Lentil Vegetable Coconut Korma

Somehow I made it through more than twenty years of life without ever eating Indian food. It’s tragic, really. So to make up for lost time, we eat a lot of Indian food now. It’s just so delicious!

lentil vegetable coconut korma

I’ve experimented with lots of different recipes, but my favorites to make always use coconut milk as a base for the sauce. It gives it so much flavor and makes it nice and creamy! Plus, of my experimental recipes, the ones with coconut milk have always turned out the best. Maybe some day I’ll figure out how to make some other types of Indian food… but coconut milk is just so good I don’t really mind.

We’ve been trying to have at least a few dinners each week without meat. It cuts down on cost significantly, and it’s generally healthier to eat less meat than most people eat. This meal still gets you a nice amount of protein with the lentils and cashews. But you could easily add/substitute chicken, fish, etc. That’s one of my favorite things about this recipe – it’s so versatile! You could honestly put just about anything in there, and it would taste good!

its good for youLentils have tons of soluble fiber (great for lowering cholesterol, filling you up, and stabilizing blood sugar, among other things) and are also high in protein. Carrots have lots of vitamins and antioxidants. Coconut milk has lots of vitamins and minerals, but is a bit high in saturated fats (although with no meat, and spread between at least six servings, it’s not bad.)

vegetable korma recipe

Get the lentils started on the stove while you chop up the vegetables.

vegetable korma with lentils recipe

Add the vegetables and spices, stir, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, until the lentils and veggies are soft. (If you can find a korma spice mix at the store, that should work just fine. Just check the sodium – a lot of packaged spice mixes have tons of salt!)

coconut korma with lentils and vegetables

Add the tomato paste and coconut milk and stir well. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in the cashews. Do a taste test to see if you need to add any more spices or salt. Then serve over rice.

vegetable coconut korma with lentils

Lentil and Vegetable Coconut Korma

1 cup lentils
3 cups water
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 red pepper
2 carrots
2 small potatoes
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like it hot)
1/4 tsp saffron
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cashews, roughly chopped
salt to taste

1. Combine lentils and water in a large pan, and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Once it boils, reduce heat to low.

2. While lentils begin cooking, chop the onion, pepper, carrots, and potatoes. Add to the lentils. Crush in the garlic, and add the spices. Let simmer for about 20 minutes, until lentils and vegetables are soft.

3. Stir in tomato paste and coconut milk. Simmer another 10 minutes.

4. Add cashews. Check the flavor, and add salt or more spices if desired. Serve over rice.

Makes about 6 servings

change it upAdd pineapple chunks for a sweeter curry. Add or substitute sweet potatoes, cauliflower, or other vegetables. Add chicken, fish, or beef for a “heartier” meal.

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Homemade Potato Chips – a first attempt

Potato chips – another perfect example of food that is so bad for you, and yet we eat mass quantities of it. According to several different sources, Americans eat 1.2 billion (with a B) pounds of potato chips every year! And I’ll admit that I totally understand why – they’re a pretty tasty, convenient snack, and available everywhere you turn. And let’s face it, there’s something about the combination of potatoes and salt that’s kind of hard to resist (remember my confession about my love of french fries?)

So I decided to attempt a healthier, homemade version of this oh-so-addictive snack. I started really simple – just salt and pepper flavored. I’m working on some other flavors, but first I want to figure out how to make them perfectly crispy without burning. These ones turned out ok – most were perfect, but some were burnt, and some were still a little mushy.

homemade potato chips 2

The weird thing is, it didn’t seem to necessarily go with the how thick/thin they were. Some of the mushy ones were some of the thinnest-sliced ones! So if any of you are chip-making pros, I’d love some tips!

I started off by slicing some potatoes as thinly as I could.

homemade potato chips 1

This might be easier using a food processor with the thin-slice blade. But alas, I don’t have one… some day (soon, hopefully!) So if you’re cutting them by hand, just go a little slower and slice as thinly as you can.

Then I tossed the potato slices with just a little olive oil, and fresh ground salt and pepper. I laid them out on a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer so they wouldn’t stick and they could get nice and crispy.

homemade potato chips 3

Then I put them in the oven at 425 for about 25 minutes, turning over about half way through. Then I sorted the chips to find the ones that still needed to cook a little longer (about 1/4 of them) and popped those back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes. You can tell they’re done when the edges start curling, they start to get a little golden (not too golden – they’ll taste burnt!) and the surface looks bubbly and translucent.

homemade baked potato chips

Deliciously crispy crunchy goodness!

While these still aren’t the healthiest snack, they’re a lot better than most (all?) of the chips you’d buy at the store!

1. They’re baked, and with very little oil.
2. They still have the skins, which is where most of the vitamins and nutrients are.
3. They have way less salt!
4. They’re all natural – no preservatives or other nastiness.

Oh, and they’re way cheaper. You can get 10 pounds of potatoes for about the same price as a bag of chips.

Now I just have to figure out how to get ALL of them perfectly crispy, and come up with some other delicious flavors!

