Lentil mushroom spaghetti

BM #113 : Week 2, Day 3
Theme : Protein Rich Dishes

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I had a bunch of cookery books from our library before they closed for COVID 19. All the books are renewed remotely by them to avoid unnecessary fines. I had three instant pot books and I have used all three multiple times by now. One book is Vegan, which is more useful for me as I am a vegetarian. The other two books have a lot of meat based recipes, so a good amount recipes are of not any use to me. None of us are going to try every single recipe from a book anyway, so a book is great if you get one good reliable recipe that you can try again and again. I have a really big Hershey baking book with me. I have tried only two recipes from that book and those two recipes are something I have prepared many many times now. So for me, that book is a winner even though there are other 500 recipes that I am never going to prepare :-)

So back to the recipe here, this is from Stefanie Bundalo’s book Quick Prep Cooking with your Instant Pot. I have already tried couple of recipes from this book with good results. The lentil sauce is just one among those. It’s been awhile since I used the slow cook function in Instant Pot, so it was nice to try that. I made this in the morning so that we could serve the sauce for dinner with spaghetti.

Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes 14 oz
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped finely
  • Salt, pepper and red chili flakes – to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling on top
  • Cooked spaghetti, for serving

Method:

  1. Add everything except the cheese and spaghetti to the instant pot. Mix well. Check the salt and pepper amount and adjust if needed.
  2. Keep the lid, leave steam vent open (in VENTING position). This is important. Cook for 6 hours in “Slow Cook” mode. The book mentioned 10 hours, but I stopped at 6 hours and it was still fine.
  3. Once the lentils are cooked, mix everything well and serve on top of spaghetti or noodles of your choice. Sprinkle with some more Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese if preferred.

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Koshari

BM #110 : Week 2, Day 1
Theme : Middle Eastern recipes

Koshari is the national dish of Egypt. It is a fusion of Indian, Italian and Middle East flavors. It has rice and lentils, originated from khichdi, and it has pasta and tomato sauce, from Italy.

The dish looks complex, but it’s extremely easy to make. It has rice, chickpeas, green lentils, pasta and tomato sauce. Each of these can be cooked ahead to make serving easier. Some recipes online serves the dish in layers where as others mix everything and then top with the tomato sauce. I have tried both ways and I prefer the everything together version.

You might end up having more tomato sauce than you need, but it can be refrigerated or frozen until you can use it again. Some people like to have more sauce, so I prefer to make a little extra than running low.

Read on for the recipe.

Serves 4-6 people

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups cooked Chana /chickpeas
  • 1 cup green/brown lentils (whole masoor dal)
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Salt as needed
  • 1 cup dried pasta
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt as needed
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes (or 8-9 of tomatoes puréed)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder, or per taste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Cook lentils separately until done. I pressure cooked it in Instant Pot for 4 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoon olive oil in a pan. Sauté washed rice for a minute. Add salt as needed and 1.5 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, Cover and cook until rice is done. Set aside.
  3. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Run in cool water to prevent sticking and set aside.
  4. In a pan, heat a teaspoon of oil. Sauté 1 chopped onion and minced garlic until it’s soft. Add a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes ( or 8-9 tomatoes, purées) along with chili powder, cumin powder and salt. Simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes, taste testing and adjusting the seasonings if needed. Set aside.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan. Sauté 2 large chopped onions until it’s brown. Take off the heat.
  6. Now to assemble, add the rice, lentils, cooked chickpeas and pasta in a big bowl. Taste and add salt if needed. In a bowl or plate, serve the rice mix topped with 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce and a little of caramelized onions.

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Ranch Pasta Salad

BM #106: Week 1, Day 3
Theme : Packed Lunchboxes

It’s almost funny that I am posting this recipe. This is a proper summer pasta salad and it’s a cold, cold day here in Jersey today. The weather was good yesterday and so I thought a salad with fall colors would be great. I wasn’t expecting the temperature to drop so much today.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Even though it’s cold outside, these salads still taste good. When you are having it for lunch, it’s at room temperature and not very cold. My son likes it that way. There is always fruit in his lunchbox, it’s almost always apples and grapes as it stays without getting crushed. Sometimes I add berries in too, but I don’t overcrowd it.

Read on for the recipe.

Serves: 2

Ingredients :

  • 2.5 cups cooked pasta
  • 2 cups diced vegetablesI used cherry tomatoes, orange pepper, zucchini, corn, sliced olives
  • 2 tablespoonsmayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons ranch dressing
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried red chili flakes, optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. In a small bowl, mix mayo and ranch dressing with salt, red chili flakes and pepper. I use a lot of pepper in pasta salads.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add all the chopped vegetables and the cold pasta.
  3. Mix the dressing, taste test and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve cold.

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Olive oil Pasta Salad

BM #105: Week 4, Day 3
Theme : Pasta Salads

For Day 3, it’s a very simple pasta salad. All it has is olive oil and some dried herbs. It’s my friend’s recipe and she has made it for us a couple of times. Shreyas really loves it. So I thought of blogging it here, that way I won’t forget about it later!

My friend uses dried Italian seasoning, but I have used a mix of various dried herbs. I mostly have oregano and basil, so many times that’s what I use. I add a good dose of freshly ground pepper when making this. I also add more vegetables– chopped tomatoes, zucchini and thawed corn are the usuals. But here I have done it that way my friend does with just broccoli.

To cook broccoli, you can toss it to the pasta pot when pasta is cooking. I usually add it at the last five minutes. This avoids overcooking. The broccoli floats on top, so it’s easy to take it out. I cook the whole pack of pasta and refrigerate it once cool. That way it’s easy for me to pack pasta for my son’s lunch with different sauces.

Read on for the recipe.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups cooked pasta
  • 1/2 cup cooked broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar,optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. In a mixing bowl, mix olive oil, lemon juice/vinegar if using and the seasonings.
  2. Toss in the pasta and broccoli florets. Mix everything and taste test to adjust seasonings.

Notes:

    You can add more vegetables of your choice to the salad.
    The flavor is Better if the salad rests for an hour or two.

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