Meatloaf

The word meatloaf can bring on different feelings. For some, like myself, it brings back fond childhood memories of sitting at the dinner table on a weeknight with mom and dad while you talked about your day or just enjoyed being together. (Yes, this was before electronics absorb most of our time. ) For others, the word brings back memories of a meat concoction gone wrong that’s horribly dry and lacks flavor. I’m thinking we should have a moment of silence for those. *pause*

This is not that kind of meatloaf…..the dry, lack of taste kind. This tasty one even turned a skeptic like my hubby and mother in law….who had some really bad ones… into a meatloaf lover. This meatloaf is very flavorful, moist and is topped with a glaze that’s tangy with a little hint of sweetness. The leftovers even make a great sandwich, but that’s for a future post….. if there are any left over that is.

Here’s what you need to make it:

*1 small onion, chopped

*olive oil

*1/2 tsp. ground sage

For the Meatloaf:

*2 lbs ground beef; I used a 80/20 mix

*salt and pepper to taste

*1 1/4 tsp dried thyme

*1 1/2 tsp. onion powder

*3 large garlic cloves, minced

*1 TBS Worcestershire sauce

*1 1/4 tsp. beef bouillon base (I use Better Than Bouillon) or 2 bouillon cubes

*2/3 C. panko bread crumbs

*2 eggs

For the Glaze:

*2/3 C. ketchup

*1 TBS mustard

*1 1/2 TBS brown sugar

In a small sauce pan, heat to medium high. Add the onions, sage, drizzle of olive oil and about a pinch of salt; mix together and turn heat down to medium once the onions begin to cook. Cook and stir occasionally until onions are softened and start to turn a golden color.

Set aside and let cool slightly.

Pre heat oven to 350°

In a large bowl, add ground beef and all of the ingredients for the meatloaf and the onions. Mix together with your hands….this is a great excuse to play in your food.

If you have a loaf pan big enough, spray with non stick spray and transfer the meat into that. If you do not have one big enough, spray a baking pan with non stick spray and place the meat mixture in the center and form into a loaf.

In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients to the glaze together.

Brush or spoon the glaze over the top and sides (the sides only if using a baking pan).

Bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes.

Slice and serve. This is great with mashed potatoes as well.

Pan Seared Ribeye Steaks in Herbed Butter with Sunny Side Up Eggs

Who doesn’t love a good steak dinner. This girl does. These ribeye steaks are pan seared in herbed butter to medium rare perfection with sunny side up eggs on the side. These are a little different than the usual way I prepare and pan sear my steaks, so I thought I would share it with you.

Here’s what you need:

*steaks; I used ribeyes

*salt to taste

*2 TBS butter, softened

*1 tsp. dried Rosemary

*1/4 tsp. dried Thyme

*1/4 tsp. onion powder

*1/4 tsp. dried sage

*2 garlic cloves, smashed

*cracked pepper to taste

*olive oil

*eggs

Dry steaks off with a paper towel and season with salt on both side.

Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or over night before cooking.

Remove steaks and set out at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes before cooking time.

Mix Thyme, Rosemary, onion powder and sage with the softened butter; set aside.

Preheat oven to 450°

Heat a cast iron pan to medium high heat. When pan becomes really hot, add a small amount of olive oil and place steaks in the pan and season with cracked pepper. On one side of the pan, add smashed garlic cloves and the herbed butter.

Tilt the pan to the side where the butter is melted and with a spoon, begin basting the steaks.

Cook for about 2 minutes while basting the steaks with the herb butter mixture.

Turn the steaks over, season with cracked pepper and cook cook for another 2 minutes while continuing to baste.

Remove skillet from the heat and remove garlic cloves. Place in to the oven. Cook 4 minutes for medium rare; cook 6 minutes for medium and about 8 minutes for well done.

Place steak on plates and cover loosely with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

While steaks are resting, wipe out the cast iron pan to get rid of some of the herbs, but leave a small amount of the butter and steak drippings. Heat to medium.

*Caution the pan handle will be hot so use a kitchen towel or a silicone cast iron handle holder. I have one that I use a lot and it really keeps you from burning your hand on the hot handles. You can get them here on Amazon.. silcone Handle holders

Crack in the desired amount of eggs into the pan, season with salt and cracked pepper.

The eggs will cook fast. For sunny side up eggs cook until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, about 2 minutes. For over easy eggs, after the whites begin to set, flip them over and cook for about 30 seconds or until whites are all the way set.

