1/11/17 ChefElla's Lentil Soup with Spinach & Smoked Turkey Sausage

I heard earlier this week that there was snow in 49 of the 50 United States.  Whether or not this is true I am not sure, but it made me think if everyone is cold right now, maybe they want something warm to eat like my Lentil Soup with Spinach and Smoked Turkey Sausage.  It is easy to make and it will help you get warm after a long day of sledding, shoveling, running errands, or just trying to stay out of the cold.

1.     Wash your hands.

2.     For this recipe you will need measuring cups and spoons, a knife and cutting board, a mixing spoon, a cookie sheet, a soup pot and the stove.

If you are not allowed to use a knife or the stove by yourself, you can ask an adult for help.

ChefElla’s Lentil Soup with Spinach and Smoked Turkey Sausage (6-8 servings)1 lb.                      Yellow Lentils (You can use split peas or other colored lentils if you would like.)

1 Cup                  Onion, Red or White, Small Dice (about 1 medium onion)

½ Cup                 Carrot, Small Dice

½ Cup                 Celery, Small Dice

1 ea.                    Smoked Turkey Sausage, cut into bite sized pieces (1 package is 13oz.

                           -You can substitute smoked ham or smoked turkey leg, or you can leave it out if                                you prefer.

1 Cup.                  Chopped Spinach, Kale, Hearty Greens, or Celery Tops

2 Tbl.                   Olive Oil

1 ea.                     Bay Leaf

2 ½ Qts                Chicken or Vegetable Broth, Low Sodium (80 oz.)

3.     Pour your lentils onto one end of the cookie sheet.  Using your hands pick through the lentils by moving them from one end of the pan to the other.  Look for any discolored lentils, small bits, or rocks.  Lentils can sometimes have rocks in them and you do not want to eat one.

4.     Prepare onions, carrots, celery, smoked sausage, and spinach.

5.     Heat your soup pot on high heat.  Add 2 tablespoon of oil to the pot and add the onions, carrots and celery.  Mix well to coat with the oil.  Turn the pan to medium high heat.  Cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.  Add the turkey sausage and chopped spinach, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally.

6.     Add the lentils and the chicken broth to the pot and mix well.  Add the bay leaf.  Bring the soup to a boil and turn to medium heat.

7.     Let the soup simmer, bubbling but not boiling, for 45-60 minutes or until the lentils are tender to the bite.  Remove the bay leaf from the pot and discard.

8.     Remove from the heat and serve.

9.     If you are not making your lentil soup with the smoked turkey sausage you may want to add some salt and pepper.

Serve your lentil soup with your favorite bread, top with croutons or crackers, or top with some fresh parmesan.

Enjoy,

ChefElla

Ella’s Helpers

ChefElla’s helpers can help by:

Measuring the ingredients

Picking through the lentils

Washing and cleaning the vegetables

Adding the ingredients to the pot

Older helpers can help by:

Dicing vegetables

Cooking the vegetables and the soup

1/3/17 ChefElla's Chicken Fajita Lettuce Wraps

During the new year many people make plans to exercise more, eat better, and just get healthier.  While these are great goals, not everyone you cook for may want to make the same changes.  So why not start with a few small changes that everyone can agree on.  For example, in my Chicken Fajita Lettuce Wraps I added beans for good carbohydrates, substituted lettuce for high calorie tortillas, and left all of the great flavors in the rest of the meal.  And if one of your friends or family does not like lettuce they can eat their Fajitas with rice, tortillas, or corn chips.

1.     Wash your hands.

2.     For this recipe you will need measuring cups and spoons, a knife and cutting board, a medium bowl, a small bowl, a mixing spoon, a large sauté pan and the stove.

If you are not allowed to use a knife or the stove by yourself, you can ask an adult for help.

ChefElla’s Chicken Fajita Lettuce Wraps (4-6 servings)

1 lb.                   Chicken Breast or Tenders, Small Dice (Bite sized pieces)

1 ½ Cup             Onion, Red or White, Small Dice (about 1 medium onion)

1 ¼ Cup              Green Pepper, Small Dice (about 1 large green pepper)

1 Can                  Pinto Beans, Drained and Rinsed (16 oz. Can)

1 Can                  Tomato Sauce (15 oz. Can)

1 pkg.                  Taco Seasoning, Low Sodium

2 Tbl.                   Olive Oil

2 Heads              Boston Bibb or Romaine Lettuce

Avocado Cilantro Sour Cream

8 oz.                     Light Sour Cream

1 ea.                      Avocado, Small Dice

¼ Cup                   Cilantro, Minced (1/4 cup of leaves packed)

½ tsp                     Salt, Sea or Kosher

3.     Prepare onions and peppers and put into your medium bowl.  Clean and mince cilantro and put into your small bowl for later.  Cut up the chicken breast.  By cutting your chicken last you can use your cutting board and knife for multiple tasks without needing to change it out or clean it.

4.     Heat your sauté pan on high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of oil and the onions and peppers to the pan.  Mix well to coat with the oil.  Turn the pan to medium high heat.  Cook for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally or until the vegetables begin to brown.  Return the vegetables back to the bowl and return the sauté pan to the stove on medium high heat.

5.     Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and add the chicken pieces.  Mix well to coat with oil and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Mix chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

6.     Add taco seasoning, tomato sauce, cooked vegetables, and pinto beans to the chicken.  Mix well turn the heat to medium and cook for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.

7.     Turn the fajita mix to low until you are ready to eat.

8.     In your small bowl with the cilantro add your sour cream and salt.  Cut the avocado in half by slowly cutting around the pit.  Remove the pit and slice the avocado half in the pod into thin slices.  Turn the avocado 90 degrees and slice into thin slices again.  Repeat this process with the other half of the avocado.  Scoop the avocado into the sour cream with a spoon.

9.     Using a table fork mix the sour cream and avocado.  Mash the avocado against the side of the bowl so that it mixes into the sour cream as you blend it.

10.  Clean your lettuce by removing the lettuce leaves from the stem.  Carefully wash the leaves and let them dry on a clean dish towel. 

11.  Assemble your fajitas by scooping 2-3 tablespoons of the fajita mixture into a lettuce cup.  Top with avocado sour cream.  Eat it just like a taco.

If not everyone at your house likes lettuce wraps, simply serve the fajita mix over rice, as nachos, or on a tortilla.  This recipe is also great for lunch the next day or as a salad.

Enjoy,

ChefElla

Ella’s Helpers

ChefElla’s helpers can help by:

Measuring the ingredients

Mixing the avocado cilantro sour cream

Picking the cilantro leaves

Pulling the lettuce apart

Older helpers can help by:

Dicing vegetables

Cooking the fajita mixture