Tacos are the world’s best food. That’s how we feel in my house, anyway. Tacos are just so versatile and easy. You can put practically anything in a tortilla and call it a taco! We use all sorts of different things like mushrooms, squash, potatoes, veggies, and all different types of beans. This one, using red lentils, is a staple for us. It’s super easy and is reminiscent of ground taco meat, like the kind we used to have back when we ate like crap and fried our tortillas (did I just say that?).
Of course, you can make tacos with the fake taco meat sold in stores, but that stuff is highly processed and has a ton of fat and oil. I’d much rather use healthy, fiber-rich filling and save my fat for avocado and Sour Un-Cream. I use my own, homemade taco seasoning but you can use store-bought if you’d like. For me, most of them are too spicy, salty and many have MSG. See below for my recipe. Also, see in Recipe Notes for slow cooker directions.
2 TBS chili powder, 2 TBS cumin, 1 TBS smoked paprika, 1 TBS sea salt, 1/2 TBS onion powder, 1/2 TBS garlic powder, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne. Shake everything up in a small jar and use whenever you make Taco “Meat”.
As much as I complain about not enjoying cold weather and shorter days, I must admit the food that is most often consumed during those months, i.e., soups and stews, is my most favorite! I made this soup in the crock pot recently on a rainy Saturday. Perfect! I really like lentils so a soup that calls for two kinds – even better!
Minestrone is easy to make, and there are a ton of recipes out there with different ingredients. I don’t know that there’s anything spectacularly different about this one but I love it, and wanted to put it out there. Feel free to play around with the types of veggies and amounts. The basil pesto topping is a MUST! You can find that recipe in Recipes on this site, or in the Forks Over Knives Cookbook.
Why are they called red lentils when they are pink, and become yellow once cooked? Weird. All I know is they make an amazing soup! Unlike other types of lentils, these cook and break down quickly, and end up soft, almost as if they have been pureed. The first few times I made this soup it was on the stove, but recently I used the crock pot and it was even better. There really is something to slow cooking, allowing the flavors to build and grow. Either way, it’s an easy, delicious meal, any time of year. One of our favorites!!
I’ve served this dish to cabbage haters who loved it, and to meat eaters who went back for seconds. It’s a dish yet to disappoint, and another crock pot recipe – I love those! While it’s technically fall, it’s still really hot here but that didn’t hold me back from making this last night. I’m craving the feelings and flavors associated with autumn. If you think about it, a crock pot is a great way to cook without heating up the kitchen! Works for me.
Chili. Not the most creative dish, and almost everybody knows how to make it. There are a gazillion recipes out there, and I’ve tried many of them (the ones without meat, of course). For whatever reason, I’ve never been completely satisfied with any of the chili dishes I’ve made, whether I followed a recipe or made it up myself. I always felt like there was something missing, and I couldn’t describe or figure out what that something was. Also, I always made it too spicy, and as I’ve said many times, I’m a spice wimp. All this changed last night. Finally!
The mushrooms and cauliflower may sound like strange additions but trust me, they work. You can’t really taste them but they add a nice texture and I’m sure contribute to the overall flavor. The real secret in the great flavor, I believe, comes from the baked beans and liquid smoke. The fresh corn is a great addition, especially now when corn is in season. Add more chili powder and maybe some cayenne if you like your chili spicy. Try it and let me know what you think.