Super simple green beans with lemon, garlic and parsley

The bean plants in our garden have been doing very well this year (this is seriously one of the easiest plants to grow). My two year old loves going out to pick the beans with me (which means I pick them, since the poor plant would be torn apart if he tried, hand the beans to him, and he puts them into a bowl). He loves pointing out all the beans I need to pick. In our case, we grew purple, yellow and green beans, which I think makes it even more fun for him.

Since we had a bunch of beans this week (though only enough for a half recipe of what is listed below), I wanted a quick and easy weeknight meal to make with them. I paired this recipe I found on epicurious with some extra firm tofu that I grilled on the stove (in a grill pan) with sweet chili sauce. Delicious! My husband especially liked that they were cooked in a pan with the garlic afterwards, which gave them a really nice taste with the garlic. I personally loved the lemon rind (which my son also got to help me grate)!

Green beans with garlic, lemon and parsley

  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain. Place beans in bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well.

Melt butter with oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds. Add beans; sauté until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and lemon peel. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to platter.

bean sorter

Notice that he sorted all the green beans on one side and purple and yellow on the other. Rather than a bean counter, I have a bean sorter!

green beans


All about the lentils

Don’t you know that I’m all about the lentils, ’bout the lentils… Oh, sorry.
Recently, I’ve been trying to make lots more lentil dishes. Lentils are full of good protein, fiber and other happy healthy stuff and are super duper cheap. We have been trying recently to eat more veggies and cut down on meat (for both health reasons and cost reasons), so I’ve found a number of really flavorful lentil dishes that are quite easy to make.

The first was a dish my college roommate recently made for me since we had just had a new baby. I enjoyed it so much, I asked for the recipe and in turn made it for us as well as my neighbor who also had recently had a baby. So maybe it’s just great postpartum food, but I think we’d like it anytime.

The second I found while doing a Google search for lentils and squash (since we had a number of fresh in-season squashes and zucchinis from our local farm to use). What I found is an amazingly flavorful Lebanese. Hope you enjoy!

Lentilles du Puy with Roasted Carrots and Beets from Saveur

You can either use true “lentilles du Puy” (from France, likely found at Whole Food bulk section) or just any green lentil. I went to Sprouts for my plain old green variety.

3 small beets, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
4 shallots, peeled and halved
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 sprigs fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound lentilles du Puy, or other french-style green lentils
3 tbsp sherry vinegar (also really good with balsamic vinegar)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place beets, carrots, shallots, and 1/2 cup oil in a medium roasting pan. Stir to coat vegetables evenly with oil. Add parsley and thyme, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring once, until vegetables begin to brown, about 20 minutes. Add lentils and 3 cups of water, stir, then cover pan with foil. Cook until lentils are tender and all water is absorbed, about 1 hour. (The water tends to evaporate pretty quickly here in Colorado, so you may need to add some extra.)

2. Remove pan from oven. Remove and discard herb springs, then dress lentils with vinegar and remaining oil. Allow to cool slightly, then stir in chopped parsley. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Variation (from Saveur, I’ve never tried this!):
Different vegetables and dressings can be used for this salad. For instance, roast 2 cups peeled small pearl onions for 20 minutes. Dice celery stalks. Add celery stalks and lentils to onions with 3 cups water, cover and continue roasting. Meanwhile, mix 3 tsp fresh lemon juice with 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl. Stir in 1 minced peeled garlic clove and 2 tsp finely chopped thyme. When lentils are tender and liquid has been absorbed, toss with dressing. Adjust seasoning and serve.

lentils with beets and carrots

Lentil and Bulgur pilaf with green and yellow squash

I used the recipe from and noticed they never said how to cut the squash, so I sliced it in half length-wise and then in roughly 1/4 inch wedges cross-wise. I personally would have added more squash and zucchini, so will likely do that next time.

4 cups fat-free chicken broth or 4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup medium grain bulgur (coarse grain also works)
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and picked over (I used green since I couldn’t find brown, and it worked just fine)
1 medium onion, coarse chopped
1 bay leaf
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon allspice
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground works best
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small zucchini (cut in half length-wise and then in 1/4 inch wedges cross-wise). I would personally recommend more zucchini than this.
1 small yellow squash (cut in half length-wise and then in 1/4 inch wedges cross-wise). I would personally recommend more squash than this.
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated
1 1⁄2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
lemon wedge (for garnish)

In a large saucepan, mix together the broth, lentils, onion, bay leaf, salt allspice and pepper and bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce to low, cover and simmer 10 minutes.
Add Bulgar and simmer and cook an additional 25 minutes until the lentils and bulgur are tender. I ended up needing to add additional water since it cooked off quicker than I expected.
Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.
Meanwhile, in a nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add zucchini and squash and cook 2 minutes. Add garlic and lemon zest and cook an additional 3 minutes until the squash are tender.
Stir in parsley and cilantro. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
Mix the squash into the bulgur and lentil pilaf.
Serve hot with lemon wedges.
lentils and bulgar wheat pilaf

Quick and healthy saag (Indian spinach recipe)

I love Indian food. Let me say that again: I love Indian food. What I don’t love is that often times it takes a long time to make and often times it has more butter and cream in it than I care to admit. This recipe was one that I got from an Indian woman in Ft Collins who taught a cooking class through Ft Collins’ recreation office. I loved her recipes because they were quick to make and significantly more healthy than the Indian food you often get at restaurants. Oh, and my toddler loves them too.