Mixed Roasted Potatoes

Yesterday I posted the recipe for the pork chops I served for Easter with these tasty (and colorful!) potatoes. So today I figured I should post the recipe for the potatoes.

mixed roasted savory potatoes

I love the way these different potatoes look all mixed together. And I love even more the way they taste! The sweetness of the sweet potatoes is nicely balanced by the earthy flavor of the other two, and roasting them with herbs and spices just makes for a wonderfully savory side dish.

its good for youSweet potatoes have lots of fiber and are just packed with vitamins! And since the other potatoes still have their skins, they have lots of fiber and vitamins too! (B vitamins, vitamin C, and Iron to name a few)

mixed roasted potatoes recipe

I used Russets, red potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Yellow, white, or purple would work as well – but Russets, sweet potatoes, and red potatoes are often the most easily available and least expensive. And you’ll definitely want some sweet potatoes in there for their flavor.

Scrub the potatoes and cut off any bad parts. Peel the sweet potato. Then chop them up into bite-size chunks. They don’t have to be perfect, just roughly similar sized pieces.

mixed roasted potatoes

Once they’re all chopped, toss them with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary (dried works too, it’s just not as strong of a flavor). Pour them onto a foil-lined baking sheet, and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, mixing half way through so they get more evenly crispy. If you like them extra crispy on the outside, cook them a little longer.

I’m super bummed I didn’t get a picture of the potatoes with the pork chops! It all looked so scrumptious and colorful! Oh well… I’ll just have to make this meal again!

Mixed Roasted Potatoes

3 medium Russet potatoes
3 medium red potatoes
1 large sweet potato
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (or 1-2 tsp dried)

1. Preheat oven to 425. Scrub the potatoes and cut off any bad parts. Peel the sweet potato. Chop the potatoes into bite-size cubes.

2. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. There should be just enough oil to lightly coat the potatoes and make the seasonings stick.

3. Pour the potatoes onto a foil-lined baking sheet and spread out in a single layer. Place on an upper-middle rack and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring the potatoes around half way through. For crispier potatoes, cook an extra five to ten minutes.

Serves 6-8

These would also be an excellent side with grilled chicken and some roasted or grilled veggies! Or even some grilled fish.

Oven baked Cajun fries

I love french fries. It’s kind of a problem. Like, if there are french fries, I will just keep eating them until there aren’t any more. Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m still eating them. My husband makes fun of me for it. I guess the good news is we basically never eat fast food, so we rarely eat french fries.

But I do sometimes make french fries! And these are infinitely better for me than the things that may or may not actually be potatoes, soaked in grease and coated in salt. For starters, I never fry my “fries.” I always make them in the oven. I also, obviously, use real potatoes. And I don’t use much salt because I use other seasonings as well. And you know what? I like them better than the fast food fries! (Except maybe the Cajun fries from Five Guys. They’re pretty amazing.)

So here’s my take on Cajun Fries:

oven baked cajun french fries

I made my own Cajun seasoning rather than using one you can buy at the store on the spice aisle because those tend to be mostly salt. This one does have salt in it, but is also full of other spices to give the fries lots of flavor! This seasoning mix would also be really good for grilled chicken, corn on the cob, or other veggies.

homemade Cajun seasoning

Cajun Seasoning Mix

1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp crushed bay leaves
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like it hotter)

Mix all spices together, and use on french fries, chicken, vegetables, etc. or store in an airtight container until ready to use.

This spice mix makes enough for about five medium potatoes if you’re making Cajun fries. You can easily double, triple, or quadruple the recipe if you’re making more fries, chicken, etc. or just to store for another day.

Now on to making the french fries!

First you’ll want to scrub the potatoes and cut off any bad parts. Then you can chop them into long thin strips, or use my time saver tip:

time saverCut the end off the potato so it’s flat and can stand up. Then use an apple slicer/corer to chop the potato.

trick tip fast homemade french fries

You’ll want to cut the center “core” piece smaller – I usually cut in in fourths.

homemade french fries tip

Ta-da! Lots of french fries cut in a matter of moments!

Now just toss them in a bowl with some olive oil, then add the Cajun seasoning and mix to coat.

homemade oven french fries

Cover a cookie sheet with foil – this makes clean up so much easier, and also helps the fries not to stick. Then lay out the fries in a single layer on the cookie sheet. Pop them in the oven and bake until as soft or crisp as you like! (I usually do about 15 minutes. 20 minutes should make them pretty crispy. Or just move them to the top rack.)

homemade oven baked cajun french fries

You’ll probably want to turn them over/mix them around about half way through just so they don’t stick or get too crispy on just one side. The easiest way to do this – since the foil cools almost instantly, pull them out of the oven, lift the edges of the foil, and just shake them around. Then use a fork to spread them back out, and stick them back in the oven.

Enjoy! (They’re extra delicious with a little bleu cheese dressing)

Oven-baked Cajun Fries

5 medium potatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
Cajun seasoning (see recipe above)

1. Preheat oven to 450. Wash and trim the potatoes, removing any bad parts. Cut into long thin strips (see tip above).

2. In a large bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil until evenly coated. Sprinkle in the Cajun seasoning and mix well.

3. Spread the fries in a single layer on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, turning fries over about half way through. For crispier fries, cook on top rack or for a longer time.