Ground Beef Noodle Bake

Ground Beef Noodle Bake

I’m not sure what made me think of this old-fashioned recipe…I’d call it comfort food. I don’t think I grew up on it, but it was always around at someone’s house. I remember making this way back when I was a young Mom. I always called it Ground Beef Noodle Bake. I suspect it has roots in the German Kugel but became “casseroled up” in the U.S., much the way our “American Goulash” did.

Ground Beef Noodle Bake

Ground Beef Noodle Bake

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Pennsylvania Dutch Broccoli & Bacon

Pennsylvania Dutch Broccoli & Bacon

When I worked on my family history, I was surprised to find out how many Pennsylvania Dutch & Amish ancestors I had. Of course, those ancestors multiply quickly as you work back. You start with 4 grandparents, then 8 great, then 16, 32, 64, 128, 256 and by the time you get back a few more generations you realize that you’re related to half the people in the US! Our good neighbor in South Dakota was a 9th cousin! Hi Auntie Mary! But what I’m getting at I’m wondering if I have a predisposition for the sweet/sour flavors so often found in Pennsylvania Dutch cooking, and especially this Pennsylvania Dutch Broccoli & Bacon? Is there a gene for that?

Pennsylvania Dutch Broccoli & Bacon

Pennsylvania Dutch Broccoli & Bacon

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Creamy Apple & Cider Pork Chops

Creamy Apple & Cider Pork Chops

I really am not ready for summer to end – but I was a little consoled with this dish, Creamy Apple & Cider Pork Chops. Ya gotta love a recipe that tastes divine, looks great and is perfect for company but quick & easy enough to pull off on any old weeknight for family dinner! And it’s even better when it’s a dinner that’s so good you’ll want to lick your plate clean!

Apple & Cider Pork Chops with Perfect Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes & Simply Steamed Broccoli

Apple & Cider Pork Chops with Perfect Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes & Simply Steamed Broccoli

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Perfect Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

Perfect Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

So how many of you have a “Deserted Island” food? I almost said, “dessert island” that would be even better, huh? So a Deserted Island food is a food you would pick if you had to live on a deserted island but the catch is It can be only one food. Mine is potatoes. Specifically mashed potatoes and if I could bring my Instant Pot along, it would be these Perfect Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes.

Perfect Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

Perfect Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

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Old Fashioned Three Bean Salad

Old Fashioned Three Bean Salad

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!

Old Fashioned Three Bean Salad

Old Fashioned Three Bean Salad

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!

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How to make German Rumtopf

How to Make German Rumtopf

So have you guys ever heard of German Rumtopf? This post is all about How to Make German Rumtopf. The name means Rum Pot and it’s basically a fruity alcoholic dessert made in a crock. Successive fruits are layered in with sugar and rum, starting in the spring with strawberries.

How to make German Rumtopf

My Rumtopf Pot

As the summer progresses and each fruit comes into season, it’s added to the pot, and the contents just get better and better. Once fall comes, and summer is over, the pot is closed up and left to mature until the Christmas season where it is traditionally first sampled for the first time in December on the first evening of Advent. We’ve been getting such good fruit this year that I don’t think there’d be an issue with starting a Rumtopf, now, even if it is a bit late in the summer.

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German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad: Done in the style of Southern Germany with Bacon & Vinegar. This is based off an old family recipe handed down from Grandma!

If you’ve never had a really good German Potato Salad, you might think you might think you don’t care for it. I know this to be true because I’ve tried, from time to time, grocery store deli German Potato Salad. It doesn’t compare to what you can make at home.

German Potato Salad

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Iowa Ham Balls with Sweet Sour Glaze

Iowa Ham Balls with Sweet Sour Glaze

“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.

Iowa Ham Balls with Sweet Sour Glaze

Iowa Ham Balls with Sweet Sour Glaze

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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

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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.

Cooks Illustrated Meatloaf is always a family favorite at our house! Oh, that glaze! We like it so much I double and freeze one. I usually make it without the bacon topping, but I included their instructions for it. #CooksIllustratedMeatloaf



The Iowa Pork Tenderloin Sandwich Breaded Pork Tenderloin BPT

The Iowa Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

My Iowa Pork Tenderloin Sandwich came about from a challenge. I recently came under some “friendly fire” from Ginger of Ginger&Bread. She threw the kitchen mitt down with a challenge, given innocently enough. It went something like, “Why don’t you make a recipe of German origin as it is made in the States, and I’ll make it as it is traditionally made in Germany?” “What great fun it would be!” I replied.

The Iowa Pork Tenderloin Sandwich Breaded Pork Tenderloin BPT

The Iowa Pork Tenderloin Sandwich – a classic

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German Beef Rouladen with Mushroom Gravy

German Beef Rouladen with Mushroom Gravy

My Mom (rest her soul) was a fantastic cook. Sure, she got sidetracked into some of the weirdness in the 60’s – Porcupine Balls, Tuna Casserole and Shake and Bake but later really found her “groove.” These German Beef Rouladen with Mushroom Gravy were a family favorite – made on afternoons when Mom cooked for the sheer joy of it. There is no doubt that making German Beef Rouladen is a bit of work and a labor of love. I keep meaning to make these Rouladen again – it so needs better photos! Don’t judge on the looks, please because they are far more attractive than shown here!

Gerbach is in the background, Werzweiller in the front.

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Runzas (Bierocks)

Nebraska Runzas (Bierocks)

When my baby Sis posted she was making her Nebraska Runzas (Bierocks) I became inspired. She (and her family) fell in love with them during her years in the Cornhusker State and my Sis knows her Runza. If you’ve never had a Runza, you’re in for a treat. It’s a beautiful, light fluffy bun wrapped around a filling of ground beef, cabbage, and onion. They’re good old-fashioned cooking with the emphasis on good!

Runzas (Bierocks)

An old picture but still shows the Runza bun the best!

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Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Sweet Sour Sauce

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Sweet Sour Sauce

My sister suggested Stuffed Cabbage Rolls for a blog post, and yeah, I turned up my nose at the idea at first. Then the idea slowly percolated, until these Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Sweet Sour Sauce manifested on my table. They were just the thing this cold spring day. The long, slow braise warmed up my kitchen and the smell wafting through the house was fantastic…

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Sweet and Sour Tomato Sauce

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Sweet and Sour Tomato Sauce

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