Saturday, December 13, 2008

Meat Loaf Cordon Bleu (or Meat Loaf "Surprise")

It's Ashley again. I made meat loaf a few nights ago, and my boys gave it rave reviews. I call it "Meatloaf Surprise," but it's a good surprise. No weird green splotches or anything.:)

This makes a huge loaf. I was feeding 7 very hungry boys and we had about 1/3 of the loaf leftover. I suggest making it in 2 pans and freezing one for later.

4 pounds extra lean ground beef
2 c. Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 medium onion, chopped
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
8 oz. turkey bacon, cooked (or deli sliced ham, your choice)
4 ounces pepper jack cheese
4 ounces mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350
2. Lightly grease 2 9x5 inch loaf pans or 1 really big loaf pan. (I some issues with sticking because I skipped this step. It wasn't pretty.)
3. In a large bowl mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, eggs and onion. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
4. Pat half the meat mixture out onto a piece of wax paper. Flatten to 1/2 inch thickness.
5. Lay half the bacon onto the flattened meat and top with half the pepper jack and half the mozzarella.
6. Pick up the edge of the wax paper to roll the flattened meat into a log. Remove the wax paper; seal the ends and seam. Place the loaf into the loaf pan.
7. If using 2 loaf pans, repeat steps 4-6 with the other half of the meat. If using one really big pan, use all of everything instead of half in steps 4-6.
8. For 2 pans, bake 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until no longer pink inside. For 1 pan, bake 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours.

The top of my loaf was a little dry so you might pour a small can of tomato sauce over the top before baking. It's also fun to let everyone think it's a regular meat loaf. It makes the "surprise" more entertaining.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'm Back in the Kitchen!

At least for now I'm back in the kitchen :-) It's cold outside, I'm on a tight budget these days (thanks to a poor housing market and 2 mortgages) and I'm going back to school in the Spring on top of keeping house, planning weddings and selling stationery. Anyone else think I'm insane? I see those raised eyebrows. You call me an overachiever... I call me an idiot!

Anyway, I'm in the mood for soup and I am a huge fan of taco soup. However, I want it to be filling enough that 1 serving will do and I will have plenty left over... (It freezes and reheats WONDERFULLY!). I took a few recipes that I found and put them all together. This is what I came up with.

* 2.5 lbs Chicken breasts
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 2 (16 ounce) cans pinto beans
* 1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans
* 3 (10 ounce) cans Rotel tomatoes
* 1 (16 ounce) can whole kernel corn
* 1 (16 ounce) can ranch style beans
* 1 package ranch dressing mix
* 1 package taco seasoning
* 1 (8 ounce) block of cream cheese
* 2 cups water OR chicken stock

Season chicken on each side LIGHTLY with Jen's Special Seasoning. Cook chicken until about 95% done... I don't know how I came up with this number other than the chicken wasn't pink inside but it was still REALLY soft and moist.I cooked it as whole breasts and then cut it because it's easy to overcook it when it's cut BEFORE you cook it. Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes and set it aside.
Chop/Dice onions and sauté them in the pot you plan to use, until they sweat nicely. Reduce the heat to medium-low. If you like chunks of onions, feel free to coarsely chop! I have a husband who will make me sorry if I leave them too large.
When the onions begin to caramelize, add the Rotel tomatoes. Let this mixture begin to bubble.
Add the taco seasoning and ranch dressing mix.
Add the beans and corn and let it bubble again. (Do not drain any of them!)
Add the chicken and push it down into the soup so it will cook the rest of the way.
Once the liquids have melded together to make one consistency, add the 2 cups of water or chicken stock. I used water which was o.k. but I think the stock would make it thicker and even add more flavor. OR you could use 1 cup of water and 1 cup of stock. Let me know what you do and how it goes.
Once it gets back up to a bubble/simmer, add the cream cheese if you dare! It really cuts the bite and adds a little sweetness.
Stir pretty frequently throughout just to combine the flavors and eventually to melt the cream cheese.
Once it's to the flavor and consistency you want it, serve it up with tortilla chips, sour cream and shredded cheddar (preferable SHARP cheddar!).

From My Kitchen to Yours, Good Eats!