Thursday, March 30, 2017

Nostalgia Meatloaf


Nostalgia Meatloaf
(6 servings)


Ingredients:

1 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
1 medium Yellow Onion, minced
1 cup Plain Tomato Sauce
1½ tbsp. White Vinegar
1½ tbsp. Brown Sugar
1 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1½ tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
3 slices White Bread, crust removed and torn
½ cup Milk
1½ lb. Ground Chuck
½ cup Fine Breadcrumbs
2 large Fresh Eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp. Kosher Salt
½ tsp. Black Pepper

Directions:

In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes.  In a small bowl, whisk tomato sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard and Worcestershire.  In another small bowl, combine the bread and milk.  Then gently squeeze the liquid out and transfer bread to a large bowl.  Discard the milk.  Add the onion, ground chuck, breadcrumbs, eggs, salt, pepper and a ¼ cup of tomato mixture.  Mix until combined and transfer to a sprayed foil lined the 9x13 pan.  Form into a 5x9 loaf and cover it with remaining tomato mixture.  Bake in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for an hour and 10 minutes, or a thermometer reads 160-degrees in the middle of loaf.  Let rest 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Note:               You can use a 5x9 loaf pan if desired for about the same cooking time.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Best Ever Meatloaf


Best Ever Meatloaf
(8 servings)


Ingredients:

3 slices White Bread, torn into small pieces
½ cup Beef Broth
6 oz. Portobello Mushrooms, cut into chunks
1 medium Yellow Onion, cut into wedges
1 medium Carrot, cut into chunks
1 rib Celery, cut into chunks
3 cloves Fresh Garlic
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
4 tbsp. Tomato Paste, divided
2 large Fresh Eggs, lightly beaten
1¼ lb. Ground Chuck
¾ lb. Ground Pork
1 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbsp. Soy Sauce
1¼ tsp. Salt
¾ tsp. Black Pepper
½ cup Ketchup
2 tbsp. Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Ground Mustard

Directions:

Place the bread in a large bowl with the beef broth and let stand until liquid is absorbed.  In a food processor, place the mushrooms, onion, carrot, celery and garlic and process until finely chopped.  Transfer mixture to a large skillet with the oil already heated over medium heat.  Cook for about 5-6 minutes or until liquid has evaporated.  Add 2 tbsp. tomato paste and cook another minute or so.  Cool slightly and then add to bowl with bread.  Also add eggs, beef, pork, Worcestershire, soy, salt and pepper.  Mix all together and form into a 6x10 inch loaf and place on top of 7x12 piece of foil on top of a wire rack in a foil covered rimmed baking pan.  Put in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for one hour.  While baking, mix together the remaining tomato paste with the ketchup, brown sugar and ground mustard.  Spread mixture over the meatloaf after the hour and continue baking another 15-20 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160-degrees in the center of meatloaf.  Remove and let rest 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Note:               The foil lined rack procedure above helps remove the grease problem.  You can put the meatloaf in a 5x9 loaf pan and bake it.  Time would be the same.  Your choice.

Note:               Meatloaf makes great leftovers too.  Try using it for a Hot Meatloaf Sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy or just as a meatloaf sandwich with onion, lettuce and tomato on it.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Here's some Comfort Food takes on Meatloaf

We’re coming to the end of winter comfort foods, although this week’s and next recipes are one’s people eat year-round.  I just thought it would be nice to end winter and jump into spring with some comfort food.

This week I have a couple of “Meatloaf” recipes for you to try.  They are both a little different from any meatloaf I’ve ever had in a restaurant or a home.  That’s one of the things I enjoy about meatloaf, is all the variety of recipes you can find and taste.

The first one, for Wednesday, is called “Best Ever Meatloaf” and it has a few veggies in it.  Then on Thursday, it’s “Nostalgia Meatloaf” which I believe reminded someone of their childhood.

Both of these recipes do not use a 5x9 loaf pan to bake them.  They are free formed in that shape but place on foil in a rimmed baking pan.  One is even raised up on a wire rack to keep it out of the grease that comes with meatloaf.

