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Quick Mini Meatloaves

This a quick weeknight meal. The mini loaves can be frozen individually and then taken out to defrost a day before.

Mini Turkey Meatloaves

Total Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: About 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1 2/3 cup BBQ sauce
20 oz Ground turkey (one package)
20 oz Sweet italian turkey sausage (one pacakage)
30 Saltines, crushed (About 1 1/4 cup)
1/3 cup Parsley, chopped
2 Large Eggs
5 TBSP Whole Milk
3 cloves Garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper
2 TBSP Vegetable Oil

Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, with oven rack in middle position

  • Cook the BBQ sauce in a small sauce pan over medium heat until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  • Mix together the Turkey, Turkey sausage, Saltines, Parsley, Egg, Milk, 5 TBSP thickened BBQ sauce, Garlic, Salt, Pepper.
  • Form mixture into 5 equal loaves. (Freeze extras at this point)
  • Heat oil in an oven-safe skillet at number 6 -7 (medium-high).
  • Brown the loaves in the oil on each side, about 1-2 minutes per side.
  • Top each loaf with around 1 TBSP of the thickened BBQ sauce.
  • Transfer the skillet to the oven, then bake until the loaves are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  • Serve with the remaining sauce.

Skillet-Baked Ziti with Sausage

This is another awesome recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s Pasta Revolution cookbook.  That is definitely one of our favorite cookbook purchases.

Total cooking time: About an hour

Ingredients:
28 oz can Whole peeled Tomatoes
1 lb Hot Italian Sausage (no casings)
6 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
3 cups Water
12 oz Ziti, uncooked
1/2 cup Heavy cream
1 oz (1/2 cup) Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup fresh Basil, chopped
4 oz low moisture Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions: Adjust the oven rack to the middle. Preheat oven to 475 F.

  • Pulse the Tomatoes in food processor.
  • In and oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat (setting 7), cook sausage, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 4-6 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in processed tomatoes and 1/2 tsp salt. Reduce heat to medium-low (setting 3-4) and simmer gently, about 10-12 minutes.
  • Stir in water and pasta. Cover and increase heat (back to 6 or 7) and cok at a vigorous simmer, stirring often, until pasta is tender, about 15-18 minutes.
  • Stir in cream, Parmesan, and Basil, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Sprinkle Mozzarella over top.
  • Transfer, uncovered, into the oven and bake until cheese has melted and browned, about 10-15 minutes.

Sicilian Meatloaf

1 onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1/2 tsp oregano
2 slices white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
1/2 cup whole milk
1 lb 85% lean ground beef
8 oz Italian sausage, without its casing
2 large eggs
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1/3 cup oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, rinsed and patted dry, chopped fine
4 oz thin sliced mortadella
4 oz thin sliced hard salami
4 oz thin sliced provolone cheese
3/4 cup jarred tomato sauce

Instructions:
1. Line slow cooker with aluminum foil collar and foil sling.

2. Microwave the onion, garlic, oil, and oregano in bowl, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

3. Mash bread and milk into paste in large bowl using fork. Mix in the onion mixture, ground beef, sausage, eggs, parsley, and sun-dried tomatoes, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper, using hands.

4. Transfer half of the mixture into slow cooker and press into an even layer. Layer mortadella, salami, and provolone evenly over meat mixture. Press the remaining meat mixture into even layer on top of the provolone. Brush meatloaf with tomato sauce.

5. Cover and cook until meatloaf is tender, about 4 hours.

6. Using sling, transfer meatloaf with foil to service platter, allowing juice to drain back into cooker. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Easy Pesto Meatballs

From one of the best slow cooker books ever.

Pesto:

2 cups fresh basil
6 TBSP EVOO
2 TBSP Toasted pine nuts
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Mix the basil, EVOO, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor.  Transfer into a pest bowl and then stir in parmesan cheese.

Meatballs:

1 lb 85% Ground beef
2/3 cup Plain bread crumbs
2/3 cup basil Pesto
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 large egg yolk
2, 24 oz jar Tomato sauce
1/2 cup water

Instructions:

1. Mix ground meat, bread crumbs, pesto, Parmesan, and egg yolk in bowl using hands.  Pinch off and roll mixture into 1 1/2-in meatballs.  Microwave meatballs on large plate until fat renders and meatballs are firm, 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Stir tomato sauce and water into slow cooker.  Nestle meatballs into slow cooker, discarding rendered fat.  Cover and cook until meatballs are tender, 4 to 6 hours on low.

