Monday, November 22, 2010

Meatloaf "Muffins" with Brown Sugar-Ketchup Glaze

½ cup ketchup or chili sauce
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 teaspoons cider vinegar or white vinegar

Meat Loaf
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
½ cup whole milk or plain yogurt
2 pounds meat loaf mix (50% ground chuck, 25% ground pork, 25% ground veal) – NOTE: I just use ground beef, and usually the 93% lean ground beef
2/3 cup crushed saltine crackers (about 16) or quick oatmeal or 1 1/3 cups fresh bread crumbs NOTE: I use dried bread crumbs
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley leaves NOTE: I sometimes use dried in smaller amount or omit altogether

1. FOR THE GLAZE: Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan; set aside
2. FOR THE MEAT LOAF: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and garlic; sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool while preparing the remaining ingredients. NOTE: I used dehydrated onions soaked in the egg mixture, skipped the sauté and added the garlic directly after mincing.
3. Mix the eggs with the thyme, salt, black pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, and milk in a medium bowl. Add the egg mixture to the meat in a large bowl along with the crackers (or crumbs), parsley, and cooked onion and garlic; mix with a fork until evenly blended and the meat mixture does not stick to the bowl. (If mixture sticks, add more milk, a couple tablespoons at a time, until the mix no longer sticks.)
4. Divide the meat mixture into 9 muffin tin cups and shape. Brush glaze on top and bake for 35 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 160 degrees. Simmer the remaining glaze over medium heat until thickened slightly and serve along side meatloaf muffin.

To freeze:
Wrap each uncooked muffin in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Prepare glaze and place in separate freezer baggy. Thaw meat-muffin in refrigerator prior to cooking. Cut glaze out of freezer baggy and place in saucepan for thawing. Follow remaining instructions.

*Note: This prepares 9, but I distribute 6 to each person in the group and made the regular amount of glaze.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


14 manicotti shells (I used Barilla)
1 pound (2 cups) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
24 ounces spaghetti sauce (I used Bertolli Tomato and Basil)

Mix ricotta cheese, parsley, garlic, egg, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese until well-blended. DO NOT COOK manicotti shells. Stuff manicotti shells with the cheese mixture and return the stuffed shells to the plastic trays they came in. (A large Ziploc bag works great as a make-shift pastry bag to pipe the cheese mixture into the manicotti shells. Simply spoon the cheese mixture into the bag, cut off a small portion of one of the bottom corners and squeeze the cheese through the hole into the shells.) Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in a gallon-sized Ziploc freezer bag.

Serving day instructions:
Defrost stuffed shells in the refrigerator. Pour 1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce evenly over the bottom of a greased 13x9x2 baking dish. Place manicotti noodles in the sauce. Pour the remaining portion of sauce plus 1/2 cup hot water over the manicotti noodles (I just added the hot water to the jar and shook to incorporate.)

Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until the manicotti shells are tender. Top with mozzarella or Parmesan cheese if you wish.