Slow Cooker Lentil and Vegetable Soup

Crockpot Lentil and Vegetable Soup

What’s that? I’m posting a vegetarian dish? Yes, believe it or not, I actually like a lot of vegetarian dishes. It’s just hard to find a vegetarian dish that my picky “meat and potatoes” son will enjoy as well. So I have to take baby steps with him and made a vegetarian soup. And slow cooker recipes are the best. Just prep your ingredients, put into your slow cooker and let it do all the work! Hopefully, my friend, Sue T. will approve. This recipe makes 6-8 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups lentils (green or red)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bag (5 ounces) baby spinach
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 6 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place all ingredients but the baby spinach, in your slow cooker. And pour in the vegetable stock.
  2. Cook on high for 5 hours or on low for 8 hours.
  3. Stir a few times throughout the cooking.
  4. Add the baby spinach during the last 10 minutes of cooking cycle.
  5. If you like a more brothy soup, add in 1-2 cups additional stock.
  6. If you like a more creamy soup, carefully ladle out 1/3 of the soup into your blender and puree. Add back blended soup to slow cooker and mix well.
  7. Salt to taste and garnish with chopped parsley.

Crockpot Lentil and Vegetable Soup 2

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Lemon Butter Cookies

Lemon Butter Cookies plated

Spring is here, but you wouldn’t know it by the dark and gloomy days we’ve been having around here. Cheer up. I have a cookie that will brighten your day. They are flakey on the outside and chewy on the inside. And the tangy lemon flavor combined with the sweet butter cookie is like a bite of sunshine.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  •  1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 drops yellow food coloring
  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat butter, cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. 1-2 minutes.
  3. Beat in eggs, lemon zest and juice, vanilla and food coloring.
  4. Beat in dry ingredients until just combined.
  5. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight for best results.
  6. Preheat oven to 325 F degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  7. Roll dough into 2 inch balls then roll in powdered sugar and place on baking sheets. Let sit for 2 minutes until sugar is absorbed, then reroll in powdered sugar.
  8. Place about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets and bake until cookies crackle and set but still slightly soft in center, 17-19 minutes.
  9. Transfer to a cooling rack  and let cool completely.
  10. This recipe yields 24-30 cookies depending on how evenly you roll your cookie dough. One day I am going to invest in a dough scoop so I can have uniform cookies. I  sprinkled a little extra powdered sugar on the cookies when cooled, but that is not necessary.

Lemon Butter Cookies

Mongolian Chicken Wings

Mongolian Wings 7

Yes, it’s another chicken wing recipe from me. I can’t help myself. I just love trying out all different flavors of chicken wings. This recipe is fairly simple and for a change I had all the ingredients so, why not? If you like sweet and spicy, then you are going to love these wings. Best of all the spice level is up to you.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken wings (about 20 pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha ( or more if you like it really spicy, less if you can’t handle too much spice)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • green onions for garnish
  • sesame seeds for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F degrees and place metal rack on top of large baking pan. Be sure to use cooking spray on the rack so the chicken skin does not stick.
  2. In a large bowl or Ziploc bag, toss chicken wings with oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place wings on wire rack and cook 45-50 minutes, until crispy and golden. Mongolian Wings 1
  3. While chicken is baking, add honey, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, Sriracha, garlic and ginger into a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer until the flavors meld and the sauce reduces slightly for about 10 minutes. Mongolian Wings 2
  4. Transfer baked wings to a large bowl and toss with glaze. Mongolian Wings 4
  5. Return to rack and broil for 2-3 minutes until glaze is caramelized. Mongolian Wings 5
  6. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds. Mongolian Wings 6

Mexican Vegetable Soup

Mexican Vegetable Soup 1

If you took a quick glance at my most recent posts, you might think I’m all about sweets and chicken. While I’m not going to confirm or deny that may be true, I do make other recipes as well. You might even say somewhat healthy ones every once in a while too.  So for my vegetarian friends out there, I have not forsaken you. (Yes, I’m looking at you Sue T.!)

This soup recipe can be altered to whichever vegetables you have or that are in season. It is called vegetable soup afterall. I used what I had on hand. The flavor of the soup was reminiscent of a chicken tortilla soup without the chicken or tortillas. And be forewarned, this recipe makes a lot of servings (6-8) for you to share on a cold winter’s day.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 bell peppers, diced (I used 1/2  each of an orange, red and yellow bell peppers)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons  ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups diced roma tomatoes
  • 2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen or 1 can of corn)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can (4 ounce) diced green chile peppers
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1-2 zucchinis,  sliced

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:

  • avocado slices
  • cilantro
  • lime wedges or lime juice
  • Mexican crema or sour cream
  • shredded cheese
  • tortilla chips

