As I was lamenting what to make for dinner the other evening, I started pondering the fact that so many of my articles and recipes are for special evenings or weekend cooking. But what about work nights? Believe me, I certainly am one for opening up a jar of spaghetti sauce and boiling up some pasta. Or tossing some chicken sausages together with some veggies. Or a big salad with some added chicken. Work night dinners need to be quick, easy, and healthy, so I thought I’d start this series where I occasionally will pass along a recipe that fits this description perfectly.
One of the big things these days in the nutrition world is to have a good fat, a healthy protein, and a complex carbohydrate in one meal. This dinner brings together all three, healthy olive oil for the fat, some lean beef, and lentil beans. Add some spices and it is dinner! The only thing that really takes any time is cooking the lentils, but you can either make them in advance, or put them on to cook when you get in the door. Once you put them in boiling water, it takes about 30 minutes for them to get soft, so you don’t need to hover around the stove, you can go off and do other things.
From beginning to end, once the lentils are cooked this takes about 15 minutes at the most to put together. And this can be versatile too; I thought some mushrooms might be a great addition, or if you have some leftover rice or another grain, you could toss those in too. Add a simple green salad and you have dinner for a work night!
Beef and Lentil Hash
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
½ of a large onion, finely chopped
½ pound beef
About 1 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils
A few dashes of curry powder
A dash of cayenne pepper (optional for those who aren’t chili heads!)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Warm the olive oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add the onion and cook until soft.
2. Add the beef and cook until done.
3. Add the lentils and spices. Dinner is ready!
• To cook the lentils, take a medium-sized saucepan, fill with water, and bring to a boil. Stir in ½ cup of lentils and simmer until soft, about 30 minutes or so.
• If your beef is rather fatty and gives off a lot of grease, just drain it in a colander before adding the lentils and spices.
• I didn’t measure the spices, I just tossed in enough to flavor the dish. You can do the same; experiment by adding as much or as little as you would like!