Saturday, July 25, 2009

Classic Meatloaf

It is hard to wax poetic about meatloaf. Why am I making meatloaf in the middle of July anyway? The answer to that question lies in the fact that D is coming home from a week at Boy Scout Camp at Cedarlands in Long Lake, New York today. He asked me to make meatloaf for him before he left. He could have asked for Filet Mignon or lobster and somehow I would have made it for him after this long sad crazy week. I'll first have to explain the sad and crazy part of my week before I get to the recipe. Sorry, that's the way it goes.

B and I dropped D off at the VFW hall at 4:45 am on Sunday morning (the meeting place for his scout troop). Everything went well. I didn't cry too much. At least not so he could see me. Afterwards, B and I went out to breakfast and then on to BWI airport to leave for our trip to Greensboro, North Carolina. B knew that I would never be able to stay home without him or D being around. I would have gone stir crazy. B had to go on an important business trip that he couldn't reschedule so he decided it would be best if I joined him. I have to admit that I was a bit excited about seeing Greensboro even though I've been told that I wasn't missing much. In any event, B and I were sitting at the gate waiting for our plane to arrive when I got a phone call from my sister. I had talked to her earlier in the morning when she told me that she and her husband were taking my dad to the hospital. He had fallen in the back yard the night before and he wasn't doing well. I took her second call just at the moment our plane was called for boarding. My sister said, "Dad isn't going to make it. Come or stay, it is up to you." Well, what would you have done? I could not in good conscience get on a plane to fly anywhere knowing that my dad was probably going to die that day! Needless to say, B and I went up to the counter and told them of our situation and that we wouldn't be boarding the plane. Our bags would still have to go to Raleigh but at that point I really didn't care. We got on the mini bus to take us back to our car and my sister called again and talked exclusively to B. I was sure she was telling him that dad had died. They talked for quite a few minutes. I cried throughout. Finally, once B got off the phone with my sister he told me that dad's pulse had gotten down as low as 10 or 12 and he had come back!! He was essentially dead without a pulse and no vital signs at all. They put in a temporary pacemaker and he came back to us! I am completely amazed. I didn't mention that he is 89 years young! What a guy. He is home now and has a permanent pacemaker. I saw him yesterday and he was walking around and chatting like nothing had happened at all.

The only good thing about this whole nightmare is that I couldn't spend much time worrying about D being so far away at scout camp. I did keep thinking that he would be devastated if his grandpa died while he was away at camp. Fortunately, that didn't happen. And we finally got our bags back on Monday night!

The next crazy thing that happened on Tuesday night during a storm. My mom and I (she stayed with me a few days while dad was in the hospital) heard a huge bang. It sounded like it could have been dynamite. We found out the next day that my house had been hit by lightening. It fried our Internet and cable service as well as one of our garage door openers. We finally got our Internet and cable fixed yesterday. Just in time for D to get home! Now if we could only get our garage door openers replaced....

It is finally time for me to get to the recipe. I wasn't at all faithful to the recipe but I know that meatloaf is a very forgiving food. I substituted Italian chicken sausage for the pork sausage. I had no celery so I used celery seed and flakes. I also substituted dried parsley for fresh. My boys don't care for onion so I used minced onion instead. What else did I change? I used liquid egg substitute instead of eggs because I had a carton of it open in my fridge and needed to use it. I really did use fresh breadcrumbs because I still have some in my freezer. I also used the suggestion to put in half a teaspoon of hot sauce if you didn't use spicy ground pork or Italian sausage. I would have added some fennel seed but I had none in my spice closet. I also used organic Worcestershire sauce because I always do.

The simply recipes website gave another good tip: try 1/3 ground pork, 1/3 ground veal and 1/3 ground beef when making meatloaf. You can sometimes find this combo in the grocery store but probably not in the middle of summer.

Classic Meatloaf Recipe

Preparation time: 20 minutes to prep, 1 hour to cook.

1 cup of finely chopped onion
1 celery rib, chopped fine
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 carrot, chopped fine
1/2 cup of finely chopped scallions (can substitute onion)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 teaspoon salt (use 1 1/2 teaspoons if using Italian sausage)
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup ketchup
1 1/2 pounds of ground chuck
3/4 pound of spicy ground pork sausage or Italian sausage (a mix of sweet and hot if you are using links)
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 large eggs, beaten slightly
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley leaves


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large heavy skillet cook the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and scallions in butter, over medium heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Cover the skillet and stir occasionally until the carrots are tender, about 5 more minutes. Stir in salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/3 a cup of ketchup. Cook for 1 more minute.

3. In a large bowl, combine the meats, eggs, vegetables, bread crumbs, and parsley. Form into a loaf and put into a rectangular baking pan with 2-inch high sides. Cover the loaf with remaining ketchup.

