Monday, January 28, 2013

Scalloped Sweet Potato and Chipotle Meatloaf

Sometimes I get an idea of something to make and it naggs at me.  This is one of those.  I thought about making this for probably about 6 months before I actually made it.  Then I waited another oh 6 months or so to post it so that I could post it when sweet potatoes were back in season and at their best.  The really fantastic thing about this dish, is that I had been thinking about it forever and wondering if it would turn out, and well, the first time I made it, it was fantastic!  I was thrilled!  I'm pretty sure I jumped around a bit in our kitchen while my husband looked at me like I was'd think by now he'd be used to me getting excited about food.

I made the version of the meatloaf after we first got married and I was having trouble making anything decent.  We both absolutely loved it, Raymond told me he'd be very disappointed if I never made it again, and I may or may not have shed a tear.  :-P  Later I saw a meatloaf recipe in a magazine that was topped with scalloped potatoes.  I thought that was a wonderful idea!  Raymond isn't a big fan of eating russet/yukon potatoes for dinner, so I thought I would try a sweet potato scallop dish.  Then I found a light version of a scalloped potato recipe in another magazine and thought that I could modify it a bit to work for the scalloped sweet potatoes.  Then I obsessed over getting a new meatloaf pan for about two months because I knew I just had to have it, but I had a hard time convincing myself that I deserved yet another kitchen toy.  I don't remember how I finally came to get my beloved meatloaf pan, Raymond probably got tired of hearing me debate about it and picked it up on his way home from work or something, but I got it!

The recipe probably has a bit more steps and requires a bit more time than most people are willing to spend making dinner on a week night, but this definitely should grace your dinner one weekend night when you have a bit of time to spend in the kitchen.

1/3 cup barbecue sauce
2 canned chipotle chilies, seeded
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from canned chilies)
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely minced
1 pounds lean ground beef
1 cup quick-cooking oats
3 Tbs barbecue sauce
Scalloped Sweet Potatoes:
1 1/4 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
3/4 cup 2% milk
1/2 Tbs unsalted butter
1/2 large onion, finely minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 Tbs cornstarch
1/2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 cup gouda cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 Tbs panco bread crumbs



Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Spray a meatloaf pan with cooking spray.

Combine first seven ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

In a large bowl combine mixture with garlic, onion, beef and oats.

Mix gently with your hands.  You don't want to over mix and have a tough meatloaf. 

Lightly pack the mixture into the pan. 

Spread the remaining 3 Tbs barbecue sauce over the meatloaf.

Scalloped Potato Directions:

Coarsely chop 2 ounces of sweet potatoes and transfer to a bowl.  Cover the bowl and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes until tender. 

Add 1 1/2 Tbs milk to cooked potatoes and mash until smooth. 

Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. 

Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. 

Create a slurry by whisking remaining milk, broth, mashed potatoes, cornstarch, flour, chipotle chili powder, salt and pepper together in a bowl. 

Add to the pot and simmer over medium heat until thickened. 

Remove pot from heat and stir in gouda and parmesan cheese and mix until smooth.

Layer 1/3 of the sliced potatoes on top of the meatloaf and pour one third of the cheese sauce over the potatoes.  Repeat the layering until the potatoes and cheese sauce.  Sprinkle with panko. 

Bake for 40 minutes.  Cover with foil and cook another 15-20 minutes until the meatloaf registers 160 degrees. 

Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes and serve.

This is another reason the meatloaf pan was well worth the purchase.  I would never have thought about serving meatloaf to company, but with the new pan I was able to remove it from the pan and transfer it to a serving platter.  As an additional plus, it was a leaner meatloaf because the pan allowed the fat from the meatloaf to drip out.

*Meatloaf adapted from All Recipes, Scalloped Potatoes adapted from Cook's Country.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Top 10 of 2012

I hope everyone has had a wonderful new year!  I absolutely love this time of year.  It always makes me thing about how quickly time flies!  I can't believe that in the span of one year I have celebrated our one year anniversary, traveled to Maine and Mexico, ate as much fresh lobster as we wanted, I have completed my first Ironman (second iron distance), have five adorable new babies to play with thanks to all my family and friends, have had good friends who are truly happy together get engaged, and I got hired to make my first wedding cake!!!  Yes, this coming April I will be making a cake and getting paid to do it!!!  What more could I ask for? 