These recipes and any other meatloaf recipe can be made using the 5x9 loaf pan or either of these methods.  That is for a meatloaf using 1½ to 2 pounds of meat.  An amount large than that will need to use something larger than the 5x9 pan.

A couple of tips I picked up looking at meatloaf recipes include soaking the bread to help keep it moist.  Using a food processor onions and other vegetables you might put in the meatloaf.  This is a little quicker, gives better distribution and being smaller it helps texture.

Give them a try and me some feedback on what you thought of them.  Thanks and please spread the link to others.  “Happy Cooking” until next week when I talk “Mac ‘N’ Cheese” with two recipes.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Chilaquiles with Zucchini and Spinach


Chilaquiles with Zucchini and Spinach
(4 servings)


Ingredients:

1 cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped, divided
2 medium Poblano Peppers, seeded and chopped
1 can (12 oz.) Tomatillos, drained
4 tbsp. Water
2 tbsp. Fresh Lime Juice
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups Fresh Zucchini, chopped
1 cup Red Onion, sliced
1 medium Jalapeno, seeded and sliced
2 cups Fresh Baby Spinach, coarsely chopped
4 cups Tortilla Chips (your favorite)
½ cup Queso Fresco, crumbled
1½ tbsp. Hot Sauce

Directions:

In a food processor, place ¾ cup of cilantro, peppers and tomatillos and process 20 seconds.  Add water, a tablespoon at a time, until sauce reaches desired consistency.  Stir in juice and set aside.  In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high, add oil and when ready the zucchini, onion and jalapeno and cook 6 minutes. Add spinach, stirring to wilt.  Move zucchini mixture to a bowl and wipe out skillet.  Arrange tortilla chips in skillet, top with tomatillo mixture, then zucchini mixture and topped with the cheese.  Broil 2 minutes in a pre-heated broiler.  Remove and top with remaining ¼ cup of cilantro and hot sauce before serving.

Note:               Another topping option would be roasted unsalted pumpkin seeds.  Give them a try.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Green Chile-Chicken Enchiladas


Green Chile-Chicken Enchiladas
(8-12 servings)


Ingredients:

1 Rotisserie Chicken, skinned, deboned and meat shredded
6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
1/3 cup All-purpose Flour
1½ cups Milk
2 cups chicken Broth
18 Corn Tortillas
3 cups Sharp White Cheddar Cheese, shredded
12 oz. Chopped Green Chiles
½ cup White Onion, minced
for garnish Cilantro Leaves and Sliced Jalapeno

Directions:

After finishing with the chicken, set aside.  In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add flour whisking as you do and cook about 2 minutes until bubbly and starting to change color.  Gradually whisk in the milk and broth bringing to a boil.  Simmer over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until the sauce thickens about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.  Let cool slightly.  Grease a 9x13 baking dish and line with 6 tortillas overlapping to cover bottom.  Spread one-third of sauce over the tortillas.  Then evenly top with 1 cup of cheese, followed by half of the chicken, chiles and onion.  Repeat this process and top with last 6 tortillas, last third of sauce and last cup of cheese.  Place in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes depending on how warm or cold ingredients were when put in oven.  Let rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting and garnishing with cilantro and jalapeno slices.

Note:               You can use raw chicken breasts or thighs and cook and shred but the rotisserie chicken is easier and just as good.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Not Your Usual Mexican Dinner

Sorry I'm running a little behind this week.  Must be because of St. Patrick's Day and my Birthday.  Too much celebrating?

I have a couple of interesting Mexican recipes this week.  Wednesday's is "Green Chile-Chicken Enchiladas."  "Chilaquiles with Zucchini and Spinach" will be the recipe on Thursday.