Remove from the pan and serve with the steaks.

Ham, Bacon, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich

Yep, it’s another breakfast sandwich. I do love a good breakfast, even though on weekday mornings I can’t really spend a lot of time in the kitchen. This breakfast sandwich is easy to make. It’s tasty and very satisfying as well with a few nice slices of black forest ham, crispy bacon, cheese and an over easy egg, all nestled in an English muffin. These freeze nicely as well. If you are going to freeze them, I would scramble the egg or wait and cook an egg after you have unthawed the sandwich. If you prefer making them fresh, but are a little pressed for time, pre cooked bacon is great in this as well.

Here’s what you need:

*English muffins

*butter

*sliced ham; I used deli black forest ham

*cheddar cheese; I used shredded because that is what I had on hand, but you can use sliced as well

*bacon, cooked; I used 1 slice per sandwich.

*eggs; one egg per sandwich

*hot sauce

Pre heat oven to 400°

In a non stick pan, cook eggs over easy.

While eggs are cooking, spread butter on the top and bottom of each english muffin and place on a baking sheet. I lined mine with foil for easy clean up.

Place desired amount of ham slices on the bottom side of the muffin. I used about 3 slices.

Place a slice of bacon on top of the ham.

Add the cheese over the bacon.

Place into the oven for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted the muffins are warm.

Gently place the egg on top of the cheese and add a few splashes of hot sauce.

As you can see one of my eggs did not quite make it without bursting before I finished. But it was all good just the same.

Place the tops of the muffins over the eggs and serve.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Hashbrown Casserole

I first made this a few years ago. It was a huge hit with hubby, who then reminded me that I haven’t made this in a while and that I should make it again. It’s one of those meals that you can put together and forget about for a while and come back to a really hearty meal. It is a cheat day dish for sure, but I mean, who doesn’t love anything covered in cheese and bacon.

Here’s what you need:

*1 bag of frozen hashbrowns
*6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
*1 Ib. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders, cut into bite size pieces
*2 tsp. onion powder or more to taste
*2 tsp. garlic powder or more to taste
*1/2 tsp. salt or more to taste
*cracked pepper to taste

*1C. Milk
*2C. shredded cheddar cheese or any other desired kind

*Tip:

When cooking a lot of bacon, spray a baking/cooling rack with no stick spray and place on a baking sheet covered with foil. Place bacon strips on the baking rack. Cook at 400° for 15 minutes or until bacon is crispy.

Place chicken pieces in a large bowl and add all of the seasonings; toss to coat; set aside.

Spray the slow cooker with no stick spray. Place enough hashbrowns to cover the bottom.

Scatter 1/2 of the crumbled bacon pieces over the hasbrowns.

Add a layer of cheese over the bacon.

Next, add all of the chicken pieces on top of the cheese.

Add another layer of the cheese….

Then the rest of all that delightful bacon

Then another layer of hasbrowns.

Then top with the remaining cheese.

Pour the milk over the top of the cheese.

Cover and cook on low for 4 1/2 to 5 hours or until chicken is done.

Serve and enjoy!

Ham and Cheese Pitas with Salsa

This little ham and cheese pita is something my hubby told me about. When he first moved to Boston from Guatemala ( he was 10 at the time) they lived with his aunt and uncle for a while. He said his aunt used to make these for him a lot and he really loved them. I thought, why not try and recreate it for him and see if they taste the same as he remembered. This does seem like a simple pita sandwich, and I was a little skeptical about the salsa in it, but these are really tasty. I can see why he liked them so much. And yes, hubby said these were just like he remembered.

Here’s what you need:

*pita bread

*deli ham, I used black forest ham

*sliced cheese, I used a cheddar Colby Jack blend

*salsa, I used the kind from a jar, because I was afraid my homemade kind would not be thick enough.

Preheat oven to 400°

Open the pita bread. I didn’t buy the kind where the top is already pre sliced and open. I think next time I will buy that kind because it’s much easier to open.

Place one slice of cheese on the bottom of the pita bread.

You can use more then one slice if you prefer.

Next, place several ham slices on top of the cheese.

Spoon the salsa on top of the ham.

Place on a baking sheet.

Repeat with desired amount of pitas that you want.

Place in the oven and cook for about 5 minutes or until cheese starts to melt and everything is warm.

Serve and enjoy!

