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March 11, 2011

Italian Meatloaf

There are certainly a gazillion meatloaf recipes out there and I have tried a lot of them. I think the best one was from my friend Zimmy but I lost that recipe and he's too lazy to send it to me again so I've been trying different ones along the way. (I'm pretty sure he's going to read this - he should RESEND IT!)

Fine Cooking had a whole feature on what I like to call "the meatloaf" in their Feb/March issue. I used the article as a starting point and worked with what I had and what I've found successful in the past. I had beef and some hot italian sausage in the freezer which I'd never combined before but I love anything with a little kick to it so decided to go for it! It made the biggest meatloaf I've probably ever seen, but I brought some to a friend and we had it for dinner/lunch a couple days so all was good in the world. This really is a pretty good comfort food for long Minnesota winters...

Italian Meatloaf:

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1.5 lb ground beef
.5 lb hot italian sausage
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and Pepper to taste
6-8 thin slices bacon
1/4 cup bbq sauce (I used Famous Daves Bold and Sassy)

1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium low heat. Cook onion, celery and carrot until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine and simmer until almost dry, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool until warm but not hot.
3. In another bowl mix together the oatmeal, milk, Worcestershire sauce and fresh parsley. Stir until well combined and saturated.
4. Combine meat and eggs with the vegetables and oatmeal mixture. Season with salt and pepper and
using your hands, gently mix all the ingredients until just combined.
5. Transfer meatloaf mixture on a 9 x 13 baking pan and shape into a 4 x 10 rectangular block. Spread your bbq sauce over the top and lightly down the sides of the meatloaf and then criss cross the bacon strips over the meatloaf, trimming or tucking under if needed.
6. Bake 45 - 55 minutes or until done. Broil about 3 minutes to crisp up the bacon, if needed.
7. Let the meatloaf rest for 10 minutes and then cut into 1" slices and enjoy!

Mojo Chicken and Sticky Rice for Pete...

A good friend asked me for a chicken breast recipe this week and I have to say that they are the hardest thing for me to cook. I don't know why, but they just don't really do it for me during the winter months. Maybe because I really only love them marinated and grilled? I don't know. I often just make cutlets with them but other than that, I'm not all that creative with Chicken other than hotdish and enchiladas...

Anyway, I ADORE this recipe. Made it the first time 10 years ago and it's one of my favorite meals. It came from the cookbook, Bowl Food, which is also one of my favorite cookbooks. You should check it out!

Although this recipe is best when grilled, I've also made it indoors in a grill pan and even a regular frying pan - just make sure to drizzle a little olive oil in there and get it nice and hot before you start cooking.

Mojo-Marinated Chicken:

1 cup fresh OJ
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato or canned, drained
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
2 Tbsp chopped garlic
2 Tbsp chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp green curry paste
1 tsp ground turmeric
4 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

1. Combine the oj, oil, tomato, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, curry paste, and turmeric in a blender or food processor and process until blended.
2. Place the chicken in a large glass baking dish. Pour the marinade over the chicken and turn the chicken to coat it. Cover and refrigerate for at least 5 hours, and as long as 8.
3. Preheat a grill until hot. (If cooking indoors, go ahead and set the stove for medium to medium high heat and lower the cooking time to 12-15 minutes.)
4. Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade. Arrange the chicken on the grill grate and cook until cooked through, about 20 mn total time, turning once. Slice into 1" thick pieces. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to individual serving bowls.
5. Just before the chicken is done, bring the marinade to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil for 3-4 mn. Drizzle over chicken and serve.

Mango Coconut Rice:

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
2 cups sticky (pearl) rice, rinsed, drained and air dried (I've also just used regular rice and it worked out fine - just a little different texture)
3 cups water
1 cup unsweetened canned coconut milk
(NOTE - I use the whole can of coconut milk which I think is about 1.5 cups and then just use water to make up the difference otherwise what do I do with 1/2 cup of coconut milk?)
salt/pepper to taste
1 cup diced ripe mango
1/4 cup chopped scallions

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add the shallots and saute' until translucent, about 5 mn.
2. Add the rice and stir for 5 mn. Add the water and coconut milk, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, until all liquid has been absorbed, 15-20 mn.
3. Remove from the heat and fold in the mango. Spoon the rice into individual serving bowls and sprinkle with the scallions.