I had half a mind to hold this post until Halloween, given how scary meatloaf seems to be. On Teh Internets, there are countless “meatloaf-phobic” writers rehashing tales of weird/dry/awful meals in the past, shortly before imploring readers to “try this recipe, it’s not scary, I swear!”
It’s understandable, given how far our collective culinary mindset has swung from the 1950s. Meatloaf is one of the poster children for the Formed Meats and Space Food era (see Gallery of Regrettable Food for more).
Luckily, there are many modern takes that have brought this simple classic up to date with healthier ingredients and novel flavors. Many recipes cut the traditional beef or replace it entirely with poultry to decrease the saturated fat. Packing a meatloaf with vegetables not only provides more veggie servings, it’s also key to keeping the loaf from getting dry. There are even vegetarian “meat” loaf recipes, including (surprise!) the one pictured above.
If you’re interested in a home-cooking classic fit for our modern age, I’m pretty sure these recipes will help anyone past their meatloaf apprehension:
- Blue ribbon meatloaf from Eating Well (here)
- Black rice curried meatloaf from Eating Well (here)
- Asian style meatloaves from Cooking Light (here)
- Magical meatloaf (vegan) from Squidoo/Vegan Lunchbox (here) – Scroll down to the Magical Meatloaf recipe; that’s the one I made for this post.
- Feta-stuffed turkey meatloaf with tzatziki from A Sweet Life (here)
- Tuscan meatloaf with mushroom sauce from Simply Recipes (here)
- Cheesy turkey meatloaf bites from Weelicious (here)
More mundane than paper towels! As average in speed as a 7-year-old compact sedan! Apparent as the hand in front of your face! It’s…. CAPTAIN OBVIOUS!
That’s the moniker I’m giving to the hummus, sesame oil and veggie number among this week’s sandwich-focused recipes. I’ve been awash in “meh” thinking about writing this post, but couldn’t quite put my finger on why. Do I dislike sandwiches? No. Have I picked unremarkable recipes for this week’s list? Nope. Don’t I have sparkling, witty things to say about the sandwich that is a staple of my lunchtime menu?
Aha, there it is. Because truth be told, I don’t. There’s just nothing terribly original about nestling carrots and spinach inside bread slathered with hummus and sesame oil – you can go to umpteen zillion food joints and see variations on this theme show up on their menu as a (often the only) vegetarian option.
This may be the right frame of mind, though. Sandwiches aren’t meant to be over-thought; they’re the food you idly munch from one hand while the other one’s busy with a task. Other dishes may jump off the plate and dazzle you, but sandwiches just need to show up and get the job done without attracting too much attention. So we won’t leave the spotlight too long on the sandwich recipes I’ve listed for you this week, but that should be just enough time to find a few you’d like to try.
If that title made you worry that I’m going to bore you to death with more off-topic running/marathon nonsense, relax. This week’s speed isn’t happening at the track but in the kitchen, with a trial of seven recipes from Cooking Light’s Superfast collection.
I tried this before and found it was a fun way to explore new dishes and learn some quick-prep tips. So when Cooking Light (via Facebook and Twitter) put out the call for Superfast fans to potentially be featured in the magazine, I grabbed my pretend stopwatch (iPhone app) and got cooking.
In the spirit of Superfast, no rambling musing over each dish this week – just seven quick reports on time spent, changes made, and tastiness achieved.
Posted in Beans, Breakfast, Chicken, Dinner, eggs, Fruit, Meat, Pasta, Recipes, Salad, Vegetable, Week 18
Tagged beans, breakfast, chicken, Food, fruit, meat, pasta, recipe, salad, superfast
I was feeling ambivalent about putting couscous at center stage for this week’s theme. On its own, it just isn’t that remarkable:
But it really shines as a platform for tasty, healthy ingredients. This versatile not-grain (it’s a refined wheat product, basically pasta) can get mixed up with fruits, vegetables, meats, spices, or myriad other ingredients to create a seemingly endless catalog of recipes. You may not look twice at that plain bowl of beige, but you’ll probably stop to coo at the jaunty hats on these couscous stuffed tomatoes, right?
