Power Lunch: Turkey, Veggie, and Brown Rice Bowls

You guys, sh*t is gettin’ real over here.  How real?  Well, my gorgeous diploma for my B.S. in Nursing came in the mail yesterday, my NCLEX (that’s the nursing licensure exam) is 2 weeks away, and I had my first job interview this week!  I have been losing myself in daydreams about how much I want this job.  It’s a resource position, which means I would get to fill in for other nurses on vacation, sick days, or family leave, and it’s at one of the best hospitals in the state.  I’ll be hearing back next week and am excited/terrified!

In the meantime, I’ve been truly enjoying my unemployed-cation.  I have time to cook most of my meals at home, have been going on long walks with my dog, and I’m catching up on Homeland just in time for Season 2.

Even if you are working a 9-to-5, this power lunch bowl would be an easy and energy-boosting work take-a-long.  Just sauté your ingredients over the weekend (make enough for several days to save time), cook some rice, and you’ll have an envy-inducing lunch on Monday.  The protein from the turkey and the fiber from the brown rice will keep you satisfied for hours.  Which is also a plus for a homebody like me whose kitchen is only steps away.

Turkey, Veggie, and Brown Rice Bowls
makes 2 servings

– 1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
– 1/2 lb ground turkey
– 1/2 tsp chili powder
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
– 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
– 1 red or orange bell pepper, diced
– salt, to taste
– 1/2 avocado sliced

Cook turkey and spices in a large skillet over medium-high heat until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes, peppers, and about a pinch of salt.  Cook for another 7-10 minutes until peppers are tender.  Serve over 1/4 cup warm rice topped with 1/4 avocado.

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Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

With my Thanksgiving break drawing to a close, I decided that I needed to use my last free day to make a big pot of soup.  Since we didn’t have Thanksgiving at our place, I don’t have any leftovers from the feast.  And since this is my last week of class before finals, I know I’m going to be quite busy with non-culinary projects starting…about…now.  I decided that some healthy and hearty lentil soup would be just the thing to take for lunches for the next few days, especially given the cold and rainy weather we’ve got coming up.

This recipe comes from Heidi Swanson’s blog 101 Cookbooks.  I have loved every recipe of hers that I have ever made and this is no exception.  The pictures on her blog and in her cookbooks make me want to go live in her world for a while, which I do by making her food.  I used a little less lemon than she did, but feel free to experiment and see how lemony you want your soup to be.  I highly recommend adding the spinach but have to say I’ll probably be skipping that step with my leftover soup for ease of lunch-packing.  Stay warm, everyone!

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon
from Heidi’s at 101 Cookbooks

Ingredients:
2 cups / 14 oz / 400 g split red lentils, picked over and rinsed well
1 tablespoon turmeric
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
fine grain sea salt
1 large onion / ~ 2 cups, diced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
1 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of three lemons, or to taste
1 large bunch of spinach leaves, chopped

plenty of cooked (warm) brown rice, to serve
plenty of plain Greek yogurt, to serve

Put the lentils in a pot with 7 cups / 1.6 l water, the turmeric, 1 tablespoon of the butter, and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the lentils are soft and falling apart – twenty minutes or so. Puree with a hand blender. Add more water until the soup is the consistency you like, then taste and add more salt if needed. Keep the soup warm/hot.

While the lentils are cooking, prepare the onion. In a skillet over low heat cook the onion in 2 tablespoons of the remaining butter along with the cumin and mustard seeds, stirring occasionally. When the onions have softened, roughly 10 or 15 minutes, add the cilantro and cook for a few seconds before removing from the heat. Add the onion mixture to the soup, then add the juice of the lemons, one lemon at a time – until the soup has a nice bit of tang. Also, add more salt to taste at this point if needed.

Just before serving, add the last of the butter to the skillet, when hot add the spinach and a good pinch of salt. Stir well, and cook just long enough for the spinach to collapse.

Serve by placing a scoop of rice in each bowl, then soup, spinach, and a dollop of yogurt.

Serves 6.

I submitted this post to this week’s “Real Food Wednesday“.