Saturday, October 10, 2009

"Best of the Best - QVC Family Cookbook" - Easy Crockpot Lentil Soup

Date I made this recipe: October 4, 2009

Best of the Best – QVC Family Cookbook – Favorite Family Recipes from QVC Viewers, Guests, and Friends – edited by Gwen McKee and Barbara Moseley
Published by: Quail Ridge Press
ISBN: 1-893062-72-4
Recipe: Easy Crockpot Lentil Soup – p. 59 – Recipe submitted by Gail Bradshaw, Chesapeake, VA

My friend, Carol (also known as “Tall”) is a self-proclaimed “shopper-head.” This woman loves to shop, shop, shop until she drops. And not one to be snobby, she is a big fan of QVC, a cable TV home shopping network that is now online as well.

So when I found this QVC cookbook at a used bookstore in town, I had to have it. Actually, I probably should have given it to her but I have a recipe blog and she doesn’t so I win.

Unlike Carol, I have never warmed up to QVC but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a bargain. In fact, I was prompted to pull out this book yesterday after spending a bit of time emailing her (we have not yet progressed to Face Book postings) that I scored a jacket on sale at Chico’s. To me, scoring something on sale is a rare event but to her, it’s an everyday thing. The fact that she is 6 foot tall (thus, the nickname) and finds stuff at all, much less on sale, slays me but she does.

My mother also appreciated a sale, and my dad used to tease her to no end by yelling “Sale!” There’s a sale!” when we were in a department store. My mother had the opposite problem of Tall’s – small in stature but not quite petite. And yet, she too, came back with bags of clothes. Of course, like all women around the world she “never had a thing to wear!” (My mother’s second-favorite phrase, usually directed toward my dad was “Oh, you’re not going to wear THAT are you?” You know you are your mother’s daughter when you find yourself saying the same thing to your husband.).

But I digress…this recipe book was fun to leaf through because it had many photos of QVC employees in action (there is nothing like the “in action” photos that companies use in their communication material. My favorite has to be “poised with a pen.”). I went with today’s recipe because it allowed me to use up the cabbage I bought for my vegetable soup a couple of weeks ago and it involved a crockpot. I mean, what great invention is that – plug it in and leave it alone! I am all over that instruction. (If your sense of humor is like mine though, the fact that a crockpot recipe was deemed “Easy” made me laugh. Is there such a thing as a “Hard” or “Difficult” crockpot recipe?)

Easy Crockpot Lentil Soup – serving size not listed
1 package dried lentils
3 stalks celery
1 large onion
1 large potato
1 ½ cups prewashed, prepackaged cole slaw mix (cabbage and carrots). (As noted above, I used up some pregrated purple cabbage and then just added some carrots to it to come up with a cole slaw mix)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (14 1/2–ounce) can chicken broth
1 (10 ¾-ounce) can condensed chicken soup (any kind)
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

Spray crockpot with cooking spray. Wash dried lentils and place in crockpot. Wash and coarsely chop vegetables, then add to crockpot. Add cole slaw mix directly from the package.

Sprinkle all spices over ingredients in crockpot. Pour broth, soup, and tomatoes into crockpot; fill crockpot within one inch of top with water. Cook on high 2 hours. Then turn crockpot to LOW and cook at least 6 more hours.

Interesting variations: Vary the flavor of the canned soup (such as creamed soup, chicken and rice, chicken noodle, ramen noodle soup, etc.). Add additional vegetables (such as mushrooms, broccoli, squash or cauliflower). Vary the type of dried beans (such as split peas, blackeye peas, or navy beans.).

NOTE: Well, folks, either my crockpot is broken (doubt it but it is old) or the author underestimated the cooking time because after 8 hours of cooking, 2 on high and 6 on low, the lentils were still pretty firm. And so I put them on the stove in a regular soup pot and cooked them for about an hour more and they were still firm. Hmmm….lentils are usually pretty easy to cook so I don’t know what happened. The flavor was still good even if it took much longer to cook than I planned for!

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