Archive for September, 2008|Monthly archive page

Recipe: A-1 Gluten Free Meatloaf

Delicious Meatloaf!

Delicious Meatloaf!

I love meatloaf… meatloaf in all it’s varying shapes and sizes and forms.  Since I can’t have commercially prepared meatloaf anymore, I’m reduced to making my own.  This is one of our favorites, an A-1 Meatloaf.  It’s simple but effective. 🙂  There’s another one in the archives that’s a rice based meatloaf.  They’re both good. 🙂

Ingredients:
2 1/4 lb. ground beef
2 eggs
1 cup cornflake crumbs (made by the Soynut Butter Company, says GF right on them)
1/2 cup parmesean cheese
4 slices bacon, crispy and crumbled
1 tablespoon bacon grease
salt, to taste
8 oz. mushrooms
1 large onion, diced, 1 cup reserved
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 apples, diced
1 cup A-1 Steak Sauce
1 tablespoon honey

Meatloaf ingredients (sans meat, it's in the bowl behind)

Meatloaf ingredients (sans meat, it's in the bowl behind)

Directions:
1)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2)  In a medium-large skillet, heat bacon grease over medium heat until melted.  Add onions and garlic.  Salt and sweat until onions start to turn transparent.  Add mushrooms and apples.  Stir and sweat until liquid has come out and is mostly evaporated.

Onions and garlic are sweating while mushrooms and apples wait in the wings.

Onions and garlic are sweating while mushrooms and apples wait in the wings.

All the sweaty stuff sweating.

All the sweaty stuff sweating.

It should be this dry before removing from the heat.

It should be this dry before removing from the heat.

3)  In a large metal bowl, mix ground beef, eggs, cornflake crumbs, parmesean cheese, bacon, and veggie sweat.  Mix with hands until combined.

4)  Pack meat into a loaf pan and invert on top of a 13×9 baking dish or cookie sheet with high sides (to catch the grease).

Stuff your meat mixture into a loaf pan to get a loafy shape.

Stuff your meat mixture into a loaf pan to get a loafy shape.

)

Invert onto a 13x9 baking dish. You'll get more crust this way, and crust is what it's all about!! 🙂

5)  Combine A-1 and honey.

6)  Bake meatloaf for about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and brush A-1 mix onto meatloaf.  Stick reserved onions to the loaf as best you can.

Meatloaf after the first 20 minutes. Time to dress it up!

Meatloaf after the first 20 minutes. Time to dress it up!

Coat with A-1 mixture and stick on the onions!

Coat with A-1 mixture and stick on the onions! Think coconut cake...

7)  Insert a probe thermometer into the center of the meatloaf.  Set your thermometer alarm to 155 degrees.  Put it all in the oven (not the digital read-out part of the thermometer)

Insert probe into loaf halfway down, about halfway in. Set your alarm for 155 degrees.

Insert probe into loaf halfway down, about halfway in. Set your alarm for 155 degrees.

8)  Once alarm sounds, remove meatloaf from oven and allow to cool for about half an hour.  It will coast the rest of the way to done.  Cut and enjoy! 🙂

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Personal: A Miracle!!! I Can See My Kitchen Counter Again!

OMG! It's a clean counter! I took a photo in case I forgot what it looked like.

OMG! It's a clean counter! I took a photo in case I forgot what it looked like again.

So, here’s the thing.  School started about a month ago.  And I started on some new meds about 2 1/2 weeks ago.  So, between those two things, I’ve had NO TIME to clean or do much of anything.  The tomato sauce making really destroyed the cleanliness of the kitchen.  But, all is not lost!  Tonight I found five minutes to myself… and I cleaned.  Tomorrow I have to make bread cuz mine went south.

Recipe: Gluten Free Beef and Bean Enchiladas

Gluten Free Bean and Beef Enchiladas!

Gluten Free Bean and Beef Enchiladas!

