Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Four Hour Meatloaf

Four hour meatloaf? Are you kidding? This must be some sort of joke.  Nope, this is not a joke. I made a delicious, moist and tasty meatloaf today in about 4 hours.  Your meatloaf doesn't need to take as long, but if you want it to have the same taste that mine did today, then you'll want to take these steps.  

My (give or take) four hour meatloaf started with caramelizing an onion over low and slow heat in a cast iron pan for about two hours.  Caramelizing the onion adds a lot of moisture to the loaf and caramelized onions just taste so darn good! I added a bit of honey, cayenne, two cloves of garlic and salt and pepper to my onions to develop that rich taste and finished with worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, and chicken broth to the pan.  After my onions cooled for a bit, I mixed them with the meat, eggs and bread crumbs and allowed the mixture to rest in the refrigerator for an hour.  I'm not sure if this added to how delicious this loaf was, but that's what I did because I wasn't ready to cook it.  The last step I did was to baste the loaf in the oven every 30 minutes and then broiled it with a final layer of glaze for 3 minutes.  Are all of these overcomplicated steps necessary for a delicious meatloaf? Probably not, and of course you don't need to caramelize onions or let the meat rest, but that's just what I did and that's what produced an out-of-this world moist meatloaf.  Here's the breakdown!

Four Hour Meatloaf

Caramelized Onions
1 tbsp butter
1 onion diced
1 tbsp honey
Pinch of cayenne
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Melt the butter in a cast iron pan and add the onions and honey and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.  Add the salt and pepper and cayenne. Take off the heat and add the chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce and apple cider vinegar.  Let cool for a few moments.

Meat Mixture
2 lbs of ground beef
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Salt and Pepper and cayenne to taste
Caramelized onion mixture

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and pop in the refrigerator for an hour

Glaze
1/2 cup Ketchup
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp mustard
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Meatloaf Assembly
Preheat oven to 350F

Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Put meat mixture on the baking sheet and form into a rectangular loaf.  Brush the loaf with the glaze and bake for 60-90 minutes.

Check the temperature after 60 minutes.  If your loaf is at 160F congratulations! It's finished. 

Let the loaf rest for about 15 minutes, slice it up and enjoy with mashed potatoes, mashed cannelini beans, or your carb of choice, and peas!
After a 15 minute rest

Sliced

Ready to enjoy with mashed beans and peas

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Black Bean Protein Brownies

I ran out of my homemade protein chewy bars so I thought it would be time to make a new recipe and to experiment a little.  I decided that it might be time to be adventurous and try the infamous "black bean brownies". I needed to put my own spin on such an idea so I decided that I would have to add protein powder to the mix and so I did.  I happen to have gluten-free and vegan protein powder and so that is what I used in my brownies, but you could use whatever you have on hand.

Believe me, I was extremely skeptical in making this, but these do indeed taste like brownies and it's great to know you're getting lots of protein in these guys.  The protein powder gives them a distinct taste, but that's what protein powder does when baked.  If you don't like protein powder baked, then don't add it, but they are fudgy and rich, but without being heavy.  These are a great compromise for the buttery version!  They don't taste like coffee, but taste very chocolatey!

Black Bean-Protein Brownies
1 15oz can black beans
3 tbsp honey
6 dates
3 tbsp melted coconut oil
3 eggs
2 tbsp coffee
2 tsp espresso powder
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
3 tbsp flax seed
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8x8 inch pan.

Combine black beans, coffee, honey, dates, coconut oil, eggs in a blender and blend until everything is thoroughly incorporated.

Meanwhile, place the espresso powder, protein powder, cocoa powder and salt in a bowl and pour the liquid over that.  Stir to combine and add the chocolate chips.  You can add some extra on top to make the brownies look more decadent

Bake for 23 minutes and dig in!










































Thursday, April 3, 2014

Country Captain Chicken- My Way

I rediscovered a recent cookbook I purchased and have loved looking at the beautiful photographs.  I was inspired by the Country Captain recipe in the Well Fed Paleo cookbook and knew I needed to try this recipe, despite having never eaten this dish or seen it on a menu.  I took to google for additional inspiration and saw the Lee Bros recipe on the Food Network website. I had seen the dish on Throwdown with Bobby Flay and it looked good on the show, so I decided to mash up the Paleo and Lee Bros recipe and came up with this super tasty recipe!

