Soup & Salad

Eats: Lentil Soup - Meatless Monday 001

Lentil Soup

I've been craving my grandma's lentil soup for about a week now. Usually I can hit up my Tia Nancy on Facebook for the recipe, but I feel like I'm always asking her for the same three recipes. Off to Internet-land I went and landed on the Food Network site. I think it's the first result that shows up in the search. 

I'm not a patient cook. I like things to be done between 45 minutes to an hour and a half, max. I saw that this would only take an hour and 15 minutes minutes, including prep. That's good enough for me. 

Alton Brown's Lentil Soup

You'll Need: 

  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 C finely chopped onion
  • 1.5 C finely chopped carrot
  • 1.5 C finely chopped celery
  • 2 tsps kosher salt
  • 1 lb lentils, rinsed and picked
  • 1 C peeled and chopped tomatoes
  • 2 Qts chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1.5 tsps coriander
  • 1.5 tsps cumin

Place the olive oil into a large 6-quart Dutch oven and set over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, carrot, celery and salt and sweat until the onions are translucent, approximately 6 to 7 minutes. Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, coriander, cumin and grains of paradise and stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Using a stick blender, puree to your preferred consistency. Serve immediately.


I thoroughly enjoyed it. I read the reviews and one mentioned it being thick and not having enough fluid. I have to agree. I'd prefer it to have a little more soup consistency rather than a stew consistency. As you can tell I don't have an emersion blender or I would have used it, but that wasn't of much import to me.  I also added habañero sauce to give it a little kick. 

Amanda ❤

Eats: Apple, Ham and Cheese Salad

Hey bears! 

So this is a salad that I tried for the first time maybe a month and a half ago.  It's a really delicious and light salad that I'm sure will work well in the fall and winter months as well. 

Apple Ham and Cheese Salad
You'll need: 

  • 3 Granny Smith Apples
  • 6 slices of prosciutto 
  • 5 oz cheese ( I used Colby Jack)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

1. Core the apples and cut into cubes 2. Cut the ham into fine strips 3. Cube the cheese 4. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add olive oil, season to taste and serve. 

That's all there is to it. It serves about 4 people, or two REALLY hungry people, and takes about 10 minutes to make, so it's perfect to make for lunch. 

Amanda ❤

Eats: Sausage, Bell Pepper, and Potato Stew

Hey bears! I'm back with a delicious recipe I tried a few weeks ago when it was starting to get a little chilly. Sometimes I go through phases where I don't want to eat meat and this recipe came from a vegetarian cookbook. The weather's back up to low/mid 70's and it isn't quite stew season anymore, but it might be in your neck of the woods. Hope you like it as much as I did. 

Sausage, bell pepper, and potato stew

You'll need: 

  • 5 Italian sausages, mild or hot
  • 1/4 C. EVOO
  • 2 medium potatos, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into small chunks
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into small chunks
  • 1 eggplant, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into small cubes
  • 4 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • 1/4 C water, optional

1. Slice sausages and heat until thoroughly cooked, set aside 2. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add potatoes and saute until golden 3. Add sausages 4. Add the onion and bell peppers, saute until the onion is lightly browned 5. Add eggplant and zucchini and cook for 5 minutes 6. Stir in tomatoes, season to taste 7. Simmer until vegetables are tender, adding water if the mixture begins to stick to the pan. 

The best thing is, this recipe is totally adaptable to a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle by omitting the sausage! If you give it a try, let me know how it goes for you! 


Amanda ❤

Eats: Jicama, Orange, and Cucumber Salad

Jicama, Orange and Cucumber Salad
I saw this recipe a while ago and originally wasn't going to try it because I'm really not a big fan of Jicama. It just doesn't taste like anything to me, but I recently found out that a friend of mine is pregnant and she's been craving two of the ingredients so I thought I should post it for her.

