Wednesday, November 24, 2010

dinner recipes to ponder

as Idle Husband lovingly refers to it

I've been having issues with meatloaf for a while now. Whatever recipe I use (or don't use, cuz usually I just improvise), it always ends up crumbling into chunks and we have to scoop it out of the loaf pan with a spoon. I kind of have this idea that meatLOAF should hold its shape. You know, like a loaf should. I want to be able to cut off a nice slab, and I want to be able to lift it out of the pan in one piece. I also think it would be pretty great if the leftovers could be sliced for a sandwich for a nice and unique lunch option. That's the kind of meatloaf I'm talking about. So for the last while, we've been having meatloaf every week, because every week, I try a new recipe.

This meatloaf with apple cider ketchup is the first recipe I've tried that's actually held its shape, was sliceable, easy, and delicious. As soon as I mixed it up and pushed it into the pan, I knew. I knew this would be the one we'd stick with. It also has sneaky, hidden vegetables in it, but I think the next time I make it, I'm going to opt out of the spinach. We both agreed the spinach was a little too overpowering. Maybe that means I can push some more carrots through my meat grinder instead. Yes, you heard me. I had to grind up pork for this recipe which meant I had to get my meat grinder out and get it dirty (bummer). So I didn't want to mince the vegetables with a knife (hello, forever), and I didn't want to dirty up another appliance, so I threw caution to the wind and stuck both the carrot and the onion into the meat grinder (crazy housewife fun!). It worked perfectly and gave me tiny little nibblets that were barely visible. And no, I didn't make the apple cider ketchup. I only made the loaf, though I'm sure the ketchup was delicious.

Can I just riddle you something? Why do recipes for apple cider call for apple cider? Am I the only one that's like, wha-what? Cuz I did some looking for apple cider that I could make myself since I had apples, but like, every recipe goes like this: for apple cider, get some apple cider, add some cinnamon...So here's a special bonus recipe from me to you: to make a frosted cake. Get a cake. Put some frosting on it. Done.

onion varieties currently in my house

Onion pandade was like the most delicious thing ever. I'm one of those people who sautes onions for something else and ends up eating half of them straight out of the pan. I really could just make a batch of caramelized onions, plop it in a bowl, and eat it for dinner. In fact, I just might for pork chop night this week as the two remaining pork chops are rather tiny. So one of us (me. Always me) will have to forgo meat, and if it means suffering through a big dish of caramelized onions, well, I guess I'll just have to take one for the team. Also, why did I not eat more caramelized onions for dinner when I was single? Why, world?! 

For this particular recipe, I used my plain homemade sandwich bread so the result was extra pudding-y. More so than her picture leads me to believe it was supposed to be. So you should really probably opt for 'rustic' bread (which in my brain translates into, so crusty you can't even handle it without a million dry pieces of crust flaking off). I'm also thinking of using croutons for a super delicious onion stuffing. Mmm stuffing. There's another thing I could eat all on its own (ok, with cranberry sauce mixed in. I have to mix cranberries into any stuffing. It's a rule). And what's even better about this recipe? There are only five ingredients so it comes together in a snap.

Not a recipe, but rather a word of advice. If you want to make cabbage rolls, steam the cabbage before rolling it. I'm feeling like this is a fact that everyone knows about, but I only just recently discovered it today when a friend was asking for a good recipe and then I got curious as to what the hell would comprise a cabbage roll recipe. Ummm (squinty eyed pondering), meat, rice, cabbage leaves, tomato sauce? Why's that hard? Last week, I was all, I'm going to make cabbage rolls with leftover jambalaya! I'm super awesome and super clever! I don't need no freakin' recipe! And then I couldn't remove the cabbage leaves without tearing them and then they wouldn't stay rolled and then I didn't cook it long enough so it was a. complete. disaster. And if there's one thing about this job of stay-at-home wife I take very seriously, it's dinner. So when I serve sloppy, uncooked garbage, I take it rather hard. And then I read about the steaming and it was like a total facepalm moment (oh hello. I'm the resident idiot). I still haven't recovered from it and I hope by talking about it today, I'll be able to get over that hurdle.

And sometimes, the best dinners really do come from just throwing things together. I had absolutely nothing in the house to eat on account of me being too much of a baby to drive in the cold and snow wanting to wait for everyone to get used to driving in the winter before I went out. So on Monday, I made rotini, hamburger (the only meat I had in the freezer. You could hear echoes in there), and nutritional yeast cheese. Basically a rendition of every mom's classic glit. Oh, what? You don't know what glit is? Is that even how you spell that? Is it a word even? It's what my mom always called it and it was always comprised of these important good (an' cheap) foodly items: macaroni, hamburger, onions, carrots, tomato sauce and/or cheese. You can grow up on that stick-to-your-ribs meal. I'm not saying you should, but you can (I'm here today, aren't I?). And there's something so bad and devilish about combining vegetarian (the fake cheese) and meat. It makes me feel very naughty.

And if you happen to have some fish lying around, you can use my chicken finger blueprint and make fish sticks. I had the strangest craving for them yesterday. I also have no idea why I never thought of them for vegetarian day before (see? It's not technically meat, it's fish so it counts. And yes, we changed the rules about vegetarian day about two weeks into it cuz I couldn't think of anything else to do with tofu and beans). Anyway, fish sticks rank right up there in my top dinners. And I specifically wanted sticks. Actually, rectangles of fish. That's how I think a proper fish stick should be. So I was kinda bummed that I could only find fish filets instead of the frozen squares of fish mom always used to buy (and force feed me). At least I still managed to cut them into somewhat rectangular shapes.

1 comment:

Mz.Elle said...

That's funny about the cider,I was just on a site..chowhound I think,and one of the gift ideas in a thread was apple cider..the main ingredient? Apple cider! WTF? Makes no sense to me either.