Sunday, May 28, 2017

Klunker's red lentil, corn, and potato chowder

Klunker's red lentil, corn, and potato chowder

Looking through my cupboards today, I discovered I had two large bags of red lentils. Grateful that they don't go bad, I decided that maybe I should make something with them.
I decided to try a new recipe and see how it turned out, and I am glad I did.  It will now be on my top 5 list of favorite soups.

My love for lentils comes from my earliest childhood memories.  My mother made, and still makes, the absolute best lentil soup.  Every time I eat lentils, it takes me back in time.  My mother is by far the best cook I know, and the reason I have such a passion for my recipes.
I also want to dedicate this recipe to my friend Sandra, she is an inspiration to me!  She eats SOS (salt/oil/sugar) free, and so this recipe follows those guidelines.
This is an Instant Pot recipe also, so it is done fast.


6c no salt veggie stock or mushroom stock
1.5 cups red lentils, washed and drained (uncooked)
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed into bite sized pieces (about 1/2 inch)
8 oz. sliced mushrooms (about 3 cups)
2 cups frozen corn
4 stalks of celery, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced small
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped small
1 14.5oz. can of chopped tomatoes (no salt added)
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 bay leaf 
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander powder
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tablespoon no salt seasoning (Costco brand is what I used)

Now, this next part is going to overwhelm you (kidding, this is the best part)! Put all the ingredients into your Instant Pot, and stir to combine well.

Now, put the lid on, set it to seal, and turn the Instant Pot on.  
Set to Manual Mode, and 10 minutes.  When it is done, we are going to do NP (natural release).
Now, walk away and clean up your mess you just made.  But hurry, it will be done soon!

Now, some of you are asking about instructions without and Instant Pot.  I have those here too.  It is just as easy.  
Place all ingredients into a large pot, and stir well to combine.  Place on stove over medium high heat.  Allow to come to a soft boil.  Cover and reduce heat to medium low.  Cook for 20 minutes, stirring half way through.  
At 20 minutes, check the lentils to see if they are done, also the potatoes.  If both are soft, it is done.  (Overwhelmed yet?  hahahaha)

OK, back to the Instant pot instructions.  
When the valve has dropped, you can open your Instant Pot and stir the chowder.  
Serve hot, sprinkled with some herbs.  I used cilantro, and it really gave it a nice pop.  You could also add some hot sauce.
Serve with crusty bread, or all on its own, it will be fantastic!

I hope you give this a try, and enjoy it as much as I do.  It is super easy to make, and has amazing flavors.
If you are not salt free, you can adjust the seasoning as you need to, but I didn't have to (and I am not salt free)

Friday, May 26, 2017

Klunker's potato salad

Klunker's potato salad

Summer is just about here (well, where I live, it is here), and that means summer foods! One of those foods that make a picnic or family get together great, POTATO SALAD!
Now I already have another recipe on this site for a potato salad, but this one is a new dressing, and new veggies.  So, why not make a new recipe.

I love this recipe because of all the veggies involved.  It is crunchy, creamy, soft, hard.......basically, an explosion in your mouth!  Now, add to that a bright new dressing (yes, it can be used for a salad dressing too), and you have one great recipe!
I hope you give this a try!

(Coconut bowls courtesy of my sweet friend Tara)


For the dressing (Make this first, and set aside)

1 14.5 oz can of great northern beans with liquid (unsalted is what I used)
1/4 cup good dijon mustard
juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
2 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and minced fine 
3 medjool dates, pitted 
2 teaspoons of dried sweet basil 
salt and pepper to taste (optional)
Place all the above into a blender and blend until very smooth (about 3-4 minutes with normal blender, 2 minutes with high speed)
Set aside and let sit while you make the rest of the salad.

