Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Cheesy Bacon Lentils
So Hurricane Sandy has come and gone, and we were among the very fortunate ones.
We had steady rain for probably 55 hours straight and some heavy wind, especially last night, but while the news of our region was filled with videos and photos of flooded streets and buildings, nearly submerged cars, and gigantic waves, we are far enough removed from low ground and water that we weren't really affected at all. We didn't even lose power, which was my greatest concern.
But our prayers are definitely with those who were so devastated by the storm - I can only imagine how difficult it must be.
We actually got to enjoy some extra time with Grant - since the Army post where he works was closed yesterday.I know some people go a little stir crazy when they are house-bound for a few days, but I really enjoy it. With no option of really going out, we got stuff done around the house and I spent some time cooking and baking.
I made cheesy potato soup for our lunch yesterday, a delicious new peanut butter banana bread (that ended up getting eaten before I took photos - guess I'll have to make it again!), simmered chili in the crockpot today, and baked a couple of new desserts for a dinner with friends tomorrow. Yep, our house has smelled pretty good the past couple of days!
After posting a lot of sweets lately, I figured I'd better even the tables a little and show you we don't only survive on sugar and butter.
There's bacon too!
This simple and frugal dish combines our favorite breakfast meat with lentils, onion, and cheese and a few spices...couldn't get much easier than that. And the entire family really liked it. For two dinners in a row.
That makes it a success, in my book.
You could make it vegetarian if you wanted - I'm sure it would still be tasty - but honestly, we enjoyed it so much with the smoky flavor of the bacon, I don't think I'll ever leave it out.
Serve with a nice green salad and some bread if you like.
Cheesy Bacon Lentils - (adapted from The Cheapskate Cook)
1 (1 lb) package lentils, soaked 24 hours*
4 cups broth (chicken, vegetable, beef) or water
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
6 oz (about 8 or 9 pieces) turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
2-1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (I use sharp white cheddar)
In a saucepan, combine lentils, broth, onion, and bay leaf.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Drain excess liquid.
Turn off heat, remove bay leaf and add salt, pepper, bacon, and 1-1/2 cups cheese into lentils, stirring until cheese melts.
Evenly spread mixture into a lightly greased casserole dish and top with remaining cheese.
Bake 20-30 minutes until golden and bubbly.
*Soaking the lentils is an optional step. It's an easy way to help your body digest the nutrients found in the lentils. The day before making this dish, pour the lentils into a strainer, rinse them with water, and then pour them into a large bowl. Fill the bowl with filtered water to 1 inch above the lentils. Allow them to soak for 24-72 hours, changing the water every 12 hours. Drain the soaking water before using them in this recipe. If you choose not to soak the lentils, simply rinse them in a strainer and increase the stock/water to 5 or 6 cups.