Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thrifty Thursday

My dear friend, Carlyn, gave me this recipe to use for Thrifty Thursday. I haven't made it yet, but absolutely plan on it. Carlyn is an amazing cook so I am positive that it is super yummy! I am sure you will be seeing many more of Carlyn's favorite recipes on future posts. Make sure you read the entire post because there is also an easy, cheap way to make chicken broth and Carlyn's AMAZING roasted garlic bread. We had her garlic butter the other night and it is out of this world! It will absolutely be my go to garlic butter.

Lentil Soup (adapted from Giada de Laurentiis)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
• 4 celery stalks, chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, chopped
• 1 large can of diced tomatoes
• 1 pound dried lentils
• 11 cups chicken broth
• 4 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs or 1 tsp of dried thyme
• 1 cup dried pasta(elbow or rotini work great)
• Salt and ground black pepper
• Shredded Parmesan for garnish

Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and saute until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices. Simmer until the juices evaporate a little and the tomatoes break down, stirring occasionally, about 8minutes. Add the lentils and mix to coat. Add the broth and stir. Add the thyme. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are almost tender, about 20 minutes.
Stir in the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, drizzle with olive oil, and serve with Carlyn's Roasted Garlic Bread.

This recipe will feed a family of four twice with leftovers. You can immediately freeze half of it for future meals. The cost is $9.01 for the whole recipe (which makes it about 4.50 per meal since it makes two meals) using chicken bouillon cubes because that is the cheapest way to make it with the amount of chicken stock.

However, you could plan a meal that week before you make this soup) that calls for shredded or chopped chicken. Then, you could buy a whole chicken or split chicken breasts and place them in a stock pot. Add 1 onion (peeled and quartered), 2 carrots (cut into 2in pieces), 2 stalks of celery (cut into 2in pieces), 1 leek (dark tops only), 3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dry), 3 sprigs fresh parsley, 5 whole black peppercorns, 1 bay leaf, and about 4 quarts of water (water should cover chicken completely. Heat to a boil over medium high heat. As soon as it starts to bubble, turn the heat down to low and let simmer for about an hour (until chicken is done).

Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool (cont. to simmer the broth). Once cool, pull the meat from the bones and reserve for your other recipe. Return the bones to the broth and let simmer for another hour. Strain the broth into a large bowl. Place in plastic containers and put in refrigerator (can keep in fridge for 5 days - after 5 days bring it to a boil before using it) or freezer.

Carlyn's Roasted Garlic Spread (YUM!)
• 8 to 10 cloves of garlic
• Olive oil
• ½ cup butter, softened
• ½ cup cream cheese, softened
• 2 T grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Roast garlic: Two methods 1) Sit garlic cloves on a small piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil and then fold foil around cloves(kind of like an envelope) then roast in the oven or toaster oven at 400F for 20 mins. or 2) in a small skillet saute whole cloves in olive oil over medium heat until soft. Keep them moving so they don’t burn.
2. Mash roasted garlic with a fork mixing with olive oil it was cooked in.
3. In a small bowl, combine garlic mixture with all other ingredients. Mix until smooth.
Spread on your favorite bread and toast.
This spread will keep in the refrigerator for weeks.


carlyn said...

yay!! i feel famous!! just made another very cheap, delicious meal this week and froze 1/2 of it. black bean and sweet potatoes burritos!! i froze them on a tray first and now they are all in a bag together. i can even pull one out for lunch!!

Talia said... are hilarious! send me the recipe, girl!!

beckygiggles said...

Carlyn, you've got to share more about freezing meals and stuff. I'm so not good at that kind of thing.

Talia said...

you can freeze just about anything, becky. it is so nice to have things in the freezer to pull out for meals on crazy days!

mayonnaise based things do not freeze well. if the meal has a large amount of cream, milk or half and half it might be best to add it once the meal has been defrosted. you can freeze it with the cream but you won't get the same consistency once thawed. however, i do it all the time because it still tastes good to me. watery raw vegetables don't freeze well (unless in a soup or casserole). meals with potatoes and pasta in them can be frozen but you might want to undercook them because they will soften during freezing.

anytime you are making a meal, double it and freeze half of it. i buy the foil throw away pans for casseroles and put soups, chicken dishes, etc. in ziploc freezer bags. just make sure to get as much air out as you can to prevent freezer burn and label/date it.

carlyn, i'm sure you have some things to add. this is just what i thought about off the top of my head at the moment.

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