Category Archives: Budget Friendly

Lentil Soup: A potassium-rich environment

She says: This soup is a cinch to put together.  It also gives your body a nice break from the rich, sodium-laden food from the holidays.   But instead of eliminating salt, I prefer to balance things with potassium-rich foods like potatoes, parsley, lentils, and leafy greens, all of which play a role in this hearty restorative.   Double the recipe!  Freeze it, use the leftovers for lunches, or heck … share a quart with a neighbor!

Serve it with a loaf of crusty bread and a mess of Parmigiano for a perfect winter meal to warm you and your family from your head to your toes.

He says:  Whoa, that’s a wealth of lentils in there! And that shot looks positively professional. Guess that makes you a…

…Lentil wealth professional.

Continue reading Lentil Soup: A potassium-rich environment

Mujadara – Lentils, Rice, and Caramelized Onion


She says:  Folks, this one is super simple to make.  It’s also super inexpensive, super healthy, and super tasty.

Since lentils and rice have different cooking times, we’re going to partially partially cook the lentils before adding them to the onions and rice.

The deep fried onion topping is a nice, crispy addition.  But, if you are short on time or even if you just want to save the calories and fuss, feel free to leave them out.  This dish will be just as delicious!


He says:  Although his accomplishment was unfairly overshadowed by Sir Edmund Hillary in the mid-’50s, sherpa Tenzing Norgay was the first person to summit Mt. Mujadara without the use of supplemental oxygen. And while the mountain continues to claim lives (as depicted most famously in Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Tabbouleh), thousands gather at its base camps each year to test their mettle against Mujadara’s steep basmati slopes and unforgiving onion-scented winds.

Mujadara – Lentils, Rice, and Caramelized Onion

Mujadara – Lentils, Rice, and Caramelized Onion


    For the Mujadara:
  • 1/4 cup olive or canola oil
  • 4-5 medium onions, about 1 1/4 pounds, diced
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 cup basmati rice or coarse grind bulgur
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Sour cream or plain yogurt, for garnish
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish
  • For the Fried Onions
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • oil for frying


    For the Mujadara:
  1. In a 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook until caramelized, stirring occasionally to ensure they don't burn -- about 20-25 minutes.
  2. In a small saucepan, add 4 cups water with lentils. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat
  3. When onions are caramelized, add lentils (and the remaining liquid), rice (or bulgur), and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until the rice (or bulgur) are tender, stirring frequently to prevent sticking or burning. Add a bit of additional water if necessary.
  4. For the fried onions
  5. In a small saucepan, heat about two inches of oil over high heat.
  6. Cut onion in half, from pole to pole. Slice onion into thin half-moon shapes.
  7. In a medium bowl, add the sliced onion and toss to separate the onion rings. Add flour and toss to coat.
  8. Fry the onions in batches, stirring a couple times to ensure even browning. When onions are golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.


Chicken Paprikash


She says:  A while back, I posted a recipe for Chicken Adobo.  We’re going to use a similar technique here.

Simply brown the chicken, skin side down, rendering as much of the fat as possible.  Add some aromatics.  Braise it all in a liquid (water or chicken broth — your choice).  Then, finish the sauce.  If you can make Chicken Adobo, you can make this — and vice versa!

For this recipe, I have a problem with the sauce breaking.  To keep things together and help the sauce to cling to the chicken, I use a tiny amount of xanthan gum.  I prefer xanthan in this particular recipe because it adds no taste, can be used at any temperature, and doesn’t dull the flavors or cloud the sauce.  It acts as a binding agent and emulsifier.  A little goes a long way.  1/4 teaspoon is all you need — any more than that and the dish will start to take on a weird mouthfeel.  If you can’t find xanthan or don’t want to use it, that’s fine too!  A quick cornstarch slurry should do the trick.

He says: Hung[a]ry? Rock the Paprikash-bah!

Nothing says that you HAVE to serve this entrée on an ornate platter emblazoned with arcane medieval Eastern European runes etched to ward off evil bland-food spirits (as pictured here)*, but on the other hand, do you really want to risk NOT serving it that way?

* OK, I’ve been informed by Ms. Legume that this platter has no actual magical powers, but is instead a popular Wendell August pattern. I countered that Wendell August might actually be a benevolent centuries-old wizard like Gandalf, but I was further informed by Ms. Legume that I should dial back the crazy talk before she’s forced to throw the net over me again.


Chicken Paprikash

Chicken Paprikash


  • 8 Bone-in chicken thighs, about 3 pounds
  • 2 large onions, sliced into half-moons (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup Hungarian paprika
  • 1 1/2 cup water or chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch or 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • chopped parsley, for garnish


  1. Place chicken skin side down into a 12-inch non-stick skillet. Cook over medium low heat until skin is golden brown and fat has rendered, about 15 minutes.
  2. Move chicken to plate. Drain off all but 1 1/2 tablespoons of fat.
  3. Increase the heat to medium. Toss the onions into the skillet and cook until they begin to soften and brown on the edges, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add paprika to the onions and cook just until it starts to become fragrant.
  5. Stir in the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.
  6. Nestle the chicken pieces into the skillet, skin side up. Tuck in the bay leaves. Cover with a lid. Reduce heat to medium-low and slowly simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  7. Move chicken to serving platter, leaving onions and liquid in the skillet. Cover the chicken with foil to keep warm.
  8. If you're using cornstarch, make a slurry of 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Mix well, then add to the sauce remaining in the skillet, stir until thickened. If you're using xanthan gum instead of cornstarch, simply sprinkle it lightly over top of the sauce, stir until thickened.
  9. Take the skillet off the heat. Whisk in sour cream until combined.
  10. Pour sauce over chicken, sprinkle some parsley over top, and serve.


Feel free to use water instead of chicken broth in this recipe. We're using bone-in chicken, so it makes a sort of chicken stock as it's braising.

Quick fix: If you have leftover chicken sitting around in the fridge, chop it into chunks -- or even shred it. Instead of chicken fat (unless you have some in the freezer, too!), use butter or cooking oil to cook the onions and simply follow the rest of the recipe as-is. Serve over noodles!