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Glazed Meat Loaf

from Cook's Illustrated (Fall Entertaining 2008 & another issue that I can't find right now)

Most meat loaves call for a combination of beef, pork and veal. In this recipe, the geniuses at Cook's Illustrated went for an all beef version.

The first time making it seems a little too complicated for meat loaf... but the hard work pays off. It's delicious. And after making it a couple of times, it's actually pretty easy.

Meat Loaf
3 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, crated on small holes of box grater (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1 medium celery rib, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2/3 cup crushed saltine crackers
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound ground sirloin
1 pound ground chuck

(I usually make extra glaze to serve on the side.)
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (i.e. Tabasco)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

Oven: 375 F

Spread grated cheese on plate (or baking sheet) and place in freezer until ready to use

Heat butter in skillet over medium-high heat until foaming; add onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 6-8 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, and paprika and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and add tomato juice. Cook, stirring to scrape up browned bits from pan, until thickened, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to small bowl and set aside to cool.

While onion mixture is cooking, whisk together broth and eggs in large bowl until combined. Sprinkle gelatin over liquid and let stand at least 5 minutes. Stir in soy sauce, mustard, crushed saltines, parsley, salt, pepper and onion mixture. Crumble frozen cheese into coarse powder and sprinkle over mixture. Add ground beef; mix gently with hands until thoroughly combined (but not paste-like).

This is the point where I stray (enough to write about) from the published recipe.

You can bake it as one large meatloaf, or you can do like me and split it in 2 loaves. I find this works so much better for the size of my family. I can then freeze one of them if need be.

I bake mine on my broiler pan. If you do not have a broiler pan, you do as Cook's Illustrated suggests and cook it on aluminum foil that is placed on a cooling rack with holes poked in it and place that on a baking sheet. That all seems a little complicated to me when I have a broiler pan so handy. The point is to let some of the grease drain away from the loaf (loaves).

Okay - back to our regularly scheduled recipe...

Bake 55-65 minutes (until center of loaf reads 135-140 degrees). Remove meat loaf from oven and turn on broiler.

While meat loaf cooks, combine ketchup, hot pepper sauce, coriander, vinegar and brown sugar in small sauce pan; bring to simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring, until thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Spread half of glaze evenly over cooked meat loaf with rubber spatula; place under broiler and cook until glaze bubbles and begins to brown at edges, about 5 minutes. Remove meat loaf from oven and spread even with remaining glaze; place back under broiler and cook until glaze is again bubbling and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes more.

Let meat loaf cool about 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

from Cook's Illustrated (Jan/Feb 2005)

4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts trimmed of fat and cut crosswise into 1/4" slices
1 small onion, chopped fine (2/3 cup)
6 medium garlic cloves minced or pressed (2 tbsp)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp all-purpose flour (I tend to use a little more - like 2 tbsp)
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bunch broccoli (1 1/2 lbs), florets trimmed into 1" pieces (6 cups)
1/2 lb penne, ziti, cavatappi, or campanelle (I used bow-tie tonight)
2 oz finely grated Asiago cheese (1 cup), plus extra for serving (you can substitute Parmesan)
1 jar (7 - 8 1/2 oz) oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into 1/4" strips (1 cup)
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves
Ground black pepper

Bring 4 quarts of water to rolling boil, covered, in stockpot.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp butter in 12" skillet over high heat until just beginning to brown (about 1 min). Add chicken in single layer; cook for 1 minute w/o stirring, then stir chicken and continue to cook until most, but not all, pink color has disappeared and chicken is lightly browned around the edges (about 2 min longer). Transfer chicken to clean bowl; set aside.

Return skillet to high heat and add 1 tbsp butter; add onion and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally until browned around edges (2-3 min). Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, and flour; cook, stirring constantly until fragrant (30 sec). Add wine and chicken broth; bring to simmer, then reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally until sauce has thickened slightly and reduced to 1 1/4 cups (15 min).

