Cooks Illustrated Buttermilk Pancakes with Fresh Strawberry Compote

Cook’s Illustrated Buttermilk Pancakes

I haven’t posted a pancake recipe in ages – but the other night I had a craving and made Cook’s Illustrated Buttermilk Pancakes for dinner. Don’t tell! Breakfast for dinner! Why does that freak some people out? I say we need it more often! There should be a movement!

Cooks Illustrated Buttermilk Pancakes

Cooks Illustrated Buttermilk Pancakes

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Classic Deviled Eggs

Classic Deviled Eggs

Classic Deviled Eggs - the perfect deviled egg every single time!

Do you love Deviled Eggs? Me too. See I just love them so much I assume everyone does! So when I realized I’ve been blogging for so long and never posted my Classic Deviled Eggs, well I had to get “cracking.” (I’m so sorry for that!! Couldn’t help myself!)

Classic Deviled Eggs

Classic Deviled Eggs

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Big Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

Big Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

These are the perfect oatmeal cookies! Make them plain, with raisins, or why not chocolate?

My Dad’s been asking for Oatmeal Cookies for longer than I care to admit. And we had three, yes, three cartons of Old Fashioned Oats in the cupboard. And so here they are, the best Oatmeal Cookies, ever! And my Dad thinks so, too!! 🙂 It always tickles me pink to get a thumbs up from my Dad!

Big Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

Big Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

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Apple Oven Pancakes

Apple Oven Pancake - so quick and easy to make it's hard to believe they're so fantastic!

It’s no secret that I’m not a morning person. And I’m really not that into much breakfast food. So I’m not likely to be standing around the stove flippin’ pancakes at 7:00 a.m. No flippin’ way! But there are some breakfasts I can get behind and this Apple Oven Pancake is one of them.

Apple Oven Pancake

Apple Oven Pancake

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Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie

Oh my gosh - that custard filling!!

For years I made Boston Cream Pie on Valentine’s Day for my kids. I loved putting little chocolate hearts around the edge of the cake and I loved that it had such a gorgeous old fashioned look with the glaze dripping down and the custard peeping out. It reminded me of those cakes that Yogi Bear stole along with the Pahnicanic baskets.

Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie

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The Best Molasses Spice Cookies - soft, chewy, crispy edges. cooks illustrated

Molasses Spice Cookies

molasses spice cookies - these REALLY are the BEST! Addictive.

Molasses Spice Cookies. If any single food item can define a season, it has to be this mixture of molasses and spices that heralds in late fall to early winter. Warm, earthy, just a bit soft and chewy, these Molasses Spice Cookies are perfection. If I do say so myself! And I do! 🙂

The Best Molasses Spice Cookies - soft, chewy, crispy edges. cooks illustrated

The Best Molasses Spice Cookies – soft, chewy, crispy edges.

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Cook's Illustrated Meatloaf

Cook’s Illustrated Meatloaf – A favorite!

I seem to be getting nostalgic in my “dotage” and have been leafing through my recipe box; hello, old familiar friends! I had to dust off this Cook’s Illustrated Meatloaf, long a family favorite – and the best part of all is the sauce. Oh, that sauce! Double it, triple it, bathe in it, I don’t care,  just make the sauce.

Cook's Illustrated Meatloaf

Cook’s Illustrated Meatloaf


About Cook’s Illustrated Meatloaf:

Cook’s Illustrated Meatloaf is my “go to” recipe for meatloaf and I’ve been making it for years. It’s always moist and flavorful and cuts like a dream. My son goes nuts over this every time I make it! After all, what’s better than an old-fashioned Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and your favorite vegetable?

The original recipe had a lot of thyme. We really didn’t care for the way it hijacked the flavor or for the bacon on this, either. The bacon itself was ok, but the way the flavor seeped into the loaf was bizarre. It’s one of those “sounds better than it is” ideas. The instructions are in my recipe, below, if you want to go for it.

