Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Smoked Gouda Stuffed Meatloaf



Do you buy ground beef or have your meat gound up fresh? I love to have ours ground up fresh. It's the only way I buy it. I usually use sirloin tip or london broil, and have used a couple of other cuts before too. I just watch for it to go on sale. Sirloin tip was on sale this time and I decided to make meatloaf again. I wanted something different for this one, so I thought why not stuff it with smoked gouda cheese! This was really good. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Smoked Gouda Stuffed Meatloaf

2 tablespoons butter
2 onions, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup of ketchup (I used just a tad less than ½ cup)
¾ cup of breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon of thyme
2 eggs
2 pounds of ground beef
1/3 pound of smoked gouda, cut into sticks (like cheese sticks only smaller)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter and then add the diced onion. Sauté until translucent. Add the minced garlic, allowing it to cook for a minute or two. Set aside, sprinkle the tsp of thyme over the mixture and let cool.

Crack the two eggs into a small bowl and lightly beat them. In a large bowl, add the beaten eggs, ground beef, breadcrumbs, onion mixture, and ketchup. Mix the meatloaf mixture with your hands until everything is mixed well.

Now you’re ready to form your meatloaf and place it in a pan. I chose to use a sheet pan and free form my loaf. I like this way the best. Take a little over half of the mixture and pat it out in the pan to make the bottom of your loaf. In the middle of the loaf, add the smoked gouda cheese sticks. Take the rest of the meat mixture and cover the cheese sticks forming a loaf, making sure to completely cover the cheese. Bake for an hour and a half.

I tasted this and decided not to put ketchup on it as it was really good. However, I am sure it would be tasty with ketchup as well. If you choose to do so, top the meatloaf with ketchup and allow it to bake for 10-15 more minutes.

Handy Tip #1: I advise you to check any meats you cook with a meat thermometer just to be extra safe. Fully cooked according to this website that I found online here is 160 degrees.

Handy Tip #2: Use parchment paper on your sheet pan for easy clean up.

Handy Tip #3: Feel free to add more salt to this recipe as I didn’t really add any extra salt. You could also use a bit more cheese if you’d like. I found mine at the Kroger deli. I just had them slice two large hunks of cheese. It ended up being 1/3 of a pound. I trimmed the rind off and cut them into cheese sticks. Worked great!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Lemon Chicken Artichoke Soup



There is a take and bake place in town that has the most amazing lemon chicken artichoke soup. I decided to try to make a copy of it at home. This soup isn’t exactly like the one at the local shop here, but it’s close. This recipe is so good and highly addictive! I encourage you to try it as soon as you can!

Lemon Chicken Artichoke Soup

Ingredients:
½ stick of butter
1 tbsp oilive oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 yellow onions, diced
2 12oz jars of quartered artichoke hearts in water (drained, rinsed and diced)
2-3 lemons
2-3 cups of cooked chicken breasts, diced
1 tsp of dried oregano
8 cups of reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cups of half & half
Salt and pepper to taste

In a 5-6 qt. stockpot over medium heat, melt butter and add the olive oil. Sauté the onions until translucent, add the garlic and then cook for a minute more. Add the artichoke hearts and salt and pepper if desired and cook for 3-5 minutes. Next, add your chicken stock. Allow this to come to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the half & half and the juice of the first two lemons, bring to a simmer and taste everything here. I added the juice of another lemon for a total of three in my recipe. However, lemons can vary in how much juice they give, so try it after 2 and see if you would like more in the soup. Also adjust for salt and pepper at this point as well. Continue simmering for 30 minutes. Then add diced chicken and oregano. Allow to simmer for 15 more minutes. Then enjoy!

Some notes: I didn’t add any extra salt to this recipe at all and it was plenty salty for me. Also more pepper or oregano can always be added. It’s very important to taste as you go along to see what you’d like to add more of. Want more of a kick? Increase the black pepper. Don’t like oregano? Just leave it out. It will still be delicious. Want more chicken? Add 3 cups instead of 2. It's really a flexible recipe. This soup is amazing. I hope you will try it soon! By the way, I found the artichoke hearts at Aldi for a good price. Check them out if you have one close by.

