Spiced Red Lentils with Rice

Dal with rice

So, you know those meals that aren’t exactly a showstopper, but taste amazing?  This is definitely one of those dishes.  It really doesn’t look very pretty, or maybe even appealing, but man oh man, it tastes soo good.  And, it makes the house smell amazing.  The red lentils become creamy, perfectly spiced, and just downright delicious.  I love to serve it over cooked white rice.

I have been trying to find recipes to use my fresh garden tomatoes that seem to just keep coming. (I am not complaining!)  This was a perfect way to incorporate many small ones.  This dish is a great, healthy, and quick meal for those busy weeknights.  And, it makes killer leftovers.  Win win!

Spiced Red Lentils with Rice

Yield: About 8-10 servings

For the spice mixture

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (if you like spicy, use more)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

For the lentils

  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil (or grapeseed, or canola oil)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup red lentils, picked through and rinsed
  • 12 ounces tomatoes, chopped (I used a combination of small romas and cherry tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons salted butter
  • salt and pepper
  • cooked white rice


In a small bowl, mix together the spice mixture.  In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering.  Stir in the spice mixture and cook until fragrant, about 10 seconds.  Mix in the onion and cook until softened, 5-8 minutes.  Stir in the garlic, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the water and lentils and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer until the lentils are tender and resemble a thick purée, 20-25 minutes.

Off the heat, stir in the tomatoes, parsley, tomatoes, butter, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Stir gently until combined.  Adjust seasonings if necessary.  Serve over rice.

Source: Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen, Healthy Family Cookbook


Grilled Tuscan Chicken

grilled tuscan chicken

Now that it is sometimes warm, we have broken out the grill for the season.  I am super pumped to be grilling again.  Chicken is one of my favorite things to grill.  The possibilities are endless.  Marinades are my favorite.  I am alway trying different recipes.  This marinade is a particular favorite.  It is so easy, but so delicious.  You can’t go wrong with rosemary and lemon!

grilled tuscan chicken

I usually mix up the marinade late morning, or early afternoon, then let the chicken sit in it, rotating every hour or so, until dinner.  The longer it marinates, the stronger the flavor will be.  And, even better, you can use any part(s) of the chicken!  I have marinated legs and thighs, and I am sure chicken breasts would be fabulous as well.  This is definitely something you want to throw on the grill this weekend!

Grilled Tuscan Chicken

Yield: about 4-5 servings

  • 3-4 pounds of desired cuts of chicken (you can do a mix or all of the same cut)
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 Tablespoon dried
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • salt and pepper


Combine all of the ingredients, except the chicken, in a large measuring cup.  Whisk until thoroughly combined.  Pour into a large bowl or ziplock bag.  Submerge the chicken and place in the refrigerator.  Let marinate for at least 2 hours, or up to 6 hours, turning every hour or so.

When ready to cook, heat the grill to medium heat.  Remove the chicken from the marinade, saving the remaining marinade to baste the chicken with.  Cook the chicken, basting with the reserved marinade until the chicken is completely cooked through, about 20-30 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Source: adapted from Great Food Fast, by Martha Stewart

Garlic Hummus

Garlic Hummus

Hummus is one of our favorite snacks. My husband requests it quite frequently.  It’s one of those satisfying dips that is very accommodating to many vessels.  It’s healthy, bursting with flavor, and filling. It makes a wonderful after school snack. Creamy, garlicky and delicious. The dip will last several days in the refrigerator.  In fact, it’s better to make ahead of time to allow the flavors to meld. It’s the perfect dip for a healthy snack, or to make for a get together.

Garlic Hummus

Yield: About 2 cups

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 5 Tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons dried parsley (or 2 Tablespoons fresh)
  • salt and pepper


In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the garlic cloves until minced. Scrape down the sides and add the remaining ingredients. Process until smooth and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl and cover. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Source: Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

Pasta with Garlicky Tuscan Chicken

Pasta with Garlicky Tuscan Chicken

It’s amazing how my love of pasta has grown and developed over the years. As a kid, I only really liked pasta with butter and a large serving of parmesan cheese. And nothing else, thank you very much.

