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After I posted last week about making Lentil Walnut Burgers, Kier mentioned Lentil Sloppy Joes. Um, brilliant! I love Sloppy Joes! In fact, I am a huge fan of most anything that is sweet but spicy and tomato-y and I have been craving tomatoes like crazy lately.

My mom has this theory that eating tomato-based foods makes you happy. Maybe that’s the case, then again, maybe it is just the breads, pastas, and cheeses that often go with them that make us happy? Either way, I decided that this was a go.

After sorting through dozens of real and fake Sloppy Joe recipes, I decided to base mine on Meatless Mama‘s version, it sounded wonderful; I can’t believe that I hadn’t thought to make these before!

These faux Sloppy Joes totally hit the spot. Upon tasting them, I immediately knew that they would be in permanent rotation on the Duke’s House menu. They were quick, easy, and even got meat-loving Chris’ seal of approval.* Huge win!

*Chris did note that I failed to include his favorite ingredient, Sriracha, and recommends adding a few squirts if you are so inclined.

Adapted from Meatless Mama.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minded
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1.75 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp mustard (yellow or spicy brown)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Directions:

  • Combine lentils, water, onion, garlic, green pepper, and bay leaf in a large pot.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes until lentils begin to soften, then drain water from pot and remove bay leaf.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer for approximately 10 minutes longer.
  • Serve on hamburger buns or sandwich thins as a sandwich, as a burrito, or over rice or quinoa.

Servings ~ 6
Calories (for Sloppy Joe mixture) ~ 93, Fat ~ 0.3 g, Carbohydrates ~ 17.5 g, Protein ~ 5.6 g

Have your feelings about a particular food ever done a complete 180? I feel kind of weird about this, and I don’t want to gross anyone out since so much of this blog is about food, but I don’t think I can eat eggs ever again. Or at least not for a very long time.

No, I didn’t read some crazy book about eggs being evil. I just had a traumatic egg experience.

One night last week I was making one of my favorite and most frequently eaten weekday dinners which consists of five egg whites scrambled with spinach and cheese and a huge mound of steamed broccoli topped with hummus and barbecue sauce. [Don't judge.] I had separated four eggs and was working on the fifth when I noticed that it was super runny. Like not normal runny. Like water running through my fingers.

Gross.

I had already contaminated the first four egg whites, so I tossed them all and started over. I was sure that it was happening again, more runny egg white, but I convinced myself that my mind was just playing tricks on me.  

I scrambled away trying not to think about the runny egg thing. When I finally had my dinner plated and ready to go, Chris, also acustomed to eating scrambled egg whites, took one look at it and said “Those eggs just don’t look right.”

I agreed. I had been trying to tell myself that I was just paranoid, but after two bites I just couldn’t do it. Runny or not, one of my favorite dinners, the incredible, (in?)edible egg was ruined. I’m sure that I’ll come around eventually, but for now, no can do.

I’m not usually a picky eater or even the least bit squeemish about food. After all, I was the girl that happily ate silk worm in China.

In fact, I would eat the silk worm again, but I will not eat an egg.

Ok, that is a weird story about a weird dinner, but what’s the point?

When I decided that I wanted lentil burgers for dinner on Sunday night, I realized that my go-to binder was egg. I still couldn’t fathom eating egg in any form, so my experimentation with flax egg began. I’ll call this one a win! No egg required. I may try it with some diced onion in the mix next time for an extra bit of flavor.

A Duke’s House Original.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (dry) lentils, cooked
  • 4 tbsp ground flax
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Prepare lentils according to instructions on package.
  • While the lentils are cooking, mix 4 tbsp ground flax with 3/4 cup water to make a flax binder for the patties. Refrigerate the flax while the lentils are cooking to set it into a thicker consistency.
  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Use a spoon to combine lentils, flax binder, crushed walnuts, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, crushing the lentils slightly as they are mixed.
  • Add bread crumbs, stirring by hand, until the mixture stiffens.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray.
  • Hand form eight hamburger sized patties and place on baking sheet.
  • Bake for ~25 minutes or until patties are set and lightly browned.

