Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Hanging Around Home

·        ·         Weeks Until Football Season: 9/11/16    27

At the Movies:
Bill and I watch lots of movies,  We used to go to at least 2 a week,  we still go often but we also watch a lot at home.  This week one of the Movies we watched was "A Walk In The Woods”.  Travel writer Bill Bryson (Robert Redford) takes a long-lost old friend (Nick Nolte) for a hike along the Appalachian Trail.  We have a friend that is just about to start hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and so we decided this would be a good watch.  It was,  I laughed a lot, the scenery was amazing and the story was cute very entertaining. 

In The Kitchen:
I don’t really understand Face book.  I look at it to see what my friends are up to.  I ignore or change settings to not see post that upset my own personal sensibilities but I want the choice.  Every so often I realize I haven’t seen any post by this friend or that and I go looking and for whatever reason they just aren’t coming up in my “feed”.   Then sometimes what other people “like” shows up and this can be interesting but usually not so much.  However, when Face book tells me my mother and my friend PB agrees with the same thing I had to look twice because I just couldn’t imagine what the two of them had in common, actually they are both very talented artist.  Anyway, this story that caught my eye was about restaurants and what to not eat and where to not go and even how food is handled behind the scenes.  I have seen and read these before and I know there are good places to eat out there and I really do eat out sometimes but I just like to cook.  I don’t like the schedule of breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I have always preferred cooking for a crowd, I like cooking big.  We don’t buy tv dinners or frozen entrees, I make everything and then freeze our own entrée dinners, when lunch or dinner comes around often we choose from the freezer and have a nice hot, healthy portion of home cooked food.  There are many different videos on you-tube of preparing meals for the week, or meals for the freezer but I was doing this before you-tube was invented or probably before the creator of you-tube was born.  (just guessing about that one.)

This past week was a cooking week.  The freezer was low, actually empty.  I had defrosted it before my trip to California and Bill had eaten whatever I left while I was out of town.  Last Sunday we had planned on spending the day with one of the granddaughters and something came up and she was no longer able to come I was looking at a free day.  I walked the 2 miles to Costco and Bill picked me up when I was finished.   I marinated and then grilled what became 4- 1 gallon bags of chicken; 2 Italian and 2 sesame teriyaki, and 1 gallon bag of shrimp.  I also made 11 pounds of ground turkey meatloaf mix.  I put 3 cups of this into a 1 quart size freezer bag and when I need meatloaf I get out how many bags I need for the amount of people coming.   I also use this same mixture for several other recipes; I will include a couple of them today, so we don’t just eat meatloaf all the time. Monday I made 4 more quart bags of turkey taco meat for the freezer and two pans of enchiladas.  Tuesday I made an extra large tuna casserole, one of Bill’s favorites.  Later in the week I made over 100 cups of Mexican Rice and an extra large casserole of chicken enchiladas.   I did lots of vegetables to go with these and froze everything in portions for future meals.  We also had guests for dinner Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  This is not really unusual for us, we love entertaining and visiting and at home it is quiet and we can hear each other talk,  I don’t spend all my time in the kitchen, but if I did it wouldn’t matter, the table is in the kitchen.  We both love spending quality time with our friends and family.   Our “diet plan” is mostly moderation.  We eat very little sugar because I am diabetic and we choose mostly organic, ‘clean eating’.  Bill doesn’t like beef as a personal thing.  Saturday evening I made barley and vegetable soup, quinoa Greek salad and a Brussels sprouts, kale and white bean salad that made our vegan guest very happy, and I was able to freeze enough soup for another meal.

