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A&E >  Food

Dinner in Minutes: Seasonings add zing to meatloaf, lentils

Turkey meatloaf, well-seasoned and served with a tomato-mushroom sauce, makes a delicious entree.

When buying the meat, make sure the package says ground white-meat turkey, not just ground turkey, which has more fat.

Baking the loaves on a sheet pan instead of a loaf pan allows the hot air to circulate around them, and they cook faster.

Complete the meal with a side dish of spicy lentils plus a lettuce or spinach salad.

Lentils are rich in minerals, and contain more protein than other dried beans. I like them because they don’t need soaking and cook in about 30 minutes.

Italian Meatloaf

Olive oil spray

3/4 pound ground white meat turkey

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

2 tablespoons plain bread crumbs

1/2 cup chopped or diced frozen onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 egg

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup marinara or other tomato-based pasta sauce

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with olive oil.

Mix turkey with fennel, bread crumbs, onion, garlic and vinegar. Beat egg with salt and pepper to taste, and blend into turkey mixture.

Shape into 2 loaves about 5 by 3 inches and place on baking sheet. Spread mushrooms and pasta sauce on top.

Bake 15 minutes, until center reaches 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

Yield: 2 servings

Nutrition per serving: 353 calories (19 percent from fat), 7.4 grams fat (1.9 grams saturated, 2.7 grams monounsaturated), 215 milligrams cholesterol, 48.4 grams protein, 21.4 grams carbohydrates, 3.3 grams fiber, 196 milligrams sodium.

Hot Pepper Lentils

1 cup fat-free, low-salt chicken broth

1/2 cup chopped or diced frozen onion

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup lentils

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons dried oregano

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring chicken broth and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan over high heat. Add onion and red pepper.

Rinse lentils in a strainer and remove any foreign particles. Slowly pour lentils into boiling liquid so that it continues to boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 20 minutes.

Check after 10 minutes; if lentils are dry, add a half cup of water. If liquid is left in the pan after 20 minutes, uncover pot and boil it away.

Stir in olive oil, oregano and salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 2 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 256 calories (26 percent from fat), 7.4 grams fat (1.3 gram saturated, 5.1 grams monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 14.5 grams protein, 33.8 grams carbohydrates, 15.8 grams fiber, 290 milligrams sodium.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author of 14 cookbooks. Visit her Web page at

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