Monday, August 29, 2016

Ritzy Meatloaf

I must admit that I do love meatloaf.
There's almost nothing as homey
as the smell of meatloaf in the oven.
I have several recipes that I like to rotate
that use different fillers like: breadcrumbs,
 bread, saltine crackers, oatmeal, and they
 are all good. This one uses Ritz crackers.
Using the Ritz in place of the usual 
is what makes this meatloaf just a bit
 different and very tasty. This is another
 good one to add to your recipe collection.
Crush a sleeve of crackers to make
about 1 cup. I did this in a bowl using the
bottom of a glass to crush. 
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.
Put into a 5x9 loaf pan or just shape into
a loaf and place in a shallow casserole, 
Bake for 30 to 45 minutes first before
spreading on the topping. This prevents 
the topping from burning due to 
the brown sugar content. 
Combine the brown sugar, ketchup, mustard
and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl.
Spread it over the top and return to the 
oven for another 15 minutes. 
I'm using my vintage Corningware loaf pan. 
Makes me want to wear one of my aprons too. 
I found this pan for $2.00 thrifting.

Ritzy Meatloaf
2 lbs ground beef
1 C crushed Ritz crackers 
(about 24-26)
1 C milk
2 eggs, beaten
½ C ketchup
½ C onion, finely chopped
1 t salt
½ t pepper
½ t garlic powder
In a large bowl mix all the ingredients
until thoroughly combined. Shape into
a 5x9 loaf, or use a loaf pan. Bake @350º
for 45  minutes. Spoon off excess fat.
Spread with topping.
½ C ketchup
¼ C brown sugar
½ T mustard
 T Worcestershire sauce
Combine in a small bowl. 
and bake another 15 minutes. Let rest
 15 mins before slicing and serving.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Perfectly Grilled Pork Tenderloin

This  simple marinade and a few grilling tips
are all you need for a perfectly grilled moist
 and tender pork tenderloin everytime. 
 Tenderloins come 2 in a package.
One will serve about 3 people.
 This is the simplest marinade. I mix it all in
a Ziplock bag and add the tenderloins.
 When the grill is preheated it will only
take 15-18 minutes to cook. You want a
nice brown seared crust on the outside and
just a touch of pink on the inside. It will
continue to cook while it rests off the grill.
Slice and serve with any juices that are on 
the platter. Leftover pork tenderloin make
 great sandwiches the next day. I like it simply
 on buttered French bread with a little 
Dijon mustard or my cranberry chutney. 
Even pork tacos with the usual fixings are
good. It's another reason I usually make two. 

Grilled Pork Tenderloin
2 pork tenderloins  (2 per package)
2 T brown sugar
2 T balsamic vinegar
4 T (¼)  C soy sauce
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1.) Mix all ingredients in a Ziplock bag and add the
the pork. Squeeze out as  much air as possible as
you zip the bag shut. Turn to coat the meat well.
Refrigerate and let marinade for at least an hour.
2.) Remove the tenderloin from the refrigerator
about 30 minutes before you grill to allow it to
reach room temperature. Pre-heat the grill to
3.) The key to a perfectly grilled tenderloin is to
evenly grill on all sides. Grill the first side for 5
minutes then roll it to each of the 4 sides for about
4-5 minutes per side. You want a nice browned
crust to form. You don't want it to dry out.
4.) Remove to a platter and let is rest for about 10
minutes before you slice it on the diagonal. Serve
and drizzle over any accumulated juices.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Coq au Vin Blanc

This is a wonderful Sunday family dinner that
transitions your summer meals into fall.
It's incredibly flavorful and will make your 
entire house smell like a big 'welcome home'.
It's nice to make on the weekend when you can 
take your time and enjoy the process.
 I'll make this  meal over and over again,
especially in the fall and winter. 
Fry the bacon, then brown the chicken .
Remove the golden chicken to a baking dish
(note I used just 6 thighs this time)
Saute the onions, mushrooms, and garlic. 
Add a sprig of fresh thyme or tarragon.
Season again with salt and pepper
Add the wine and reduce for about 2 minutes.
Pour over the chicken and crumbled bacon.
Bake for 45  minutes. This gives you time 
for clean up, table setting, and vegetable prep. 
Remove from the oven and add the cream and 
cornstarch mixture. I added the cornstarch
 right to the cream container and shook to blend.
Stir it around a bit and return to the oven
for another 15 minutes.
Stir the sauce.
Sprinkle with parsley before serving.
The chicken is soft and succulent and the
sauce is deeply flavored. 
Delicious over creamy mashed potatoes. 
Carrots are a good vegetable choice. Green beans,
peas, also good. You can't go wrong here. 