You'll need: 

2 cups diced Jicama
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup diced cucumber
2 oranges, peeled, sectioned and chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2T fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
Cayenne papper to taste

In a serving bowl tossthe jicama, red pepper, cucumber, and oranges. In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, salt and cayenne. The amount of cayenne pepper depends on how spicy you want the salad. Stir the dressing into the salad and chill covered at least an hour but no longer than eight hours. Serves 6-8. 


XO Panda
Amanda ❤

Eats: Cucumber Mango Salad

You'll need: 
1 mango, peeled and cut into wedges
1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp grated lime zest
2 Tbsp lime juice, from 2 limes
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp crushed red pepper
Coarse salt
Arrange mango and cucumber on a plate. Whisk together lime zest, juice, oil, honey and red pepper. Drizzle dressing over salad, season with salt. This serves 4. 
Amanda ❤

Eats: Tomato Potato Soup


 Last week the weather finally got a little chilly and I decided it was the perfect time to try this recipe out. Soup is always better when it's chilly. Not when it's 811 degrees outside. (Thanks SoCal) I'd never made tomato soup in my life and decided to combine two recipes that I found. I wasn't sure how it would work out, but it came out perfectly fine and I don't think I will ever buy another can of tomato soup again. I think I'd prefer to make it from now on. 
  • 32oz can of tomatoes (I used diced)
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup EVOO 
  • salt and pepper to taste


Before making your tomato soup,  put a potato to boil. I used one large potato and found that maybe I should have boiled one large and one small. I suggest doing that. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Strain the canned tomatoes, reserving the juice, and spread onto a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper to taste, drizzle with 1/4 cup EVOO and roast about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium sized pot, heat remaining oil over medium heat. Add onion to the pot, stir well and saute for 5 minutes before adding the garlic. Again, stir well and saute for 2 minutes. Add celery, and saute for another two minutes. Transfer roasted tomatoes to blender with reserved juice and sauteed garlic, onions, and celery. Blend until smooth.  Transfer back to medium pot, adding the baking soda, parsley, bay leaf and salt and pepper. The baking soda will foam so make sure your pot has a couple extra inches of room. The baking soda will help neutralize the acid from the tomatoes. Peel and dice your potatos into medium cubes. Add to pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Simmer about 10 minutes or so over medium low heat. Check for seasonings and serve hot. 

I added a grilled cheese sandwich of Jalapeno Jack and Muenster on sourdough. Use mayo to get a crispy toast on your bread, instead of butter.


Amanda ❤

Meatball Stew

While out with my friend Yoli today, I picked up a vintage cookbook. I thought I'd try the first recipe tonight and it was a S-U-C-C-E-S-S! Delicious. I'm not that much of a cook. Of course there are the staples like spaghetti, shrimp stir-fry, enchiladas, etc. But aside from those things, I really don't know much.  This is the book will help change that.

Quick and Easy Meals for Two by Louella G. Shouer

I decided that I wanted to try one of the recipes that I saw while on the way home.

Meatball Stew. This would make a good staple for the fall/winter season this year. 

1-Meatball Stew

So with this new/old cookbook starts a new series. MMMmmm. I realize that the lights in my kitchen give off a yellow hue so I'll have to buy some that don't. Here's the recipe...

Meatball Stew

Soften 2 slices of stale bread in 1/2cup hot milk. Break up with a fork. Add 1 egg, beaten, and mix into 1/2 lb. ground beef. Season with 1 tablespoon minced onion and salt and pepper to taste. Form into small balls (about the size of a walnut). Dust with flour and brown on all sides in a little bit of oil. Add 1 cup canned tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup diced potatoes, 2 carrots, thinly sliced. Season vegetables with salt and pepper and simmer with the meatballs until vegetables are tender. About 30 minutes. 

NOTE>> I didn't have any stale bread so I crumbled some crackers and skipped the milk part. An 8oz can of tomatos should be enough. 

 If you try it let me know how you like it!  


Amanda ❤