Sunday, July 10, 2011

Update your own recipes to keep it new.

Basically, anyone who cooks has their own "recipe book", whether it's kept in an actual book, on a computer, recipe cards, or just scraps of paper, we like to know what we've cooked and how to repeat it. Many cooks use the same recipe always and never think to alter it in any way; and sometimes that's the way it should be depending on the recipe. Some recipes are meant to be played with; they invite our imagination and creativity.

Back on January 31st, I posted my Basic Meatloaf recipe, and even gave ideas on how to alter it. Well, this weekend I played with it once again, and hubby and I both swear that it's the best I've ever come up with. Totally simple, totally awesome in texture and taste.

So, into a very large mixing bowl, I first put in my 4 lbs of lean ground beef (for 2 loaves). Now chunky salsa (medium heat) was on sale at the local market and I picked up a couple of jars; I added one jar (15.5 oz) to the mixing bowl. I opened up the cabinet door to get the dried Italian seasoned bread crumbs, but sitting next to it was a bag of seasoned bread cubes to make stuffing. There was only 2 cups left in the bag and I figured....why not? So into the bowl that went with 1 cup of milk; and a good thorough hand mixing; covered the bowl with plastic wrap and waited 15 minutes.

Preheating the oven at 375F, I sprayed 2 - 1 and 1/2 qt baking dishes with nonstick cooking spray; uncovered the bowl and divided the mixture evenly in half. When taking out each portion, I noticed that the mixture stayed together well, didn't try to come apart and I formed the loaves easily in the baking dishes. I then gave each loaf a good coating of ketchup, popped them in the oven for 30 minutes; I gave each loaf another coating of ketchup before letting the loaves cook for another 45 minutes. Removing each loaf from the dish was an easier task than usual; they usually crack and break apart even if using two large spatulas, but not this time.

Then came the cutting and tasting; the slicing was so easy; again, no cracking, breaking or crumbling. The taste...the sweetness from the ketchup glaze, a little heat from the salsa, but you could really taste the peppers and onion. Here and there a bread cube was visible, but the meat was was addictive and hard to stop eating it. Amazing, simply amazing meatloaf.


The next altered recipe was to a one pan meal I make with Ramen noodles,
Oriental Chicken, Vegetables and Noodles
which I originally posted on April 15th.

I basically used the same recipe, but made these changes:

Instead of stir fry vegetables, I used 1 bag (12oz) thawed peas and carrot and 1 can (15 oz) baby corn. At the end of cooking, I quickly stirred in 2 beaten eggs to give the dish richness and shine. Absolutely delicious!

So there you go, a little alteration to two separate recipes which creates something a little more awesome for the dinner plate. Enjoy!

Mary Cokenour

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