Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 77: Spinach Fritatta

Whisked 5 eggs (that's all there was in the fridge - could have used six) with a little milk, salt & pepper. Chopped and sauteed an onion in olive oil. Pan fried 2 MF Italian Sausage links, in the same pan, then sliced them up and added back with the onions. Put a box of frozen spinach in the microwave for 5 minutes, squeezed out the excess liquid in a strainer, then threw that into the pot. Mixed everything and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan. Topped with grated cheddar cheese, poured eggs over, topped with more cheddar and then grated some Parmesan over the top. Cooked on the stove until the bottom set a little, then put into a 350F oven for about 20-25 minutes until firm and starting to brown. Served with toast. Leftovers for breakfast. Yum.

Day 76: Grilled Cheese

Calandra's whole wheat panzella bread is the best tasting bread and low fat, high fiber. Grilled some cheddar on two slices of that bread. Yum. Then off to practice with the friends who are going to back me up at the coffee house. Everyone else had to fend for themselves - again!

Day 75: Black Bean Burger

Quick dinner before a organizing meeting for the coffee house. MF Black Bean burger with cheddar cheese and salsa. Everyone else on their own.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 74: Swiss Chard and White Bean Minestrone

Another recipe from Kitchen Seasons, by Ross Dobson  (See Day 50 post).  This one is EASY and elegant and delicious and the presentation is lovely. It would be a perfect dish for company. It was perfect tonight with the very cold weather.

As usual, I reduced the amount of fat in this recipe. You can add more if you think its necessary.
1 onion
1 bunch Swiss chard (I used red - but I think white would make a prettier soup)
1 quart vegetable broth (I made some yesterday)
1 14 oz can of cannellini beans
4 thick slices of ciabatta bread (we bought a fresh loaf at Trader Joe's this morning)
good olive oil (I've been using Halutza Israeli extra virgin lately)
a glove or two of garlic
salt & freshly ground pepper (I bought some Redmond gourmet kosher sea salt and I am trying that to see if I notice a taste difference - it is very pretty to look at- a pinkish beige with darker brown crystals interspersed, I think I like it - jury is still out)
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  1.  Remove the long parts of the swiss chard stems and put the greens in a big bowl of cold water to wash - stir them around a bit 
  2. Put the heat on medium under a heavy pot
  3. Peel the onion
  4. Put 1 tsp olive oil into the pot to heat
  5. Chop the onion and add to the pot - set the timer for 5 minutes - stir occasionally
  6. While the onion is cooking - drain & rinse the swiss chard (re-wash if there is a lot of dirt in the water), then remove the center spines from the leaves and chop it into small pieces
  7. When the timer goes off, add the swiss chard to the pot, cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 more minutes
  8. While the swiss chard is cooking, open the can of beans, drain and rinse, measure out the stock
  9. When the timer goes off, add the stock and beans to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a gentle boil
  10. While the soup is heating, toast the bread slices, rub each slice with a cut piece of garlic, go easy on the garlic for those (like S.) who do not like a lot.
  11. Place a bread slice in each shallow soup bowl, drizzle 1/4 - 1/2 tsp olive oil over the bread, ladle on the soup, letting a little greens and beans pile on top of the middle of the bread. 
  12. Grate a little cheese over the top and serve

We had this as a first course and cooked up a the rest of a bag of Celantano frozen ravioli to go with it, which turned out not to really be necessary, this soup is a meal in itself.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 73: Pasta with Arugula Pesto

Lunch today was potato leek soup. I will post the recipe tomorrow. L. and I thought it was delightful, S. not so much. We had the Stuffed cabbage from the freezer with it.

Orichette with Arugula Pesto and Three Bean Salad
Here's how easy this was
1. boiled the pasta
2. took 3 cubes of Arugula Pesto from the freezer (made with the overabundance of Arugula in the CSA shares at the end of the summer)
3. Mixed 1 with 2 and a little pasta cooking water, a little olive oil and a little Parmesan.
4. Served with extra Parmesan, salt & pepper

L:. and S, had Morningstar Farms Chick'n patties with their pasta. I had semi-frozen 3 bean salad - picture and story to follow.  S. said the Arugula is too bitter. I kind of like the taste.