3.  Let meatballs and sauce settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using large spoon.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Mrs. C’s Sausage and Spinach Pie

Now I have no idea who Mrs. C is or how we came across her dinner pie, but I don’t care!  This is one of those recipes from childhood that brings back so many fond feelings.  I have my big sister Wendy to thank for this recipe.  She is, I’m pretty sure, entirely responsible for my love of spinach.  I remember some dinners where she would make cooked spinach and butter special, just for us, since I know (as kids, anyway) we were a spinach loving minority!  I remember Wendy making Mrs. C’s sausage and spinach pie 0r at least convincing my non-spinach loving mom to make it for us… as I said, fond memories, a happy comfort food!

Mrs. C’s Sausage and Spinach Pie

Ingredients:

1 lb Sweet Italian sausage
6 eggs
2, 10 oz. packages of frozen spinach – thawed and drained
16 oz. fresh Mozzarella, shredded
8 oz.  Ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper
1/8 tsp Garlic powder
Pie crusts (top and bottom)
1 TBSP water

Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 F
1. Brown the sausage in a skillet then drain.
2. Reserve 1 egg yolk.
3. In a large bowl, combine remaining eggs, sausage, spinach, mozzarella, ricotta, salt, pepper, and garlic pepper. Set aside.
4. Fit one half of the unbaked pie crust into a 9in pie pan. Turn the sausage mixture into the pie shell.
5. Top with the other half of the pie crust.
6. Cut slits into the pastry top. Then brush the top with mixture of reserved egg yolk and water.
7. Bake at 375 F for 1 hr and 15 minutes or until the pie is golden brown.
8. Let the pie stand 10 minutes before cutting.

“Asian” fish/chicken/steak packets

We love this recipe because it is a nice, simple, healthy, and great tasting dinner for any night!  The recipe works exactly the same whether you use a white fish filet (Tilapia, Cod, Haddock) or a thin sliced chicken breast.

There are many different ways to adjust this recipe, but the basic principle is the same… put cooked rice on the bottom, some vegetables in the middle, and your protein on top.  The topping is where you can have a lot of fun.  I personally love this sauce, but Rob has found a few pre-prepared sauces that he will substitute. He loves Teriyaki variants, which I just don’t.  But, that’s the great thing about this for dinner, I can have my sauce in my packet, he can have his sauce in his packet, and in the end… dinner is great!

Asian Fish/Chicken/Steak packets

2 Firm fish fillets, chicken cutlets, or steaks (5 to 6 oz each) e.g., tuna

1 Cup cooked rice

2 Cups coarsely chopped spinach or other easily cooked green vegetable

The sauce (per packet):

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tsp grated ginger root
1 Garlic glove, minced or pressed
2 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp hot sauce
1 Tsp dark sesame or chili oil

1 Tbsp brown sugar

Directions:

Cook rice.
Preheat oven to 450

Take two 12X24 sheets of aluminum foil, and fold each sheet over to make a double think square. Brush a little oil on the center part of each square.

Spread half of the cooked rice on the center of each foil square. Layer greens, and protein on top of the rice.

For the sauce: In a small bowl combine the oil, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, hot sauce, and brown sugar.

Pour ½  of the prepared sauce over each serving. Or top each packet with your sauce of choice.

Fold the foil into airtight packets. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully avoid the steam when opening the packets.

Chicken Fried Steak

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 large egg whites
1 cup Panko bread crumbs, toasted
2 oz Funyuns onion flavored rings, finely crushed (1 cup)
1 TBSP canola oil
salt and pepper
1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper
2, 1 lb boneless strip steaks, timmed of all visible fat, each steak halved
4 oz turkey breakfast sausage, chopped fine
1 1/2 cup 2% low-fat milk
2 tsp cornstarch

Instructions:
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 425 degrees.

2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and a wire rack. Spray rack with Pam.

3. Add flour into one shallow dish.  In a second shallow dish, whisk egg whites until foamy.  In third shallow dish, combine toasted panko, Funyuns, oil, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and cayenne.

4. Pound steaks 1/2 inch thick with meat pounder then pat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Working with 1 steak at a time, dredge in flour, dip in egg whites, then coat with panko mixture; lay on prepared wire rack.

5. Roast steaks until meat registers 150- 155 degrees, about 1o minutes.

6. Meanwhile, cook sausage in medium saucepan over medium heat until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Stir in 1 cup milk and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Combine remaining 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch, then whisk into pot. Continue to simmer sauce, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 3 minutes.

7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon sauce over steak and serve.