Three Cheese Macaroni

Comfort Food: Lasagna

BBQ Grilled Cheese

Pork Sandwiches

Mom! The Meatloaf!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I've had the last four days completely to myself. Apart from the fact that I've watched too many scary movies in my childhood that I'm easily freaked out, it was a very relaxing few days. I've 'Octoberized' our house and was able to watch Food Network for hours, uninterrupted. Heck, I even went shopping for a day. That doesn't happen very often anymore. I no longer live within 10 minutes of 5 different malls; one including the Mall of America. You mean I actually have to drive 45 minutes to the mall!? What is this world coming to? Well, it's teaching me that I don't need to go shopping very often, because I actually have plenty of clothes and don't really have the disposable income to just shop. Who'd a thunk it?

Where am I getting with this? Well, my husband came home this afternoon and at his request, I needed to have some food ready when he and our friend Adam arrived. Some people would get upset with this kind of request. Who do you think you are? Stop at McDonald's on the way home! I actually enjoy the opportunity to come up with something to make and to have more than one or two people to enjoy it with. I also had plenty of time to plan.

Since I promised you chocolate cake made with zucchini, that will be included in this post; along with mini meatloaf.  I LOVE meatloaf and haven't had it since I lived at home, so I'm bringing it back to life! It's cheesy, promotes both the beef and pork industries and it doesn't take long to bake. Let's not forget the awesome aroma that it brings to your house. I also whipped up some mashed sweet potatoes, made just like regular mashed, but with some color.  I'm feeling the Octoberness now.

My mom always told me to enjoy some dessert first, just in case you eat too much that you're not hungry enough for it later. So I'm going to give you the chocolate cake recipe first:

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter 
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (4 ounces) sour cream, buttermilk, or yogurt 
2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounce) Dutch-process cocoa
2 teaspoons espresso powder, optional but tasty
2 cups shredded zucchini (about one 10" zucchini, about 12 ounces) 
1/2 cup (3 ounces) chocolate chips
1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips, for icing
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lighlty grease a 9" x 13" pan. 

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, oil, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the eggs.

Stir in the sour cream, buttermilk, or yogurt alternately with the flour. Then add the cocoa and espresso powder, mixing till smooth. Finally, fold in the zucchini and 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes, till the top springs back lightly when touched, and it seems set. Slide the cake out of the oven, sprinkle it evenly with the 1 cup chocolate chips, and return it to the oven for 5 minutes, [note - don't use frozen chocolate chips. They won't melt properly - or didn't for me anyways...] or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven, and use a cake spatula or rubber spatula to spread the chocolate chips into a smooth glaze. Cool on a rack. Yield: 24 servings.

You'll never guess that there is zucchini in this cake. I promise. It simply provides a moist context and allows you to get rid of some of that zucchini that won't stop growing in your garden. 

I used plain yogurt for this recipe. If I make it again, I'm going to try the sour cream. I think it would add a little more flavor and complexity that the plain yogurt didn't bring. Regardless, I'd be using some form of dairy product. And that makes me happy.

Next - the meatloaf.

Cheesy Mini'Me's

1 cup ketchup
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon or Whole Grain Maple mustard
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 pound hamburger
1 pound ground pork
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Maple Smoked cheddar, cubed

cooking spray


Spray 1 1/2 muffin pans with cooking spray (18 spots). Preheat oven to 350*F.

Combine ketchup, mustard and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside. 

In large mixing bowl, combine hamburger, pork, onion, bread crumbs, salt, oregano, black pepper and eggs. With clean hands, dig in and make sure everything is evenly distributed. Wash hands.
With a spatula, mix in 3/4 of the ketchup/mustard/brown sugar mixture with the meat mixture. 

Evenly distribute mixture amongst the 18 muffin spots (anyone have a better word for those?).  Using your thumb or a spoon, put a dimple in the middle of each mini-loaf. Place a cube of cheese in the middle and cover.  Once that is complete, use the remaining ketchup/mustard/brown sugar mixture and top each mini-loaf with about 1/2 tsp - 1 tsp's worth.

Toss muffin pans in the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes. Test one of the mini-me's to make sure they are no longer pink in the middle.

Enjoy with some mashed sweet potatoes or regular mashed potatoes. The smokiness of the cheese and sweet/tangy'ness from the mustard makes these mini'me's warm your insides.  I'm excited to eat the leftovers at work tomorrow.


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