Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Italian Style Meatloaf

Hello everyone!  I've got a great recipe for you! Confession - I'm not real crazy about meatloaf but my Husband loves it.  This Italian Style Meatloaf recipe changed my mind though! Basically, if you like meatballs, you'll like this!

We serve ours with mashed potatoes and green beans. Still keeping it somewhat traditional. I always make this on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper. Cleaning is just easier that way. Also, I just make one big rectangle about an inch - inch and a half high. You can make two smaller ones if you'd like. Just adjust baking time if need be.

Italian Style Meatloaf

Italian Style Meatloaf


Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 bell pepper, seeded, diced (I use orange or red)
1/2 onion, diced
2 teaspoons (about 3 cloves) minced garlic
2 pounds ground meat (I mix 1 lb each turkey and lean ground beef)
2 eggs
3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried (you can also use dried Oregano)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup marinara sauce, divided

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat and add the peppers, onions and garlic. Saute until just soft, remove to a plate and let cool.

In the meantime, combine all of the ingredients except for 1/2 of the marinara sauce. Add the pepper mixture once cooled and mix until just combined.

Pack the meatloaf onto a large parchment covered cookie sheet, approximately 1-1 1/2 inch thick. You could also use an oiled loaf pan if you'd like. Top with the remaining marinara making sure to spread evenly over the top.

Bake for approximately 50 to 60 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F in the middle of the meatloaf. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Old Fashioned Classic Pumpkin Bread

 For as long as I can remember, my Parents have made Pumpkin Bread for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'm not sure where this recipe came from (my parents do, I'm sure) but it's been in our family for over 30 years. I love anything Pumpkin ~ Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Coffee Creamer, Pumpkin Latte, you get the point. So, if you're a lover of Pumpkin like I am, you'll really enjoy this one!

Old Fashioned Classic Pumpkin Bread


Old Fashioned Classic Pumpkin Bread

Now keep in mind, this makes 3 loaves of bread. We usually give one or two away and keep one for ourselves. This year, I'll be sending one with my Husband to his office.  I'll often have a piece for breakfast as well. :)

Ingredients:
3 2qt loaf pans
 2/3 cup shortening
2 2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 can pumpkin
2/3 cup water
 3 1/3 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Cream shortening and sugar together. Add eggs, pumpkin and water.

 Sift together the dry ingredients and add to the pumpkin mix. Stir in raisins and or nuts if desired. Pour into 3 2qt greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Toothpick will come clean when done.

 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Menu

Hi everyone! We just purchased our Turkey last night so I thought I might let you know what and how we'll be serving Thanksgiving at our home this year. A little background first. For about 10 years now, my husband and I have hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house. We moved into our new home (in Florida) around that time and I was anxious to start a new tradition. Usually it would just be the four of us, me, hubby and my parents. Occasionally the in-laws would come to town, but usually just the four.

This year will be our first in our new home in our new state (we moved in last Christmas). I have to say that over the years I feel (and have been told) that I've become pretty darn good at Thanksgiving dinner and preparing the most beautiful turkey. I know to some, cooking Thanksgiving dinner sounds more like a nightmare than enjoyment. It's really not that hard. I'm going to share with you are basic menu. I would love to hear what your traditions are for Thanksgiving. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

The Turkey: I saw a picture of the most beautiful turkey in a Williams-Sonoma catalog years ago. I looked up the recipe. It was brined and had an herb butter. I skipped the brining but have done the herb butter for years now and couldn't imagine it any other way. It makes it so tasty and beautiful!

Herb Butter: 
1 stick unsalted butter at room temp
1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Directions:
Mix all together with butter and spread over turkey prior to roasting.

These aren't your ordinary mashed potatoes. Nope, they are Brie Mashed Potatoes! I found the recipe in a Betty Crocker Thanksgiving book years ago and made them that year. They were such a hit! They have just enough flavor to not be plain but still traditional enough for those that love mashed potatoes like me.

Stuffing: This is by far my favorite part of the meal. I use the Pepperidge Farm bag variety and use the recipe right off the back of the bag. They are great!

Green Bean Casserole: I have to admit that this year will be my first time making this. We typically just make a country style green bean with onion and bacon added for flavor. Earlier this year I had Green Bean Casserole for the first time in years and fell in love and became somewhat obsessed with it's creamy goodness.