If you want to cook once and eat several times here are some recipes:
My Meatloaf for the Masses  

4 pounds ground turkey (it comes in a 4 pack at Costco)
1 pound of ground pork (like sausage meat, no seasonings) if you don’t eat pork just leave this out or add
     another pound of turkey
1 cup each of diced onion, celery and carrots 
    (I get the package of mirapox at Trader Joe's, but it is easy to dice your own) 
1 cup diced peppers (any color)
5 cloves of garlic, minced 
3-4 Tablespoons of olive oil 
2 teaspoons of kosher salt, or grey salt 
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper 
2 Tablespoons  spicy brown mustard 
1 small can tomato paste
1 cup fresh parsley,  diced up (I forget this one more than I remember, but it is good)
4 eggs
1 cup instant mashed potatoes, dry 
6 slices of bacon  (I usually don't do this part)

I usually just top with Ketchup about 20 minutes before the meatloaf is done, or not

 Place all the meat in a large bowl add the parsley to the meat. 

 Heat the oil in a large skillet and saute the onion, celery, carrots, peppers cook about 3 minutes then add the garlic and continue to cook until the vegetables are soft.   Remove from heat and set aside.

 To the onion mixture add: salt, pepper, mustard and tomato paste, combine well and add to the meat mixture along with the 4 eggs.  

 Use your 'clean' hands to stir, mix and combine the meat with the vegetables.  Sprinkle the instant dry potatoes over the mixture and finish mixing.  Do this well, but don't overdo it.  My mom told me that was bad to do,  I have no idea why.....  

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. 
Use 3 cups of this mixture in a meatloaf pan.

Cut the bacon slices so that you can layer them on top of the meatloaf. 

 If you don’t want to do the bacon,  wait till the meatloaf has cooked for at least and hour and then ‘ice’ the meatloaf with ketchup.

 Place the pan on a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment paper, (for the mess)

Bake 1 and 1/2 hours  and check the internal temperature with a thermometer,  it should be 160 degrees F.

 Let it rest a few minutes before you serve it to let it absorb some moisture.   Then pour off any excess fat.   Do not pour this down your sink,  it will totally clog the drain.    Use an empty can, like the tomato paste.  When it cools throw it in the garbage. 

Slice and serve.

I usually make a double recipe of this and I put 3 cups of this mixture in quart size zip lock bags.    Then I can use the same mixture in a lot of other recipes including:   Moroccan Spiced Patties,   Tacos,  Shepherd’s pie,   and  Sloppy Joe’s.                    

  recipes to follow……

Moroccan Spiced Meat Patties  - serves 4-6
Reserved Meat-loaf mixture from my Meatloaf for the Masses.  (3 cups)
2 medium carrots, grated  = 1 cup grated carrot
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons olive oil
 In a large bowl,  combine all the ingredients except the oil.  Mix well.  Make 6 patties,  or smaller one if you want.   Heat half the oil in a large skillet and cook over medium heat until golden,  8 minutes per side. 
 Delicious with Cous-Cous  Salad w/ mint

Shepherd’s Pie
3 cups frozen meat-loaf mixture 
1-2 tablespoons oil
2 cloves garlic, diced 
1 - 16 ounce bag of frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning (or Italian seasoning for a different flavor) 
1/4 teaspoon pepper 
1 -  18 ounce jar of beef or chicken or turkey gravy (just depends on what you like) 
    I make my own with homemade chicken broth, thickened
4 to 5 cups of mashed potatoes   (left over,  made from fresh or instant) 
    I make a big pot of these and freeze them also.   Mashed sweet potatoes are great too.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 
Saute the meat-loaf mixture in 1-2 tablespoons of oil,  add 2 cloves of diced garlic to mixture.  
Add the mixed vegetables to the pan then add the salt, pepper and seasonings,  
Add the gravy and simmer a couple of minutes.
Transfer this mixture to a 2-3 quart casserole dish and top with the mashed potatoes.  (be as decorative as you like)
Sprinkle with a dash of paprika for color.  
Bake 25-30 minutes or till thoroughly heated.  Let Stand 5 minutes before serving. 

Let me know how these work out for you, if you try them

Next week there will be a lot about knitting....... 

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1 comment:

Kelly C said...

I love hearing about your cooking adventures. It's always a treat to eat your food and I'm thrilled to have a few of your recipes!