Folks in much of the U.S. start to breathe a sigh of relief as the temps and humidity become more humane. With the welcome respite, we start craving comfort foods that haven’t made appearances on our dinner table since the early Spring. Meatloaf comes to mind as one of those cool-weather comfort foods, and here’s one with a local twist: Philly Cheesesteak Meatloaf.
I found this recipe on dinnerthendessert.com and decided it was worth a try, after all Philadelphia is our “mother” city, the place we refer to when on vacay and asked where we call home. It contains not only ground beef but green bell peppers, onions and mushrooms, and is topped and stuffed with provolone cheese. Not exactly haute cuisine, but certainly worth a try. And BTW, it is fantastic leftover!
Typically I like to serve mashed potatoes with meatloaf, but The Hubs suggested we pair it with a Farmers Market Ratatouille recipe found in our latest issue of Fine Cooking magazine. It is an example of simple food, prepared in a way to let humble ingredients shine that gets even tastier as it sits. You could even make it the day before, let the flavors meld in the refrigerator and reheat it when ready. A win-win in my book.
For a touch more depth of flavor, I included 1 teaspoon dried oregano, two dried bay leaves and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Keep in mind, the ratatouille is done in a slow cooker and takes over 6 hours total including the prep, so plan ahead. But you will love it because it’s rich in flavor, gluten-free, vegetarian, and absolutely delicious! If you have a non-meat eater in the household, they could make this their main course along with a hefty slice of crusty bread.
The directions instruct to employ a 6-quart slow cooker. We used our 7-quart model and it was filled to the brim initially, but everything cooked down to about half by the end. So you might want to start with a larger cooker if you have one. Oh, and feel free to throw in any errant veggies you may have lurking in the fridge. We had one cooked ear of corn, so I shaved off the kernels and threw them in for the last several minutes before the basil.
Philly Cheesesteak Meatloaf
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 small green bell pepper, diced
- 8 oz.s brown mushrooms, minced
- 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- 2 lbs. lean ground beef, 85/15
- 2 Tbsp. ketchup
- 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 8 oz. Provolone cheese slices
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a large loaf pan with cooking spray.
- In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the butter and the onions and bell peppers, mushrooms, salt and pepper.
- Let brown for 3 minutes before stirring, then let brown for another 1-2 minutes before stirring again.
- Let cool for five minutes.
- In a large bowl add the ground beef, ketchup,Worcestershire sauce, eggs, panko breadcrumbs and the cooled vegetable mixture.
- Add half the mixture to your loaf pan then add half of the cheese, overlapping the slices.
- Cover with the rest of the meat and form into a flat-top loaf shape. Place your loaf pan on a rimmed baking sheet and put in the oven.
- Cook for 40 minutes, then pull out of the oven. Remove any excess grease from the corners with a baster. Cover with remaining cheese and put back in the oven.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes, then let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.
Farmers Market Ratatouille
Farmers Market Ratatouille
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 large (at least) garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1, 6-oz. can tomato paste
- 1 medium eggplant, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 3 medium Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch dice
- 1 medium yellow summer squash, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch dice
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lightly packed cup thinly sliced basil
- Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic, remove from the heat, and let cool 5 minutes
- Stir in the tomato paste until smooth.
- Combine all of the prepped veggies (except the basil) in a 6-qt. (or larger) slow cooker. Add the tomato paste mixture, bay leaves, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, 1 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; stir well.
- Cover and cook on low until the vegetables are tender, about 5 hours.
- Remove the lid, and continue cooking until some of the liquid evaporates, about 30-45 minutes.
- Stir in the basil, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve or cool and refrigerate until ready to eat.