The original recipe calls for meatloaf mix – I actually like this best made with a mixture of ground beef and ground pork instead of the hard to find meatloaf mix (that’s traditionally a third each of ground beef, pork & veal) or all ground beef. The pork adds a lot and keeps it nice and moist.

Cook's Illustrated Meatloaf

Cook’s Illustrated Meatloaf

Optimize your time when making the Cook’s Illustrated Meatloaf:

If you’re looking to speed along dinner, try baking your meatloaf in little free-form oblong football shapes on a foil-lined sheet or use a muffin pan. It cuts the baking time down considerably! I’d go about 30 to 40 minutes for a football shape & 20 to 25 for the meatloaf “muffins”.

If you really want to maximize your time long term, double the recipe for Cook’s Illustrated Meatloaf and freeze one of the meatloaves before baking. Meatloaf freezes very well. Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap (let it hang well over the sides), then pack in the meatloaf. When frozen, remove from the pan, use the overlapping plastic wrap to cover it well, then wrap a second time with the foil. To bake, remove the meatloaf from the freezer and thaw overnight. By dinner it should be thawed enough to remove the wrapping and bake. It will probably need a few more minutes in the oven.

Cook's Illustrated Meatloaf

Meat Loaf Sandwich, using our adapted Cook’s Illustrated Meat Loaf

Cost-saving tips for the Cook’s Illustrated Meatloaf:

From a frugal standpoint, try to eke out two meals from this meatloaf. Meatloaf isn’t “cheap” to make and this one ran about eight bucks with sales priced ingredients. (Warning: it’s so good you might have to fight to set aside a bit.)

My fave way to bring meatloaf back to the table a second time is a meatloaf sandwich: A slice of cold meatloaf, yellow ballpark mustard, lettuce, onion and pickle, and a good slathering of the incredible sauce. It makes me happy just thinking about it. 🙂

You’ll want to make this meatloaf with sales priced ground beef, obs, but shave off a few bucks by using the ground beef/ground pork combo. Ground pork can be hard to find and pricey. Pick up pork loin (for a leaner option) or shoulder (for a moister option) up at a low (89 to 99 cents a pound) cube & pulse in your food processor. It’s the freshest and best tasting ground pork, ever.

Cook's Illustrated Meatloaf

Cook’s Illustrated Meatloaf

Print

Cook’s Illustrated Meatloaf – A favorite!

Adapted from a Cook’s Illustrated/Pam Anderson recipe, this meatloaf is the pinnacle of Classic Meatloaf!

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce or hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup milk, buttermilk or low-fat plain yogurt (yogurt preferred)
  • 3 pounds ground meat: use meatloaf mix (beef, veal, pork) or 50% beef & pork
  • 2/3 cups crushed saltines (about 16) or 2/3rds cup oatmeal or 1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (oatmeal preferred)
  • 1/3 cup minced parsley, optional
  • 1 pound bacon, optional (instructions at bottom of recipe)

Instructions

Glaze:

Glaze has been doubled. Divide into two portions, 1/2 for glazing and 1/2 for serving.

  • 1 1/4 cup ketchup or chili sauce (chili sauce is best!)
  • 4 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cider or white vinegar

Mix all ingredients, set aside. May be warmed briefly in the microwave if your sugar has hardened and doesn’t mix in.

Meatloaf:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add onion and garlic, saute until softened, about 5 minutes; set aside to cool.

Mix eggs with salt, pepper, mustard, Worcestershire, Tabasco or hot sauce, and your choice of milk, buttermilk or yogurt.

Add egg mixture to meat in a large bowl, along with either crackers, oatmeal or bread crumbs, & the cooked onions and garlic; mix lightly with fingertips until evenly blended and meat mixture does not stick to bowl. (If mixture does stick, add additional dairy, a couple of tablespoons at a time, and continue mixing until mixture stops sticking.)