Day 72: Eggplant Parmesan

Thursday is my usual evening to work (2:30- 10 pm), but this week I was scheduled on Friday. L. usually stops by after work and the gym and joins me for dinner on my break -he is the best husband. I had packed us some stuffed cabbage I took out of the freezer, but there was a catered luncheon in the pharmacy department earlier in the day - so we had leftovers from that; eggplant Parmesan, bread, salad, and a cannoli. Saved the stuffed cabbage for lunch on Sat.

Day 71: Grillers

Another busy night. Exciting things are happening on the musical front. I am working with three other musicians who think my songs are great and want to perform with me and record a CD. We are currently rehearsing for a coffee house on March 5 and are getting together every Tuesday night at 7. Got home from work at 5:30. Sat with S. and had a griller with cheddar cheese on a whole wheat Portuguese roll and headed out. Didn't I say that some things are more important than dinner?

Day 70: Frozen Pizza

S. and I went with our rabbi to volunteer at the Interfaith Council homeless shelter. The IC runs the shelter out of local churches; the families stay in each church for a week. They sleep in a classroom, or whatever space is available. They have to travel to a YMCA or other center to shower each day. Once a month, volunteers come in for "game night" with the kids.We brought a craft project for the kids, S. baked cookies and I brought my guitar. The kids loved the project, and the cookies, and the songs - everyone sang. They were very well behaved and so sweet. We plan on making this a monthly activity.

I got home from work well after five and we were due to meet the rabbi at 6:30 - so I had a frozen Lean cuisine pizza and S. had a cheese sandwich. Some things are more important than dinner.

Day 69: Pasta with Eggplant, Onions Peppers, Olives & Feta

A last, lonely bag of sauteed eggplant, onions, peppers, and tomatoes was in the freezer from August. So, I boiled up some pasta (Barilla Plus - for the extra protein). Heated up the veggie mix. Put the two together with about 2 cups of pasta water (ALWAYS save some pasta water when you drain the pasta, it inevitably comes in handy). I threw in some shopped calamata olives and topped it with feta cheese - sorry I didn't take a picture - it was very tasty.

Day 68: Chunky Chick Pea & Vegetable Soup

Tonight's recipe was from a cookbook called Kitchen Seasons, by Ross Dobson  (See Day 50 post.)
I modified the recipe a little - I did not use Pancetta - but I did use a couple of  Morningstar Farms fake bacon strips for flavor.  I will post the recipe soon  - it was quite good.

Day 67: Burritos

One of the easiest quick suppers I make.
1 can vegetarian re-fried beans
a jar of salsa or 1-2 cups of home made salsa
tortillas (6-8) - whole wheat, high-carb, plain old - whatever you use - burrito size so you can fold them
grated cheddar cheese
extras according to what is on hand - black olives, chopped bell pepper, red onion, or tomato, corn

1. warm the tortillas so they will fold
2. spread about 1/4 - 1/3 cup beans on each one - in a 1 1/2 inch strip near one end
3. top with salsa, cheese, and other items to taste
4. fold/roll up, tucking sides in to hold everything in
5. place in a microwaveable dish or casserole
6. cover with a damp paper or cotton towel, then the casserole lid
7. heat at 70-80 % power for 10 minutes of so or until heated through

We had these with cous cous.

Day 65: Vegetable Lasagna

Vegetable Lasagna
I had some organic zucchini  and spinach and a container of organic Ricotta cheese, and a box of no-bake lasagna noodles left over from Thanksgiving because I bought two boxes and only needed one. So here's what I did.
I sliced 2 zucchini into rounds, sliced a couple of carrots on the diagonal and sauteed them in about a teaspoon of olive oil till they were getting tender, then added about 3 cups of baby spinach and cooked until that was nicely wilted.

I used sauce from a jar - Jersey Fresh. I covered the bottom of the dish with sauce. I used a dish that was quite a bit bigger than the noodles - as directed on the box - and the noodles expanded to fill the dish-and cooked up nice and soft.

