Happy Halloween, ya’ll!! I made you a cake! Tis the season, isn’t it for everything and anything Pumpkin Spice. Ummmm, Guilty! Sometimes Pumpkin Spice can get a little old, but not this cake. This Easy Pumpkin Spice Sheet Cake has a special blend of warm fall spices with just a bit of a kick from a touch of black pepper.
Cream cheese frosting is a funny thing. People like it how they like it. So even though I already have a couple of Cream Cheese Frostings on my site, on this post for The Wayfair Inn Carrot Cake and a post Cream Cheese Frosting for Topping Cakes & Cupcakes. Here’s another one. This is my Mom’s Cream Cheese Frosting. I used it today for my Easy Pumpkin Spice Sheet Cake.
Slow Cooker Zucchini Beef Soup has got to be the perfect end of summer soup, especially if you happen to have a garden still spitting out zucchini! Here in the Twin Cities, I’m still seeing a few on my neighbor’s plants. Me, I know better than to ever plant zucchini – the plants never stop and you’ll have zucchini out the ears, lol!
I grew up on Old Fashioned Three Bean Salad and if you’re from the Midwest, I bet you did, too! There’s just nothing like fresh garden beans soaking up all the sweet, tangy marinade!
It’s a perfect summer salad for a potluck or to have on hand to fill out dinners or lunches. On a hot day, Old Fashioned Three Bean Salad is so cool and refreshing!
My Grandma’s Refrigerator Pickled Beets are a simple, classic pickled beet that makes just enough to fill a jar. Because Grandma’s Refrigerator Pickled Beets are so easy, you can just knock them out when you have a few minutes.
Let’s talk about Welsh Cheese Rarebit. On a rare occasion, when we were children, my Dad would cook for us. It was a big deal! It was a novelty, but most of all, he made it fun. Like an adventure. We’d all be right on top of him, waiting in anticipation. My favorite was Dad’s Welsh Cheese Rarebit.
If you grew up in the Midwest or any area with German (or Eastern European) roots, you might have grown up with this hearty & healthy soup. And you already know that Smoked Sausage and Cabbage Soup is absolute comfort food. A bowl of this will warm you up from the inside out even on the coldest days.
Unless you grew up around Mexican food, chances are your first introduction to it was probably the ground beef taco. And maybe you make them for your family – they’re fast, easy & everyone seems to love them from kids to kids at heart. I make a few different kinds of ground beef tacos, but these are our fave.
“No, ga-hrose! Ham Balls?” Yeah, my sister didn’t hold back when I told her I made them. And that gross was a whole two syllable gross! Too bad she’s so far away coz I know I could convert her with these little lovelies. They’re the real, deal Iowa Ham Balls with Sweet Sour Glaze, heritage style. No soup or ketchup or any weirdness at all. Just good down-home scratch cooking.
I was very excited to come across this recipe for Fruit Cake In my Grandmother’s recipe box. It came down from her Mother, Lizzie Maloney. It’s a rich, moist and lovely Gingerbread type cake and the spicing is beautiful.
Gosh I love chocolate, but caramelly goodness comes a close second. It doesn’t matter what form that caramel taste comes in, but one of my faves is English Toffee. Especially my Aunt Ginny’s English Toffee, but if I can’t have that, I’ll settle for a Heath or a Skor…you won’t have to twist my arm.
Do any of you guys have that one Aunt? The one that always made you feel special and had just a little something extra to her personality? Mine was my Aunt Ginny, my Dad’s sister. She was definitely the fun Aunt, and she was fabulous. And she was a fabulous cook, too. I have a couple of her recipes on my site but my favorite is The Best Beef Stroganoff.
Images. They can be seared into our consciousness in a heartbeat, so intensely that it seems they can never be forgotten. Riots, shootings, protests. Senseless death. It can all be a bit much. Overwhelming. Positive images can do the same thing, and I think we need more of them.
Do you have old family recipes that just take you back to childhood? Maybe it’s a photo, maybe it’s the first whiff of them baking in the oven, or maybe it’s that first bite? This is one of those for me…my Grandma’s Applesauce Cupcakes.
I might have to clarify on this recipe: This is just ONE of my Grandmother’s pie crusts. She was a great baker of pies. People fought over her pies. Seriously. I chose this very old-fashioned crust for my Sour Cream Raisin Pie because I believe both to be from around the same era. It’s delish, a bit like a shortbread and quite a bit different from the recipes I’ve seen or used.
The world of food has changed since the internet! I’m not sure if younger generations realize how prized recipes used to be and what a gift the sharing of a recipe like Sour Cream Raisin Pie was. Now, though, even obscure recipes can be found pretty easily. Sometimes, too many to sort through! 🙂
When I mentioned I wanted to make Stuffed Peppers for dinner, my Stepmom reached into the cupboard and pulled out her book – she had three or four recipes, but we settled on this one, on a small handwritten card. I called these “Old World” because of the allspice and raisins, a flavor combo familiar to me from passed down recipes on the German side.
Most pickling spice recipes share a number of standard ingredients with just a few variances in amounts and proportions, and many have an extra special touch or two that makes them stand out. Here’s a recipe that will work well in almost any recipe that calls for “pickling spice.”
These Date Pinwheels were my Grandmother Irene’s recipe. My Mom’s Mom, and of all the cookies our family had at Christmas, these were my favorite. When Grandma thought I was old enough, she let me slice the cookie rolls into coins & I remember how hard I’d concentrate to try to get them perfect!
Goulash is an old American standby dish from pantry ingredients. Wikipedia notes Goulash celebrated its 100th birthday last year, being published in cookbooks as early as 1914. Simple, tasty, cheap and filling, Goulash is familiar to generations of Americans. Talk about comfort food!
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! 🙂
I haven’t been posting much on this blog; I stopped in to see my Dad, Chuck and Step Mom, Pat, in early June and basically never left…so for this summer at least, I’ve traded in my city life in the Twin Cities for a small town in South Dakota. Quite a shocker but we’re making do and working things through and having a pretty good time as we do so.
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.
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.
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.
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.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
- 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)
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.
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.
No need to saute the onions: place oil and onions in a small, microwave-safe container and microwave for about 2 minutes, covered.
While my favorite cole-slaw happens to be a tangy/sweet Vinegar based one, there are times a creamy cole-slaw fits the bill. I decide based on what I’m serving and who’s going to be eating. Frankly a lot of my family likes the creamy version more!