To make in a free-form loaf: Cover a portion of a wire rack with foil a little larger than the formed meatloaf will be (use a sheet of foil the length of the roll, and width of about 8 inches); prick foil in several places with a fork so excess grease can drip down. Place a rack on a shallow roasting pan lined with foil for easy cleanup. Turn meat mixture onto foil-lined rack and pat mixture into a loaf approximately 9 by 5 inches.

To make in a loaf pan:  Place meatloaf mixture in loaf pan but pat into shape so it has a rather high dome and is flat for 1/2 inch around the edges. This will allow the glaze to cook nicely on top. When the second coating of glaze is ready to go on, you will probably want to pour off any accumulated fat into a can or container, (refrigerate to harden to make it easy to dispose of) which is a messy proposition but worth doing.

For both baking methods:

Brush loaf with 1/2 of the glaze set aside for glazing then bake for about 30 minutes. Remove carefully (I drain grease if using a loaf pan) then gently add the remainder of the glaze without disturbing the first coat.

Return to oven and bake until the loaf registers 160 degrees, about 30 to 40 minutes longer. (1 hour to an hour and ten minutes total.) Cool for at least 20 minutes – it really does make a better meatloaf. Slice and serve with reserved sauce, if you’ve doubled.

To use bacon:

To use bacon on this recipe: Use the foil on rack method of baking. Form loaf, then brush with 1/2 of the glaze. Top with the bacon (going over the short sides across the loaf) overlapping each slice slightly. Tuck any excess under the loaf.

Notes

No need to saute the onions: place oil and onions in a small, microwave-safe container and microwave for about 2 minutes, covered.

 


Cook's Illustrated Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie – Cook’s Illustrated Version

More than a recipe, all the tips & techniques you'll need to pull off the BEST lemon meringue in the world. Recipe from those persnickity people at cook's illustrated.

I have many recipes that I’ve changed up over the years, but not this one for the Lemon Meringue Pie Cook’s Illustrated version. It is absolute perfection in every way and gets rave reviews. The lemon filling is intense and tart, just a little sweet with a gorgeous texture. The meringue is perfect – it’s like a tasting a fluffy cloud of sweet deliciousness.

Cook's Illustrated Lemon Meringue Pie

Cook’s Illustrated Lemon Meringue Pie

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Glazed Carrots and Variations

This little recipe, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, magically transform the simple carrot into a fantastic dish. To tell you the truth, I never liked cooked carrots until I tried this recipe – I think we forget how wonderful simple vegetables can be when handled and cooked with care – and these carrots are a beautiful thing.

Glazed Carrots

Glazed Carrots

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The BEST beef stew, with wine or not, with bacon or not. Serve over mashed or noodles.

Beef Stew with Wine (or not) and Bacon

this really is the BEST stew - adapted from Cook's Illustrated, make it with wine or use substitutions

I love stew in the winter, whether made in the oven, on the stove or in a crock-pot whether made with potatoes or served over potatoes (or even noodles), whether with wine or without, or even with beer.  I can hardly wait for a lazy snowy day to make stew, and when winter is over, I always wish I would have made more.

The BEST beef stew, with wine or not, with bacon or not. Serve over mashed or noodles.

The BEST beef stew, with wine or not, with bacon or not. Serve over mashed or noodles.

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Catalina Dressing . $.58

Sometimes ya just have to go retro – leafing through my recipe file I came across Catalina Dressing – Catalina reminds me of my childhood when my favorite was “Western,” a thick, sweet, tangy dressing. This, though, is a little thinner, a little more sophisticated, and an absolutely perfect blend of flavors.

Catalina Dressing on a Chopped Salad

Catalina Dressing on a Chopped Salad

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Asparagus Risotto Cook's Illustrated Method

Asparagus Risotto

Creamy, delicious and comforting, Risotto is undisputedly one of the classic rice dishes of the world. When I heard of Cook’s Illustrated came out with an “easy, partially hands off” method for Asparagus Risotto, I wondered if their scientific approach would improve my risotto.

Asparagus Risotto Cook's Illustrated Method

Asparagus Risotto

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