Not Your Mama’s Meatloaf

For our wedding, we did things a little less traditional. One thing I was adamant about was asking for guest to provide a recipe in lieu of signing a guest book. My thought process was to put together a cookbook/photo album. The idea being we would look at our photos more often. Plus, we would think of all our amazing friends and family being at our wedding when we prepared their recipes.

c21ff084-03cf-4e12-89d3-ec296f8c478cThe first step was creating a recipe card. In a former life, I used to spend a fair amount of my day creating items in software like InDesign. When I couldn’t find what I wanted or wasn’t willing to pay the price on Etsy, I created items myself for the wedding. This is a copy of the recipe card I created. We mailed them with the wedding invitation so people could be prepared. I figured none of my friends and family have a web-based recipe blog like I do actually pull up their favorite recipes when they arrived at the wedding.

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Photography by Joseph Sands Images

After the wedding was over and we had the disk of our photos, I spent several days putting this cookbook together. This included everything from picking just the right font to counting the number of family members on each of our sides in the photos to make sure it was a fair representation. The end result was a cookbook that we printed for our parents and siblings as a Christmas gift. A few years back, I had done a family recipe cookbook for my mom and sister. They loved it and use it often.

The first recipe we prepared from our cookbook came from Jeremiah’s Uncle Johnny and Aunt Angie. I think the first people I met in Jeremiah’s family may have been Johnny and Angie. As you know, we are breakfast/brunch people. We used to go early on Saturday mornings to Corner Café before I headed out to work. Johnny and Angie would join her family for breakfast at the restaurant. They’d usually be arriving as we were leaving. Such a sweet couple. Unfortunately, we are no longer close to that Corner Café so we don’t run into them at breakfast time anymore.

Johnny and Angie shared their meatloaf recipe. It’s very tasty. That said, I would make a recommendation that you mix it right before you cook it. We get home so late from work that we decided to prep it the night before. When pulled it out of the fridge to cook it the next day, the pan was a little watery from the diced tomatoes. We hope you enjoy this more complex meatloaf recipe – and Jeremiah’s artist side with the pepper rings.

Meatloaf by Jon and Angie Slater
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1 lb. ground beef
½ c. chopped yellow onion
½ c. chopped green pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 c. canned diced tomatoes with juice
½ c. quick oats
1 ¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper

Topping
1/3 c. ketchup
2 T. brown sugar
1 tsp. yellow mustard

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix all meatloaf ingredients except topping. Shape into a loaf in baking dish. Mix all topping ingredients in a small bowl and spread over loaf. Bake for 1 hour.

Gipes

In fall 2014, Jeremiah and I took our first class at the Culinary Center of Kansas City. I had wanted to go forever but just been able too. We took as tasting class called Drive Ins and Dinner Done Right. Aka – how to cook fried food. We made fried tacos, onion rings, and adult root beer floats (so good). We were so stuffed by the end of the night!

Our chef educator’s family used to own a restaurant. In fact, you may have seen her on television. She beat out thousands of chefs to appear on America’s Next Great Restaurant. She was very entertaining and had lots of great stories to share along with cooking tips.

The class was very hands on and we had to learn to cook with strangers. Jeremiah and I learned that we cook really well together. Unfortunately, we did not cook well with strangers. We were always the last group to finish. But in our defense, I think the other groups knew each other and our stove was clear on the other side of the room.

Jeremiah and I made this recipe once for his parents. It was a little liquidy when we made it the first time so we decided to cook our some of the juice this time. We liked it a little better this way. And to be quite honest, I don’t normally eat Sloppy Joes/taverns. It was also a hit with Jeremiah’s parents. The best part of the night though was Don offering to wash the dishes. If you know me at all, it’s one of my least favorite task.

Gipes (Italian Sloppy Joes) by Sandy Digiovanni
IMG_00531 lb. of ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
5 garlic cloves
¼ c. fresh parsley
¾ c. beef broth
1 can crushed tomatoes
butter, softened
slice fresh mozzarella cheese
a package of Ciabatta rolls

Brown the ground beef. Add onion and pepper. Cook 5-8 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, 4 garlic cloves, and parsley. Cook on a higher heat to reduce liquid.

Mix remaining garlic, butter, and x. Spread on slice Ciabatta rolls. Top one side of the roll with cheese. Broil in oven for 2-3 minutes to melt. Top with meat and serve.

Notes:

  • We used smaller Ciabatta rolls and cut slices of cheese in half. It made 12 sandwiches.
  • We used a yellow onion and green pepper. I think you could use whichever onion and pepper you wanted too.
  • We used reduced sodium beef broth and dried parsley.

