Meatloaf Two Ways

My boyfriend and I are on a new financial mission…we’ve decided to kick our debt to the curb and start saving and investing for our future. What does this have to do with food, you ask? Well, we have a limited grocery budget ($80 per week to be exact) so we must pick and choose our meals wisely. This meatloaf dish was a great way to stretch our grocery budget because it yielded roughly five meals . We bought the meat on sale at Whole Foods Market  (keep an eye out because they frequently have specials and they’re meat is incredible.)

Pasta with Meatloaf

1 lb ground beef (grass fed)

½ lb ground lamb

1 ½ cups gluten free breadcrumbs (I used Glutino brand.)

1 egg

½ cup milk (or your favorite alternative)

1 large green pepper, diced

1 medium-size onions, diced

4 oz button mushrooms, sliced thick

(1) 14 ½ oz can chopped tomatoes

(1) 32 oz jar prepared tomato sauce

Chicken stock, as needed

Butter (or your favorite alternative)

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

1 package pasta (I used gluten free spaghetti)

Put ground meat in a large bowl and mix with hands, gently pulling apart to incorporate the two varieties. Make a hole in the center of the mixture and add ½ cup breadcrumbs. Beat the egg and add it on top, then pour in milk. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and mix everything together with your hands. Set aside.

Sauté peppers, onions and sliced mushrooms in a medium sized pot, adding just enough chicken stock to keep from burning. Cook until tender, about five minutes. Add about a third of this to the meatloaf mixture and set the rest aside.

Pour remaining 1 cup breadcrumbs on a plate. Form three small loaves* out of the meatloaf mixture and roll each in the breadcrumbs to coat. Melt about a teaspoon of butter in a large, deep pan and brown meatloaves over medium-high heat for about ten minutes. Flip each loaf with a long spatula to brown the other side, covering with lid both times.

While loaves are browning, add diced tomatoes and ½ of the spaghetti sauce to the pot with the sautéed mushrooms, peppers and onions. Stir and let simmer for a few minutes, then add the mixture to the pan with the meatloaves. Cover pan, turn heat down to low, and let loaves cook through, about 45 minutes to an hour.
10 minutes before meatloaf is done, cook pasta according to directions on box. Drain and add the rest of the spaghetti sauce to the noodles to keep them from sticking. Serve with a slice of meatloaf on top. Enjoy!

* Think of the size and shape of a chocolate croissant

 Meatloaf Sandwich_Cropped

 

Meatloaf Sandwich

 

2 slices of your favorite bread

1 slice prepared meatloaf (from above)

Cheese of your choice to taste (optional, or use an alternative cheese)

Fresh tomato, sliced

Avocado (optional*)

*My boyfriend swears by the avocado. I suppose I can’t rag on it because I didn’t try the combination myself, but I can’t help but think that it’s a bit odd. Nevertheless, he loved it, so try if you’d like!

Build sandwich to your liking and toast on a skillet with butter (or your favorite alternative.) Serve hot.

Cider Poached Apples

2 apples (I used ambrosia, but you can use your favorite variety)

2 Tbsp butter

1 C. Apple cider

1/4 tsp cinnamon

dash nutmeg

1 Tbsp honey

1 tsp vanilla

 

Peel, halve and core apples and set aside. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp butter to the pan and allow to melt. When it begins to brown slightly, add honey, vanilla and spices. Stir briefly then add apples cut side down (rounded side up.) Let the apples sit in pan until caramelized, then add apple cider and cover. Cook for 5 min then check consistency of apple; it should be soft with the flesh easily pierced through, but still able to hold it’s shape. Remove apples from pan and place on a serving platter. Cover completely with aluminum foil to keep warm. Continue cooking the remaining liquid, stirring occasionally until it reduces and forms a syrupy consistency (you may need to add more apple cider.) Remove from heat. Cut a small piece of the rounded part off of the poached apples so the apple can sit flat like a bowl. Serve with a scoop of vanilla or caramel ice cream and top with syrup. For a healthier option, omit the ice cream (it will still taste delightfully sweet and decadent.) Enjoy!

Acorn Squash with Crème Fraîche

When I think of fall, I think squash, hot drinks, warm spices and baking. With Thanksgiving right around the corner and the fall harvest in full swing, I became inspired to enjoy the best of what fall has to offer. Bonus tip: Try adding fresh roasted apples into this mix!

