This is the meal that I made Nate for Valentine’s day…because nothing says love like lentils.

Also because I didnt’ have any better ideas and I got a craving for something like this. I know this isn’t much to look at, but it tastes amazing!

We could have gone out to dinner but making something seemed a little more special.

I don’t think Valentine’s day really needs to be a meal any different than a regular dinner.

Dessert, on the other hand, must be either red, pink, or heart-shaped, but as you may remember, I had that covered!

P.S. Those biscuits you see…I totally cheated. They’re Pillsbury. Who doesn’t love Pillsbury biscuits?!

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Lentils with Sausage, Sweet Potatoes, Feta and Balsamic Dressing

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makes 5 very generous servings 

1 cup dry lentils
1 lb sweet italian turkey sausage
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/4″ cubes
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
s+p to taste
1 1/4 cups feta

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp olive oil

Rinse and drain lentils, then add to a 4 quart pot filled halfway with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 min or until lentils are tender but not mushy. Drain lentils and set aside.

Remove sausage from casings and heat in a large saucepan over med-high heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Stir until cooked through. Remove with slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside.

Add sweet potato to pan with sausage drippings and cook over med heat for 5 minutes.

Raise heat back to med-high, add 1 Tbsp oil, onions, carrots and celery and cook 5-10 minutes or until onion is soft.

Add sausage and lentils into veggies and stir until warm.

Mix dressing ingredients and pour over lentil mixture, tossing well.
Serve with a generous serving of feta sprinkled on each plate, or toss into lentil mixture if desired.

i.e. Heaven on a Plate

Nate and I have had non-stop plans since Christmas.

Don’t get me wrong, we love travelling and spending time with family and friends, but sometimes it’s nice to have a lazy weekend at home where we can sleep in (a luxurious 8 am), and make something fantastic for breakfast.

Nate’s in the midst of his marathon training since he qualified for the Boston Marathon, so I try to make meals with enough calories to carry him through his runs.

I’m not gonna lie and tell you that these waffles are perfect for your New Year’s diet, but I can tell you that they’re worth every.single.calorie.  I actually cut down on the amount of butter and bacon in the original recipe, if you can believe it.

They taste like cornbread with a bite of bacon in every forkful. The thyme-infused syrup is herby and delicious- a combo I’d never have dreamed up on my own.

So please, make this for someone you love this weekend.

Cornmeal-Bacon Waffles with Thyme-Infused Maple Syrup
Slightly adapted from Leite’s Culinaria

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makes 12-14 waffles 

For the thyme-infused syrup:

8 small sprigs fresh thyme
1  cup pure maple syrup
8 whole black peppercorns
4  tablespoons cold water

For the cornmeal-bacon waffles:

1 pound thick-cut bacon
4 large eggs
3 cups (12 fluid ounces) buttermilk, plus more as needed
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Make the thyme-infused syrup:

Pull off most of the leaves from the thyme. Place both the leaves and the stems in a small saucepan with the maple syrup, peppercorns, and water. Place over very low heat and bring to a very gently simmer. Let it bubble for 10 minutes to infuse the syrup with thyme. Strain the syrup into a pitcher. (You can make the syrup up to 3 days ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate, then gently reheat over low heat just before serving.)

Make the cornmeal-bacon waffles:

Heat a heavy skillet or griddle over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until crisp, turning once, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels and let stand until cool enough to handle. Crumble the bacon into small pieces. You should have about 1 1/4 cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and butter. In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper, if using. Make a well in the center of the cornmeal mixture, then pour in the egg mixture. Whisk until the batter is mostly smooth with just a few lumps. If the batter is too thick, stir in another 1 to 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Gently fold in the bacon.

Preheat your waffle maker.

Ladle the batter into the waffle maker, using 1/2 to 3/4 cup batter per batch and spreading the batter so that it almost reaches the edges. Cook until crisp and browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a spatula, remove the waffles and serve hot or place on a baking sheet in a single layer in a 200°F (95°C) oven for up to 20 minutes while you make the rest with the remaining batter. Drizzle with the warm thyme-infused syrup.