Category Archives: main dish

lentil soup with sausage, chard, and garlic

lentil soupServings: 6  Source: GINA DEPALMA VIA SECRETS OF THE BEST CHEFS

This hearty meal-in-a-bowl soup is perfect on a cold fall or winter day.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 large links (or 8 ounces) of sweet/ mild Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced or diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons or diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced (reserve half for later in recipe)
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 cup brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 5 or 6 cups chicken broth
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 to 4 cups shredded or thinly ribboned Swiss chard leaves or kale (or baby spinach)*
  • Grated Pecorino Romano cheese to finish

* Add greens after serving, into the portion you will eat to avoid overcooked greens. There is no need to cook the spinach as it will wilt instantly.

On the stove:
 Heat 1/8 cup olive oil in a large pot on medium to medium-high heat. When hot, add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it starts to brown, about five minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrots, first two garlic cloves, a pinch of salt, and if you like your soup spicy, a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook with the sausage until the vegetables soften a bit, another 5 minutes. Add the lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes, chicken broth, and black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. (It might be necessary to add more water if the soup gets too thick, though we preferred ours on the thick side.)

When the lentils are cooked, add the chard and cook until the leaves are tender, just a few minutes more. Discard the bay leaves.

In an InstantPot or electric multicooker: Proceed as written above, using the sauté function on high (I find this to be like medium-high on a stove) to cook the sausage and then vegetables. Once you’ve added the remaining ingredients, including dried lentils, lock the lid and set to high pressure for 15 minutes. Let it naturally release for at least 10 minutes (or longer, if you have time), to help keep the vegetables intact. You can manually release the rest. Use the sauté function on high again to bring it back to a simmer (this should be take no time at all) and add the greens; cook until wilted.

Both methods: To finish, divide soup among bowls, then add the remaining 1/8 cup olive oil and 2 garlic cloves to a small skillet (on the stove) and heat over medium until the garlic softens and hisses. Drizzle this over soup bowls, and top with fresh Romano, passing more at the table. Leftovers will keep for several days in the fridge.

Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen

instant pot honey garlic chicken


  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup no salt ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
  • 4 to 6 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  • sliced green onions, for garnish


  1. In a small mixing bowl combine honey, minced garlic, soy sauce, ketchup, oregano and parsley; mix until well combined and set aside.
  2. Heat the Instant Pot in sauté mode.
  3. Add sesame oil to the pot.
  4. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper; arrange in the instant pot and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  5. Add the prepared honey garlic sauce to the pot; cover and lock the lid.
  6. Cook in poultry mode for 20 minutes.
  7. Turn off the pot and allow it to release the pressure, about 5 minutes.
  8. Transfer chicken to a serving plate and spoon the sauce over the chicken.
  9. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and green onions.
nutritional information
Calories: 360; Fat: 10g (sat 2g); Protein: 32g; Cholesterol: 145mg; Sodium: 1022mg; Fiber: n/a; Carbohydrates: 35g (30g sugars)
yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 thighs)
time: about 25 minutes
source: Diethood

weeknight arroz con pollo


6 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
Table salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
Ground black pepper
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), trimmed of excess skin and fat
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1 small green pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup water
3 cups medium-grain rice
1/2 cup green manzanilla olives, pitted and halved
1 tablespoon capers
1/2 cup jarred pimentos, cut into 2 by 1/4-inch strips
Lemon wedges, for serving


To keep the dish from becoming greasy, It IS important to remove excess fat from the chicken thighs and trim the skin. To use long-grain rice instead of medium-grain, increase the water to 3/4 cup in step 2.

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Place garlic and 1 teaspoon salt in large bowl; using rubber spatula, mix to a make smooth paste. Add oregano, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to garlic- salt mixture; stir to combine. Place chicken in bowl with marinade. Coat chicken pieces evenly with marinade; set aside for 15 minutes.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, green pepper, and pepper flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, 4 to 8 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons cilantro; stir to combine. Push vegetables to sides of pot and increase heat to medium-high. Add chicken to clearing in center of pot, skin side down, in even layer. Cook, without moving chicken, until outer layer of meat becomes opaque, 2 to 4 minutes. (If chicken begins to brown, reduce heat to medium.) Using tongs, flip chicken and cook on second side until opaque, 2 to 4 minutes more. Add tomato sauce, broth, and water; stir to combine. Bring to simmer; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Add rice, olives, capers, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; stir well. Bring to simmer, cover, and place pot in oven. After 10 minutes, remove pot from oven and stir chicken and rice once from bottom up. Return pot to oven. After another 10 minutes, stir once more, adding 1/4 cup water if rice appears dry and bottom of pot is beginning to burn. Cover and return pot to oven; cook until rice has absorbed all liquid and is tender but still holds its shape and temperature of chicken registers 175 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes longer.

