Thursday, April 4, 2013

Table Food Feeder Pleasers: Lentil Loaf


Little Bird is almost ONE YEAR OLD (whattttt?  HOW?), going on approximately fifteen.  She has decided that bottles are for the birds, and formula in general?  Pretty boring.  Sippies of water and dining out are really what it's all about.  And frankly, though her pickiness is getting a little old, it is completely expected (and not just because she is entering "Toddlerhood").  My husband and I are both hugely picky eaters to a major fault, and we were really hoping by exposing her early to all sorts of cuisine, we could just skip right over that issue with her.  Shockingly, it isn't so.  So here I am once again, trying to find and execute healthful and protein packed recipes that she finds palatable.

One of my foremost concerns for my daughter, is making sure she gets the protein she needs, and though my husband and I both eat meat, I wanted her to get a wide variety of sources.  My vegetarian mom friend recently passed this gem along (but even her meat-eating husband LOVES it), and after having made it only once, I know it'll remain a staple in our house!

Lentil Loaf:  Makes one loaf

This recipe makes one loaf, but you can easily double it and make one loaf and turn the other half into meatballs (just bake on a baking sheet once formed into meatballs).  Serve the meatballs over spaghetti, or in a sub roll with extra tomato sauce and mozzarella.  I made two loaves, froze one, and sliced the other and put it on a roll as a sandwich for myself, and cubed some for Birdie.  YUM!


Ingredients:

2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup lentils
1 small onion diced (can add carrot, celery, etc. if desired) 
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs
1 cup grated cheese (I used mozzarella)
2 eggs beaten with a fork
3/4 cup pasta sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
Basil, parsley and oregano to taste (dried or fresh)
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. Add salt to water and bring to a boil – when boiled add 1 cup lentils – lower to a simmer, cover and cook for about 30 min until soft and most of the water is evaporated
  2. Drain the water and mash the lentils
  3. Scrape lentils into mixing bowl and let cool slightly
  4. Stir in onion, oats, bread crumbs and cheese
  5. Add eggs, pasta sauce and spices/herbs
  6. Mix well and if the mixture seems too wet or sticky add more bread crumbs
  7. Grease loaf pan, pour mixture into pan
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 min until the top is dry, firm and golden down.  Test the center to make sure not too mushy.
  9. Cool in pan about 10 min – run a sharp knife around the edges of the pan before taking out
  10. Serve with your choice of additional pasta sauce, chopped tomatoes, fresh basil or grated cheese

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