I mixed the container of Ricotta cheese with 1 egg and some basil and oregano (about 1 tsp each - dried)
I grated some Parmesan and an 8 oz block of mozzarrella cheese (part-skim).
Then I layered as follows: Sauce, three noodles, about 1/4 cup Ricotta over each noodle, 3 noodles, sauce, all the vegetables, grated mozzerella and Parmesan, 3 noodles, 1/4 cup Ricotta over each noodle, 3 noodles, sauce, the rest of the mozzerella and Parmesan
I baked it - covered with foil (I spray the inside of the foil with olive oil cooking spray so it doesn't stick to the cheese) at 350F for 30 minutes, then removed the foil and baked another 15 minutes.
The vegetable mix was good - the result was very tasty.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 64: Roasted Vegetable Sandwiches and Leftover Soup

I found some lovely rolls at the grocery store, which put me in the mood for a roasted vegetable sandwich, and sliced portobello mushrooms were on sale, so I grabbed a couple of organic zucchini (against my eat local rules - a splurge), a couple of red onions, and some fresh mozzarella cheese.

Roasted Vegetables for four large sandwiches
2 medium zucchini - trim ends, cut in half (so you have 2 shorter cylinders, not 2 boats), then slice each half lengthwise into flat, almost rectangular slices
1 large red onion - slice into 1/2 inch rounds
1 pkg sliced portobello mushroom caps (or white mushrooms, sliced)
Fresh mozzarella cheese
Basil Pesto (I had some in the freezer) and/or Balsamic vinegar

Turn the oven to 400 F. Toss the sliced zucchini and red onions with 1-2 tablespoons oil and place on a cookie sheet in as close to a single layer as you can get them. Toss the mushrooms with 1-2 tsp oil and place in a metal pan with sides (they release lots of liquid when they cook). Put the pans in the oven and roast for 30-45 minutes (the mushrooms will be done first) stirring every once and a while.

This is a picture of the vegetables in the oven.

Slice the rolls in half, spread some pesto or sprinkle some balsamic vinegar on one half and place several slices of cheese on the other half. When the veggies are done (soft enough to bite into and starting to brown). layer them on top of the cheese, then place the pesto half on top - yum.

Roasted Vegetable Sandwich - with mushrooms

Roasted Vegetable Sandwich without mushrooms (I am not a big fan of mushrooms)
We had these with leftover Kale & White Bean soup to which I added some extra broth and some tubetini pasta.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day 62: Chick Pea Stew

I got home from work at 5:30 and was due to meet with R. & C. at 7:00. On my drive home I ran through the fridge & pantry in my mind thinking,  - what can I do that is fast and easy? I walked in the door, took off my coat, and began chopping an onion (large pieces) which I threw into the stew pot with some olive oil and started it cooking. Then I chopped a couple of carrots (on the diagonal - because they look nicer in the stew that way) and 3 stalks of celery (same way) and threw them into the pot as well. I let those cook while I peeled 2 sweet potatoes that have been sitting around for a while and cut them into 1/2 inch or so pieces, then added them to the pot. Next drained and rinsed a can of chick peas and added them. I added about a cup and a half of home-made vegetable stock and let everything stew. I put 2 Morningstar Farms Veggie Italian Sausages on top of the vegetables and let them heat up. when the sweet potatoes were fork tender, I broke up the sausages and mixed them in and added about 2 cups of baby spinach leaves, stirred them in and stewed some more until they were wilted and still bright green. A little salt & pepper. Meanwhile, cooked a box of Nile Spice Cous Cous with garlic and olive oil. Served the stew over the cous cous, and ran out the door.

What I would have done differently if I wan't in such a rush: Browned the "sausage" instead of steaming it, cut it into pieces, and put them on top of each bowl instead of stirring them in - because the way I did it, they broke up into a kind of mush - tasted fine but not so pretty to look at. You could leave out the fake veggie meat and add spices - cumin & corriander, or dill, or caraway seeds, maybe.

Day 61 Lunch: Kale & White Bean Soup

Started with this recipe.

Original Ingredients                                                                                 What I used

2 TBLSPNS extra-virgin olive oil                                                         2 tsp EVOO 
1 cup diced yellow onion                                                                        1 large onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped                                            garlic powder (still out of garlic)
1 (32-ounce) box low-sodium vegetable broth                            home-made vegetable broth 
4 cups packed chopped kale                                                                 1 bunch kale, chopped
1 (14.5-ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes                         1 can diced tomatoes w/basil  
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added cannellini beans                    1 can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed

1 (14.5-ounce) can sliced carrots, drained                                     two large carrots, peeled, halved and sliced 

I sauteed the onion in the olive oil while I chopped the carrots, then added them and cooked about 5 minutes. I added the kale, tomatoes, beans, garlic powder and broth (plus a little verdurette to spice up the broth) and cooked the soup for about 15 minutes. We had it without cheese and decided that some tubetini pasta would be a nice addition.