Candied Sweet Potatoes: I admit, I don't care for these at all. But, my parents like them as do my in-laws who will be joining us this year. They're pretty basic really. Just one large can of yams or sweet potatoes (whichever the brand says), brown sugar, butter, cinnamon. That's it. Just pour all of it into a casserole dish and bake.

As for the rest of our menu, we'll have some sort of Hot Rolls, Pumpkin Pie, you can get the recipe for that here.  And of course Cranberry Sauce. Now, if you are a child of the 70's as I am or even the 60's like my hubby, then you had one kind of cranberry sauce. Period. The jellied kind that came out of the can looking just like the can. Because that's a tradition we grew up with, we've kept it that way ever since. We have a few laughs about it each year but never do we stray or get fancy with the cranberry sauce. :)

We also have what has over the years been affectionately called "The Thanksgiving Wine". Again, years ago I subscribed to Wine Lovers magazine or one of those types. It was a Thanksgiving article that caught my attention ~ What wine to pair with turkey? Ever since reading that article, pairing the right wine for this meal has been easy. Georges Dubceuf Beaujolais-Villages. Now, I can't remember if this was the exact wine, it very well could have been. But, the important thing is the kind of wine, a Beaujolais. I've often heard over the years that this is the perfect wine for Thanksgiving because it goes so well with the turkey and the richness of the side dishes. You can find this particular one in about every grocery store or wine store for around $10, which is even better. It's a great "starter" red wine in my opinion as well.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Poncho

I bought this poncho a month or so ago and this is the first time I've been able to wear it. I love it! It's so comfy and soft but yet kept me warm. Almost too warm while out to dinner. I'm glad the poncho is such a style staple this fall/winter because I intend to get a lot of use out of mine. xo~C Poncho: Kohl's Boots: Bandalino ~ DSW Jeggings: old T-shirt: Target Watch: Fossil Wrap Bracelet: I made Sunglasses: Jessica Simpson Nails: Mistletoe by Revlon

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Makeup Storage

Hi everyone! These are the pictures from my updated makeup storage/collection video. Here is the link to the video. http://t.co/4KzoQWsn
I thought some may want to see the Muji drawers or vanity up close.
Vanity: KMart Online Bench: Bed, Bath & Beyond Mirror: Cosco Muji Storage: http://www.muji.us.com

Monday, November 07, 2011

White Bean Chicken Chili

I've had this White Bean Chicken Chili recipe for years and tweaked it several times along the way. I think it's finally the way we like it.

Since getting a new crockpot, I wanted to break it in with this one. There were only a few differences from making it on the stove that I want to mention. I do think it's a tad thicker when making it on the stove. Although my Husband likes to put lots of cornbread in his so he doesn't mind it being more thinned out. I do like the chicken shredded better (crockpot version). And overall, it was much easier this way. I hate to cook chicken on the stove. Both versions are listed, use whichever you like. Enjoy!

White Bean Chicken Chili


Ingredients:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2-3 breasts)
1 can great northern beans *drain if using stovetop method
1 can Bush's White Chili Beans
14oz chicken stock (I use low sodium)
2 tablespoons flour *stovetop method only
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter - cut into pieces
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 small onion - diced
1 small can diced green chilies
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch red pepper flakes

Crockpot Directions:
All the Great Northern Beans to the crockpot. Then place the chicken breasts on top. Add all the remaining ingredients to the crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours. With two forks, shred the chicken into the mixture and that's it. Super easy!

Stove-Top Directions:
Sauté chicken breasts in pan with a little olive oil. I sauté them whole and cut them into pieces after cooked. I think it makes the chicken more tender this way. Or you can bake them.

In a stock pot, heat butter over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, and chilies and sauté for 5 minutes. Add flour and cook additional 1 minute. Add chopped cooked chicken to pot. Add all beans but ½ can of great northern beans. (I drain the great northern) Add the chicken stock, cumin, oregano, pepper, salt, red pepper flakes.

In a food processor, puree the left over ½ can of beans. (you can add some stock to it for easier pureeing) Add to the mix as a thickener. Cook on medium high heat until bubbly. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally, for approximately 1 – 1 1/2 hours. Serve with cornbread, if desired. I also add a dollop of low-fat sour cream and sometimes hot sauce.
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