Ingredients for the potato salad

1.5 lbs baby yukon gold potatoes (you can use normal size, you will cut them into cubes)
1 lb. grape or cherry tomatoes (keep whole) washed
4 stalks celery, sliced thick
1 cup sweet frozen corn (or fresh)
1 cup diced cucumber (I used English cucumbers)
1/2 cup frozen peas
4 green onions, sliced thin (whites and greens, about 1/3 cup

Start by steaming your potatoes.  If you are using baby yukons, just steam whole.  If you are using full size, cut into cubes (bite size). 
While they are steaming, prep the rest of your veggies, and put them in a bowl.  
After the potatoes are just steamed (about 12-15 minutes, depending on size), remove and let cool enough to touch.  
If you used baby yukons, cut into bite size pieces. Place into a very large mixing bowl.

Now grab some of that delicious dressing.  Pour half of it onto the potatoes.

Gently mix with a spatula or wooden spoon.

Now, add the rest of the veggies.

Pour the remainder of the dressing on top.  Make sure to get it all. 

Carefully mix all together.  Take your time, and make sure everything gets equal sauce.

Taste for seasoning.  Mine was spot on, and I didn't have to adjust.  
Cover and chill for a couple hours.  As it rests in the fridge, the flavors marry, and become amazing!  The veggies are crunchy, the tomatoes pop in your moth, the potatoes are creamy and smooth.  The dressing, well, the dressing is simply amazing.  The crisp corn adds a delightful sweet flavor, and the peas follow up with a great, clean burst!
Serve along side your favorite foods (BBQ, Mushrooms.......or on a bed of lettuce)
I hope you enjoy this recipe, and it finds its way into your normal rotation.

Garnish with some extra green onions!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Klunker's mushroom adobo (Filipino dish)

Klunker's mushroom adobo

I know, you are thinking to yourself, "this man has a serious mushroom problem".  I am here to tell you, that it is true.  I love them, and I cannot control myself.  They make me happy, they fill the savory side of my taste buds.  I am pretty sure, if they came in a big gold statue, I would probably worship them.  So, it should come as no surprise that I would come up with yet another dish dedicated to the wonderful fungi.  
This dish comes from the Philippines.  They have a national dish (normally chicken) adobo. I love the amazing simplicity and yet deep flavor this dish offers.  How easy it was to transform it to a plant based meal.  This paired with some brown rice, or maybe some quinoa, and you have an amazing meal.


1 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced thin.  (I used a mix of cremini and button)
1 small red onion, peeled and sliced thin
5 cloves of garlic, peeled, smashed, and chopped
1 large bay leaf 
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)

You will also need a large saute pan with lid, and a wooden spoon

Place your saute pan on the stove, and turn the stove to medium.
Add the onions and garlic, and saute for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes 

After 10 minutes, add the mushrooms

Mix well

Saute for 5 minutes
While it is sauteing, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, maple syrup, and the bay leaf.  

Add the sauce to the mushrooms, and mix well.

Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. (no peeking)

Remove the lid after 10 minutes, and stir well.  
Take out the bay leaf, it has done its job.

Now, step back and marvel at the beautiful creation you just made in no time.

Serve over rice or quinoa, and enjoy!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Klunker's quick spaghetti sauce

Klunker's quick spaghetti sauce

From time to time, I run out of my original marinara sauce (here) and I want a big bowl of spaghetti.  I try my best not to use store bought sauce (I will, but I try not to).  So I came up with this recipe.  It is done from beginning to end in 30 minutes.  It is so packed with flavor, you will think you spend much longer on it.  
I use canned tomatoes, but you are very welcome to use boxed or fresh.  


2 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes (with liquid) 
1 8oz. can of tomato sauce
1/2 large onion, peeled and diced small
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed (minced small)
2 tsp. dried oregano
3 tsp. dried sweet basil
salt and pepper to taste (optional)
1 tablespoon sweetener of choice (I used maple syrup, you could use whatever you use)

Here are pictures of the tomatoes and sauce I used.

In a large saute pan, over medium heat, saute the onions for about 5 minutes, or until they start to soften.  Add the garlic, and saute another 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and sauce and stir well.  
Add the spices and seasonings, and stir well.  Simmer on the stove for 20-25 minutes.  Stir every once in a while.  I like mine to be a little thicker, so I let it go for almost 30 minutes.  It got nice and thick.

