We are trying to start the new year on a healthier note and we are also trying to keep our budget in check after all the holiday spending. I got this recipe off of one of my favorite online resources: Budget Bytes and it was the perfect way to satisfy the trifecta of healthy, budget friendly, and delicious. (Link to specific recipe in a few paragraphs!)
My background on cooking: I have never been one to claim helplessness on the cooking front. My mom taught me how to feed myself and I am always game to make something simple like pasta or throwing things in a crockpot. I have never really loved cooking the way some people do though. I have always had more of a passion for baking which is why I started there last year.
The difference for me between cooking and baking is that baking tends to fall to more scientific exact measurements and you also tend to do one thing at a time and then prep the next thing while the other component rises or bakes etc. Cooking has always seemed to be a lot more about tricky timing and improvising which makes me uncomfortable. Thanks to all my baking adventures last year, I have started to improvise there which already helped me in today’s first recipe.
While I don’t feel a passion for cooking, I do feel a passion for feeding myself and my family healthy foods that will fuel us in the (sometimes overly) busy lives we lead. I feel passion for making something not so healthy but delicious and different for special occasions or a surprise. I have a passion for entertaining and so it seems high time I learn a little more about this component of it.
As a head’s up, I am pescetarian. We eat fish about once a week and other than that no meat. I am not vegan. We eat a lot of cheese in this house and often cook with eggs. I am however, starting with a recipe for curried lentils, which does happen to be a delicious vegan meal. Of course… remember how I told you about timing? Yeah, it tripped me up a little bit…
First: I need to learn how to chop vegetables faster. I always think it will only take a few minutes but it is always a longer ordeal, especially when interacting with a toddler along the way. Speaking of vegetables, I improvised a little because I thought we had carrots and we roasted them all for a meal this weekend so I substituted an orange bell pepper which was great alongside the other flavors. I never would have done that a year ago. I’d have just given up and found a recipe where I had all the ingredients so as far as I’m concerned I’m already winning…
Second, even without a toddler distraction, I totally forget to take pictures during the process because it all kind of flows together unlike the defined steps in baking. So no pictures this post.
Finally, this recipe calls for a LARGE sauce pan and I definitely made the mistake of using a medium one… i ended up combining everything half and half in the pan I used for the veggies and spices and in the pot i used to cook the lentils. So if you have a large pan- use it!!
The result: Off to a great, healthy start. The meal was delicious and filling with a flavorful but not really spicy kick so it should be a good mix for almost everyone. Lentils are on of my favorite meat substitutes and we have used them before to make veggie sloppy joes. This is definitely another recipe we are adding to the family meal planning system which is my end goal with this project. And from what I read, it freezes well! I’m thinking of making this in bulk or trying it again only cooking it in the crock pot. Any thoughts on the best ways to modify to make that work?
I hope you try this delicious recipe! I promise at least a final product picture next time.
Unrelated note: I have had a few people say they tried to comment and wordpress wouldn’t let them through and I’m wondering if this is still a problem (or if perhaps it is only a problem for those accessing wordpress via a mobile device?) so I’d love for you to let me know if you are experiencing that kind of problem so I can troubleshoot! Hoping it is all fixed now but want to be sure.