Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ma! The meatloaf!!

When I told the husband that meatloaf was on this week's menu I heard an under breath groan and it made me realize how meatloaf has a bad wrap. At that point I decided that I needed to do something to spark the husband's interest and get him excited about meatloaf (can one REALLY get excited about meatloaf?).

I decided to jazz up the boring old meatloaf with chunks of sharp cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, and a brown sugar glaze. The result? A meatloaf that husband was asking if he could take the leftovers for lunch. If that isn't someone who is excited about a meatloaf, I don't know what is.

Enjoy :)

Tana's Jazzed Up Meatloaf

For the loaf:
1 1/2 pounds ground beef OR a mix of beef, veal, pork totaling 1 1/2 pounds
1 egg
1 onion, sliced
2 tbsp butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup dried bread crumbs
1 cup cheddar cheese cubes
2 tsp worschister sauce
salt and pepper to taste

For the glaze:
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp worschister sauce

In a large skillet, combine sliced onion with 2 tbsp butter and 1 teaspoon sugar. Allow to caramalize then let cool.

In a large bowl, combine the beef, egg, onion, milk, worsticher sauce, and dried bread crumbs. Add cheese cubes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and place in a lightly greased 5x9 inch loaf pan.

Mix the ketchup, worschister sauce, and brown sugar together until combined. Slater over the meatloaf.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Turkey Day Apple Pie - Take 1.

This week I've been doing some trail runs for my Thanksgiving Day desserts, to which my husband has declared as his best week ever. Last night's trial run was for the Apple Crumb Pie and it is a winner. The addition of raisins and walnuts add a touch of unexpected deliciousness and coupled with the most delicious pie crust I have ever made (thanks to fellow blogger Holly over at Becoming Mrs. Allan for the heads up on the recipe), I'm confident that it will be a hit next Thursday!

Enjoy :)

Apple Crumb Pie
(adapted from

1 (9 inch) pie crust, unbaked (see below for recipe)
6 apples, cored and thinly sliced (I used 3 granny smith & 3 macintosh for a tart and sweet combo)
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together white sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, and allspice. Stir in raisins and walnuts. Add sliced apples to the bowl and toss until they are evenly coated. Spoon mixture into pie shell.

In a small bowl mix together 1/2 cup flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter or margarine until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle mixture over apple filling. Cover top of the pie loosely with aluminum foil.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 35 minutes, until top is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Pie Crust
(adapted from

3/4 cup cake flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons shortening
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
3 cubes ice
1/2 cup cold water

Measure butter & shortening onto a plate, put into freezer for about 20 minutes.

Measure cake flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds to mix.

Take 1/2 of the cold butter and 1/2 of the cold shortening, put into processor with dry ingredients and pulse off and on for about 1 minute. Scrape down twice while doing this.

Take remainder of the cold butter & cold shortening and cut in very briefly with the processor, leaving visible pea-sized chunks. Do not over process at this stage!

In a measuring cup, mix egg yolk and vinegar together, add ice cubes and water. Let this get chilled, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove mixed flours and shortening from processor, put into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle approximately 2 tablespoons of this egg, water, vinegar mixture, a little at a time, mixing gently with a fork. The key to this is, you do not want a wet dough, and you do not want to overmix.

Place this dough into plastic wrap or plastic bag, chill in refrigerator for a few minutes. (May also be frozen for a few weeks at this stage for future use).

Lemons and Walnuts and Carbonara Sauce... oh my!

Every time the husband and I go to our favorite Italian restaurant I order the tortelloni with carbonara sauce. I "ooh" and "ahh" over the rich, creamy sauce. I sop up every last drop with a hunk of bread. I always tell my husband "this sauce is all I need for the rest of my life" to which he literally laughs out loud at me. But do I care? No way. Because I'm in love with carbonara sauce.

Truth be told, I have always been a bit apprehensive about making it at home. I consider myself a fairly good home cook but the thought of my dream meal turning in to pasta with scrambled eggs in a cream sauce worried my little carbonara loving heart. Then there was last night when I decided to go for the gold and let me tell you... I sure am glad that I did. The sauce came together beautifully with it's decadent heavy cream and panchetta base. I did, however, varry slightly from the traditional sauce and added some lemon zest & juice as well as some walnuts for that extra little crunch. I also knew that my meat loving husband would need some form of protein so I baked off a few boneless, skinless chicken breasts (seasoned with olive oil, salt & pepper) and then shredded them and added them into the mix.

Enjoy :)

Lemon Walnut Chicken Carbonara
(adapted from Giada DeLaurentis)

2 teaspoons olive oil
4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
4 egg yolks
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 pound pasta (I used mezza rigatoni)
3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
zest from 1 lemon
juice from 1/2 a lemon

Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and garlic and saute until it is brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cream, cheese, yolks, basil, and parsley to blend.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until it is just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Drain.

Add the chicken to the pan with the pancetta and stir to combine. Next, add the cream mixture and toss over medium-low heat until the chicken is heated through.

Sprinkle the lemon zest, walnuts, and juice from the 1/2 lemon. Stir to combine. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss so that the pasta is coated with sauce (do not boil or you might end up scrambling the eggs). Let simmer on low heat for 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Some recipes are a little corny...

Excuse the cheesy title - being witty isn't always do-able after a long day! However, whipping up a yummy chipotle Corn Chowder IS do-able. I spotted the recipe for this soup on one of my favorite blogs, The Pioneer Woman, and knew I'd have to give it a whirl. I won't lie, I was a bit hesitant since I'm married to a man who thinks red meat deserves it's due justice morning, noon, and night, so a meal that is basically all veggies? Ehhh... I knew it would have to be top notch to win him over. And guess what? It was! I adjusted the original recipe slightly by using frozen corn, adding a chipotle pepper, adding more cream, and playing with the amount of cornmeal but myself and my dinner dates (my dear husband and culinary guru father!) agreed that it was quite delicious and a perfect soup for a crisp fall night.

Also - This could easily be made vegetarian by omitting the bacon and using vegetable stock instead of chicken. I don't know why you WOULD omit the bacon but I won't judge you if you do :)


Chipotle Corn Chowder
(adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 large yellow onion, finely diced
32 ounces frozen corn, thawed
3 whole chipotle peppers In adobo sauce, finely diced + 2 tablespoons of the adobo sauce
1 whole 4-ounce can diced green chilies
32 ounces, fluid low sodium chicken broth
2 cups heavy cream
½ teaspoons kosher salt
6 tablespoons corn meal
1/2 cup water

Add bacon pieces to a pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Cook for a couple of minutes. Throw in diced onion and stir, cooking the onion for 3 to 4 minutes. Add butter and melt. Add corn. Stir and cook for one minute. Add both kinds of chilies and stir.

Pour in chicken broth and cream. Add salt. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low.

Combine cornmeal with water. Stir to combine, then pour into the chowder. Cover and cook for 15 minutes over low heat. If chowder needs more thickening, add another tablespoon of cornmeal mixed with water. Cook for another ten minutes.