Now that I am an adult, I have come to appreciate the amazing things you can do with pasta. One of my favorite combinations is pasta with chicken. Chicken being my favorite choice of meat, that really comes to no surprise.

Pasta with Garlicky Tuscan Chicken

This summer I purchased a cookbook that is all pasta recipes. I couldn’t wait to read through it and see what goodies were in there. I have made several recipes from it, and so far, they all have been excellent. This one particularly stands out. I have made it twice already! The garlic really shines through in a lovely light sauce. The chicken is tender and flavorful. I decided to swap out the arugula for spinach because I am really not a fan of it. My husband, who occasionally has a blind eye for left overs, came home for lunch the following day and finished off the dish! It is super tasty, really easy, and loved by all in my family. This recipe makes it an easy and great way to vamp up a pasta dinner that could otherwise be boring.


Pasta with Garlicky Tuscan Chicken

Yield: About 4-6 servings

  • 3 (6-8 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil or grapeseed oil, divided
  • 12 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 lb. penne
  • 5 oz. baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 oz. (3/4 cup) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice


Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Place 1/2 cup flour in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken through the flour, shaking off any excess. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, just until smoking. Carefully lay the chicken in the skillet and cook until well browned, about 6-8 minutes. Flip the chicken over and reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook until the chicken registers 160ºF with an instant-read thermometer. Transfer to a plate and tent with tin foil.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the now empty skillet, along with the garlic and shallots. Cook over medium-low heat until softened and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes and remaining 1 tablespoon of flour and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in the wine and broth. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Cook at a simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened and measures 2 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Stir in 2 cups of the garlic sauce, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and spinach. Stir until the spinach is wilted. Add reserved cooking water as needed to adjust consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, thinly slice the chicken on the bias. Divide the pasta between individual serving bowls. Lay the chicken over the top and drizzle remaining 1/2 cup sauce over each bowl. Serve with extra Parmesan cheese.


Source: Adapted from The Pasta Revolution

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

refrigerator pickles

We have had an over abundance of cucumbers come from our garden this year. My husband wanted to try out a “small” garden before we dive in deep next summer. Well, it turns out that his garden wasn’t so small after all. So far we have harvested close to 150 cucumbers. We have frozen about 32 pounds of beans (and counting), canned about 24 pints of diced tomatoes, dehydrated 6 pints of sun gold tomatoes (and counting), and harvested maybe 2 dozen butternut squash. Yeah, I don’t even know what to do with myself. The cucumbers we have been giving away left and right. I canned a dozen or so jars of dill pickles and bread and butter pickles. And I have made three batches of refrigerator pickles that I have been giving away. I mean really, what the heck else do you do with a million cucumbers? For this being a “small” garden, I am thinking that next year is going to be totally crazy. But I am looking forward to more fresh carrots and greens.

These refrigerator pickles are so delicious. And this is coming from someone who never really liked pickles. Well, I have been converted. These are incredibly fresh tasting (duh), crisp and full of flavor. I used fresh garlic from the garden (my dad grew those), and volunteer dill that was growing in the garden we let go fallow this year. You can’t get any fresher than that! I had a lot of compliments from everyone who received a jar. These are ready in a matter of two short days. You can make any amount . You won’t be sorry you made these! If you have any extra cucumbers lying around, go make pickles!

