Lentil Loaf

Every year for my birthday the Mr. makes me dinner and a cake. I usually always choose meatloaf for dinner. That has been my choice since I was a little girl. It could be that from a very young age I remember eating meatloaf with my grandpa when he watched me or as I would like to think, when we hung out together. So I was unwilling to give up my old time tradition of meatloaf on my birthday just because I have given up meat. Not too long ago I received a cookbook for vegan recipes and tried the lentil loaf from it. You may have remembered that review and the fact that the lentil loaf was my favorite recipe that I made from the book.  So when the Mr. asked me what I wanted for my birthday dinner I told him I wanted the lentil loaf.

This is a pretty easy recipe to make. It's pretty much like making your usual meatloaf only you have to cook the lentils first and roast some walnuts. What I do recommend though is making the loaf in advance and letting it sit in loaf form in the refrigerator if you plan on making it during the week. That way, when you get home from work all you have to do is pop the loaf in the oven to cook. Regardless of whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, or a meat eater, this an amazing "meat" loaf recipe. One that will surely please the masses.

  • 1 c. green lentils
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 c. walnuts, toasted and ground
  • 3 Tbsp. ground  flax seed, mixed with 1/2 c. warm water
  • 1/4 c. oatmeal, uncooked
  • 3/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 3 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. In a medium pot bring 3 cups of water to a boil on medium high with the lentils and 1/2 tsp. salt. Lower the heat to medium low and simmer the lentils for 45 minutes. Make sure to stir and watch this pot; you do not want to run out of water. Make sure to add more water as necessary when the water level goes down. You want these lentils to be mushy.
  3. In a large pan on medium-high, heat up 2 tablespoons of the oil. Saute the onion and bell pepper, stirring occasionally for approximately 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute while stirring. 
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients. Add in the sauteed vegetables and lentils. Season with salt and pepper to personal preference. 
  5. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Very firmly press the loaf mix into the pan. Smooth out the top if need be. 
  6. Cover with tinfoil.
  7. Bake on middle rack for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Review & Giveaway: The Miracle Grill Mat

 I am not a griller. It's nice to look and and the idea of grilling is cool but the moment I pop the top on that beast, everything goes down hill. I don't know why I have so many problems when it comes to grilling but I do. I've begun to hate grilling because I always lose half of what I'm cooking to the grill. Half the time, I'd much rather heat up the house and bake my chicken or fish than mess with the grill. So when I was given the chance to test out the Miracle Grill Mat, I jumped at the opportunity. I will admit that I was a bit skeptical, given my history with grilling. So of course the first thing I tried on it was fish. I was really impressed that the fish didn't stick, even though it was covered in a sugary marinade.

Next I tried a chicken breast and a veggie burger. Same thing, nothing stuck. Which was really surprising since not only did the chicken always stick before, leading to a chicken breast that looked like it went through a shredder, but it was always blackend to a crisp during the cooking process. This chicken came out nice and golden colored and when the Mr. cut into it, it was very moist. Granted I didn't eat any but you could see that it was not dry. Even the Mr. said he was surprised that it was cooked so well considering it came from the grill and not the oven.

There are a couple down sides to this though. One of which being that you don't really get those grill marks on the food. Sure they are there, but they aren't as predominant as if it were straight on the grill itself. For me, I don't use my grill for grill marks, so I'm fine with that but I could see others having a problem with it.

Also, it's not the easiest thing to clean. Because of its size I have to clear out the sink and lay it in the bottom of the sink so that it can rest along the sides and then I scrub it down. I used a marinate on the fish the first time I used it and I still haven't been able to get the tackiness off of it fully.

Lastly, the mat doesn't stick. Which when it comes to food is great. But when you are talking about the mat sticking to the grill when flipping, that's a problem. Each time I've gone to flip the food, the mat has moved around on me and has bunched up in the back of the grill while I'm maneuvering the food onto the spatula. So if you have one of those little round charcoal grills, I could see you pushing the mat with your food right off the grill itself and onto the dirty ground.