My Country Captain Chicken recipe uses chicken breasts, lots of veggies and crushed San Marzano tomatoes.  This was flavorful and the extra veggies make it colorful.  I served mine with mashed cauliflower, but brown rice would also be good or cauliflower rice.  It doesn't taste like Indian cuisine, but it reminded me of jambalya in a way.  It takes some time to put together, but it's definitely worth it!

Country Captain Chicken- My Way
Inspired by Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People who Love to Eat and Lee Bros. Country Captain Chicken (as seen on Bobby Flay's Throwdown

1/2 cup beef broth or chicken broth
1/4 cup raisins
3lbs Chicken Breasts
2 tbsp coconut oil
Salt and Pepper
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp ras el hanout spice blend
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 tbsp of tomato paste (optional)
1/2 onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 cup bell pepper, diced
3 cloves of garlic
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (San Marzano is what I used)
bacon as a garnish

Preheat oven to 350F 

Place the raisins in a bowl.   Put the broth in a small saucepan and bring to a boil and pour over the raisins.

Heat the coconut oil in a dutch oven over medium- high heat.  Sprinkle salt and pepper over the chicken breasts and place the chicken in the pan to sear on both sides, but do not crowd the pan.  Transfer the seared chicken to a 9x13 pan.

Add all of the vegetables to the pan with the remaining oil and cook for about 15 minutes or until softened.  Add the spices and tomato paste to the pan and cook together for about a minute.  Add the raisins and broth, the crushed tomatoes and allow to reduce for about 8 minutes.  Pour the mixture over the chicken.  Cover the pan in aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Turn the heat up to 400F and bake for another 10 minutes.  

Serve with mashed cauliflower or cauliflower rice and top with cooked bacon if desired.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Thanksgiving Sweet Tater Tot Casserole

It's been a deep clean of the food in the house sort of week.  I've gone through cabinets, the refrigerator and freezer and been tossing and using up all the processed food in the house.  It's been very successful and I only have a few things left that are shelf stable that I'll hold on to (cake mix for example).

This recipe is inspired by the deep clean and the tv show Chopped.  This recipe was originally going to be made with my homemade sloppy joe sauce, but I discovered a jar of turkey gravy and thus the recipe was born!  This was amazingly delicious and I really couldn't stop eating it.  This has the perfect combination of spice with some cayenne pepper, it's comforting because of the turkey gravy, and who doesn't like tater tots?  This was very easy to put together and if you had a pan that is oven safe, it would be a one-dish wonder!  This recipe could also be made gluten free if you made your own homemade gravy without flour. Have fun with this and add your own veggies! This is a keeper and heats up well for leftovers.

Thanksgiving Sweet Tater Tot Casserole
Little butter
1 onion chopped
1 lb ground turkey
2 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute (if desired)
1/2 cup green beans (that's all I had leftover in the bag, use as much as you want!)
1 jar of turkey gravy or homemade
Tater Tots (Sweet potato or other)  I had about 15 tater tots topping mine and the top wasn't covered.  Certainly you may use enough to cover the top of your turkey mixture.

Preheat the oven to 400F

Heat a non stick pan over medium low heat and toss a little bit of butter in there to melt.  Add the onion and sautee until soft.

Add the ground turkey and all the spices and cook the turkey through.  Add the frozen green beans, the jar of turkey gravy and let everything come together and simmer.

Transfer your mixture to a casserole dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and then sprinkle (or carefully arrange) the tots over the top.

Pop in the oven and cook for the time determined by your package of tots.

Let cool and enjoy!

I began to artfully arrange the tots...

...then realized I didn't have enough tots, so I sprinkled them on.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bisquick Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are a great way to use up a box of bisquick that isn't going to make it to the end of the month.  These cookies are super tasty and actually remind me of my top secret recipe for chocolate chip cookies.  I found the recipe by way of pinterest, but I think it could stand to use a few changes, which I'm outlining in my blog post here.

