Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fresh is Best

 So far - only being Wednesday - it has been a long week. Life and obligations always seem to creep up on us; demanding our immediate and constant attention, just to leave us again (most of the time)like a gust of wind. We adapt and adjust, but speaking personally, sometimes I get bogged down and feel exhausted which creates a very lack-luster me.

This week, as busy as it's been, we were blessed to be given a produce box from a local produce share. In this box I received mushrooms, kale, cilantro, garlic, and pears...all local (within 125 miles from my homestead in Central Oregon).

Now, I love my garden and the produce it rewards me with, fairly constantly, but lets face it...I don't have a great winter garden. So when it comes to fresh fruits and veggies, I rely on what I was blessed with over the summer that has been preserved in my pantry or freezer. They are delicious! But sometimes you just want something fresh. This box supplemented my resources beautifully!

As I mentioned earlier, I've been gone quite a bit, so when dinner time rolls around, I'm not home to have time to make something delicious and healthful. I usually get home late enough to just want to find something to fill my belly and be done. And occasionally, that's fine. Tonight, however, I wanted something hearty that would highlight the beautiful produce I had.

Cam somehow convinced me to purchase a 10 pound bag of lentils for $5.95...making them $.59/ lb!! Given the fact we both love lentils, I agreed that it would be a very economical, healthy, and adventurous way to feed us.

Needless to say, since that purchase, I've been making new recipes and experimenting with flavors to find new ways to prepare this beautiful legume. Tonight was no exception. I spent my morning preparing this dinner dish so when I came home from work, I could just throw it together and a wonderful and nourishing supper would be ours to enjoy! This is what I came up with: Mexican Lentils with Chicken and Kale.

This recipe was completely inspired by what I had in my refrigerator and pantry. I had a grilled chicken breast leftover in the fridge, lentils (of course), kale, mushrooms, garlic, onion, and carrots (from my summer garden:-), and a few basic spices. While simple it was quite delicious! Cam even went to the extent of roasting a head of we could smear it on my home-made rye bread, that of course, went with dinner, as well as a beautiful salad.

I hope you give this a try and enjoy it just as much as we did!

Mexican Lentils with Chicken and Kale
1/2 c. uncooked lentils, rinsed
1 carrot, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 handful of mushrooms, roughly chopped
3 handfuls of fresh kale, roughly chopped
1 large cooked chicken breast, chopped into bit-sized pieces
1 large clove of garlic
1-2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper
olive oil
1. In a medium skillet, cover lentils with water. Bring to a boil, reduce, and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Drain and rinse.
2. While lentils cook, heat a sauté pan, with a drizzle of olive oil, over medium-high heat. When hot, add onion and carrot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly cooked. Add the mushrooms. Continue to cook until tender, another 5 minutes or so. Remove from pan onto a plate.
3. In the same skillet, heat another drizzle of oil over medium high heat. Add chopped kale and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender, about 10 minutes.
4. To the kale, add the chopped chicken, onion mixture, and lentils, cumin, salt and pepper, and vinegar. Cook, stirring frequently until mixture is hot throughout. Remove from heat, drizzle with olive oil and serve!
Let me know if you give this a go! I'd love to know what you think of it!
 I hope you enjoy!

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