Servings ~ 8
Calories ~ 118, Fat ~ 3.0 g, Carbohydrates ~ 17.5 g, Protein ~ 5.8 g

Unlike Shelby, I am a huge fan of meat-alternative burgers. So much so, that I have made my own on a few occasions. Friday night, I was feeling a little crazy so decided to branch out from bean burgers to lentil burgers. I can’t believe that I had never tried them before. Pure awesomeness.

If you think you don’t like meat-alternative burgers. Try these. Even if you are a diehard carnivore, give these “burgers” a chance.

After polishing off our first half-batch of Lentil Burgers on Friday night, I hadn’t had enough so I made another half-batch on Saturday night. That still wasn’t enough, but I was out of lentils so I branched into Split Pea Burgers on Sunday, which were equally amazing and a pretty shade of green to boot.

In retrospect, all of these meat-free burgers may not have been as awesome for Chris as they were for me. It was pretty poor judgement on my part to feed him legume burgers all weekend. I failed to remember that he was headed to India on Monday where his carnivorous self will probably have the pleasure of eating more than enough meat-free meals. Sorry Chris! If you mention that you read this I promise meat on Saturday night!

One final proclamation for the gloriousness of the Lentil Burger: These things area really easy to make. As in I had the energy to make a batch after our 18-mile run on Saturday. Yes. That easy. There is a chance that we will be eating these nightly until marathon training is over.

From 101 Cookbooks.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked lentils
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup toasted fine (whole-grain) bread crumbs
  • olive oil spray

Directions:

  • Chop onion in food processor.
  • Add lentils, eggs and salt to food processor, then purée until fully combined. It is ok to have whole lentils.
  • Pour into a mixing bowl and stir in the breadcrumbs, then let sit for a couple of minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture.
  • Adjust the dough texture by adding bread crumbs, water, or more egg as needed.
  • Form the mixture into twelve patties.
  • Heat a heavy skillet over medium low, spray with olive oil, add 4 patties, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms begin to brown. Turn up the heat if there is no browning after 10 minutes.
  • Flip the patties and cook the second side for 7 minutes, or until golden.
  • Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties.

Servings ~ 12 burgers
Calories ~ 137, Fat ~ 2 g, Carbohydrates ~ 21 g, Protein ~ 8 g

As promised, another idea for leftover mashed potatoes. Or another excuse to make mashed potatoes. I suppose it is all a matter of perspective.

I specifically promised more mashed potato breakfasts. I’m not sure if this counts. We ate it for breakfast, but Chris and I are both pretty flexible in that regard. Neither of us has very strong meal/time-of-day connections.

Pancakes for dinner? Hamburgers for breakfast? Sure. Whatever. If Duke would be happy with it, chances are that either of us would be also.

It is interesting to see what people consider normal breakfast food in different places. I’m curious what we will see in Africa for breakfast foods, although I have a feeling that it might be influenced to some degree by colonialism there.

Most places we have gone, the egg seems to be pretty standard. Although the color of the yolk has been surprising in some cases. I’m pretty sure that the Chinese eggs I ate were salted duck eggs, they had a bright orange yolk.

In Japan, the breakfast appeared to be nearly the same as the other meals except that it often came with a side of fermented soybeans (natto). Thankfully, I do not recall having natto at any other meal. It must be an acquired taste.

My favorite region for breakfast is Northern Europe. What can I say, I like fish for breakfast. I suppose that Japan had that to offer, but one of my all-time favorite breakfasts is smoked fish on toast with a soft cheese and capers.

What do you like to eat for breakfast? Can dinner pass for breakfast at your house?