If you're looking for a quick homemade cookie recipe, then these are your new go-to!

Bisquick Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Plain Chicken

1 stick of softened butter
1 cup of brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 1/4 cup bisquick mix
1 tsp of instant espresso
1 cup of chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, mix butter, sugar, vanilla and egg. Stir in Bisquick mix, instant expresso and chocolate chips. 

Using a cookie dough scoop, scoop dough onto ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. 

Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack and allow to cool for a few moments before diving in.



Monday, January 13, 2014

Cornmeal Biscuits

This is another simple recipe that uses bisquick and cornmeal.  It's so easy that all you do is substitute half of the bisquick flour with cornmeal and follow directions!



Breakfast Stuffing

Here is a simple make ahead breakfast dish that uses cornmeal biscuits, breakfast sausage and peppers.  This is pretty self explanatory and I'll use the pictures to tell the story!
Spray a pan with Pam and arrange cubes of whatever bread you wish.  This was a combo of cornmeal biscuit and gluten free bread.


Top that with a pound of breakfast sausage seasoned as you wished and add a tablespoon of tomato paste and about 2 cooked and chopped peppers.


Cover with egg whites


Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes or until nothing jiggles. Enjoy!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Chicken Delight

After an extravagant week of eating out and eating a lot, it's time to detox.  I decided to turn to "You Are What You Eat" by Dr. Gillian McKeith for some detox inspiration.  A recipe that looked yummy and easy and accessible to try was her Chicken Delight Recipe.  This recipe was super easy to put together.  Cooking the chicken with a bit of liquid in the oven makes for a very moist chicken breast.

Chicken Delight
3 chicken breasts sprinkled with pepper
Handful of Basil Leaves
1 Tomato, chopped
1 tsp boullion
1/2 cup boiling water
Handfuls of Spinach

Preheat the oven to 400F

Lay a sheet of foil in a baking tray and place the chicken breasts on the foil.  Tear the basil leaves and add the basil and tomatoes over the chicken.  Pour the boullion and water mixture over the chicken and tomatoes.  Fold over the foil to make a packet and bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve over handfuls of spinach (raw or lightly steamed)


Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

Lunches during my week of detox is this light Fall soup from "You Are What You Eat" by Dr. Gillian McKeith.

This soup is quite easy, minus all of the chopping of the vegetables.  I adapted the recipe slightly because my store did not have some of the ingredients (fennel for example).  The soup is actually quite filling even though it's just veggies.  It's the perfect soup for fall and after a heavy Thanksgiving week!

Squash and Sweet Potato Soup
6 cups of water
2tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chicken bouillon
1 butternut squash, cubed
1 sweet potato, cubed
3 large carrots, sliced
1 onion
1 clove of garlic

Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add all of the vegetables and cook until the veggies are soft (about 10-20 minutes)  Add the bouillon and 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Cook for about 20 minutes and either blend or leave the veggies whole.  I blended the chilled soup the next day.  Waiting until the next day is much safer than blending hot liquids!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Buns experiment- Gluten Free and Whole Wheat

So what happens when you take the perfect recipe for buns and then decide to change it using gluten free flour, whole wheat flour and then finally go back to the original?  The below photo is what happens!


For the gluten free version I took my favorite recipe and make a few changes

Ingredients
1 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (110° to 115°)
1/6 cup vegetable oil
1/8 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups Gluten Free Flour
1 tbsp Flax Seed mixed into 3 tbsp boiling water

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil and sugar; let stand for 5 
minutes.  Add the egg, salt, flax seed and enough flour to form a soft dough. 

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes. Do not let rise. Divide into 4 pieces (about 5 oz each); shape each into a ball. Place 3 in. apart on greased baking sheets and flatten the ball so they look like discs

Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. Bake at 425° for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

For the completely whole wheat version, I just used whole wheat flour and didn't have the flax seed.

In sum, be careful when baking.  In this case, halving the recipe, may not have been a smart idea.  Gluten Free flour is still hard to work with!  Stay tuned to see if I make gluten free buns again!