Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Slow-Cooker Curried Lentils With Chicken and Potatoes

Paul found this wonderful recipe in Real Simple and we knew that we had to try it!


    1 1/2  cups  red lentils (I would use two cans)
    1 1/2  pounds  russet potatoes (about 2), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces - I would use more
    1  medium onion, chopped
    2  cloves garlic, chopped
    2  teaspoons  curry powder
    1  teaspoon  chopped fresh ginger
    kosher salt and black pepper
    4  cups  low-sodium chicken broth  - I would use less (2 cups to start) and add for personal preference
    6  boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 3/4 pounds total) - I use only chicken breasts
    2  tablespoons  fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving (we couldn't taste it)
    3/4  cup  plain yogurt  - taste better than it sounds
    naan bread, toasted, for serving

In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the lentils, potatoes, onion, garlic, curry powder, ginger, 1¼ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the broth and chicken and turn to coat.
Cover and cook until the lentils and vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours (this will shorten total recipe time).

Fifteen minutes before serving, transfer the chicken to a medium bowl and, using 2 forks, shred the meat; return it to the slow cooker. Add the lime juice and stir to combine, adding more water if necessary to reach the desired consistency. Serve topped with the yogurt and cilantro, with the naan and lime wedges on the side.

We served it with a wonderful white!


By Charlyne Mattox , March, 2013

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Home Made Greek Dressing

Last week we posted a recipe for a Greek Tomato, Olive and Feta salad, but we did not post the Greek salad dressing that was called for in the recipe.  If you like Greek dressing, you gotta try this recipe.

- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1-1/2 teaspoons pepper
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt (optional)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
- 1 cup red wine vinegar

In a very large container, mix together the olive oil, garlic powder, 
oregano, basil, pepper, salt, onion powder, and Dijon-style mustard. 
Pour in the vinegar, and mix vigorously until well blended. Store 
tightly covered at room temperature.

Cook's Notes:  I did not add any salt to the dressing.  I felt that the garlic and onion powder have enough salt for the dressing.  I stored the dressing in a Mason jar at room temperature.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Greek Tomato, Olive, and Feta Salad

- Greek salad dressing (homemade in our home!)
- 1/2 cup feta cheese (broken into small pieces, do not crumble finely)
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
- 2-3 roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 small cucumber (peeled, seeds removed and chopped)
- 1 small can (2.25 oz.) sliced black olives
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced (optional)
- fresh ground black pepper and salt (to taste)


In a bowl, combine the feta cheese, parsely, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and red onion.  Pour the Greek dressing over the mixture, and season with salt an pepper to taste.


Cook's Notes
This was a incredibly easy to make and it was nothing short of delicious.  This salad will be a staple in the Cafe this summer.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Meat Balls Nirvana

- 1 pound extra lean ground beef
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 dash hot pepper sauce (I used Tabasco Sauce)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/3 cup skim milk
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 roma tomato, sliced & diced
- 1 small cucumber, peeled, sliced & diced

- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- pepper to taste (I used a dash of ground pepper)
- 1/2 teaspoon Splenda or sugar

- Orzo, noodles or cous cous

The meat balls...

1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. Place the beef into a mixing bowl, and season with salt, onion, garlic salt, mint, oregano, red pepper flakes, hot pepper sauce, and Worcestershire sauce; mix well. Add the milk, Parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs. Mix until evenly blended, then form into 1 1/2-inch meatballs, and place onto a baking sheet.
3. Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, 20 to 25 minutes.
4.  While the meat balls are in the oven, slice the roma tomato, peel and slice the cucumber and place into a bowl.  Also, make the drizzle and set aside.
5.  When the meat balls are done, remove them from the oven.  Place the meatballs on top of orzo, noodles or cous cous.
6.  Spoon the sliced tomatoes and cucumbers over the meat balls.  Drizzle the drizzle over the meat balls, tomatoes and cucumbers and enjoy.

The drizzle...

Gen 5.  Awesome everyday sipping red wine.

Cook's Notes:

Deirdre found this recipe.  We tweaked it a little and we gave it a try.  We were very happy with the results.  The meat balls had a little kick to them.  While the meat balls were cooking, we made some orzo, and served the meatballs on top of it.  Gen 5 wine was a perfect compliment to the meat balls.

Whenever a recipe calls for "salt and pepper" we substitute a seasoning called "All American Season" from our friends at Mickey & T's.  We started using Mickey's rubs and spices in 2010 and we have never looked back.  For my fellow foodies out there, I urge you to click on the link above and look at Mickey's rubs and spices.  Order any of his products and I guarantee that you will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chicken Tetrazzini

Adapted from

    6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    2 tablespoons melted butter
    1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
    2 tablespoons butter
    1 small onion, sliced and separated into rings
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
    1/2 cup chicken broth
    1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened


 Place chicken in the slow cooker crock. Top with 2 tablespoons melted butter; sprinkle with Italian dressing mix.   Cover, and cook on High for 3 hours.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic; cook and stir until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. (I didn't add garlic or onions)

Mix in the cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, and cream cheese. Pour mixture over the cooked chicken in the slow cooker.
Cover, and continue to cook on Low until chicken in fork tender and the sauce has thickened, about 1 additional hour.