Oven Roasted BBQ Bourbon Hot Dogs and Mac and Cheese

I was watching the Food Network recently….ok, so I’m always watching the Food Network and saw a grilling episode where Susie Bulloch was making burnt end hot dogs( https://heygrillhey.com/hot-dog-burnt-ends/#wprm-recipe-container-4713). They look really tasty don’t they? I started thinking, what if I did something similar to that, but in the oven and made the BBQ sauce a bit more interesting, like adding some bourbon. But why stop there, why not have it over some mac and cheese? Yes, please. After I played around with the recipe a bit and announced to hubby what I would be making for dinner, he did pause for a minute, but being the one who is always willing to try my newest food creations….good or bad (and a few in the past have been not so good) he thought that I should make it. It did not disappoint. The hot dogs had a nice bbq flavor with a subtle kick with the bourbon and chipotle powder. It paired really well with the creamy, cheesy mac and cheese. Did I mention that the mac and cheese is all done in one pot? That makes it even better.

Here’s what you need:

For the BBQ Bourbon Hot Dogs:

For The Rub:

*2 pkgs of hot dogs; I used all beef; cut into bite size pieces

*1 TBS mustard

*1 TBS BBQ rub; I like Penzey’s BBQ of the Americas https://www.penzeys.com/online-catalog/barbecue-of-the-americas/c-24/p-498/pd-s

For The BBQ Bourbon Sauce:

*1 C. your favorite BBQ sauce

*1/4 C. Bourbon

*1/4 tsp. Chipotle powder, or more to taste

*1/2 tsp. onion powder, or more to taste

*1/2 tsp. garlic powder; or more to taste

*2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 225°

In a large bowl add hot dog pieces; add ingredients to the rub to the hot dogs and toss to coat.

Spray a baking pan with no stick spray and pour the hot dogs into the pan. Spread evenly in one layer.

Cook for 1 hour. Mix together all of the ingredients to the BBQ sauce; set aside.

After 1 hour, pour the BBQ sauce over the hot dogs and mix until they are all coated in the sauce.

Raise the oven temperature to 375°

cook for about 20 minutes more.

Stir once more after they come out of the oven.

Just try not to eat them all before you get the mac and cheese made.

I made the mac and cheese while the hot dogs were in the oven after coated with the BBQ sauce.

For the mac and Cheese

*3 1/2 TBS butter

*3 TBS flour

*2 C. milk

*2 1/2 C. water

*1/2 tsp garlic powder (optional)

*1/2 tsp onion powder (optional)

*1 tsp. salt or more to taste

*white pepper to taste

*2 1/2 C. elbow macaroni

*1 C. Cheddar cheese

*1 C. Colby Jack cheese

Heat a medium pot to medium high heat; add butter. When the butter melts, add in the flour and stir to combine. Cook for about 1 minute while stirring. Pour in 3/4 C. of the milk and stir until smooth and it starts to thicken.

add in remaining milk, water and seasonings; stir to combine.

Add macaroni and stir.

When the milk starts to steam, turn the heat down to medium low. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until macaroni is al dente and sauce has thickened; stirring often.

Take off of the heat and stir in the cheeses until melted.

Place a serving of mac and cheese on a plate and top with the BBQ Bourbon Hot Dogs.

Cheeseburger Burrito

What do you do when you’re craving a burrito and a cheeseburger? You have both of course. You take a nice, juicy cheeseburger and wrap it up in a soft burrito, then place more cheese on top. You know that one friend that eats everything with a knife and fork? Well for this burger you get to be that friend. This is very fork worthy trust me. I am thinking that next time I make this I might add some guacamole on top. I might even shake things up a bit and bring it more to the burger level and add ketchup, mustard and maybe even a pickle or two inside the burrito. I mean with this burrito burger, you can let your imagination go and who knows what you might come up with.

Here’s what you need to get started:

*soft style burrito tortillas

*1 LB or more ground beef, preferable an 80% to 20% fat ratio.

*1 tsp. garlic powder

*1tsp. onion powder

*1/2 tsp. salt

*cracked pepper to taste

*1 TBS Worcestershire sauce

*sliced cheese; I used cheddar and Colby Jack

Preheat oven to 400°

Place ground beef in a large bowl and add all of the ingredients except for the tortillas and sliced cheeses.

Mix until well blended.

Form into 4 equal patties.

Heat a cast iron pan to medium high heat. When the pan is very hot, add the patties.

Cook for about 5 minutes, then flip them over.

Cook for another 3 minutes for medium rare burgers or for 5 minutes for medium burgers.

Place patties on a plate lined with a paper towel.