You will enjoy these if you'll give them a try.  It's nice to dishes that are a little off the norm.  "Happy Cooking" until next week and please spread the link to family and friends for over 650 recipes.  Thanks.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

BBQ Sloppy Joe Cups


BBQ Sloppy Joe Cups
(4-6 servings)


Ingredients:

12 oz. Lean Ground Beef
½ cup Yellow Onion, chopped
2/3 cup Pinto Beans, rinsed and drained
2/3 cup BBQ Sauce (your choice)
1 large Fresh Egg, lightly beaten
1 pkg. (8.5 oz.) Corn Muffin Mix
1/3 cup Milk
¼ cup Sour Cream
½ cup Frozen Whole Kernel Corn, thawed
½ cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Directions:

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook ground beef and onion until no pink remains.  Drain off fat and stir in beans and BBQ sauce.  In a medium bowl, combine egg, muffin mix, milk and sour cream.  Stir in corn and spoon a tbsp. of batter into sprayed muffin pan cups (12).  Then top each with a ¼ cup of meat mixture followed by another tbsp. of batter.  Place in a pre-heated 400-degree oven for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with cheese and bake 2 minutes longer or until cheese has melted.  Cool muffin pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Remove from muffin cups and serve figuring 2-3 per person.

Note:               You might want to try a nice slice of your favorite pickle on top of the meat mixture before adding the last of the batter.  Or so something else to make it your own.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Spaghetti and Meatball Cups


Spaghetti and Meatball Cups
(4-6 servings)


Ingredients:

4 oz. Thin Spaghetti, broken in half and cooked
1 large Fresh Egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 tbsp. Milk
1 pkg. (12 oz.) Refrigerated Cooked Meatballs
1¼ cups Pasta Sauce (your choice)
½ cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the egg, grated cheese and milk.  Stir in the cooked pasta.  Spray a 12-hole muffin pan and divide spaghetti mixture into cups using the back of a spoon to press the mixture into cup and slightly up the sides.  Add a meatball to each and divide pasta sauce equally over meatballs.  Place in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake 2 minutes longer or until cheese has melted.  Cool muffin pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing each cup to a serving platter.  Have extra warm pasta sauce to serve with them.  Figure 2 or 3 per person for dinner.

Note:               You can make your own meatballs for this recipe.  Just keep them to 1-1½ oz. in size.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Muffin Pan Dinners

Sometimes meals get boring especially if children are involved.  This week I have a couple of recipes that should be interesting to children as well as adults.  They make a great lunch or dinner for the family and could be used at adult parties or buffets.

I call them “Muffin Pan Dinners” and we start on Wednesday with “Spaghetti and Meatball Cups” for you to try.  Then on Thursday, it’s “BBQ Sloppy Joe Cups” for an easy to eat entrĂ©e.

There are a lot of other recipes out there that use muffin pans to create handy little bites of food.  I’ve tried several that use wonton wrappers to fill the cups to hold whatever you are filling into them.

Breakfast one’s use bacon or Canadian bacon to hold the fillings.  It’s usually including eggs and cheese in these.  There are some in the “Breakfast Recipe Tab” and include Sausage Muffin Cups and Ham Biscuit Cups.

Enjoy trying these “Muffin Cup” recipes and let me know how the kids respond.  Thanks.  Also remember to share the link with others and “Happy Cooking” until next week.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites (GF)


Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites (GF)
(4 dozen)


Ingredients:

1½ cups Rice Flour
½ tsp. Baking Soda
½ tsp. Salt
¼ cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
½ cup Sugar
½ cup (lightly packed) Brown Sugar
½ tsp. GF Vanilla Extract
2 large Fresh Eggs
1 cup Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
½ cup Chopped Nuts

Directions:

Combine rice flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until light.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Gradually add rice flour mixture until combined.  Stir in morsels and nuts.  Cover and refrigerate for one hour.  Roll dough into ¾ inch balls and place 2 inches apart on baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  Place in a pre-heated 375-degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes before removing from parchment paper to wire racks to cool completely.  Store in airtight container.

Note:               It’s your choice on what chopped nuts to use in this recipe.  I prefer walnuts.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Flourless Chocolate Fudge Crinkle Cookies (GF)


Flourless Chocolate Fudge Crinkle Cookies (GF)
(3 dozen)


Ingredients:

3 cups Powdered Sugar plus more for dusting
¾ cup Baking Cocoa
½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
¼ tsp. Salt
1 cup Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
4 large Fresh Eggs, whites only at room temperature
1 tsp. Gluten-Free Vanilla Extract

Directions:

Combine powdered sugar, baking cocoa, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.  Stir in morsels.  Lightly beat egg whites and add to mixture with the vanilla, stirring until combined.  Drop by level tablespoon 2 inches apart onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place in a pre-heated 325-degree oven for 13-15 minutes.  Or until tops are cracked and shiny and edges are firm.  Cool completely on baking sheets, peel off the parchment paper and dust with additional powdered sugar.