That is it, that is all I can say about it.  It is just that easy, and I promise, it will be so good.  
This will go down as the shortest recipe on my blog, but it will be in line with all the rest, and be delicious. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Klunker's creamed spinach and potatoes

Klunker's creamed spinach and potatoes

Oh the memories!!  When I was a child, my mother would make the most amazing creamed spinach.  It's an odd thing for a child to like, but its been over 40 years, and I still love the flavor and memory.  My  mom would put a lot of love into it too.  
Obviously it was full of butter and milk, and so I have avoided it.  Well, that is until now.  I have taken the time to recreate a healthy version of this great dish.  One recipe is enough for a 9x13 baking pan full.  It will last me quite a few days (and I may have to freeze some).
I added a few things that were not in the original, namely mushrooms and onions.  I am very happy with the additions too.  This is a longer recipe, but worth every effort.


1 lb. washed, fresh, spinach 
2 lbs. cubed, boiled, and drained potatoes.  (I peel and cube the potatoes, boil with 3-4 cloves of garlic)

2 1/2 cups veggie or mushroom broth/stock
1/2 large onion, peeled and sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 lb. mushrooms of choice (I used cremini) sliced thin
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets, and steamed/boiled until tender
2 medium size zucchini, washed and cut in half (see picture below)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons rice flour/tapioca starch/potato starch/corn starch (your choice)
Fresh ground black pepper at the end (optional) to taste
You will also need your largest saute pan, a 9x13 baking pan, a blender, and preheat the oven to 350° (175c)

So, as you can see above, there are a few things you need to do before you can put this all together.  You can do the potatoes and cauliflower at the same time. Just make sure they are cooled down a bit before you start.  I did mine before, then started prepping all the rest, giving them time to cool down.
Now, you have everything prepped and ready to go, so lets cook.
In a large saute pan (and you will want to use the biggest one you have) place your onions.  Turn the stove on medium heat.  Saute for 5 minutes, or until they have started to wilt a bit. (stir often)

After 5 minutes, add the mushrooms, and stir well to combine.  

Saute for at least 10 minutes, or until they no longer are giving off liquid

Now the fun part.  You have to fit 1 lb. of fresh spinach in this pan.  It is a lot of spinach, and you may need to do in batches, but it will all fit.

Keep going

When you finally get it all in, just let it cook for a bit.  It will start to wilt, and more room will happen.  When it starts to really cook down, you can start to carefully stir it around and move the bottom to the top, to get everything wilted.

As it continues to cook down, you will ask yourself what happened to all the spinach.  

Now turn the heat to low, and let it slowly cook for about 10 minutes.  While it is cooking, you can assemble the sauce.
In a blender, combine the cauliflower, zucchini, garlic, all the spices, the rice flour (or whatever you chose to use), nutritional yeast, and the stock/broth.

Blend until very smooth (1-2 minutes)

Set aside, and stir your spinach.  Now, add the sauce you just made, and turn the heat back up to medium.

Stir well, and let simmer for about 10 minutes.  It will start to thicken.
Make sure that you really stir all the spinach into the sauce, it tends to stick together in lumps.  
Remove from heat after 10 minutes, and lets move on to the next step.  
Place your precooked potatoes into your 9x13 pan

Bring your big pan of spinach goodness over by the 9x13 pan

(We are almost done) 
Now ladle or spoon the spinach sauce on the potatoes

Lay it on thick, you want to use it all.

When you have it all on, spread it out and make it look pretty.
Place it into your preheated oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove from the oven, and let sit for 5-10 minutes.  It should have a slight golden tan.

YOU ARE READY TO SERVE.  Scoop this masterpiece onto your plate.  It has all you need for a meal.  Potatoes, spinach, sauce, and lots of flavor.

I hope you enjoy this meal.  I hope it is worth the effort (which isn't that much really). 

This will be on my regular rotation for sure, because it makes a lot, and tastes amazing.  :)