Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Long Promised Recipes!

Sorry for the delay!
First...my much loved Cheeseburger meatloaf. My kids love this, my Darlin' Man adores it and I am kinda fond of it, too!

Now, you can use your favorite meatloaf recipe and just top it with cheese and bacon, or you can use my recipe!
1 pound hamburger
1 egg
1 cup bread or cracker crumbs (I use bread crumbs)
1 cup French Onion soup (NOT dry stuff, if you use the dry mix, make it! I use Wolfgang Pucks canned French onion soup--one can)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped mushrooms (fresh if possible!)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 large onion, sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup shredded cheese (I use a combo of cheddar and mozzarella)
4 slices bacon--cooked!

Preheat oven to 365
In large bowl, mix hamburger, egg, bread crumbs, mushrooms and French Onion soup.
Pat mixture into round cast iron skillet.
Put in oven.
While meat loaf is cooking, melt butter in pan and add onions. Cook until caramelized (brown and limp, but not burnt!)
Cook bacon slices until crisp.
Bake meatloaf for 45 minutes, remove from oven, drain off fat, top with caramelized onion, shredded cheese and bacon slices (in that order). Put meatloaf back in oven for 15 minutes.
Carefully remove meatloaf from skillet and serve on large plate/platter that is covered with shredded lettuce and top with fresh tomato slices, if desired.
It looks like a giant bacon cheeseburger!
My kids loved this when they were little and up until their teens. The Darlin' Man's two kids, who had this for dinner last week, are already asking when I am making it again!
I sometimes *boost* the nutrition by adding a half cup to a cup of grated squash, carrots or other mild flavored healthy veggies to the meatloaf mixture. (And squash hating kids never realize what they are eating!)

I have to add that I frequently grate up or finely dice summer squash (yellow crook neck)  and add it to meatloaf, spaghetti sauce, chili and other  foods where it's presence can go virtually undetected by squash hating individuals! If you saute the diced squash with your meat, it will take on the flavor of the meat!

I think I have shared this next recipe, but it bears repeating as it is so easy and you can change it around to accommodate whatever you have in your cabinets or fridge!

Poor Mans Pasta

Cook enough pasta to feed your family...it can be macaroni, noodles, spaghetti, whatever you have in the pasta category.
Saute one pound meat with garlic in olive oil or butter.  Sliced up Polish sausage, crumbled sausage, whatever you have.
Add fresh or dried herbs to meat last 5 minutes of cooking.
Dump the cooked, drained pasta into a casserole dish, dump in the meat mixture and toss.
Add a fresh veggie, diced. I prefer tomatoes or snow peas. One cup should do it!
Toss some more.
Toss some shredded cheese in and toss again.
Bake in oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
If you have it, crumble some cooked bacon on top, if not, don't worry about it.
One dish easy meal to set on the table with a salad and some garlic bread!

I use a lot of ground beef here. It is versatile and I can stretch it out really well.You can use spices and herbs and sauces to change the *character*. It can be "All American" as in my Cheeseburger Meatloaf, you can even change that to a Greek dish by adding sliced black olives, topping it with feta cheese and serving on a bed of spinach and topping with some chopped artichoke hearts!

Tonight the menu is decidedly Southern in character...pinto beans, rice, collard greens, sliced tomatoes and cornbread.
I have a habit of serving meatless meals twice a week. It's healthy, inexpensive and it stretches my grocery budget! It also gives me the opportunity to cook items in my food storage so I can rotate those food stocks. It is also important to help my family adjust their palates and digestive systems so that if we do get stuck using mainly food storage items, there will be no appetite fatigue or intestinal troubles.

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