real food. real life.
Seriously, we couldn't stop eating this. For supper, for lunch, with rice, with pitas. And, bonus, it made a TON of food, so we froze the rest and just defrosted it for supper tonight It was so yummy, so on the blog it goes! It will definitely be a repeated meal in our house.
Vegan and wallet friendly, it's a crowd pleaser, for sure. Filled with spices and flavour, I would bring this to a potluck any day. I know even the toughest critic couldn't resist a second helping. It's THAT good. Totally sounding a bit overconfident here, but it's worth it.
We have been busy busy opening schools, raising bossy toddlers (yes, you read that right, BOSSY, not busy, BOSSY, I swear not on purpose am I raising her to be that way, it's in her genes, I guess) and getting ready for a summer full of vegetables gardens and sandbox playtime. Cooking has been adapting to our new pace of life, most definitely a bit faster than we'd really like, and the adapting to changing palates of Miss Bossy-Pants. I am happy to report that this meal is Hannah-certified A-Okay. She ate all versions of it (with rice, in a pita, leftovers, etc.) without a fuss (well, except when I tried to hurry her up by putting it on the spoon for her - I should know better).
So, here ya go. Don't forget about this little (big) gem when you need a tasty meal that's ready when you get home. It's delightfully tasting and smelling, inexpensive, diet/lifestyle-friendly meal that feeds a crowd. Enjoy! (And by feeds a crowd, I mean it literally - this will make lots! Be prepared!)
Slow-Cooker Curried Lentils
What to do:
Ok, if you're ignoring that slow cooker/crock pot in the bag of your cupboard or you don't have one, for no real major reason, dig it out and start with this recipe! Seriously easy and it makes the best chilli. And HEALTHY! I promise! I think that's why I didn't use the slow cooker before - I had only ever seen recipes for slow cookers that used pre-packaged ingredients like a can of soup over chicken, or ketchup, sugar, soy sauce, etc. to make sweet and spicy sauces. I knew I couldn't eat that stuff and so I thought that's what slow cookers did.
They are, honestly, awesome for making your supper for you. I don't use it a lot, because I love chopping, stirring, sautéing, over the hot stove. But for days when you know suppertime is going to be rushed and probably not 'together as a family', use a slow cooker! Give yourself a bit of time in the morning to get things in the pot and then set to low. By dinner time, your house smells amazing, supper is ready, and your meal is bursting with flavour as it's been slowly steeping all day!
For this chilli, I used all the ingredients I would use otherwise over the stove. The only extra prep work that I did was cooking the meat in a pan before putting in the slow cooker. Then just topped it with all the rest of the ingredients, stirred, cover on.
All day, as piano and tutoring students came and went, I got comments about how amazing dinner smelled.
I'm definitely a fan of the slow cooker now. No more ignorance. It's amazing.
Total Time: 10 minutes prep + 6--8 hours in the slow cooker on low
Ground Pork - or any ground meat - OR MEAT FREE! - I don't use a lot, usually half of the small package at the grocery store... not sure how much that really is. Sorry, lack of measuring...
Veggies of choice - we used 1 half sweet pepper, 1/2 cup frozen corn, 1 handful of spinach.
1 can diced tomatoes + 1 can water
1 can tomato paste
1 organic chicken or vegetable bouillon (or just omit and use water, or omit water/bouillon and use stock)
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
Spices - I don't tend to measure, but it should work out to about 1 tablespoon of chilli powder, garlic powder and cumin, 1 teaspoon cilantro... also optional: hot pepper flakes.
2-3 Bay leaves
Dash of sea salt/pepper
Also, just for fun, in this recipe I added: 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/8 cup maple syrup... yes, I know, totally random, but I did and it make the chilli not as spicy but sweeter, I loved it!
What to do:
1) Cook meat until no longer pink in a pan before adding to slow cooker.
2) Add all other ingredients. Give a little stir. Place cover on top and set to low for 6-8 hours. Chilli should smell delicious and should be saucy. Yummmmm, Enjoy!
In December, our pretty little oven broke. It was a sad day. Extra sad because it was days before Christmas and we were about to host our first Christmas dinner for the family.
However, then, a couple months later there was a very happy day! The day it was fixed! Yay! We could bake bread again, roast vegetables, it was lovely.
The reason I bore you with this happy ending story is that while I was suffering through the cold winter months without a nice warm oven, I finally learned how to use a slow cooker. I say finally because we've had one forever and I completely ignored it. Seriously, never used it. It was a decoration in the cupboard. I had heard slow cookers were easy to use, I just never felt inspired to try it.
Well, during those months, I sure got to know my slow cooker! I even learned that yes, they are in fact easy and, with the right ingredients, can create awesomeness with very little effort! I am determined to post recipes on here that can show just that! Not using any pre-made condiments in the slow cooker, that really bugs me. You can use the natural flavour of vegetables, fruits, meats, and spices to create a flavourful dish!
It has been a little while now with a working oven, and I feel like I'm going through slow cooker withdrawal! I haven't used it much since and, I gotta say, I miss it! It is perfect for certain recipes. Like this one! Letting the curry flavours absorb into the chickpeas and sweet potato all day results in one flavourful, easy, healthy, and CHEAP meal! No lie - a can of chickpeas and a sweet potato aren't that expensive! Try it, so easy, simple, and tasty over a bed of brown rice. Yum, leftovers for lunch are calling my name!
Total Time: 5 minutes prep + 4-6 hours in slow cooker
1 medium-sized sweet potato, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 can of chickpea, rinsed
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 tbsp of following: garlic powder, ginger, cumin, tumeric
3 tbsp of curry powder
1-2 cups of vegetable stock
1 cup coconut milk
What to do:
1) Put everything in the slow cooker, stir, and press start! Haha, seriously, I didn't pre-cook anything. The beauty of vegetarian cooking. Cook on low for about 6 hours or on high for about 4 hours, or until potatoes are soft. Stir, often, if you can.
We really cooked these things. From scratch. On weeknights. And we even had time to do the dishes.
They have real, simple ingredients that you'll find in your cupboards. They're healthy and delicious. No lies.
Thanks for reading. Leave a comment below!
Here's a pic of me and my babies. Just because.
A Bit About Me...