Foodie Sows Some Oats

As I read other foodie sites and watch trending recipes, Overnight Oats seem to be right up there with anything healthy and easy to prepare. I’m all for it. Once I tried them, they became a favorite way to start the day. Fiber, protein and some kind of fresh fruit and…wow. Tasty.

But then, I really like my oatmeal. No matter how it’s prepared. One of my most requested recipes every time I share them is for Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies. Here you go.

Eating oatmeal just plain makes sense. One half cup of dry oats–that’s a single serving–contains 4 grams of fiber. That’s 16 percent of your total fiber needs for the day. The recommended daily intake of fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men.  Oats also contain the minerals manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc. That little package of goodness also provides 5 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of sugar.overnight-oats-peach

Those Overnight Oats are looking better all the time, now aren’t they?

Sara Bonham, an athlete, scientist and product developer, has written a great article listing some of the benefits of eating oatmeal you may not be familiar with. She did the research (so I didn’t have to) so it’s not just her opinion. A couple of pieces of information on that list were news to me.

Since I keep bringing up those Overnight Oats, how about I help you out with a basic recipe and some variations you can try? It’s also sort of trendy to prepare them in those pint mason jars, but you can use whatever works for you. An empty peanut butter or a jelly jar will work. Some people just mix them up in the bowl and put them in the fridge overnight.

I like mine with plain Greek yogurt and a mix of berries, but I’ve seen some combinations that sound pretty tasty. (Almond Joy!) And the combinations are endless when you consider people use such ingredients as nuts or chia seeds, dried fruit, fresh fruit, nut butters, pumpkin, spices, and quinoa. All mixed in with humble oatmeal, a pantry staple that’s inexpensive and healthy.

Hey, is your family like mine was when I was growing up and you sometimes like to have breakfast for dinner? Oatmeal is making its way into pancakes these days too. Try these, maybe.

This foodie is hoping you begin to put oatmeal into your diet if you haven’t already done so. Oatmeal: it’s not just for breakfast anymore.

Eat hardy.

Foodie is Stewing

I promised this recipe for Tugboat Lentil Stew to friend who was curious. I made it earlier this week because I was in the mood for something substantial but heart healthy. This turns out to be more of a stew than a soup because lentils soak up liquid and because the large veggies aren’t reminiscent of a thinner dish. I usually use brown lentils, but if you aren’t sure what kind you should use in a particular recipe, this might help.

I’m a cook who uses what’s on hand if it works. I also make substitutions all the time to go along with my own taste and health needs. This stew can easily translate if you want it to. This is the basic recipe; you’ll find some alternative additions/substitutions at the end of the post.groups-of-lentils

Use your imagination. It’s your kitchen!

Tugboat Lentil Stew

  • 1 lb. dried lentils
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 c. sliced carrots
  • 1 c. sliced celery
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 14 oz. can vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lb. sliced chicken sausage
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 t. sea salt
  • Lemon slices for garnish
  • Red wine vinegar

Rinse and pick over lentils for stones. In a Dutch oven, heat oil until hot. Toss in onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Sauté for 10 minutes or until onion is translucent and vegetables are tender crisp. Add tomato sauce, water, vegetable broth, bay leaves and lentils. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover; reduce heat and let simmer for about 25 minutes or until vegetables are slightly soft. Add chicken sausage and pepper. Cover and let cook another 10 minutes or until chicken is heated through. Add salt. Ladle into bowls and garnish with lemon slices and a dash of red wine vinegar. Serves 8-10.

lentil stew in bowl

Meat: I have never used chicken sausage because I can’t find it. I have used ground turkey because I like cooking with it and it’s less fatty. When I use ground turkey in this recipe, I cook it until done in a frying pan with the olive oil first and add some ground fennel. Fennel will give a sausage-like flavor. Experiment with it for your own taste.

Veggies: I’m not a fan of celery so I’ve never used it in Tugboat Lentil Stew. Sometimes, if I have them, I’ll throw in 2 cups of frozen mixed vegetables instead. Or one cup each of frozen carrots and green beans (or peas). I always use onion because what’s a stew without it?

Liquid: I like the flavor we get using tomatoes. But if I don’t have tomato sauce, I almost always have a can of petite diced tomatoes around. A large can is okay because those lentils really soak up the liquid. In fact, I use more broth too. I add it as the stew cooks when needed. Unsalted chicken broth is my favorite because there’s so much sodium in other types.

Spices/Herbs and Garnish: Bay leaves are a must. It’s a stew, after all. (Just remember to remove them or give a prize to the person who finds one in his dish.) If you don’t like garlic, leave it out. No sea salt? Use whatever kind you have. Remember that with sea salt, you don’t need as much for flavor. I don’t garnish mine. I usually want my stew right away and I’m not so fancy I need them. Although…the vinegar sounds good for a little kick. Speaking of “kick,” I’m all for just a pinch of red pepper too. You can add that to the pan when you pour in the liquids.

One big plus about this recipe is you don’t dirty a lot of dishes.

Enjoy your stew.

Your comments are like that extra kick in my stew. Are you one of those “by guess and by golly” cooks like me?