Coq au Vin Blanc
8 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
salt & pepper
sprig of thyme or tarragon
1 T olive oil
4 strips of bacon
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lb mushrooms, halved or thickly sliced
2 C white wine
1 C heavy cream
2 T cornstarch
fresh parsley, chopped
Trim the excess fat from the chicken, rinse, and
pat dry. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken
generously.  Fry the bacon in a large skillet until
browned. Remove from pan. Add the olive oil to
the bacon fat in the skillet. Brown the chicken on
both sides over medium-high heat. Remove the
browned chicken to a 9x13 casserole. Top with the
crumbled bacon. Add the chopped onion to the
skillet and saute' for 5 minutes until tender. Add
the mushrooms, thyme, and garlic and cook
another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour in the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up
any browned bits. Simmer about 2 minutes. Pour
the mixture over the chicken and bacon in the
casserole. Bake in a 350º oven for 45 minutes.
Combine the 2 T cornstarch and 1 C cream in a
lidded jar and shake to mix. Remove the chicken
from the oven and pour the cream mixture over
the top, stir gently to mix it in with the juices.
 Return the pan to the oven for another 15
minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before
serving.  Serve with mashed potatoes.
Serves 4-6

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Best Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana and chocolate are flavors 
that are just meant for each other.
When bananas get over ripe they are perfect
 for my favorite Banana Bread or these moist 
and delicious banana chocolate chip muffins. 
If I'm not going to use them right away
 I throw overripe bananas in the freezer. 
(no bag, un-peeled) to use anytime. 
 These yummy muffins mix-up in minutes 
and take just 20 minutes to bake. If you 
like a really sweet muffin you can increase
the amount of sugar to 1 C. Use two bowls;
One bowl for the dry ingredients, 
and one bowl for the wet.
Then mix them together.
 Stir in the chocolate chips.
 Divide the batter into paper lined 12 C
muffin pan.
 Bake @350º until the tops spring back when 
lightly touched, about 20  minutes.
 Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes then 
remove to  a wire rack to cool. 
These muffins freeze well too. 
 Perfect golden muffin tops!
 Now it's time to enjoy one with a 
frothy cup of coffee. 
 These muffins have great crumb texture.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
3 over-ripe bananas (1 to 1-1/2 C mashed)
1 egg
¾ C sugar
¼ C sour cream
1 stick butter (½ C melted)
1 t vanilla
2 C flour
1 t baking soda
¼ t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
¾ C chocolate chips
1. Mash the bananas in a large bowl using a
whisk. Next whisk in the egg, then sugar,
sour cream, butter and vanilla.
2. In a separate bowl whisk the flour, soda, salt,
and cinnamon to combine. Add to the banana
mixture and whisk until the flour is incorporated.
3. Use a ¼ C scoop to fill a paper lined 12 count
muffin tin, dividing batter evenly.
4.  Bake @350º for 20-22 minutes, until the
tops spring back when lightly touched. Let rest
5  minutes then remove them to a cooling rack.


Monday, August 8, 2016

Grilled Lamb Chops

This is one of our favorite things to eat,
grilled lamb chops!
 I like to marinade them for the day. 
I shake up the marinade ingredients in a jar
and pour it over the chops in a ziplock bag.
 I smoosh it around to make sure they are well 
coated. Remove them from the fridge
 15 minutes before grilling. 
 Allow 2 chops per person. 
We had an extra one to share tonight.
 We like our lamb medium-rare, so it only takes 
 about 10 minutes on a preheated grill, depending
 on the thickness. Adjust for your taste.
 This is such a fast dinner. All I need to add is a 
vegetable and potato...and of course red wine!
 I have 2 favorite marinades. One is the same one
 I use for grilled leg of lamb. I've posted that one
 below. The other one has a hint of curry powder,
 though you can't pick that out in the flavor. 
Then there's always my go-to seasoning
prep for grilling meat.  All good! 

Marinated Lamb Chops

8 Lamb Chops
1 t curry powder
1 t salt
2 T minced onion or 1T dried
1 large clove garlic, minced about 2-3T
1/4 C lemon juice
1/4 C red wine
1/4 C olive oil
Mix together all marinade ingredients and add
to the lamb chops in a in sealable bag, turning
 to coat. Marinade in refrigerator for 2 hours.
 Bring to room temperature for 15 minutes
before grilling. Grill for 4-5 minutes per side. 
(can also use a hot cast iron skillet on stovetop)
 I like them slightly charred and medium-rare 
on the inside. Let rest 5 minutes.
serves: 4

(good for lamb chops too)
2 T olive oil
1 T lemon juice
1 T dijon mustard
1 T soy sauce
1 T minced garlic (or ½ t powder)
¼ t salt
¼  t pepper
1 t oregano, minced
1 t thyme, minced
1 t rosemary, minced

When all else fails this is fool-proof
Basic Seasoning for Grilled Meat
Rub with olive oil and sprinkle
generously with garlic salt and 
Montreal Grill Seasoning.