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Well, it has taken me much longer to get this recipe posted than I anticipated.

You see, I was in the land of Packers, cheese curd, and beer. Yes, fabulous Wisconsin.

Neenah, to be exact.

And, as you can imagine, it was as magical as one might imagine.

While Neenah leaves quite a bit to be desired in terms of dining and entertainment, it was great to see and spend time with all of my co-workers. I really work with some pretty fun and amazing people.

So, I find myself feeling rather grateful this blessedly warm Friday morning.

I thought we should discuss meat today.

Meatloaf, to be exact.

Mom, if you are reading this, please don’t be offended. But, growing up I hated meatloaf. My mom’s version included cooked green peppers. Bleck! I would try to drown the loaf in ketchup to choke it down.

It wasn’t until much, much later in life that I felt brave enough to try the loaf o’ meat again.

And there is one recipe that I find myself going back to again and again. This is based on a Rachael Ray recipe from a show year’s ago.

On a side note: Rachael Ray is pretty darn annoying. However, I owe her a lot of credit in sparking my adult interest to get excited by cooking. So, thanks Rach! EVOO! YUM-O!

So, this meatloaf is actually a recipe for individual meatloaves that are cooked in a skillet instead of baked in the oven.

Here is what you’ll need for the meatloaf:

1 lb. of ground beef (I use 85/15 or fattier- that ratio means, 85% lean meat/15% fat and you don’t want to go much more lean than that

1 egg

1 handful of bread crumbs (Italian or plain) or a piece of white bread cut up into small cubes

About 2 T. of Grill Seasoning

1/2 t. allspice

1/4 c. milk

1-2 T. of tomato paste

1/2 of a large onion, all chopped up

Start by putting your meat in a bowl. Easy enough, right?

Crack yo egg.

Into the bowl.

You should probably whisk it first.

Unless you are a rebel like me.

Toss in your bread or breadcrumbs.

And then add your grill seasoning.

I am sincerely sorry that I’m not great at providing exact measurements.

Pop in your allspice.

Contrary to popular belief, allspice is not some combo of spices all ground up and combined for you.

Nope, it is an Indian spice from a tree that produces allspice berries.

Fun fact of the day!

Now, your milk.

I use about 1/4 cup.

However, more milk may be needed. We’ll get to that in a bit.

Add in your dollop of tomato paste.

Then, throw in your chopped onion.

Now, take off your rings.

Roll up your sleeves.

Use your clean hands to gently mix this all together.

You want to mix until everything is just combined. If you go nuts mixing, you can do something called over-mixing. The result of over-mixing is some seriously tough meat.

This is the point where you want to check the consistency. You want the meat to be able to form a patty, but you want the meat to be somewhat loose.

So, if the mixture seems too dry and difficult to mix add in a little milk.

If the mixture is too wet- like you can’t get it to form a patty and stay that way- add more bread or breadcrumbs.

Now, set your mixture aside for a minute.

We’re going to make a couple of quick and easy side dishes that are super simple to time correctly so that you have a plateful of food hot and steaming and ready to eat at the same time.

So, take the other half of your onion. Chop part of it into a small dice.

Chop the other 1/4 of the onion into slices.

Set aside.

The diced onion will be for our sauce for the meatloaf.

I used the sliced onion for some easy-peasy sauteed spinach.

I decided that along with spinach and meatloaf, we definitely needed a starch.

So, roasted potatoes it shall be.

Since both the meatloaf and spinach have a softer texture, I wanted something with a little crunch.

Preheat the oven to 400.

Then, chop up red potatoes to bite-sized pieces.

Give them a generous sprinkle of olive oil, salt and pepper, and 2 finely diced cloves of garlic.

Mix em up, and pop them into the oven.

Now, back to that meatloaf.

Get out a non-stick skillet, and put it on a burner over medium-high heat.

Add in 1-2 T. of olive oil.

Form individual patties (similar size to hamburgers) of meatloaf and set them into your heated pan.

Once in the pan, give them a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Cover the pan loosely with foil.

This cooking process will give you a crusty outside to the meatloaf, and the foil will help to cook the meatloaf all the way through.

After about 4 minutes, pull the foil off, and give the loaves a flip.

Cover them back up.

Cook for another 4 minutes.

Put the meatloaf on a plate.

And use your foil to tightly cover the meat to keep it warm while we make a little special sauce for the meatloaf.

Look at this girl.

She got a big old chunk of raw beef because of my sloppy patty making skills.

And she promptly laid down and kept her eye on me, the meat, and the floor.

Sadly, she did not get a second helping.

Now would be a good time to take a peek at your potatoes.

You may want to give them a turn in the pan to make sure they get beautifully browned on all sides.

Lets make our meatloaf sauce.

Here is what you’ll need:

Flour

Butter

Your reserved chopped 1/4 onion

Chicken or Beef Stock

Ketchup

Mustard

Steak or Barbecue Sauce

And if you are feeling crazy, some buffalo or hot sauce

Use your meatloaf skillet to make your sauce.

Plop in 2 T. of butter, and let it melt.

Then, toss in 1/4 of your chopped onions and start to let them brown up.