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Yield: about 3-4 pint jars of pickles

  • 1 bunch fresh dill
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3-4 medium-large cucumbers
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons kosher salt


Add 1 minced or pressed clove of garlic and a few springs of dill to the bottom of each jar.  (Don’t worry about exact amounts, they will be delicious regardless!)refrigerator pickles

Cut the cucumbers into spears or rounds.  Add the cucumbers to the jars, packing in as many as you can without having to force them in.

refrigerator pickles
In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the water, vinegar, and salt.  Whisk until the salt is dissolved. Pour the mixture into each jar over the cucumber spears so they are completely covered.  Top with an additional few sprigs of dill, if desired.  Screw on the lids of the jars.  Repeat with remaining cucumbers, making additional brine as needed.  Refrigerate for two days before thoroughly enjoying. Store in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally adapted from Delicious Melisious

Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks

cheesy breadsticks

As you all probably know by now, I am a huge pizza fan. In fact, my whole family is. We probably eat it once a week, either from the store or homemade. Something about pizza is comforting, delicious and fun at the same time. I think what contributes to my love of pizza is, when I was a kid my mom worked an hour and a half away from home as a nurse practitioner, so she would come home late most nights (the downside of living on an island in the middle of nowhere). Therefore, it was my dad and I a lot (my older sibs left home as soon as they could, and I am a bit younger than all of them). My dad runs the local newspaper, so deadline day he would always be later and never have the energy to cook a decent meal for us. So, it was a special night for pizza. He’d always get meatlovers, and a small cheese for me. And cape cod chips. Can’t forget the chips! My love of pizza has continued into adulthood. (Wait, I am an adult!?) And my daughter has definitely inherited the gene of pizza love.

Breadsticks are something my husband will always order if we go to a pizza joint. So that inspired me to find a recipe online that I could make at home. Much healthier and tastier! I love the garlic addition in these breadsticks. It makes them oh so good. I generally make two of these since one pizza isn’t enough for the four of us anymore. These make a wonderful finger food for a party or movie night with the family. Or, serve alongside a salad and you have yourself a meal!

Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks

Yield: about 4 servings

  • 1 lb. pizza dough, store-bought or homemade
  • 3 Tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8-10 oz. shredded mozzarella
  • marinara sauce for dipping (optional)


Preheat the oven to 500ºF with a pizza stone inside. If you don’t have a pizza stone, use an upside down cookie sheet.

Mix butter and garlic in a small bowl and set aside.

Roll pizza dough out into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (easier for transferring into the oven).

Spread the butter and garlic mixture over dough, then sprinkle the garlic powder evenly over the top. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.

Transfer the pizza on the parchment paper to the preheated stone and bake until golden and bubbly; 10-15 minutes. Slice into sticks and serve warm with marinara dipping sauce, if desired.

Source: Adapted from Lauren’s Latest

Garlic Rice Pilaf


I am pretty excited that June has brought some spectacular weather. The kids have been outside nearly all day, every day. My daughter has a fascination with catching butterflies with her little net, then watching them fly away. I am pretty sure that she manages to catch more butterflies than I can! My son likes to go back and forth between attempting to blow bubbles and playing in the dirt driveway with his little trucks. It is so much fun to watch them. I am not looking forward to them being cooped up this weekend with remnants of our first tropical storm coming through. It’s always so sad to see them stand at the door begging to go out on really stormy days.

Okay, on to this wonderful recipe. This rice dish has been a huge hit in my household for quite a while. It is my go-to side dish. In fact, I feel a little guilty that I didn’t post it earlier! I am pretty sure that if I left a pot of this unattended, my husband would eat it all. I typically have this as a side dish to chicken dishes, especially our favorite lemon chicken recipe, but it would make a great side dish to anything you want! In fact, I might have to change my dinner plans tonight to make this….

Garlic Rice Pilaf

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 5 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth), divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • squeeze of lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Have ready a covered casserole dish (a dutch oven works great for this). In a saucepan or skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and rice to the pan and cook until both are golden brown, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of the chicken broth, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish, cover, and bake for 25 minutes.

Stir in the remaining 3 cups chicken broth, and bake, covered for 15-25 minutes, until all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Stir in a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.

*You can easily cut this recipe in half without changing the baking times

Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats