September Foodie Penpal Package

It seems that, quite unintentionally, I took the month of September off from blogging. It wasn’t planned, it just sort of happened. But I’m back, embracing fall and raring to go with a list of ideas and recipes to test in the next few months. I decided it only seemed fitting to have my first post back be a thank you ,and mirror my last post before my “mini-break”. So here we are with a Foodie Penpal package post.

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Cook(those)books & spaghetti.

November seemed to be a slow month in the kitchen at my house.  I must confess, the cook (those) books recipe challenge I set for myself hasn’t been going exceptionally well.  I tried a few new meals last month, but not many, and very few exactly as written.  Which, of course, was the challenge.

I promise that December will be all about cooking.  There will be several new recipes that are challenge approved to start out the new year.  In the meantime, here are a few of the November meals I tried that passed muster. Continue reading

Monday musings, and meatloaf.

We are raised to believe that Mondays aren’t to be trusted.  Monday, Monday.  Can’t trust that day.  Back to work, back to school, the fun of the weekend is over….it’s just another Manic Monday after all.  But what happens  if you want to play a different tune?

Hmmm…. my positive Monday song lyric search is coming up a blank.

When I awoke, several hours before my alarm, that was all I could think of.  I’m self employed and even I was dreading Monday morning.  (Rainy days and Mondays…) I make my own schedule and still – Yikes!   Tell me why I don’t like Mondays…

So, I did what any normal adult would do (well, normal to me).  I read a cookbbook.  I made a great list of Meatless Monday ideas and then thought “now what”.  Meatloaf.

Okay.  SO not meatless….

Now I’m not a vegetarian and I don’t pretend to be.  But for many reasons I am trying to eat less meat.   Sometimes though comfort food is the way to go.  This week it was meatloaf. Meatloaf it a very personal thing with endless possible variations.   This is my go to version. Tasty and easy it also has a few hidden ingredients to up the “healthy” quotient a bit (which also makes it a great way to sneak in some vegetables at the dinner table).

Now if only Meatloaf had written a song about Mondays.

Ingredients

  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • 1lb lean ground turkey breast
  • 2 whole eggs or 4 egg whites
  • 1c. panko
  • 1 c. shredded brussel sprouts or 1 c finely chopped kale
  • 1 bunch italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion or 4-6 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 c milk
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
Method
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix all ingredients, except ketchup and maple syrup, in a large bowl.
  • Place mixture in a loaf pan.  Cover with tin foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  • While cooking mix the tomato paste and syrup in a small bowl.
  • When meatloaf has been cooking for 45 minutes, remove tin foil, spread the tomato and syrup on the top.  Bake another 5-10 minutes until sauce has crisped.
Serve with roasted vegetables and a fresh green salad.

Oven Roasted Tomato Paste

In my continuous quest to have summer last all year one of my favourite ways to preserve the taste of the season is oven roasted tomato paste.  Looking for a weekend project? Making it isn’t difficult, just a bit time intensive.  I assure you though your winter meals will thank you for it.

Ingredients

  • as many ripe roma tomatoes as you wish.  (A full baking sheet makes about one ice cube tray worth of paste.)
  • olive oil
  • sea salt

You will also need:

  • large sheet pan(s) or cookie sheets
  • parchment paper
  • food processor / belnder
  • ice cube tray

Method

  • Head to local farmers market and buy a ridiculous amount of tomatoes.
  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  • Wash the tomatoes and cut them in half.
  • Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit your sheet pan(s).
  • Place tomatoes cut side up on the paper. Don’t worry, they can be packed fairly close together.  The more the merrier.

    • Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes.
    • Sprinkle with sea salt.
    • Place in oven.
    • Allow to cook for 3-4 hours.  At about the 3 hour mark make sure you check that they haven’t started to burn on the edges.
    • When they are cooked, remove pans from the oven and let them cool.
 When the tomatoes are cool, place them in a blender.  Puree until smooth adding more olive oil if necessary.  To keep the puree for immediate use, place it in a jar in the fridge.  Ensure that there is always a thin layer of oil on top to prevent spoilage.  It should last this way for about a week.  To save some for the coming months just spoon the paste into an ice cube tray, cover and place in the freezer.  When frozen, use a knife to remove the cubes and put them in a labelled container in the freezer.  Tomato paste cubes are the perfect size to add a bit of zing to eggs, pasta, beans or vegetables in the coming months.