quinoa meets chicken tortilla soup for a kicked up crockpot meal that is filling, delicious, and perfectly spiced. Plus, you can top it with everything from tortilla chips to cheese to avocado so it’s a customized dinner that your whole family will love!

Crockpot Chicken Quinoa Chili: Quinoa meets chicken tortilla soup for a kicked up crockpot meal that is filling, delicious, and perfectly spiced. Plus, you can top it with everything from tortilla chips to cheese to avocado so it's a customized dinner that your whole family will love!

It’s another chilly week! Ben and I are certainly learning about good insulation versus bad insulation throughout this first winter in our house. Fortunately, winter in Nashville isn’t that intense. But unfortunately, when it is cold, I don’t want to spend a gazillion dollars in heating costs. So I do the next best thing–warm up from the cold with a hot ‘n hearty dinner! One of my long-time favorites that I somehow haven’t shared on the blog is this wonderful Chicken Quinoa Chili! It is so full of flavor, so simple, and so tasty. Don’t let the long ingredient list scare you–this dish can be made in the crockpot so all you basically have to do stir together, live your life, and come back for a tasty dinner.🙂

Crockpot Chicken Quinoa Chili: Quinoa meets chicken tortilla soup for a kicked up crockpot meal that is filling, delicious, and perfectly spiced. Plus, you can top it with everything from tortilla chips to cheese to avocado so it's a customized dinner that your whole family will love!

This easy crockpot meal basically combines all the good stuff–chicken, spices, quinoa, tomatoes, black beans, corn, green pepper, onion, and garlic–with a little chicken broth to make an incredible Chicken Quinoa Chili. It’s seriously a Mexican-style soup/chili on steroids! And each bite is made better by the mass quantities of toppings. You can basically add any sort of taco, chili, or soup topping you like… but my necessary Crockpot Chicken Quinoa Chili toppings include: cilantro, cheese, and sour cream. If I have some diced avocado too, even better! #goodstuff The toppings just take this chili to the next level… but it’s still fabulously filling and delightful.

Crockpot Chicken Quinoa Chili: Quinoa meets chicken tortilla soup for a kicked up crockpot meal that is filling, delicious, and perfectly spiced. Plus, you can top it with everything from tortilla chips to cheese to avocado so it's a customized dinner that your whole family will love!Before we go, can I let you in on a secret? Even though this chili is made what it is by the quinoa, I’m a little quinoa-ed out. For a long time, I was convincing Ben that it was the BEST-THING-EVER and I put it in everything. I think the rest of the internet did too.🙂 But now… I don’t use it very often so when I do, I want to make it count. And this is the type of dish where it really does count. Adding quinoa to what’s basically a chicken tortilla soup kicks it up a notch into a fabulous chili. Mmmm, tasty stuff! Hope you enjoy this awesome meal as much as we do.🙂

Crockpot Chicken Quinoa Chili: Quinoa meets chicken tortilla soup for a kicked up crockpot meal that is filling, delicious, and perfectly spiced. Plus, you can top it with everything from tortilla chips to cheese to avocado so it's a customized dinner that your whole family will love!

one year ago: Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties
two years ago: Quick ‘n Healthy Pineapple Fried Rice
three years ago: Buffalo Pretzels
four years ago: Camp Tecumseh Baked Oatmeal
five years ago: Pork Chops with Red Wine Sauce

Crockpot Chicken Quinoa Chili

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 8 hours
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slightly adapted from Boys Ahoy

Ingredients:

  • 2 large chicken breasts [about 1 1/2 pounds]
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 – 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 – 14 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 3 cups black beans, drained and rinsed [or 2 – 15 ounce cans]
  • 1 – 16 ounce package frozen corn
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • shredded cheese, for serving
  • sour cream, for serving
  • avocado, for serving
  • green onions, for serving
  • crushed tortilla chips, for serving

Directions:

Place chicken at the bottom of a large crockpot. Sprinkle with cumin, crushed red pepper, and chili powder. Season with pepper. Top with quinoa and pour chicken broth on top. Then add tomatoes, black beans, corn, green pepper, onion, and garlic. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low.

When finished cooking, remove chicken and shred with a fork, then return to crockpot and stir to combine. Serve with cheese, sour cream, avocado, green onions, and tortilla chips as desired.

Cheesy Southwest Farro

Cheesy Southwest Farro: a healthy, delicious dish good any time of the day! Plus you can make it in less than 30 minutes, so it’s perfect for busy schedules.🙂
Cheesy Southwest Farro: a healthy, delicious dish good any time of the day! Plus you can make it in less than 30 minutes, so it's perfect for busy schedules. :)

Before you disappear in the depths of heavy Christmas food later this week, I wanted to share a delicious, easy, and healthy recipe that we’ve been enjoying lately. It’s always a struggle in the midst of parties and Christmas baking [see my list of Christmas cookie ideas if you still need inspiration!] to eat real meals and still maintain a fairly healthy diet, I think. There’s lots of reasons and this is a busy time of year so I won’t go into all the details… you probably know and experience them already. But this dish can rescue you over the next couple weeks of merriment when you need something that’s quick to make, fairly healthy, and still tastes amazing. The best part is that you can eat it for ANY meal. That’s right… Cheesy Southwest Farro is good ANY time of the day.🙂

Cheesy Southwest Farro: a healthy, delicious dish good any time of the day! Plus you can make it in less than 30 minutes, so it's perfect for busy schedules. :)

Ashley originally created this dish as breakfast fare, but let’s face it: I don’t have 30 minutes to whip up breakfast before work. So I decided to make it for dinner one night…and serve the leftovers for breakfast. Perfect! I can make a fried egg and operate the microwave in the morning.🙂 We loved the cheesiness and the Southwestern flair… and who can say no to avocados [though they didn’t make it into the photo]? To speed the preparation of this meal up, I used 10-minute farro from Trader Joe’s, but you can use whatever kind of farro you can find, or sub quinoa, rice, or another quick cooking grain. Enjoy!

one year ago: Spiced Biscotti with Eggnog Glaze
four years ago: Pfeffernusse
five years ago: Cranberry Sauce Face/Off: Cranberry Relish vs. Gingered Cranberry-Apricot Sauce

Cheesy Southwest Farro

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 25 minutes
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from Greens & Chocolate

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup 10-minute farro from Trader Joe’s*
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1  – 10 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1/2 cup grated pepper jack cheese [or use jack or more cheddar cheese for less spice]
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 fried or poached eggs, for serving
  • diced avocado, for serving
  • green onions, for serving

Directions:

Add olive oil to a medium skillet over medium heat. When hot, saute onion until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add farro and cook for 1 minute to saute before adding broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook until liquid is mostly absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes, and farro is soft and chewy.

At the end of the cooking time, start preparing eggs as desired–fried is my preference!

When farro is done, stir in cheese then remove from heat. Cover and let rest for a few minutes to allow cheese to melt.

Serve a fried egg, avocado, and green onions on top of a spoonful of farro. Enjoy!

Note: *You can also used pearled farro or semi-pearled or whole farro in place of the 10 minute farro from Trader Joe’s. It’ll take longer, about 30-40 minutes for the pearled variety.