I spotted this wonderful merguez sausage (spicy sausage made with lamb) while shopping online and then went looking for some ideas on what to do with it. I found a lamb merguez tagine recipe but I had no squash, no chickpeas and no couscous (also no tagine, but a saucepan fixed that).Time to adapt and improvise! I’m calling it lamb merguez sausage with rice and vegetables.
First I replaced the couscous with rice.Then, instead of squash or zucchini (which I didn’t have, and didn’t think ideal with the lamb anyway) I used the rest of a white eggplant I already had at hand. I am a firm believer in using what you have whenever possible (especially with all those steps, I’m not going up and down for one can or two items)!
The result was this delicious lamb merguez sausage with rice and vegetables. It only takes about 35 or 40 minutes to cook. Plus, I reduced the original three pots to only two (one for the rice and another for the lamb and veggies). I wasn’t going to clean three pots!Not to mention, the ingredients are now in the order you use them.
If you’re not familiar with merguez sausage, it’s a bit spicy, but not overwhelmingly so. It’s flavored with chili peppers and cumin, but that’s tempered by the cinnamon, coriander, onions, and garlic, which mellow as you simmer them. The richness of the eggplant and the sweet carrots also make an excellent foil for the spicy lamb.
First get the rice started. Boil the water first, then add the rice.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Once it’s hot, add the cinnamon, coriander, paprika, cumin, and turmeric. Let the mixture cook for a few seconds.
Add the lemon juice, fennel, garlic, onion, and green olives, and cook on medium, about 10 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften.
Add the sausage to the pot, and cook 5 minutes to brown it. Mix in the flour and then add the chicken broth. Let the mixture cook for a few minutes until it starts to simmer (you’ll see bubbling).
Add the carrots, eggplant, and raisins and cook for 15-20 minutes until the carrots are soft, the eggplant browns, and the sausage is fully cooked through.
Serve over the rice.
If you are using brown rice, it will take about 40 minutes to cook once the water boils. White rice needs about 18 minutes. Stir the rice when you add it to the boiling water, and then again right before serving. This will make it fluffier.
Lamb Merguez Sausage with Rice and Vegetables Substitutions and Variations
If you have the chickpeas, add them to the dish
Or substitute some lentils for the eggplant
Try it with couscous instead of the rice
Or serve it over some pasta
If you can’t find the merguez, you can approximate the flavor by using ground lamb, increasing the garlic, cumin, and coriander and adding some harissa or sriracha or chili garlic sauce for kick
It’s been a while since I posted a side dish, so I thought I’d fix that. Honey mustard glazed carrots are an easy and savory side dish that’s ready in just a few minutes. The honey adds a hint of sweetness, while the mustard provides a bit of a kick. The carrots are really easy to prepare, but the dish feels fancy enough for company.
This side dish goes beautifully with a simply roasted piece of chicken. Season it with olive oil, lemon, and rosemary, put it in the oven and then start the carrots about 20 minutes before the chicken is done.
Or, try them with a grilled lamb chop, or a steak. This recipe would also be great with Thanksgiving turkey or a family holiday get-together (you’d obviously have to size up the quantities).
If you’re trying to eat more veggies, honey mustard carrots also go well with a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.
I sliced the carrots in matchsticks, but you can make them whatever way suits you. If you’re in a hurry, use frozen carrots (which are pre-blanched and will cook faster than fresh ones will).
Another tip to speed up the process and make your life a bit easier: when you measure the honey, dip the spoon in water first. It creates a barrier that will keep the honey from sticking and make it easier to pour it into the saucepan.
Two carrots, sliced into matchsticks (about 2/3 of a cup)
1 1/2 tsp butter
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
Boil water in a small saucepan (about one quart)
Once the water is boiling, add the carrots and the salt.
Cook for 5-7 minutes until the carrots are tender
Drain the carrots and set aside.
Add the butter, mustard, and honey to the empty saucepan. Once the butter melts, add the carrots back to the pan and stir to coat them with the mustard mixture. When the carrots are glazed, remove and serve.
Substitutions and Variations for Mustard Honey Glazed Carrots
If you don’t have honey, use brown sugar instead
Add some fresh rosemary to the carrots
Saute some shallots with the honey mustard mixture and then add the carrots back to the pan
Try roasting them in a 450 oven for 40 minutes with some parsnips
As colorful as it is tasty, this Asian chicken salad with cabbage proved to be an inspired invention. I was sick and didn’t feel like cooking much, plus I could hardly taste anything. This colorful, spicy salad helped improve my appetite. It looked pretty (with the cabbage, peppers, and carrots), and I could taste it! It was also a good way to keep using up the giant cabbage I got from FreshDirect.
The dressing is straight from a recipe I found online in The New York Times recipe section. I don’t like a lot of dressing, so this made about 4 servings of dressing for me. Your mileage may vary.