Adapted from Meals and Miles.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup cooked lentils (I cook lentils in chicken or veggie broth in a 1:2 ratio, lentils:broth) 
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth + a few splashes for mashing (I used 99% fat free broth)
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 glugs red wine
  • 1/4 cup corn (frozen works)
  • 1/4 cup peas (frozen works)
  • 1 medium potato (The original recipe called for a sweet potato.)
  • 1/2 oz cheese, shredded (I used Manchego)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oregano
  • garlic salt

Directions:

  • On the stove top heat up the lentils and onion. (I combined 1/2 cup lentils, 1 cup chicken broth, and onion, then simmered until the lentils softened since my lentils were not pre-cooked. I then took 3/4 cup of the cooked lentil and onion mixture for this dish.)
  • In a small bowl mix the chicken broth and flour.
  • Pour chicken broth mixture, Worcestershire sauce, and red wine over the lentils.
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 -10 minutes or until sauce reduces.
  • Once sauce appears thick add the corn, peas and spices.
  • Poke several holes in a potato and microwave for ~4 minutes until soft. (Alternatively, use leftover mashed potatoes.)
  • Mash the soft potato with some chicken broth
  • Place the lentil combination in an oven safe bowl, then layer mashed potato on top.
  • Bake at 375 for 10 minutes, then remove, top with cheese and broil for 5 more minutes.

Servings ~ 2 (Chris and I split this) or 1 huge serving (Chris would have been happy to eat this all by himself)
Calories (based on 2 servings) ~ 275, Fat ~ 3 g, Carbohydrates ~ 47 g, Protein ~ 14 g

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we have returned to the reality of having to feed ourselves every day. ::Gasp::

This has become more and more challenging with our lack of daylight as we approach the winter solstice.

Only 21 days until things begin to look brighter! ::haha::

In addition to the early sunset resulting in crummy photographs, there is also the issue of not feeling very inspired to make dinner at all when it looks like bedtime outside before I even leave work.

So what does this mean? What is the point of this table?

It is dark out when I leave for work. It is dark out when I get home from work. Motivation is at an all-time low.

Moving all of Indiana to the Central Time Zone would at least allow me to have daylight on one end of my day. Clearly, even the Indiana “experts” do not know what time it should be here. Notice the shifting time zones over the past 92 years.

In spite of my dissatisfaction with our time zone, I knew that it was time to end our streak of “grazing” dinners and make some real food. Asian Lentil Soup, here we come!

I bookmarked this a while back, but I never managed to get all of the ingredients on my grocery list at one time. With the temperatures dropping quickly, I knew it was time. Chris and I had a run planned for last night, and I had a feeling that warm soup would hit the spot after our cold, windy, flurry-filled run.

The result: Another win in the weekday meal department. Easy to make. Minimal prep/cooking time. I bet we see a repeat of this dinner within one week.

When I came home from work, I quickly chopped and sautéed the veggies, then dumped all of the ingredients into a big pot. I turned up the heat and brought the soup to a simmer as I got changed into my running clothes. As we were about to leave the house, I turned the stove off and covered the pot of soup hoping that the lentils would soften while we were out.

Just as I had hoped, the soup only needed a little re-heating when we returned from our run, then we were good to go! This was the perfect dinner after our coldest run of the season so far.

From Kath Eats Real Food.

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots, peeled into ribbons
  • 2 celery stalks, matchstick cut
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 bunch bok choy, chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup lentils, dry
  • 28 oz chicken or veggie broth
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp  minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Sauté carrots, celery, bell pepper, and chopped stalks of the bok choy in oil until tender.
  • Add all other ingredients, bring to boil, reduce to simmer, and cook 20-30 minutes, or until lentils are soft.

