11 The Glaze Makes the Meat

I love chicken. Hubby loves beef.  My son loves either one.  I try to make dishes that alternate between chicken, beef, pork and have a meatless dish every week.  While a chicken dish trumps a ground beef dish for me any day of the week, I am learning to make some pretty good beef dishes, and this one is no exception.

My mother in law is the master of meatloaf.  Her secret recipe?  The one on the Lipton onion soup packets.  I made her recipe for years and even put it in the crock pot, which resulted in a moist tender meat loaf with absolutely no crust.  Hubby likes to put ketchup on top, which sits there like a blob...of...well....ketchup.

I did not want to be dependent on the "soup packets" and found this recipe you are about to see.

This is a definite winner in our family and far surpasses the traditional meatloaf we have been eating for years.  Why?  It's a great combination of ground beef, sausage, and oh, the glaze.....let me tell you about the glaze.  A tomato-ey blend of tangy sweetness that has a slight kick.  You know how the frosting makes the cake?  In this case, the glaze makes the meat!

Similar to my Marvelous Meatballs recipe, this starts with milk and crackers that are blended...

Ground beef and sausage are added and blended well.

So far, so good!

Everything is put into a large bowl: sauteed onions, garlic, eggs, and seasonings.  Your hands can be your best mixing tools, but I can't stand handling raw meat.

Hooray for disposable gloves!!

After mixing, the mass is shaped into a loaf of uniform height...

and stuck under the broiler for about 5 minutes.  This will give it a crust for the glaze to adhere to.

2 tablespoons of glaze are brushed on the top and put back under the broiler for 2 minutes.

The meatloaf is baked for about 45 minutes, removed, tented with foil for 20 minutes to finish cooking and get all juicy inside.   Ooooooh.....looking good!

Cut yourself a thick slice and dip each bite into the best part.  The glaze. 

Next time, I will make smaller mini loaves and coat each one of them with this marvelous concoction!

Glazed Meatloaf
(full page printable recipe)

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17 Quick or Rolled? Is There A Difference?

When a sweet craving hits, the quickest way to a dessert is in the form of a cookie.  Ten minutes to throw together, ten minutes to bake, and I am happy.

A friend of mine sent me her recipe for Coconut Oatmeal cookies.  The recipe was simple:  "Cream the above ingredients, then add the following ingredients.  Bake at 375º for 10 minutes."  I compared this recipe with my traditional oatmeal cookie recipe.  Everything was the same, except for the amount of oats and the addition of coconut.

In her recipe, she put "oats."  I wasn't sure which type of oats she used.  Old fashioned rolled oats or quick oats are what I have on hand.  Does it make a difference?  Let's see if it does...

The first batch I made, I used quick oats.  These are thin flakes of oats that cook up in three or four minutes.

Coconut.  I used the sweetened shredded kind.

Oh, and I put in semi-sweet chocolate chips.  She doesn't use them in her recipe, but I thought it would be a good addition.

Used a 2 T. cookie scoop onto Silpat....love, love, LOVE my Silpats!

These took a little longer to bake as they are larger cookies.

Let's take a peek inside, shall we?  Mmmmmm....crispy outside, tender and slightly chewy inside ~

Now, let's try it with the Old Fashioned rolled oats...these are groats that are steamed, rolled and flaked.  They are not cut as fine as the quick cooking oats.

I did notice that the batter was a little thicker when using the rolled oats.

They baked for the same amount of time.  They are slightly thicker.  Let's take a taste.

Mmmmmm...crispy, sweet, and chewy.  It was chewier than the quick oat recipe, but still good.

There you have it folks!  If you want a more tender, less chewy oatmeal cookie, go for the quick oats.  If chewy is your thing, go for the old fashioned rolled oats!

So, what's your pick?  Chewy or extra chewy?

Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
(4x6 recipe download)     (full page printable recipe)
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21 Fresh Pasta! Easy as 1 ~ 2 ~ 3!

Do you LOVE pasta?  I do! 

After my MANicotti post, some of you asked about making fresh pasta.  Dried pasta is good.  Fresh pasta is extraordinary.  It is simple, easy, and inexpensive to make.  Think about your favorite restaurant.  Like bread?  Salad?  Pasta?  Why pay $15 for a dinner salad, bread or pasta when you can make it for pennies on the dollar?  It is easy as 1 ~ 2 ~ 3.

1 ~ Make your pasta dough.  Pasta is simply flour, a pinch of salt....

eggs and a dash olive oil.  You can mix this by hand or machine.

This dough needs just a wee bit more moisture, so I add about a tablespoon of water.

Give it a quick knead on the counter until it is smooth.

Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. 

The flour will continue to absorb the liquid ingredients, become softer and easier to roll without tearing.

2 ~ Roll and cut.  This is the pasta maker that my sister in law gave me for my birthday a long, long time ago.  It is easy to set up.  Just attach it to a counter or table with the clamp...

add the hand crank, and you are ready to go!

The ball of pasta dough is cut into smaller pieces for easier handling.  It's almost like cutting butter...

Each side of the dough is dusted with a little bit of flour.   Brush any excess flour off.

The knob has the numbers 1-7 on the dial.  We start with number 1.

Pass the slice of dough through the machine...No need to pull it through...just guide it out onto the counter top.

dust both sides of the dough with flour...

turn the knob to number 2...

and repeat: dust, turn knob, crank.  Dust, turn, crank....till you reach your desired thickness.  Or thinness. 