Mmmmmmmm….

Now, add in 2 T. of flour.

Whisk that together.

If you are using a non-stick pan, I highly recommend using a silicone whisk so that you don’t damage your pan.

Now add in a cup of stock.

Beef stock is recommended, but chicken stock is what I had.

Start whisking.

After no time at all, this little sauce will start to thicken up.

That picture above was starting to get a little too thick for me, so I added another 1/2 cup of stock of so.

I like my gravy a little runnier.

Now, put in 1 T of Ketchup, 1 T of Mustard (I used a dijon), and 1 T. of BBQ or steak sauce.

And whisk it together.

Give it a taste. It may need a little salt or pepper. Or perhaps you’ll fancy a stronger mustard or BBQ flavor so you can add a bit more of either of those. I decided I wanted a little heat, so I added about 2 T. of Buffalo Sauce.

Once, you have the taste perfected grab your meatloaves and let them soak up some of that delicious sauce.

Turn the heat to low, and those babies are ready for you when you are ready for them.

Now, if you wanted to make some spinach… I would start and finish that at this point in the meal. The potatoes are cozy in the oven, the meat and sauce is cozy on the stove, so you will have 5 focused minutes to give to the spinach prep.

Here is the recipe.

When you are done with the spinach, pull your taters out of the oven.

Now heap some of those onto your plate with some spinach and meatloaf.

Comfort food in 30 minutes or less… that is Rachael’s promise after all.

This meatloaf is the opposite of my childhood cooked green pepper yuck memories.

It is flavorful and delicious.

Enjoy my friends!!

Have the happiest of weekends.

XO,

Leah

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This year, for the first time, Brad and I participated in a CSA.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.

So last spring we purchased a half share. And once a week, we took a trip to the local farmer’s market to pick up our goods.

I absolutely loved the surprise of discovering what local seasonal goodies were tucked into our bag. It ranged from blackberries to corn to peppers to potatoes to zucchini to cucumbers to tomatoes to melon and so on!

There were weeks when we had so much corn and so many potatoes that we had to give some away to friends and co-workers!

But I’m not complaining. The produce was amazing, and it was nice to know exactly where our food was coming from.

So, with the tons of potatoes we have on hand, I waited for a cool evening and fixed them up my favorite way… oven roasted. Mmmm.

Here are just a few of the potatoes that we had to use:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Start by giving those guys a good scrub.

Here is something that I find curious. When I was a kid, my mom would get potatoes from the grocery store and we would have to scrub them because they had clearly been dug up from the earth with dirt still left on them.

Now, at the store they are shiny and dirt free. I guess it is nice that the potato people wash them for us??

The farmer’s market potatoes are clearly freshly harvested, and they need a good scrub.

So roll up your sleeves and have at it.

Then dice them up into squares, and spread them out on a large sheet pan.

Bathe these guys in some extra virgin olive oil.

Use enough to get at least a little oil on each and every potato, but not so much that you have any oil pooled in the bottom of you pan.

Think tanning oil application… enough to coat, but not so much that you ruin your towel!

By the way, don’t use tanning oil. It is bad for you. Use sunscreen.

Thanks.

How about a sprinkle of coarse Kosher salt.

I have mentioned it before, but I think it is time to mention it again.

I believe in coarse salt.

If it is possible, I think it tastes saltier and better.

And I like the Kosher stuff myself.

I used a little more than a teaspoon for the entire pan.

Now, add about 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

I like the freshly ground goodness.

Chop up about 1/2 tablespoon of fresh rosemary.

There are a few herbs that I refuse to use the dried version of. And rosemary is one of them.

When rosemary is fresh, it has the texture of a chewable leafy substance.

When it is dried, it feels like a twig made its way into your food.

If you are cool with twig texture, then by all means use the dried rosemary.

Chop up 2-3 cloves of garlic.

Chop it up pretty finely.

Or use a garlic press if you don’t want to smell like a hoagie.

Sprinkle that on your taters.

Now, the fun part.

Get your hands dirty and mix all of that together on the pan.

Then pop it in the oven for 30 minutes.

After they have roasted for 30 minutes, your house will smell like heaven.

A garlicky, rosemary version of heaven.

Pull out the potatoes.

And give them a toss.

You may need the help of a spatula to pull the potatoes off of the pan.

The bottoms of the potatoes should be slightly browned like this:

Now, you could serve these at this point.

I like my potatoes a little crispier and a little browner. So I threw the pan back into the oven for another 10 minutes.

And they came out looking like this:

Perfection.
I tossed them into a bowl and topped with some chives and a dollop of sour cream.

The perfect side dish.

Now I had plenty of potatoes left over, and that is good by me.

Because these potatoes are the perfect base for a hearty breakfast.

For the breakfast, warm the potatoes in the microwave, the oven, or in a toaster oven.

Scramble up some eggs and toss them on top.

Shred some cheese and top your taters and eggs with that.

Throw the whole hot mess under the broiler for a minute or two to melt the cheese.

And enjoy!!

Isn’t food the best?

Yes, I think so.

Have a great day my dear friends.

XO,

Leah

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