Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

My mom made meatloaf occasionally while I was growing up.  I always thought it was a tasty meal, and especially loved the ketchup sauce she put on top.  Whatever her recipe was, I remember that it had oatmeal in it.  I thought that was an unusual ingredient to put with hamburger, but I was not a complainer.  Seriously, I ate about everything (except breakfast, which I didn't care for until I was considerably older).

My family, on the other hand, has NOT been meatloaf fans of any sort.  I have tried at least a half-dozen recipes over the years, and finally resigned myself to the idea that I may not make another meatloaf until every last child has left my nest.  (I'm not even sure if Bill is a fan.)  Regardless, it is a dish I have craved on occasion, and, after perusing my long-ago-purchased-but-never-used Pioneer Woman cookbook, decided that I simply must try again.

May I just say, "Meatloaf success."

I think Mar and Shi found it palatable, and even finished off their entire servings.  That is saying a boatload. Bill called it a "gourmet meal."  (I know... meatloaf... gourmet?  But I'll take it!  I think the "Bacon-Wrapped" part is what got him.)

You can find the original recipe here, but I made a few teeny tiny changes, so I'll go ahead and post my updated recipe.  And my very own unprofessional pictures.

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf (more descriptive than plain ol' "Meatloaf" I think)

1 cup milk
6 bread slices (food process until crumbs - which I didn't do and didn't care for visible bread chunks in my finished meatloaf)
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (don't use Parmesan/Romano blend; plain ol' Parmesan is the best.  Kraft is probably just dandy.)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley (I didn't have it, and Walmart didn't have it, so I skipped it, which was probably best so the kids didn't see green things.)
4 eggs, beaten
8 slices bacon (I used a thick-cut because that's what I had, I would recommend regular thin slices to get them crispier.)

Ketchup Sauce (YUM) - btw, I halved the sauce recipe*
1-1/2 cups ketchup
6 Tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard
Dash or two of hot sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, pour the milk over the bread crumbs and allow to soak for several minutes.  Add the ground beef, Parmesan cheese, salt, seasoned salt, black pepper, and parsley (if using).  Pour in beaten eggs.  With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined.  Form into a loaf on a broiler pan lined with foil (best tip ever!)

*NOTE: This makes quite a large meatloaf, and since my family is ever-decreasing in size, I made TWO loaves from a single recipe, wrapped up one in Saran and foil, and popped that baby in the freezer for a rainy day.  

Lay bacon slices over the top, tucking the ends underneath the meatloaf.

For the Ketchup Sauce, put all ingredients in a small bowl and mix to combine.  I used a little more than a dash or two of hot sauce - like a glug or two - and thought it had the perfect amount of heat.  By glug I mean a forceful shake of the bottle while it's turned completely upside down.  Not a glug like from a gallon of milk.  Just to be clear.

Pour 1/3 of the Ketchup Sauce over the meatloaf and spread evenly.  Bake for 45 minutes, then spread on another 1/3 of the sauce.  Bake for an additional 15 minutes.  NOTE: I thought that since I was only cooking half of the meatloaf that it wouldn't require as much time.  I kept checking it and found that it took pretty much the full time.  I even meat-thermometered it, just to make sure it was good and done.

Serve with the remaining Ketchup Sauce.  And a side of mashed potatoes.  Real or instant, we're not picky here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Best Ever Banana Muffins - And Healthy, Too!

If you have some of those nasty {looking} {smelling} {tasting} overripe bananas lying around (or some of those even nastier {looking} frozen bananas (I usually pop them in the freezer - peel and all - when they arrive at the aforementioned state and I don't have time to whip up some of these delectable babies), this is the recipe for you.

My family loves them.  

The initial recipe was full of all kinds of white flour, white sugar, and BUTTER (but still oh-so-yummy), so I have modified it a bit to make them Breakfast I'm-a-good-mom-for-feeding-my-family-so-healthy worthy. The great thing is, my family doesn't even notice (until I point it out to them that I am such a good mom for feeding them so healthy).


6 lg. bananas
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup Splenda (or other sugar substitute)
2 eggs
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup coconut oil, liquified (zap for a few seconds in the micro)

Mash bananas.  Add sugar(s) and slightly beaten eggs.  Add the coconut oil.  Add the dry ingredients.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Adjust your temp (350) and time (15-20 mins) if using dark pans.  {Smiley face} Makes 2 dozen. (I always make this large of a batch, since these muffins are great to freeze and pull out on a busy day.  If you only want a dozen muffins, by all means, halve the recipe.)


Zucchini Muffins - Third Time's A Charm

Since I am using this blog as a collection place for my favorite recipes, and I don't really care if anyone else refers to it other than myself (although I'm selfishly thinking it may save me some time in the long run when someone asks me for a recipe), I am going to post a recipe that I recently found I had posted TWICE on my family blog (here and here).  Obviously a favorite.

The original recipe is called Ian's Sweet Zucchini Cupcakes, but since I don't know Ian, AND I think these make much better muffins (with a few slight adjustments to the recipe, which technically makes them mine, right?), I just call them

Best Ever Zucchini Muffins
If you are luckier than I and have a plethora of zucchini, you will thank me for this.
And, if you want to slap some cream cheese frosting on them, you can call them cupcakes.

1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups packed brown sugar (could be why they were originally called cupcakes)
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
3 cups coarsely grated zucchini
2/3 cup vegetable oil coconut oil (quick zap in the microwave to liquify)

4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla

(NEW NOTE:  I have read recently about the benefits of coconut oil (organic extra virgin - Costco is now carrying it) - confirmed as Dr. Oz referred to it as one of his top 5 "superfoods."  From henceforth I will be substituting it for vegetable oil and/or butter in all my quick bread/muffins recipes.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 if using dark pans).  Line cups of 2 standard muffin tins with paper or foil liners.  In a large bowl, mix together flours, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Mix in nuts, if using.

In another bowl combine zucchini, oil, eggs, and vanilla.  Add to flour mixture, and mix just until combined (do not overmix).

Divide batter evenly among cups.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.  Cool in tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes; turn muffins out and let cool completely.  Makes 24 muffins.

See?  The third time's a charm... with some new, healthier, useful information. Enjoy!