Lentil and Butternut Squash Chili

This chili is so much lighter than most chili’s I’ve tasted and definitely lighter than my usual go to the Sweet Potato Chili. Cutting down on the beans by adding lentils instead makes it that it is still rich in protein without the heaviness of too many beans. And switching out the sweet potato for some butternut squash really sealed the deal for me. In my husbands words “this one’s a winner”.

One pot meals like these make me so happy. I make a huge batch, either freeze some for later use, or just have leftovers for a few days. And this method guarantees my kids will get a good dose nutritious delicious vegetables in one meal. As with most one pot meals, I find that it tastes better the next day, although my family had no problem eating more than half of it as soon as it came off the stove.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 TBS cacao powder
  • 1 TBS cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 TBS chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups butternut squash, chopped
  • 1 cup dry french lentils
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeds removed
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 28 oz can of diced organic tomatoes
  • 2 cups cooked beans (I mixed white and black)
  • 1 tsp salt

Steps:

  • In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat, add onions and sautee until they become slightly transluscent
  • add all the spices and keep cooking until the aroma has come out, 2 minutes about
  • add butternut squash, lentils, and water and bring to a boil (this is usually when I chop the rest of my veggies)
  • reduce heat, add all other ingredients except for beans
  • simmer on low for about 30-40 minutes or until lentils are fully cooked
  • add the beans 10 minutes before done
  • taste and adjust spices and salt according to preference.

I ate mine with cilantro and avocado, because avocado makes everything taste better 🙂

Quinoa Egg Muffins

There are two reasons for this recipe: 1-I had leftover quinoa and I usually try and create something new with leftover grains instead of serving them as is to my family; 2-My daughter started school a couple weeks ago and so it’s time I get my packed-lunch-creative-juices flowing again. So with that comes the quinoa egg muffin. The egg to flour ratio makes it that these muffins are not super dense and doughy nor are they too “egg-y” or omelette like. I find them to be a nice balance of the two 🙂 Super tasty, wholesome and easily packable to provide a nutritious lunch for my 1st grader  🙂 

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour (I used spelt)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper

Steps:

  • Preheat oven to 375 F
  • Cook first 4 ingredients in skillet for about 2 to 4 minutes
  • Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl
  • Add mushroom mixture and combine
  • Pour in lined muffin tins ( you don’t have to line them but my daughter likes the cupcake like packaging and it makes for easier tin clean up)
  • Bake for about 15 minutes
  • Makes about 12 muffins, enough for a few lunches and the rest of the family!

Zucchini Patties

Most times I end up making patties it is because I have left over grains of some sort. I love making patties for the kids because it is such an easy way to pack veggies in without them paying attention. This is such a quick lunch to make if you have everything on hand. Here is my latest patty creation. 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 2 TBS fresh chopped parsley
  • 4 mushrooms
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 TBS rice flour (any flour will do)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TBS olive oil

Steps:

  • mix everything together in the for processor with the S blade until well combined. 
  • make 3 inch patties on a skillet and cook about 2 minutes each side. 
  • makes about 12 patties

Since the only ingredient that needs cooking is the egg, there is no need to cook for too long. 

I served it with a leftover red bell pepper sauce that I had made. I didn’t write down the recipe for this one as I was making it but I really liked it so I will be making it again. Stay tuned for an update on that 🙂

“Bottom of the fridge” Veggie Patties

Obviously I am no photographer and most of my photos do not do my food any justice. This one in particular. But every time I look at this picture, I am reminded of the beautifully blended flavors and textures that came out of this creation. So I want to share it with you. Also, I make veggies patties quite often, and after eating these, my husband said these were his favorite so far of all the patties I’ve made. Another worthy reason to share 🙂

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When I have grains leftover, I often end up making some kind of vegetable medley, or a scrumptious salad, but every now and then, I make veggie patties. And I am never disappointed. Patties are a great way to incorporate more veggies into my kids diet.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked grains ( I used farro here but any grain will do)
  • 1 cup cooked veggies (i had leftover steamed broccoli and carrots, but again, anything will do and even fresh veggies work fine)
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TBS herbs of choice
  • 2 TBS bread crumbs (optional, but I like the added texture thing)

Steps:

  • Put all in a food processor and blend until well incorporated.
  • In a heated pan, put a little oil so the patties won’t stick, and spoon patties into the pan
  • Since everything is already cooked or at least chopped very finely, you do not need to cook too long, just enough to brown each side and bind everything together.
  • Eat ’em up warm! They taste great cold too, as leftovers or packed for a lunch.

I prefer mine with a fresh crispy lettuce and some hot mustard, but if you are more traditional, they taste great in between buns with any toppings of your choice! My son devoured these so quickly, it made me so happy to see 🙂

This recipe is just an idea. Imagination is your limit here. You can add any kind of spices (curry?), or veggies, or nuts or seeds (sunflower seeds would’ve tasted great here) or anything you are in the mood for or can find hanging out in the bottom of your fridge needing to be eaten. Have fun with it!