Sunday, September 22, 2013

Vegetarian Lentil Loaf

I have to say that this dish definitely surprised me.  Since I don't eat meat anymore it's nice to find recipes that balance out a meal.  This is one of them.  When I first ate this after I had just made it I thought the recipe was okay at best. A bit dry and bland. My husband had been looking forward to trying this but after the first bite he was out.....Not interested....No way.   My son would have nothing to do with it.  I, however, really wanted this recipe to work so I gave it another chance. I decided to try it again later in the week for leftovers just for me.  I had a big beautiful yellow pepper that needed to be eaten, so one evening I decided to fry that up in some olive oil.  When the pepper was finished frying I sliced myself some of the lentil load and fried it up in the oil that was left from cooking the pepper.  Best decision I have made in a while.  It was THAT good!  What a difference a little time makes in letting the loaf rest and then frying in the oil that already had some of the flavor of the pepper in it.  If you are vegetarian or want a vegetarian meal for a change please give this a try.  Just remember this is best if you make it a day ahead of time and slice and fry in some olive oil.  Don't eat it straight from the pan. That won't do it justice!!!!  This makes a pretty big loaf and can easily feed 6 people.  You can also find the recipe here.

1 1/2 cup lentils
3 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth (I used vegetable broth)
2 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups precooked rice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup ketchup or BBQ sauce (I used tomato sauce)
1/2 tsp sage (do not leave this out)
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (I recommend using double that amount)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large soup or stock pot, simmer the lentils in water or vegetable broth until cooked. About 30 minutes.
Mash half the lentils while keeping the other half whole.
Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil for 3 to 5 minutes.  ( I saute the onions alone first for a good 5 minutes and then add the garlic in for only a minute or until it is fragrant).
Combine onions, garlic and olive oil with the mashed lentils and add the rice, sauce, sage and Italian seasoning.
Gently press the mixture into a lightly greased loaf pan.  Drizzle a bit of the sauce on top, if desired.
Bake for one hour.  Remove and let rest. This will help it firm up.  You can serve this right out of the pan but I  highly recommend frying it in slices the next day or later on in the week.
This is a great make ahead recipe.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Debbie's Pasta Salad

I am finally getting around to posting another recipe. I really am hoping to post more often.  I don't like posting only once a week. My goal is get back into the swing of blogging and post at least 3 recipes a week.
I have a new addiction. Smoothies. McDonald's smoothies. I don't know how healthy they are but they can't be all that bad especially since they are mostly ice.  I have a new Kitchen Aid Blender that I definitely plan on using to make smoothies but damn McDonald's just makes it so convenient to drive thru and just order one!!  Now I do have frozen peaches and bananas in my freezer that I am going to use soon.  With some almond milk....oh that sounds so good.

Anyhow, here is a delicious pasta salad that I made recently that is definitely a hit in my house.  While visiting my cousin on Long Island this past summer I noticed she added a small can of corn to her pasta salad and thought I would give that a try. So good!!!!  It add a touch of sweetness to it. Just perfect!  So here is my basic and simple pasta salad recipe.  Feel free to add any other vegetables of your choosing.  These are just the ones I used and they did blend very well together.

1 box multicolored corkscrew pasta
1 bottle Italian Salad dressing
1 small can of corn
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (I used 1/2 large green pepper)
2 tomatoes, chopped

Prepare pasta according to package directions.  While pasta cooks, chop vegetables for salad.  Rinse pasta under cold water and drain well.
Place pasta in large bowl and add all vegetables.
Empty 1/3 of bottle of Italian salad dressing onto pasta and vegetables and mix well.
(I used only about 1/3 bottle since I don't like it to taste overpowering.  You can add more if you like).

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Vegan Peach Upside Down Cake

Hard to believe that it's fall with the temps being in the low 90's here.  Went to a festival today and when we got back to our car to leave the temperature on the car read 99 degrees.  Wow!  Not complaining here though. I am loving these last days of summer.  M son started high school this past week and so far so good. It's very early in the year though, but let's hope he still feels this way in another month.

This cake doesn't look like much but it was really very good. It was the first time I made it and I would definitely make it again.   I had a problem with it sticking to the bottom on the skillet though when I tried to remove it but I think I just need a little more practice with that.  I've been making some other vegan dishes and a wonderful vegan yellow cake and will post that once I make it again and add some kind of topping.  If you decide to give this cake a try just make sure you grease the bottom of your skillet really well so you have no problem removing the cake.  You may also want to add a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream as a cake topper.  Enjoy!

Peach Upside Down Cake (from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen)

1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vanilla soy milk (mixed with one teaspoon lemon juice)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest (or 1/4 tsp lemon extract)
4 cups peeled and sliced peaches
2 tablespoons raw sugar or brown sugar
1/4 cup raw sugar or brown sugar
2 tablespoons of water

Preheat over to 350 degrees F.
Combine the dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl.  Combine the liquid ingredients in a separate bowl.  Set aside without mixing them together.
Combine the peaches with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Wipe or spray a 10 inch well seasoned cast iron skillet with oil.  Begin heating it and add the 1/4 cup of sugar and the water.  Heat and stir until the sugar is completely melted.  Continue to cook and stir until the mixture is bubbly and slightly reduced. Be careful not to burn it.  Place the peaches on top of the sugar and remove from heat.
Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture, stirring briefly just to moisten.  Pour and smooth the batter over the peaches, covering them entirely.  Put the skillet into the oven and bake until sides of cake pull away from pan and toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 30 to 40 minutes.   Note: You may want to put a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch any drips).
Allow cake to cool in pan for 15 to 30 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Place a large plate or serving platter over the top and invert the skillet.  Remove the skillet carefully from the cake.  Enjoy while warm.