Also, I used chicken breast I had cooked using a wonderful method I discovered on a blog and then froze it. You can find her method here. I used the Tuscan Garlic seasoning from Tones (found at Sam’s) as my seasoning for the chicken. This way of cooking chicken is amazing, not to mention how she has you refrigerate the chicken, then dice it. It makes for perfect little cubes of chicken!

Cookbook Review: One Pot



I recently received the One Pot cookbook From the Kitchens of Martha Stewart Living. I was especially looking forward to this cookbook, because one pot means less dishes right? That's always a plus! This book had plenty of mouth-watering photos to enjoy and that is something I consider very important when I choose a cookbook. I love seeing what the finished product should look like.

You might think by the title, One Pot, it would always mean a stockpot or dutch oven type of pan. However, this book has recipe for all kinds of pots and even roasting pans! The chapters are:
  • Dutch Oven
  • Skillet & Saute Pan
  • Slow Cooker
  • Roasting Pan & Baking Dish
  • Pressure Cooker
  • Stockpot & Saucepan
  • Desserts


The recipes look delicious! Some that stood out to me were Carnitas Tacos, Arroz con Pollo, Sausage, Chicken, and White-Bean Gratin, Turkey Skillet Pie, Skillet Macaroni and Cheese (with multiple variations!), and more! There are definitely several tasty things to make in this book. The only issue I had with the book is that I found some of the ingredients to be things I wouldn't likely get my family to eat. Things such as fennel, clams and items like that. And since I don't have a pressure cooker, that leaves out that chapter for me. However, I am sure the recipes could be adapted to be made without one. I wish they would have included instructions for those without pressure cookers.

In the end, I think this is definitely a cookbook worth checking out. I love all of the pictures and the fact that each chapter includes some basics and tips about the cookware that you're using. That is always handy. If you'd like to find out more about this cookbook click here.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, these opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Veggie Packed Meatloaf



I haven't made meatloaf in forever and thought it would be yummy so I decided to make it. This time to be a bit healthier, I decided to add some veggies to my meatloaf. I really enjoyed the results. I have to warn you here that I am trying to watch our sodium a bit, so if you choose to make this, you can adjust the recipe to add more salt. This is a good way to sneak veggies into kids, you could even puree the veggies if you wanted to before adding them to the meat so they can't be identified. I like to leave them like they are though.

Veggie packed Meatloaf

2 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of finely diced onion
1 rib of celery, finely diced
1 carrot, diced finely
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
½ of an 8oz can of tomato sauce
1 cup of breadcrumbs
2 eggs, large
2 pounds of ground beef
ketchup


Preheat your over to 350 degrees. In a saute pan over medium heat, melt butter and then add the diced celery, onion and carrot. Saute for 3-5 minutes allowing the veggies to soften. Turn the heat down a bit and then cover and let the veggies continue to soften for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat back up to medium and add the minced garlic, allowing it to cook for a minute or two. You can also add a bit of salt here if you would like. Then add the half can of tomato sauce cooking for another minute. Set aside and let cool. Crack the two eggs into a small bowl and lightly beat them. In a large bowl, add the beaten eggs, ground beef, breadcrumbs, and the cooled veggie/tomato mixture. Mix the meatloaf mixture with your hands until everything is mixed well.

Now you’re ready to form your meatloaf and place it in a pan. I chose to use a sheet pan and free form my loaf. I like this way the best. You could also choose to use cupcake tins, though the cooking time would be quicker. Bake for one hour. Top with desired amount of ketchup (I like a good amount) and bake for about 10-15 minutes more.

Handy Tip #1: I advise you to check any meats you cook with a meat thermometer just to be extra safe. Fully cooked according to this website that I found online here is 160 degrees.

Handy Tip #2: Use parchment paper on your sheet pan for easy clean up.

Handy Tip #3: you could also use ketchup in place of the tomato sauce. I chose to use no salt added tomato sauce because I am trying to watch our sodium intake somewhat. I never really realized how high in sodium ketchup is. Feel free to sub it in place if you’d rather. Also, feel free to add more salt to this recipe as I didn’t really add much.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cookbook Review: My Perfect Pantry



I recently received My Perfect Pantry by Geoffrey Zakarian with Amy Stevenson and Margaret Zakarian. You may know him from the Food Network if you watch that channel often. I was really intrigued by the books premise of “150 easy recipes from 50 essential ingredients.”

