Ever since I made Ina’s Turkey Meatloaf a while back, I’ve never had the inkling to try another meatloaf recipe. Why mess with a good thing, right? Well, when Tonya of What’s on My Plate? chose Mini Meatloaves for her Barefoot Bloggers recipe this month, my heart sank a little. Just a little…it is still an Ina recipe after all. But try another meatloaf recipe? And pass over my beloved turkey meatloaf? I suppose…but only for the love of all things Ina.
To my surprise though, the recipe for these Mini Meatloaves is essentially the same recipe as for Ina’s Turkey Meatloaf, except with ground beef in place of the ground turkey. YES! So after having made the turkey meatloaf for so long, I had no issues with this recipe…and loved it just as much as I love the turkey version. I do plan on sticking with the turkey due to the lower amount of fat (see the photo??) but I’m happy to have tried the recipe with ground beef in mini form…isn’t everything mini so much fun?!
P.S. – Although I’ve upgraded my camera since the turkey meatloaf photo, you wouldn’t really know, would you? I guess there’s just something about meatloaf that just doesn’t photograph well. Oh well…at least the food’s good!
source: Ina Garten
- 1 tablespoon good olive oil
- 3 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/3 cup canned chicken stock or broth
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 1/2 pounds ground chuck (81 percent lean)
- 1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs (recommended: Progresso)
- 2 extra-large eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup ketchup (recommended: Heinz)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add the onions, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not brown. Off the heat, add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Allow to cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck, onion mixture, bread crumbs, and eggs, and mix lightly with a fork. Don’t mash or the meatloaf will be dense. Divide the mixture into 6 (10 to 11-ounce) portions and shape each portion into a small loaf on a sheet pan. Spread about a tablespoon of ketchup on the top of each portion.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the internal temperature is 155 to 160 degrees F and the meat loaves are cooked through. Serve hot.
A few weeks ago, my book club met to discuss a book called The Bolter which was set partly in Edwardian London and partly in Kenya in the early 1900s. And while we usually don’t theme our dinners after our books, our host this time decided to give it a go (even though the recipe she chose was more Moroccan, which geographically isn’t close to Kenya at all) . And what a fabulous job she and her hubby did making this dish! I figured this recipe would be a winner since the house smelled incredible when I walked in and my stomach growled the entire time we discussed the book before dinner.
And I was right. These were some awesome meatballs, truly awesome. The cinnamon lends a great deal of of earthy flavor to the meatballs and sauce which I loved but Kyle wasn’t entirely sold on. Next time I’ll use a little less cinnamon and a little less crushed red pepper since I found the sauce to be a bit too spicy. I basically stayed true to the sauce and meatball recipes but adapted the couscous a little and you’ll see my changes below. You should note that 3/4 lb of meat does not yield 32 meatballs as the original recipe states – you’ll get more like 12-14 (1 1/2″) meatballs which is still enough to feed four people with the couscous. So if you’re looking for a new quick and delicious meal, give this one a shot. And for what it’s worth, the meal was way better than the book!
North African Meatballs
source: adapted from Melissa D’Arabian, FoodNetwork
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1/2 cup pitted and chopped briny olives
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup chicken stock or broth
- 1 (14-ounce) can crushed or diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- Pinch (small) ground cinnamon
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the meatballs:
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus a extra for garnish
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Pinch (small) ground cinnamon
- 3/4 pound turkey
- 1/3 cup finely ground rolled oats or fine bread crumbs
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (such as canola), for cooking
- Couscous with Dried Dates, recipe follows
To make the sauce:
In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon zest and olives and cook for 1 more minute. Add the white wine, deglaze the pan, and let it reduce for a 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the stock, canned tomatoes, sugar, red pepper flakes, and cinnamon, and simmer to blend flavors, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
To make the Meatballs:
- In a medium bowl, add the egg and tomato paste and stir until smooth. Add the cilantro, ginger, cumin, and cinnamon and mix until well blended. Stir in the ground beef and oats, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and combine gently after each addition. Do not over mix. Rolling with your hands, make about 12-14 meatballs, about 1 1/2 inch in diameter.
- In a large saute pan, heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium heat, and brown the meatballs in batches until golden on all sides. Add more oil, as needed. Transfer the meatballs to the pan with the sauce and let simmer for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve over the Couscous with Dried Dates.
Couscous with Dried Dates
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup chicken stock or broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup finely chopped dried dates or raisins
- 1 cup Israeli couscous
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring the water, stock, and oil to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the the couscous, cinnamon, cumin, and garlic powder. Reduce heat, cover the pan tightly with a lid, and simmer for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, add the dates, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.
So, another year come and another year gone…and I’ve finally made Irish soda bread! I’ve only been considering it for the past four St. Patty’s Days. Right, just four years. Sheesh. And to be honest, up until two days ago I had no idea which recipe to use. And then…Smitten Kitchen came to my rescue. It was like Deb swooped down from the shadows and everything was right in the soda bread world. Deb had posted a recipe which meant a.) I now had a reliable source, and b.) this was going to be some good soda bread.
