When You Put Your Mind to it…

…you can really stretch a load of groceries!

I know I’ve said it before (and it’s also sort of the point of this blog) but I love making good, healthy and complete meals– without spending a ton of money.

With the $35 or so I spent at the grocery store last week, I’ve made:

a) a roast chicken that I’ve eaten in at least 3 different ways,

b) a big pot of broccoli soup,

c) a pan of baked mac ‘n cheese (I may or may not have inhaled the whole thing in 3 days.  Oops.),

and now,


Pesto Veggie Lentil Loaf

Oh goodness, I’ve outdone myself.

I used this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis off the Food Network website as my inspiration.

Of course I didn’t have all of the ingredients, so I improvised a little.  Ok, a lot.


3/4 cup lentils

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 rib celery, chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth

1 heaping T prepared pesto

1/2 cup frozen edamame, shelled

2 T chopped sun-dried tomatoes

1 large clove garlic, minced

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs, divided

3/4 cup chopped or shredded mozzarella

1/4 cup parmesan

1/2 t butter

3/4 cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove excess water

salt and pepper

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Preheat oven to 350°.

Cover lentils with cold water in saucepan, bring to boil.  Drain water and rinse lentils.  Add broth to saucepan, bring to boil.  Add lentils, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add rice, onion, carrots and celery.  Cut heat to low and stir in pesto, edamame and sun-dried tomatoes.

In a loaf pan (I used one that was about 9″ x 5″ x 2 3/4″), combine lentil mixture, spinach, eggs, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, mozzarella, 1/2 of the parmesan and season with salt and pepper.  Once mixed, pat down into a loaf.  Top with remainder of breadcrumbs and parmesan and butter, cut into small pieces.

Bake for about 30 minutes, then turn on broiler until golden brown.  Let sit for 10-15 minutes before cutting into slices and serving.


Ok, so it looks like a lot of ingredients, but you can really use any combination of veggies, grain or legume you like.  I subbed edamame for the corn the recipe called for, and cooked rice for uncooked.  Plus I left out the “sauce” that the recipe called for, but added the sun-dried tomato and pesto.

I haven’t made this recipe before, and next time I’d add more pesto and sun-dried tomato, because they add a lot of flavor!  I’d also season a bit heavier- I didn’t want to over-salt the loaf before I’d tried it but it turns out that it can stand up to a good amount of seasoning.  That being said, I was pretty impressed by my effort.

A thrown together meal from grocery store leftovers that’s healthy and cheap??

Now, that’s Braise The Roof worthy.

When was the last time you impressed yourself with an  impromptu dish?


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Feast Before the Storm

Tonight, I feasted.

Caesar salad.

Marinated chicken breast and sun-dried tomato chicken sausage from TJ’s (my lover).

Fresh farmers market corn-on-the-cob (yup, I added some real buttah).

My parents also had some of this pretty caprese salad that my dad prepped:

Unfortunately, I’m the chump who never acquired a taste for raw tomatoes so I didn’t eat any.  (shame me if you must)

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HEADLINE!! We’re sorry to interrupt this blog post, but we’ve just received an email notifying us of Megan’s impending 5th year college reunion and she’s having a small embolism.  How did FIVE years go by already?  Jeepers!  Ok, Megan, breaaathe…

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post.

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The reason for this large (and delicious) meal is that I ate with my parents tonight and we prefer to either go big or go home.  Especially since the weather was gorgeous and the grill was hot.

Plus, I’m going on a trip tomorrow morning!  I’m flying out to Seattle at the butt crack of dawn for the wedding of two of my friends (ok, the boyfriend’s friends- but they’re my friends now, too! 🙂 ).  I always like to have a good meal in my estomac before I leave on a trip- call it tradition, call it superstitious, call it “Megan’s always hungry”.

I also like to plan out some sustenance for the trip (especially since this one’s a doozy with a layover in…PHOENIX!?*&%!).  Here’s what I packed:

A couple of Z bars, as per usual.

Raw, unsalted almonds for protein.

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**Braisified Tip**

Don’t pack overly salty snacks/meals when you travel.  The excess sodium causes bloat, which will make you très uncomfortable.  Plus, all the salt will make you thirsty and if you drink too much you’ll annoy your seat partners with your constant bathroom trips.  I’ve been on both ends of that situation, folks.  Never fun.

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Des bluets.

And some blackberries.

Should be a good trip. 🙂

I’m not bringing my computer with me on the trip so I probably won’t post again until I get back (although I’ll try to if I can!), but I’ll definitely be tweeting! Are you following me yet??  Just do it!  It’ll feel good, I promise.

Oh, and guess what came in the mail today!!

My lentils from USA Dry Peas, Lentils & Chickpeas! I can’t wait to get cooking!

Have a good weekend everyone!  🙂