spoon

Throwback Thursday: My Mom's Meatloaf

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This is one of the recipes I remember my mom making a lot.  We didn't have it every week or anything, but we had it pretty often, and with good reason.  Everyone loves it, even those who don't usually like meatloaf.  For whatever reason there was a span of time I don't remember eating it at all- I'm sure it was partially because I was away at college or living on my own, but recently mom has broken the meatloaf out for some family dinners, and I am immediately transported to second grade, and that's a good thing.



Since rediscovering the meatloaf, I've made it for a family reunion and Drew has made it for the fire station.  This recipe is older than I am, and it's not going anywhere any time soon.

Meatloaf
from my mom's recipe collection

1.5 lbs. ground beef (85/15 is recommended, but any kind will do)
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup milk
4 Tb (1/4 cup) ketchup
1 egg
Salt and pepper

Mix above ingredients and lightly press into a 9x13 baking dish.  Pour over the sauce (recipe to follow) and bake, uncovered, at 350 for 1 hour.

Sauce
4 Tb (1/4 c) apple cider vinegar
2 Tb (1 oz) Worcestershire Sauce
4 Tb (1/4 c) brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup

Combine sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan.  Heat until warm and pour over meatloaf.

Notes

  • my mom recommends 85% lean ground beef and I won't question it.  I'd say if you choose to go leaner, you may want to cover the meatloaf for the first 20-30 minutes.
  • You want to use ground beef that is in a square package, not the tube.  The tubes compress the meat too much.  


Barbecue Chicken Sliders

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Every family, every cook has their simple favorites, the recipes that are go-to's for busy nights or times where you just aren't sure what to cook.  They are not fancy, and they're not what you would make for your audition for Master Chef, but they are what you make for your family on, say a Tuesday.  You often don't even need to pull out a cookbook or smart phone to make it- you know how it's done.  What are some of your recipes/dinner ideas like that?  Let me know in the comments :)

This is one of those recipes for me.  It's not even really a recipe, just a meal idea that I can pull together in about 10 minutes that is a consistent winner.  My family got the idea from an old Kraft Food and Family magazine years ago, and we've all been making it since.  These barbecue chicken sliders are a healthy, tasty favorite that is always a good answer to the question, "what's for dinner?"

Oh, and since you likely won't need a whole chicken, these are either perfect to use up leftover chicken or they're good to keep in mind that you'll be able to get two meals out of your chicken.

Barbecue Chicken Sliders
from Kraft Foods

To feed 4 people generously

1- 12 pack of Hawaiian sweet rolls (any roll will do, but these put it over the top)
1/2 cooked chicken, about 2-3 cups (rotisserie is perfect here), pulled from bone and shredded
1 cup bbq sauce of your choice
1/2 pkg. broccoli slaw mixture
1/2 cup ranch dresssing

In a medium bowl, combine the chicken and the bbq sauce.  Drew actually prefers the chicken to be plain and the sauce to be spooned over the top, so this step is optional.  In another small to med. bowl, combine the ranch dressing and slaw mixture.

Assemble the sandwiches by cutting the rolls in half and, if desired, scooping out some of the bread to make the chicken and slaw better fit.  On the bottom half of the roll, place the chicken and top with some of the slaw.  Top with the top half of the roll, and done.

Serve with chips, fries, or a salad (broccoli, pasta, potato).  

Eggroll Stir Fry

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Thanks to going out of date sales, I've come into some ground beef lately.  I say that like some people talk about coming into money.

So, what to do with this ground beef?  Sure, I could make something familiar, but I wanted to try something different, something new.  This is why food blogging works for me- I like to try new recipes and the blog is a great way to document that and I hope that it ultimately can give you some feedback on the recipe.  I mean, how many times do you see a recipe and wonder if it's any good?  While I can't guarantee we have the same tastes, maybe I can at least help you decide if it'll be worth a try for you or not.



A Pinterest search led me to today's recipe, which I liked for its use of a lot of vegetables and how it is just Asian enough to be different from my normal foods but not so Asian I can't find the ingredients/Drew won't enjoy it.

I made it last week and am so glad I did.  I will definitely add this one to the "keeper" pile.  This really does taste like an eggroll without the wrapper (and without the frying!), and the beef is a nice flavor with the cabbage.  Actually, it's better than an eggroll.  It tastes...fresher.  The vegetables are soft but not mushy.  The ton of vegetables means you can eat more and not feel guilty about it, too!  



The one thing I will say about this dish is that we got 3 meal sized servings out of it instead of 4-6.  That could be our huge appetites, but it is something to note when making this.  