This chicken salad is pretty easy to make, and you can quickly make the Asian dressing in advance if you like.
Before I got sick I had defrosted a chicken thigh that I had to use up, so I just seasoned that with ginger, garlic, a bit of soy sauce, and some sriracha. Then all I had to do was pop it in the oven for an hour. Easy!
The recipe would work just fine with leftover rotisserie chicken, or even some leftover Chinese pork.
If you don’t want meat, you could add cold noodles, ramen noodles, slivered almonds, or extra veggies.
A slightly spicy, bright, and colorful asian chicken salad that's hard to resist (even when you're sick).
1/4 C red cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, cut in chunks, or shredded
4-5 mini bell peppers, top removed, and sliced
1/8 (about an inch or two) seedless cucumber
1 chicken leg or thigh
1 garlic clove, chopped fine
1 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
3 T rice vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
5 T canola oil
2 T sesame oil
Season the chicken and bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour. Remove and let sit until it is cool enough to handle.
Prepare the veggies and mix them together in a large bowl.
Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a mini-chopper and pulsing until all the ingredients are chopped up and mixed together.
Once the chicken has cooled, remove the meat from the bone.
Put the veggies and chicken in a large bowl and pour the dressing over it.
I included the cooking time for the chicken in the recipe preparation notes. If you use pre-cooked chicken the whole thing will be finished in 15 minutes.
I had a big bag of mini mixed bell peppers, so I used those (they also helped make the food look more appealing) and a seedless cucumber, so that’s what I used.
You could use regular bell peppers, add snow peas, mushrooms, or regular cucumbers too. Food should be flexible, and unless it’s baking, you should adjust recipes to fit what you have or what you prefer to eat.
More Single Serving and Small Batch Cabbage, Chicken, and Asian Recipes
I use this all the time. It’s so much easier than dragging out a big food processor. And, with space at a premium, it’s a lot easier to store it too. Use it for the dressing, to chop garlic or onions, cut up potatoes, and make pesto without making a big mess.
Huy Fong, Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, 17 Ounce Bottle This stuff has become so popular it’s almost a cliché, but it’s also versatile enough to use in eggs, salads, meatballs, or on chicken. Just a little bit adds a big punch of flavor, without being too spicy or too sweet.
Nothing beats a bowl of split pea soup with ham hock when it’s cold outside. This recipe for Dutch split pea soup has ham, split peas (of course), and bacon. Add some crusty bread, or a sandwich, and you’ve got lunch.
The original recipe came from the NY Times Cookbook, but I’ve changed it a bit. For one thing, it made up to 10 servings (which means one person would be eating soup for a very long time)! This recipe is only for four servings. Just enough to enjoy it without feeling like you are drowning in split pea soup!
That recipe also called for celeraic (which I never have) and salt pork. Salt pork is fine, but I found it worked really well with bacon (preferably Trader Joe’s no nitrate bacon).
It also freezes well, so you can save some soup for later.
Optional: 1/4 C chopped leek, one carrot (sliced), one frankfurter
Wash the peas under cold water. Sort through them to remove any stones that may have gotten mixed in. Put in a large pot and add the water. Let stand overnight. If you're in a hurry, use my quick soaking method for the split peas.
Cook the bacon in a skillet for five minutes, until browned. Add the onion (and leek or carrot if using), and cook the mixture for another 10 minutes. The vegetables should be soft.
Add the vegetable/bacon mixture to the pot with the split peas. Add the bay leaf (I like to use a tea ball for this so it's easy to find again), salt and pepper to taste, and the pig's knuckle (or ham bone). Cover and bring to a boil (slowly). Once it comes to a boil, turn down the heat, Let the soup simmer for two hours. If it gets too thick, add half a cup of water.
Once the ham hock (or bone) is tender, remove it from the soup. Run it under cool water (so you can handle it), then shred the meat and set it aside. Throw away the bone. Fish out the bay leaf (or just remove the tea ball) and discard that too.
If you don’t have a hand blender, use a standard blender with a towel over it. Why the towel? So the soup doesn’t fly in your face and all over the room. If you take the plastic cup out, cover the hole with a towel, and blend, the steam can escape and the soup stays put.
If you’ve got the hand blender, all you have to do is immerse it in the pot and press the button. It’s easier and there’s less cleanup.
Put the meat back into the soup and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve hot.
The prep time assumes you use the quick soak method for the beans.
Put the bay leaf in a tea ball so it's easier to remove.
Substitutions and Variations for Split Pea Soup Recipe with Ham Hock
the original recipe called for 1/2 C diced leek (great for flavor, but not something I usually have in the fridge); if you use it, reduce the amount to about 1/4C.
cut up a frankfurter or a chunk of keilbasa, cook it and add it to the soup
add a carrot for a bit of sweetness
top with croutons
cook some extra bacon, crumble it, and top the soup with it
add freshly grated parmesan cheese
add a parmesan or manchego cheese rind to the soup while it’s simmering
T-fal A92279 Specialty Stockpot 8 Quart This pot is non-stick inside and out (just the thing for split pea soup). That also makes it easy to clean. The glass lid has a vent in it, so it’s less likely to spill all over the place. It is tall though, so if you’re short, this may not be for you.