1 large acorn squash (about 2 ½ lbs)

Sea Salt

1 oz. Fresh Sage, finely chopped

4-8oz mascarpone cheese, to taste

Preheat oven to 425° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut squash in half and scoop seeds out. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour or until very soft. Let stand until cool enough to handle, then scoop flesh out into a serving bowl. Meanwhile, heat ½ cup mascarpone in a small sauté pan over medium heat until melted. Add chopped sage and swirl in pan or stir with a spoon until sage releases its aroma. Remove from heat and add to acorn squash mixture. Scoop remaining mascarpone into mixture and mash with a fork until combined. Serve hot.

Gluten & Dairy Free Sweet Potato Pancakes

Sweet Potato Pancakes_Final

These naturally sweet pancakes are a satisfying way to sneak more vegetables into your diet.

Sweet Potato Pancakes

1 ½ cups flour (I created a gluten-free version using a combination of Bob’s Red Mill all purpose baking flour and brown rice flour by the same company.)

3 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 ¼ cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes

2 eggs, beaten

1 ½ cups milk of your choice (almond, oat, regular milk, etc.)

¼ cup butter, melted

Sift dry ingredients into a medium size mixing bowl. In a smaller mixing bowl, beat eggs until the yolks incorporate into the whites. Add sweet potatoes, milk and melted butter and stir to combine. Add wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and using a few swift strokes, mix until incorporated. Don’t over mix. (It’s ok if batter is a bit lumpy.) Drop small amounts of batter* onto a hot, greased griddle and fry until browned on both sides. You’ll know it’s time to flip them when bubbles begin to appear.

*a tablespoon of batter will yield silver dollar pancakes while ¼ cup will yield pancakes that are about 4-5in in diameter.

Meyer Lemon & Rosemary Cookies


Final_Cropped

Rosemary has anti-inflammatory properties, which make it a healthful addition to this delicious dessert!

1 1/4 C. all-purpose flour

1/2 C. almond meal (finely ground almonds)

1 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, softened

1/4 C. packed brown sugar

1/4 C. granulated sugar

1 egg

zest of one medium sized meyer lemon

1 tsp meyer lemon juice

Preheat oven to 300°

Whisk flour, almond meal, rosemary, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Put butter and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fixed with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until light. Add egg, lemon juice and zest. Mix until combined. Add dry ingredients and mix until dough comes together.

Turn dough out onto parchment paper and roll into a log shape (about 2″ in diameter.) Wrap the parchment paper around dough and refrigerate for 30 min.

Remove and slice into 1/2 in rounds and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 21 min (until cookies hold their shape, but have not yet started to brown.) Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week (but believe me…they won’t last much more than a day!)

Turnips

Turnips

These turnips were just pulled from the soil in my garden…

what could be more beautiful?

Turnips are root vegetables that are part of the brassica family (aka very healthy for you)

In addition to providing many health benefits, turnips are very tasty too!

How to Choose:

Choose bulbs that are firm and free from cracks and scars. The smaller the bulbs, the more tender they will be. It’s best to find turnips that still have the greens attached, not only because they are edible too, but because the leaves can help you determine how fresh the vegetable is.

How to Store:

Store turnips in an open plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. If the greens are attached, remove and store separately.

Ideas for preparing turnips:

Peel first using a vegetable peeler or paring knife. This step keeps the vegetable from exuding a bitter flavor.

turnips may be roasted in the oven, braised in butter, mixed with potatoes in a gratin, or substituted for potatoes when serving a roast.

Feeling creative? Concoct your own masterpiece using any of the following ingredients, which pair well with turnips:

Bacon, butter, carrots, celery root, Parmesan, cream, roasted duck, garlic, honey, juniper berry, lamb, marjoram, parsley, prosciutto, sweet potatoes & thyme.

Note: Do not overcook turnips as they will profile a cabbage-like flavor

On Saturday March 10th, every Whole Foods across the nation will be cracking into a fresh wheel of Parmesan cheese. If you haven’t experienced it before, the flavor is incredible! So go ahead-gather some friends and head to your local Whole Foods Market to partake in this fun ritual. Then, bring the fresh Parmesan home to enjoy with this recipe (and hey-bring your friends home with you too. Food is more enjoyable when you can share it with good company.)

Braised Turnips with Honeyed Thyme and Parmesan

1 lb turnips, peeled and cut into 1/4 in slices

2 Tbsp butter

1/4 C. water

1 1/2 tsp honey

3-5 stems thyme

sea salt to taste

Parmesan for garnish

Place a medium saucepan over high heat. Add butter and allow to melt, then add thyme and honey. Simmer gently for about a minute, allowing the thyme to release its fragrance into the honey/butter mixture. Add water, turnips and salt. Bring to a boil and cover. Turn the heat down to medium low and allow to simmer for about 5 min. Uncover and assess: is there a lot of water left? If so, leave uncovered and turn the heat up a bit until all the liquid has evaporated and turnips are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Garnish with fresh Parmesan cheese.

