Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf with Ketchup Sauce

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf with Ketchup Sauce

Meatloaf, you got that right.  Meatloaf wrapped in bacon.  All the men I know love meatloaf,  and they love bacon.  Well, women do too.  This is another one of those times when bacon just makes it better.  Bacon that gets all crispy surrounding a thick, meaty meatloaf that’s been baked with a catsup sauce over it.  (Please excuse the drool, here.)

This is a recipe from The Pioneer Woman, of The Food Network.   It’s superb!  And it’s an equal opportunity dish;  equally comforting to both men and women–and kids, too.

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This recipe is very easy to make, and takes very little time to put together.  You bake it on a broiler pan so the fat drips away into the pan below, allowing the loaf to bake faster, and gives the bacon a great crisp.  You can bake this in one big loaf, or divide it into two smaller ones and freeze one for a night when you need something quick.  If you have a big family you’ll need it all, and don’t count on leftovers.

Put some foil in the bottom pan to catch the drippings and make clean-up easier.

Put some foil in the bottom pan to catch the drippings and make clean-up easier.

When I made it I used a package of meatloaf mix that was about 1.25 lb. and halved the other ingredients so it stayed proportional.  For two people we ate about half of it,  and I promised Mr. D. a meatloaf sandwich on a hard roll for his lunch.  He just about swooned at that!  See, the psychology here, is that if I make one for him, then I can have one too, and not feel guilty.  🙂

BACON WRAPPED MEATLOAF

Yield:  4 – 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 slices white bread ( any bread will do, even whole wheat)
  • 2 pounds ground beef (can also use 1 pound each ground pork and beef)
  • 1 heaping cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp. regular salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 10 slices bacon, thin, not thick cut.

For the sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • (reserve 1/3 of the sauce for serving)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line the bottom of your broiler pan with foil and spray the top part with non-stick cooking spray.  Have it ready to go.

2.  Place bread slices in a large bowl.  Pour milk over bread.  Allow it to soak for a few minutes.

3.  Add ground beef, onion, Parmesan cheese, salts, pepper and parsley to the bowl with the bread.  Lightly beat the eggs and pour over all of this.

4.  With clean hands, dig in and start squishing and mixing it up until everything is well-blended.  Shape the meat mixture into a loaf, (or two smaller loaves) and place on the broiler pan.   Now lay the bacon slices over the loaf, tucking the ends underneath the loaf.  If you made two loaves, cut the bacon slices in half.  You may need to stretch them a little, but thinner bacon slices will become crispier.

Wrap meatloaf with bacon slices, stretched thin.

Wrap meatloaf with bacon slices, stretched thin.

Note, I didn’t have enough bacon to completely cover the loaf, so I wrapped lengthwise.  If you have enough bacon, wrap crosswise, so the meatloaf is completely covered by the bacon.

5.  Once the meatloaf is wrapped, take 2/3 of the ketchup sauce and spread it over the loaf with a spoon or spatula.

Spoon ketchup sauce over the meatloaf to cover.

Spoon ketchup sauce over the meatloaf to cover.

6.  Bake for about an hour and a half, if making the full recipe.   This is great served with mashed potatoes.

You won't be able to wait for dinner when this is on the menu.

You won’t be able to wait for dinner when this is on the menu.

SOURCE:  The Pioneer Woman via The Ranting Chef, then modified

 

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Italian Crescent Casserole

Italian Crescent Casserole.

Italian Crescent Casserole.

By the time Friday rolls around I usually want something fast and easy for dinner, but it still must taste good and be (relatively) healthy.  Frequently it’s pizza that turns up, because I can vary the toppings so we don’t get bored with the same old same old.

Looks like a deep dish pizza.

Looks like a deep dish pizza.

Last Friday I came up with this baked dish that resembles a deep-dish pizza pie.  It uses a package of refrigerated crescent rolls for a crust and is filled with grated cheeses and a ground beef and tomato sauce mixture that tastes like pizza.  The top gets nicely browned and flaky with a sprinkling of cheese and dried basil.  It makes a 9-inch “pie” that can feed 4, but we loved it so much, just two of us ate three quarters of it.  The rest made a quick lunch the next day by rewarming in the oven on low.  This dish served with a tossed green salad is all you need for a complete and satisfying meal.

Add a salad, it's a great meal.

Add a salad, it’s a great meal.

ITALIAN CRESCENT CASSEROLE

Yield:   serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup garlic-tomato pasta sauce
  • 1 can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 1  1/2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil

Directions:

1.   Preheat oven to 375*F.  In a large skillet, cook ground beef till nicely browned.  Drain off fat drippings.   Add pasta sauce.  Heat oven medium heat to warm through.

2.  Separate dough into triangles.  Place in an ungreased 9-inch pie plate with narrow ends extending out over the edge of the pie plate about 3 inches.

Line a pie plate with crescent dough triangles and grate cheese.

Line a pie plate with crescent dough triangles and grate cheese.

3.  Use fingers to press dough together to form a crust.  Sprinkle  1 cup of cheese over the dough.

Put 1 cup cheese in bottom of pie dish.

Put 1 cup cheese in bottom of pie dish.

4.  Spoon meat mixture over the cheese in the pie plate.

Layer cooked beef and sauce on top of cheese.

Layer cooked beef and sauce on top of cheese.

5.  Bring tips of dough over the filling towards the center.

Bring tips of triangles up over meat filling,

Bring tips of triangles up over meat filling,

Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and the dried basil.

Sprinkle remaining cheese and basil on top of crust.

Sprinkle remaining cheese and basil on top of crust.

6.  Bake at 375*F.  for 15 – 20 minutes

When it comes out of the oven it looks like this.  YUM!

When it comes out of the oven it looks like this. YUM!

We loved this,  Can't wait to make it again,

We loved this, Can’t wait to make it again,

SOURCE:   Real Mom’s Kitchen

French Onion Steaks

French onion Salisbury steak.

French onion Salisbury steak.

Years ago, when real steaks were out of the question because of their cost, Salisbury steak was a classic dish made with ground beef, and “fancied” up with a flavorful gravy and given an impressive name.   This was, of course, before my memory, but  my parents talked about  Salisbury Steak dinners, frozen and packaged as TV dinners.    I don’t know if these dinners even still exist,  perhaps not—they were awful, I hear.  Please don’t tell Swanson I said so!  : – )

Anyway, I came across this recipe in a rather old issue of Cook’s Illustrated that pairs the classic Salisbury Steak with another classic, French Onion Soup, giving that old recipe a new spin.  It even includes a crouton and melted cheese.

Dredging the lightly seasoned steak burgers in flour enhances browning and also gives body to the onion sauce.  Stove-top braising keeps the ground-beef patties moist and tender.  Sweet onions, like Vidalia give a milder flavor to the French onion sauce.  For a bolder taste, use yellow onions which are available year round.  If you are not an onion fan, I think this dish will win you over.

FRENCH ONION SALISBURY STEAK

SERVINGS:   Makes 4 steaks

For the steaks:

  • 1  1/4 lb. ground chuck  ( 80 – 85% lean)

    French onion Salisbury steak.

    French onion Salisbury steak.

  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. minced scallions
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp, black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

For the sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Cups sliced onions  ( 2 large onions)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • Cheese Toasts ( recipe below)
  • minced fresh parsley for garnish
  • Shredded Parmesan

1.  Combine ground beef, 1/4 cup parsley, scallions, salt and pepper.  Divide into four even portions and shape each into  3/4 – 1 – inch thick oval patties.

Form beef into 4 oval-shaped patties.

Form beef into 4 oval-shaped patties.

2.  Place 2 Tbsp. four in a shallow dish; dredge each patty in flour.  Remove and save 1 tsp. flour.

Dredge each patty in flour.

Dredge each patty in flour.

3.  Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add patties and sauté 3 minutes on each side, or until browned.  Remove from pan and keep warm.

Brown well on each side.

Brown well on each side.

Set aside while you make the onion sauce.

Set aside while you make the onion sauce.

4.  Add onions and sugar to pan;  saute 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic and tomato paste;  saute until paste begins to brown, 1 minute.  Sprinkle mixture with reserved flour; cook 1 minute.  Stir in broth, wine, salt and thyme.

Saute onions, garlic, tomato paste and thyme.

Saute onions, garlic, tomato paste and thyme.

5.  Return meat to pan, bring sauce to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 10 minutes.

Return beef patties to the pan and continue cooking in the sauce.

Return beef patties to the pan and continue cooking in the sauce.

Serve steaks on Cheese Toasts with onion sauce ladled over.  Garnish with parsley and Parmesan cheese.

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CHEESE TOASTS

  • 4 slices  Italian baguette, cut diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices 
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • pinch of paprika
  • 1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400*F.  Lightly spray a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.  Place bread slices on baking sheet.

Combine butter, garlic, and paprika; spread on one side of each slice of bread.  Combine cheeses and sprinkle evenly over butter.

Top each bread slice with seasoned butter and cheeses.

Top each bread slice with seasoned butter and cheeses.

Bake until bread is crisp and cheese is melted, 10 – 15 minutes.

Cheese toasts.  Make extra to eat out of hand along with the meal.

Cheese toasts. Make extra to eat out of hand along with the meal.

French onion Salisbury Steak, served with spinach and strawberry salad.

French onion Salisbury Steak, served with spinach and strawberry salad.

SOURCE:   Cooks Illustrated

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

Several months ago, my husband’s office staff got together for a pot-luck luncheon.  One of the dishes that was prepared for the luncheon was this one, that Mr. D. described as “layered like lasagna without the noodles”, and he declared that it was fabulous.  I suggested that he ask for the recipe which he did.  I want to thank Maggie for first making the dish and also Cheryl for sharing the link to the web site where I got the recipe.

This dish is basically a deconstructed version of stuffed cabbage, so if you love stuffed cabbage, you’re going to love this dish.  The idea is to layer shredded cabbage with ground beef, brown rice and a tomato sauce, then bake and finish off with melted cheese on top.

