Panko Crusted Lentil Loaf

June 7, 2011 § 3 Comments

About the Loaf

I didn’t think that I was a lentil loafy kind of person, but when I tried this recipe; I fell in love.

I adapted this recipe because I knew I could make something more delicious. Actually, I just forgot to buy all the ingredients. I was shocked by the taste because I didn’t notice the difference. I made the original many times before, but I plan on sticking with my own. It’s just as tasty, healthier and has a nice crunchy top.

◊Serves 6



  • 1 pack of Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils (wt. 17.6 oz.)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 medium to large zucchinis
  • 1 pack of TJ’s shredded carrots (2.5 cups)
  • 1/4 cup of water or veggie broth for lentils
  • 3/4 cup of water for tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tbsp of dried basil
  • 1 tbsp of dried oregano
  • 2 tsp of garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 6 oz. can of tomato paste
  • ~1 cup of Panko breadcrumbs (may need more or less to cover surface)

To Make

Step 1: chop onion and zucchini

Step 2: in saute pan on medium heat add olive oil, chopped zucchini, onion and shredded carrots till softened

Step 3: add vegetable broth and lentils then saute till incorporated

Step 4: add garlic powder, oregano, basil, salt and pepper (good time to taste test) turn off heat

Step 5: after desired taste, mix in two beaten eggs

Step 6: transfer to nonstick baking dish and preheat oven to 350°F

Step 7: in a bowl mix tomato paste and water then spread evenly

Step 8: on center rack bake for 35 mins then remove

Step 9: add panko breadcrumbs and return to oven for 15 mins

Crust should look like this

Serve and Enjoy!

Creamy Yogurt Pesto

May 13, 2011 § 3 Comments

yogurt pesto on crusty multi-grain 

This is an untraditional pesto. The only things similar are the basil leaves and garlic. I like this pesto because it is creamy and a bit tangy. It’s just as versatile, but gives you a slightly different taste. You can use this recipe as a spread or dressing and it also makes an amazing pesto pasta.


  • ~3 loose cups of basil leaves
  • ~3/4 cup of walnuts*
  • ~1/4 cup of pecans*
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • ~1 cup of greek yogurt (I used Fage Total 0%)
  • 1/2- 1 tsp of chili flakes (depends on your tolerance)
  • salt and pepper to taste

*I wanted to use my extra walnuts and pecans; hence the weird ratio. Feel free to play with the ratio or use different nuts.

Step 1: add your walnuts, pecans and garlic

Step 2: add your basil leaves

Step 3: add everything else

Step 4: blend (I’m using the Ninja)

creamy yogurt pesto (she’s not photogenic)

To Serve:

Step 1: dice some cherry tomatoes

Step 2: toast some bread

photo taken from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes (PBS)

Step 3: serve with some cracked black pepper

I used the whole grain loaf from La Brea Bakery.

serve it alone

with some hummus (learn to make hummus)

or serve it together!


Trader Joe’s Basil Plant

May 12, 2011 § 4 Comments

photo taken after pruning (originally 1.5 ft. tall)

Basil is delicious. I grew up cooking with it and it’s a staple in my kitchen. I love fresh veggies, but the thought of gardening intimidates and bores me at the same time. This is my second plant. I had a tomato plant a year ago. It died not because of harsh weather, but complete lack of care. I wish I had the patience for gardening, but I don’t. Buying this plant was a stretch, but it was only fifty cents more than the pre-packaged basil. I decided to try it out.

Plant at Trader Joe’s: $2.99

Packaged Basil at Trader Joe’s: ~$2.50

The plant did not come with any clear instructions, so I just let it sit there for a day or two. The leaves looked like they were getting long so I panicked. Naturally, I turned to youtube to find my solution. The best I found was this guy.

After watching, I proceeded to prune my plant and was left with about three cups of fresh basil.

~3 cups of fresh basil

I’ve been trying to take care of my plant. We’ll see what happens.

If you do stop by Trader Joe’s, this would be a good buy even if you don’t like gardening.

Learn to make Creamy Yogurt Pesto.

the everything crouton

May 10, 2011 § 4 Comments

everything croutons with whole wheat bread

Croutons are crunchy, delicious and easy to make.

When you buy bread, there always seems to be some weird shaped pieces on the ends. There isn’t anything wrong with the end, but the only reason you would ever touch it is to get to the next slice. Unless you are desperate for bread, you’d probably throw it out. Here is a quick and easy way to make them into a great snack or topping.

How to make your odds and ends popular.


  • Day old bread, bread ends, bread you just don’t feel like eating anymore (I used whole wheat bread)
  • Olive Oil
  • Seasoning

Seasoning I used (use whatever flavors you enjoy)

  • Garlic powder
  • Dried basil
  • Trader Joe’s 21 seasoning salute
  • Sesame seeds
  • Chili flakes
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Paprika
  • Touch of honey

Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 350°F

Step 2: Cut bread into cubes and toss in a large bowl

Step 3: Drizzle olive oil and add your seasoning then toss

Step 4: Spread your seasoned cubes onto a sheet pan

Step 5: Bake for 15 minutes on the middle rack (toss around 7-8 minute mark)

Step 6: Let it cool for a few minutes then you’re ready to eat!


Artichoke Lasagna

May 5, 2011 § 2 Comments

I had some artichoke hearts, lasagna noodles and burrata so I decided to try something new. It tasted amazing! 🙂 Two things I would do differently (1) add fresh basil and thyme and (2) learn how to make fresh lasagna noodles. The burrata makes the lasagna taste light and fresh.

I hope you enjoy making it and savoring every bite!

Serves 2-3


  • 4-5 cooked lasagna noodles (the amount varies based on how you like your noodle to sauce ratio)
  • Olive oil (enough to thinly coat bottom of pan)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 6 artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce (no salt added)
  • 1-2 tsp of brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of dry basil
  • 1 tsp of dry thyme
  • Burrata mozzarella (used amount varies)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: mince garlic cloves, quarter the artichoke hearts and thinly slice the burrata

artichoke hearts and sliced burrata

Step 2: on low to medium heat pour olive oil in pan and toss in minced garlic (saute till medium brown)

Step 3: put artichoke quarters in the pan and saute (2-3 minutes)

Step 4: pour in tomato sauce with basil, thyme, brown sugar and stir (bring to a light boil)

Step 5: add salt & pepper (sauce is done!)

Step 6: begin layering noodles alternate between sauce and fresh burrata

two layers (my sister likes a greater noodle to sauce ratio)

The way I like it. 🙂

How do you like your lasagna?

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