A steaming bowl of soup is my favorite meal in cold weather, but it doesn’t travel well. I was inspired to make this stew when I was making soup and thinking about how difficult it would be to bring to work for lunch. Adding some whole-wheat couscous took care of the liquid but preserved the flavor, and the dish turned out to be just as filling and warming as a soup.
This is a simple recipe that could be changed in so many ways. The ratio of broth, vegetables, and couscous is important so you end up with the right consistency of stew, but you can throw in any vegetables you have on hand. Different spice and herb combinations would work, too, but I recommend using the goat cheese every time to add a bit of creaminess.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 carrots
- 1 red pepper
- 1 sweet potato
- 1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed and drained
- 32 oz low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup whole-wheat couscous
- 1 oz goat cheese
- 2 cups packed baby spinach
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- grated parmesan cheese
- Heat the olive oil over medium in a large soup pot. Chop carrots, red pepper, and sweet potato (with skin on) and saute in olive oil for 5 minutes.
- Add the lentils, broth, bay leaf, onion powder, oregano, and thyme to the pot. Bring to a boil and then drop heat to a simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Remove the bay leaf, and add the salt, couscous, and goat cheese. Stir, drop the heat to low, and cover the pot. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, until the liquid is all absorbed. Stir to incorporate the goat cheese.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach and vinegar until spinach wilts.
- Serve topped with parsley and parmesan cheese.
Serves 4 to 6. Active time 20 minutes; total time 50 minutes.
Although Labor Day has come and gone, it’s still hot enough in Massachusetts for me to want a light, summery meal. White fish is so easy to cook, and the corn is still sweet this late in the season. This is a simple meal, but using fish instead of chicken makes it feel more special. Also, fish ends up being easier to cook and clean up after, as long as you put the wrappers in the outdoor trash immediately to keep your kitchen smelling fresh.
I served this with a side of Sesame Bok Choy Salad, but any vegetable side dish will work. Take advantage of your farmers’ market while it’s still flush with produce! Also, feel free to cover the side with cheese since the rest of this meal is so healthy.
- 2 4-oz cod fillets, defrosted if frozen
- 2 ears sweet corn
- 1 tsp lemon olive oil
- sea salt
- ground coriander
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and set a large pot of water on high heat to boil.
- Shuck the corn, removing as many silks as possible with your fingers. Rinse, snap off the ends of the cobs, and set corn aside.
- Line a baking sheet with foil, and spray with olive oil spray. Place the fish on the sheet, and sprinkle with the spices to taste.
- Bake fish for 15-20 minutes, until the middle is warm and opaque.
- When the water comes to a boil, add the corn cobs. Cook for 5 minutes, bringing the water back to a boil during that time. Remove corn from the water after 5 minutes.
- Fill two plates with fish and corn (and a side salad, if you wish), and enjoy!
Serves 2. Active time 10 minutes; total time 30 minutes.
Cold cuts make me shudder. Their slimy texture and uniform shape lead me to suspect that I’m eating fake food—and that’s probably true. But peanut butter sandwiches, to me, are for breakfast or for hiking, so I need lunchtime alternatives to deli meat.
This sandwich is simple, savory, and full of vegetables. You can substitute any veggies as long as they’re thinly sliced. I smeared each piece of bread with something creamy: avocado on one side and hummus on the other. A slice of cheese would be a good substitute for one of those, though.
- 2 pieces of whole-grain bread (gluten-free if desired)
- 2 small carrots
- 1/4 of an avocado
- roasted red pepper hummus
- dried oregano
- handful of baby spinach
- Put the bread slices in the toaster. While you wait for them to toast, peel the carrots, and thinly slice them on a heavy angle.
- Spread one piece of toast with the avocado, and spread hummus on the other piece. Sprinkle oregano on the hummus.
- Fill the sandwich with carrots and spinach. Cut it in half and serve with any remaining carrot slices on the side.
Serves 1. Active and total time 10 minutes.
Trying to eat less pizza has been a struggle since I started meal planning to prevent heartburn. As a native Chicagoan, I used to eat pizza many times each week. Now the acidic tomatoes, pungent garlic, and high-fat cheese make pizza a GERD problem. Still, I refuse to stop my experiments.
I thought I had figured it out. Schoolhouse Pizza in Quincy has a surprisingly highbrow menu for the South Shore of Boston. I haven’t found any other neighborhood joints with arugula, grilled pears, and truffle oil as toppings or salad fixings. I thought the CPA pizza would be perfect: pesto, artichoke hearts, grilled chicken, and a bit of cheese.
I miscalculated on this one, however. I expected a light smear of pesto on the crust, but instead, the pizza came with red sauce and with a generous helping of pesto. There must have been a half-cup of the green stuff on this pizza, and it oozed oil everywhere. Check out the leftovers on my plate.
Sadly, I have to label this meal a restaurant FAIL for heartburn. However, I recommend Schoolhouse Pizza to anyone who’s not trying to prevent GERD. You won’t find better pizza or salad in the neighborhood. This one caused me GERD grief, but it certainly tasted great.