Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The best Meatloaf you will ever eat!

I've never been a fan of meatloaf, so when my Dad requested that I cook him some, I dreaded it. Dry meatloaf with ketchup on top. One word comes to mind: GROSS!!! So I went on a quest to find the best meatloaf recipe out there, no ketchup necessary. I came across this recipe, tweaked it a little bit, and whalah!!!! The best Meatloaf you will ever eat. It is soooooo good! I've cooked it a few times now and the entire family LOVES it. The last time I cooked it, I cooked a 7 lb. meatloaf and it was gone within a couple days. Even a picky 18 year old said it was good. So, I wanted to share the recipe with y'all!!! I know everyone doesn't want a 5+ lb meatloaf, so I'm giving you a recipe for a small loaf. If you want a lot of it (and you probably will!!!), just double, triple, quadruple the recipe!!

Here's what you will need for a  small 1 lb. meatloaf (3-4 servings):

Cooking Spray
8 green onions (sliced)
1 pepper (chopped)
1 carrot (chopped)
2 eggs (beat) OR 2 slightly beaten egg whites
1 lb. ground beef
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 cup chili sauce (if you want a little kick, you can use hot asian chili garlic sauce)
2 Tbsp. milk
14 crackers (1/2 cup smashed)
1 Tbsp basil OR oregano
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. white distilled vinegar
meatloaf pan (I prefer glass)

Coat a skillet with oil. Add chopped peppers, carrots, and green onions. Cook over medium heat until tender. Remove from heat.

Combine eggs, crackers, milk, 2 Tbsp. chili sauce, basil or oregano, and pepper.

Add cooked vegetables and raw ground beef. Mix together with your hands and mash the mixture down evenly into a meatloaf pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. While it is cooking, mix up 1/4 cup chili sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar.

Spoon glaze mixture over the meatloaf and bake for an additional 20 minutes.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mom's Cheese Soup

My mom, Jeannie, was my best friend in the world, hands down!!! I think about her everyday and all the wonderful memories we made together. She was a goofball and put her family before anything else, just like me! Truly one of a kind! One of the best memories I have of her is cooking in the kitchen. Her favorite thing to cook was this soup. She called it cheese soup, but other places where I've seen similar soups call it something like cheesy bacon potato soup. Bacon, Potatoes, Cheese, Onions, what more could you want in a creamy soup? Since we have some big guys in our family (my brothers are 6'10"!), she always cooked huge amounts of food. I'm addicted to cheese, so this is one of my favorite soups!!! This recipe will make approximately 20 bowls of soup. So, If you want less soup, half the recipe!

Here' what you will need:

A block (2.5 lbs) of velveeta cheese (you can also use any other kind of cheese that melts well)
Two packages (2 lbs.) of bacon
5 lbs of potatoes
3-4 large onions
1 cup Milk
3 Tbsp. Corn Starch
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Chives or Parsley (optional)
Stock Pot (preferably granite instead of aluminum)
Frying Pan

Cooking Instructions:

Peel the potatoes and cut them up into small cubes. Peel and chop the onions. Put the onions and potatoes in a large pot and add water. The water should be at least two inches above the potatoes and onions. Boil the onions and potatoes on high until tender.

While the potatoes and onions cook, cut the bacon up into 1 inch peices and fry it in a frying pan. Fry it to the the desired crispness.

When the potatoes and onions are done, add cooked bacon. Turn the burner to a very low heat and add cheese (cut up into small peices). Stir constantly until cheese melts.  Immediately mix up corn starch and milk in a bowl with a fork. Make sure there aren't any lumps.

Pour mixture into the soup and stir some more. (Stir, Stir, Stir!!) Turn burner off as soon as you add corn starch and milk. Add salt and pepper (to taste).

Stir some more! If after 5 minutes the soup isn't thick enough, you can add more corn starch and milk. Sometimes I garnish the soup with parsley or chives (optional).


Since this recipe makes tons of soup, I always put it in ziploc bowls and toss it in the freezer. It always reheats perfectly!!!

A picture of me and my Mom!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pasta E Fagioli

My niece, Meghan, moved in with us and has an obsession with the Olive Garden. She LOVES their Pasta E Fagioli soup. Since we don't go out to eat much, she wanted me to cook the soup at home. I cooked this last night and half of it is gone already. Success! I know other people love this soup too, so, here's the recipe, just for you! **DISCLAIMER** I have one of the biggest crock pots they make, so you might want to half the recipe. This recipe yields approximately 15 bowls of soup.

Here's what you will need:

2 lbs hamburger meat
1 large onion
4 carrots
1/2 - 1 stalk celery
56 oz. diced tomatoes (you can also use stewed tomatoes)
16 oz. white kidney beans
16 oz. red kidney beans
30-40 oz. beef stock (depending on how soupy you want it)
20 oz. spaghetti sauce
1 tsp. tabasco sauce
3 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. pepper
5 tsp. parsley
8 oz. pasta

Brown the hamburger in a pan. While the hamburger is cooking, chop up the onion, carrots, and celery. When the hamburger is done, drain off the grease and put the meat in the crock pot.  Drain the red and the white kidney beans and add them to the meat. Add the undrained diced tomatoes. Then, add everything else except the pasta and stir it all up. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 5 hours.

 During the last 30 minutes to an hour, add the pasta.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Zuppa Tuscano

We don't go out to eat very often, but when we do, it's usually one of two places. The first place is an awesome local mexican restaurant, where I think they serve crack in the cheese dip and you can taste the tequila in your margarita. It's very addictive! The other place we go is a big box restaurant, but they have some good comfort food: Olive Garden!!! Since their salad never looks appetizing, I always order soup. My favorite soup there is Zuppa Tuscano. It is soooooo good, especially in the winter months. So, I looked up several recipes until I found the perfect one. This soup tastes just like the Zuppa at Olive Garden. So, I want to share it with everyone! I've already cooked it twice this week!

Here's what you will need:

2 lb ground Italian sausage
3 tsp crushed red peppers
2 large diced white onions
8 Tbsp bacon pieces
4 tsp garlic puree
15 cups water
10 cubes of chicken bouillon
2 cup heavy cream
4 lb sliced Russet potatoes
A bunch of kale
Shredded Italian cheese (optional)

 This makes about 15 bowls of soup, so if you don't want extra, half the recipe. BUT, this soup is so good, that you will probably want more, so I put the extra soup in ziploc bowls and put them in the freezer for later. My family ate all of them within 2 days!!!
In a pot, sauté bacon, onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft. (You can also cook this in a pan and transfer it to a pot).
Add chicken bouillon and water to the pot and heat until it starts to boil.

Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.

(In a separate pan) While the potatoes cook, sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a pan. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while the potatoes are cooking. (If you don't want to dirty a pot and a pan, you can cook the sausage in the pot before you saute the bacon, onions, and garlic)

Add heavy cream to the pot with everything in it and cook until thoroughly heated.

Stir in the sausage and the kale, let all heat through and serve.

I also add a little cheese to the top of the soup for a little extra something.