Friday, February 4, 2011

Lasagna & Healthy Loaves!

Did you think I forgot about Loaf Week?  Of course I didn't!  In the middle of this horrible snow storm (more snow, really?) I've been cooking lots of fun meals.  On my walk to the train Tuesday, the weather in Boston looked like this:
 The roads were pretty terrible.  I was glad I wasn't driving... but it did still take me almost 2.5 hours to get home : (

I was happy my lasagna noodles were already prepped (I cooked them Sunday).  I got this idea for a mini-lasagna from Food and Wine's White Lasagna Cupcakes. I figured I could make them in my mini-loaf pan instead.  These tasted amazing but they weren't THAT successful at staying together.

Mini White Lasagna Loaves
inspired by Food + Wine 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the ramekins
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for sprinkling
6 lasagna noodles, cooked
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1.5 cups milk
1 large egg
1/4 cup snipped chives
1 cup of mozerella cheese, shredded
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, finely diced
Freshly ground pepper 
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the flour and whisk over moderately high heat for 1 minute. Add the milk and whisk over moderate heat until the sauce is bubbling and thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg, chives and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella. Season the filling with pepper.
Arrange 1 noodle in the bottom of each loaf pan. Spoon  the filling on top of the noodle, then add the prosciutto and more cheese, fold the noodle on top and repeat with more bechemel sauce and Parmesan cheese. Bake the loafs for about 20 minutes, until the filling is just bubbling. It probably would have been smart to cover them while baking but I didn't do that!  Bake until the cheese is melted! Then carefully take out of molds and serve.  I served mine with a big plate of roasted broccoli.

 Now that's what I call comfort food.  Yum!  For some reason I prefer white sauces in lasagna.  This one did not dissappoint!  Loved it. Even better the next day for lunch.

Wednesday I made Quinoa Loafs.  The inspiration for this came from The Chic Life's Quinoa Veggie Burgers.  
I prepped ahead and cooked the quinoa on Sunday.  1 Cup of Dry Quinoa in 2 Cups of Chicken Broth.  Yes, could have been vegetarian if I didn't add the broth.  I need to buy some Vegetable Stock stat!
Anyway, this loafs weren't the prettiest but they packed so much flavor.  I served a side salad with avocado and tomotoes on the side and ate all this together, almost like a real burger (save the bun).

Spicy Quinoa Loaves
Inspired by The Chic Life
1 dry cup red quinoa, rinsed & cooked with 2 cups of chicken stock or veggie stock
1 15 ounce black beans, rinsed
1 medium potato, cooked & removed from skin 
1/2 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chili powder
dash cayenne
Combine black beans, potato, onion, bell pepper, garlic, salt, cumin, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne in a food processor. Pulse till vegetables are chopped finely and contents are mixed. Add quinoa and pulse till mixed well. Move mixture to a bowl and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (this will help the mixture to set and make it easier to form into patties.) When ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Form the mixture into the mini loaf pans.  It will be sticky! Bake 15-20 minutes, till loafs are lightly browned on top.

 Wow, these were flavorable little loafs!  And yet again I made great use of my favorite kitchen gadget- the food processor.  I really loved these and will definitely make them again in the burger form.

Last night I made Sweet Potato Tofu Loafs.  It was a recipe I saw in the Archive of We Are Not Martha for Sweet Potato Tofu Burgers.  It intrigued me and it's originally a Martha Stewart recipe so I gave it a go! First, the sweet potato mixture is amazing.  I want to make this again and serve that sweet curried potato mash as a side for pork tenderloin or chicken.  Roasted sweet potatoes pureed were meant to go with curry powder.  Match made in heaven! Second, the loafs were definitely sticky and never really did get firm.  I think if I had sauteed them like Susie did instead of baking them, they would have had better texture.  But all in all, the flavor was still spot on.  And the addition of the tofu was nice- extra protein!

Sweet Potato Tofu Loaves
Inspiration from We Are Not Martha
2 medium sweet potato peeled and cut into cubes 
1 medium onion, chopped 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
3 t curry powder 
1 t ground cumin 
2 T tomato paste 
3 T corn starch (Martha used “potato” starch, but Susie used corn starch so I went with that) 
1 lb firm tofu, pressed
1/2 C cooked brown rice (used 90 second brown rice from Uncle Bens) 
3 T cilantro
1/8 cup of green onions chopped  
Salt and pepper

 Tip from Susie- *Before starting, make sure you cook your rice. You don’t want to get to the rice step and realize you still need to cook it!  (I just used the microwavable rice)
Roast Sweet Potatoes on a baking sheet with evoo, salt and pepper at 400 for 20 minutes.  Cook the onion, garlic, cumin, and curry powder in a frying pan with some olive oil for about 5-7 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Then stir in the tomato paste and continue cooking for a couple minutes.
Place the onion mixture in a food processor. Also add the sweet potato cubes and corn (or potato if you found it) starch. Pulse mixture until the onions are finely ground.