Just as good the second time we had it .

Just as good the second time we had it .

I had the remains of a large head of cabbage and wanted to do something with it besides make coleslaw, so remembering about this casserole dish I went looking for it.   Since the web site is called “Skinnytaste.com“, I felt pretty sure it would fit into my new diet routine.  Actually, I was browsing the web looking for a skinny person to eat, but this is what I came up with instead.  It will have to do!  🙂

To make a long story short, it turned out great.  Even though stuffed cabbage doesn’t usually contain cheese,  the addition of a cheese topping here seems like the finishing touch to a very delicious casserole.  A full recipe is meant to make 10 servings.  If this is too much you can make half the recipe, or make and freeze some.  It can be reheated for another time.  As you can see here I portioned the left-overs into individual casseroles for ease in reheating, covering with foil and reheating them in the oven.

STUFFED CABBAGE CASSEROLE

Servings:   about 10

Ingredients

Cabbage, onion, ground beef, tomato sauce, and seasonings.

Cabbage, onion, ground beef, rice, garlic, and seasonings.

  • 2 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. 95% lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. finely minced garlic
  • 1 tsp.sweet Hungarian Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1 large head cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can ( 14.5 oz.) petite dice tomatoes with juice
  • 1 can ( 15 oz ) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 cups low-fat mozzarella cheese

Instructions

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.   Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick spray.   My dish was 13″ X 9″.

2.  Heat a large frying pan on medium heat.  Add the ground beef and cook until it’s browned and cooked through, breaking apart as it cooks.  Remove and set aside.

Browning the meat

Browning the meat

3.  In the same pan, add 1 tsp. olive oil, chopped onion and cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic, thyme, and paprika and cook about 2 minutes more.

Cook onion and garlic with seasonings.

Cook onion and garlic with seasonings.

Then add the diced tomatoes and juice,plus the tomato sauce.

Add the tomatoes and sauce.

Add the tomatoes and sauce.

Then add the ground beef and water to the pan.  Simmer until it’s hot and slightly thickened,  about 15 minutes.

Add the browned beef and water to the pan.

Add the browned beef and water to the pan.

4.  While it simmers, core and cup up cabbage.  Heat remaining olive oil in another large frying pan or dutch oven;  add the cabbage and cook over medium heat until the cabbage is wilted and about half cooked, turning it over several times so it all wilts and cooks.  Season with salt and pepper.

Saute the cabbage until wilted.

Saute the cabbage until wilted.

5.  When the meat and tomato mixture has cooked and thickened a bit, stir in the 2 cups cooked rice and gently combine.

Add the cooked rice.

Add the cooked rice.

6.  To prepare casserole,  layer half the cabbage, half the meat mixture, remaining cabbage, and remaining meat mixture.

Layering it up.

Layering it up.

Cover tightly with foil and bake 40 minutes, or until the mixture is just starting to bubble on the edges.

Cover with foil and bake.

Cover with foil and bake.

7.  Remove foil and sprinkle on cheese.  Bake uncovered an additional 15 – 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and starting to brown slightly.   Serve hot.

Cover with grated cheese and bake until melted .

Cover with grated cheese and bake until melted .

This freezes well if you have left-overs.  To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then either microwave until hot or heat in the oven in a baking dish covered with foil.

SOURCE:   Skinnytaste.com

Homestyle Stuffed Peppers

I have two different ways that I prepare Stuffed Peppers;  one kind is made using Cubanelle or frying peppers, and this way using the more familiar Bell peppers.  This is the classic recipe my mother always made which I grew up on.  At another time I will share with you my recipe for the stuffed frying peppers.

Peppers in  any color combination–green, red, yellow, orange–are stuffed with a mixture of seasoned ground beef and rice then covered in a tomato sauce and baked until tender.  Sometimes I serve them with pasta such as rotini to soak up the sauce, or I might serve them with mashed potatoes and another vegetable like carrots.  It makes a very colorful plate.  The peppers may be oven baked or cooked in a slow cooker.

 INGREDIENTS

Servings:   4 

  • 4 nicely shaped bell peppers, tops, seeds and membranes removed.
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 (14.5 0z. can tomato sauce) or jarred spaghetti sauce

DIRECTIONS

  1.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cook the peppers in boiling water for 4-5 minutes.  Remove the peppers, rinse with cold water, and set aside to drain.
  2. Mix together ground beef, cooked rice, egg, chopped onion, bread crumbs, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese in a large bowl.  Combine well.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Divide beef and rice mixture evenly among the peppers, taking care not to pack too tightly.
  5. Place peppers standing up in a baking dish or shallow roasting pan.  It’s best if they fit rather snugly so they can support each other.
  6. Pour the tomato sauce over all.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven until tender, basting with the tomato sauce several times while baking,  about 1 hour and  20 minutes.
  8. Alternately, place peppers standing up in a slow cooker, pour sauce over all, and cook on LOW 6-8 hours.