As Deb describes it, the addition of raisins and caraway seeds makes this American soda bread rather than traditional Irish soda bread which contains just flour, baking soda, and buttermilk. But I don’t care. This was the best damn soda bread – American or Irish – that I’ve ever had. Forget the brick I almost picked up in Whole Foods for $5.49 on Monday that tried to pass for soda bread. This was what I had been dreaming of making for years. It had all the promise Deb talked about…a crunchy, craggy crust that leaves everyone fighting for the end pieces and a tender, soft interior studded with raisins and caraway seeds that seem to make soda bread what it is to me…addictive perfection.
Irish (American) Soda Bread
source: adapted from Cook’s Illustrated via Smitten Kitchen
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for work surface (if necessary)
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (4 tablespoons softened, 1 tablespoon melted)
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup currants or raisins
- 1 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional)
- Heat oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the upper-middle position. Whisk dry ingredients (flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt) in a large bowl. Work the softened butter into the dry ingredients with a fork, pastry blender or your fingertips until the flour mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add the wet ingredients (buttermilk and egg), currants or raisins and caraway seeds, if you’re using them, and stir with a fork until the dough just begins to come together. Turn out onto a work surface (use some flour if the dough is sticky – it likely won’t be though) and knead until the dough just becomes cohesive and bumpy. You’re not going for a smooth dough — CI warns that this will make it tough.
- Pat dough into a round and place on a parchment-lined or greased baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut a cross shape into the top of the round. Bake for 40-43 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees (this is especially helpful in this recipe, where doneness is hard to judge from the outside). Scones should be golden brown a skewer should come out clean. Remove from the oven and brush with butter before cooling to room temperature. Eat on day one.
We’re pancake fans here. I was raised as a pancake fan so this isn’t a new thing. As a kid, my dad made pancakes of some variety at least two Sundays a month. We eat pancakes for dinner. We eat leftover pancakes for lunch. Heck, I’ve toasted them in the toaster and made peanut butter and jelly pancake sandwiches because sometimes maple syrup just doesn’t cut it. So when I came across this recipe, you could imagine my excitement.
Admittedly, I haven’t made pancakes a whole lot since these banana sour cream pancakes last year but I’ve really been looking for a great buttermilk recipe. I always seem to have leftover buttermilk in the house (who doesn’t?) so I’ve decided that from now on, this will be my go-to recipe not only to use up the buttermilk, as if these pancakes should be a last-resort recipe, but as my favorite pancake recipe. Joy the Baker made these pancakes well over a year and I simply couldn’t pass on them – seriously, how could you pass after looking at Joy’s photos?? They turned out perfectly fluffy and so tasty and I’m so much more in love with the tangy flavor the buttermilk imparts after this recipe. We split this recipe in half, adding blueberries to one half and sliced bananas and mini chocolate chips to the other half…Sunday morning heaven!
source: adapted from Joy the Baker
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
- ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
- 1 medium banana
- 1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
- oil or cooking spray (for cooking)
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees F and set aside a heat-proof plate.
- In a large bowl beat eggs. Add buttermilk, butter and vanilla and mix well. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well until mostly smooth but with a few lumps remaining. Split the batter in half and pour one half into another bowl. Fold in chocolate chips and bananas to the batter in one bowl and fold the blueberries into the other. Let batter set for a few minutes.
- Heat griddle or pan over medium heat. Add a teaspoon of oil to the pan or spray with cooking spray. You can test to see if the pan is hot enough by adding a few drops of water, if or when the drops start to dance its hot enough.
- Pour 2 Tablespoons of batter onto the griddle. Cook on the first side until bubbles that form start to pop. You can also gently lift up the pancake to make sure the bottom is not overcooking, if it is the pan may be too hot and you will need to adjust the heat. Flip the pancake over with a spatula and cook until golden brown. Repeat until all the batter is gone. Let cooked pancakes rest on a heat-proof plate in the oven until ready to serve.
Here’s yet another recipe I’m kicking myself about not making sooner. This Brownie Pudding happened to be one of the choices for Barefoot Bloggers way back in March 2009 and I never made it then. Yes, that’s right. I waited an entire year before making this absolutely to die for dessert. Heavenly might be a better word for it. And if you’re as much of a brownie lover as I am, you’ll truly appreciate all the happiness this dessert brings to you. As the name suggests, it’s a cross between brownies and pudding…think similar to molten lava cakes but way better. The recipe yields beautiful brownie edges and a soft brownie batter-like center – the best of both worlds in my opinion!