4. Bake the meatloaf in the oven for 1 hour.

Serves 4 to 6, with plenty for leftovers for meatloaf sandwiches.

I usually serve meatloaf with mashed potatoes but since it is July, I think I'm making corn on the cob instead!


The Creative Cook

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Belgian Waffles by Emeril

Last week, D decided that he couldn't live without Belgian Waffles. He loves loves loves them. Well, I have two regular waffle irons but no Belgian Waffle Iron. What is the difference, you ask? Well, Belgian waffle makers are deeper and they are square. The two that I own are round. They are nice for your regular waffles but not the Belgian ones that D wanted. I wound up borrowing my mom's Cuisinart Belgian Waffle Maker. It is a beauty. Nice and big. I didn't have the instruction booklet so I looked on the internet and found out that Emeril has a recipe for classic Belgian Waffles. They turned out light and fluffy. D really liked them. We had some strawberries in the fridge. So here is the recipe. Try it, you'll like 'em!

Belgian Waffles
by Emeril LaGasse

Yield: 8 to 10 (4 by 4-inch) waffles
Prep: 10 min
Cooking time: 3 min
Total: 13 min


2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups milk
non-stick cooking spray

Preheat the waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions. In 1 medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a second bowl use the wooden spoon to beat together the egg yolks and sugar until sugar is completely dissolved and eggs have turned a pale yellow. Add the vanilla extract, melted butter, and milk to the eggs and whisk to combine. Combine the egg-milk mixture with the flour mixture and whisk just until blended. Do not over mix. In third bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Using the rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the waffle batter. Do not over mix! Coat the waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray and pour enough batter in iron to just cover waffle grid. Close and cook as per manufacturer's instructions until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Honey Tequila Lime Chicken

Last week, I spent two days taking D and his friend J back and forth to cooking camp in Frederick at The Kitchen Studio Frederick (it was an awesome camp per D and J). J's mom, Miss B and I talked quite a bit during the week. She mentioned that she had bought some turkey or chicken that was marinated in tequila lime sauce. She told me that she had mistakenly used this marinated tequila lime chicken/turkey when she made some BBQ in her crock pot. According to Miss B, her BBQ turned out great! I'm going to have to try making BBQ chicken/turkey because I always BBQ pork or beef. After hearing about the tequila lime chicken, I decided that I was in the mood to try making some. I've never had it before and it sounded like something that would be a yummy summer dish.

While researching recipes for this dish, I found out that Applebees serves a Tequila Lime Chicken dish but this is NOT a copycat recipe for their tequila lime chicken. The copycat recipe for that contains sour cream and lots of other ingredients. It didn't sound like what I was yearning for so I skipped that recipe and tried one that I found on All the comments for the recipe were positive. It turned out great. I cut down on the chili powder. My husband agreed that it was perfect with only two tablespoons of chili powder but D and my cousin V said they would have liked it better with more chili powder. I'll try it that way next time, maybe.

Honey Tequila Lime Chicken

By: NetDiva Amy

1 cup tequila
6 limes (1 cup juice)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 pinch kosher salt
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 lbs chicken breasts or chicken thighs or fish fillets


1. Mix all ingredients, except cilantro and meat in medium sauce pan.

2. Simmer over medium heat about 15 minutes or until onions are soft but not clear.

3. Cool completely. (Instead of adding water above, I add ice cubes at this stage).

4. Place chicken in a baking pan and pour mixture over the chicken.

5. Marinade at least 1 hour, preferably over night. If the sauce doesn't completely cover the meat, turn it over half way through.

6. If baking, pour out half the liquid and cover with finely chopped cilantro.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until meat is cooked through (depending on type of meat and size of pieces).

If grilling, then grill and add the cilantro after cooking.


The Creative Cook

Monday, July 6, 2009

Weekend Trip to Detroit

My husband travels quite a bit for business. His trips take him to some places that I have never been to or, if I have been to them, it has been a long time. Last weekend, we (D and I) hitched a ride with him to Ypsilanti, Michigan which is actually about fifteen minutes from Detroit and maybe ten minutes from Ann Arbor (home of the University of Michigan). The last time I went to Detroit was about 40 years ago when my parents took my six year old cousin to his sister's home in Detroit to stay with her. His mother (my aunt) was in the hospital to have a tumor removed from her spine so she needed someone to take care of her baby while she recuperated. My cousin is about 16 years older than her brother. She was married and had her own family of four kids at the time. It was very kind of her to take in her brother for all those months while her mother recuperated. That was a huge digression, but it does establish that it has been a long long time since I've been to Michigan. I was very excited to see it again and D was excited to see it for the first time. We had dinner on Friday night at Joe's Crab Shack which is always a great place to eat. We don't have a Joe's Crab Shack in Maryland.

