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Fast And Easy Chili

This is such a classic cool weather stand-by I almost hesitate to put up a recipe for it. But my version is very fast, very easy, and ultra healthy, so why not! It is also a Perfect Pantry recipe, so chances are you already have everything you need on hand right now (or would if you had my Perfect Pantry shopping list. Download free at: http://lindaliving.com/).

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef/chicken/turkey/lamb/pork/venison – please buy organic, and even better, grass fed/pasture raised.
  • 2 15oz cans organic kidney beans (other varieties are fine too), rinsed and drained
  • 2 15oz cans organic fire roasted tomato with green chillies (available at Trader Joe’s) – you can also use leftover salsa and diced fresh tomatoes if you have some that need to be used up.
  • 1 4oz can of diced green chillies
  • Seasoning to taste – I like the flavors of the main ingredients to shine through in my chili, so I go very light here and use only a dash of Mexican meat seasoning. Ground cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder are the traditional spices used in chili. If desired, use 1 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, and 1 TBS. chili powder. Add salt only if absolutely necessary. The tomatoes and beans will have plenty in them already.

Directions:

  1. Brown the meat in a large frying pan deep enough to hold all of the ingredients. Have the lid or a frying screen handy.
  2. Drain off any fat created by cooking the meat.
  3. Add the tomatoes, salsa, and green chillies to the pan while it is still very hot. Allow to cook at a high heat for 5-7 minutes (covered to reduce splatter). Stir frequently and add seasonings all except for salt.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and add beans. Cook for another 10 minutes covered. Add salt only if required.
  5. Serve over rice, quinoa, or with corn chips, with slices of avocado. (skip the cheese and sour cream; you will never miss it!)

Enjoy!

French Lentils with Feta

French lentils with Feta

This is such a yummy dish I get raves every time I make it. I feel a little guilty though, because it is SO easy to make. It does not take long either. French lentils cook quickly, requiring only about 20 minutes to cook! This dish keeps well, so make enough to have some leftovers. The flavors develop once all of the ingredients are in, so don’t be too quick to add more salt. Also, all you would have to do to make this recipe vegan is omit the feta; just add a bit more of the other stuff. It still comes out a real winner!

Ingredients:
• 5 cups cooked **French lentils, cooled
• 1 15oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and cut into smaller pieces, liquid reserved
• 1/2 C sun dried tomatoes, cut into thin strips
• 1/2 medium red onion, diced
• 1 bunch parsley, chopped (about 1 cup)
• 8oz crumbled feta cheese
• Freshly ground pepper
• Salt only if necessary – the feta and artichokes usually have enough salt for the whole dish

Directions:

1. Begin with a bowl full of cooled lentils. These can be made a day or two ahead.
2. Add artichoke, tomatoes, parsley, onion, and mix well.
3. Add crumbled feta and pepper and mix some more.
4. Taste for seasoning. Add salt if desired, or add some of the reserved artichoke marinade.

**How to cook the lentils
Rinse lentils thoroughly. Place in a pot with water to cover more than twice the depth of the lentils. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until lentils are just tender, 12 to 20 minutes. Drain and let cool uncovered.

Kale and White Bean Soup

Kale and White Bean Soup

This soup is very satisfying and nutritional powerhouse. Kale is an excellent source of vitamins, calcium, phytonutrients, and fiber. The beans are a great source of protein and fiber, which help lower cholesterol, stabilize hormones, and promote digestive health. This soup will hold well for up to a week, and freezes marvelously.

Ingredients

•    1 lb dried white beans such as Great Northern, cannellini, or navy
•    2 onions, coarsely chopped
•    2 tablespoons olive oil
•    4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
•    5 cups chicken or vegetable broth or organic bullion w/5 cups water
•    2 qt water
•    **1 (3- by 2-inch) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
•    2 teaspoons salt
•    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
•    1 bay leaf (not California)
•    1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
•    **1 lb smoked sausage such as kielbasa (optional), sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
•    8 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into ½ -inch pieces
•    1 lb kale (preferably lacinato), stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped

**leave this out for a VEGAN version

Preparation

Cover beans with water by 2 inches in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand, uncovered, 1 hour. Drain beans in a colander and rinse.

Cook onions in oil in an 8-quart pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add beans, broth, 1 quart water, cheese rind, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and rosemary and simmer, uncovered, until beans are just tender, about 45 minutes.

While soup is simmering, brown sausage (if using) in batches in a heavy skillet over moderate heat, turning, then transfer to paper towels to drain.

Stir carrots into soup and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in kale, sausage, and remaining quart water and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper.