I wanted to write about something today, but I didn’t really know what to write about. And since I was cooking today, I thought it might be appropriate to post about what I made. I hadn’t made meat loaf in awhile, so I thought that would be something good to have for a change. It’s tasty, and my son and I both like it. I make my meat loaf from my mom’s recipe, which I will also share to follow. In the above picture, you can see the finished product, and although it is a little bit overdone, it hasn’t caused a negative effect. It still tastes just great!
In the above picture, here, this is how my meat loaf looked before placing it in the oven. I know it doesn’t really look that appetizing, and in fact, it may actually look somewhat disgusting, but I tell you, it is delish.
Off the top of my head, the recipe is as follows:
1.5-2 lbs. ground beef, preferably 90+% lean
2-3 slices of bread, in small pieces
small onion or half of large onion, chopped or cut into small pieces
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup ketchup
Note: No salt needed
I just combine everything by tossing it into a bowl and stirring it up well. It will create a nice pasty, mushy mess, but is oh so good when you eat it. Bake at 350-375 degrees F for about 45 minutes. Take a look at my dinner plate below, along with my mashed potatoes and cucumber/tomato salad.
So there you have it. I had time to cook today and made a nice tasty dinner. I didn’t use my fancy fine china today because I didn’t feel like having to be careful with it, so I just used the cheap plates. Oh, and of course, you can also add more ketchup to the meat loaf once it’s done if you like; it’s good either way, but adding more ketchup just seems to drown out the yummy taste. Enjoy!
My holidays would not be complete if I did not take time to do some holiday baking and cooking. So, I’m happy that I got to take time out of my busy schedule to do just that this week! For the past couple of days, I’ve been making sugar cookies and chocolate fudge. Yes, while it’s already after Christmas, at least I got a chance to make some of my favorites to satisfy my sweet tooth this holiday season!
First, I’d like to share my holiday chocolate fudge recipe. It’s not something that I actually created, however it was handed down to me from my mom when she got it from a Better Homes and Gardens magazine from sometime in the late 1960s, as I recall. Every year, as long as I can remember while my mom was living, she would make fudge from this recipe, and now, I continue to do the same. The recipe is excellent, and I’ve added my own suggestions to it. If you ever wonder why you put on weight after eating fudge, just look at the recipe and ingredients, and there will be no questions!
To follow, I’m including pictures of the ingredients and materials I use for the fudge, as well as some of the steps in the cooking process.
Here, you will see all of the ingredients I used in making my fudge. Regarding my materials, I like to use a thin metal pot because it heats faster. You also definitely need a candy thermometer, and must follow the directions in the recipe exactly in order for your fudge to turn out perfectly. I also like to use a large metal cooking spoon to stir my mixture over the stove – instead of a wooden spoon. I can’t get a good grip on those wooden spoons, so I prefer a metal spoon. However, I also need heat-proof cooking gloves that I wear while cooking my fudge mixture, otherwise my hands will get burned. Those gloves are amazing!
Here, I have my bowl of mini marshmallows and chocolate morsels ready and positioned in my clean sink for when my boiled fudge mixture is ready for pouring into it. Yes, you always want to have everything clean when you are baking and cooking! And, if you have long hair, be sure to tie it back. Not only will you get hot cooking over the stove, but you will maintain the cleanliness of your ingredients and materials.
Here is my pot before pouring in the evaporated milk. Look at all of that butter and sugar!
Here is my pot with my evaporated milk included.
Here is my pot after about two minutes of cooking. In all, it took about 20-22 minutes for this mixture to reach soft ball stage. Be prepared to stand at your stove while constantly and gently stirring this mixture during that time. Once the mixture reaches jelly stage, it should have a rolling boil, and of course, will only get more intense as you move toward soft ball stage. Again, follow the recipe directions exactly for this delicious fudge!
Here is a repeat picture of my finished fudge. I like to use glass pie dishes rather than metal cake tins. In this picture, note that the fudge on the left is smoother while the fudge on the right is somewhat more lumpy. This is because I had only the pie dish on the left prepared in advance of the fudge being done, and I had not recalled that the recipe made enough for two pie dishes. So, in the midst of pouring the fudge into one pie dish, I realized I needed another one. I had to set down my mixture for about one minute while I scrambled to get another pie dish, quickly wash it, and grease it, and then put my heat-proof cooking gloves back on. By then, the mixture was already setting, and so, it is a bit more lumpy and mealy than the other pie dish. It will turn out okay, but will not be quite as smooth in texture as the first pour. As Emeril always says, you can eat your mistakes!
There you have it! This is an absolutely delicious chocolate fudge. Also, if you noticed, I did not include the walnuts. I have always included chopped walnuts in the past, but can no longer eat nuts, so they are absent this year. This will be the first year that our fudge is a bit of a different texture and taste, but will still hit the spot! Just don’t eat too much all at once – ooh, I can imagine that heady sugar rush already – phew!
