Funda-lentilly, the king of chickens is snappy !

A quick trip to an open market is satisfying on so many levels. On a crisp fall morning, bundled up in the season’s comfortable, cozy outerwear, a brisk walk down to Atwater Market, for instance, allows all the stresses from studying slip away. Forget, for a short time, about the term paper you are composing or the mid-term you are studying for. Revel in the beauty of the fall foliage, the sound of the leaves crunching underfoot.


Photo: Atwater Market from Flickr

Ah, the market in fall! All the colourful veggies! A treasure trove!


So, now you have to decide how much of everything you can afford. And, how/where are you going to store everything? The good news is that at this time of year the majority of these veggies are root crops and do not require refrigeration, just storage in a cool, dry place.

Photo: white turnip from Flickr

My suggestion is that, if you live in an apartment, wrap individual items such as beets, sweet potatoes, squash, turnips or carrots in newspaper and stash them in the bottom of a closet.

Photo: Carrots from Flickr

Assuming there is no heating vent inside the closet, the dark, cool, dry area is conducive to hard vegetable storage. Over time, as you use these veggies, check them to make sure they are staying hard and not developining mold.

Don’t store things like eggplants or celery in that way as they are wetter and best refrigerated.

Photo: lentils from Flickr

The Funda-lentil soup contains many of these root vegetables. As well, the lentils whose protein level, gram for gram, exceed that of beef and are only exceeded by soybeans are easily found by the scoop or in a variety of package sizes. They, too, are easily stored. This is such a healthy soup, but you don’t have to tell kids that!

The main course, inexpensive yet rich in flavour, has a high yield and can be frozen for future consumption. If the soup tantalized you into having seconds and dessert is baking in the background and beckoning you, make this course a smaller serving. More for later!

Dessert, a classic, is simple yet exquisite.

This week’s menu is:      Funda-lentil Soup

                                             Chicken á la King Royale

                                             Baked Apples with Brown Sugar served with Ginger Snaps

Funda-lentil Soup

The yield of this soup is very large, 8-10. Amongst the reasons it is to your advantage to make such a big soup is that it requires a standard size tin of condensed soup and diced tomatoes which eliminates the need to find containers to save the remnants of these unfinished ingredients. Besides, any unconsumed remains will feed you (and your freezer) for a number of meals. Enjoy the leftovers with a thick slice of crusty bread and a slice of cheese.

1      tsp    olive oil (5 ml)

1½   cup   onions, chopped (375 ml)

1      cup   celery, chopped (250 ml)

3     cloves garlic, minced

7      cups  chicken or veggie stock, fat/salt free (1¾ litre)  

2      cup   diced tomatoes (500 ml)

10     oz     condensed cream of tomato soup (325 ml)

1      cup   lentils, any colour (250 ml)

1      cup   carrots, ½” discs…cut in half (250 ml)

1      cup   sweet potato, peeled, cut into ½” cubes (250 ml)

1      med  turnip, peeled, cut into ½” cubes

1      large white turnip, peeled, cut into ½” cubes

8-10          okra, ½” rings

2      tsp    dry oregano (10 ml)

1½    tsp    dry cumin (7.5 ml)

1      tsp    dry coriander/cilantro (5 ml) 

pinch         nutmeg

pinch         sea salt

to taste      freshly ground black pepper

 2      cups  fresh spinach or Swiss chard, chopped, packed (500 ml)

¼     cup   toasted pumpkin seeds (60 ml)

Depending on the variety you purchase, it may be necessary to soak the lentils overnight in water (read instructions carefully). Drain and rinse.

In a large stock pot sauté the onions and celery in oil until onions are translucent. Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT the spinach.

Cook until turnips, sweet potatoes and carrots are tender, ± 1-3 hours. Adjust seasoning to taste. Add spinach and simmer for ± 15 minutes.

Photo: Funda-lentil soup from Flickr

Serve in shallow soup plates and garnish with the toasted pumpkin seeds.

Bonne appétit !!!

Serves 4

397 Calories, 80 Calories from Fat, 2.0g Saturated Fat, 94mg Cholesterol, 326mg Sodium, 32.9g Carbohydrates, 10.9g Dietary Fibre, 8.6g Sugars, 46.1g Protein

This is a recipe handed down to me years ago. I have tweeked it here and there to suit my tastes. A different version of it appeared on the Internet in 2006 at: Check it out then adjust it and/or mine to suit your tastes. Essentially, this is a glorified vegetable soup that has been made to conform to the needs and wants of vegetarian consumers. Whoever it is meant to satisfy, I’m lovin’ it!


