Tag Archives: lentils

They may be sloppy, but these Joes definitely aren’t wimpy


Fun fact: Did you know the original Sloppy Joe sandwich was invented in the 1920’s by a restaurant cook named Floyd Angell in Sioux City, Iowa as a variation of the popular loose-meat sandwich?

Or that they are referred to as “Yum Yums” in parts of the Midwest and “Wimpies” in Pennsylvania?

Or that the term “Sloppy Joe” is not a food at all in Australia but instead refers to a hooded sweatshirt with a furry fleece lining much like wool? Imagine the weird looks you’d probably receive in an Australian restaurant when trying to order a Sloppy Joe with extra pickles.

So, this past weekend I decided to use my new Dutch oven and make my own little variation of the Sloppy Joes: aka the Untidy Teenies. But instead of using ground beef, turkey or cow tongue (yeah, they use that in some parts of New Jersey…. nasty) as the main protein source, I made the animal-friendly decision to prepare them vegetarian and use red lentils and beans instead. And in all honesty, I think they turned out a heck of a lot tastier than other kind of sandwich of this variety, while still maintaining all their awesome sloppy-ness.

And don’t be shy about asking for extra pickles to go along with these babies. Just be sure to also ask for extra napkins. These untidy Teenies have a tendency to spill all over your fleece-lined “Sloppy Joe”.

Speaking of spills, I “accidentally” got peanut butter all over my face after sticking my head in the open jar and mi mama thinks I need a little bath. Hey, that’s what happens when you leave a jar unattended on the coffee table.

Hey can’t a guy get a little privacy!


The Pilgrims would be proud


I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s a holiday coming up this Thursday. Something involving turkeys, cranberries, drunken family fist-fights…. you know the usual holiday fare. This year mi familia is having a big get-together with most of mi papa’s family coming in from different parts of the country as well as a few of mi mama’s. Hopefully not the ones who end up throwing things and bringing up childhood issues of bitterness and resentment. I’d really hate for the cops to have to drop in for a little visit again this year and find my great-abuela tied up in the closet with a pair of socks stuffed in her mouth… it’s just embarrassing.

So as I look forward to this magical day, I try to stay de-stressed in the kitchen by cooking up delicious and easy recipes utilizing my slow cooker. With all the preparation that will be involved on Thursday, it’s nice to only dirty up one pot on the nights leading up to that day. Last night I made the familia a lovely Lentil Bolognese dish which was not only incredibly tasty, but allowed me plenty of time to visit with everyone as well as take a little snooze in mi abuela Martha’s suitcase which she so kindly left open just for me. Gracias Abuela!

Lentil Bolognese over Pasta

2 cups green lentils, soaked and drained

2 cups vegetable broth or water

2 large carrots, diced

2 large celery stalks, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 large yellow onion, diced

2- 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained

6 oz can tomato paste

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp ground red pepper

salt and pepper, to taste

1 package pasta or potato gnocchi


1) Put all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover, set heat to low and cook 5-6 hours or until lentils are tender.

2) Boil pasta or gnocchi according to package directions. Serve Bolognese sauce over hot pasta/gnocchi and top with parmesan cheese.

3) Enjoy!

Well mi amigos, I must be going now. There’s a turkey to be thawed, some furniture and glass objects to be nailed down, and some guests to greet at the boating dock. Have a bueno Thanksgiving, everyone!

If the stew is Moroccan, you better come a knockin


I really hate wasting food. I get so sad when I look in our crisper drawer and find slimy lettuce or open up our fruit bin and find mold growing on a strawberry or a peach. The other day during a commercial break in between my telenovelas, I saw an ad stating that Americans throw away nearly 33 million tons of food each year due to spoilage. That’s just crazy! It pains me to think of how many of those pounds were once perfectly beautiful carrots just waiting for some hungry little super chef to feast on and now they’re just sitting in some landfill, rotting away.