Or check out another eye-catching favorite of mine: cinnamon-lime chicken with raisin couscous. Here, simple couscous is the underpinning for colorful vegetables, fruit, and seasonings, making a subtly spicy, comforting bowl of food.
Posted in Chicken, Dinner, Meat, Pasta, Recipes, Vegetable, Week 17
Tagged chicken, couscous, dinner, Food, meat, pasta, recipe, vegetable
If you celebrated Easter this past weekend, chances are you’ve got some ham hanging around – and maybe a few dozen brilliant-hued eggs, too. We didn’t do a big dinner shindig, but we did get a nice piece of ham in our April share from Stillman’s farm meat CSA, so I thought I’d quickly share a recipe for a ham, pea and pasta casserole.
I made several changes to this recipe from Cooks.com, mostly because I had different ingredients on hand (like almond milk instead of cow milk). But I also wanted to boost the nutrition profile a bit by using higher-fiber whole-wheat pasta instead of egg noodles and increasing the vegetables. I also used real butter instead of “butter buds,” because I’m not even sure what those are, much less if I want to eat them.
Besides the ham, we got several other things in April’s meat CSA share: pork breakfast sausage, lamb chops and chicken breasts.
I can figure my way around the chicken, but I’d love to hear your ideas for the hunk of un-cased breakfast sausage and the lamb chops. In the meantime, the casserole recipe follows after the jump & I hope you all had a nice holiday weekend!
Folks, start your recipe-search engines. I picked up this month’s meat CSA share from Stillman’s farm today, and now I’m seeking tasty uses for the chicken breasts, ground beef and several pork chops:
The chicken breasts are a no-brainer, and I have several pork chop recipes tucked away from the search related to last month’s CSA. The ground beef might take some work, though; I guess burgers are the easiest choice, but I feel there must be a pasta sauce or a casserole out there just begging for this beef.
I also picked up a carton of their eggs. It was in no small part because I (finally) watched Food Inc this week and was reminded how awful industrial livestock production can be. If you haven’t seen it, you really should. For me, it reaffirmed our efforts to increasingly buy the animal products we eat from farms like Stillman’s.
Everyone ready for a 180? Last week, I waxed poetic about legumes and featured a slew of vegetarian-friendly dishes. This week, it’s all about the meat we received in our share from Stillman’s farm meat CSA.
Slowcooker rosemary garlic chicken thigh, with sweet potatoes & veggies
I realize that meat is a major fork in the road toward food-related harmony, so let me first describe where I’ve set up my road-side stand. I eat meat from hooved, winged, and sea-faring animals. While I’m not a vegetarian, roughly 2/3 of my meals are plant-centric and meat-free. I appreciate that a meat-free diet has health and environmental benefits and can provide optimal nutrition, recognizing that supplements are usually required to achieve recommended intakes of several nutrients (such as vitamin B12) that are difficult to obtain from plant-derived foods alone. I agree that, on a societal level, we should be eating less meat and sourcing the meat we do eat from small-scale, integrated producers (as Simon Fairlie argues in his recent book).
Posted in Beef, Chicken, Dinner, Meat, Pork, Slowcooker, Week 4
Tagged beef, chicken, csa, Food, meat, pork, recipe, stillman's farm
An admission: I am weirdly fond of my large baking dish. It hasn’t yet threatened the stability of my marriage, but to put it in context, that simple stoneware Denby dish is one of the few things I’d grab on my way out of the burning house.
While you ponder what those other items on the burning-house list could be, I’ll try to explain this adoration. It’s not really about the physical form: I feel pretty “meh” about the pastel cream and green color of mine. And while the weight of a stoneware baking dish is pleasingly substantial, the same could be said for my slow cooker, cast-iron skillet, and mortar-and-pestle, all of which I appreciate but don’t hug regularly. It’s also not about efficiency. A big baking dish seems like a “throw everything in without sullying another pan” kind of tool, but most of the recipes I make with mine involve up-front work on the stove.