4. Using tongs, remove chicken from pot; replace lid and set pot aside. Remove and dis- card chicken skin; using 2 spoons, pull meat off bones into large chunks. Using fingers, remove remaining fat or dark veins from chicken pieces. Place chicken in large bowl and toss with remaining tablespoon olive oil, remaining 2 teaspoons vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro, and pimentos; season with salt and pepper to taste. Place chicken on top of rice, cover, and let stand until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Serve, passing lemon wedges separately.

nutritional information: not available.

yield: 4-6 servings (serving size: 1 bowl)
time: 1 hour
source: Cooks Illustrated Magazine, Issue 82, p. 21

stuffed peppers with moroccan lamb

NOTE: we substituted dried cherries and raisins for the prunes and that worked great, but using ground beef instead of lamb changes the flavor profile and filling consistency significantly.


stuffed peppers

Canola or vegetable oil
4 large bell peppers (any color)
1 pound ground lamb
1/2 cup uncooked couscous
1/2 cup drained canned plum tomatoes, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped pitted prunes
1/4 cup slivered blanched almonds, toasted in a 350°F oven until lightly browned
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tbsp chopped cialntro leaves + chopped leaves for garnish
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne

cucumber yogurt mint sauce

1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
1 cup thick Middle Eastern-type plain yogurt
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped mint leaves, to garnish


Lightly brush a deep cast-iron skillet large enough to hold the peppers in a single layer with oil. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

slice the tops of the peppers (about 3/4-inch down), and set them aside. Remove the seeds and membranes, if necessary, cut a very thin slice from the bottom of each pepper so they stand level.

In a bowl, mix together the lamb, couscous, tomatoes, prunes, almonds, garlic, onion, cilantro, salt, cumin, ginger, and black and cayenne peppers. Fill the peppers, replace the tops, and brush them with oil.

Put the peppers in the skillet, cover loosely with foil, and bake until the lamb is cooked through, the peppers are tender, and the skin starts to brown, 60 to 75 minutes, depending on how thick the walls of our peppers are. Remove the tops and run the peppers under the broiler to lightly brown the meat, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet, re-cover the peppers, and let them stand for at least 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro, and serve with Cucumber Yogurt Mint Sauce, if desired.

Make the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the cucumber, yogurt, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the mint and drizzle over the stuffed peppers.

nutritional information: not available.

yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 pepper)
time: 1 1/2 hours

asian dumplings in garlic broth with peas


Grapeseed or other high-heat oil, for the pot
5 to 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
3 1/2 to 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth (organic if you can)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 carrot, thinly sliced into coins
1 package (16 ounces) Asian vegetable dumplings (substitute other kinds if desired)
2 cups peas, any kind; snow peas, thawed frozen green peas, sugar snaps
3 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced, plus more for garnish


Heat up a soup pot over high heat. Drizzle in enough oil to cover the bottom. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until deep golden, about 1 minute (deep golden is good here, as it will flavor the broth well).

Add 3 1/2 cups of the broth, the soy sauce, and carrot. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Just before serving, slip the dumplings and peas into the pot and increase the heat to high. Cover and cook until the dumplings are heated all the way through, 4 to 5 minutes. If the dumplings soak up too much liquid add a little more broth. Toss in the scallions. Taste it! Does it need more ginger? A little soy sauce? Divide among big bowls and garnish with scallions.

other suggestions: add a dab of miso paste in the beginning; slice red chile for heat; asian chili paste at the end; garnish with chopped cilantro, mint, chives, or pea shoots; serve with soy sauce and hoisin sauce on the side.

nutritional information: not available.

yield: 12-15 servings (serving size: 1 bar)
time: 30 minutes (15 minutes prep)
source: The Family Cooks, p. 197

quinoa cakes with cucumber yogurt sauce


quinoa cakes

1 cup quinoa (rinse if needed)
2 eggs
1/4 all-purpose, whole wheat, or any gluten-free flour
3 Tbsp tahini, almond butter, or peanut butter
1 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
1 package (10 ounces) frozen spinach or kale, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup finely grated sweet potato (about 1 small one)
1/4 cup finely diced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
A pinch of freshly ground black pepper or cayenne pepper
Olive oil, for the baking sheet

cucumber yogurt sauce

1/2 medium English cucumber or 3 mini cucumbers, seeded and finely diced
1 cup Greek Yogurt (whole or low fat)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp finely diced red onion or shallot
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh chives, dill, or mint
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Start the quinoa cooking immediately so it can cook while you are preparing the other ingredients. Combine the quinoa and 3 cups of water in a pot and boil it until it is soft, about 20 minutes. Drain it well.

Transfer the quinoa to your favorite mixing bowl. Add the eggs, flour, tahini, vinegar, spinach, sweet potato, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir, knead, and smooth all the ingredients together until they are one tight-knit family. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes if you have time.

Preheat the oven to 400°F with the rack in the middle. Oil a baking sheet.

To shape the cakes, first wet your hands. for each patty, scoop up 3 or 4 tablespoons of the mixture with your hands and form a 1/2-inch-thick patty, firmly patting it so it stays together (loosie-goosies will fall apart). Arrange the patties on the baking sheet.

