Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Turkey Meatloaf, Italian Dressing, and Fruity Bread Pudding

Well, life as a stay-at-home mother of two has been busy. I hardly have time to check my e-mail one-handed while nursing every day, let alone sit down and write something. But I'm not short on sleep (I write, as I blink sleepily), and I'm cooking two or three meals a day. Having a body of fast and nutritious recipes to draw on and refine has been mighty useful. The recipes are getting more polished; my family is getting fed well.

Though with the chaos around mealtimes, I usually don't have time to consult the computer in order to get my dang recipes. But on the plus side, I am now a ninja when it comes to pancakes. Recipe schemesipe. I measure nothing, just going by what looks right; and I'm always throwing something new in. I haven't had a failure yet.

Along those same lines, I served up a turkey variant of my meatloaf at a recent gathering of friends. They demanded the recipe. Here are the specifics:

2 pounds ground turkey, dark meat
1 egg
1 medium onion, minced
2 large kale leaves, minced
½ cup bread crumbs, maybe more
½ cup rolled oats, maybe more
1 tsp salt, I think
¼ tsp pepper, maybe?
1 tsp chopped fresh sage

The recipe could have used some rosemary, but I had none. Anyway, mix the above and bake at 350 until the middle is 165 degrees. Feel free to use more kale; I would have used about three times as much, if I’d had more on hand. The gravy was a chicken gravy made with butter, flour, chicken broth made from bullion, milk (to counteract the saltiness from the bullion), and pepper.

This was actually the first time I’ve ventured into poultry meatloaf. The results were so good, I don’t know if I’ll ever want to go back to icky greasy ground beef.

I got around to asking my mother what her meatloaf recipe is, seeing as it’s so delicious. Surprise! Like me, she throws in whatever is on hand. It’s never the same twice.

Here are a couple of other things I’ve tested lately:

Italian Dressing

¼ cup apple cider or balsamic vinegar
¼ cup water
½ cup olive oil
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp basil

Put all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake until mixed. Drizzle over salad greens and serve.

I'm just starting to dip my toe into the wide ocean of salad dressing possibilities. I suspect that it is far cheaper to make your own than to buy the stuff. And less wasteful - I hate those empty bottles going into the trash! And also more fun. I have a hand-written recipe for a delicious concoction entitled "Linette's Good Dressing" that is bowel-licking good, but not eligible for the cookbook due to it having about 200 ingredients.

Hmm. . . I should consult my friend Dori. She is a salad dressing wizard.

Fruity Bread Pudding (dessert, make in advance)

Walt, this is my variant of your amazing pineapple bread pudding. Thanks for the inspiration! I still need to test this with other canned fruits, but I suspect any number of things can be used. Cherries, perhaps?

This dessert bread pudding is pure comfort food. It’s as tasty as pie without all of the work. Eat it hot or cold, by itself or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This makes enough for about six people.

1 or 2 small cans of pineapple, peach, or other canned fruit
2 or 3 cups torn-up stale bread
2 eggs
¼ cup butter
½ cup sugar
(optional) 1 diced banana, or other fruit
(optional) pumpkin-pie spices, such as nutmeg and cinnamon

If the canned fruit is in large pieces, cut it up into bite-sized chunks. Beat together the eggs, sugar, and optional spices with the canned fruit, and the liquid from the canned fruit. Combine this with the bread and diced fruit. If the bread is particularly dry, give it ten minutes to soak up the liquid, stirring once or twice. Then put the mixture into a baking dish and bake at 350 until the center reaches 165 degrees.

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