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Soup + Brownie + Crazy Spider and more
Aug 30th, 2009 by Alexis

Hello dear readers!

It’s been 60 degrees the past few days, and it’s starting to feel like fall here in the Kalamazizzle. My favorite season! Halloween, crunchy leaves, fire place a-roarin’, and perfect weather for soup!  Not that I need such an excuse for soup. I’ve never understood the concept of seasonal dishes- to me, ice cream is just as appropriate in winter, and soup is just as delicious in the suffocating heat of summer.

I’m a raging soup fiend, you see. I could live on a good chicken noodle. In fact I once tried to order seconds of the chicken noodle soup for dessert (instead of the chocolate brownie bomb melty things everyone else was getting) in this really kickass restaurant in Pennsylvania, only to be thwarted by the fact that they were OUT! I still look back on that day in sadness.

I am aware that other people don’t quite share my love for soup, so I take every chance to sneak it in whenever the opportunity presents itself. “Hey look! It’s cold!  Let’s have soup!”

The soup du jour for this entry?  Roasted Butternut Squash, a house favorite.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup!

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup!

Read the rest of this entry »

Meatloaf, Beatloaf, I love meatloaf
Aug 17th, 2009 by Alexis

Every since I was a kid. In fact, I used to request my dad’s meatloaf as my special birthday dinner when I was a kid. Maybe because it was stuffed with cheese and was always accompanied with mashed potatoes…

My recipe is based on my dad’s, the key ingredients being ground turkey and cheese. I have made a few tweaks here and there.

(You can, of course, make this with ground beef. We ate almost no red meat when I was growing up, and I’ve never developed a taste for ground beef, so I use ground turkey almost exclusively when a recipe calls for beef.)

One of my new secrets is adding minced vegetables to the meat mixture. They add flavor, texture, moisture, and nutrition. And kids won’t even know they’re there.

Today I decided to do something a little different and cook the meatloaf in some muffin pans. Mini meatloaves!  There are a few reasons I like this method:

  • It cooks faster. Meatloaf in one big loaf takes about an hour to cook.  The muffin pans take more like 30-40 minutes.
  • More surface area = more browning = more flavor.
  • I usually flatten out the meat mixture, sprinkle on the cheese, and roll it up jelly roll style for the filling. It’s not easy and it’s messy. With the individual loafs, it’s so much easier.
  • I was out of chicken stock, which I usually pour into the pan after I have the meatloaf almost ready to go in the oven to keep it moist.  I thought the minis would stay moister.

mini meatloaf!

how cute!

The other thing I did differently today was adding quinoa. If you’ve not yet discovered this awesome little food-friend, let me introduce you. It’s actually a seed but looks like a grain.  It’s high in protein and has a balanced set of essential amino acids, which is why it’s called a “complete protein”. It’s gluten free, high in fiber, and has a lower glycemic load than brown rice.

It tastes a bit like brown rice, maybe a little grainier-tasting by itself. It works steamed like rice as a side and as a lower-carb high-protein substitute for rice or noodles in chicken soup. I had some steamed quinoa leftover from dinner a few nights ago, and thought it’d be perfect as an extra binder/proteinator in the meatloaf.

Ingredients:

Meatloaf

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup crumbs*
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (I like a mix of extra sharp cheddar and mozerella)
  • 1 carrot*
  • 2 stalks celery*
  • 1 medium onion*
  • 4 cloves garlic*
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 TB Frank’s Red Hot
  • 1 TB Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 TB tomato ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • chopped fresh parsley, to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (optional)


Filling:

  • 4-8 oz.  cheese(again, I like mozarella and extra sharp cheddar) sliced

Topping:

  • More ketchup


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F degrees and grease a 12 cup muffin pan. (Adding the quinoa and more veggies might result in the need for another muffin pan.)
  2. If you are making your own crumbs, put the crumby stuff in the food processor and grind until you have a coarse meal.
  3. Put the 2 eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat lightly.
  4. Add the ground turkey and crumbs to the bowl.
  5. Put the onion, celery, garlic, carrot, and parsley into the food processor and grind until finely minced.
  6. Add the minced vegetables, parmesan, grated cheese, Worcestershire, Red Hot, ketchup, quinoa, and seasonings to the meat mixture and combine.
  7. Stir until well mixed.
  8. Spoon 2/3 of the mixture into the muffin cups. Press 1/2 a slice of each kind of cheese into each meat cup. Top with the remaining 1/3 of the meat and smush around the cheese slices to seal it in.

    minimeat02

  9. Top with a swirl of ketchup.
  10. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Edges should be golden brown and a meat thermometer inserted into the middle of a loaf should read 165°F.
  11. Remove from oven and scarf.

minimeat02

*Notes:

For the crumbs, you can use whatever you’ve got on hand, really. I’ve used bread, crackers, matzo meal, pita chips… the crumb of the day today was nacho cheese Doritos. I always save stale stuff or the crumb-filled bottom of the bag to use for this purpose.

For the minced vegetables, feel free to add in whatever other veggies you like. Mushrooms, bell peppers, etc.  Part of the fun of cooking is experimentation.


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