How to prepare turnip greens:

Remove stems and wash leaves well, making sure to leave water on them (don’t dry.)

Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add your choice of fat: butter, olive oil or for a heartier flavor, render fat from prosciutto, bacon or pancetta. Toss the wet leaves into the pan and cook until wilted. Add salt if necessary.

Note: Turnip greens are similar to mustard greens in flavor, so if you have a favorite recipe for mustard greens, feel free to substitute turnips greens instead.

Valentine’s Day Recipe

Alas, the charm and excitement of Valentine’s day is over, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still express your love to those close to you. Here are a few recipes that are sure to capture the love you’d like to convey.

Beet and Goat’s Cheese Salad with Lavender Honey Dressing

Cooks Note:

The best thing about salads is that anyone can make one. It doesn’t take any particular culinary talent. You can simply toss ingredients in a bowl, add dressing and voila. I have refrained from including portions for the salad ingredients so that you may use your creative freedom to make the salad to your liking and also so that you can make it according to the number of people you will be serving. The dressing however is about enough to serve four to six people. Feel free to double it if necessary.


Lavender Honey Dressing

Serves 4-6

1 tsp culinary grade Lavender

1 ½ tsp clover (or other mild flavor) honey

¼ tsp finishing salt (I like Maldon or Murray River brands)

1 Tbsp Marsala

2 Tbsp Champagne Vinegar

6 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salad

Organic spinach

Dried cranberries

Pecans (you can also substitute pine nuts or walnuts)

Goat’s cheese*

Beets**

A note on goat’s cheese:

*You can crumble the goat’s cheese using a fork or use a teaspoon to scoop out small portions. Roll each teaspoon of goat’s cheese between your hands to create a small round.

For the beets:

**If using fresh beets, follow the directions below to roast. For a fun presentation, slice the cooked beets into ¼ inch rounds then use a 1 ½” or 2” heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut the beet slices into shapes.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Wash beets thoroughly then cut the greens from the bulbs (save the greens! They are incredibly delicious when sautéed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.) Wrap each beet in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 min or until tender (a knife should easily pierce through the vegetable.)

Mandarin/Ginger Glazed Salmon with Asparagus & Fennel

Serves 2

2 Wild Alaskan Salmon Filets

Mandarin/Ginger Glaze

¼ cup freshly squeezed mandarin juice

2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 Tbsp marsala

1 tsp mandarin zest

½ tsp grated fresh ginger

2 slices fresh mandarin (for garnish)

Vegetable accompaniment

1 bunch fresh asparagus

1 bulb fennel

½ cup frozen peas

Preheat the oven to 425°

Combine ingredients for glaze. Place the two salmon filets flesh side down (skin side up) into an 8×8” Pyrex baking dish and pour the marinade on top. Allow the salmon to marinade for 20min while you finish the other components of the dish. (Set your kitchen timer for 10 min and flip fish over, making sure the whole filet gets to marinade.)

While the fish is marinating, place a a steam basket in a large pot and fill with water (water should not come up above the steam basket.) Place it on the stove over high heat. Meanwhile, wash and prepare the vegetables: For the asparagus spears, simply snap the tough ends off. For the fennel, cut the stalks off the top and discard. Then, cut the solid core out of the bottom of the bulb in a V-shape. Chop the bulb in half and cut each half into small diagonal slices.

When the water has come to a boil, add vegetables and cook until crisp-tender. This may happen faster than you anticipate, so make sure to keep checking it. Note: it is important to allow enough room in the pan for the steam to circulate around the vegetables properly.***

When the fish is done marinating, (20min) heat an oven-proof saucepan on the stove top over medium-high heat. When the pan is good and hot, place the salmon in the skillet skin side down (it should make a loud sizzling noise.) Cook for about two minutes on each side then put the entire skillet, uncovered into the oven. Cook though, about 5 min. Fish should be flaky but not dry.

While the salmon is in the oven, pour the remaining marinade into a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat. When the mixture has reduced to about half its original volume, take off of heat and put 2 Tbsp cold butter into the pan. Hold in the air and using your wrist, shuffle the pan in a circular motion until the butter melts completely (the action will be similar to throwing a Frisbee.)

Spoon the cooked marinade onto two plates in a pattern for beautiful presentation, or simply put a dollop in the middle of the plate. Arrange the vegetables then top with the asparagus. Garnish with the orange slices.

Bon Appetit!

***Note on steaming: Although water is traditionally used in this method, you can also try using broth, stock or any other flavorful liquid to enhance the taste of the vegetables.