As is always hard to come up with a top 10 list, I just couldn't do it.  The problem is, I don't post anything unless I really love it.  Therefore my top 11 list of 2012 is below. 

I'm a glass half full type person so I'm going to say that even though a sugary treat made it to my top 10 list in January (where we're supposed to ward off all things bad) at least it is last on my list so I'm off to a good start.  Though the glass half empty type person might say that I created a top 11 list instead just to include it... Regardless, I have tried another chocolate cake recipe this year that looked promising and was severely disappointed.  In my opinion this is the BEST chocolate cake recipe ever!

We literally have pancakes or waffles using this mix at least once a week thanks to my husband.  It makes great hot breakfasts in the mornings, and leftovers make good snacking during the day.

These do take a bit of work to make, but are so handy to keep in the freezer for a quick meal on the go...without all the preservatives and MSG's and all the other stuff that I can't pronounce.  My brother and I are having a turkey cook off soon and the winner gets all the leftovers.  This is serious business and you can bet I will be making these with all the leftover turkey I'm confident I will have.  :-D

I absolutely love all risotto's and I was so happy with the way this turned out! I think my favorite part of it was the bit of lemon added at the end to add a little bit of brightness.

I really hate calling this a casserole, well, because it is so much better than the sound of "casserole".  This was the first dish that Raymond actually liked mushrooms in!

I love how easy this soup is!  It is thick and comforting and definitely always on my rotation.  Plus it's very easy on the budget which is always a perk.

This was soo good!  I made this for a dinner party using tenderloins and it was everyones favorite part of the meal!

Oh what a treat this was in the middle of summer!  We had plenty of zucchini thanks to the Farmers Market that I actually made this several weekends in a row!  It's a delicious way to make sure you get all your veggies in!


My uncle, whom I like to call Uncle Chef, gave me the greatest compliment on this when he told me that he has made this several times and really liked it.  He is the best cook I know!  I went home and probably told Raymond the story 20 times over.  This really is that good of a dish.


My husband was actually disappointed with this post in the fact that I didn't mention how excited I was about this dish that I actually fell through a bridge while telling someone about this.  Now I am.  We went on a bike ride the next morning and I was busy telling the person next to me about what an amazing burger I had the night before that I actually fell right into a crack in the bridge...the scars from that are still healing!

The first time I made this I knew without a doubt that it would be my favorite!  So much flavor in such a simple dish!  If you only make one thing I have posted this past year, this should be it!!

I hope you are in for a fantastic new year, and if you get bored, try out a new recipe!  :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Homemade Pancake Mix

I really don't know how I got so lucky.  My husband spoils me so.  He knows when I've had a rough day and/or week, and before I even have a chance to argue and say that I have too much to do to take a break, he has already ran me a bath, either set the book I'm reading out or set up a movie, is pouring me a glass of wine, and is making me a plate of cheese and crackers.  Thirty minutes later he is bringing me chocolate and checking to see if I need anything else. 

I'm probably most recently spoiled by my husband on Saturday mornings.  He'd set his alarm to get up extra early (usually around 4:30am) and I'm woken up an hour later with a kiss on the cheek.  Coffee is made, he pulls out a heaping plate of blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes that are being warmed in the oven, and serves it all with an egg cooked just the way I like it.  Such a great start to the day!  Makes getting up that early for an 100 mile bike ride worth it.  Oh, and did I mention that he went on the rides with me so that he can make sure my training goes well?  He wasn't even training. 

This past weekend we traveled to Panama City with another couple for the Ironman.  I ended up doing much better than I ever imagined I'd do, and I'm pretty sure it had a lot to do with this:

My husband woke up at 3 am to make us pancakes before our race.

I like to think I do my part to help out on Saturday mornings by always making sure we have enough pancake mix to make pancakes. When you get up that early it makes sense that you don't want to spend too much time measuring out different ingredients to make homemade pancakes. When Raymond and I first got married we found a pancake mix that I could live with (I don't like box mixes...they give me the heebie-jeebies) and actually enjoyed. It was a multi-grain pancake mix that tasted nutty and nutritious enough to make me forget all the additional additives that were probably in it. Unfortunately, as it always seems to happen, they discontinued that mix. Therefore to keep from going back to a box mix, I set my sights on coming up with a multi-grain pancake mix that tasted just as good without any additives.

