If you shop at Costco, you may have tried a sample, seen, or purchased Tasty Bite's Madras Lentils. They're fantastic. My 5 year old LOVED them in the store. Four packets come in a box. Each packet is 2 servings and takes only 90 seconds to heat in the microwave. However, I know how much lentils REALLY cost, and I had a hard time paying the premium for the convenience of these truly yummy nutrient-packed lentils and red beans.
Yesterday, I took it upon myself to create something similar that I could easily freeze in Ziplocs and pull out when I needed the "convenience." We were very pleased with the outcome. The crockpot makes this even easier, although a few steps do require the stove.
Dawn's Madras Lentils
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato puree
1 can chicken broth
1 bag dried red kidney beans
1 T garlic olive oil
4 T butter or Smart Balance
1 finely minced onion
2 C lentils
2 T cumin
1 tsp. thai red curry paste
cayenne, to taste
chipotle chili powder, to taste
1/2 - 1 C cream (or Cacique Crema Mexicana)
Soak beans according to package directions.
Place garlic olive oil, butter, and onions in a small skillet over medium heat. Once the onions begin to soften, add the lentils and stir for another 2-3 minutes. Salt as desired.
In a large crock pot, mix diced tomatoes, puree, chicken broth, pre-soaked beans and lentil/onion mixture. Add 1 1/2 T cumin and Thai red curry paste. Cook on high for 6 hours or on low for up to 12 hours. Add chicken stock as needed. I prefer mine to be thick like a chili, but some prefer it to be more like a stew.
Add remaining cumin, cayenne, and chipotle chili powder to taste.
Stir in cream, and serve!