On Saturday morning, at D's request, we eat breakfast at the Marriott hotel where we were staying. I ordered Oatmeal Brulee which is a completely yummy way to eat oatmeal. The copycat recipe that I found comes from Oprah's website. In her version, she uses apple but in the version I had at the Marriott they used raisins. I am much more likely to eat apples than raisins so this recipe appeals to me even more than the one with the raisins. Try this recipe, it looks divine~!

On Saturday afternoon, we went to the Detroit Science Center and spent about 6 hours wandering around and playing with all the exhibits. It is an amazing science center. I was very surprised at how huge it was. The picture above shows D watching a robot play chess. We saw a traveling Star Trek exhibit that was much too large to ever come to the Baltimore Science Center. The planetarium show was also very informative. That night we ate dinner at a well-known restaurant called Weber's. The food was so good that I'm going to post a few copycat recipes for dishes we loved at Weber's. The first is a cheeseburger soup. The recipe I found has carrots but I don't think the Weber's version had any carrot in it. The second is spinach bread. I found an overly ambitious recipe by Emeril. The spinach bread we ate at Weber's was more like a garlic bread but with spinach and Parmesan cheese. I'll have to keep looking for a recipe but you can always get a loaf of Italian bread and make a paste of spinach, garlic, onion, olive oil and Parmesan cheese then put it on the Italian bread and pop it into the oven for 15 minutes or so. I think that would work fine. Weber's is also a landmark hotel located in beautiful Ann Arbor, Michigan. Maybe next time I visit that neck of the woods I'll stay at Weber's.

On Sunday, we took a drive down to the Toledo, Ohio Zoo. It was one of the best zoos I have ever visited. Apparently, it is in the top ten zoos of the U.S. I was surprised that they even have a small aquarium. I never saw a zoo with an aquarium. The Toledo Zoo is now on my personal top 10 Favorite Zoo list.

Apple Oatmeal Crème BrûléeCreated by Rori Trovato

Crème brûlée reinvented: Oatmeal, apples and brown sugar broiled to sweet perfection.

Ingredients:Serves 4

3 1/4 cups apple juice or cider
1 red apple (McIntosh or Red Delicious), cored and cut into large chunks
2 cups oatmeal
1 1/4 cups brown sugar

In a medium saucepan, bring apple juice and apple chunks to a boil. Add oatmeal and cook 3 minutes, until thick. Divide oatmeal among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide brown sugar among bowls, sprinkling it over entire surface of oatmeal.Heat broiler to high and set oven rack 5 to 6 inches from heat source. Place bowls on a baking sheet and place in broiler; broil until oatmeal turns dark brown and begins to bubble, 1 to 3 minutes.


1/2 pound ground beef
3 1/2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery stalk
3 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
5 tablespoons butter
8 ounces American cheese / Velveeta, diced
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper


Sauté the ground beef and chopped onion in a large skillet/pan over a medium heat. Mix the beef to prevent it sticking to the pan, cook until its browned all over. Drain and set aside, we will use the same skillet next.

Sauté the chopped celery, chopped carrots, parsley and basil in 2 tablespoon of the butter in the skillet. When the carrots are tender, add the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Now add the diced potatoes and cooked beef and simmer gently for 10-12 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

In a separate small skillet melt the remaining butter, stir in the flour and cook through until it combines. Whisk in the milk and cook until the whole mixture thickens and becomes smooth. Add this to the soup and bring to the boil one more time.
Reduce the heat and mix in the cheese and season. When the cheese has melted remove the pot from the heat.

Original Cheeseburger Soup: serve with a spoonful of sour cream in each bowl.
Spinach Bread
by Emeril Lagasse
1 cup water
2 cups (tightly packed) cleaned and stemmed fresh spinach
4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon butter
2 envelopes (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3- 3/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the water and spinach in a saucepan. Wilt the spinach, pressing down the spinach with the back of a spoon, about 45 seconds. Drain the spinach, squeezing out the spinach tightly and reserve the liquid.
Pour the liquid into a mixing bowl with 4 tablespoons of the butter. The butter will melt and cool the liquid to 110 degrees F. Stir in the yeast and dissolve the yeast. Add the beaten egg, sugar, salt , and black pepper.
Finely chop the spinach and add to the yeast mixture. Add the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball. Lightly oil a bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn the dough once. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free place until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Butter 6 over-sized muffin tins. Invert the dough onto a floured surface and punch it down with your fist. Fold each side in and tuck the ends into the center. Repeat.
Put the dough, seam side down and divide the dough into 6 six equal portions. Using your hand, gently roll the dough into a ball. Place the rolls in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the rolls with kosher salt and cheese. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until in doubles in size, about 1 hour. Bake the rolls for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool before removing from the pan.
The Creative Cook