20 December 2008

Snowed In With Meatloaf

Took some personal time yesterday and came home early because of the stupid amounts of snow coming from the sky. Still coming from the sky. Much less of it, surely, but still more than the forecast had intimated. Oh, and the freezing rain forecast for Sunday? That has turned into three to seven more inches of snow.

Obviously, we aren't leaving the house before Monday.

Happily, I try to keep the cupboards full enough to cover us through any potential short-term disaster. By short-term, I mean weeks rather than months and even that may be stretching it. Always have lots of shelf-stable goods on hand because my mother taught me to shop on sale and stock up. She's also the reason my freezer stays full, having taught me that a full freezer is an efficient freezer.

So, we could definitely go without access to a grocery store for a couple weeks if we had to. However, we'd be damn pissy if we had to. No fresh fruits? No fresh vegetables? No bread? No milk? No milk? Denied fresh milk for his tea, The Husband would go feral in a matter of hours ...

We are going to die.

But not before we run out of my mom's meatloaf. Yes, what better to eat during a snow storm than beautiful meatloaf and buttery mashed potatoes with squishy peas? I will admit I tweaked the family standard a little this time 'round, but it still turned out delicious:
Mom's Standard Meatloaf

In large bowl, put two eggs, powdered garlic to taste (more is better), handful of dried parsley, one or so shredded carrot, one or so grated onion, one cup of quick-cooking oatmeal, salt and pepper at whim. Stir it all around a bit. Add two pounds ground beef (85% is just right). Mix it everything together really well using your hands. If the mixture looks "too dry" add another egg. Dump the beef mixture into a baking dish, pat into loaf shape. Top with one or two cans Campbell's Tomato Bisque. Cover and bake in a 350°F oven for 1 to 1½ hours.

Mom's Meatloaf, Revisioned

Run two carrots and a small onion through the food processor. Dump into a large bowl with two eggs, a generous amount of McCormick Salt Free Garlic & Herb Seasoning, a handful of fresh chopped parsley, one cup of old-fashioned oats, fresh ground pepper, and two pounds of 85% beef. Mix everything together. Pour into a baking dish and pat into loaf shape. Top with one 19oz. can Muir Glen Hearty Tomato soup. Cover and bake in a 350°F oven for 1½ hours.

12 December 2008

Christmas is for Cookies

Started baking cookies this weekend. Only two kinds, so far, but both good 'uns!

First Christmas Cookie Plate, 2008

"Lemon-Lime Cookies" from Betty Crocker's Cookie Book (Wiley, 2003) Sweet, tart, easy, and delicious! A sugar cookie with lots of citrus zest and a not-too-sweet glaze. Perfect with a cup of tea. Recipe claimed to make about 24, but I managed 30 using my cookie scoop.

"Chocolate Surprise Bites" from Better Homes and Gardens's The Ultimate Cookie Book (Meredith Books, 2007). A shortbread-style cookie with a secret chocolate kiss center. Recipe claimed to make 36, but I only managed 28 using my cookie scoop. The recipe suggested dipping the cookie tops in the frosting, rather than spooning the frosting onto the cookie (which is how I usually do it) and that method worked out very well.

11 December 2008

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Rice ...

This week, I've been trying out my rice cooker and have been pleased with the results. Haven't been brave enough to set the timer and just walk away so have been running the rice cooker while I prepped and made the rest of supper. This has worked out well and, on the one occasion supper took longer to make than expected, the rice cooker kept the rice perfectly until it was needed.

Being a reluctant learner, this week has been long grain white all the way, but I intend to work my way up to oatmeal and barley fairly soon. I purchased some basmati rice earlier this week and will probably give that (and the timer) a try on Sunday so that we may enjoy deliciously fragrant rice with deliciously fragrant roast chicken.


Some repeatable stuff we ate with rice:
Recipezaar "Ground Beef and Rice" (modified)

Browned one pound of ground turkey with one smallish onion, chopped, and eight ounces of sliced mushrooms. Stirred in the last of a wax carton of low-sodium vegetable broth, one tablespoon of chili powder, one can of low-fat low-sodium cream of chicken, one undrained can of low-sodium diced tomatoes, and a handful of frozen corn. Let everything cook for about ten minutes. Garnished with chopped fresh parsley and served on rice.

Taste of Home The Busy Family Cookbook "Sausage Stroganoff" (Reiman Media, 2007)

For this, I removed a pound of hot Italian turkey sausage links from their casings and browned the loose meat with one chopped onion and 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms. I then drained the pan and stirred in chicken broth, Worcestershire, and ground pepper. Let it come to a boil and then simmered, covered, for about five minutes. Stirred in a paste made from flour and broth and brought the pan back to boil until the dish started to thicken. Reduced the heat, stirred in some fat free yoghurt and let everything heat through. Garnished with chopped fresh parsley and served on rice.
Both meals looked suspiciously like SOS, but tasted much better than that.

(I that my rice cooker sings "twinkle, twinkle, little star" when it starts cooking).