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    What's a Budget? frugaljan's Avatar
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    Jun 2009

    Default Using lentils / Italian Lentil Stew

    Lentils are healthy, cheap, and easy to cook with. If you haven't tried
    them yet, I encourage you to give them a try. The most common and
    easy to find are brown or green lentils....they can be used interchangeably
    in most lentil recipes. Some lentil varieties, such as red lentils, break down
    when cooking (like split peas do).
    Our family has saved mucho money by using not only lentils, but also
    many kinds of dried beans, and whole grains, for the basis of our meals. We
    have also saved on doctor bills because of the fiber in these healthy foods.

    Italian Lentil Stew
    This recipe makes a lot, but freezes very well. A couple of
    months ago, I made this for a recipe tasting table we did on was hands down the favorite at that event.***

    1/4 to 1/2 lb. sausage (*more if desired)
    (jimmy dean is a good choice,
    but only buy it when on sale)
    1 onion, finely chopped
    1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 c. cooked lentils (brown or green)
    up to 1 and 1/2 c. cooked cracked wheat**
    1 can (14.5 oz) crushed tomatoes
    1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
    2 to 3 c. water
    up to 1 T. italian seasonings
    salt and pepper to taste.

    In a large pot: brown sausage, onion, garlic. Add lentils,
    cooked cracked wheat, tomatoes, tomato sauce, water,
    seasonings. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low, cover, and
    simmer for 15 + minutes. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

    To freeze leftovers: chill overnight in fridge before freezing.
    Never freeze food while warm: chill it first.

    *how much meat you use is a personal decision. In our
    family, we have chosen to use meat more as a 'flavoring'
    than a main focus of meals for 2 reasons. First, it is healthier.
    Second, it saves us money. Meat can be one of our most
    expensive grocery items.

    **if you do not have any wheat/cracked wheat: substitute
    with cooked brown or white rice. BUT, having said that, I
    encourage you to use the cooked cracked wheat, as it is
    a good combination with the lentils.

    *** We started a neighborhood cooking group (with
    others wanting to come when they heard how much fun
    we have. So we now have 12 people).
    Every month, one person in the group (as hostess) chooses
    a theme/recipe to demonstrate. Then the rest of us, if we
    wish to and have time, make a sample based on chosen
    theme. We plan it out several months ahead. The hostess,
    plus those bringing a recipe to sample, are required to bring
    enough copies of their recipe for everyone to take one home.

    For example: on Italian Night, the 'hostess' showed how
    to a make a new pasta dish that her family likes. Others
    brought anything italian, from appetizers to sides to desserts.
    Last edited by frugaljan; 07-06-2009 at 02:16 PM.

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