Meatloaf Ala Bah Bah (that’s me!)

I think I’ve been working on this meatloaf recipe since I was in my twenties. This is a tad labor intensive but it’s entirely worth it.

By now, we all know I’m a bit of a weirdo (and a perfectionist) when it comes to cooking. The way I make my meatloaf is a tad different than most in that I do not mix my ingredients in a bowl. (This is born from my experience with catering for large groups. It’s impossible to mix the ingredients for meatloaf for 100 in a bowl, so I always use a huge baking sheet.) The first time I tried this method at home, it worked so beautifully, I’ve not used a bowl since. The reasoning behind it is pretty simple. It’s just easier to get the meats and the seasonings uniformly distributed using this method.

This was last year at the start of the Pandemic. Making meatloaf for the masses!

I used to substitute oatmeal for breadcrumbs in my meatloaf recipes until that one time I forgot to put them in and it ended up being the best meatloaf ever. Now I skip them completely. Instead, I use extra eggs to hold everything together. Yes, the consistency going into the oven is slightly more wet, (and more work) but it works out just fine.

Wait. Did she just say, “…more work”? Relax. It’s just a couple of extra steps to siphon out the liquid as it builds up during baking. (Doesn’t that sound appetizing? Here, your turkey baster will be your friend.)

See how much easier it is to sprinkle all of the ingredients evenly?
Oh YES this is DELICIOUS!

Meatloaf Ala Bah Bah

(Serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb. ground beef (80/20 for best flavor)

1 lb. ground sweet Italian sausage

1 lb. ground mild Italian sausage

1 Pkg Lipton Onion Soup mix

1 medium onion diced however you like it

1/2 c. minced fresh parsley (Take the time and use the FRESH stuff. It DOES make a difference!

1 Tbsp Italian seasoning

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup Ketchup (I like Primal Kitchen’s Sugar free)

3 eggs

1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce (Sweet Baby Rays Hickory & Brown Sugar is yummy)

Salt & Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. On a large baking sheet, break up the ground beef and spread it, then break up the sausages so they are evenly distributed. If a baking sheet scares you, use a bowl, but trust me on this…a baking sheet allows for easier mixing and even distribution of ingredients.
  3. Sprinkle the soup mix, onion, parsley, Italian seasoning, olive oil, ketchup, eggs and salt and pepper evenly over the meat. (Basically everything but the Barbecue sauce.)
  4. Using your hands, mix all of it together and then spread it back out across the baking sheet once more.
  5. Drizzle thin streams of the barbecue sauce over the meat. Salt and pepper once more. Mix again and then form it into a loaf inside a standard loaf pan.
  6. Put the meatloaf into your freezer for 20 minutes.
  7. Put into preheated oven, uncovered for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven, turn temperature down to 375.
  9. Using a turkey baster, remove the juices that have accumulated. Brush on a thin coating of Barbecue sauce. Return to oven for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven, siphon the juices once more, re-apply the barbecue sauce, cook for 5-10 minutes more. Repeat siphoning juices and applying barbecue, then broil on high for two minutes.
  11. Let the meat rest on the counter for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Chicken Breasts.

If you can’t have comfort food during the Apocalypse, when can you have it?

Do I really need to write something descriptive about chicken breasts stuffed with ooey gooey cheese and yummy jalapeño? Let’s talk instead about how long it took me to figure out how to get that little squiggley accent mark (it’s called a tilde, by the way) over the “n” in jalapeño. Good grief, and I have a degree in Spanish?

Anyway, this recipe was born out of a deep need for something yummy and different for dinner. Although this recipe is far from “different”, it’s not in our usual repertorio, so I am allowed to act like it’s brand new. It’s also great for people who are limiting carbs. I paired it with spaghetti squash mixed with peppers and onions and served it with a side of avocado (aguacate is one of my favorite Spanish words. Ask my husband.) and sour cream.

The instructions for this are very simple so I didn’t take photos of the process. Here is what ours looked like before it went into the oven. They remind me of little mummies:

jalapeno popper chicken

I did these in a square baking dish but hind site tells me they would have done better on a rack over a sheet pan. Next time, grasshoppah…..next time.

At the last minute I decided to drizzle maple syrup over the bacon to add a little bit more flavor.

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After they come out of the oven, let them rest before slicing, otherwise you will have cheese oozing out all over.

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Hungry yet? (¿Tienes hambre todavia?)

I intentionally bought more jalapeño’s than I needed and I doubled my stuffing mixture so I could make some actual jalapeño poppers at the same time. When they were all made, I put them on a sheet pan and froze them over night. This morning I took them out and put them in a freezer bag so we’ll have them when we want them later.