For this mix I started out just buying a bunch of different grained flours and such that I had wanted to try.  In the process of this, I discovered my love for coconut flour.  Besides the fact that it smells AMAZING, coconut flour is actually really good for you.  It is gluten free, high in fiber, and high in protein.  It is also a good source of lauric acid (supports the immune system and thyroid) and manganese (bone health, nervous system function, thyroid health, and moderates blood sugar and insulin levels).

I know this is a long ingredient list, and may look a little intimidating, but if you want to substitute whole wheat flour for one of the other flours listed, go for it.  If you substitute the coconut flour you will need to reduce the number of eggs and the amount of water you add to the final mix.

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups ground oats
1 1/2 cups pumpernickel flour (whole rye flour)
1 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1 1/2 cups coconut flour
1 1/2 cup powdered buttermilk
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup brown flax seeds
3/4 cup seasame seeds
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup ground flax
1/4 cup chia seeds
5 Tbs baking powder
2 Tbs cinnamon
1 Tbs baking soda
1 Tbs salt


This part is really easy....just mix all ingredients and store in an air tight container or ziplock bag.  It helps to start with the brown sugar because that's the most clumpy of the ingredients, and starting with that ensure that it all breaks up by the time you add everything.

To make the pancakes:

Combine 1 1/2 cups mix with 2 eggs, 2 TBS vanilla, 1-2 TBS of butter or oil, 1 cup of water, and 1 cup of optional mix-ins (blueberries, chocolate chips, nuts, etc.).  Let sit for 10-15 min while you heat up your griddle, and then cook and enjoy!

"Every woman should get herself two things: a good husband and a good set of knives.  Bad husbands aren't worth the trouble, and cheap knives aren't worth the purchase." ~ Kathleen Flinn from The Sharper Your Knive, the Less you Cry

I am lucky enough to get a fantastic husband who then made sure we got a great set of knives.  Oh how I love him!

Raymond was sitting beside me as I put this post together and happened to notice the picture of him making pancakes.  He asked me to remove it because he thought it would look like he was up drinking until 4 and then got the munchies.  Because I love the photo, I thought I'd just add a clarification that I snapped that with my phone after he woke me up as he was finishing making my breakfast. :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mustard Salmon Packets

Last week we had a good friend come over for dinner.  Unfortunately she was only in town for a brief period of time and had a really packed schedule.  She needed to eat dinner at 6 pm on Monday night!  Wow, when you work until 5 or 5:30 most days and traffic is as unpredictable as it can get, that's a little stressful to think about.  I decided that we would have salmon because it wouldn't take that long to cook.  Plus I've had an idea for a while now about how I wanted to cook some salmon.  This ended up coming together quickly, and dinner was ready at 6:10pm.  That's pretty good considering my past history.  (Just ask my husband, he'll tell you that my cooking has taught him patience...or maybe tested his patience) :)

During our canning adventure we made close to 40 jars of this lovely banana pepper mustard that we have been using on our homemade sandwiches since October Unprocessed started.  I used this mustard to make the salmon packets, but feel free to use whatever mustard you have on hand.  Dijon mustard would be wonderful as well. (It's really easy to make your own mustard for October Unprocessed.  Just get some mustard seeds, soak in some vinegar and white wine, let sit for 24 hrs, then blend until desired consistency is reached.)


4 4-6oz salmon fillets
1/4 cup mustard of choice
1 medium tomato
1/4 cup onion
2 TBS fresh herbs (I used a mix of basil and parsley)
1 TBS good balsamic vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste


Pre-heat oven to 400 degree's Fahrenheit. 

Combine the tomato, onion, herbs, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper, and let sit for about 10 minutes.

Tear off four medium size pieces of foil and place each fillet on a piece of foil.  Spread about 1 Tbs of mustard on each fillet and let sit for 5 minutes.

Divide the tomato mixture evenly onto of each salmon fillet. 

Fold up the sides of the foil to create a packet. Don't close the foil onto the salmon, but leave some room for the steam in the packet.

Place the foil packets into an oven safe dish and bake for 15-20 minutes.  Let rest for 5 minutes after removing from oven.