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Armenian Lentil Soup

2015 February 2
by admin

 

Brr!  It is cold today.  I stood in the parking lot after work and the wind just whipped through me.  The sun was shining brightly and gave the appearance of a warm welcome when I looked out my office window – how disappointed I was.  If only I had a soup like this to come home to.  This is a meal I enjoyed last weekend with a close friend.  She is an adventuresome eater so I know that this soup filled with an oddball combo of ingredients like apricots, eggplant, and lentils would not be unwelcome.

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The flavors are so perfect and exotic while also being homey and hearty.  A dollop of yogurt adds nice contrast but is totally not necessary.  This soup was a great break from my usual vegetarian main courses in the winter.

Chicken pot pie

2015 January 11

My mom went through a cooking strike for quite a few years when I was a teenager.  And who could blame her?  My mom never was particularly talented at cooking but she certainly tried to get dinner on the table for her family.  And when she finally set the food in front of us she heard a litany of complaining (and honestly I don’t think the food was that bad…we were just being brats).

So, she did what any strong woman would do.  She said she wouldn’t cook anymore, loaded the freezer up with prepared meals, loaded the pantry with ingredients for us to cook things ourselves, and let us fend for ourselves.

One of my favorite ready-made dinners was Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pies.  Nowadays, I am the first to say I am not a pot pie connoisseur as it is not a dish that I am particularly drawn to.  I’ll eat it when served but I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to prepare it.  Until now.  It seemed so labor intensive for what often appeared to be slop-on-a-plate.  But this recipe turned me around.  This is a meal you crave.  And Marie’s frozen pot pie doesn’t hold a candle to this homemade version.

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Moroccan Chicken Salad with Chickpeas and Apricots

2014 December 3

I don’t love salads in the winter time.  Out of season produce just isn’t appealing and neither is the idea that it was shipped from thousands of miles away to get to my home.  My husband, on the other hand, pretty much requests “big salads” as a dinner each and every week.  When I saw this recipe, which met his request without being filled with bland, watery cucumbers and spongy pink tomatoes I figured I’d break my self-imposed ban on salads.
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I just love dried apricots.  And I love chick peas and almonds.  This salad would be great without the addition of the chicken, too.  We had it with chicken and that made it all the more filling.  If you skip the chicken, just double the chick peas.

If you look at my picture you’ll see that instead of almonds as dictated by the recipe, my salad is sporting pecans.  I had a lovely batch of almonds toasting in the toaster oven.  I turned off the oven, sat down to nurse the baby, and the residual heat burned the nuts to a crisp.  The pecans were tasty but I am sure almonds would be better, so that’s what is reflected below in the recipe.

The end result was fantastic.  The leftovers were great, too.  I kept the lettuce separate from the rest of the toppings and just combined when it was time to serve.  Nice, healthy, tasty, and a break from the usual salad rut!