Neither of us like rice, and I think the point of this recipe is to be low carb, so we ate just the stir fry alone.  I'd say if you don't care about the carb addition, serve with rice or noodles.  I bet it'd be great with lo mein.



slightly altared from South Your Mouth

1 pound ground beef or other meat (see notes)
1 large onion, cut into slivers
1 small head of cabbage
4 carrots
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons flax oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
Dash red pepper flakes (optional)

Cook and crumble ground meat with onions in a very large skillet until meat is cooked through. Do not drain. You’ll need to select a skillet large enough to contain all the cabbage – divide everything evenly into two skillets if necessary.

While meat and onions are cooking cut cabbage into thin shreds; set aside. Peel carrots with a vegetable peeler then either dice small or use the peeler to shave off thin slices; set aside.

Combine garlic, ginger, pepper, pepper flakes (if using), flax oil, vegetable oil and soy sauce in a small bowl and stir to combine; set aside.

Add cabbage and carrots to ground meat then cook and stir over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add soy sauce mixture then stir well.  Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes or until cabbage is tender.

Recipe makes approximately 4-6 servings.

Notes
  • While ground beef isn't traditional in an egg roll, I really like it here.  We don't eat pork, so I have no advice on how to cook it.  If you use ground chicken or turkey, you'll likely want to add a TB of vegetable oil to the pan with the meat and onions.  I used 85/15 ground beef, so I didn't have to add oil, but if you use the 93/7, you may need to add some.
  • The cabbage starts out taking up a TON of space, but it wilts to next to nothing.  I used a 6 qt. saute pot and it held everything really well.  A skillet with high sides would be ideal.
  • Maybe it's toasted sesame oil, but I haven't liked the taste of sesame oil, which is originally called for in this recipe.  I used flax oil, since it's also what I had on hand.  

Zucchini Pizza Casserole

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Weird name, delicious dish.  I promise!

Zucchini season is mostly over here, but it can still be found at farmer's markets and maybe other parts of the country.  Thanks to my mother in law, we had a couple zucchini plants that gave us enough for a couple different dishes.  Thanks, Barbara!



I had this recipe pinned for a couple years when we had zucchini coming out our ears, and you can only make so much zucchini bread before you feel like you're going to need the Biggest Loser Ranch, am I right?  So anyway, I pinned this recipe a while back but hadn't made it yet.  I've made several other zucchini recipes, but I like to try new recipes (hence the blog).



I can remember pinning this one and not being too sure about it.  Zucchini pizza casserole?  Sounds weird.  I like zucchini on pizza, so maybe it will work, but what if it's one of those attempts to be healthy that ends up with a dish that doesn't taste very good?  Oh, well, it's rated pretty highly on Taste Of Home's website so I'll give it a go.

You've just had a peek inside my mind.  I hope that doesn't deter you!


Anyway, I tried it and we liked it!  This casserole has a zucchini and cheese crust topped by a sauce that is like meat sauce for spaghetti.  The one way I'd like to improve this dish is to make the sauce taste more like pizza sauce than spaghetti sauce.  The next time I make this dish I may try to not cook the tomatoes before baking the casserole.  That crust, though.  It is delicious!  If you like the taste of cheese when it gets a little cooked and browned, you want to eat the entire crust without sharing.

So I recommend this recipe.  It's easy and tasty, and is probably a good one to take to a potluck or a friend who may need a meal.

Zucchini Pizza Casserole
from Taste of Home

4 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can (15 ounces) Italian tomato sauce
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped

Preheat oven to 400°. Place zucchini in colander; sprinkle with salt. Let stand 10 minutes, then squeeze out moisture.

Combine zucchini with eggs, Parmesan and half of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Press into a greased 13x9-in. or 3-qt. baking dish. Bake 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook beef and onion over medium heat, crumbling beef, until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add tomato sauce; spoon over zucchini mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses; add red pepper. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes longer.

Freeze option: Cool baked casserole; cover and freeze. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350°. Unwrap casserole; reheat on a lower oven rack until heated through and a thermometer inserted in center reads 165°. Yield: 8 servings.

Other Zucchini Recipes
Zucchini Ribbons With Almond Pesto
Zucchini Bread
Grilled Pizza
Ricotta Pasta with Zucchini and Corn
Italian Greens Soup (Ed Fretwell Soup)
Vegetarian Fajitas
Summer Squash Sauté
Ratatouille
Roasted Vegetable Minestrone

Ninety Minute Cinnamon Rolls

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I know, it doesn't seem as practical or sane to make a cinnamon roll as it is to buy one of those nice tubes in the refrigerated section and bake them.  I'll tell you why.  One day I wanted a cinnamon roll, but being a new mother, I still haven't gotten a good hang on going to the store with my little guy.  He's only slightly more patient than his father when it comes to shopping, and then there's all that baby gear, like the diaper bag, the car seat, and either a carrier or stroller.  By the time you get loaded and unloaded, you've spent almost as much time going to the store as you would making these cinnamon rolls, and you wouldn't have nearly the quality.

