Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My 1st Meatloaf

My hubby has been begging me for a while to make meatloaf. I just have never really had the desire to make it. I suppose memories from childhood of it not being the most 'exciting' thing on my plate, combined with the name "meat-loaf" just don't have a strong appeal. I mean, a loaf of meat sounds a little gross, I'm not gonna lie. But, he deserves a bit of spoiling from time to time. :)

So I surveyed a handfull of recipes, as well as my cooking confidant BF Katie, who has made many a stellar meatloaf, and was off with a plan! (and I actually got a little excited.) is my aggregated recipe for my 1st ever meatloaf. And it was pretty gosh darned good!

Heather's 1st Meatloaf

2 lbs lean ground beef
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 C yellow onion, chopped
1 small red onion, 1/2 chopped, 1/2 sliced and reserved for glaze
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 C sliced crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 C carrots, peeled and shredded
1 C zucchini, shredded
2 C baby spinach
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp all spice
ground pepper
1 cup brown rice crispies (processed into crumbs in food processor)

Preheat oven to 375.

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a medium sized skillet and add yellow and red onion. Saute onion for a few minutes before adding red bell pepper and garlic. Continue to saute for another 5-8 minutes until onion becomes translucent. Add tomato paste, Worcestershire, balsamic, Dijon and all spices. Mix well and remove from heat. Immediately stir in mushrooms, grated carrots and zucchini, and spinach and allow to cool 10-15 minutes. Transfer mixture to large bowl and add egg, ground beef and rice crumbs. Mix ingredients until well incorporated using hands, and form into a loaf. Place onto parchment paper lined baking sheet and into oven. Meanwhile, make meatloaf glaze.

Meatloaf Glaze:

1/2 C organic ketchup
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
dash of hot sauce,
Worcestershire sauce,
and apple cider vinegar
reserved sliced red onions

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. After baking meatloaf for 15 minutes, spoon glaze over meatloaf , top with red onion slices and place back into oven for 45 minutes.

Meatloaf should bake for a total of 1 hour (or until thermometer reads 155). Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Let me know if you try it, or leave me a comment with your favorite meatloaf recipe!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Warming Winter Roasted Kabocha Squash

This is a fabulous dish which I found in my Food & Wine Magazine. The combination of warming spices and kabocha squash with the peel on caught my eye at first. I mean, who doesn't love cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg!? And eating the squash with the peel brings me back to Japan where this was common with tempura or pumpkin dishes and I loved it! Then they added coconut milk to the mix, and HELLO.....I am going to make you for dinner and eat you all up!

Warming Winter Roasted Kabocha Squash

1 can coconut milk
1/4 C light brown sugar
8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 fresh hot red chile, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly ground cloves
3/4 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 medium kabocha squash, cleaned, seeded and cut into 2" chunks
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl combine coconut milk, brown sugar, garlic, chiles and spices and mix well. Add squash chunks and stir until well coated.

Pour into a roasting pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover pan with foil and roast for 45 minutes in oven until tender. Remove foil and up the heat in your oven to 400. Place back in the oven for about 15 minutes. The squash should be starting to form a nice glaze at this point. Check and it may be done, or if you desire more brownness, give it a stir and an additional 15 minutes. Devour and enjoy! ;o)