One of the greatest joys of living in the USA is the wide diversity in culture we are exposed to. I love trying new cuisines, and luckily my kids have embraced this habit as well. One of the recipes that my family loves is my favorite too, not just for how it tastes, but for how easy it is to throw together. When my kids were babies, this was a staple! I used to grind it up in my baby food mill, drop it into ice cube trays and freeze for future meals! All the babies loved it. This recipe can use any meat – lamb, chicken, beef or it can be made vegetarian by adding lentils, chick peas or bulgur instead of the meat. It is easily made ahead and reheated, and it can be made in the crock pot. I love a versatile recipe! I like to serve this with Rice Pilaf, lemon-mint salad and Syrian bread (ie: pita bread). Leftovers are great the next day, or ground up with some of the rice for all your baby-friends! I have found that the more foods you expose your little ones to, the better an eater they become! So ditch the chicken fingers and Macaroni and Cheese and feed them this! Everyone will be happy! I know my husband is… he is still smiling.
Lebanese Green Bean Stew
1 lb of meat (lamb, chicken or beef ground or cut into small pieces) can substitute a 1 can of rinsed chick peas or 1/2 c lentils if making vegetarian
3 T olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 2 lb can crushed tomatoes
Juice of one lemon
1 package of frozen green beans
Salt and pepper to taste
1.) Quickly brown the meat in the olive oil, add the onion and garlic and cook until soft. 2.) Add the tomatoes, spices, salt and pepper and lemon juice (if vegetarian, add the lentils or chickpeas here). Simmer until the meat is tender Add the frozen green beans, stir and cook for 7-8 minutes or until the beans are a consistency you like. (I cook it longer because I like my beans softer.) If using a crockpot, follow step one, place the onions and meat in the crockpot and cook on low for 5 hours, add the beans and cook for another 1 1/2 hours.
Serve the stew over rice pilaf and salad (below)
1/4 thin egg noodles or vermicelli
3 T olive oil
2 c long-grain rice
4 cups water
3 bouillon cubes
In a saucepan with lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat, when hot, add the noodles and stir constantly until toasted a medium brown. (Be careful, they will burn if you walk away.) Add the water, the rice and bouillon cubes to the pan.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cook, covered for 20 minutes.
Romaine lettuce, washed, dried and chopped into bite-size pieces.
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 tomato, chopped
2 tsp dried spearmint
4 T lemon juice
6 T canola or olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder or 1 crushed clove of garlic
Mix the last four ingredients into a dressing, Put first 3 ingredients in a salad bowl, dress salad and serve immediately.
Salt and pepper