When people find out that our house is mostly free of animal-products (no meat, eggs, dairy, cheese, etc.), they inevitably ask at some point: "So what do you guys eat?!?!"
Somehow, despite getting dinner on the table most nights, I really never know what to tell them.
Since I'm living the life of luxury here in Panama with a full-time maid to help out, I'm able to enjoy cooking again and do homemade most nights. So I thought I'd document dinners, include some recipes, and let the kids give a Thumbs-Up-Medium-or-Down on the meal.
Tonight we had Lentil Night, one of Nate's favorite. I was introduced to the sauce by Stewart's cousin Colleen who uses it as her brisket recipe. I tried it for my once-a-year-meat-at-Chanukah brisket several years ago and it was a HUGE hit. A big enough hit that my mother put me in charge of the yearly brisket. Anyone who knows Jewish Mothers knows that's saying a lot. I give all the credit to Colleen.
About a year ago, I had the idea to try the sauce on lentils, sort of a "sweet and sour sloppy joe lentil stew." It was a big success and we eat it once every week or two. Besides being delicious and nutritious (mostly), it's cheap and filling! This recipe makes enough for dinner for us 4, several days of lunches for Stewart, and another dinner for us 4 later on in the week. I never ever cook for just one night - I'm far too lazy for that! If you want to make a normal sized amount, just cut everything in half and use one bag of lentils (with no extra beans) - it will be a little less saucy than we like but still great.
Cook one pound of lentils (I just boil in water) and when they're done, drain and add two cans of cooked beans (I used one can white and one can black beans tonight but any are fine). Set aside.
In a large-sided pot or pan (I use the same one I cooked the lentils in), sauté any veggies you have in the fridge, along with a couple of onions, in whatever oil you want. Tonight it was red peppers, garlic, onions, and some tomatoes in canola oil. When the veggies are soft and starting to brown, add the lentils back into the pot.
Make the sauce by adding to the pot of lentils: two jars of Heinz chili sauce (or generic version), two cans of beer, a bunch of brown sugar (I used about a half pound tonight), and some soy sauce (I used about 6 tbsp tonight). That's it! Stir the sauce it into the lentils and let simmer for a half hour or so, serve over brown rice or on hamburger buns for "sloppy lentils" or over pasta! It's pretty sweet with a lot of tang and I would expect most kids to really like it. Let me know if you try it!
The verdict at our house: