“mom’s classic” meatloaf

I remember Mom making meatloaf when growing up but this is not her recipe. Over the years, as you know, I collected recipes from various newspapers and magazines. This one is from a 2004 edition of Woman’s Day.

I had saved this I am sure because it was a way to put a meal on the table in a short while. This article promised dinner in 20 minutes. That would appeal to the working parent and it apparently appealed to me.

I had just partitioned a large package of ground turkey into one pound packs. I had all the ingredients with a few substitutions. I don’t have real garlic cloves (I forgot to buy some) and I use the ground turkey instead of the ground beef or meatloaf mixture (beef, pork, and veal).  There were three choices: to basic ground beef and 2 eggs, the cook would add a liquid, some mix-ins, and serve or top with a sauce. This article even suggested the sides to round out the meal. I used one pound of ground meat and not the 1 1/4 pounds asked for in the recipe. And I did use ketchup even though I don’t usually cook with ketchup. I had to use garlic powder and my oats weren’t quick-cooking.

meatloaf 004So here goes: I gather everything. EVERYTHING. We know that Mise en Place is very important! Well, not as important in meatloaf as in baking, but, it’s the professional thing to do.

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • handful of fresh parsley
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (this is my own dried thyme from last summer’s herb pot!)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup ketchup with 1 teaspoon Worcestershire plus 1 tablespoon water for the sauce*

Mix the ground meat with two eggs and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Chop the onion, parsley, and green pepper. I’m chopping and chopping and measuring and thinking to myself “this is meatloaf, why am I measuring?”

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Mise en place, spices and all!

I mix 1/2 cup ketchup with 1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and add that to the meat mixture. Then add the mix-ins. Shape into four mini-loaves on a prepared baking pan lined with foil. Oven has been pre-heated to 425 degrees F.

And then because bacon makes everything better, I add bacon!

These get baked for 20 minutes. I then spread the sauce* on the tops of the loaves and leave them in the hot oven for another five minutes. They smell wonderful and are ready just as Hubby comes home from work.

We had just had a huge baked potato the other day so I serve these with mixed vegetables. I am hoping for a meatloaf sandwich for lunch in the next day or two.

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This meatloaf “batter” was very “wet”. I think I would use less ketchup as the “liquid”. Or perhaps the extra 1/4 pound meat would take care of that. The taste was mild which was what I was actually going for. That is most likely due to using turkey instead of beef. A barbecue sauce topping baked right on top would be a nice variation and give it a little bit more bite.

One of my favorite meals was meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and cooked carrots. My mother made meatloaf with stale bread crumbs. I remember the ends of bread sitting out on the kitchen counter drying up. No wasting of food for her! She didn’t put any ketchup or sauce on top either. Leftovers were great in a sandwich, bread spread with Miracle Whip. When I started to cook my own meals I read some recipes that used oatmeal in meatloaves instead of bread crumbs. I have used both over the years. I don’t think I have a preference. Do you?





Banana Muffins

I was reviewing the variety of foodstuffs I have blogged about and did not find any on muffins. I have a whole section in one of my recipe notebooks devoted to muffins. This is because I used to always have a batch  of muffins baked and ready to be grabbed for a quick bite to eat as family members started their day. When I was “dieting”, the recipes I would try would be low-fat, chock full of vegetables, made with applesauce, made with whole wheat flour, etc. But now that it is just Hubby and I in the mornings, I haven’t really made muffins on a regular basis. Shall I remedy that situation?

There are two cookbooks that I use for a basic muffin, my Betty Crocker Cookbook and Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. In Betty Crocker the muffin recipe is on page 199. Bittmans’ is almost the exact same recipe but giving suggestions for using melted butter or oil. The amounts of milk differ by 1/4 cup.

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On this day I have two very ripe bananas that need to be used. I have never used frozen bananas in baking, just in smoothies. These bananas will need to be used or frozen. I decide to make muffins. I use the Bittman recipe, page 832, using the variation for Banana-Nut Muffins.

  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter or neutral oil (Oh my! As I am writing this it occurs to me that I left this out COMPLETELY!)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • scant 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 very ripe medium sized bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (I did not have regular milk in the house and did not want to open the new carton of half-and-half and did not think that chocolate cashew milk would be appropriate. But now that I think about it, hmmm?)

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. I whisk these around with a whisk. Mash bananas in another bowl. Add milk to equal 1 cup. My two bananas were just about a cup as they were. I added a bit of coconut milk at that time and then a little more to the batter because it looked so dry. See note above about the melted butter to know why!

To the dry ingredients I added 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, and 1/4 cup chocolate chips. I like stuff in my muffins! I put the egg in the wet ingredients and mixed that up. I then added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once and stirred until incorporated. This looked dry so I added a splash more of the coconut milk.

I sprayed the muffin pan with cooking spray. Preheated the oven to 375 F. Portioned the batter into the muffin pan. This made eleven, not twelve. Baked these for 20 minutes. They smelled nice and came out of the pan perfectly.

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I  serve two for Hubby and me. They are light and fluffy even with whole wheat flour. And they look nice and taste good, too.

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Conclusion: I think the banana acted as an adequate substitute/replacement for the fat in the original recipe.

Lesson to learn: Mise en Place

Plain cooking

plain cooking 003Ever have one of those days that you are tired at the end of a work day, motivation to “create” dinner is just not there, there’s another tragedy in the news, and the weather forecast is early spring turning back into winter? I did not want to sit down and brood over the local tragedy so I made myself fix dinner. We have been using up what groceries are in the house so the fridge is on the empty side. Luckily the last of the meat (chicken thighs) was thawed in the fridge. And there was one lemon and a bit of sad looking parsley. I was trying to keep fresh herbs in cups of water in the fridge but I am not successful at that yet. They just don’t stay looking fresh. What am I doing wrong?

I have made a lemon chicken recipe before:  https://mykitchenmythoughts.com/2015/12/03/making-do-a-lesson-in-humility/. But this is slightly different and does not require marinading. I basically just layered chicken thighs, lemon slices, and garlic cloves in a baking pan. Squirted it all over with the lemon juice, sprinkled on some of the chopped sad looking parsley for a bit of color, and baked for 35 minutes at 350 F. I chopped up the last romaine heart, salvaged one carrot from a batch that were trying to sprout, and the remainder of the celery for a side salad. Now the fridge feels good and truly empty! But there is dinner…

The next day was a grocery shopping day. I was trying to think about what we needed only for the week otherwise I over buy. This is one reason I go to the discount grocery stores. More food for less money! But so much food can inhibit my creativity as well. There can be too much to choose from. This is often when I revert back to basic “non creative” cooking and baking such as throwing a roast in a pot, opening cans to make turkey chili, pre-breaded fish fillets, spaghetti and then leftover spaghetti, and sometimes scrambled eggs for dinner.

But now there is food in the house so we will see what this week brings!



dark o’ moon

These cookies I found in my Mom’s recipe notebook. I do not remember them but my sister does. I wonder if my niece does?

easter weekend 001

I wanted to make cut out cookies for granddaughter to decorate for Easter. I had been looking at this recipe and thought I would give it a go. It’s a pretty straight forward cookie recipe. The way my mother typed it out assumes the cook knows how to make cookies.So I cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, then the dry ingredients. Divide the dough about in half and add the cocoa to one half. Now comes the fun part!

I have sent Hubby down to the basement to find the bags of cookie cutters. I rummage around and find the Easter cookie cutters amidst the dinosaurs, the nativity scene (oh yeah, just wait til next Christmas!), regular Christmas shapes, cats. big feet, etc.

easter weekend 007I put the dough wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge for 15-30 minutes so it will be chilled enough to roll out well. I roll out each of the doughs and cut out four of each shape that I want. Now you put the shapes on top of each other. Now I have used quite a bit of flour to roll out and cut the shapes. How are these supposed to stick together? I text my sister to see if she has any advice. But since she doesn’t answer right away I go ahead and put the cookies in to bake.

My sister finally texted (this is a 21st century word) back saying Mom just stacked them and baked them.”Perhaps a little egg white wash?” But I’m thinking Mom didn’t use egg wash! She may have but I did not know about it.

The cookies just bake up together:

These get packed up and taken to Daughter’s house for the Easter weekend. I pack the three packs of food dye and the container of powdered sugar as well. And let’s not forget the kitchen paint brush. Now comes the fun part!

And then the best part:

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Eating cookies with Grandpop!