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Lentil Vegetable Soup: Recipe 9 of 12

Welcome to Busy Women Mealtime Makeover! Whether you are one of the lovely busy ladies participating in the makeover or just interested in taking your meals up a notch – girl, do I have some rockin’ recipes for you! From now until March 2nd, I’ll be featuring twelve new delicious makeover-friendly recipes. These recipes are from other busy women like me and you! This week, we are focusing on eating more winter foods. (And if you want to join in and get the entire makeover PDF complete with meal plans, shopping lists and recipes, videos and photos of me cooking for added support, weekly emails with additional recipes and kitchen tips and tricks and access to our online forum, you can totally start a few days late – click here and sign up!)
Niki is one busy woman! She is a mama, she works full time and she is starting her own health coaching business. Wow. Niki also has a love for the outdoors and plans to build her business around this passion. Go for it Niki!
Niki, you are busy, right? How do you get a decent, healthy meal on the table? 
I’ve found over the past several years that the key to getting a decent healthy meal on the table each night in all about planning, planning, planning. As often as I can I take time on Saturday or Sunday to plan several meals for the week ahead. I know that at least one meal will be meatless, one seafood and one chicken or meat. I make my grocery list based on the meals planned. I generally allow for 2-3 nights of leftovers or an “easy” meal of pizza or fish sticks. When I go to the store I only buy what’s on my list.  I spend a few hours on Sunday shopping and cooking or prepping the meals. With that advance work, all I do during the week is reheat!
Why do you make healthy, real food a priority?
Healthy, real food is critical to nourish my family’s body and soul. I do this by choosing the freshest and healthiest food options for my family.
What is your favorite thing to make when it is cold outside?
This Lentil Soup recipe. See below.
What is that one thing that busy people can do this winter to eat a little healthier?
This winter I think the best thing that folks can do is to… DRINK WATER!!! It energizes, keeps body hydrated from the dry heat inside home and work and from the warming beverages consumed during the day
What is your favorite gadget in the kitchen?
My garlic press!
Lentil Vegetable Soup

  • 1 pound French green lentils
  • 4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 large onions)
  • 4 cups chopped leeks, white part only (2 leeks)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil, plus additional for drizzling on top
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups medium-diced celery (8 stalks)
  • 3 cups medium-diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots)
  • 3 quarts chicken (or vegetable) stock
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine or red wine vinegar
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.
In a large stockpot on medium heat, sauté the onions, leeks, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are translucent and very tender. Add the celery and carrots and sauté for 10 more minutes. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and lentils. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, until the lentils are cooked through. Check the seasonings. Add the red wine and serve hot, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with grated Parmesan.
(from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, 1999)

Thanks Niki! 
Learn more about Niki and her business over here
**Check out all the Busy Women Mealtime Makeover recipes by clicking here.**

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