Tag Archives: comfort food

Pantry Stew – Eating Healthy Economics 101

My husband’s a golf pro.  This means that we live kind of lean in the winter.  I spend the summer stocking up on pantry food, like beans, quinoa, brown rice and gluten free pasta:  stuff that can make cheap dinners to live off of in the leaner times.  I haven’t quite reached prepper status yet, but some people may think I’m a bit excessive.  Hey, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.  Well, we still have a couple of weeks left until he goes back to work so right now I’m kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel for creative things to make that are still healthy and tasty.  Beans are definitely the way to go.  Come summer, we have our garden to eat from and, living out in the boonies, we have a lot of farm markets to go to as well for the things I don’t grow.  We have a large freezer that is still full of frozen veggies.

Here’s the economy of eating healthy:  you have to pick and choose what you can afford.  Thankfully, we have a ‘budget’ type of store around here, called Aldi’s.  They’re all along the east coast of the US, and I don’t know where else they are.  But, they just started selling a line of organic things:  canned goods like beans and tomatoes and broths (except they don’t have veggie broth), plus they have a limited amount of organic veggies.  If you’re one of those “I will only eat orgaclean-15-dirty-dozen-287x300nic vegetables and find extreme disdain with someone who doesn’t,”  you can stop reading here.  I buy organic when I can.  I try to buy the ‘dirty dozen’ organic only.  Other veggies, I stick to washing them really well and peeling them.  Once again, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.  The way I figure it, if you’re eating healthy things, I think your body should be able to detox from the pesticides and junk that you’re getting from the non-organic stuff.  I try to eat non-GMO as much as possible, but really can’t afford to shop at the local co-op exclusively.  I just can’t with a family of 5 to feed on a limited budget.  And I won’t even go into my “shouldn’t ‘they’ make the good food cheap to eat so everyone will be healthy” spiel.

So, this was my pantry meal of the day:  a bunch of beans and chopped veggies.  Also, I need some good carbs in me.  Now that I’ve been feeling better for the first time in a long time, I started exercising.  I’ve been weight lifting (arms and upper body 3 days a week a legs twice a week) and walking every day (about 2-4 miles, depending on the route).  On the weekend,  do some sort of cardio.  Today, I did 55 minutes of Zumba (that I took out of the library).  This stew was very filling and fulfilling without feeling heavy on my stomach.  And it gave me some energy post workout.  Plus, it made a really big pot, so I’ll have some quick lunches this week.  Enjoy!

Pantry Stew

Pantry Stew

Ingredients:

28 oz. Can Chopped Tomatoes

15 oz. Can White Beans, drained and rinsed

15 oz. Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed

15 oz. Can Kidney Beans, not drained

2 Cups Vegetable Broth

1 Cup Lentils

1 Cup Cauliflower Florets

⅓ Cup Almond Butter

2 Carrots, peeled and chopped

1 Zucchini, chopped

1 Medium Sweet Onion, chopped

2 Teaspoons Cumin

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a stock pot. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer on medium low heat for 30 minutes. Add more vegetable broth if it seems too thick.

Lentils – It’s What’s for Lunch

Lentils are awesome.  I love the little green ones, the red ones, the big green ones.  They are so versatile and easy to make.  So, the arctic air got its grip on us once again and for some reason, I tend to make the comfort food when it’s cold out.  This was an easy recipe to make:  just a pot of lentils and some veggie sauté to top it off.  It’s very comforting and warm and filling and good for you.  I can work out after lunch and not feel like my stomach is churning because lentils digest very well for me.

The basic recipe for making lentils is a 2 to 1 ratio of water to lentils.  Here, I cooked a 16 ounce bag of lentils in 4 cups of water, brought it to a boil and cooked them on medium low heat for 20 minutes:  very simple.  You may need to adjust the amount of fluid (you can use either veggie broth or water), depending on your elevation.  Some people will say not to salt the water because it makes the lentils tough, but I salt the water and my lentils cook up perfectly fine.  It’s really not brain surgery.  I made a whole pot of lentils so I can have lentils in the fridge to make some lentil burgers, or just to eat cold as a snack.