Alas, food waste is a very rare occurrence in my house. I try to find a use for everything, whether it’s on its last leg or just beginning to reach its point of expiration. Got a brown banana? I’ll make a banana bread. Come upon a few pieces of nearly stale bread? I’ll whip up a plate of French Toast. Have half of a butternut squash leftover from the macaroni and cheese dish I posted about the other day? I’ll chop em up, throw them into a stew and call it dinner. Need a stew recipe so you can do the same thing? I’ll give ya one.

Moroccan Butternut Squash Stew with Chickpeas and Lentils

2 tsp olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 large carrots, chopped

1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced

4 cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1″ cubes

1 cup lentils

4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained

2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

salt and pepper, to taste

14.5 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup raisins

2 tbsp tomato paste

freshly grated Parmesan, optional


1) Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add onions, garlic, carrots and fresh ginger and cook 5 minutes until onions are softened.

2) Add butternut squash, lentils, vegetable broth, tomatoes and spices. Bring to a boil, cover and allow to simmer 25-30 minutes.

3) Remove lid, add chickpeas, raisins and tomato paste and allow to simmer 10 minutes.

4) Serve over a bed of cooked rice, couscous, quinoa, millet or whatever your favorite grain just so happens to be. Top with grated Parmesan, if you so desire and enjoy!

Another possible food waste crisis averted. TeenyLittleSuperChef saves the day again. Now if you’ll excuse me, mi mama says she’s craving a tuna salad sandwich and I need to figure out just how I’m going to open up this can.

Buenos noches, mi amigos!

Save a lamb, eat some lentils


Buenos dias a todos! This is going to be my first blog post featuring one of my tasty creations along with the recipe so you can try and make it in your own kitchen. Granted it probably will not turn out as wonderful as mine, but obviously, that’s because I am the Teeny Little Super Chef and you my friends, are not. Still, this is a very simple recipe and even the most inept cooker (no offense Papa) should be able to recreate it at home.

Now first off, let’s talk about the lentil. Ahhh the lentil, such an underappreciated legume. For those of you who are vegetarian and vegan, you are more than likely familiar with the lentil as it contains a substantial amount of protein. In fact, one single cup of cooked lentils provides almost 18 grams of protein! That’s almost the same as a small chicken breast. And with only one gram of fat and 15 grams of fiber, the lentil is an ideal choice for those trying to get filled up, without filling out. (Quick disclaimer: If you are not used to eating this much fiber in one sitting, maybe take it easy on lentils and start out with about a half cup serving at first. That is, of course, unless you don’t like your familia and esposo or they have completely lost their ability to smell flatulence. Trust me on this one. I am a dog, and I’ve even been offended.) So back to the lentil– not only is it a nutritonal powerhouse, but it is also very cheap to buy and super easy to cook. If you are still not completely sold on the idea of lentils, then maybe my recipe for Lentil Chili will entice you to give it a try.

So in honor of Meatless Monday, I decided to make lentils the star of the evening and concocted this chili recipe using mi mama’s slow cooker. Now if you don’t have a slow cooker, this dish is still possible to make on the stove top. If you would like the directions, please e-mail me at teenylittlesuperchef@yahoo.com

 Spicy Lentil Chili over Brown Rice

1 1/2 cups dry lentils, rinsed and drained in a colander

3 cups water

2 medium sized carrots, diced

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

14.5 oz can of Diced Tomatoes

8 oz can of Tomato Sauce

1 tbsp mustard

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp chili powder

1/4 tsp red pepper

1/2 to 1 tbsp ground cumin

salt and pepper, to taste

2 14.5 oz cans of kidney, black or pinto beans (or mixture of all three), drained and rinsed

6 tbsp tomato paste


1) Combine all ingredients (except beans and tomato paste) in a slow cooker. Stir to combine.

2) Place lid on top and set to low heat. Allow to cook 7  hours or until lentils are tender.

3) Add beans and tomato paste and stir to combine. Put lid back on and allow to cook another 30 minutes.







4) Remove lid, and serve atop a bed of cooked brown rice. Top with cheese, sour cream, chives etc. Enjoy!







And that, my friends, is how you make a delectable lentil dish that will please vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Now if you will excuse me, I must go grocery shopping for my next culinary masterpiece. Adios!