Lentil and Smoked Sausage Soup

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I’m not generally a huge sausage fan. But we were looking for a way to use some of the cabbage we had left from making pierogies, and this recipe sounded delicious. I subbed spicy chicken sausage and halved the amount of cayenne (we love it hot but have had…mishaps with cayenne in the recent past). I think I’ll slice the sausage next time instead of dicing to get bigger bites of the flavor.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
7 ounces dry lentils
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 cup finely shredded green cabbage
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 vegetarian smoked sausages, diced
1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cubes vegetable bouillon
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Stir in lentils, onion, cabbage, and garlic; cook until tender.
  3. Stir in sausage and tomatoes.
  4. Crumble vegetable cubes over mixture and pour in water.
  5. Stir in bay leaf, thyme, and cayenne pepper.
  6. Bring to a boil; cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Frittata-friendly Coconut Congo Bars (aka Monkey Bars)

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Mat had never had a congo bar before(?!?!!!), and we had all the ingredients, so I had to try a frittata version. Here’s the original Congo Bar recipe. For Monkey Bars, as Mat so aptly titled them, just sub the following:

· Condensed milk= Sweetened unflavored almond milk
· Butter = Earth Balance
· Milk chocolate chips = Dairy-free chocolate chips

INGREDIENTS

For the Crust

1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (from about 10 whole crackers)
1/3 cup light brown sugar
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan

For the Topping

1 1/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup chopped pecans or any other nut you fancy, if desired

DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter an 8×8″ baking pan, dust with flour, and tap out the excess.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Stir in the graham cracker crumbs and light brown sugar and mix well.
  3. Work the butter into the crumb mixture with your hands until the crumbs are evenly coated with buttery goo. Spread the crumb crust in the prepared baking pan, pressing down gently with your hands. You don’t want to make the crust too dense or compact. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust is slightly golden. Remove from the oven and let cool while you make the topping but leave the oven on.
  4. While the crust is cooling, mix together the coconut, both chocolates, and the condensed milk. Add the pecans or other nuts, if desired.
  5. Spread the mixture evenly over the warm crust. Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the top is set and light brown. Watch carefully toward the end of the baking time to make sure the top doesn’t become too bubbly or dark.
  6. Let the pan of bars cool on a wire rack for 2 hours or so, until chocolate is no longer soft. Cut into whatever size or shape you fancy.

Eat It or Beat It – Butternut Squash

It’s Friday!  Which means some R&R from the grind and some R&D in the kitchen.  Yes, friends, it’s time to empty the fridge and use up the week’s forgotten food purchases that are on their way out.  Today, the lucky fridge inhabitant up for experimentation is BUTTERNUT SQUASH.

I always fall into the trap of boiling, mashing, and brown sugaring butternut.  It’s fast.  It’s delicious. It’s predictable, which accounts for a lot of the reason the squash has been sitting lonely in my produce drawer for so long.  So it was a perfect candidate for tonight’s experiment.  With the help of a few other items that needed to be eaten ASAP (we’ll call them “secret ingredients” to add some whimsy), butternut is predictable no more!

ButterWHAT? Soup

**makes 5 servings**

  • Mirepoix
  • 1 butternut squash (peeled, seeds scooped out, chopped—peeling and chopping = sucks)
  • 1 Granny Smith (peeled, cored, chopped)
  • 3 cups chicken broth (I made broth from bouillon cubes and water)
  • 1 cup water
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Sauté your mirepoix in large sauce pan and add broth, water, butternut, and apple (you should have about a 3:1 ratio of the last two).  Boil.
  2. Once boiling, turn heat down to a simmer and cook until squash and carrots are forkable (about 30 minutes).
  3. Pour into blender and puree until smooth.
  4. Add nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
  5. Put it in your mouth.