Warm French Lentil and Kale Salad

French green lentils keep their shape when cooked without getting too mushy (like brown lentils) and they give this salad a nice heartiness. They have a nutty, almost meaty, flavor and cooking everything in broth instead of water makes this salad extra delicious.  It’s perfect for lunch or dinner and can be enjoyed warm or cold.  

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What to buy (serves 4):

  • 1 cup French green lentils
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 5 ounces kale, stems removed, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated

What to do:

  • rinse and drain lentils
  • add lentils to saucepan with 4 cups chicken broth, add thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil
  • reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes
  • add carrot, onion, and celery, cook for another 5 minutes
  • add kale and cook for a final 2-3 minutes, drain lentil mixture
  • whisk the olive oil, mustard, salt, pepper and vinegar and toss with drained lentil mixture
  • sprinkle with chopped parsley, pumpkin seeds and parmesan and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed
  • serve warm

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Chicken and Orecchiette Primavera

This easy pasta dish is loaded with spring vegetables and tossed in a light, creamy sauce with a spicy dash of red pepper.  I added chicken but this would be great as a vegetarian dish. It reheats well for lunch the next day. Fun fact:  the pasta’s name, “orecchiette,” comes from its shape, which resembles a small ear. Orecchio=ear in Italian.  Buon appetito!DSC_0409

What to buy (serves 2):

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup orecchiette
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 crown asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes

What to do:

  • heat oil in a large pan over medium
  • bring a medium size pot of water to boil and add broccoli and asparagus, cooking for 5 minutes
  • remove broccoli and asparagus and set aside in an ice bath to preserve their bright green color DO NOT drain boiling water as you’ll need this to cook the pasta
  • add orecchiette to boiling water and cook for 10 minutes or until al dente, drain water and set pasta aside
  • add garlic, onion, pepper and red pepper, cooking for 5 minutes until softened
  • sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and add to pan with vegetables, cooking for 8-10 minutes or until no longer pink
  • add sour cream, parmesan, chicken broth and parsley to pan, stirring to combine
  • add salt and pepper to taste, serve with a sprinkling of parsley and parmesan

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Spinach, Asparagus and Walnut Spring Salad

This week, at one of my favorite lunch places, Parker and Otis, I overheard someone saying that one of their resolutions for 2015 was to replace the phrase “I’ve been so busy” with “my life is full at the moment.”  I like this sentiment so I’m going to borrow it from the wise stranger and instead of telling you how busy things have been with an almost-8-month-old, I’ll just say that my life is full! While I promise I’m still cooking, I’ve neglected to make the time to photograph our meals and write up the recipes….until today!  Thanks for sticking with me and still being here despite my rather sporadic posting schedule of late.  I’m hoping to get back to a more regular posting schedule soon.

That said, happy Friday and hope you like this seasonally appropriate recipe! April is the peak season for asparagus and we’ve been enjoying plenty of the bright green veggie.  This recipe is super simple and would be great as a side salad to your main meal or with a protein on top. We ate this with grilled salmon for a delicious, light spring meal.DSC_0386

What to buy (serves 2):

  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 6-12 ounces fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

What to do:

  • place water in the bottom half of a steamer pan set and bring to a boil
  • place asaparagus in the top half of the steamer
  • steam for 5 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus, or until asparagus is tender
  • combine olive oil, garlic, mustard, salt, pepper, vinegar and parsley until smooth
  • add spinach, walnuts  and asparagus to a large bowl and drizzle with dressing tossing to coat
  • sprinkle with cheese

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