While sauce simmers, add 1 tbsp salt and broccoli to boiling water; cook until broccoli is tender but still crisp at center (2 min or less). Using slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to large paper towel-lined plate. Return water to boil; stir in pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water; return pasta to pot.

Once sauce is thickened, stir remaining 2 tbsp butter, Asiago, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, and chicken into sauce in skillet; cook until chicken is hot and cooked through (1-2 minutes). Off heat, season to taste with pepper. Pour chicken/sauce mixture over pasta and add broccoli; toss gently to combine, adding pasta cooking water as needed to adjust sauce consistency. Serve immediately, passing additional Asiago separately.

Southwestern Stew


2 pounds stew meat (beef, venison, moose... whatever you've got)
Worchestershire, teriyaki, & liquid smoke for marinating

2 tablespoons oil (or butter)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup salsa
1-2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 cups water
2 teaspoons beef bullion granules
Salt/Pepper to taste
3 medium carrotts (sliced medium to thick)
2 potatoes (cut in small chunks)
1 1/2 cups frozen green beans
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
2 cans Ro*Tel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilis

Cut meat into small bite sized pieces. Marinate in worchestershire, teriyaki & liquid smoke for at least 1/2 hour.

Sautee onions in oil until edges begin to brown. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant. Then add chili powder, paprika, cumin, & flour and cook just a minute or so, adding a little extra oil if needed. Add the meat along with marinade and stir while cooking to loosen browned bits on the bottom of the pan until the meat is browned on all sides.

Add salsa, parsley, water, bullion and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for a 15 minutes or so. Then add carrotts and potatoes. Return to a simmer, cover, and simmer for another 15 - 30 minutes.

Add green beans, corn and Ro*Tel. Simmer 15-20 minutes or until everything is tender.

Chocolate Chip Cookie - Another Recipe

Originally submitted by Holly at What Would Martha Cook? for this Foodie Friday post in the comments (with a couple of modifications by your's truly).

1 stick butter
1/2 cup Butter Flavor Crisco + 3 teaspoons water
2 eggs
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
5 cups flour (any combination of all purpose flour and cake flour - I used 3 cups all purpose & 2 cups cake flour)
18 oounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (approximately 2 1/4 - 2 1/3 cups)

Cream butter, add eggs, molasses, vanilla and water and sugars in mixer. Sift together dry ingredients (baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour). Add dry ingredients to wet in several additions mixing well and scraping the bowls in between (you should begin to see any lumps disappear). Add chips and stir a couple of times through. Roll into 1" balls and cook at 375 degrees for 8-12 minutes or until light brown.

Note the cracks in the top surface... perfect.

11 minutes at 375 acheived this perfect cookie texture. Not too cakey and not gooey either.

Honey Chicken Teriyaki

(it looks like I found this at some place called

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 eggs, beaten
oil for frying

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, optional

Pour 1/2 inch oil in a wide frying pan; place over medium high heat. Cut chicken into 2 inch squares. Combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dip chicken in eggs, then coat with seasoned flour. When oil is hot, add chicken half at a time. Cook, turning as needed, until chicken is golden brown. Allow total of 6 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile heat soy sauce, honey, sherry, garlic and ginger in small pan. Lift chicken from oil. Drain briefly. Dip in honey mixture, then place on a rack set in a baking pan. When all chicken is cooked and dipped, sprinkle with sesame seeds, if used. Bake at 250F for 20 minutes. Brush with glaze after 10 minutes.


