“The deep roots never doubt spring will come.”
― Mary Rubin
If your household is anything like ours, May is an exciting and hectic time. The kids and I are finishing up with school and my husband always has extra training and projects to finish at work. In addition, in the spring our farm chores start to pick up momentum and in the hustle and bustle of life, meal planning and grocery shopping often get pushed to the side. It is times like these that make it necessary to do an inventory of what is available in the house and make some magic happen the kitchen.
Thankfully, I am great at stocking up on pantry staples. There is a running joke in our house that when the zombies attack – the Waldos will not starve. My step-son Lukas loves to tell the story of the time that John and I got home from our honeymoon in Alaska. I declared to everyone that I HAD to go grocery shopping because we had “no food in the house.” Needless to say, four days later (without grocery shopping) I managed to feed our family of four (plus Grandpa) three meals a day (including snacks and dessert). I guess that is one of the benefits of being a teacher – we are always planning ahead. Even when we do not realize that we are.
Another challenge with a whirlwind schedule is making sure that the food we consume has health benefits. When in a time crunch it is easy to grab heavily processed meals that are void of nutrition. That is one of the reasons that I believe in keeping a well-stocked kitchen. I almost always have the ingredients on hand for the recipe that I am going to share with you today.
Sloppy Joes were a childhood favorite in my house, but this “grown up” version is much healthier. The lentils have staying power and are filling and you can serve in a variety of ways. You can serve it on buns, in pita pockets, or open faced on a piece of artesian bread. I like to toast the bread and sprinkle with with dill pickles. If you are trying to watch your bread intake it is fabulous served over romaine leaves or even as a topping for sautéed cabbage or zucchini. I have shared this recipe before and since I have received a lot of feedback on it, I believe it is worthy of sharing again!
LENTIL SLOPPY JOES
- 2 cups lentils (If you want to get fancy you can purchase red lentils in bulk at the Marquette co-op)
- 5 cups of water
- 1 cup of chopped onion
- 1 cup of chopped green bell pepper
- 1 cup of chopped celery
- 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 6 ounces of tomato paste
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon worcestershiresauce
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- Pinch of red pepper flakes(or more)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- *Optional ~ hot sauce(to taste)
- Saute the onion, celery, garlic, and bell pepper until soft (5-10 minutes)
- Add in the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 60 minutes. Stir often and you may have to add more water as it cooks.
- You may want to add more spices/vinegar/mustard based on your taste. Sometimes I like to add extra hot sauce and an extra splash of vinegar right before serving.
- Makes Seven Cups. If you do not want such a large batch you can use the same amount of ingredients but reduce the lentils to one cup and only add 2 1/2 cups of water. I like to make a large batch so we have leftovers. Sometimes I freeze in individual containers for grab-and-go lunches.
I hope that your spring plans are in full swing and that you can find solace and healthy comfort in your kitchen. I find that when my calendar gets full it is deeply satisfying to know that I am still managing to feed my family nutritious meals that help fuel our time commitments. So fill out that shopping list with kitchen staples, buy fresh produce and wholesome ingredients, and fill your refrigerator and deep freeze with meals that are simple and satisfying. I hope that you add this recipe to your menu. If you do, please take a moment and let me know what you think.