Day 61: Fahitas

A pretty easy, quick and tasty dinner.
1-2 tsp olive oil
1-2 onions - sliced (on the thin side)
1-3 bell peppers, any color, sliced into thin strips (I used pepper strips I froze in September)
slices of baked tofu or Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Chic'n strips (I used 1 bag)
You can vary the amounts of onion, pepper and protein strips to your taste
Spices: cumin, corriander, garlic powder (1 tsp each or to taste), a little chili powder for color, salt and pepper

heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet, add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add bell peppers and cook until pepper ad onion strips are beginning to brown and are soft but not mushy.


Add spices and "chicken"  or tofu strips, stir and cook until heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste and 1/2 - 1 cup water - enough to kind of de-glaze the pan and make things a little saucy. 

Serve with warm flour tortillas, sour cream or plain yogurt (I used plain non-fat Greek yogurt), and salsa (tonight's salsa was Paul Newman's Pinaepple Salsa)

Side Dish: Salad of Romaine, navel oranges and pecans with balsamic vinaigrette.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day 60: Orichette with Broccoli Rabe & Goat Cheese

I haven't had broccoli rabe in a very long time because I remember not liking the bitterness of it. I decided to give it another try and bought some earlier this week. An internet search turned up the recipe at the link above. I started with that, dropped the olive oil to 3 tsp instead of 3 tablespoons, cooked 1/2 a pound of pasta instead of 1 pound and used 4 oz of goat cheese and Parmesan (on hand) instead of Romano. I also used Morningstar Farms vegetarian bacon instead of the real deal. And - I broke my own rule and forgot to buy garlic when I was at the grocery store today! So I had to use garlic powder - good grief! The broccoli rabe was bitter (perhaps this is why they call it a bitter green?) but I thought the dish tasted quite good overall. L. agreed. S. voted thumbs down on the broccoli rabe. I might add chopped red onion if I made it again (this could even be in place of the fake bacon).

First thing to do: Put a big pot of water up to boil for the broccoli rabe and another pot of water for the pasta.
Then - brown the breadcrumbs in 1 tsp olive oil

Wash the broccoli rabe- cook 3 minutes in the boiling water, drain and coarsely chop.

Cut the fake bacon into pieces and cook in 1 tsp olive oil, then add garlic and red pepper flakes.

Add the broccoli rabe and cook another 3 minutes or so, 

Then add the pasta, 1 cup pasta cooking water and cook 3 minutes more

Turn off heat, add goat cheese, stir till it melts in, then stir in Parmesan

Sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs over the top

I warmed the bowls in the microwave, I trick I learned from my Aunt Mary.

Day 59: Rice Stuffed Yellow Acorn Squash

It looks yellow to me - but I guess it is also called white acorn squash. I had two sitting in the wire basket tower thing on the counter that I picked up at the farmer's market a week or so ago and there was rice leftover from the mushroom and rice burgers. I thought about going with onions and cranberries and nuts, but S. has been saying she is tired of those classic "fall" type dishes. So I poked around in the fridge, freezer, and pantry and found...

Clockwise from upper left
green pepper slices from the freezer
Basil & oregano
olive oil
the two squashes are slightly different in color (and they tasted different too)
3/4 of a red onion
Leftover rice
Calamata olives
Feta cheese

And here is what I did:
Chopped onions, peppers, and garlic

Sautéed the onion & garlic in olive oil (1 tsp) for a bit

Added the peppers and cooked a bit more

Scooped the seeds out of the squash

Mixed vegetables, rice, 1 tsp each basil & oregano, about 6 large calamata olives chopped, and 3/4 cup crumbled feta, then split the filling between the 4 squash halves.

I started to bake them in the oven - then had a minor disaster (do not try this at home - I added water to that pretty blue glass dish in the oven and it shattered into a bizillion pieces - which luckily fell down and away from the squash, leaving it virtually untouched). I was making this dish ahead for the next day - so after the diaster, I put the stuffed squash halves in the fridge. Next day I put them in a casserole with about 2 inches of water, covered with the lid, and nuked them about 10 minutes on high. The filling was very tasty. The squash that was a darker yellow was less stringy and better tasting.