This drains some of the grease off of the burgers. If the burgers are too juicy, the bottom of the tortilla will become soggy….and no one likes a soggy bottom. I’m just sayin.

Lay a tortilla on a baking sheet, then one slice of cheese in the center of the tortilla.

I used cheddar for this.

Place a patty on top of the cheese.

Fold in the two sides of the tortilla.

I could never be a hand model.

Next, fold the top and the bottom of the tortilla over the sides.

Then flip it over.

Place a slice of cheese on top of the burrito. I used the Colby Jack for this.

Repeat with remaining tortillas. Place in the oven and cook for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve on plates and add any topping you might like.

Enjoy!

No Special Occasion

The other night for dinner hubby and I had take out from one of our favorite Italian places, Anthony’s. It’s a little pricy, so we usually only go there for special occasions, but we had both been craving it and their food is pretty amazing. We haven’t been there since before the pandemic, so like my hubby said, why not treat ourselves. I got one of my favorite dishes, the Chicken Parmesan dinner. What you don’t see is the nice Caesar salad, garlic bread (and there was lots of it) and mozzarella sticks….. it wouldn’t all fit in the picture… not to mention I was very hungry and didn’t pause to take more camera shots of all the other goodies. I think I ate half of the bread before I even finished taking the picture of the chicken parm and spaghetti.

Before the pandemic, hubby and I liked to go out for dinner every now and then, nothing fancy mind you, but just to try something different or just to get out and enjoy ourselves. Most of the time I make us dinner at home because, as you know, I do love to cook, but who doesn’t like to go out and have some one else make you a fabulous meal. So when everything came to halt we started doing take out when we wanted something more and to help our local restaurants. Now that most restaurants are reopened down here, we have gone out a few times. We still enjoy it, but to be honest, we still do take out more times than going out right now.

So as we are sitting at our dinning room table, that we really only eat at when we have people over….before Covid, the table all set for just the two of us and enjoying dinner, it made me stop and think that despite how times have changed for all of us, we have adapted. The world sometimes seems crazy, impossible and even at times disheartening, but we’ve learned to carry on and reflect on what is really important to us. We’ve found ways to enjoy life at a slower pace, to remember the little things that we used to take for granted. To remember what once made us smile before we got so busy and got caught up in everything else around us instead of what we had right here at home. There are still moments that can be overwhelming, but I remind myself to take a breath, and focus on what I have in front of me. I think sometimes we all need to remember that. So, although this nice dinner wasn’t for a special occasion, in a way it is. Maybe we should treat all of the little things, all of those small moments in our lives that we once felt were nothing special as….well….. special. Enjoy every moment with the ones you love and make everyday a special occasion.

Spaghetti with a Creamy Parmesan and Bacon Sauce

Do you ever end up having way too much left over spaghetti and no sauce? That seems to happen to me all the time. I always end up making way too much. I do love eating just the pasta, mixing it with some butter, olive oil, lots of parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper. I could just eat a bowl full of that and be a happy woman, but hubby….well, not so much. He says it should have some kind of sauce. So, this is really what this dish evolved from, a compromise of left over spaghetti, adding butter, parmesan cheese, cracked pepper, bacon…. I mean bacon makes everything better right…. and turning into a creamy, delightful indulgence.

As a side note, I know in the picture it looks like it’s raining black pepper, but it really isn’t that much. It really depends on what you like, so you can add however little or as much as you like.

Here’s what you need:

This is for 2 servings because that’s basically what I had left of the spaghetti, but you can double this if you want more.

*4 C. spaghetti, cooked.

*4 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled.

*1 TBS butter

*1 TBS flour

*1 C. milk

*1/2 C. grated parmesan cheese + more for serving

*salt to taste;

*cracked pepper to taste + more for serving

Heat a large pan to medium high heat; add the butter. I used the same pan that I had cooked the bacon in and reserved a small amount of the bacon fat, but this is optional.

When the butter is melted, add in the flour.

Start whisking the flour and butter together for about 1 minute or until the flour and butter mixture starts to becomes smooth.

Turn down the heat to medium and slowly pour in the milk while continuing to whisk.

When the mixture starts to bubble and thicken a little, add in the bacon, salt, pepper and the parmesan cheese. Continue to cook and stir until the mixture (roux) is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the spaghetti to the pan.

I did not warm the pasta up since it will become hot by adding it to the sauce. Toss the pasta in the cream sauce until it is well coated.

Top with more parmesan cheese and pepper before serving.