In trying to save money, our health, and the planet – no pressure, really! – Dan and I are trying to eat out less often and to eat more homemade meals made from whole foods. I think of this as a direction I’m moving in, rather than a goal to be attained finally or wholly. It can be really challenging to cook enough in your spare time to eat homemade when you’re home and when you’re not. It’s a no-brainer that cooking large batches and freezing some is the way to go and I try to do that as often as I can. For me, the ideal food-for-freezing is: inexpensive; relatively easy to make; nutritious (and can easily serve as a whole meal or a major component of a whole meal); reheats well; and, of course, delicious! By far the thing I freeze most often are soups and stews and my number-one frozen dish is sort of in that category: Indian-inspired red lentil dal.
If you haven’t ever cooked gorgeous split red lentils, you’re missing out. First of all, these are so beautiful that they are a pleasure just to have around. I do not have a pantry and so have my beans, grains, flours, and other bulk dry goods stored in glass canisters on open shelving. I love having these around just for the visual texture and color they add to my kitchen. Luckily, they’re delicious too! You can’t find them in just any old grocery store though – I’ve been to a Publix or Kroger more than once looking for them and left disappointed. As long as you can find a store with a bulk foods section (like a local co-op or Whole Foods) or an Indian grocery store, you’re set.