Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Possibly the Best Meatloaf

My old favorite meatloaf is Holly Hobbie's Meatloaf.  I'm not kidding, I have loved it since I was a kid and cooking from the Holly Hobbie Cookbook!  I also love that it has carrots in it and a secret ingredient that I use instead of bread crumbs:  oats!

Last year, this Swedish Meatloaf became a pretty close second to Holly Hobbie's.  Today, I planned on making a meatloaf for dinner.  For some reason, I thought about combining elements of the two recipes:  the vegetables in Holly Hobbie's with the spices of the Swedish meatloaf.  I decided to use enough meat to make two meatloaves, one for the freezer, and made note of the ingredients I wanted to use.

Everyone in the family loved the results!  My youngest son, Sawed Off, even said that this meatloaf knocked hamburgers down to third place on his favorite foods list! Number One is looking forward to meatloaf sandwiches.  H-Bomb cleaned his plate!

Sorry I didn't take a picture, but without further ado, here we have:

Possibly the Best Meatloaf
makes two loaves, each loaf serves 4-5 hungry people

2 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
3 carrots, peeled and grated
2 eggs
1 cup regular, "old-fashioned" oats
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients gently in a big bowl.  (I use my hands to mix it)  Mix until combined, but don't be too rough with it or overwork it.

Divide mixture in half, and put each half in a loaf pan, smoothing the tops.  I wrap one loaf pan with plastic wrap AND tin foil, label it and freeze it for later use.

The other loaf pan into the oven.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour.  Let cool slightly, then slice and serve.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Delicate Nut Crescents

Made these for the first time today. The dough was delicious and so were the cookies, made with toasted pecans. I sprinkled the cookies with powdered sugar, but sometime I want to try my idea of dipping the ends in chocolate.

Try the recipe and see what you think. I'm thinking these would be a good cookie to take to a holiday cookie exchange or to a tea but would not be a good cookie to send in a care package to a college student. Enjoy!

Delicate  Nut  Crescents
Makes about 60

1 cup butter at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg at room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract or ¼ teaspoon almond extract
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup ground pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, or almonds
Sifted powdered sugar or melted semisweet chocolate

1. In a medium-large mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 30 seconds.

2. Add the sugar and beat until combined.

3. Beat in the egg, whichever extract goes best with the nuts you are using, and the salt.

4. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer.

5. Stir in the remaining flour and the ground nuts with a wooden spoon. Do not chill the dough.

6. Shape dough into short cigars, maybe ½ inch in diameter and two inches long. Curve into tight crescents as you place on ungreased baking sheets about an inch apart. Even without leavening, cookies will expand during baking.

7. Bake in 375°F oven for about 8 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Remove cookies from pans and cool on a rack.

8. When cookies are cool, either sift powdered sugar over them or dip one or both ends of each cookie in melted chocolate and allow chocolate to set completely while cookies rest on rack or waxed paper.

NOTE: Rich, shortbread-like cookies. Dough handles beautifully. May want to toast ground nuts. However, if you do, stir constantly over dry heat and take care not to burn them; burning can happen in a blink of an eye and make the nuts unusable in cookie dough. Allow toasted ground nuts to cool completely before adding to dough.
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