Spicy Italian Lentil Loaf Cupcakes

November 11, 2016

img_1443

Yay! We’ve finally started getting some Fall type weather. I know a lot of folks have been digging that extended summer kind of thing that we’ve had going on, but I’m ready for some colder temperatures. And as that mercury falls, I’ve got a great comfort food recipe to share with you today: Spicy Italian Lentil Loaf Cupcakes! Yum, yum, yum! This delicious Meatless Monday favorite of ours will be loved by vegetarians and carnivores alike, I guarantee.  And you did hear me right – there is not one shred of meat in this dish – it is a vegetarian meatloaf. But that doesn’t mean it is lacking in taste. I do promise, you will not miss the meat one little bit once you take a bite of these savory little gems.

img_1427

This recipe is so versatile. You can bake it in cupcake tins or if you prefer in a loaf pan for a more traditional meatloaf appearance. I prefer the cupcake tins because of the cute factor. Kids will certainly find them more appealing and will have no idea how many veggies they are scarfing down. The cupcake version also has portability and ease going for it. Having a single serving all ready to go, no fooling around with trying to cut even slices in a loaf works out great for me. But really we love these little cupcake shapes because of the extra crunchy edges you get from baking them in cupcake tins.

img_1470

You can also prepare these cupcakes with or without the mashed potato “frosting”. Kids will definitely prefer the potatoes piped onto the top so that it actually looks more cupcake like. When I make this dish though, I usually prepare them “naked” topped only with the arrabiata sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil. I serve the mashed potatoes on the side. These cupcakes are fantastic warm from the oven, but I’ve also enjoyed them the next day cold right out of the fridge. They are high in protein and fiber. I’m telling you, you can not go wrong with this recipe!

img_1447

Spicy Italian Lentil Loaf Cupcakes

  • Servings: 20 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Recipe inspired by: Really Good Vegetarian Meatloaf (Really!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2 leeks, sliced – white and light green parts only
  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 3/4 cup grated mozzerella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 6 ounces of spaghetti sauce + a bit more for spooning over the top (we use a spicy arrabiatta sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (we love spicy food – but if you don’t feel free to leave this out)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 20 slices fresh mozzarella
  • Mashed potatoes for “frosting” if desired
  • Fresh Chives & Basil for garnish

Directions:

Place 2 cups broth or water in saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the lentils and cook at a simmer, covered, for about 25 – 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft.

In the meantime, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan and sauté the mushrooms and leeks until they are fragrant and softened. Set aside to cool.

Drain any remaining liquid from the lentils. Mash approximately half of the lentils. Place them into a large mixing bowl and allow them to cool.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Generously spray two muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray. *If you would rather bake this as a traditional meatloaf, generously grease a loaf pan. You will also likely need to adjust your baking time to 40 -45 minutes.

Once lentils have cooled, add the leek/mushroom mixture, oats, and cheeses to the lentils and stir to combine.

Add the eggs, sauce,garlic powder, basil, Worcestershire sauce, peppers, paprika and salt to the bowl and stir until combined.

Fill prepared muffin tins 3/4 of the way full with lentil mixture.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes.

If you wish to have mashed potato “frosting” for the cupcakes. Go ahead and make the mashed potatoes while the cupcakes are baking.

After 30 -35 minutes, remove the pans and add a teaspoon full of spaghetti sauce to the top of each cupcake, as well as a spice of fresh mozzarella.

Bake until mozzarella is melted.

Remove from oven and allow cupcakes to cool in the pan on a rack for about 10 minutes.

Run a knife around the edges of pan to loosen the cakes and then carefully remove from the tins.

Pipe mashed potato frosting onto the cupcakes if you desire and decorate with chive sprinkles. Or if foregoing the frosting, garnish “naked” cupcakes with freshly chopped basil.

Enjoy!

Spicy Italian Lentil Loaf Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

 

 

 

Advertisements

Zucchini, Pancetta & Cheddar Frittata

September 27, 2016

img_4892

Anybody else still have zucchini hanging around their kitchen? I’m so happy to say we do. The husband and I are way into zucchini these days. Can’t get enough of the stuff. It not only tastes fantastic all on its own, but it also seems to magically enhance any recipe you add it to, like that Zucchini Banana Bread I told you about a couple of weeks ago. The addition of that wonderful summer squash made what was already really good banana bread into absolutely amazing banana bread. So when I came across the recipe for a Zucchini & Cheddar Frittata on Once Upon a Chef‘s blog, I just couldn’t wait to make it.

img_4903

Frittatas are just a perfect meal in my house. They’re great because they work for breakfast, lunch or dinner. And lucky for me, the husband is a big fan of the whole “breakfast for dinner” concept. I don’t think he has ever met an egg dish he didn’t like and is happy to eat them anytime of day. So frittatas are perfect. They are also wonderfully versatile and are a great way to use up any leftovers you might have on hand. In fact, I did customize the original recipe a bit. I added leeks to it because we love them nearly as much as zucchini. I also decided to add some crispy pancetta. And I must say I quite pleased with the results! This frittata was so delicate, creamy and delicious! It was great warm from the oven and also delicious cold from the fridge the following day. It was really quick and easy to make. I was able to have this tasty summer supper on the table in a little over 30 minutes. Huge win in my book!

img_4909

Zucchini Pancetta & Cheddar Frittata

  • Servings: 2 - 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Recipe slightly adapted from: Once Upon a Chef

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound (12 oz) zucchini (about 2 small zucchini -try to use small zucchini as they contain less water)
  • 4 oz. pancetta, chopped*
  • 2 leeks, washed and cut into rings – white & light green bits only**
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces (about 1 cup) grated Cheddar cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Using a food processor or box grater, grate the zucchini. Place the grated zucchini on top of several layers of paper towels and wring dry. If necessary, repeat 1-2 times to remove any excess moisture.

In an 8 or 10-inch ovenproof, nonstick sauté pan, over medium heat, cook the pancetta until crispy and set aside on paper towels to cool. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the grease from the pan. Add the leeks, zucchini and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the moisture evaporates and the zucchini is tender, 6-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Add the crispy pancetta, cooked zucchini and grated cheese to the egg mixture and stir to combine. Pour the frittata mixture into the pan (no need to wash it), then place in the oven and bake until just set, 20-23 minutes.

Enjoy!

*Don’t have any pancetta? Substitute bacon – everybody loves bacon! Or just leave it out altogether for Meatless Monday.

**The husband and I are mad for leeks, but if they aren’t really your thing you can substitute in 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots, from 1 – 2 shallots.

Zucchini Pancetta & Cheddar Frittata brought to you by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)


%d bloggers like this: