Natalie McLaury considers herself a bit of a hoarder when it comes to magazines. Never one to pass up a good deal on a subscription, it’s to the point where she now finds herself receiving a magazine in the mail several times a week. Most of the time, she rips out pages of recipes but fails to actually create the recipe in her kitchen. Not anymore! Join Natalie as she cooks the magazines.
By Natalie McLaury
How do you choose the meals you plan to make? Do you tend to fly by the seat of your pants when it comes to dinner plans or do you meticulously plan each meal? I’m a planner, but only in the last few years since I got married and started this blog. I remember my first grocery trip post-college, pre-marriage when I was living by myself. I entered the store with no list and no plan in mind which resulted in a rather odd assortment of ingredients. It’s no wonder I spent those months of solo living eating pb&j, microwaveable nachos, and cereal! Nowadays, trips to the grocery store are much different. I meal plan at home and then make my list accordingly, sticking to it most of the time (save for a few impulse purchases…usually treats for Ryan or chocolate chips for baking experiments!).
A few weeks ago, we were out of food and I had a small window of opportunity to grocery shop. Somehow, making a list hadn’t happened that week and I was forced to throw a menu plan and list together in a matter of minutes. I grabbed the nearest magazine, Family Circle in this case, and starting writing down ingredients for the first recipe I saw: Garam Masala Spiced Lentils and Potatoes.
My sporadic pick turned out to be a good one! This meal exceeded mine and Ryan’s expectations…he liked it enough to eat it for lunch and dinner one day. The recipe makes enough to feed an army—I froze about a third of it to pull out on a busy evening and we enjoyed the rest over a few meals. This lentil dish was healthy, but not boring, thanks to the spice profile. I think I need to start meal planning at the last second more often!
- l lb brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
- 1½ lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped
- 1 (14.5 oz) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
- 2 tsp (10 ml) salt
- 1½ tsp (7 ml) garam masala seasoning
- ½ tsp (2 ml) ground cumin
- ½ tsp (2 ml) black pepper
- 2 red or yellow peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
- ½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- ¾ cup (6 oz) toasted slivered almonds
- In a large saucepan, combined 4 cups water, lentils, potatoes, onions, diced tomatoes, salt, garam masala, cumin, and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 35 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Add chopped peppers and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
- Stir in cilantro just before serving. Sprinkle with almonds over the top.
Natalie McLaury is a St Louis based food writer with a passion for real food and experimenting in the kitchen. Her cooking ranges from healthy three course meals to decadent desserts, and she shares many of her food tips and recipes on her successful The Sweets Life blog . As an avid runner and fitness expert, she also gives the occasional tips on how to combine a serious interest in health with a sweet tooth.