Saturday, June 30, 2012

Triple Decker Meat Loaf

This is a recipe that came from Barb Freda of the Laura's Lean Beef website.  Barb Freda, the chef who created this recipe says that it reminds her of a colorful vegetable terrine.  I agree.  While I really enjoyed eating this meat loaf, I thought it was the most difficult meat loaf I ever made.  This meat loaf also got rave reviews from the boys so it was worth the effort.  I would make a few changes in the recipe next time I make it.  First, I would use egg substitute instead of whole eggs just to reduce the amount of fat in the meat loaf.  I don't think it would make much of a difference in the taste of the loaf.  I would also reduce the amount of onion to half an onion, finely chopped because my boys don't like onion very much.  The last change I think would be a good idea would be to substitute tomato paste for the sun-dried tomatoes.  My husband doesn't like sun-dried tomatoes but he did like them in this recipe.  My reasoning for the substitution is to reduce the amount of chopping here.  Enough is enough.  I would not suggest trying to make this unless you have some serious time available to cook on the day you choose to make it.  I served this meat loaf with mashed sweet potatoes.

Triple Decker Meat Loaf
Serves: 8


1 pound 92% lean ground beef
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup chopped onion)
3 eggs
4 ounces bread softened in water and squeezed dry
5 ounces frozen carrots, thawed and steamed until soft (about 7 minutes)
1 pound ground chicken
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes drained of oil


1.      Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place beef in a large bowl.  Add spinach, ½ cup chopped onion, 1 egg and half the softened bread.  Mix well, using your hands to work spinach through the beef thoroughly.
2.      Use blender or stick blender to puree the cooked carrots to a smooth paste.  Divide the chicken in half, and in one bowl, mix half the chicken with the carrot puree, ¼ cup onion, 1 egg and ¼ of the softened bread.  Mix very well.
3.      Puree the sun-dried tomatoes, and add them to remaining chicken along with the remaining onion, 1 egg and remaining bread.  Mix well.
4.      Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Pat the sun-dried tomato mixture into a rectangle about 10 inches long and 6 inches wide.  Gently top that layer with the beef, patting it to the edges of the chicken layer below it.  Top the beef with the carrot/chicken mixture, gently patting this layer to cover the beef layer.
5.      Carefully start patting the loaf layers into a longer and thinner rectangle, ending with something about 12 inches long and 4 inches wide.
6.      Bake meat loaf about 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before slicing into 16 slices, 2 slices per serving.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Servings: 4 


4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup maple syrup


1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add potatoes and cook until tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

2.  With an electric mixer on low, blend potatoes, slowly adding milk, about 1/4 a cup at a time.  Using more or less to achieve the desired texture.  Add butter and maple syrup, to taste.  Blend until smooth.  Serve warm.


The Creative Cook

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Skillet Barbecued Chicken

We had just returned from our vacation to Boston and then on to a week-long Carnival Cruise on the Glory to St. John and Halifax, N.S.  I was still feeling overstuffed from all the food on the cruise.  It was so wonderful.  I was also feeling somewhat lazy but we still had to eat something.  The boys did not complain when I suggested barbecued chicken.  No one was jumping up to start the grill.  In any case, my husband still has not replaced the propane tank on our gas grill which made grilling a moot point.  This dish went over well with the boys.  I also made a pasta salad that was quick and easy.  It wasn't anything special.  

Skillet Barbecued Chicken
Serves 4

¼ (1/2 stick) cup butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced (I used more)
1 3 to 3-1/2 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup steak sauce
¼ cup tomato sauce
¼ cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
¼ teaspoon chili powder

1.       In a large deep skillet, melt butter over medium heat and sauté onion and garlic 5 to 7 minutes, or until onion is tender.
2.       Season chicken with salt then add it to skillet and cook 8 to 10 minutes, turning to brown chicken on all sides.
3.       Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, combine remaining ingredients; mix well then add to chicken.
4.       Cover and cook 35 to 40 minutes, or until no pink remains in chicken, stirring occasionally.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Oven Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli with Vidalia Onion Dipping Sauce

I had a box of butternut squash ravioli in my freezer and I was so ready to use it.  I wanted to oven roast them.  Most recipes on the internet suggest that you fry the ravioli.  I don't like to fry foods.  Not just for heath reasons.  I'm scared to fry food.  I don't know, it just seems dangerous.  Any time I can roast rather than fry, that is what I choose to do.  These were really good with the Vidalia Onion Dipping Sauce.  I got that recipe from another blogger, the happy little tomato.  The sauce is really good.  I am sure you could use this recipe to roast any kind of ravioli you prefer.  I think it would be great with pumpkin ravioli or even cheese ravioli.  I am not sure about meat ravioli but it would probably be fine.  

Oven Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli


1 bag (about 14 oz) Butternut Squash Ravioli (fresh or frozen)
1-1/2 cup Italian Style Bread Crumbs (see recipe below)
1 egg
1 Tbs. water


1.     Cook ravioli until al dente (follow directions on the package)
2.     Cool.
3.     Mix egg and water in a small bowl.
4.     Dredge ravioli in egg and then bread crumbs.
5.     Place breaded ravioli on a grate placed in a cookie sheet.
6.     Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
7.     Bake ravioli for 20 – 25 minutes.
8.     Serve ravioli with dip if desired.

Vidalia Onion Spicy Dipping Sauce: 

1 cup sweet vidalia onion salad dressing
1 cup of mayonnaise
1 tsp. of smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp of sage
1 tsp of garlic salt

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Chill for ½ hour or more before serving.

Italian Bread Crumbs

Enough Bread to make 1 cup plain Bread Crumbs
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried parsley flakes
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon dried basil


1.    If your bread is too fresh, put it in a low oven 300 – 325 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Otherwise, just tear bread and put into food processor until coarsely ground.
2.    Combine all spices in a small bowl, toss with bread crumbs until thoroughly blended.
3.     Store in airtight container and use in any recipe calling for Italian bread crumbs.