Day 58: Chili-Mac

Chili-Mac is a Kamenetsky family favorite and a standby, it usually follows close on the heels of a dinner of vegetarian chili - any version. This one followed the black bean chili we had a couple of nights ago. I started making a version of this 15 or 20 years ago when I bought the Once Upon a Recipe cookbook - a wonderful book of kid friendly recipes that I used a lot when my kids were little. There is a recipe in there called Curiouser and Curiouser Casserole and that is where the current version of Chili-Mac got it's start. That recipe called for canned vegetarian chili with some vegetables and pasta sauce added, "whole grain" elbow or spiral noodles, and tortilla chips.  When the kids were little and I looking for a quick dinner after work, I used to make the C&C Casserole with Amy's vegetarian chili, frozen corn and a chopped green pepper. The vegetarian chili I make now usually has peppers, corn & zuchinni in it, so there is no need to add extra veggies. I still do add pasta sauce - this batch was made with Jersey Fresh pasta jarred pasta sauce. The current version of Chili-Mac looks something like this.

leftover chili
pasta sauce (home-made or from a jar)
pasta (a spiral shape holds the sauce best, rotini is best, but cavatapi or elbows work well also. I use Barilla Plus for the extra protein and fiber, any pasta will work)
Cheddar cheese - grated (I use low-fat most of the time)

First I put a pot of water up to boil for the pasta. I always cook more than I need - leftovers go into soup or pasta salad or make lunch the next day with pesto from the freezer.
I mix 2-3 cups of chili with about 4 cups of pasta sauce in a casserole dish (a big enough dish to hold the pasta when it is added). I did not have any homemade pasta sauce on hand- so I used Jersey Fresh. I put that mixture into the microwave for 3-5 minutes on high to heat it up.

When the pasta is cooked, I add an amount of pasta approximately equal in volume to the chili/sauce mix to the dish and mix everything together. I adjust the amounts of chili, sauce and pasta so that the pasta is well covered with sauce and there is enough chili to get a good bit with each fork-full of pasta.


I sprinkle the grated cheese on top. Then I either bake the casserole at 350 F for 30-35 minutes or put it back in the microwave for 10 minutes at 70% power (or until it is heated through and the cheese melts).


I have a new camera. Can you tell?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day 57: Mushroom & Rice Burgers, Roasted Potatoes & Warm Spinach Salad

Tonight's Dinner
Here's what I had on hand and wanted to build the meal around:
A few button mushrooms
1 box of organic baby spinach
some lovely "Morning Kiss" organic golden potatoes
some red grapes

Here's what I pulled from the pantry:
1 small yellow onion & a red onion (these were actually sitting in a basket on the counter)
quick cooking brown rice
some sage that was hanging to dry and thyme from the spice rack
Annie's Naturals organic Worcestershire sauce
cashews & pecans
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
pine nuts

and from the fridge (& freezer)
1 egg
cheddar cheese
Parmesan cheese
Some Morningstar Farms "bacon"

Here is what I made:
Brown Rice & Mushroom burgers (from the Vegetarian Suppers cookbook)
Roasted Potatoes
Warm Spinach Salad with grapes, red onion, fake bacon (just a little for flavor) and Parmesan

Day 56: Leftovers and Salad

Leftover Polenta Pie, Veggie hot dogs, and a salad of romaine, carrots & celery. Three of us for dinner; one had salad, one had polenta pie, and one had everything.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day 55: Polenta Pie

