I'm trying out something new this week. I'm trying to put dinner on the table more often, complete with a side and dessert. I love to cook, but I don't always have time to make a complete meal. From now on, I'm going to commit at least one day to making a balanced, somewhat healthy, and coordinated meal and dessert. Here's my first go! I decided to use the slow-cooker after seeing an awesome soup recipe that I would have never thought of. I love slow-cooking all day types of soups that are packed with flavor and healthful! Why not do it in a slow cooker? This lentil soup is delicious and perfect for fall, and the best part is that you can assemble the whole thing in the morning, and with a few last-minute touches have a wonderful healthy soup with minimal effort! I love this!!
Of course the lentil soup would be perfect on it's own, but I've had a thing for dill lately...it didn't exactly work in the lentil soup (I tried it as a last-minute touch but it wasn't meshing), but simple easy potatoes to go with the theme? A delicious accompaniment. I learned a really great technique to cook the potatoes super fast and super salty. Everyone knows how potatoes soak up salt, and I love that there's really no need for any last minute salting after cooking these. I'm a salt lover, too.
For dessert? I'd bought some plums at the store, just to switch things up for my daughter who is known to eat an apple a day. I can't say that she's crazy about plums, but I thought if I baked them in a healthy dessert with some added sugar and oats she might come to like them. Somehow, she wasn't thrilled, but I definitly was! I love how the plums taste after baking. This is also simple, easy, healthy, and rusticly beautiful. This is a pretty great autumnal meal, especially if you don't have a lot of time to make dinner and dessert. It's totally homemade yet super simple, tasty, and satisfying. I know I'll be making all of these foods again, and I hope you make a couple too!!
P.S. Because Jason isn't thrilled about lentils (can't see why, I love them!) I made this flat roast chicken for him also. It's another quick, healthy, homemade meal that is delicious! Try it out!!
Slow-Cooker Lentil Soup
1 onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 parsnips, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 cups (16 ounce package) brown lentils
8-10 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp dried thyme (optional)
1 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Put the onion, carrots, parsnips, celery, garlic, lentils, vegetable broth, and thyme in a slow cooker and stir to combine. Cook on the low setting for 6+ hours or the high setting for 3+ hours, depending on how much time you have and how mushy you like your lentils. Add more vegetable broth if you think the soup is too thick (I like mine chunky).
Just before serving stir in the red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.
2 lbs baby yukon gold potatoes, quartered
1 tbl salt
2 tbl salted butter
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbl chopped fresh dill
Put the potatoes in a pot and add just enough water to come about two inches up the side (do not cover potatoes). Stir in the salt and bring to a boil. Cover and boil for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
Drain the potatoes and add back to the pan. Stir in the butter to coat and toss with the black pepper and fresh dill. Serve.
Sugared Plum Crisp
2 lbs plums (about 6 large)
4 tbl sugar, divided
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (not the quick-cooking kind)
2 tbl all-purpose flour
2 tbl salted butter, softened
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the plums into wedges and arrange in a medium baking dish (8x8 or oval). Sprinkle with 2 tbl sugar. In a seperate bowl combine the remaining 2 tbl sugar, oats, flour, and butter. Sprinkle over the plums. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes. Serve.