Love Those Lentils

Years ago, my sister-in-law told me about a cookbook called

More-with-Less Cookbooksuggestions by Mennonites on how to eat better and consume less of the world’s limited food resourcesby Doris Janzen LongacreThe copyright dates back to 1976 and has been renewed, renewed and renewed. Mine leads up to the 43rd printing in 1996.”There is a way of wasting less, eating less, and spending less which gives not less but more,” the author says. She offers a fascinating analysis of North American habits related to food consumption. And then she compiled recipes submitted from all around the world, including personal cooking notes, inspirational thoughts, and helpful tips on substitutions.The recipes offer clear instructions for making simple dishes that use basic, unprocessed ingredients. I’m not the most talented or intuitive cook, so I appreciate the layout–it’s easy to understand and follow. I’ve turned to it many times for soups, breads, main dishes, side dishes, and ideas for leftovers. Sometimes I don’t know how to make really basic dishes, so I often start with this and see if they’ve explained it for me. The food isn’t fancy, but it’s tasty, filling, healthy, and down-to-earth. I recommend tracking this down at the library and checking it out. Try a few of the recipes and see what you think.To whet your appetite, I’m going to include the best introduction to lentils ever. If you ever wanted to try lentils, but you weren’t really sure what to do with them, give this one a try. You’ll learn to love those lentils!Honey Baked LentilsServes 8350 degrees, 1 hrCombine in a dutch oven of saucepan:1 lb (2 1/3 C) lentils1 small bay leaf5 C water2 t saltBring to a boil. Cover tightly and reduce heat. Simmer 30 minutes. Do not drain. Discard bay leaf.Preheat oven to 350.Combine separately and add to lentils:1 t dry mustard1/4 t powdered ginger1 T soy sauce1/2 C chopped onions (I sauteed them with the bacon instead of mixing them here to shave a little off the cooking time)1 C waterCut in 1″ pieces:4 slices bacon (I cooked this with the onions in a skillet to crisp it up a bit)Stir most of the bacon into lentils and sprinkle remainder on top.Pour over all:1/3 C honeyCover tightly. Bake 1 hour. Uncover last 10 minutes to brown bacon.Options:Bacon may be partially precooked if desired (I desired). Substitute 1/2 lb browned ground beef or sausage (never did this, so I can’t vouch for other meats), or omit meat completely (I like the bacon flavor, but I’ve made it without).Delicious served with hot baked rice. Pass soy sauce. (This is true.)For more amazing solutions for just about anything imaginable, visit today’s Works For Me Wednesday.Or, tour my own ragtag list of ideas that work for me. You’ll find everything from ideas for organizing the kids’ laundry, to innovative uses for an MP3 that records.

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  • Comments

    1. Wow I think my husband would love these and so much better for him than baked beans – Thanks!

    2. I posted a recipe for a lentil stew on my site yesterday – it was my first lentil experience, and it turned out great!

    3. They sound great. I’m like Kim–they sound a bit like baked beans, which I think I could serve to my husband and kids.

    4. I’m a lentil fan, I’ll try this! And the cookbook sounds awesome – I really need to get ahold of that. Thanks for the recipe! (yes, the bacon part will help get the husbands on board!). Here from Rocks in My Dryers.

    5. my roommate has that book…. of course…

      Mennonites ideas are pretty popular among Christian students who are concerned about peace, poverty, etc…

      Maybe someday everybody will go back to that cooking (for now, I’m still stuck with college food: fries, pizzas and Dr. Pepper!)

      well, just thought I should leave a little comment

    6. Kim: Hope he likes the lentils. I don’t think this recipe is as sweet as baked beans, so you could modify it, if need be.

      Jeni: Okay, I’m hopping over to check out your stew. This recipe turns out more like a casserole.

      Jennifer: See my note to Kim–after your first attempt, you could try that modified option.

      Jen: Hi there, Jen, and welcome!

      Tamara: Well, hello there! And guess what? Your own mother is the sister-in-law who recommended the cookbook to me over ten years ago! She said she got it way back when (probably in college). It may have been instrumental in her decision to go vegetarian…until she married your dad. The cookbook isn’t vegetarian, but it makes a person think about how our consumption of grain compares with the rest of the planet. I’m glad to see you here! Enjoy a big ol’ slice of pizza and you can eat lentils later, when you get home. I know your mom can make this recipe, because she’s got a copy of the book!

    7. My husband loves lentils, but I have never tried to make them (I am terrible in the kitchen). However, I am inspired and am going out today to look for the book. It is a wonderful concept and fits right in with the changes we are trying to make as a family. Thank you.

    8. Amazing–every time I read your blog I learn something extremely helpful! I had never heard of this cookbook, but it is exactly what I need!

      And your amazing laundry idea–I am SO glad you linked to it for those of us who are newcomers to your blog and need to catch up on what we missed–I can’t wait to use this in my house, where the laundry load has been killing me! Thank you for helping to alleviate some of my burden! :)


    9. Alana: This is a pretty foolproof lentil recipe. And I was at a church meeting Wednesday night, and one of my friends had already read this post. She said it’s one of her all-time favorite cookbooks!

      Jenny: (See above regarding the cookbook). And….I’m delighted to know that my last-minute idea of mentioning the laundry storage could be such a handy solution for you! Yay! I really like feeling helpful.

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