This is a family favorite and cold weather standard. I cooked up the whole box of instant polenta when I made the Parmesan Polenta with broccoli and spinach the other night and I spread the leftovers in an 8 x 8 pan, let it cool and put it in the fridge. You can use any kind of polenta for this dish, I sometimes line the bottom of the pan with slices from the kind that comes in a roll, put the chili in the middle and top with another layer of slices (see Day 29). Tonight I made the bean mix for the top. I think that this kind of bean mix - mostly a vegetarian chili - can make lots of dinners that are great in the cold weather months including:
Chili over rice or cous cous or tortilla chips
Baked potatoes topped with chili
Polenta Pie
Burritos or Tacos
The bean mix includes:
olive oil
peppers (green, red or yellow)
zuchinni (if I have some on hand)
corn (fresh, frozen or canned)
some kind of hot pepper (jalapeño, Serrano, etc)
Beans (kidney, pinto, or black)
cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt & pepper
I like black beans with polenta. Here's what I did for tonight's dinner.
I made a batch of fig and walnut biscotti this afternoon, and while the two loaves were doing their first round of cooking, I made the chili.
I chopped a small onion and put it in my chili pot with about 1 tsp olive oil and 1 minced clove of garlic to begin cooking while I diced the lone zuchinni from the vegetable drawer. When that was diced, I put it in with the onion to cook and I chopped some frozen strips of pepper (green & yellow) from the freezer and put about a cup of frozen corn (corn and peppers frozen by me at the end of the summer) into the microwave to defrost. I added the peppers and corn to the pot and let everything cook while I opened a can of diced tomatoes with jalapeño peppers and 2 cans of black beans. I drained and rinsed the beans, then added the tomatoes and beans to the pot, threw in the spices and some salt and pepper and let it cook about 30 minutes while I cut the biscotti into slices and worked on my new song while the slices did their double-bake - stopping to flip them halfway through.
When the biscotti came out of the oven, I turned the heat up to 375 F and  grated some cheddar cheese (about 1 cup I think). I spread half the cheese over the polenta, ladled on a thick layer of chili, then topped that with the other half of the cheese. I put it into the oven and went back to my guitar for another30 minutes. When I took it out of the oven , the cheese was melted and it was bubbly hot.
I made a salad of Romaine, apples, toasted walnuts (leftover from the biscotti recipe) and feta cheese.
Very easy, very warm and wintry and satisfying - and there is leftover chili which will make a nice lunch by itself or over a baked potato - or a small batch of chili-mac.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Day 53: Roasted Ratatouille in Puff Pastry

I made the Ratatouille in September - a huge roasting pan full (I bought one that is supposed to be for a turkey) - and I froze most of it. Tonight, I defrosted the last bag. I cooked up the rest of the sheet of puff pastry from last night, cut it into squares and split each into two pieces. I ladled some Ratatouille on each bottom piece, topped it with some crumbles feta cheese and the top piece, then heated everything in a 400 degree oven until it was hot enough to eat. We had the pastry squares with a salad of romaine, grated carrots, celery and radishes. Fabulous. My only regret is that I forgot to take a photo.

Day 52: New Year's Eve dinner

I made salmon for the family and a veggie burger for me. We had roasted yukon gold potatoes (S. cut them into rather small pieces and tossed them with olive oil and we roasted them at 400 F) and some green beans from the freezer that I had frozen whole - and they were a lovely shade of green. I like green beans best in the summer when you can eat them raw or just barely cooked and they crunch. These were not crisp, having been frozen, but they retained their wonderful flavor.

For a special New Year's Eve Dessert, I took some strawberries out of the freezer (from when I went to Alstede's and picked a huge box of them back in May) and sliced them when they were just barely defrosted. I cooked 1/2 of a sheet of puff pastry, cut it in thirds, then split each piece into top and bottom. I put some strawberries on the bottom piece, topped them with a little whipped cream then the other piece of pastry. I melted about 1/3 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and drizzled that over the top, then a dab more of whipped cream and one strawberry half - they were quite pretty - I should have taken a picture!

Day 51: Lentil Soup. bread and cheese

My night to work 2:30 till 10 pm. I packed some of the lentil soup I made on Wednesday (from Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook recipe), a Ciabatta roll from Trader Joe's and some cheddar cheese. That is my idea of a wonderful supper.

This is a really simple soup to make, basically 1 bag of lentils (brown or green) in 6 or 7 cups of water cooked at a very low simmer for 20-30 minutes, then add chopped onion, carrot, and celery (about 1 cup each), 6-8 cloves garlic minced or crushed, and about 1/2 tps each of dried basil, oregano and thyme (leaves, not powder) and cook 20-30 minutes more or until everything is tender but not mushy. Add salt and pepper to taste and some tomatoes - either 1/2-1 cup of canned tomatoes (crushed or diced or whole ones that you cut up) or chopped fresh tomatoes (dropped into hot water and peeled) and cook about 5 min more. Serve with a drizzle of red wine vinegar or some grated Parmesan cheese. You can also add any type of cooked small pasta.