Sunday, November 11, 2012

Not yo’ Momma’s

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a lazy cook. I cut corners whenever possible. I’ve no issue with frozen puff pastry, canned chicken broth, rotisserie chickens, or good jarred spaghetti sauce. When I cook dinner, I’m counting on the dish to feed my little family at least twice, if not more. For example, I bought a rotisserie chicken at my local grocery (which is the best local grocery a girl could ever ask for). At the checkout, I mentioned to the cashier that I make one chicken feed my little family at least 4 times. She looked at me in disbelief, which made me explain further. The first night I have a rotisserie, my family enjoys the roasted chicken breasts, either plain or with some sort of sauce lingering in the fridge (my favorite is a hot peach chutney I found at Earth Fare) or Jezebel sauce. The next meal is the thighs (or sometimes whole legs, if we’re reeeeaally hungry), third meal (and sometimes fourth) is the stripped chicken carcass (wings, back, butt) mixed into a salad, soup, burrito, or tacos. The last meal or two or three, is made from the stock (my stock is a lot like Tyler Florence’s).

I make meatloaf that feeds us for almost a week. Meatloaf the first night, meatloaf sandwiches the next, meatloaf tacos the third, meatloaf chili the last. This basic recipe is based on my Dad’s meatloaf—the meatloaf I grew up on (and the one I can make in my sleep). Bear with me on measurements, this is a very season-to-taste type dish.
In a big bowl, dump:
1 pound ground turkey (I grew up on ground chuck, but this is just as good and less fatty)
1 medium to large onion, diced
1-2 chopped celery stalks
1-2 grated carrots


5-7 crushed matzo crackers (my Dad always used a sleeve of saltine crackers)
1-2 TBS mustard (I usually use Dijon, but yellow is fine. I’ve even used Chinese spicy mustard)
2-3 TBS ketchup (any type, even natural or homemade)
1 tsp House Seasoning (mine’s based off of this, but with a 1:1:1 ratio)
1tsp dried thyme
1-2 large eggs

Optional, any or all of the following:

½ tsp ground dried sage, tarragon, and/or rosemary
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Finely diced sundried tomatoes
1 diced bell pepper (any type)
Oats instead of matzo
Rice instead of matzo
Ritz (or other butter crackers) instead of matzo
Frozen spinach (thawed and drained)

Lightly blend everything with your clean hands (it’s squishy, and a good stress reliever; it’s also a good task for kids) Dump the mess onto a greased or sprayed cookie sheet (or jelly roll pan) and shape. I’ve shaped this many ways, form the traditional baton with a ketchup trough karate chopped in the middle, to a good fake out of a stomach (fun for Halloween).

Of course you need to cover it with a ketchup glaze first 

Bake 375 for 40-50 minutes. Meatloaf should be completely cooked through, with no crunch to the veg, but not dried out. Serve as is, or as one of the above suggestions.

Naughty bonus feature

Bonus recipe:
My Slutty Chili
In a skillet, brown

1lb. ground turkey (or ground beef, if you want a fattier mouth feel)
¼- 1/3 crumbled leftover meatloaf
1 medium or large onion, diced
2 bell peppers (any color) diced
3-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno, castrated (seeds and all membranes removed)

Drain. Season with house seasoning to taste (I use about 1 tsp). Dump into a deep pot (I use a dutch oven, or a stock pot if I double this recipe). Add:

1 12 ounce bottle of beer (doesn’t really matter what type, but I prefer a dark Mexican beer like Modelo Negro)
3-4 TBS of my Mexican spice mix (recipe here)—or—
to taste:
Chili powder
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Paprika (smoked is best)
Oregano (especially if it’s Mexican)
Salsa (about 1/3-1/2 jar)
And Dona Maria original mole sauce (can’t get it at the grocery? Find it here)

Stir, and then dump in:

1       15 ounce can black, kidney, or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1       15 ounce can chili style tomatoes and its juice
1       15 ounce can corn
      15 ounce can tomato sauce

Heat thorough. Serve with any of the following (even better the next day):

Cheddar, Colby, or Monterey Jack cheese
Jalapenos (fresh or pickled)
Chopped Onion
Sour cream
Plain Yogurt
Chopped Avocado
Cooked spaghetti or elbow noodles
Chopped cilantro

Feta, Queso Blanco, or Chihuahua cheese
Saltine crackers
Oyster crackers