Adios Amigos!


 

Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Chicken for Two

Ingredients:

Two large chicken breasts

Stuffing mixture:
4 oz. softened cream cheese
¼ cup sour cream (optional)
2 large jalapeno’s, diced
¾ cup grated Cheddar Cheese
¼ cup chopped cilantro (fresh)
1 garlic clove, grated
S & P to taste
2 Tbsp. taco seasoning (Use what you like)

1 lb. bacon (Use what you like although thin slices work best)
Maple Syrup (Optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Rinse and the chicken breasts dry. Cut a deep slit in each one to make a pocket for the cheese mixture. Salt and pepper the inside and outside of each breast. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine all of the stuffing mixture ingredients. I usually microwave the completed mixture and stir well to combine. If it’s too runny, put it in the refrigerator before trying to stuff the chicken with it. You want it to be pliable but not loose.

Stuff the breasts liberally with the cheese mixture but do not over-stuff. You want to be able to close them.

Wrap each breast tightly with as many strips of bacon needed to cover. (It’s bacon! Use a LOT!)

Brush maple syrup over all over the bacon. (You’re welcome in advance.)

For best results place the breasts on a greased rack over a sheet pan. IF you don’t have this, use a baking dish.

Bake for 30 minutes, then flip and bake 15 minutes more. If you are using a baking dish, you may want to use a turkey baster to suck out excess juices.

Finally, if you want the bacon to be very crispy, flip the chicken back over and broil it on high for 2-3 minutes. WATCH CAREFULLY so it doesn’t burn.

Let rest 10 minutes or more before slicing.

 

Kicked Up Beef Noodle Casserole. Comfort Food, How we love Thee!

In case you didn’t get the memo, you are supposed to be eating delicious comfort food during the pandemic. Here is an easy recipe that’s relatively inexpensive, too.

Warning: This recipe isn’t keto friendly; this recipe isn’t low-carb; this recipe isn’t low fat; this recipe isn’t loaded with vegetables and it doesn’t pack a huge nutritional punch. Haven’t you heard? We are in the middle of a pandemic and the best food to eat in a pandemic is COMFORT FOOD!

This dish is so simple to make I put it together from start to finish in less than thirty minutes. If you have children, I am certain they will love this. What’s not to love?

Since I am pretty certain most of you know how to chop veggies, brown ground beef and mix things in a bowl, I am sparing you photos of all of that. Instead, here is what your layers will look like.

Bottom layer:

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Middle layer:

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Next layer:

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Top it with the Cheese:

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Here it is out of the oven garnished with basil:

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Now IF you really wanted to, you could add some extra veggies to the meat mixture. Spinach and mushrooms would be great in there–even frozen peas. Use your imagination.

We served ours up with a drizzle of Sriracha and some more fresh herbs. I think a healthy dollop of sour cream (and even a little salsa) would be delightful as well.

 


Kicked up Beef Noodle Casserole (ala: Bahbah)

(Serves 8-10)

Ingredients:
8 oz. package egg noodles
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 ½ Lb. ground beef (can substitute ground chicken, turkey or pork)
1 large green pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
(1) 15 oz. can tomato sauce
(1) 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
3 cloves garlic, minced (more if you are a garlic freak like me)
2-3 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
2-3 Tbsp. Fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
S & P to taste
8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 Cups Mozzarella, grated (don’t be lazy, do it yourself)
1-2 Cups sharp cheddar, grated (see above)

 
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Over medium heat, brown the ground beef in skillet with 2 Tbsp. Olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, 1 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning and garlic.

Meanwhile, boil the pasta according to package directions.

In a bowl, mix together soften cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, 1 cup of Mozzarella cheese, 2 Tbsp. fresh chives, salt & pepper and a pinch of Italian seasoning.

When the meat has browned, add in the onions and peppers and cook about five minutes until softened. Then mix in the drained diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Add another Tbsp. of Italian seasoning and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Simmer 2-3 minutes.

Remove meat mixture from heat and add in the drained pasta and 2 Tbsp. fresh basil. Stir well to incorporate.

Grease a 9 x 13” baking dish, add half of the meat and noodle mixture to the bottom as the first layer. Spread the cheese evenly over the layer, then add the rest of the meat and noodles over it.

Top with the remaining Mozzarella and Cheddar cheeses.

Bake 20-25 minutes until brown and bubbly. Garnish with the remaining fresh Basil.

Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving. (Tastes GREAT the second day and it freezes well too!)