                   


These ninety minute cinnamon rolls are easy, tasty, and quick for a cinnamon roll.  If you've made other recipes, you know how long they often take.  The dough comes out soft and pillow-y, with a nice, mild yeast roll flavor.  They are dreamy.  These cinnamon rolls also freeze and reheat well, making them quite convenient for making a batch and not eating them all at once.  

                   

I have tried a few homemade cinnamon roll recipes over the years, and this has been my favorite recipe.  It's my holy grail cinnamon roll recipe.  I hope if you make it you'll agree!



adapted slightly from allrecipes.com

3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) softened butter, divided
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) package instant yeast
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
 1/4 cup water
1 egg
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in 1/2 stick butter; stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/4 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt; mix well. Add water, egg and the milk mixture; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has just pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, and remaining stick of butter.

Roll out dough into a 12x9 inch rectangle. Spread dough with butter/sugar mixture. Roll up dough and pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 equal size rolls and place cut side up in a buttered 9x13 pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. In the meantime, heat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until browned. Let cool slightly and then top with icing if desired.*(see notes)

Notes
  • I desired icing.  I used this icing, made with vanilla extract and it was perfect.
  • I'm not sure if it was atmospheric influence or not, but I had to add extra flour (used unbleached AP flour)- maybe about a 1/4 cup extra.  

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

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Most of us home cooks have long known how valuable a slow cooker is.  How great is it to put a bunch of ingredients into the pot, turn it on, and hours later be rewarded with a great aroma and a (hopefully) tasty meal?

Now I'm going to share a revelation that most of you moms will laugh and roll your eyes at, but I had the impression that when I stayed at home with my baby, I'd have all this extra time to cook and clean.  I'll pause while you wipe the tears of laughter from your eyes.

All better and composed now?  Ok.  So anyway, I've now figured out how difficult it is to care of a baby and brush your teeth, let alone cook a meal, and I'm back to the time we decided to try to become champions of the slow cooker.  We still have a long way to go, but I've added another recipe to my fairly small repertoire- slow cooker honey sesame chicken.  If you like Asian inspired foods, then this one is right up your alley.  It's easy and light, with a sauce that works nicely over rice or with noodles.  I love, too, that it's made with ingredients found in your home and not ones that you'd need to visit the Asian market to find.  I made it for my sister and me to eat one evening, and we both agreed this recipe is a keeper.

I slightly changed some of the recipe, so I'll post what I did, and the recipe title is a link to the original.

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken
adapted from Lindsay Weiss

1 1/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thighs would be fine too)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons diced onion
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon nut or seed oil (I used flax oil)
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 small package snow peas (not frozen, from the produce section)
Sesame seeds

Cut chicken into cubes or strips.  Season chicken with lightly with salt and pepper, put into crock pot. In a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic and pepper flakes. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours, or just until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from crock pot, leave sauce. Stir in corn starch until completely dissolved. Replace lid and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes or until slightly thickened. Cut chicken into bite size pieces, then return to pot and toss with sauce before serving. Stir in snow peas. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice or noodles.

Notes

  • The original recipe called for sesame oil, and the one time I bought it for a meal I didn't like it at all, though that may have been toasted sesame oil.  Anyway, I used flaxseed oil, because weirdly enough I did have some of that.  I imagine almost any seed or nut oil would work, and if all else fails, just leave it out.
  • I used a small slow cooker (1 qt) and this cooked quickly.  I used chicken breasts, but next time will use thighs as the breats were just slightly tough.

One of My Favorite Breakfasts- Eggs and Spinach On Toast

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I'm back!  In the time since my last post, we added to the family and are adjusting to life with Baby G.  What a wild ride!  

It's amazing how life can change in the course of just over a year.  We got pregnant, had the baby, and now I'm staying home with our little one and this is the first time in 17 years I haven't worked for a paycheck.  It's also amazing to watch how a baby develops and grows these first few months.  They're astounding!

Even though I haven't posted, I have been cooking, and wanted to share a simple recipe with you today.  As the post title would suggest, it's one of my favorite breakfasts, but it's also good for a quick lunch or dinner if you aren't feeling like putting in a ton of effort and time for dinner but you still want something healthy and tasty.  Just look at the egg running out over the spinach!  YUM!

So, let me know what you think if you make this.  Enjoy!

Eggs and Spinach on Toast
to serve 1

1 slice of bread, toasted
2 eggs
2-3 oz (approx 2 cups) fresh spinach
Hot sauce

Preheat a medium skillet over medium heat and pour in about 1-2 tsp. olive oil.  Sauté your spinach in the oil until wilted.  Place atop toast.  Clean out skillet and allow to reheat.  Place another 1-2 tsp oil in skillet.  Crack your eggs into the pan (or, to be on the safe side, into a bowl and then pour into the pan) and fry to your liking.  Place the eggs on top of the spinach and drizzle with hot sauce, if desired.  Eat with a knife and fork.

Other options- sauté onion with the spinach or top the whole thing with fresh green onion slices.