Now... we all know that I never end up doing anything exactly like the recipe. So, here's how this recipe usually goes down in our house:


2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup all purpose flour
salt & pepper
2 eggs, beaten
oil for frying (mostly Canola & a little Sesame Oil for taste)

1/4 cup soy sauce (approx)
1/2 cup honey (approx)
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 clove garlic, pressed
teaspoon ground ginger

Directions: Pour 1/2 inch oil in a wide frying pan; place over medium high heat. Cut chicken into 1/2 inch squares (it's got to be small enough for the kiddos to pick up with chopsticks). Combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dip chicken in eggs, then coat with seasoned flour. When oil is hot, add chicken half at a time (actually ends up being about 3 batches). Cook, turning as needed, until chicken is golden brown. Allow total of 6 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile heat soy sauce, honey, sherry, garlic and ginger in small pan. Lift chicken from oil. Drain briefly. Place on foil covered baking pan. Once all chicken is cooked & on pan, spoon about half of the honey mixture over and slightly toss. Bake at whatever temperature I happen to decide on for whatever time I have left before it all needs to be on the table. Toss in remaining honey mixture (as long as your husband hasn't come behind you and poured it out so that he can put the pan in the dishwasher - I love you honey!)

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup Butter Flavor Crisco
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1. Cream Crisco, brown sugar, milk & vanilla. Beat in egg.
2. Combine flour, salt & baking soda and mix into creamed mixture just until blended.
3. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. In 375F oven, bake 8-10 minutes for chewey cookies or 11-13 minutes for crisp cookies. Allow to cool 2-3 minutes on cookie sheet, then remove to cooling rack.


As a disclaimer... I'm a Texan - born and bred. However, I do use beans in my chili *gasp*. It may seem wrong to some other Texans out there, but it is what it is.


1/2 - 1 Onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 - 2 tablespoons flour
2/3 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons (approx) paprika
1 tablespoon (approx) ground cumin
1 lb (approx) ground beef
1 12 oz bottle Shiner Bock Beer
1 can Ro*tel diced tomatoes & green chilis
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can Ranch Style Beans
1 can black beans
salt to taste (probably 4-5 pinches of coarse kosher salt)


In oil sautee onion until softened and starting to brown (over med-med high heat). Add pressed (or minced) garlic and saute until fragrant Add flour and cook for just a minute or so, then add chili powder, paprika and cumin and continuously stir and scrape the bottom and sides (all the while taking on and off heat and adding more oil as necessary to keep from burning). Next, add the ground beef and begin stirring and cooking it, while adding a little bit of beer every once in a while to begin deglazing the bottom of the pot. After several minutes, add the rest of the beer, Ro*tel, tomatoes, and both cans of beans. Bring to simmer then reduce heat and begin to add salt 2 large pinches at a time thoroughly stirring and tasting in between additions to get the salt content right. Simmer for at least 30 minutes (or as long as you have until dinner time).

As this recipe stands, it is a nice mild amount of heat (in this Texan's opinion). Hey, my kids like it, so it's not too hot, right? But the nice thing about chili is that it's easy to adjust the heat. For more heat, use the Extra Hot Ro*Tel and Ranch Style Beans with Jalapenos. For less heat, use the milder Ro*Tel or just plain diced tomatoes as a substitute.

If you live outside of Texas and can't get your hands on some of these ingredients, I've been there and I feel your pain. Here are some suggestions:

If you can't get Ranch Style Beans, Bush's makes a decent chili bean to serve as a starting point. Just add some extra chili powder. Or you could make your own.

Ro*Tel or similar products are fairly widely available these days, I think.

Shiner Bock, however is sometimes a little bit harder to come by. I'm not going to say that just any ol' beer will do, because I just don't know. For a non-beer alternative you could use beef stock

Spaghetti Sauce

1/2 onion, chopped
1 shallot, minced (not necessary, I just had it lying around)
2-3 cloves garlic, pressedcrushed red pepper flakes
1 lb ground beef (approx)
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tamato sauce
1 (small) can tomato paste
1-2 tbsp sugar
1/4-1/2 cup white table winea bunch of chopped fresh basiland oreganoand parsley

Salt and pepper to tasteI always saute my onions first in oil. Then add the shallots (if you've got 'em lying around) and garlic and saute until fragrant. Add ground beef (and any stray sausage you happen to find in your fridge that hasn't gone bad) and cook until brown. (that sounds weird) Then just start adding everything else. Be sure to taste as you go. And don't forget the salt and pepper... very important.