To be fair, this recipe evolved from something I found on the Zaar: Clicky.  However, it wasn’t gluten free, so we made it that way!!! 🙂

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped fine, divided
about 30 oz. tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cumin
black pepper and salt (to taste)
1 lb. ground beef
2 cups refried beans
1-2 cups cheddar cheese
12 corn tortillas
1 bunch cilantro, chopped coursely
2 large tomatoes, ripe!!!, chopped coursely

Directions:
1)  Melt your butter in a decent sized sauce-pan.  Add garlic and 1/2 of onion and saute until browning starts.  Add chili powder, paprika, cumin, pepper and salt and cook for about a minute to toast spices.  Add tomato sauce and water.  Bring to a low boil and simmer for about 30 minutes with the lid on.

Onions and garlic sauteing in butter in the sauce pot.

Onions and garlic sauteing in butter in the sauce pot.

2)  In a large skillet, brown your beef along with the rest of the onion until onion and beef are both completely cooked.  Drain off any excess grease and return meat and onion to the pan.

3)  Add about 2/3 of the tomato sauce mixture to the beef, then the beans.  Stir over low heat until everything is fully integrated.

Beef and sauce mixture and remaining sauce in the background.

Beef and sauce mixture and remaining sauce in the background.

)

Beef and beans and sauce mixture, a gloopy looking mess. 🙂

4)  Take your corn tortillas in your hand, put a little cheese down the middle, then the beef/bean/sauce mixture.  (Go easy, these guys need to be able to close!!)  Roll tortilla up (you can use the beans to kinda stick the torilla sides down) and place seam-side down in a large baking dish.

Go easy on the cheesy.

Go easy on the cheesy.

And bean/beef/sauce mix on top.

And bean/beef/sauce mix on top.

5)  Once all 12 tortillas are in the dish, spoon the remaining red sauce over the tortillas, being sure that all are covered.

Suggested configuration for 9x13 baking dish.

Suggested configuration for 9x13 baking dish.

Enchiladas, all covered with sauce.

Enchiladas, all covered with sauce.

6)  Bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes, covered.

7)  Remove the cover, add the remaining cheese, cilantro and tomato pieces.  Return to oven for about 10 minutes.

Finished dish. In the background, you can see I had a lot of beef and beans left over!

Finished dish. In the background, you can see I had a lot of beef and beans left over!

8)  Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Method: Homemade Tomato Sauce

Frozen tomatoes in pots, seperated by color!

Frozen tomatoes in pots, seperated by color!

I spent the weekend reducing many of my frozen tomatoes into a plain tomato sauce to be used in place of the canned stuff.  Here’s how to do it!

Ingredients:
Frozen or fresh and ripe tomatoes
Salt
Water

Directions:

1)  In a pot large enough to hold your tomato cache, put about 1/2 inch of hot water.  Add frozen tomatoes and put on a medium heat setting and bring to a boil.  This will take a long, long time. 🙂  Shoot for a loud simmer, the steam from the water will help thaw the tomatoes faster.

2)  When tomatoes have been simmering a good long time (this will depend on the size of your pot, how many tomatoes are in it, the weather, the alignment of the planets and the way you hold your mouth when you’re cooking) and begin to look deflated, poke them with a knife to accelerate the breakdown.  Sprinkle with salt (it will help pull out water).

Garden Peach variety tomatoes at the "poke 'em with a knife" stage.

Garden Peach variety tomatoes at the "poke 'em with a knife" stage.

3)  Continue to simmer until the tomatoes look really sad and deflated.  Turn down the heat and start moving them into your food processor.  Run food processor for a minute or so, or until all the skins are broken up and the tomatoes are smoothish.  Return to pot and put back to a simmer.

Garden Peach tomato sauce entering the reduction phase.

Garden Peach tomato sauce entering the reduction phase.

4)  From here on out, it’s pretty hands off.  Watch your heat, as your sauce reduces, it will take less and less heat to maintain your simmer.  A fast boil will make a heck of a mess and you risk burning the sauce.  When sauce is finally reduced as much as it seems possible (when the simmer starts to make craters in the sauce, it’s done), kill the heat and let cool enough to put into jars or freezer bags.  I have a vacuum sealer, so mine went into vac packs.