The potato mixture (upper right) was TO DIE FOR.  So perfect! After that, take your tofu and place in several papertowels.  Try to drain it as much as possible.  Place tofu in the center, wrap, and wring out any excess liquid; the tofu should have the texture of ground meat. Put the tofu in a bowl, along with the sweet potato mixture, cooked brown rice, cilantro, green onion, salt, and pepper. Mix the ingredients together.
Then, using your hands, shape the loaf pan. Coat pan with cooking spray, and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

I again served this with salad, tomatoes an avocado.  Loved these loafs! (Do you like how I keep changing the spelling of loaves?  Is it loafs or loaves?)

On a completely random tangent, my husband and I have been dealing with some not so fun stuff as well.  I woke up Wednesday morning to a wet floor in our bedroom which we attributed to ice dams in the roof. Here's a collage of what we've been going through.  Basically we had to pull up the carpet, buy fans and heaters to dry the wet spots (for two days) and then put the room back together.  All good now!  And I'm lucky to have such a handy husband : )
 Got any war stories from the bad weather? Any inspiration for me for next weeks menu?


  1. omg i want one NOW! A lasagna loaf?? you are a genius!!

  2. Mmm the quinoa loaf is really speaking to me. Sorry to hear about your home woes... isn't home ownership a blast? We haven't had any major issues, just a never-ending stream of shoveling and ice chipping. Ugh.

  3. Okay, your "Loafs" "Loaves" are to die for!! They look delicious and something that was be an easy meal to take to work!!

    I can't find what I'm should be looking for (twitter)??? Clue me in!! :)

  4. Yikes! I hope your bedroom is okay now.

    The sweet potato loaves look lovely!

  5. Ahh I feel so bad about your commute and your floor - yuck! This weather is so not fun. But hopefully it makes us appreciate spring even more :)
    Your "loaf week" recipes look awesome, and I think it's such a fun idea! Lasagna is amazing, I could probably eat it everyday.
    Hope you have a great weekend Lizzy - see you soon!!

  6. I was glad to miss a couple bouts of bad weather! I love the little individual portions of lasagna and loaves!

  7. I see the first photo and think, beautiful! rather than horrible. I know, I know, I'm crazy. The roads did look terrible and i would not have been driving if I had to! Sorry your commute stunk and your room was in shambles from the storm. :(

    Loving the loaves (no idea the spelling?) The lasagna one is calling my name.

  8. those all look SO GOOD! Who'd have thought such creations were possible with loafs.

    your photo is kind of lovely, although I realize it sucked in reality. I realized my rainboots had a leak at an inopportune m oment this

  9. These loaves all sounds so good! Love the inspiring recipes and your mini loaf pan is so cute.

  10. your lasagna loaves look delicious!!! Such a good idea and so good to take to work the next day for lunch. We are ice/snow buried in NJ right now too but my worst weather is rain storms + subways = NASTY

  11. Very creative loaves! I want to try to make a quinoa one at some point.

  12. The loaves look fabulous. I would be all over the quinoa version- it looks fabulous!

  13. I really need to get one of those mini loaf pans, so darn cute! The lasagna loaves look amazing!

  14. Mmm, the lasagna loaves sound amazing!

    Also... can't believe it takes you so long to get home from work! Yikes.

  15. ALL of those loaves look delicious. Seriously I have never seen so many fantastic looking loaf recipes in my entire life. Especially that sweet potato tofu one. I am making that ASAP :-)

  16. Lovin' the loaves! So sorry about the leakage :( we've got water seeping in one window...

  17. First of all that snowy Boston photo has me missing it there so much! Damn I love that city. Even when it's a cold snowy mess.

    I am LOVING these loaves! Why do loaves seem so much more appealing than whole pans of things? Hmm. Whenever I bake lasagna, I cover it for the first three quarters of baking and then leave it uncovered for the last quarter so the cheese gets brown. And what is better than slightly brown cheese, really.

    Those tofu loaves look awesome! Definitely trying them.

  18. All these loaves look delicious!! Mini lasagnas would be a great party food!! NOw I need a mini loaf pan :)
    That sucks about your house!!! Luckily we havent had any leaks (well we did have to get a frozen, then cracked, pipe fixed) but our roof is pretty steep so no ice dams. But my mom was getting water through her bathroom window! Sucks! My cousin works for an insurance company and she says the claims coming in for ice dams are out of control lately! Good luck fixing it!!

  19. Wow you really are getting the most out of that loaf pan!

  20. SO much good food in this post!! I love the sound of those quinoa loaves -- I think it could be a good vegetarian alternative to meat-loaf. I also think lasagna in a loaf pan is such a cute idea. And tofu + sweet potato -- heavenly! Sounds like such a good combination.

    I'm so sorry about your roof!! Sounds like a nightmare. I'm glad you guys were able to fix it though. Yikes...

  21. Nice adaptation of my quinoa burgers! The loaves seem like a fun way to eat them! Aaand the other loaves look mighty tasty, too! :)

  22. Oh no! I hope your house situation is improving. We had some ice buildup which led to a leak in the living room, but my dad and brother seemed to get it under control. I keep freaking out about all the collapsing roofs around here.

    And so much yummy food! I need some loaf pans :) The sweet potato tofu loaves are top on my list of things to try!