In the end, this is a great product and I would recommend it to anyone who's like me and has a hell of a time when it comes to cooking on the grill. Sure it has some flaws but the fact that I don't lose my food to the grill, I can work around them. I also like that the two grill mats come with a a baking mat. I haven't tried it out yet since I haven't baked cookies... yet. I will be doing that this weekend but I look forward to testing it out as well.

The giveaway is for the US only.
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Quick & Easy Pierogi Skillet

 (made with ground beef)

I don't know about you but I LOVE pierogies. I eat them boiled, fried, or mixed into dishes. There's just something about a dumpling filled with creamy mashed potatoes, onions and cheese that makes me drool every time I think about them. Yup, pierogies are definitely a staple in this house.

(made with veggie crumbles)
One of my all time favorite go-to recipes for pierogies is this skillet recipe. I've made it both with beef (before I gave up meat) and with the MorningStar Farms veggie crumbles that I found in the frozen vegetarian section at my grocery store. Both versions are delicious. The fact that you have your protein, starch, vegetables and dairy all in one sitting is pretty nice. There is no need to make side dishes with this one.

(made with veggie crumbles)

Adapted from Taste of Home

  • 1 lb ground turkey, beef, or veggie crumbles
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion 
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz ounces) beef broth or veggie broth
  • 1 package (16 oz) frozen cheese and potato pierogies, thawed 
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed and drained 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning 
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

    1. In a large skillet, cook meat and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain, reserving 3 tablespoons drippings.  If using veggie crumbles, cook onion and veggie crumbles until the crumbles are thawed and the onion is translucent.
    2. Sprinkle flour over onion mixture; stir until blended. Gradually add broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. 
    3. Stir in the pierogies, vegetables and seasonings. Cook, uncovered, for 4-5 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with cheese.

    Grilled Rosemary Swordfish

    With the recent move, the Mr. and I have been eating a lot more fish. We didn't really eat too much of it at our last base because, well to be honest, when you live in the middle of the desert on top of a mountain range, your fish isn't always that fresh. However, I'm glad to say that with living right off the coast, the fish selection is huge and we haven't purchased one rancid fish fillet yet.

    The grocery store here on base has a pretty awesome fish selection. I mean, I was impressed when I saw swordfish but then they got shark and octopus! I've made shark once so far and it was good, I'm still working up to the octopus. Now as for swordfish, we never had it that often, maybe a handful of times and that was due to our grocery store not getting any in, or at least not any that looked fresh. So I was really excited to see it at our new location. I decided that because it was so fresh, I didn't want to drown it out in flavors and found this simple recipe. Trust me, you won't miss the fancy marinade or toppings with this one. I just about inhaled my plate after the first bite.

    Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
    • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 2 (5 oz) swordfish steaks

    1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the first seven ingredients; add the swordfish. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for 1 hour. 
    2. Drain and discard marinade. Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, lightly coat the grill rack. Grill swordfish, covered, over medium-high heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 4-6 minutes on each side or until fish just turns opaque.

    I'm Back in Action!

    I thought I'd throw in a little update for those of you who have followed me through the years. If you hadn't noticed already I was pretty inactive for the last three years. The reason for that is that we had moved to a new location. A location where the grocery stores didn't have a lot of variety, going to the grocery store was a pain, and I also had a job that took up my time. Oh yeah, and I also thought it was a great idea to start up a book blog as well. So my time was pretty much non-existent and I didn't do too many recipes either. It was mostly throw together dinners that I've either already posted or were so thrown together that I couldn't retrace the steps.  However, we have since recently moved from



    Not only has the scenery changed but so has the shopping. Whereas before I was lucky if I could get a non-rancid piece of "previously frozen" fish, now I can go to a fish market and pick it up as fresh as it comes... well, without having a live fish in my kitchen that is. So within the months time that we've moved I've made a bunch of recipes to share with you guys.

    Here's a sneak peak of what's to come...

    Thanks for sticking with me through the lull. I promise thing will start picking up around here. I have a couple recipe books that I'm currently testing out and will have my reviews up soon. I've also been testing out the miracle grill mat that was sent to me for review. Just so you know, it works really well and they are offering one of my readers a chance to win their own mat. So keep an eye out for that. Plus, I will be posting a heck of a lot more recipes. So stay tuned...