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 151, Fat ~ 4 g, Carbohydrates ~ 22 g, Protein ~ 9 g

Update on “Mission Clean Out Duke’s Refrigerator”:

  • Dairy
    • 4 cups plain yogurt 3 cups plain yogurt
    • 8 cups cottage cheese 4 cups cottage cheese
    • 1 gallon of milk (well, most of it anyway)
    • 12 oz queso fresco
    • 1.25 cups sour cream
  • Fruits and Vegetables
    • 1 jalapeño
    • 3/4 of a green pepper
    • 1 bag scallions 1/2 bag scallions
    • 1/2 head cabbage
    • 1/2 lb. baby spinach
    • 5 apples 4 apples
    • 4 bananas 2 bananas
    • 1.5 cucumbers 1 cucumber
    • 2 plum tomatoes 1 plum tomato
    • 1/2 bunch cilantro
    • 2 avocados 1.5 avocados
    • 2 onions
    • 2 sweet potatoes
    • 1 bunch parsley (was not counted in original inventory) 1/2 bunch parsley

Chris and I both liked this meal. I am not sure if he was so hungry that he did not notice the raw tomatoes, if it tasted so good that the tomatoes did not matter, or what was going on, but he did not even mention them. Normally he calls them out and then make the ‘tomato face’. I’ll just roll with it.

This was a tasty and refreshing meal on a hot day (especially if you have broken air conditioning like we do). We both thought we would like to have it again, even not during refrigerator clean out week. If we had used Greek yogurt (or strained our yogurt to thicken it) this would be pretty good stuffed into a pita as well.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (140 g dry) lentils
  • 1 cup yogurt (I used nonfat.)
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 medium scallions, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  • Cook lentils according to instructions on package. Drain well and chill.
  • Combine yogurt and tahini.
  • Gently stir in cucumber, tomato, parsley, and scallions.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve lentils topped with yogurt mixture and a few splashes of white balsamic vinegar.

Servings ~ 2
Calories ~ 317, Fat ~ 5 g, Carbohydrates ~ 49 g, Protein ~ 21 g

When I got home from work on Friday, I could not wait to try this recipe out! After I finished making the red bean version of these burritos, I offered some to Chris and his friend.

Me: “Chris, do you guys want some burritos? They just came out of the oven.”
Chris: “Bry, do you want any of those sweet potato burritos?”
Bryan: “Nah, I’m good.”
Chris: “Nah, we’re good.”
Me: “They’re not the sweet potato ones, but they are made from a recipe that I got from Branny’s website.”
Chris: “Different Branny burritos? Now I’m curious. Bry, they are different ones from the same girl. Can you bring two out?”

This tells me two things:

  1. Chris trusts Branny’s cooking more than mine.
  2. Chris really is always up for a burrito.

When I brought the burritos out, I warned the guys that they were not ‘Mexican-y’ burritos. Maybe it is just the addition of Sweet Thai Chili Sauce, but these almost make me feel like this is what you would get if you if you ordered a burrito in Southeast Aisa. Kind of like Indian food in Japan, California pizza, or any other foreign flavor that has been adapted to the local ingredients and flavors.

Anyway, these were amazing. We somehow devoured ten of the turkey and red bean burritos that I made on Friday in time for me to make ten more of the turkey and lentil variety on Sunday. Thirty-six hours later, there is only one lonely burrito left in our refrigerator. Needless to say, I plan to try out a tofu and red bean version sometime soon!

This burrito does not photograph particularly well, but it tastes great!

Directions:

  • 140 g (dry) red beans or lentils (about 1 cup dry or 1 can)
  • 8 oz. lean ground turkey
  • 1 3/4 cup (1 can) diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 3 tbsp Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
  • 1 onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1/4 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 large apple (I used a Fuji), finely chopped
  • 60 g raisins (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 scallions, chopped finely
  • 4 egg whites (scrambled)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 10 wheat tortilla

Directions:

  • Cook red beans or lentils until tender.
  • Sautee ground turkey and chopped onion in a large skillet until the turkey is browned.
  • Add tomatoes, wine, Sweet Thai Chili Sauce, green pepper, garlic, apple, raisins, salt, and pepper and simmer for several minutes.
  • Scramble 4 egg whites.
  • Add scallions and egg whites.
  • Continue to simmer until the mixture is dry enough to stuff a burrito with.
  • Stuff burritos.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Servings ~ 10 burritos
Calories (using lentils) ~ 240, Fat ~ 6 g, Carbohydrates ~ 33 g, Protein ~ 19 g

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