Garden Peach sauce (crater stage) reduced to about 1/4 of its original volume.

Garden Peach sauce (crater stage) reduced to about 1/4 of its original volume.

Personal: Something that seems simple enough…

Today while I was studying, I did double duty and made tomato sauce. Nothing fancy, just tomatoes and salt… as base as base can be and to be use for various things. My heirloom tomatoes have been so prolific that I have something like 35 lbs. in frozen storage and probably 10 lbs. just sitting around on shelves.

The thing that bugged me, though, was how much water there really is in a tomato. I started with a 5 qt. stockpot something like 3/4 full of rock hard frozen tomatoes and ended up with 28 ounces (maybe 3 cups, if that) of tomato sauce. So, that means I have to do it again tomorrow. So, for your enjoyment, tomorrow I’ll post photos, though I don’t plan on that being this weekend’s cooking project. I haven’t figured out what will be this weekend’s cooking project, yet.

See, I got glutened on Monday and I’m still pukey and sick. I’m sure by Saturday I’ll be dying to be back in the kitchen, but right now the smell of food makes me wretch. I found a groovy recipe for beef enchiladas that I really wanted to try, maybe we’ll do that or tamale pie. I’m not up to making my own, but Hormel has tamales in a can that are GF.

Does anyone know if Doe’s Eat Place’s famous tamales contain wheat flour? One (not sure that it’s a franchise, but something like) opened up in my town a year or so ago and I’ve never been. I saw the one in Mississippi on the Food Network, though, and the tamales looked great. 🙂 It made me want to shove them straight into my face with both hands (take a moment to picture that if you like). I have a recipe for tamales from the Tamale Trail in the Mississippi Delta, but haven’t made them yet. When I do, I’ll let you nice folks know. Jim’s from Chicago and misses things like good tamales and Italian Beef sandwiches… I’ve never had either, but I do what I can to find authentic recipes and fix ’em up.

I started treatment for Fibromyalgia a few weeks ago and it has improved my life significantly. Dr. gave me two generic (low dose) anti-depressants and they seem to be working well. We had rain and drizzle today, so I’m a little stiff, but I can still bend over, so it’s a good day! 🙂 My sleep is much improved, no more roaming the house at night like a creature, when I wake up (still doing that a lot) I can go right back to sleep. It’s the next best thing to sleeping through the night.

Well, I’m about to fall asleep right here, so I guess there’s nothing to do but go to bed. Thanks to everyone who helped me look into Fibro and especially thanks to my doctor, who gave me the meds and really listened to me when I asked him about this possibly being the cause of my ongoing pain.

In other news, I’m already working on planning next year’s garden. We had something like 21 tomato plants this year (I think that’s about right), but only a 6 ft. row of green beans… we definately want to double that. The watermelon and cantelopes are finally doing something, though I’m not sure how much they’ll really do. My corn did squat, my okra did squat, my peas did squat. My squash made a crazy mess and my peppers died from the excessive spring rains we had this year. My brussel sprouts appear to be making brussel sprouts, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m apparently horribly allergic to cucumber pollen, so there won’t be any of those next year… the berry bushes I planted this spring should be big enough to make berries next year (I hope!). What else would be good for a zone 6b veggie garden? Maybe I’ll focus on enlarging my very pathetic herb garden.

For next year I’m building some built-up beds and will probably start with green beans and peppers in them. I have this idea of making little hoop barns to fit over the peppers so that if it rains like crazy next year I can at least keep the water off of them. I plan to take something in the range of 1/3 of the availible yard space and make it into garden space. It has been really nice having fresh produce all summer and knowing it’s in the freezer for this winter. Plus, it gives me a chance to grow produce that I can’t buy (like my green zebra tomatoes… they’re definately coming back next year, along with the garden peach tomatoes).

Well, enough rattling. Sleep now.