People often ask me how many hours a day I spend in the kitchen. Well it is not as many as you may imagine. I find ways to cut corners, use what we have, and stretch the ingredients I have on hand. I have four children now and life is not as simple as it was with one or two in tow.
This morning I used the leftover brown rice from last night's dinner to make a super fast (and simple) Rice Breakfast Porridge of sorts. Into a pot I placed a few cups of cooked short grain brown rice (though a combo of short grain and sweet rice works even better) along with a few cups of organic vanilla almond milk. I chopped up a few medjool dates and added those as well. The almond milk and dates provide ample sweetness so it didn't need any maple syrup or honey. I simmered the rice and milk mixture over low heat until it was warmed. And then we topped each bowl with ground cinnamon and ground raw almonds (I grind my almonds in the dry container of the Vita-Mix, but a coffee grinder works also). Frozen blueberries would be another great addition to top it all off.
The babies went down for their morning nap around 11am. And typically, as soon as they are asleep, I rush around the house and try to get everything done possible. Dishes, laundry, meals, book orders, you name it.
I use my "free" time efficiently, making a meal while at the same time doing dishes and a load of laundry or two. To get the soup done faster, I began by putting the lentils into a soup pot with the water to get them cooking. Never mind if you are caught up with other things and can't get to adding the other ingredients right away, at least you have the lentils cooking so you are half way there already!
Lentils cook up very quickly compared to other legumes which may require to be soaked overnight and then cooked for an hour or more. In about 45 minutes you can have a home-cooked meal of lentil soup. And as an added bonus...lentils are very inexpensive making them a budget-friendly food.
The lentils I used in today's soup are called French lentils, which are also sometimes referred to as baby lentils. They are small with blue speckles and hold their shape during cooking making them a great addition to salads!
Once the lentils are cooking and you have a moment to spare, begin chopping your vegetables. You can then add them to your simmering lentils and your soup will be ready to go in about 20 minutes! Follow the recipe below for a time-saving way to have a healthy lunch:
Lentil Noodle Soup
2 cups French Lentils
10 cups water or vegetable stock (or a combo of the two)
2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 carrots, sliced
3 to 4 stalks celery, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups diced tomatoes
2 cups uncooked brown rice noodles (I used Tinkyada shells)
1 to 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 teaspoons sea salt or Herbamare, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
large handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed
Place the lentils and water or stock into a large pot (6 to 8 quart) and bring to a boil. Cover and turn heat down to a simmer.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Then add the onions and saute until soft. Then add the carrots, celery, Italian seasoning, and cayenne pepper. Saute a few minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften.
After the lentils have been cooking for 25 to 30 minutes, add the sauteed vegetables. Then add the tomatoes and noodles and cook for 15 to 20 minutes more.
Turn off heat and add the red wine vinegar (start with less and add more as your taste suggests), salt, pepper, fresh parsley, and crushed garlic. Adding raw garlic at the end of cooking time will greatly enhance the overall flavor of the soup! Add more water or stock for a thinner soup. This soup is great packed in a Thermos for school or work lunches, enjoy!
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