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Keeping It Simple

Lois Rowlands
West Sussex, GB
From New Beginnings, Vol. 31 No. 2, 2010, p. 28

Good nutrition means eating a well-balanced and varied diet of foods in as close to their natural state as possible.

I'm always looking for simple nutritious food that I can prepare quickly for my family, my two-year-old daughter with a big and eclectic appetite, my four-year-old son, who can be described politely as "conservative" in his tastes, and my husband, who says he likes his food "substantial and tasty."

Sometimes I'm organized and manage to make our evening meals during the day. At other times, I have to get a meal on the table as quickly as possible while keeping my daughter from having her five o'clock meltdown and having an in-depth discussion about planes and submarines with my son.

Although this lentil bake is not a meal that can be prepared particularly quickly it's really tasty and filling. Everyone who tried it liked it! If you wanted you could spice it up a bit with some chili powder.

Nutritional Facts

Lentils

Lentils are pulses and are rich in protein but they do not constitute a complete protein in themselves. When combined with a grain, however, they do form a first class protein, which makes them very suitable for vegetarian cookery. Apart from protein, pulses contain carbohydrates, vitamins (particularly B), and minerals (notably iron). Lentils do not require soaking and cook quickly. You can use them in purees, bakes, burgers, and curries. They can also be sprouted very successfully.

Oats

Oats are a highly nutritious grain. They contain carbohydrates, protein, and fat. They are also a good source of iron, potassium, and Vitamin B.

LLL Leader Kimberley Wells says "This lentil bake was delicious at our La Leche League spring workshop as part of the buffet 'pot luck' lunch."

Lentil Cheese and Oat Bake
by Nicola Crossland, Milton Keynes, GB
Serves 4

170g (6 oz) red lentils
420 ml (3/4 pint or 1 1/2 cups) water
1 tsp oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
4 heaped tablespoons porridge oats
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced (or one red pepper diced)
1 carrot, finely chopped or grated
125g (4 1/2 oz) cheese, grated
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
2 tablespoons tomato puree

Put lentils in a pan with the water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15–20 minutes until soft and moist. Drain. Heat oil and fry onions until soft. Add oats, celery, cheese, carrot, herbs, tomato puree and drained lentils. Mix well. Put into a lightly greased shallow ovenproof dish or tin, bake in a preheated oven at 350°F/180°C/Gas Mark 4, for about 30 minutes. The bake is soft when warm but firmer when cold and can be eaten hot or cold.

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