Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Inspiration and creation!

Watching Food network is my vice every afternoon after work.  As usual, I didn't know what I was making for dinner, but Ina and Ree helped with that!!  Both ladies made a dish with pasta and a type of white sauce (Bechemel anyone!), broccoli or tomatoes and chicken.  Well, that was all I needed.  Here's what I did:

4 Chicken fillets, pan fried with onion and olive oil, salt/pepper
My bechemel sauce:
2 Tbsp of unsalted butter
2 Tbsp of all purpose flour
1.1/4 cup warmed whole milk
3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 can of diced tomatoes, DRAINED
1 box of Penne pasta

Pan fry the chicken tenders in olive oil and slices of onion till browned.

Bechemel sauce:
Melt butter in medium size sauce pan, meanwhile, heat milk in microwave for 1.5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute (while the milk is warming in microwave).  Add the milk, salt/pepper and a dash of nutmeg (traditional in bechemel sauce).   Whisk until thickened, then add the Parmesan cheese til completely combined.  finally, add the tomatoes.  Mix all together and toss in the penne pasta to combine.

As side dishes go, my family loves my stir-fried broccoli and a sweet bread, pumpkin or banana.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Fast and fabulous meatloaf!

Meatloaf, you either love it or it gives you heartburn, right?  I've had meatloaf that came way too dense or way too soggy and/or falling apart and then it is more of a sandwich filling than a stand alone entree.  Recently, our family went to a popular BBQ restaurant statewide and our eldest daughter's fiance ordered meatloaf (frankly, why does one order meatloaf at a famous BBQ eatery!!??) and when it arrived, I couldn't believe my eyes.  The meat product, named meatloaf by this establishment, was the densest, bready, and most hideous looking mess I had ever seen.  Why the edges even heavily resembled a crust!!  I asked for a sample of which our to-be son-in-law happily obliged, it was dry and exactly what I suspected, bready.  YUCK!  He didn't complain and ate it with gusto, but as he is one of eight in his family, food from a restaurant is a treat.

My mom made meatloaf probably once a month and we all enjoyed it, my dad loved the chow-chow that she made on it.  He was solo with that, we kids put ketchup on ours, oh yeah!  Together with mashed or scalloped potatoes and peas, we were set on a nice meal.  Fast film forward to today, I don't make meatloaf as often as my mom, but I should.  The traditional recipe called for ketchup, cracker crumbs, 2 eggs, diced onions and salt/pepper to taste, but some years ago when my children were babies and time was short for preparing meals, I got lazy and just poured salsa in the meat and cracker mixture and called it a day. Figuring that the onions, tomato sauce, and other seasonings were already combined in the salsa, it would be a great short cut,and it was.  It was fabulous!

So here is my recipe for fast and fabulous meatloaf!

2 lbs of ground beef
2 large eggs
1 - 1.5 cups salsa
1 cup of breadcrumbs or butter flavored cracker crumbs
salt and pepper
Bacon, optional, but DELICIOUS

Mix everything together completely, except the bacon.  Put meat mixture in a loaf pan, or form it in a loaf shape and place it on a cookie sheet with all four sides (keeping the grease from ruining your oven)  Wrap the uncooked bacon over the top of the meatloaf to cover.  Bake for at least an hour or until the center temperature reaches 180 degrees for beef.  Let the loaf rest under some foil while you get the rest of the  meal together and serve.

This recipe has been my staple for about 15 years now with no complaints, if you try it, let me know how you and your family liked it!