Turkey Taco

Recently, a group was using our kitchen at work to teach a nutritious cooking class for daycare providers. The group leader invited me to sample some of their recipe. I really liked this tasty taco. It wasn’t too spicy and extra healthy with beans and sweet potatoes. Jeremiah and I used tortillas high in fiber so one taco really filled us up. We also served it with fresh guacamole and homemade tortilla chips.

Turkey TacoTurkey Tacos by John Haddock
1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 can white beans, drained
1 sweet potato, zucchini, or carrot grated
1 can low sodium diced tomatoes
1 T. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper

Cook ground turkey over a medium heat. Add beans, veggies, and seasoning. Cook on medium for 20 minutes. Serve in a tortilla shell. Top with shredded cheese and any desired toppings (tomatoes, lettuce, guacamole, salsa, or sour cream).

Bronco Buster

Anything with the word “buster” isn’t good. But I’m fairly certain the Bronco Buster recipe was one of the worst meals my elementary cafeteria ever concocted. For those of you who didn’t attend Wisner Pilger Elementary School, this recipe was a slice of white bread topped with cold cheddar cheese and kidney beans. It was truly nasty. Perhaps this was one of the reasons I have avoided chili my enter life.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at my sister’s house. Her friend Susan brought chili. I remember Steph (also not a chili fan) saying that Susan made great chili. In an effort to incorporate more veggies into my diet, I thought I would give it a try. Kidney beans are really high in fiber and low in fat. Plus, my vegetarian friends swear if I start eating more beans I’ll be less hungry eating more veggies and less sugar/fat. I have to say, Susan’s chili was pretty good –  I even had seconds. So it got me thinking, maybe I should make a chili recipe.

As someone who has never saved a chili recipe, I decided to pull out one of my home-cooking recipe books. I decided to turn to the Perfect 10 Cookbook as this lady assembled only her best recipes. Although I have to say this recipe isn’t bad, it did make me realize one other thing, chili has a very Mexican food taste. I’m not a huge fan of Mexican restaurants and I think it is because I like sweet over bitter taste. It makes total sense because I love fruit but don’t love the taste of veggies.

So for those of you who love chili, I hope you enjoy this recipe. Although I think I liked the leftovers better after they sat in the fridge for a few days, I think I’m does cooking chili for a really long time.

Cook-Off Chili by Debbie Kraft
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 an onion chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can Bush’s Chili Beans (medium)
1/2 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. beef broth
1 small can tomato sauce
2-3 T. chili powder (I used Wildtree)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
dash of seasoned salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
3 oz. shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese

In a large Dutch oven pot, brown beef, onion, and garlic. Drain grease. Sprinkle meat with all seasonings. Add chili beans, Ro-tel, tomato sauce, and broths. Stir well and simmer for 30 minutes. Add cheese and simmer another 5 minutes. Serve with crackers or Frito’s.

Swiss Steak

You have probably read by now some of my crazy cooking stories about my Grandma Fletcher. She is one of those people who doesn’t really use recipes or changes them up a little bit. Today, I thought I would share one of my favorite dishes– Swiss Steak. For years, I tried to make it but it never turned out as juicy and tender as it did when Grandma made it. As I have expressed before, that’s when you have to watch someone make their recipe. That is how I learned the true art to making this recipe delicious. I hope you enjoy this Crock Pot recipe as much as I do.

Swiss Steak by Shirley Fletcher

1 package of minute/cubed steak (I usually use 3 or 4 of them)
flour
pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 can of stewed tomatoes
V8 small can (or pour in some tomato juice)

Lightly grease a pan with EVOO and heat. Flour and pepper cubed steaks. Place in hot pan. Cook til somewhat brown and flip. (Note: you are only half cooking these so don’t worry about them not being done.) Meanwhile, pour the can of stewed tomatoes into a food processor. Blend slightly. Add a small can of V8 or enough tomato juice to cover the stewed tomatoes (approximately 4-6 oz.). Blend a little bit more. Pour a little bit into the bottom of the Crock Pot. Place first steak on top of it. Cover with a tomato mixture and repeat until all steaks are in the Crock Pot and all the tomato mixture has been used. Cook on a low heat for 4-6 hours.

Notes:

  • My Grandmother added the leftover flour to the pan and makes a little gravy. She adds this to the Crock Pot as well.
  • This is a great recipe to serve with the Classic Potato Casserole, Jack Stack’s Cheesy Corn, and Garlic Poppy Seed Spirals.
  • Cubed steaks are flatten steak so they can be really expensive. Buy the meat when it is on sale and freeze it or check the fresh meat counter for specials. I like Price Chopper’s minute steaks the best because they don’t fall apart as easily.