I love to cook and bake, and today, I decided to make some lasagna! I also need just a little bit more to do to keep my mind occupied. Lasagna is definitely a rich-tasting comfort food for me, and with the temperatures getting cooler while going into Fall, it is one of those dishes that tastes delish when it gets a bit chilly outside. Plus, my son likes it too, so that is another good benefit. The thing is, I generally make so much that there is enough left over to freeze and get out at a later date to enjoy – yum!
So, I thought I would do a photo documentary of making my lasagna today, as well as throwing together a cucumber and tomato salad, along with some Texas Toast. Of course, the meal would have been “perfect” if I had made my own garlic bread, sauce, and cheese, but I don’t go quite that far. I could always buy some Italian or French bread, slather it with butter, and shake on some garlic salt, but the Texas Toast is just as good. I could also make my own sauce, but that is an involved process, as well as cheese-making. At any rate, I hope you enjoy my time invested into making some great food this morning. Are you hungry yet? Let’s eat!
First, purchase and gather all of your ingredients and cooking materials. Next, be sure to wash your hands and prepare your cooking area. Following are the next steps I followed in making my dinner:
I like to use about two pounds of ground beef, one pound of Barilla lasagna noodles, two jars of Prego Mushroom spaghetti sauce, and two pounds of mozzarella cheese. I don’t use Ricotta cheese because I don’t like it – neither the taste, nor the texture.
Be sure to coat the bottom of your roasting pan with some spaghetti sauce so the lasagna doesn’t burn it.
Now, it’s time to fire up the stove to cook your ingredients.
You can cook your lasagna noodles and ground beef at the same time. Of course, first, bring your water to a boil before placing the noodles in your pot. Brown your ground beef and drain out the grease before pouring in your spaghetti sauce to cook.
Next, pour in your spaghetti sauce, stir it in, and let it cook.
While your noodles and sauce are cooking, you have time to slice your mozzarella slabs. Never use grated mozzarella in your lasagna as it will dissolve into one soupy mess. Also, be sure your mozzarella is not cut too thick or it will not melt well. Then, you will have to turn up your oven temperature, and risk burning the bottom of your pan. It’s not worth it.
When your noodles and meat sauce are ready, you can start layering your lasagna to prepare for baking.
Next, spoon in a layer of meat sauce over the noodles.
Next, place a few slices of mozzarella on top of the meat sauce. Then, repeat each step until you have nothing left to layer.
I like to start warming my oven as soon as my noodles are finished cooking and while I am layering my lasagna so it provides enough time to come up to temperature by the time I’m ready to bake.
My roasting pan of lasagna is now ready for baking. I also like to just rinse out the spaghetti jars with a tiny bit of water and dump the rest of the sauce into the pan so there is no waste. Then, I put the top on the pan and place it in the oven, baking at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour.
I always recycle as much as possible. So, I rinse the jars to take to the Recycling Center sometime, and I toss the cardboard noodle box and metal jar lids into my recycle dumpster. While I also recycle plastic bags, the cheese plastic was too messy to clean, so that became trash.
Next, I get out my Texas Toast on a metal platter, having it ready for baking once the lasagna is done. You can also bake it at the same time as your lasagna if you have a convection oven option on your microwave and you need to have it ready at the same time as the lasagna. However, if you have the time and prefer to save some electricity, just wait until the lasagna is done and use your oven. Your lasagna will need some time to cool before you can eat it anyway.
While the lasagna is baking, I get out my veggies for my cucumber and tomato salad. I remove any stickers, rinse them with water, cut them up and place them in a container, and get the Kraft Sun Dried Tomato salad dressing ready to add. I typically add about 1/3 bottle to the mixture.
One cucumber and one tomato are plenty to make salad for two people, but you can add more, as well.
Next, slice up your tomato.
Then, place both ingredients into a bowl or container and add the salad dressing, stirring it up. This tastes really good!
Now, it’s time to take the lasagna out of the oven – it’s done!
There is my homemade lasagna – as homemade as it’s going to get! Yum!
Next, be sure to lower your oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit to bake your Texas Toast. It takes a bit longer in the oven than in the convection microwave, but turns out better. In the oven, keep the Texas Toast in for eight minutes before taking it out to flip over. Then, return it to the oven for another five minutes. That should be just right.
There, the Texas Toast is perfect!
In all, this process took about 2.5 hours from start to finish, including eating and cleaning up everything afterwards.
And, there is my comfort food homemade lasagna and salad with Texas Toast! It was soooo good! That mozzarella is really delicious!
Of course, here is my “manly” meal on my Lady Carlisle fine china, but what are you gonna do? I have it and I’m going to use it.
I hope you enjoyed my virtual baking lesson for today – time for seconds! Gotta watch that cholesterol now, for sure.