Saturday, February 28, 2009
Just like with chili, my mom makes the absolute best meatloaf. There is nothing more comforting and homey than a nice juicy, tender slice with mashed potatoes and green beans on the side.
Here, I take my mom's meatloaf, and I do it my way. Basically, this means adding some bacon and some herbs - but the base is the same recipe as my mom's. This meatloaf is unbelievably flavorful. The smoky, salty bacon basically marinates the meat as it cooks, keeping it moist and delicious. The easy tomato sauce on top completes this perfectly cozy dish.
Ma's Meatloaf, My Way
1-1.5 lbs. lean ground beef
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs (I just grate up a white hamburger bun)
1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
A dash Montreal steak seasoning
3 slices of thick-sliced center-cut bacon
1 can condensed tomato soup (recommended: Campbell's)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a standard loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the meat, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, sage, parsley, ketchup, Worcestershire, and steak seasoning - lightly, using a fork or your hands. When it is fully combined, turn the meat mixture into the prepared loaf pan, and pat lightly into the form of a loaf. Top with the three slices of bacon. Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until meat is cooked all the way through the loaf.
Meanwhile, heat the tomato soup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Slice the meatloaf and spoon the hot tomato soup over the top.
This meatloaf only gets better with age. Try slicing your leftovers and making a hearty sandwich with white bread and ketchup - divine!
I got this basic hummus recipe from a fellow food blogger - Katie from Good Things Catered. You should definitely check out her blog for lots of fabulous recipes and tips.
From Katie of Good Things Catered
1 12-ounce can of chick peas (also called garbanzo beans)
1-2 large cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons tahini (sesame paste)
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 teaspoon salt
Drain chick peas, reserving their water/juice in a small bowl. In a food processor (or blender), mix together the chick peas with the rest of the ingredients, being careful to add second half of lemon juice and tahini slowly, stopping to taste. Slowly add some of the reserved liquid from beans and a bit of water for correct consistency. Process for about 1-2 minutes until a smooth paste is formed. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. This changes the taste of the hummus by allowing the flavors to form.
To dress the hummus up for the table, the traditional way of serving is on a plate, with an extra drizzle of olive oil on top and a sprinkle of paprika and chopped parsley. Serve with warm pita bread or pita chips, and fresh veggies like sliced cucumber, baby carrots, or grape tomatoes.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Since I did a sinfully delicious post on our Mardi Gras dinner, I figured I should also post our meat-free Ash Wednesday dinner as well: Pan-Fried Tilapia! It's definitely a stand-by dinner in my family for a quick, delicious, and healthy meal. Here's how I like to prepare it.
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tilapia fillets
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
other seasoning of your choice, if desired
Measure your olive oil into a large frying pan and warm it up over medium heat.
Meanwhile, measure flour into a shallow dish. Season generously with salt and pepper. Crack eggs and measure buttermilk into a second shallow dish, mixing lightly with a fork. Measure panko bread crumbs into a third shallow dish, seasoning generously with salt, pepper, and whatever other seasonings you like (garlic, herbes de provence, greek seasoning, cajun seasoning, lemon pepper - the possibilities are endless!).
Take one tilapia fillet. Coat it first in the flour mixture. Next, dip it in the egg mixture, coating on both sides. Finally, dip it into the seasoned panko bread crumbs to coat completely. Drop the tilapia in your preheated pan. Repeat with remaining tilapia fillets.
Cook for about 4 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of your fillets). You will know that your fish is done when it flakes when tested with a fork. Serve immediately with potatoes, grits, your favorite veggies, or a nice green salad.
I apologize for the lame-o cell phone pics, but as some of you know my life is a bit crazy and I don't always have my wonderful new camera with me, depending on where I happen to find myself at dinnertime!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
These delightful little pastries are actually spherical Danish pancakes that have a filling in the middle. Ebelskiver means "apple slices" in Danish, and you will sometimes see it spelled "aebelskiver." As you might have guessed, apples are one of the traditional fillings that you will find inside an ebelskiver.
How do you make these little puffs of joy? With an Ebelskiver Pan, which can be found at most cooking stores. I received mine as a gift last year from my sweet sister-in-law, who is also an excellent chef! Here is what it looks like:
- grated swiss cheese and diced ham
- grated cheddar cheese with diced bacon
- your favorite shredded cheese
- cream cheese or laughing cow cheese
- herbed goat cheese
- home-made stewed applesauce
- pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds
- raspberry preserves
- chocolate chips
- fresh blueberries
- raspberry preserves and chocolate chips
This sweet-or-savory combination made them perfect for dinner on fat tuesday. We always have a traditional meal of pancakes for dinner on Mardi Gras, and what could be better than savory filled pancakes for dinner with sweet filled pancakes for dessert???
Adapted from a Williams-Sonoma recipe
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Filling of your choice
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, granulated sugar and salt.
In a small bowl, lightly whisk together the egg yolks and buttermilk. Whisk the yolk mixture into the flour mixture until well combined; the batter will be lumpy.
In another bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff but not dry peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter in two additions.
Put 1/2 of a teaspoon butter in each well of a filled-pancake pan.
Place over medium heat and heat until the butter begins to bubble. Pour one tablespoon of batter into each well and cook until the bottoms are golden brown and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes. Gently add your desired filling on top of each puff.
Next, top each filling with one more tablespoon batter. Using 2 wooden skewers, flip the pancakes over and cook until golden and crispy, about 3 minutes more.
Serve your savory ebelskivers with whatever side you like - we had extra bacon on the side and some homemade stewed applesauce.
Makes about 40 filled pancakes.
I know this post comes at a bad time for people like my mom, who gave up chocolate for Lent, but I was absolutely craving some gooey, rich, warm chocolate last week, and I had to make some brownies! I wanted to try out a new recipe that I'd seen in a magazine, but decided to make some major changes to it. These brownies turned out with a nice, deep chocolate flavor, delightfully crispy edges, and a moist, dense, and chewy texture.
Chewy Chocolaty Brownies
Inspired by Palmer House Brownies from Bon Appetit magazine
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and apply cooking spray to an 8x8-inch square baking pan. (As you can see in my pics, I made 2 smaller pans because I like the chewy edges so much!)
In a small heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate and butter. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.
Blend eggs, vanilla, and sugar with an electric mixer until light in color and fluffy - about 1 minute. Pour melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, and whisk together until incorporated. Add sifted flour and baking powder. Fold in gently with a rubber spatula. Spread evenly in the prepared pan. Sprinkle walnuts over the brownie batter, pressing gently into the chocolate.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until the edges are crispy and set. Serve warm or cool with a big scoop of ice cream.
(My smaller pans only took about 30 minutes.)
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
This is the most wonderful, moist, dense, and deliciously cozy cake you have EVER put in your mouth. The perfect end to a hearty winter meal.
Auntie Heather's Apple Cake
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
3 large, tart cooking apples - peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a large bundt pan and set aside. In a large electric mixer bowl, beat vegetable oil and eggs on high speed for 3 minutes. Add the salt, baking soda, vanilla, sugar, and flour, and blend on low speed until incorporated. With a wooden spoon, fold in apples and pecans. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
1 stick of butter
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
This spinach casserole has been one of my favorite dishes since childhood. The recipe came from the little booklet that came with my mom and dad's Crockpot that they got back in the early 70s. Over the years, we've upped the amount of spinach and also adapted it for a dutch oven, but it's still a family classic.
Adapted from Rival Crock Pot booklet from the early 70s
3 10-ounce packages frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 cups cottage cheese
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup flour