The only catch to this recipe is that you cannot, under any circumstances, overcook this dessert if you wish to have the gooey insides…trust me. I’ve made the recipe twice in the past 3 weeks. The first time, I used a 13″x9″ glass baking dish and baked it for 55 min which was too long since I ended up with really dense brownies (which really isn’t a bad thing, is it?). When I made again this past weekend, I used the size dish Ina suggests, baking it only for 50 minutes this time rather than the hour Ina says to, and it came out perfect. Brownie pudding perfection. I don’t suggest you wait as long as I did to make this so put aside the 10 minutes it takes to prep, pop it in the oven while you’re eating dinner and serve it warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream (a requirement of course). You’ll be thanking me! Though your hips may not. 😉
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish
- 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup good cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
- 1 tablespoon framboise liqueur, optional
- Vanilla ice cream, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter a 2-quart (9 by 12 by 2-inch) oval baking dish. Melt the 1/2 pound of butter and set aside to cool.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow. Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.
- When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla seeds, framboise, if using, and the cocoa powder and flour mixture. Mix only until combined. With mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined.
- Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan. Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish and bake for exactly 1 hour. A cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out 3/4 clean. The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.
Sometimes you just know. You know when you’ve found a fantastic recipe. One that’s better than anything you’ve made in ages. One that’s better than anything you’ve blogged about in ages. One that is so awesome you plan on making a huge batch in order to freeze multiple servings so that you can pull a pan out of the freezer whenever your little heart desires, pop it in the oven and an hour later pull out a no-fuss meal that continues to knock your socks off each time you eat it. This, my friends, is one of those recipes.
I kid you not. I know I said the baked shrimp scampi last week was incredible and I meant it but this is incredible on a different level. On a I-can-finally-make-awesome-Mexican-food-at-home level! While I’ve made and enjoyed two other enchiladas recipes in the past, neither really had the WOW factor both Kyle and I need for a recipe to be compared to restaurant quality. These definitely do. The red chile sauce was packed with flavor and it wasn’t overly spicy considering there is three tablespoons of chili powder (medium heat) and two jalepeños in it. The act of simmering the chicken in the sauce brings new life to ordinarily bland chicken and we fell in love with the juicy and flavorful chicken this method of cooking yielded. I realize this recipe can take on quite a few additions/substitutions so being the black bean lover that I am, I added a can into the mix – you’ll see my little change below along with the fact that I deleted the whole tomato from the recipe since Kyle isn’t a fan of chunky tomatoes in his food. In all honesty, I never missed the tomato. As I mentioned before, I plan to make a huge batch of these enchiladas in the next couple of weeks in order to have a bunch in the freezer…you’ll see my oven-freezer-oven-table instructions below…this recipe was that good!
Let’s talk freezer-friendly. These enchiladas definitely are a freezer-friendly meal. I split the full recipe in half, baking 6 enchiladas in an 8″x8″ glass dish for dinner that night and par baking the other 6 in an aluminum pan of the same size. By par baking, I mean that I baked them for the original 7 minutes then for only 8-10 after that at 400 degrees – without any cheese. I took them out of the oven to let them cool down to where the pan was cool to the touch (the enchiladas should not be completely cool at this point), wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap then in aluminum foil, remembering the writing the cooking directions on top with a Sharpie, and put the pan in the fridge to chill completely. Then I moved the pan to the freezer where it sat for about 6 weeks. They bake up after this freeze absolutely beautifully and if you can believe it, the edges retain quite a bit of the crunch you get from the original 7 minute bake at 425 degrees.
When you’re ready to bake them, here’s what you do:
- Preheat the oven to 375
- Unwrap the foil (reserving) and plastic wrap (discarded) from the pan, re-wrap it with the reserved foil
- Bake for 55 minutes or until the enchiladas in the center of pan are hot inside (check with a knife), add cheese (about 1/2 cup for an 8″x8″ pan), and bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes until the cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before you serve.
- 1 medium onion, chopped fine
- 2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped fine
- 1 tsp canola oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 15 oz canned tomato sauce
- 1 cup water
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese, divided
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup minced fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
- 12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
- Cooking spray
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the onion, jalapeños, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large sauté pan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onions and jalapeños have softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water, bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the thickest part registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate; set aside to cool. Strain the sauce through a medium-mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing on the onions to extract as much liquid as possible. Place onion mixture in a large bowl and set aside. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
- Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces. Add to the bowl along with the onion mixture. Add in 1/4 cup enchilada sauce, 1 cup cheddar cheese, the black beans, and the cilantro. Toss to combine.
- Stack and wrap the tortillas in a moist paper towel, place on a microwave-safe plate, and microwave on high until warm and pliable, about 45 seconds. Spread the warm tortillas out over a clean work surface. Place 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla. Tightly roll each tortilla around the filling and lay them seam-side down in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
- Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with vegetable oil spray. Place in the oven, uncovered, for about 7 minutes until the tortillas are starting to slightly brown on the top. (If you don’t like a bit of crunch in your enchiladas, just skip this step completely)
- Reduce oven temperature to 400. Remove enchiladas from oven and pour remaining sauce over to coat them thoroughly. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheddar down the center of the enchiladas. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese browns, about 5 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.