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Meatloaf and Roasted Potatoes

August 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Grad school is about to start again in a couple of days, so it’s very likely I won’t have as many opportunities to cook new and interesting things. So, I decided to use this weekend as a way of getting all my cooking joneses out for a bit.

I was watching Ina Garten’s show The Barefoot Contessa yesterday and it inspired me to make a traditional meal for dinnertime. Who doesn’t like meat and potatoes, right? On the bill is Ina’s Meatloaf and my own version of roasted potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup canned chicken stock or broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 pounds ground chuck (81 percent lean)
  • 1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs (recommended: Progresso)
  • 2 extra-large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (recommended: Heinz)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add the onions, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not brown. Off the heat, add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck, onion mixture, bread crumbs, and eggs, and mix lightly with a fork. Don’t mash or the meat loaf will be dense. Shape the mixture into a rectangular loaf on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper. Spread the ketchup evenly on top. Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F and the meat loaf is cooked through. (A pan of hot water in the oven, under the meat loaf, will keep the top from cracking.) Serve hot.

The raw state:

Meatloaf before going in the oven

I would probably suggest chopping the onions a lot finer than I did for this recipe. It was very tender and juicy, and I think having the pan of hot water on the rack underneath the meatloaf makes the difference. I also think that it’s big enough for 8 – 10 servings, not six as she suggested. More servings = less calories, after all 🙂

For the roasted vegetables I chopped up a russet potato, sweet potato, and some onion, added a TB of olive oil and kosher salt and pepper, then combined it all together. Onto a cookie sheet sprayed with Pam for an hour at 400 degrees, and they come out moist and tender. Roasted corn on the cob complimented the meal very well.

Meatloaf with potatoes and corn

Spousal unit was pleased, I was pleased, life is good 😀

Gooey Butter Cake

August 29, 2010 Leave a comment

I was asked to make a dessert that didn’t include coconut or pecans yesterday for a get together. Unfortunately, time got away from me the last few days due to my husband working late, a late night softball game, and other things, so I couldn’t make the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake I originally intended. It takes a lot of time and needs to be refrigerated overnight. So I thought hmmm… what could I make instead that I could start Saturday morning and it be ready by the afternoon.

Enter Gooey Butter Cake. I’d always been interested in making it, but never had the time or the occasion.

I will mention some suggestions in making this after the recipe is posted. I got it from another website so it doesn’t originate with me.

Gooey Butter Cake just out of the mixing bowl and ready for the oven

Ingredients

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Mix cake mix, melted butter or margarine, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 eggs with a spoon. Pat into a 9 X 13 inch pan.
  3. Mix cream cheese, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla with an electric mixer. Slowly beat in confectioner’s sugar. Pour over cake layer.
  4. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool.
In making this I did find it a little too sweet for the cream cheese mixture. I think that instead of 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar 3 or even 2 would work, it all depends on your preference. And it really does come out gooey, for real.
Overall, it was a hit, and that’s always the goal.

Fresh out of the oven

Categories: Desserts recipes

Friday musing

August 27, 2010 Leave a comment

After almost a decade in the I.T. biz, I find that this is as true now as it was back then:

Absolutely.

It makes me weep, then laugh, then weep some more. No, not really. I’m just trying to be dramatic.

Categories: Computing

Salads… the new and improved version

August 26, 2010 Leave a comment

As the temperatures go up and up and up here in South Texas, it can be hard to stay cool. Except, of course, if you have an office that is constantly on icebox temps, but I digress 😀

Anyway, to beat the heat, salads can be a good bet. However, a lot of folks think it’s lame because it’s what, lettuce, tomato, maybe some carrots with a little dressing? My suggestion is throwing in some chopped fruit. I’m digging strawberries, pineapple, even mandarin orange sections. Top that off with a mixed dried fruit and nut combo, and you got a salad that’s dialed into the summer channel. I also like the baby spinach/arugula bagged salads at the store for this.

My old school contribution to this… Good Seasons dressing. Seriously. The little flask rocks. There’s a Parm-Italian variety that really tastes comparable to my other all time favorite, Olive Garden Italian dressing.

Categories: Sides recipes

An ode to Pekes (small dogs with large personalities)

August 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Bear is the name of my Peke. He’s 5 years old, and has lived with me for about 4.5 years.

For all intents and purposes, I am a complete cat person, always have been. Cats have interesting personalities and don’t take much in the way of guff (Except for Big Kitteh who enjoys being spanked, weirdo that he is). Plus, they stay inside and make good lap warmers.

I always thought dogs just asked for too dang much. Feed me, play with me, take me outside in the rain and stand there with me until I ultimately decide it’s not time to go just yet, wake up at 4 am when I finally decide it’s time for me to go outside, you know how it is.

When I was doing research on the Pekingese breed before taking him in, I wasn’t all that confident about the mission. Based on what I read, Pekes were apparently prone to health issues and always needed to go to the vet, the hair thing is a big issue, they’re stubborn and won’t do what you want them to do, they don’t play well with other animals, etc. etc. etc.

Perhaps Bear is an odd duck (or Peke, as it were), because he’s been quite healthy *knock on wood*, not too stubborn, and is a complete cat luvah. He has never had an unkind word against any feline, even if one of them takes a swipe.

So, in the end, this cat person has adjusted into a more hybrid state of being. Cat/Dog. That’s how things should be.

A Pensive Peke

Categories: Critters

Sopapillas recipe (revised)

August 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Sopapillas

As this is the last day of our vacation, I decided to surprise my husband with a treat for dessert. Trouble is, I’d never made sopapillas before. It was a little daunting. But with a good recipe found by browsing the ‘Net and a good fryer, all came out well. Some eat these with honey, some with maple syrup, others with cinnamon sugar. It’s all up to you 🙂

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 quarts oil for frying

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt and shortening. Stir in water; mix until dough is smooth. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes.
  2. Roll out on floured board until 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 3 inch squares. Heat oil in deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.
Categories: Desserts recipes

Pizza Puffs recipe

August 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Pizza Puffs

I found a basic recipe online for pizza puffs, but made a few substitutions.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz pepperoni, cut into small pieces (I used turkey pepperoni)
  • whatever seasonings you like (I used a little oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper)
  • dipping sauce of your preference (marinara for me :D)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray non-stick cooking spray into muffin pan (Mine holds 12 muffins). In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder; whisk in the milk, egg, and seasonings. Stir in the mozzarella and pepperoni, let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir the batter and divide among the muffin cups. Baked until puffed and golden for about 25 minutes.

Enjoy 🙂

Categories: Snacks recipes
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