Chicken á la King Royale

 1½    lb    chicken breast, bone & skinless, 1” (2.5cm) cubes (680 g)

4      tbsp spelt flour, or your favourite variety (125 ml)

2      tbsp  canola oil, divided (30 ml)

1      pkg   fresh white mushrooms, quartered (285 g)

1      large         green pepper, ¼” (6.25mm) diced                        

1      cup   dry sherry (not cooking sherry) * (250 ml)

1      cup   chicken stock, fat & salt free (25 ml)

1      cup   1% or 2% milk (25 ml)

4      oz     jar pimientos, rinsed, sliced (115 g)

½     cup   spring onions, sliced thin for garnish (125 ml)

pinch         sea salt

½     tsp    freshly ground black pepper (2.5 ml)

Toss chicken and flour together in a medium bowl until coated. Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully remove the chicken and add to the skillet, reserving the remaining flour, cook, turning the pieces gently until lightly browned. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium and add remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil to the skillet. Add mushrooms, green pepper and black pepper. Sauté until the mushrooms have softened and are starting to brown, stirring frequently. Add the sherry; bring to a boil stirring in order to de-glaze the skillet.

Whisk stock and milk into the reserved flour until smooth. Add the mixture to the skillet stirring constantly. Bring to a low boil to thickened, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium; add pimientos and chicken and heat to just below a boil. Reduce heat and allow a gentle simmer cooking until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked throughout, ± 5-7 minutes.

Pour into a serving bowl. Serve on a bed of basmati rice and garnish with green onions.

* A suitable substitute for dry sherry would be dry wine, apple juice or vanilla (use 1 tsp vanilla in place of 1 tbsp sherry)

Photo: chicken á la king royale from Flickr

Serves 4-6

271 Calories, 88 Calories from Fat, 8.0g Total Fat, 1.0g Saturated Fat, 66 mg Cholesterol, 118 mg Sodium, 15.0g Carbohydrates, 2.0g Dietary Fibre, 5.2g Sugars, 40.5g Protein



Baked Apples with Brown Sugar served with Ginger Snaps

I have my own way of making this classic recipe but it involves moreexpensive ingredients than the following, as well as flames. For the sake of maintaining a reasonable budget, and safety reasons, I have opted to provide a recipe I found on-line that is easy (and safe). The custard sauce is optional. I am adding the recipe for healthy, easy ginger snaps which add a little extra crunch and zing to this sweet treat.

The Food Network consistently posts exceptional recipes. Follow it at:

Great comfort food. Best to make fresh but you can prepare the apples well ahead of time and just refrigerate until ready to bake. They’ll brown up a little bit from exposure to air but that won’t matter once they’re cooked, all bubbly, brown and delicious.

2 Golden Delicious apples
2 to 3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
Ground cinnamon, for sprinkling
Creamy Custard Sauce, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Wash and dry apples. Cut the apples in half and remove the core but leave any stems intact. Place apples in baking dish. Divide butter among each core cavity. Top each apple half with a tablespoon of sugar and dash with cinnamon.

Bake apples until the flesh is tender and they’re bubbly and perfect looking, about 30 minutes. Serve with Creamy Custard Sauce.

Creamy Custard Sauce:
1/2 pint light vanilla ice cream, melted (recommended: Ben and Jerry’s)
2 egg yolks
Heat the melted ice cream in a small saucepan over low heat until hot. Meanwhile, put the yolks in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. While whisking, slowly drizzle about 1 or 2 tablespoons hot melted ice cream into the yolks until blended. While whisking constantly, slowly add the rest of the hot liquid to the yolk mixture. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and return to low heat.

Serves 4

      Photo: baked apple with custard from Flickr


Ginger Snaps

2½    cups  flour  (625 ml)   

1½    cups  sugar or Splenda  (375 ml)

2      tbsp  butter or Becel, softened (30 ml)

1      tsp    baking soda (5 ml)

1      tsp    ground allspice 5 ml)

1½    tsp    ground ginger (7.5 ml

¼-½ tsp    salt (2.5 – 5 ml)

½     cup   apple sauce, no sugar added (125 ml)

¼     cup   molasses (65 ml)

optional: 2  tbsp  candied ginger, minced fine (60 ml)

Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Sift together flour, ginger, allspice, soda and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat, on medium speed, sugar and butter together until blended in a large bowl. Whisk in apple sauce and molasses.

Add the flour mixture to apple sauce mixture and stir well until blended.

Drop rounded tablespoonfuls 1-inch (2.5cm) apart on prepared cookie sheet. Flatten with lightly moistened fingertips.

Bake 12-15 minutes, or until firm. Do not allow to brown.

Sprinkle with minced candied ginger. Cool on wire racks.

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

with butter and sugar:
78 Calories, 7 Calories from Fat, 0.7g Total Fat, 2 mg Cholesterol, 57 mg Sodium, 17.1g Carbohydrates, 9.9g Sugars, 0.9g Protein

with Becel and Splenda:
23 Calories, 4 Calories from Fat, 0.4g Total Fat, 0 mg Cholesterol, 57 mg Sodium, 16.8g Carbohydrates, 9.6g Sugars, 0.9g Protein

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Categories: Dinner for 4 for -$40, Food


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