Tag Archives: weeknight dinner

Cheesesteak Meatloaf Paired with Ratatouille

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

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a large loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the butter and the onions and bell peppers, mushrooms, salt and pepper.
  3. Let brown for 3 minutes before stirring, then let brown for another 1-2 minutes before stirring again.
  4. Let cool for five minutes.
  5. In a large bowl add the ground beef, ketchup,Worcestershire sauce, eggs, panko breadcrumbs and the cooled vegetable mixture.
  6. Add half the mixture to your loaf pan then add half of the cheese, overlapping the slices.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Cook for 15-20 minutes, then let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Farmers Market Ratatouille

Farmers Market Ratatouille

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic, remove from the heat, and let cool 5 minutes
  2. Stir in the tomato paste until smooth.
  3. 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.
  4. Cover and cook on low until the vegetables are tender, about 5 hours.
  5. Remove the lid, and continue cooking until some of the liquid evaporates, about 30-45 minutes.
  6. Stir in the basil, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve or cool and refrigerate until ready to eat.
Uncover and continue cooking for 30-45 minutes to evaporate some of the liquid.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

When Baked Chicken is What You Crave.

On vacation in Hilton Head in mid-September, and with plans to check out as many restaurants as the schedule would allow, we also anticipated dining in, at least a few evenings. The Hubs and I drove down with good friend Merry Sue (owner of the time share) which sported a modern, fully-equipped kitchen. As her guests, we promised to make dinner a couple of nights, although we had no pre-planned menus. (But we did intentionally schlepp down a few good knives 🙂 )

Lots of Shallots

It was unanimous that chicken be the star of dinner this particular night, so The Hubs began his search on several of our recipe faves and found this perfect gem, Baked Chicken with Herbs, Garlic & Shallots, on FineCooking.com. Because it consisted of few ingredients, a good thing when on vacation, and was simple in employment, the recipe fit our criteria to a tee.

Merry Sue and Lynn on the condo balcony.

For some strange reason the local supermarket carried only four whole chickens, so I bought the smallest at just over 4 1/2 pounds—which in hind sight worked out well because we all ADORED the finished dish, plus had leftovers for a tasty chicken salad for lunch the next day! This recipe is so easy to modify to your liking with different herbs, extra garlic, small onions, etc. If you prefer white or dark meat only, you could also substitute bone-in, skin-on split breasts or thighs.

I believe this will easily become a staple of our weeknight dinner repertoire. Vary the herbs as you like, but stick to the hardy ones—thyme, rosemary, sage, and oregano. They’ll roast without burning and have a stronger flavor.

Without a lot of staples at our disposal, we opted to go for a packaged rice dish and a simple side salad (the grape tomatoes we transported from our garden at home) to complete the meal. When we make this delicious dish again, I think we’ll go ahead and make the pan sauce to pair with some garlicky mashed potatoes to accompany the baked chicken. Mmmm-mm good!

Baked Chicken with Herbs, Garlic and Shallots

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 chicken (3-1/2 to 4 lb.), cut into quarters
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 6 medium shallots, cut in half and peeled
  • 8 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • Leaves stripped from 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Leaves stripped from 8 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1-1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 425°F. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Cut away any excess fat and tuck the wings behind each breast.
  2. Put the butter into a large, shallow baking pan (a 10-1/2×15-1/2-inch Pyrex pan is ideal for this). Put the pan into the oven while it’s heating. When the butter is melted (about 10 minutes), remove the pan and set it on a heatproof surface or on a couple of potholders. Add the shallots, garlic, thyme, and rosemary, and swirl the pan to coat the ingredients in the butter.
  3. Dredge the chicken, skin side down, in the butter and herb mixture, and arrange, skin side up, in the pan. Sprinkle the chicken generously with the salt and pepper. Bake until the chicken is browned and cooked through, 50 to 60 minutes. Serve with the shallots and garlic along with a drizzle of the pan drippings.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe by Abigail Johnson Dodge from Fine Cooking