Note:               In batter, you can use 1 tsp. Nescafe Taster’s Choice House Blend 100% Pure Instant Coffee Granules instead of the cinnamon for a slightly different taste.

Note:               Eliminate the cinnamon or coffee and replace with ¾ cup of Shredded Sweetened Coconut for Chocolate Fudge Coconut Crinkle Cookies.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Gluten-free Cookies (Nestle)

One of the biggest problems in G-F foods, is finding good or great baked products.  I was checking a few weeks back for chocolate chips of various types that were GF.  In the process I called and talked to someone who was very helpful at Nestle.

She was able to give me the information I needed about bittersweet chocolate chips they make and are GF.  She also sent me a pamphlet with several GF recipes using their products.  I’m sharing two of them today.

Wednesday’s recipe is for “Flourless Chocolate Fudge Crinkle Cookies (GF)” and offers a couple of variations too.  “Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites (GF)” are Thursday’s recipe and are a little smaller in size.

A reminder for all is to be sure to double check your ingredients for a recipe.  I know the Nestle ingredients in these recipes are gluten-free, but need to make sure the others are too.

I know I’ve mentioned this several times before, but you cannot be too careful if you have gluten problems or someone in your life does.

The other tip I hope you get from this post today is don’t be afraid to call or contact companies to find out if their products are gluten-free.  They are willingly and happily to help you.

Not only about GF questions but other areas in recipe preparation or product knowledge.  So used these resources and be sure to thank them as well for their help.

“Happy Cooking” until next week and please help share my posts with others.  Thanks.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Blueberry-Brie Grilled Cheese


Blueberry-Brie Grilled Cheese
(4 servings)


Ingredients:

8 slices Country White Bread
2 (5 oz.) containers Spreadable Brie Cheese (see note)
1 pt. Fresh Blueberries
8-12 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, room temperature

Directions:

Use a large skillet, panini grill or stovetop grill to heat to medium for grilling.  Layout your bread and spread with the Brie cheese on each slice (I get 4 slices per container of Brie).  Rinse and drain blueberries.  Top 4 slices of Brie spread bread with blueberries to cover (see note).  Top those slices with the remaining slices (Brie side down).  Spread butter on the top of those 4 slices and place butter side down in pan or on grill.  Now butter remaining sides.  Heat until golden brown and then flip over to other side.  Again heat until golden brown.  Remove and slice in half and then serve.

Note:               You might want to take about a third of the berries and mash with a fork.  Then spread on top of cheese before topping with remaining blueberries.

Note:               You can try other fruit, such as, raspberries and blackberries too.

Note:               Alouette is the brand of spreadable Brie that I used.

Note:               The amount of ingredient may need adjusting depending on the size of the bread slices used.

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Apple-Cheddar Grilled Cheese


Apple-Cheddar Grilled Cheese
(4 servings)


Ingredients:

8 slices White Country Bread
8-12 tbsp. Apple Butter
8 slices Sharp Cheddar Cheese (large enough to cover bread)
4 large Apples, cored, peeled and thinly sliced
8-12 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, room temperature

Directions:

Use a large skillet, panini grill or stovetop grill and heat to medium temperature for grilling.  Layout your bread and spread the apple butter on each slice.  Now cover this with the cheese, making sure to cover all of the bread.  Lay slices of apple over the cheese covering all on just 4 slices.  Place the slices without apple slices on top of bread with apple slices.  Spread butter on the top of those 4 slices and place butter side down in pan or on grill.  Now butter remaining sides.  Heat until golden brown and then flip over to other side.  Again heat until golden brown.  Remove and slice in half and then serve.

Note:               The amount of ingredient may need adjusting depending on the size of the bread slices used.

Note:               The apple slices will give you a crunch with each bite.  If you don’t like that, microwave apple slices before assembling the sandwiches to soften them.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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