Lentils with Mushroom Saute

Lentils with Mushroom Sauté

Ingredients:

1 lb Lentils

4 Cups Water

8 Ounces Mushrooms

1 Small Zucchini, chopped

1 Medium Onion, chopped

2 Cups Chopped Kale

2 Teaspoons Curry Powder

½ Teaspoon Powdered Ginger

1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

2 Cloves Garlic, minced

Directions:

In a small stockpot, combine lentils and water. Add some salt to the water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes until lentils are tender.

Meanwhile, in a hot skillet, add the vegetable broth and vegetables. Sauté until tender and sauce is slightly thickened. Add more broth if needed. Serve on top of lentils. Makes 4 servings.

Tempeh Jambalaya

Jambalaya is one of my family’s favorite meals. It’s an easy one pot meal and doesn’t take that long to make. It’s pretty versatile too: you can add different types of meat to it (whatever you may have left over) or even shrimp. You can add as much spice as you want. I learned a recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook a long time ago and I run with that. I’ve made it so many times that I don’t even use a recipe any longer. So, I gave a whack at making a vegan version last night. I liked it. It was easy. It was definitely healthy. I have to admit though, it was a little less jambalaya-ish and more like just plain rice and beans. You could leave out the tempeh. I just threw it in because I had it, otherwise, I would have just gone with the beans. It’s a good one pot meal, with leftovers for lunch or a quick dinner. Hope you like it.
Vegan Jambalya

Vegan Jambalaya

Ingredients:
1 Stalk Celery
1 ½ Cups Sliced Mushrooms
½ Cup Onion
½ Cup Green Bell Pepper
2 Carrots, sliced
½ Cup Vegetable Broth
14.5 oz. Can Chopped Tomatoes
1 ½ Cups Vegetable Broth
2/3 Cups Brown Rice
1 Cup Black Beans
1 Teaspoon Basil
½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
½ Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 Bay Leaf
8 oz. Tempeh, cut into cubes
Salt, to taste

Directions:
In a large skillet, sauté the mushrooms, pepper, celery, onion, and carrots in ½ cup of broth about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add in remaining ingredients except for the tempeh. Turn heat down to medium low and cover. Simmer for about 40 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and add extra broth as necessary. Stir in the cubed tempeh and cook another 5-10 minutes, until rice is fully cooked. Makes 4 Servings.

Sunflower Chili

Soups and chilis have been my main staple lately. The weather here in upstate New York has been varying between freezing cold, snow, rain, and warmth. Soups kind of just fit the bill for my go-to food. It’s easy for the days that I want to take advantage of the beautiful weather while it’s here (like yesterday) and perfect for comfort food on the raw, nasty days. I try to prepare them like the Dr. Fuhrman book talks about: no oil, nuts for the protein and fiber, lots of beans. Sometimes I’ll add mushrooms and onions as well to satisfy the daily requirements of G-BOMBS (greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds). I haven’t worked berries into any of my soups yet. Maybe I’ll try strawberries in soup at one point because they do have a tomato-ey type of vibe to them. Maybe a miso soup with strawberries and ginger….hmmmm….maybe when I’m feeling a little more creative. Anyway, I made this super easy chili yesterday. It’s a great detox after the rich food we had on Christmas day and it’s easy so I’m not chained to the kitchen for an afternoon. The sweet potato gives it a little sweetness to the earthy chili flavor. You can add peppers and onion to it as well, even mushrooms. This was just a quick, toss-it-together type of chili. Give it a whir. I hope you like it.
Sunflower Chili 2 copy

Sunflower Chili

Ingredients:
(2) 28 oz. Cans Chopped Tomatoes
14 oz. Can Black Beans, drained
14 oz. Can Kidney Beans, drained
14 oz. Can Pinto Beans, drained
2/3 Cups Raw Sunflower Seeds
½ Cup Vegetable Stock
2 Med. Sweet Potatoes, peeled and chopped
¼ Cup Chili Powder
1 Tbsp. Cumin
2 Tsp. Granulated Garlic
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions:
Add everything to a stockpot and cook over medium heat for about 1 hour (or until sweet potatoes are tender). Season as desired. Serves 10, 1 cup servings.