This vegan picadillo recipe made with lentils is warm, filling and flavorful

The way I like it best, though, is over rice, and these days I’m more likely to make this vegan version, using a can of lentils instead of a pound of ground beef. Aside from that change, it tastes a lot like my beef picadillo. Both start with a flavorful base of onions and garlic, get a boost from a blend of spices and are finished with a few pimento-stuffed Manzanilla olives and raisins.

“Raisins are divisive,” Jessica van Dop DeJesus, of the Dining Traveler, told me when I called. “I always start with a sofrito, and add extra onion, because I liked the texture of the chopped onion,” she said. “And I’m team olive.”

“I like a sweet version, with fresh and dried fruit for stuffing chiles en nogada,” my friend Adriana Velez texted me when I asked how she made her picadillo. “For other dishes, I like

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Health insurers add food, meal delivery programs to coverage plans

When COVID-19 first swarmed the United States, one health insurer called some customers with a question: Do you have enough to eat?

Oscar Health wanted to know if people had adequate food for the next couple weeks and how they planned to stay stocked up while hunkering down at home.

“We’ve seen time and again, the lack of good and nutritional food causes members to get readmitted” to hospitals, Oscar executive Ananth Lalithakumar said.

Food has become a bigger focus for health insurers as they look to expand their coverage beyond just the care that happens in a doctor’s office. More plans are paying for temporary meal deliveries and some are teaching people how to cook and eat healthier foods.

Benefits experts say insurers and policymakers are growing used to treating food as a form of medicine that can help patients reduce blood sugar or blood pressure levels and stay

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Michigan’s Best Outdoor Dining: You still have time to vote, plus Poll Leaders

How is your favorite Michigan restaurant doing in our search for Michigan’s Best Outdoor Dining? Time is running out to vote!

On Wednesday morning we posted the leaders in our 11 regional polls all across the state. Throughout the day, not much changed.

RELATED: See our Poll Leaders for Michigan’s Best Outdoor Dining

The biggest development happened in the Flint area where Barley & Vine overtook Frankenmuth’s Prost! Wine Bar & Charcuterie in the top spot. And Lake Inn in Lapeer jumped to No. 2 in the same poll. The rest of the regional poll leaders remained the same.

Poll Leaders as of 7 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 28:

Northern Lower Peninsula

The Swamp II Bar & Restaurant, Frederic – VOTE

Upper Peninsula

UP North Lodge, Gwinn – VOTE

Bay City, Saginaw, Midland

O’s Pub & Grill, Auburn – VOTE

Detroit Metro

Benstein Grille, Commerce Twp. – VOTE

Ann Arbor area

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See all of the nominations for Michigan’s Best Outdoor Dining

Our search for Michigan’s Best Outdoor Dining is off to a big start, thanks to all of you who shared your favorite restaurants that are offering fun and creative ways to dine outside. We received 130 nominations from all over the state.

Michigan restaurants have really gone above and beyond when it comes to creating some of these outdoor spaces. We’ve heard of hand made yurts, shanty towns, repurposed duck blinds, tents, igloos and greenhouses. Several downtowns have turned whole streets into outdoor refreshment areas. Over in the Bay City area, locals have formed Operation Shantyville in order to support their local restaurants that can’t afford outdoor seating. The group picks a restaurant and invites everyone to come dine outside in the parking lot, bringing whatever type of shelter you’d like. While turning to outdoor dining wasn’t a choice for our restaurants, they’ve made the best of it, and we

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