This goes very, very quickly if you have a volunteer crank it for you. 

Cut the dough to the desired length.  Now it is perfect for lasagne or even manicotti.

To make angel hair pasta or fettuccine, connect the attachment to the pasta maker and move the crank to the type of pasta you wish to make.  This attachment came with my pasta machine.

Dust the pressed pasta sheet one last time lightly with flour.  Brush the excess off and put it through the cutters.

Here comes the fettuccine!  (thanks, spell checker!  What would I do without you??)

...and the angel hair pasta!

Since I am cooking the pasta right away, I put them in small piles.  I've dried pasta before and it takes for...e...ver.  Really.  A day or two, depending on the thickness of the pasta.  Besides, FRESH is better!

Pssst....did you know you can freeze the dough?  Just put these piles of pasta on a baking tray and stick them in the freezer for several hours.  Once frozen, put them into a freeze Ziploc baggie for longer storage.  When you want to cook it, take it straight from the freezer and add 1-2 minutes of additional cooking time...no thawing out needed!

To clean the machine, all you need to do is brush the flour off.  That's it.  No soap, no water, no dishwasher.  Easy!  

3 ~  Cook your pasta.  Fresh pasta cooks up very, very quickly.  Like, 1 1/2  - 2 minutes.

Just give them a quick stir after putting it into the boiling water and the noodles will magically come apart.  After 2 minutes, scoop the pasta out, put it into a bowl, and give it a quick toss of olive oil or  marinara sauce to coat the noodles and keep 'em from sticking.

This angel hair pasta is my hubby's favorite, tossed with pesto that I made last year and froze in ice cube trays.  

Are you ready for fresh pasta?

Fresh Pasta
(4x6 recipe download)     (full page printable recipe)

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26 A Lemon Cake for Spring

Spring is finally here and things are just starting to warm up.  I love anything lemon-based, but it's not my husband's favorite.  Sure, he loves lemonade and can drink it by the gallon, but give him a lemon cake, and he's meh....

That's good news.  For me, that is.  That means I get to eat this cake all by myself.

This recipe uses lemon zest, which adds a lemony layer to the cake.

Make sure the lemons are zested first.  It'd kinda hard to zest an empty lemon... I love using a zester for lemons, limes, oranges, or for grating ginger.

Then juiced... This wooden citrus reamer is very inexpensive, does the job well, and I've used it for many years.

The zest is chopped up even finer...(great for your pickiest eaters who say, ewwwww, what's the little yellow thingies in my cake?)  You won't even be able to see the zest in this cake.

As the ingredients are mixed up, you should get a nice, thick batter that looks like this.  Resist the incredible urge eat a giant spoonful...

This method of preparing a cake pan is new to me...First you mix flour and melted butter...

then use a pastry brush to spread the mixture all inside the pan.  I'm used to buttering first, then dumping some flour to coat the pan.  Let's see if this method works...

I like using a bundt pan - not only is it pretty, it makes cutting cake into equal portions very easy.

You can use a 9x13 pan or even 2 - 8" round cake pans.

Batter is put into the greased pan and baked.  A toothpick inserted in the center of the cake should come out clean.

Bundt cakes are tricky.  If you let it sit in the pan, the entire cake will stick.  If you remove it right out of the oven, it will stick.  The recipe says to wait 10 minutes, then put a plate or metal cooling rack on top of the cake, then flip it over.

A glaze of confectioner's sugar, buttermilk, and lemon juice is immediately put onto the cake and allowed to soak in ...

The glaze ran off instead of soaking in.  Next time, I'm going to take a bamboo skewer, poke holes all over the cake and pour the glaze on.

You wait an hour, and put the rest of the glaze on and let it cool for another hour.  Boy, it was hard to be patient, I tell you!

One thing I like about bundt cakes is that you can either have a thick slice or a skinny slice.  Just cut along the indents of the cake.

Me?  A thick slice, please.

A bite...

Mmmmm....not as fluffy as a cake mix, but not as dense as a pound cake.  Lemony, but not tart till you reach the glaze.   A very moist, tender cake!

I had this cake every morning for breakfast.  It was that good.
The end.

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Lemon Bundt Cake
1 T. butter
1 T. flour
3 lemons, zested
3 T. lemon juice
3 c. all purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 sticks + 2 T butter
2 c. sugar
3 eggs + 1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
3/4 c. buttermilk
1 t. vanilla
2 c. confectioners sugar
1 T. butter milk
2-3 T. lemon juice 

Melt butter, add flour, brush on to inside of bundt pan.  Zest the lemons, then juice them. Give the zest a quick chop and add to the juice to soften it.
Cream the butter.  Add sugar and cream.  Beat eggs and yolk.  Add vanilla and  juice to buttermilk.
Add half eggs, mix, add half flour, mix, then rest of eggs, mix, then rest of flour.
Bake in a 350ºF oven for 45 minutes.
Let cool in pan for 10 minutes.
Make glaze.  Should leave a trail as you pick up the whisk.
Remove cake and put 1/2 glaze on the cake to let soak into the cake.  Let sit for an hour.
Put rest of glaze on the cake.
Let cool for another hour.
*My glaze did not soak into the cake, due to the flour/butter crust. A bamboo skewer to poke holes throughout the glaze prior to pouring the glaze onto the cake may be helpful to allow the glaze to soak through the cake.

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