Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cheapo Meal #3: Turkish Lentils with Ground Beef

Both kids really like this one. And I like that it's totally easy, totally healthy, and totally cheapo! (And it all cooks up in one pot!)

1 lb. bag (2 cups) of brown lentils (picked through to remove any small stones then rinsed)
1/4 lb. ground beef
Some chopped onion (Maybe 1/4 - 1/2 cup)
Some diced potato (I used 1 small potato)
Some diced carrots (Maybe 1/2 a carrot)
Some tomato paste (1-2 Tbsp. will do)
1 Tbsp. salt
Garlic (I add garlic to everything, but it's optional)
Some olive oil

Drizzle olive oil in large pot. Sautee onions till translucent. Add ground beef and brown it. (If it ever gets too hot/burning on bottom, just add some water). Add potatoes and carrots, tomato paste, and salt. Mix. Add lentils and enough water to cover the lentils + a little bit above that. Add garlic (optional). With heat on medium-high, get it boiling then turn it down to medium heat. Cook until everything's soft (but not mushy).

Ladle it into bowls. You can add more salt to taste, but it should be just about right. Those who are not casein-free can add a dollop of plain yogurt to this. Yummm!

1. I like to have already-chopped onions in my freezer since we use them for everything. Either spend some time on the weekend chopping a bunch of onions and freezing them, or go the lazy route (like me) and get a pkg. of already-chopped onions from your grocery store (Whole Foods does this in the veggie section). I know it's so lame of me to do this, but chopping veggies bores me tremendously (and sometimes even keeps me from cooking healthy stuff!).

2. I do the same thing for carrots. Whenever you need to buy a single carrot for a recipe, get a couple of extras. Scrape and chop them when you're preparing the one you actually need, then freeze them. You'll have them on hand for soups and stews and such. It will make you a happier camper.

3. I used to use regular garlic cloves, or at least the jars of minced garlic. But my son would balk and stop eating whenever he came across a tiny piece of the stuff. So now I use garlic juice. I add it to everything.


~M said...

Would this work with the orangey, reddish lentils? Thanks!

Tori said...

~M: No, this one doesn't work with the red lentils. They would get mushy. For the red lentils, use this recipe for soup (make it tomato-free with the red pepper paste if you'd like):

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