Zakarian starts off the cookbook with foundation items to have on hand. These are various spices and such to have on hand to help your dishes have more flavor. Then he heads right into the meat of the cookbook, the pantry. He gives recipes for such common items as bbq sauce, rice, ketchup, honey, vinegar and more. There are many beautiful pictures of the food in the cookbook. I have to say, that’s a very important feature to me. I like to see what a recipe looks like before I decided to make it. There are exceptions to that, but they are rare.

There are some yummy sounding recipes in the book like Supercharged Chicken Wings, Huevos Rancheros, Veal and Bean Casserole, and even Chocolate-Dipped Candied Oranges. Those oranges look so yummy and you actually use real oranges to make them. They would be a neat thing to add to your Christmas trays. I will do my best to try and make those and post them here soon in case you all want to try them also.

Some of the recipes are a bit out of my family’s tastes, such as the aforementioned Veal and Bean Casserole. However, substitutions can be made in many things like that. I plan to make that recipe and sub out a different meat because the picture of it looked delicious. I definitely would recommend checking out this book and seeing if you might enjoy adding it to your collection. There are many tasty sounding recipes inside!

Want some more information about this cookbook? Go here.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, these opinions are my own.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cookbook Review: The Kitchn Cookbook



My newest cookbook to review came today. It’s called The Kitchn Cookbook by Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand. It’s a very nice sized hardback book. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in this cookbook, but it looked very interesting. About half of this book is how to set up your kitchen, tools, stocking your pantry, meal planning and some essential skills. It has tons of information in that first half, and even gives you a peek into other people’s kitchens, which is really neat. I really enjoyed taking a peak into other people’s kitchens!

Included in this first section are a few recipes for homemade cleaning supplies, which are always handy since they are more natural than the chemical based cleaners in the store. There is also a daily cleaning plan for a constantly clean kitchen. The authors also cover basic kitchen sanitation.

The section on essential skills is very interesting and would be great for those learning to cook or want to expand a few more skills. This makes this a great book for newlyweds or those people first starting out. It really gives a great amount of information. There are instructions on how to hold a chef’s knife, how to deglaze a pan, how to thicken a sauce, how to cut up a chicken and so much more!

I have to say, I felt there weren’t as many recipes as I would like to have seen. However, the recipes that are there look delicious and are full of healthy ingredients. There’s a recipe for Smoky Tomato Sauce, Overnight (No Knead) bread, Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, Horseradish ketchup (and this isn’t just adding horseradish to already bought ketchup, you’re making it from scratch using canned diced tomatoes), Slow Cooker Garlic Chicken and more.

This really seems like a great book to add to your collection. Just don’t expect the whole thing to be recipes. It is pretty much half kitchen tips, etc. and half recipes.

Want some more information about this cookbook? Go here.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, these opinions are my own.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cookbook Review: The Skinnytaste Cookbook



I have been very excited to get my copy of The Skinnytaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka with Heather K. Jones, R.D. First let me say that the book is pretty good size. There’s a little over 300 pages and it’s hardback. The book is filled with beautiful pictures of many of the recipes. The author starts the book with “The Skinny Basics” which gives some great tips on eating healthy. She talks about making a plan, keeping it simple, portion size, and giving your kitchen a skinny makeover.

Most recipes have a picture along with it. Which I always feel is such a plus in a cookbook. We eat with our eyes and it’s difficult to know if we want to make something if we don’t know what the recipe looks like. So I was very happy that Ms. Homolka included so many.

Some recipes that really stood out to me were Make-Ahead Western Omelet Muffins, Too-Good-to-be-true Baked Potato Soup, “Un”Stuffed Cabbage Soup, Chicken Philly Cheesesteaks, Loaded “Nacho” Potato Skins, Turkey Santa Fe Taco Salad with Avocado Crema, Chicken Marsala on the Lighter Side,So-Addicted Chicken Enchiladas, black bean burrito bowls and so much more! So many things look good and they feature ingredients that are easy to find.

I’m hoping to make another recipe very soon from one of the cookbooks I have already reviewed. Hopefully I can soon get to where I am posting the recipe along with the cookbook review. I just need to get better organized. :) This seems like a great cookbook and I will be sure to post a recipe from it soon to update y'all on what I thought.

Want some more information about this cookbook? Go here.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, these opinions are my own.