Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Out And About Today

Okay, so I'm straying here...this is not a food post.  I'm just in the mood to share. 

I took my son to the beach today and we had so much fun.  It's hard for me to believe that July is about to end.  I was so anxious for summer to begin so that I could spend more time at home with him and tinker around my little house. Seriously, it seemed like the first of June would never get here and now I'm cringing as summer's end is closing in.  

In less than a month, I will walk him to his first day of class for his Kindergarten year.  Now that's real, big-boy school.  He is a super, duper smarty-pants though...I'm going to be much more nervous than he is.  


View from my beach towel.







Hard at work, filling up bucket after bucket of water for his pool.


Our beach neighbors built "a pool" in the sand.  He was happy to continue construction after they went home.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mushroom Stuffed Meatloaf

This week has been such a great week at home.  We moved into a new apartment recently and everyone knows how hard it is to get settled into a new place.  It took some time, but the newly acquired kitchen is finally organized and in working order.  Since I've now located all of my much-loved kitchen gadgets and gear, I decided to serve up a special weeknight meal for the family the other night: a meatloaf.

Boring, you say?  Well, I would have too, but I took a traditional meatloaf prepared with peppers and onions and then I stuffed it with a savory bread stuffing and juicy mushrooms.   Trust me, it sounds much more complicated than it was to put together. 

I plated it up with some fresh green beans and homemade mashed potatoes (Because I think those two side dishes are required by law in some states when serving meatloaf, even a fancy one).  This is one of those simple meals that is tasty enough to serve for company, and in fact my next dinner guests are quite likely to be having this dish.



 Mushroom Stuffed Meatloaf

  • 1-1/2 lbs ground turkey or ground beef
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper,finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  •  1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 cups soft bread crumbs
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Directions:

1.  Pre-heat oven to 375°.
2.  In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together ground meat, peppers, 1/2 of the chopped onion, garlic and onion powder.
3.  Fold in the beaten egg with the meat mixture and set it aside.
4.  In a second medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the bread crumbs, remaining chopped onion, sliced mushrooms and spices.
5.  Press half of the meat mixture into the bottom of lightly greased 9 x 5 in. loaf pan.
6.  Spread the mushroom stuffing on top of the layer of meat mixture.
7.  Press the remain meat mixture on of the of the mushroom stuffing.


Half way there: the mushroom stuffing in between the two layers of  meat mixture.

8.  Place the meatloaf into the pre-heated oven and bake for approximately 50 minutes.
9.  Allow meatloaf to cool for about 10-15 minutes before slicing to serve.


I served my meatloaf with a traditional tomato sauce which was delicious, but next time I'll be serving this dish with brown gravy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Classic Blueberry Pie

I'm not sure there is a dessert that is more classic than a simple, sweet fruit pie.  Blueberry pie is a traditional American dessert and I'd vote it as a close second place to apple pie.  I know, you're thinking, blueberry pie, really?  If it seems like it's been posted about before, you're right, it has been.  Blog posts and recipe suggestions about blueberry pie are all over the web, in fact.  But, who am I to feel too proud to sing the praises of a traditional, summer recipe especially when I was so honestly impressed with it once I finally baked one up?  It's good stuff.

During the summer months, fresh berries of any kind are some of my favorite staples to keep in my kitchen.  Berries are sweet, convenient and healthy goodies to keep around when they are in season. 

Through the years, I've made plenty of other blueberry-showcasing desserts and breakfast breads, but before this past Wednesday, never a blueberry pie.  I have long-admired the pretty pictures of this fruity treat posted in magazines and I sure liked the idea of the dessert, however I had just never gotten organized enough to bake one.  I'm so glad I finally did, it was really sweet, flavorful and so simple to make.  You should try it too. 

July is National July Belongs to Blueberries Month... I plan to celebrate many times.  Will you? 



Classic Blueberry Pie
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen (thawed blueberries)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • pastry for a double 9-inch deep dish pie crust (frozen crusts work just fine if you are crunched for time, as I usually am....although I do make my own pastry as often as possible.  Really, I do.)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp butter
1.   Pre-heat the oven to 375°.
2.  In a colander rinse blueberries and drain well, transfer berries to a large mixing bowl.
3.  Sprinkle berries with the lemon juice and set aside.
4.  Place prepared bottom pastry or pie crust in oven and allow to bake for about 6-7 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.
5.  Add next 4 ingredients to the bowl of blueberries and carefully mix well
6.  Pour the prepared blueberries into the lightly pre-baked pie shell.
7.  Place pats of butter on top of the berry mixture.
8.  Cover pie filling with the other pastry and seal.
9.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

Allow pie to cool completely before slicing, otherwise it will be really, really runny


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Corn Casserole


What vegetable is more summer-y than corn?  None, I say, none! So in honor of the most summerific vegetable, I've adapted a corn casserole that has been served in my family for years to suit my spice-loving taste.  I added in some fresh bell pepper and onion for a bit of crunch and an extra spoonful of sugar to rev-up the flavor a bit.  

This casserole is really versatile as far as add-in possibilities.  Or, it's just as tasty with just corn and no other veggies at all.  For occasions when my guests prefer dishes to be extra-spicy, I've added two seeded and chopped jalapeño peppers to this casserole and it is always a big success. 

If you wanted to give this a try for your 4th of July celebration it would be a great choice...it's a simple, inexpensive, and crowd-pleasing little number.  Also, I find that this corn casserole is a perfect partner to any and all things grilled.   This dish also works served as a main course with a green salad, or just something green for that matter.  I'm willing to bet that no complaints would be received even though it makes for a meatless meal.  

And as an added perk, your house is gonna smell terrific while this baby is baking.

Sweet-N-Spicy Corn Casserole
  • 1 15 oz. can whole kernel, drained
  • 1 15 oz. can cream-style corn
  • 1 stick of butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 8 oz. package of Mexican-style corn bread mix
  • 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp sugar 
Directions: 

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350º.
2.  In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the all ingredients and mix well.

 

 
 
3.  Transfer corn mixture to a greased, 9 x 9 inch pan.

Before...

4.  Allow to bake, uncovered, for 50 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.  Serve warm.

After!
5.  Enjoy!