For this recipe you could make paneer (cheese) by curdling milk, squeezing the whey out, etc. I just don’t have the time for that these days, so instead, I pan fry extra firm tofu using a little bit of oil, cutting the tofu into smaller chunks, and pan frying over a medium to medium high heat. I’ve found this helps get most of the water out of the tofu and makes it quite tasty and perfect for this recipe (or to use in a stir fry).

The recipe calls for either fresh or frozen spinach. It said one bunch. After cooking up a pretty large bunch of spinach, I felt it wasn’t enough, so I used a bunch of kale and added it to the recipe as well. I couldn’t tell on taste at all. Maybe next time I’ll use all kale instead if I have it!

saag and tofu

Yet again, I forgot to take a picture until after my family had eaten almost the whole thing!



  • Spinach (2 bunches or 2 cups chopped frozen spinach. I would bet you could use even more). I had one bunch of spinach and one of kale and that worked great.
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 tabs oil
  • 2 cloves garlic,chopped (I use bottled and minced)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 green chili (which I forgot when I made it)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp garam masala (you can find at places like the Savory Spice Shop)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 3/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • pinch of turmeric

1) Remove ends of spinach, separate the leaves and wash thoroughly. Drain completely (I use a salad spinner). If using frozen spinach, thaw for a few minutes or microwave for 2 minutes

2) Place a 2 quart pan on the heat (I do it on medium). Add 1 tsp oil to the pan, add the spinach leaves and cover the pan to allow the spinach to steam until tender. Remove from heat

3) Grind the steamed spinach leaves to a coarse paste in the blender and set aside

4) Chop the onion finely and the green chili finely

5) Place the same 2 quart pan on the heat (medium to medium high). Add 2 tabs-ish of oil (you can likely add just one, if you want). Add the cumin seeds to the hot oil and allow to spurt (mine never really spurted, but basically cook for a couple minutes). Add the turmeric

6) Add the chopped onion and garlic and fry until light brown (hard to tell when this happens with the turmeric in there, but basically 4ish minutes). Add the blended spinach and chopped chili and mix. Add the garam masala and cumin powder and salt to taste. Mix all ingredients well. Cover and steam this for 2-4 minutes (I added the pan fried tofu in right before this so it could all steam together).

Eat! And eat! My toddler loves tofu (must be the texture), so this was a great way to get him to eat some greens at the same time.

Tortilla Espanola with kale

One of my favorite foods ever is a tortilla Espanola (with the ~ on top of the n). I have been to Spain many times and it’s so simple flavor-wise, but so delicious. Typically they have potatoes, onions and eggs. And salt. And that’s about it (though the potatoes and onions and likely cooked in olive oil). I have been wanting to try cooking one recently, but didn’t really take it seriously until I was told our CSA was going to have lots of kale this week (as it turns out, they didn’t send us lots of kale, just one bunch). But, I had already found this recipe on epicurious and was sold.

It did use a fair number of dishes (the one downside of it). I likely could have avoided one bowl by reusing the bowl that was used to cool the kale down for mixing up the eggs and such. But this really did turn out beautifully. I ended up turning up the heat a little compared to their recommendations (of low and moderately low), but only by a little bit.

Best part of this recipe? Even my toddler loved it! Next time, I do hope I get lots and lots of kale since the one bunch was clearly not enough in it. I could have had 4 times as much (at least). Here’s hoping I get more kale soon!

tortilla espanola

I forgot to take a photo until after the family had devoured most of it…


  • 1 lb boiling potatoes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (their recipe said 1 cup, but I read the reviews and everyone said 1/2 was plenty. They were right!)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 lb kale, center ribs discarded
  • 7 large eggs

Peel potatoes and cut into 1/3-inch dice (2 1/4 cups). Heat oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then reduce heat to moderately low and cook potatoes, onion, and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Blanch kale while potatoes cook:
Cook kale in a 4- to 6-quart pot of boiling salted water until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately transfer to a bowl of cold water to stop cooking. Drain again, squeezing handfuls of kale to extract excess moisture, then coarsely chop.

Add kale to potato mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender, about 5 minutes. Drain vegetables in colander set over a bowl, reserving drained oil, and cool 10 minutes.

Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl, then stir in vegetables, 1 tablespoon drained oil, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Add 1 tablespoon drained oil to skillet, then add egg mixture and cook over low heat, covered, until sides are set but center is still loose, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 15 minutes.

Shake skillet gently to make sure tortilla is not sticking (if it is sticking, loosen with a heatproof plastic spatula). Slide tortilla onto a large flat plate, then invert skillet over tortilla and flip it back into skillet. Round off edge of tortilla with plastic spatula and cook over low heat, covered, 10 minutes more. Slide tortilla onto a plate and serve warm, cut into wedges.