“You Do What You Want” Stew

It’s Sunday. I am most my adult self on Sunday. Mostly because the work week hasn’t started and I still have the energy to try. As such, I spend most of my Sunday balancing checkbooks, checking my stocks, doing laundry and cooking. Today we’re making what I call, “You Do What You Want” stew.

I started making this stew last winter. Between sobbing sessions about “just how cold it is” and how “I’ll never see green again” (this is 57% a joke), I was craving my mother’s lentil soup. The kind with the big honking’ ham bone in it. You know the one.

Then I learned how much a ham costs. Time to improvise! I used Giada’s recipe for lentil soup as a jumping point because A) it seemed easy and B) I’m always looking for an excuse for parmesan cheese.

Off the bat, I made some edits. Before I get into those, you should know something about me. For two decades*, I’ve made most of my food choices based around the fact I have Crohn’s Disease. I am very fortunate in the sense that it mainly manifests itself as a colon with an attitude problem**, but it does affect my decision making.

Edit #1: As I usually am always in want of protein, I got some turkey brats to sauté up and throw in there.

Edit #2: I love vegetables, but anything that is the color green tends to rock the boat- if you know what I mean. I’ve basically written kale out of my life completely which is a shame because according to 90% of the Internet, if you eat enough kale, you will basically gain the power of flight and your hair will be so shiny, if you turn out the lights, you can see it in the dark. Then I came up with the patented Meredith cooking technique to avoid distress: cook the snot out of it. Cook those greens within an inch of their fiber-loving lives. I’m sure by doing so, you cook away a lot of the good stuff, but you know my motto: Still better than a bag of Flaming Hot Cheetoes!

Edit #3: The original recipe calls for pasta. I like to use quinoa. I could tell you (after a quick Google search) that quinoa is rich in vitamins like magnesium, iron, calcium, vitamin E, and the B ones. I could tell you that quinoa is chock full of flavonoids. Mostly, I will just tell you, I used quinoa because I had quinoa.

So, for your future use, the “You do what you want” stew. 

I’m basically Magritte.


– 1 onion (Eh- big. Or small? We’ll all probably be fine.)

– 2 carrots (if they’re measly, go for 3. If you don’t like carrots, don’t add any. You do what you want.)

– 3 cups chopped celery

– One bunch of your favorite greens (I usually go for swiss chard)

– Garlic (Go bonkers.)

– 4 brats of your choosing (though I’m sure any protein could jump in)

– Canned diced tomatoes (14 oz can)

-one of the big boxes of chicken broth

– 1/4 cup Lentils

– 1/4 cup Quinoa

– Olive Oil

– grated parmesean cheese

Step 1: Chop the things. You know…just chop them, you guys. Keep in mind you will be eating this with a spoon. The first few times I made this, I realized big pretty onion slices don’t like spoons. Those renegades.

Step 2: Sauté the things. I usually start with the sausage, and then when you add the veggies they pick up some of their flavor. The beautiful thing is, you can do it all in the same pot. Less dirty dishes, which let’s be honest, is what we’re all shooting for.

Step 2: Once the things are sautéed, add the tomatoes with all the juices and cook them till they start to break apart. Dump in the broth after that. (Giada never says “dump”. Maybe I should say, “mix in the broth.” Yes, that sounds better.)

Step 3: Add the rest of the things. Stir in the lentils and quinoa till all are coated.

This is the part where I cover the pot and go do something else for an hour.

When you come back, 1) you’re apartment smells awesome, and 2) you have a big hearty pot of things for dinners this week.

One of Giada’s instructions that I loved was to top off your serving with some olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese. I love that extra layer of flavor, but I think the soup certainly stands without it. But you know, do what you want.

All right, Food Network. I’ll just wait here for my show deal.


*To the month! No big deal, it’s just my 20th anniversary of having colon problems. It’s basically the biggest anniversary in the world of having organ disorders, you guys.

**Are you guys knocking on wood? Because I sure am.

4 thoughts on ““You Do What You Want” Stew

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s