Recipes for some of the world’s favorite soups (and a few new ones): beef and barley, sweet potato, cucumber, and spinach with feta.
New England Soup Factory Cookbook Your favorite soups (like beef and barley, hot and sour, and butternut squash. Plus some brand-new ones you may have never heard of – how about spinach, feta, and pine nuts? Or eggplant parmesan?
The Best Soups in the World 247 recipes gathered from around the world by a James Beard award winning cook. There’s California chilled peach soup, Tanzanian black-eyed peas and coconut soup, Chayote soup from Nicaragua, and Tuscan white bean.
Don’t be scared by the exotic names and places – he also provides lists of places to buy the ingredients at reasonable prices online (if your local store doesn’t stock them).
A year of soup – arranged by season. You’ll find Sweet Potato Soup with Orange Creme Fraiche for fall and Asparagus Soup with Tarragon Cream for spring. There’s even a cold cucumber soup with salmon and dill for summer.
I’ve mind melded two lentil soup recipes for this and added a few variations to make lentil bean sausage soup. I was going to make bean and sausage soup but looked in the cupboard and found I was woefully short on beans. There just weren’t enough to make anything with. But, I did have more lentils. And, a friend was talking about the bean, sausage, and potato soup she was making.
That gave me an idea. Bean, lentil, potato, and sausage, plus a bit of manchego rind for some savor (I’ve always wanted to try that, and I had a big bag of rinds in the fridge).
Manchego, parmesan, and romano cheese rinds are great, by the way, for soup or for grating cheese when there’s plenty left on the rind, but not enough to serve.
The nice thing about lentils is that unlike beans, you don’t have to soak them first to use them.
If you only have lentils, skip the beans entirely. If you only have beans, use my quick soak method to speed up the process.
Tea strainers are great for tea, but they also have a second use for making soup and other recipes. Many recipes call for cheesecloth (which I’ve never seen in a store, and seems wasteful anyway). Instead, I use the tea ball for bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves, and herb mixtures that have to be added (and then removed) from soup or other recipes. Because, who wants to bite down into a peppercorn?!
The New York Times Cook Book This cookbook was the source for part of the recipe. I have had my copy so long it’s falling apart. The soup section includes lentil, split pea, and the savory tomato soup which is the basis for my dad’s secret soup recipe.
The Silver Palate Cookbook I’m on my second copy of this, and it’s time for a third! The other half of the soup recipe comes from the bean and sausage soup in this cookbook. The peasant vegetable is also wonderful, as is the six onion soup. Actually, I’ve never had a bad recipe from this one. Plus there are suggestions and variations for many of the recipes, which I like.
I like cabbage, and cole slaw, but most of the recipes are too heavy and have too much mayo. I feel as if I’m eating mayo, rather than cabbage. This cole slaw recipe is different. It’s healthy and has no mayo at all.
I was at The Second Avenue Deli, which is a restaurant that specializes in food that is definitely not healthy: fried pierogies, chopped liver, and enormous pastrami and corned beef sandwiches. But, before you get your main dish, they plop down a big bowl of pickles and another of their “health salad.” The salad is delicious! And no mayo.
The next day, I found a recipe, which I have adapted. I reduced the servings and made a few substitutions and changes.
Delicious! And it’s easy too. It’s great as a side dish with a turkey sandwich (or on top of one), or along with a hot dog. Or, pastrami, of course.
It’s getting chilly outside, so that means it’s time to start making soup. I spotted a bag of red lentils in Trader Joe’s, and just had to have them. The nice thing about lentils is that they cook fairly quickly. So, you can have delicious red lentil carrot soup in about an hour, without having to wait for beans to soak.
The lentils do need to be rinsed, but that only takes a minute.
Now that I had my lentils, it was time to find a recipe. I looked at several recipes, and didn’t like any of them. Also, reading the reviews it sounded like the ones I did find needed some tweaking. I ended up combining two different recipes, and adjusting them based on the comments.
While this isn’t one serving, I did cut the original recipes in half because I didn’t want 8 servings of soup (no room in the freezer). This recipe makes 3-4 servings, depending on whether you have the soup as a main course or a side dish. Adding the rice will make it more filling.
The result was this red lentil soup with carrots. This recipe has cumin for earthiness, a bit of red pepper flakes for heat, plus garam masala and ginger for warm spiciness.
Update: I came across still another recipe, which was for masoor dal (red lentils) as a side dish, and decided that with a bit of tweaking, it would make a wonderful, flavorful soup. It was, and it was even better than my original recipe. So, I’ve now ditched the curry, and added ginger for warm spiciness and turmeric for color.