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.
  2. Add bell peppers, carrots and onions to pot. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir occasionally.
  3. Add in minced garlic, cumin and cayenne. Stir and cook for a minute.
  4. Add in tomatoes, corn, black beans, diced green chiles and vegetable stock.
  5. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.
  6. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Add in zucchini.
  8. Re-cover and simmer for another 10 more minutes, or until the zucchini is tender.
  9. Serve immediately with optional toppings. Mexican Vegetable Soup 2

Crock Pot Honey Garlic Chicken

Honey Garlic Chicken plated

I haven’t jumped into the Instant pot craze yet. I think it is probably because most my recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less anyway. But I do love having a crock pot!  All you have to do is put all the ingredients in and set your temperature to either high or low and then set the timer and go about your day.  My crock pot will even keep the ingredients warm after the timer has completed. So if you have other things going on or say, maybe you forget you had something cooking, (um, not speaking from experience) the “keep warm” feature will not make all your hard effort get cold and go bad.

I bought another one of those organic chicken packs that come with two breasts and four drumsticks. (Those organic chickens must look funny.) So I thought I’d pull out the crock pot and put it to use. If you do not have a crock pot, that’s quite okay. You can still use this recipe and put everything in a baking dish and bake at 350 F degrees for 50-60 minutes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 whole cut up chicken (or all thighs, all drumsticks or two breasts and four drumsticks pack like I used.)
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup lite soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 1/4 cup ketchup (low sodium if you have)
  • 1-2 teaspoons sriracha sauce (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley or cilantro (whichever taste you prefer)
  • sesame seeds for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Arrange chicken on the bottom of your crock pot. Do not season chicken with salt as there is plenty of sodium in the other ingredients. You can season chicken with pepper if you would like though. Set aside. Honey Garlic Chicken 1
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine garlic, honey, lite soy sauce, chicken broth, ketchup, sriracha and parsley or cilantro. Whisk until mixed well. Honey Garlic Chicken 2
  3. Pour the sauce over the chicken pieces. Honey Garlic Chicken 3
  4. Close with a lid and cook for 4 to 5 hours on LOW, or 3 to 4 hours on HIGH. Honey Garlic Chicken 4
  5. Remove lid and transfer chicken to a serving plate.
  6. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
  7. Serve with rice or salad.

 

Baked Rotisserie Style Chicken

Rotisserie type Baked Chicken

At my local supermarket, I came across a pack of organic chicken breasts and drumsticks. I thought how strange there were no thighs or wings. But I also thought, how perfect this was for my son and me. He loves drumsticks and I love chicken breasts. While I was at the supermarket,  I kept smelling the fresh out of the rotisserie chicken they were packaging up. As I do not own a rotisserie, this was my inspiration to try to come up with a baked chicken with rotisserie flavors. So this is what I tried. Considering I had breasts and drumsticks to cook together, they came out surprisingly moist and tender.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • olive oil
  • 1 whole cut up chicken (My chicken pack came only with 2 breasts and 4 drumsticks)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil.
  2. In a small bowl, make spice rub by combining brown sugar, garlic powder, chili powder and salt. Mix well. Rotisserie type Baked Chicken 1
  3. Rub chicken with olive oil.
  4. Rub spice mix over chicken pieces covering both sides. Rotisserie type Baked Chicken 2
  5. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet.
  6. Add an extra drizzle of olive oil over chicken pieces.
  7. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 400F degrees. This initial high heat will help brown the chicken.
  8. Then lower the heat to 350 F degrees and bake for an additional 10-20 minutes more until the juices run clear (not pink) when poked with a sharp knife or the internal temperature of the chicken breasts is 165 F degrees and of the drumsticks are 170 F degrees.
  9.  Remove from oven and transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  10. Rotisserie type Baked Chicken 3

     

 

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Balls

Chocolatw Raspberry Truffle Balls

Although I like to make scratch recipes, sometimes taking a short cut and making something semi-homemade works best for me. These truffle balls would be fun to make with kids and since I’m a kid at heart, these were great fun for me to make. To be honest, I did not care for the raspberry gummy candies. Next time I will use a different type of candy. But others in my family loved them. So, it’s all a matter of preference.  This recipe yields 24 truffles.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 box your favorite chocolate cake mix
  • 24 raspberry jelly candies (I used Haribo Black and Red Raspberry Gummies)
  • sprinkles for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt butter in the microwave until in liquid form.
  2. Combine melted butter and chocolate cake mix. Be sure to mix well.
  3. Spoon a rounded tablespoon of batter into your hand and flatten.
  4. Place raspberry gummy in the middle of the flattened circle and enclose with chocolate batter.
  5. Roll into a ball between your hands.
  6. Roll the chocolate truffle into sprinkles.
  7. Set onto wax paper.
  8. Place in refrigerator to allow to firm and dry. Serve after chilling for one hour.