Comfort Food

I know it is weird but sometimes I read cooking magazines to my kids. Since they love to be read to it is an excellent way to sneak in some reading of my own. To me it is hilarious that they are interested in the latest kitchen gadget or the hot new food trend. Every once in awhile a recipe catches their eye and they ask me to cook it for them.

This is Matthew’s recipe choice – meatloaf, something I usually don’t make, it just seems so old school. Which by definition is the very essence of comfort food: a traditional style of food usually having a nostalgic or sentimental appeal. And sure enough when Matthew chose this I immediately thought of my Mom’s meatloaf. She used to put in an egg “surprise” and serve it with lots of ketchup. Even my sister ate it and she was the picky eater of us two, although she might have something to say about that….

I paired it with carrots because that is what we had in the fridge that day – I figured if I added some butter they just might eat them….

Mini Cheesy Meatloaf & Buttery Carrot Chips

Ingredients:

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 tsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 cup ketchup, divided

1/4 cup fresh spinach, chopped

2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated

1-Tbsp horseradish (I replaced with Wasabi ginger sauce, worked just as well)

1-Tbsp Dijon mustard

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

3 oz white cheddar cheese, diced

1 1/2 lb ground sirloin

1 large egg, lightly beaten

 

1/2 -Tbsp butter
2 large carrots cut into 1/8in rounds
Salt & Pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add breadcrumbs, cook 3 minutes until toasted, stirring frequently.

While breadcrumbs cook, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, sauté about 3 minutes. Combine onion mixture, breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup ketchup and next 10 ingredients. Using hands is best tool here to combine everything.

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Shape into 10 mini loaves and put on baking sheet. Use remaining ketchup to spoon over the loaves.

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Bake for 25 minutes.

While meatloaf is baking, heat butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots and salt and pepper – sauté until caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 10-12 minutes.

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And the VERDICT is:

Sadly, Matthew came down with a stomach virus and couldn’t eat dinner so we froze the meatloaves and just had a mini-tasting…. (it was a fun night!)

Dylan: I love them both – Liam, those are my carrots!

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Liam: I’m gonna eat it all up.

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Eating Out – Bedlam Style

A typical dinner out for our family usually means one or more of our kids on or under the table, at least one spilled drink, a meltdown or two, ending with ear shattering pleas for dessert. We are not always so sure if the people next to us are annoyed, amused, scared or just happy they have no kids.

Why do we keep doing it? It is usually fun to take them somewhere new they haven’t tried before. Even if most of the time they are saying how yucky the food is. They just get so ridiculously excited by the idea of eating in a restaurant; it is hard to deny them. And every once in a while the stars are in alignment and we have a great meal.

Sometimes these outings are quite successful – we leave feeling proud of the kids for trying new foods and letting us enjoy a glass of wine without having to scream at them to stop kicking each other. Other times (actually MOST times) we run out so embarrassed that we have to avoid the place for at least a month. This is usually enough time for another family to come upstage us in the bad behavior department.

Our last excursion was pretty bad on the sliding scale so I tried to recreate one dish the boys did like that night since we can’t go back for quite awhile!

Chicken Rollatini (easy version)

Ingredients

1 lb thin chicken cutlets or turkey

12 slices prosciutto (thinly sliced)

1/2 cup spinach leaves

2 cups mozzarella (shredded)

6-8 oz. tomato sauce or pasta sauce

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

salt & pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper*.
Pat dry chicken cutlets and season with salt and pepper. Layer each cutlet with a slice of prosciutto and then some spinach leaves. Sprinkle generous heaping of mozzarella cheese on top and then roll cutlet.  Place seam side down onto baking sheet * and top with tomato sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

 

Bake for approximately 25 minutes. If desired top with any remaining sauce and/or cheese. Or use on some pasta for a quick side.

  • These can also be cooked in a baking dish – the cheese will not ooze out as much. But my kids like the way it comes out on the baking sheet – nice and messy.

And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (big brother): “DEElicious”

Dylan (little brother): “I only like the burnt cheese part”

Liam (little brother): “I ate a lot! Now can I have dessert???????”