Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Topping the Kopans comfort-food charts right next to Tuna Casserole is this sweet gem of a recipe. It has a lot of the same pluses: David grew up with it, it is hot and comforting, and it is super, super cheap. In a few ways, though, it is even better: it is a crock pot meal, meaning I don't have to schvitz over it at all (and if you know me, you know there's nothing I hate more than standing over a counter and especially an oven to prep meals), AND it's what I'm going to call a super-frugal meal. That means it costs $5 or less to prepare, and it stretches into lunchtime for the next day or two to boot. An extra bonus is that my 2 and 3-year-olds devour this meal, so it does double duty in our house.
So, let's get started. Here's what you'll need:
1 bag of dry lentils
1 can of crushed tomatoes
chopped onions, carrots, and celery (I'd say around a cup of each - I'm using a bagful I chopped and froze)
some chicken broth if you have it
salt, pepper, garlic, and Italian seasoning to taste
3 c water
Wash your lentils. (The directions say to wash and sort, but I am totally guilty of skipping "sort.")
Dump everything together in your crock pot. Ours is a 6-qt model, to give you an idea of what you're looking at.
For extra frugal bonus points, use your tomato can to add water so you get every last bit of tomatoe-y goodness.
If you have 6 hours or less, put it on high. If you have more than 6 hours, you can safely set this on low and the lentils will still cook to perfection.
Serve it with some bread you threw into the bread machine or got day-old for $.90....
Or over rice....
This also freezes well, so it's a great meal for portioning into freezer containers for on-the-go lunches. Especially in the winter time, it's nice to have a hot meal from home that you had to do next to nothing to prepare.