Saturday, April 05, 2008

The ultimate in comfort food

I really like meatloaf. Paired with potatoes, it is just very comforting. I have tried many meatloaf recipes over the years, one from a friend in California, a spicy Texas-style one with jalapenos, and a few others, one particularly nasty turkey meatloaf dish when I was dieting hard, and this one...well, this is pretty darn good. And the leftovers are awesome. They really reheat well and I only had to freeze one portion of the meatloaf.

Saucy Meatloaf

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1/2 c quick cooking oats, uncooked
1/2 c chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 c tomato juice
1 egg


6 oz can tomato sauce
3 Tbsp white vinegar
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp dark brown sugar, packed
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Whisk all sauce ingredients together until smooth and sugar dissolved.

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pat into an ungreased 9x5 loaf pan and pour sauce on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours and let stand for five minutes before slicing. Serves eight.

What I liked about this recipe: It was SO quick to mix up and put together.
What I disliked about this recipe: It calls for 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef. Ground beef, at least where I buy it, only comes in 1 lb packages. So now, I have a half lb of ground beef in the freezer in a Ziploc bag waiting for the next time I make this dish.
Cool kitchen gadgets used: I realized when I made this that I do not have a glass loaf pan, so I used my silicone loaf pan and it worked just fine! The only change I had to make was that I had to remove the meatloaf from the pan and place it on a platter before serving whereas with the glass loaf pan, you can just serve it right from there. Not a big deal though...I've been eyeing the Le Crueset loaf pans.
Tastiness factor: This is very good and there are no flavors that overwhelmingly stick out. It's just a nice, good, basic tasty meatloaf.

Rosemary Potatoes

6 red potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together and spoon into a greased 13x9 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Serves 4-6.

What I liked about this dish: It was very easy to throw together and I was able to bake it at the same time as the meatloaf at the same temperature so that they were both ready at the same time. Can't get better than that.
What I disliked about this dish: It was not as flavorful and aromatic as I had hoped for. And I'm not sure why. My rosemary is not the freshest ever, but it still smells good. The olive oil almost overpowered this dish. I think if I make this again, I will try 6 tsp of fresh rosemary instead and see if that helps this dish.
Cool kitchen gadgets used: I used my mortar and pestle to crush the rosemary. A molcajete would have been more fun for sure.
Tastiness factor: Not bad, but not my favorite potato dish. Using Yukon golds or Russets may have improved the flavor. It reheated well though.

And then we have a slow-cooker chicken recipe...always a good choice.

French Country Chicken

1 c chopped onion
6 carrots, chopped and sliced
6 stalks celery, chopped and sliced
6 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp dried thyme
pepper to taste
10 3/4 oz cream of chicken soup
package of dry onion soup mix
1/3 c dry white wine
2 Tbsp cornstarch

Combine onions, carrots and celery in the bottom of a slow cooker and arrange chicken on top. Sprinkle with spices. Whisk together soup and soup mix and spoon over chicken. Cover and cook on high setting for four hours, stirring after one hour. At the end of four hours, whisk together wine and cornstarch and pour over chicken. Stir well and cook uncovered on high for an additional ten minutes until sauce is thickened.

What I liked about this dish: It was easy and didn't require any braising or precooking ahead of time.
What I disliked about this dish: Not much. It was easy.
Cool kitchen gadgets used: Love my slow cooker.
Tastiness factor: This was good. Not dry at all, very moist, very flavorful and delicious with mashed potatoes. And it reheated well for leftovers. Very, very good dish.

Swiss Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken halves
8 slices Swiss cheese
one 10 3/4 oz can cream of chicken soup
1/4 c white wine
1 c chicken-flavored stuffing mix
1/4 c melted butter

Arrange chicken in a greased 13x9 baking dish and top with cheese slices. Combine soup, wine and stuffing mix and spread over chicken. Drizzle with butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.

What I liked about this recipe: ZERO prep time!
What I disliked about this recipe: A little long in the oven, but well worth the time.
Cool kitchen gadgets used: I have a Pyrex glass measuring cup that was perfect for the butter.
Tastiness factor: OMG. SO delicious. If you are looking for something new to do with chicken, try this and I promise, you won't be sorry. It is incredible.


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