So it's Fall now and, as happens every year, as the pumpkins show up on the sides of the road and at the grocery stores and the weather gets cool the urge to cook returns.
In the past couple of weeks I've made homemade sloppy joes, chicken pot pie (though the easy kind with biscuits on top instead of a crust), meatloaf & mashed potatoes, and an huge pot of navy bean soup. So far everything has been a big hit with the family and I make everything in batches big enough for lots of leftovers. This usually means that whenever we decide to thaw we get another delicious meal AND I don't have to cook that night. Yesterday I made a huge batch of lentil soup. It is, in my humble opinion, the best lentil soup recipe ever. I got it from my father-in-law and even my daughter loves it. So, here is the half of the batch that went into the basement freezer. Of course the photo doesn't do it justice, but knowing what's in there is making my mouth water.
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Update starts here
I realize this probably isn't a unique recipe, but it's my favorite.
Lentil Vegetable Soup
2 large ham hocks (sometimes when the ham hocks have very little meat, I buy a boneless ham steak and chop it up and add it at the end)
2 cups lentils
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 tablespoons of snipped parsley (I often use dried and it comes out fine)
1 clove minced garlic
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 large can tomatoes
2 tablespoons wine vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
-Rinse lentils, drain and place in a large soup kettle with the ham hocks.
-Add 8 cups water and all remaining ingredients except tomatoes and vinegar.
-Cover and simmer for about 2 hours.
-Remove hocks to cool; then cut the bits of ham off the bones and add back to the soup. Discard the bones and skin.
-Add tomatoes and cut up any large pieces; add vinegar.
-Cover and simmer for another 30 minutes or so.
-Season to taste.
- I usually double for triple the recipe, but you do need a LARGE stockpot to do that (I have this one.)
- I also add fresh spinach leaves at the very end and even my daughter hasn't complained about the addition.
- For the tomatoes I sometimes buy canned whole tomatoes and cut them up, but I often I buy crushed and it works well (I prefer fire roasted crushed!)
- I usually add a few chicken bouillon cubes or replace some of the water with chicken or vegetable stock. In either case I usually cut the added salt.
- Lastly, buy some really good fresh bread and enjoy!