Bake until the cakes are lightly browned and crisp, flipping them over once halfway through the baking time, about 25 minutes. Serve warm with cucumber yogurt sauce.

Make the sauce: Wrap the cucumber in a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth and squeeze out the moisture. combine the cucumber with the yogurt, lemon juice, onion, and herbs in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve right away or store in the fridge for up to 2 days.

other suggestions: add chopped nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese, and/or chopped parsley, dill, or cilantro.

nutritional information: not available.

yield: 4-6 servings (serving size: 2-3 cakes)
time: 45 minutes ( plus 30 minutes prep)
source: The Family Cooks, p. 194

apple bacon stuffed pork chops


6 1″ thick pork chops
2 Tbsp lard
2 medium baking apples (Gala and York are our favorites), peeled, cored and diced
10 strips of bacon, diced
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minces
4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1/4 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper


Using a 4-6″ knife, pierce the fatty side of each chop. Wiggle your knife side to side until your “pocket” is about 5″ long and 3″ wide (70% of the chop).

In a medium pan (we recommend a cast iron skillet or dutch oven), melt lard over medium-high heat. Cook apples, bacon and onion until onion is softened and bacon is crispy, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, sage, paprika and lemon juice and toss for 2 minutes. Remove stuffing from heat, transfer to bowl and set-aside.

Salt and pepper each side of pork chop, stuff it with as much stuffing as you can fit and use a skewer or toothpick to close and prevent spilling (about half of the stuffing will be leftover). Insert pork chops into the hot pan to sear on each side, cook each side of the chops for 5 minutes in hot pan over medium-high heat. Transfer pan/dutch oven to 350 degree oven and bake uncovered for 35 minutes.

To serve, warm remaining stuffing and spoon on top of each chop.

NOTE: Instead of using lard, we started cooking the bacon first and then added the apples and onion late so that it would cook in the drippings. We also omitted the toothpicks (long story involving upper palate injuries) and the stuffing remained pretty well contained inside the chops.


nutritional information: not available.

yield: 2-4 servings (serving size: 1/2 or 1 chop)
time: 30 min
source: Paleoparents

brown rice salad with asparagus, goat cheese, and lemon


brown rice

1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons vinegar or citrus juice


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
Salt and pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 recipe Brown Rice for Salad
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley



Bring 3 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add rice and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender, 22 to 25 minutes. Drain rice, transfer to parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet, and spread into even layer. Drizzle rice wine vinegar or citrus juice and let cool completely, about 15 minutes.


Heat vegetable oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of asparagus with tips pointed in 1 direction and remaining asparagus with tips pointed in opposite direction. Using tongs, arrange spears in even layer (they will not quite fit into single layer); cover and cook until bright green and still crisp, 2 to 5 minutes.

Uncover, increase heat to high, season with salt and pepper to taste, and continue to cook until tender and well browned on 1 side, 5 to 7 minutes, using
tongs to occasionally move spears from center to edge of pan to ensure all are browned . Transfer to plate and let cool completely. Cut into 1-inch pieces.

Whisk olive oil, shallot, lemon zest and juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in bowl. Transfer cooled rice to large bowl. Add asparagus, all but 2 tablespoons goat cheese, and dressing; toss to combine. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Add 1/3 cup almonds and 3 tablespoons parsley; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with remaining almonds, reserved 2 tablespoons goat cheese, and remaining 1 tablespoon parsley; serve.

nutritional information: not available

yield: 6-8 main dish servings (serving size: 1 bowl)
time: 1 hour
source: Cooks Illustrated, #123, p. 21

pollo con limón y ajillo (chicken with lemon and garlic)


2 skinless, boneless chicken breast fillets
2 TBSP olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp paprika
juice of 1 lemon
2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
black pepper


Slice chicken breasts into thin strips, ensuring that the strips are no more than 1/2 inch thick. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Stir fry the chicken strips with the garlic, shallots, and paprika over high heat for approximately 3 minutes, or until cooked through. After the shallots have caramelized, but just before they burn, add the lemon juice and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot with lemon wedges and garnish with flat leaf parsley.

Variation: use pork fillet and substitute green onions (the white part for the shallot and the green portion for the parsley).

nutritional information: not available


yield: 4 servings (serving size: 4-5 strips)
time: 10 min
source: The Complete Spanish Cookbook, p. XX

sesame ginger salmon


1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
4 green onions, thinly sliced
4 salmon filets


2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha, or more, to taste
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds


To make the glaze, whisk together honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, Sriracha, ginger and sesame seeds in a small bowl; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds and green onions. In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine ginger marinade and salmon filets; marinate for at least 30 minutes to overnight, turning the bag occasionally.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Place salmon filets along with the marinade onto prepared baking dish and bake until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 20 minutes. Serve salmon immediately with honey ginger glaze.

nutritional information: not available


yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 filet)
time: 65 min