November 28, 2010

Morrocan Lentil Soup

I was so excited to have friends visiting during cozy fall and thought what better way to spend an evening than sipping wine and making soup with some of my most favorite ladies. I hunted high and low for the perfect vegetarian friendly recipe that we all would devour and found this one!

Though the recipe called for red lentils, I only found generic 'lentils' at the store. I was pretty annoyed but I honestly have no idea if red ones taste different or if they are just red for show.

Everyone ate lots of this soup and it made way more than enough for us four girls and my mister. He and I continued to eat this soup all week!

We doubled most of the spices in the recipe linked above. You could blame the wine we were drinking, but we all agreed more spices could only mean more flavor and who doesn't want that?! I was so anxious to eat this that I forgot to add the frozen peas that the original recipe included, and I was cursing myself on that one. I love little snappy peas in thick stew-like dishes.

Without further ado, here is the Morrocan Lentil Soup as interpreted by Mostly Soup (and friends):

-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
-3 small onions, chopped
-5 cloves of Garlic, minced
-2 Celery stalks, chopped
-1 Carrot
-3 tsp Turmeric
-3 tsp Cinnamon
-4 tsp ground Cumin
-1 tsp fresh Ginger grated or 1/2 tsp ground
-about 4 dashes of cayenne pepper
-salt and pepper to taste
-8 cups of vegetable stock
-12 ounce pack of lentils
-1 tablespoonp Tomato Paste
-3 potatoes peeled and cubed (you could also use sweet potatoes or squash!)
-1 can stewed Tomatoes (I got tomatoes stewed with sweet peppers and onions)
-Sour cream and fresh parsley for serving

1. In large soup pot heat oil over medium heat. Cook onions, carrot, garlic, and celery, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5-10 minutes.
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2. Add salt, pepper, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
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3. Add veggie stock, lentils, tomato paste, potatoes and tomatoes (including juices), breaking up tomatoes with spoon. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until lentils are cooked to desired consistency.
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(3 1/2. This is where you would add in the frozen peas and let them cook for about 5 more minutes if you are using them!)

4. Once your lentils are perfect, taste the broth and add salt/pepper as needed. Ladel into bowls. Dollop each with sour cream and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with pita bread!
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My favorite thing about this soup was the tomatoes. They were so tasty, bursting with all the flavors they were simmering in for what seemed like ages! I wish I would have frozen half of this to eat later!


November 9, 2010

Cranberry Apple Butter

I remember my grandmother making apple butter year after year when I was a kid, always thinking it tasted nothing like butter (and a tad disappointed with that fact). I'm not sure how she was making hers but I remember thinking how insanely talented my grandmother was. If only I knew how easy she was getting off. This is one of the easiest recipes you'll ever make. I guarantee it. That fact is largely due to using a crock pot and an immersion blender but you can still make this recipe even if you don't have those tools.

This recipe was very good. I would've preferred it a little bit thicker, however, I loved how the tartness of the cranberry played off the sweetness of the apple. This recipe made quite a bit of apple butter so this would be a perfect gift to jar up and hand out for the holidays. Impress your friends with your grandma-like skills. We ate this on pumpkin bread and regular toast for breakfast for weeks. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Cran Apple Butter
source: Mommie Cooks

10-12 Apples, Chopped
3 Cups of Whole Cranberries
1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup of White Sugar
1 tsp of Cinnamon
1/2 tsp of Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Ginger
1/4 tsp Cloves
4 Shakes of Salt


Throw it all in your slow cooker and cook it on low for 12 hours. You can also do this using a dutch oven in your regular oven at 400 degrees. Emulsify it smooth with an immersion blender or by batches in a regular blender.

All lined up ready to be chopped

The beginning

12 hours later

Pretty in jars

Even better on pumpkin bread

November 2, 2010

Chicken and Pepper Stew With Olives & Cranberries

I know, this sounds like a strange combination of flavors. That's exactly why I wanted to try it. I thought to myself, "That sounds weird, but I like all those things so let's try it out!" V came over for some pre-halloween crafting and I made us a feast.

The original recipe arrived in my email from Real Simple. I realize that I post a lot of recipes from them, but its just so convenient to have recipes that are delicious randomly emailed to you daily! I cannot keep up with all the amazing recipes out there on the internet!

In any case, to get back on track, Here is the recipe as I made it, only a few substitutions. (dried cranberries instead of raisins, chicken breast tenders instead of thighs, and just less of everything because I didn't want to feed 8 people.)

Chicken and Pepper Stew With Olives & Cranberries
Makes about 4 to 6 servings, depending how hungry you are!


1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (but regular would work too)
kosher salt and black pepper
10 boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders (about 2 to 3 pounds)
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 each of red, yellow and green bell peppers, sliced.
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup pitted olives (I used kalamata)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cups long-grain white rice


1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the chicken and toss to coat.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. In batches, brown the chicken, turning, 6 to 8 minutes; transfer to a plate as it browns and add more oil as necessary.
3. Add the bell peppers, garlic, 1/4 cup of the broth, 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the pot. Cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until the peppers begin to soften, 4 to 6 minutes.
4. Add the olives, cranberries, and the remaining 1 cup of broth and bring to a boil. Nestle the chicken in the vegetables and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
5. Uncover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. (Maybe longer, I might have also used too much liquid)
6. Twenty minutes before the stew is done, cook the rice according to the package directions. Serve with the stew.

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I thought this would have been pretty tasty with some feta cheese on top but I didn't think of it when I was at the store. It was kind of a salty sweet combo with the olives and cranberries. The chicken was falling apart and would have been extra delicious if I had used thighs, but the chicken tenders are what I had on hand. This also heated up nicely for lunch the next day!

I always forget to take pictures of the process, but seriously, this was delicious!