“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.
Sometimes the universe aligns and this Brunswick Stew Georgia Style came about as a result! We just made a big pork shoulder roast (Momofuku’s Bo Ssam, to be exact) and had leftovers. I had just come across a couple recipes for Brunswick Stew. And my sister from Georgia called and said she was on her way. Well, that sealed the deal! Brunswick Stew, it was!
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! 🙂
In honor of the upcoming New Year’s (and to use up a bag of black eyed peas and a couple of ham hocks languishing in my freezer) I decided to make Black Eyed Peas. And there is no better accompaniment to Black Eyed Peas than a my home-made Chili Sauce.
Talk about good down-home plain cooking, I make black-eyed peas from time to time, and with New Year’s coming up (and a bag of peas I’ve been meaning to use up) now is the time~! Here’s my Traditional Black-Eyed Peas Recipe.
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!
I originally posted this Chicken Pot Pie in November of 2011, one of my very first posts! Today, as I made it again, I updated with new photos. That night, I had been looking at Time’s Money Issue and became sidetracked. Pretty soon, I was clicking on one link after another; you know how that goes, right?
Here in the States, we have a dirty little secret. You won’t often hear it spoken of, but It seems like all of America is in love with meatloaf – even vegetarians and vegans find ways to duplicate this homey dish, and I’m seeing meatloaf making its appearance on pub & restaurant menus.
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.
Bread Pudding, we always called this, although on the rare occasions I’ve seen this recipe, it’s been called Bread & Butter pudding, probably to distinguish this from the New Orleans’ style of bread pudding which has become so popular. Bread & Butter pudding is layers of lightly toasted bread, spread with butter, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and baked in a custard. So simple, so good, so humble. So Irish…at least in our small little town we grew up in.
I’m a huge fan of is a Bolognese. Deep, rich, winey, this meat-based sauce is out of this world fantastic. It’s just insanely good. But what I’m def’ not a fan of is babysitting Bolognese on the stove top, stirring often as it reduces. While Bolognese is made from the simplest of ingredients, it needs to simmer just about forever, lovingly tended, and ain’t nobody got time for that. The answer? Slow Cooker Bolognese.
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.
My Aunt Ginny was famous for her Toffee, a Christmas treat, and I remember “helping” her make it when she visited. Even as a kid I was always hanging out in the kitchen. And when it was something curious like the alchemy involved in candy making, it was magic for me. It still is. 🙂
I’ve been up and down my family tree and like many Americans, I’m a crazy mix up of genes, but one thing I don’t have is a drop of Swedish blood. I do, however, live in Minnesota, you betcha, home of a large Swedish population and home of the American Swedish Institute. And I can attest that Swedish Meatballs are very popular in the Twin Cities, especially during the Holidays.
There are times when I look through my recipe box & feel a little guilt. My head’s so wrapped around whole grains, vegetables and healthy stuff that these old recipes seem, well, old-fashioned. But
these Zesty Sloppy Joes are so good – and so perfect for a crowd it might be time to resurrect them. Think game day, a child’s birthday or any event with a crowd, year round, when you don’t want to man the grill. And just for today, let it go…
Down home cooking at it’s best and perfect for fall, these Cooks Illustrated Smothered Pork Chops in Onion Gravy aren’t your Grandma’s pork chops, or even your Mom’s. That is if your Mom was like mine and used a canned soup or a Lipton’s mix.
Some of you (yes, you know who you are, baby sis and big bro!) may have heard me waxing on poetically about the humble beet. I love them and am always looking for ways to add them in to my diet when they’re available at the grocery or farmer’s market.
There was a time when the most popular Chili used to be quite a bit different than the trendy varieties of today. A time when it was made with simpler ingredients and was served as a family meal, not a culinary adventure. A time when it was saucy enough to add a few crackers – and saucy enough that one HAD to use a spoon. I miss that chili.
A light hand transforms this often ordinary and rather lackluster buffet staple into a gorgeous dish of flavorful beef, tender/crisp peppers and glistening tomatoes. Minutes to make, Beef with Bell Peppers and Tomatoes has long been one of our family’s go to dishes in mid to late summer when the tomatoes and peppers are in season.
One of my all time favorite Mexican foods is Rajas – mild Poblano peppers, roasted, cut in strips and in the case of “con Crema” simmered for a few minutes in cream. Often served with cheese mixed in, they can be rich or can be served simply, as shown below.