Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ina's Lentil and Sausage Soup


  • 1 pound French green lentils (recommended: du Puy)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 4 cups diced yellow onions (3 large)
  • 4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (2 leeks)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 large cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups medium diced celery (8 stalks)
  • 3 cups medium diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots)
  • 3 quarts Homemade Chicken Stock or canned broth
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 pound kielbasa, cut in 1/2 lengthwise and sliced 1/3-inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons dry red wine or red wine vinegar
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving


In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.

In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and saute the onions, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are translucent and tender. Add the celery and carrots and saute for another 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and drained lentils, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, or until the lentils are cooked through and tender. Check the seasonings. Add the kielbasa and red wine and simmer until the kielbasa is hot. Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with grated Parmesan.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Best Pizza Crust EVER!



  1. 1
    In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in 1/4-cup warm water (100-110 degrees).
  2. 2
    In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and the salt. (can do by hand with spoon if you don't have a mixer).
  3. 3
    Add the oil, the yeast mixture, and the remaining 3/4 C water, mix on low speed until dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and clusters around the dough hook, about 5 minutes.
  4. 4
    If the dough is still sticky, then simply add a bit more flour until it pulls cleanly away from the hook.
  5. 5
    Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand 2 or 3 minutes.
  6. 6
    The dough should be smooth and firm. Place in lightly oiled bowl an cover with plastic wrap.
  7. 7
    Let sit for about 30-45 minutes. (When ready, the dough will stretch as it is lightly pulled).
  8. 8
    Take dough out of bowl and divide into either 2 or 4 balls, depending on whether you want 2 large pizzas or 4 small.
  9. 9
    Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking under the bottom of the ball. Repeat 4 or 5 times.
  10. 10
    Cover the dough with a damp towel (I just use plastic wrap, loosely fitted) and let rest 15 to 20 minutes.
  11. 11
    At this point, the balls can be used or wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
  12. 12
    To make pizzas, I stretch out onto greased pizza pan, top with sauce and toppings, and bake at 450 degrees for 12-16 minutes, until done. (smaller pizzas will take less time, so keep watching it)
  13. 13
    I usually slide the pizza off the pan for the remaining 2 minutes to crisp it up a bit.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Jenn's Healthified Spinach, Artichoke and Red Pepper Dip

To bake or serve raw:

* 1/2 pkg. reduced fat or fat free cream cheese
* 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
* 1/2 cup yogurt drained (you drain your yogurt by putting a cheesecloth over a strainer and letting it sit in the fridge for a few hours--I usually let mine sit overnight. It makes a thick creamy yogurt the consistency of cream cheese/sour cream).
* 12-16 oz. of artichoke hearts in water not marinated
* 1 roasted red pepper chopped
* 1/2 cup good Parmesan cheese grated
* 2-3 cups fresh chopped spinach
* 1 clove garlic
* 1 Tbl. lemon juice (I didn't use it in this batch--I forgot--it would be good either way).
* Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine softened cream cheese, yogurts, artichoke hearts garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in food processor or blender. Mix--pulse.

2. Pour into bowl and add roasted peppers, fresh chopped spinach, and Parmesan cheese.

3. I serve mine with the best healthy chips I've ever tasted. The brand is: Food Should Taste Good. I can get mine in the grocery store in the health food section but you can order them online. We've tried the multi-grain, sweet potato, and jalapeno. The sweet potato are our favorite with the multi-grain right up there with it. They have about 11 different flavors. Online you have to buy a case of 12 but you can mix and match all the flavors. Sorry for the plug but they really are good. I promise I'm not getting paid to say any of this! Serve with your favorite whole grain chip or cracker. Make sure it doesn't have hydrogenated fat or high fructose corn syrup! Those are major ingredients you really don't want!

4. If you still want to bake it after all of my hype not to you can. Bake at 350 for about 25-30 min or until it's bubbly and browning.