Skillet Meatloaf

Meatloaf is always one of those dishes that ends up tasting far better than it sounds.  This skillet variation cooks more quickly than baking alone, and it leaves you with easy to use drippings for a gravy.  The ingredients presented are for a pretty standard American meatloaf, but feel free to use your favorite recipe.  I have a suspicion would be an outstanding method for a Cajun flavored meatloaf as well (which is what I’m going to try the next time we make this).

Ingredients

For meatloaf:

  • 1 lb ground beef (I use 90% lean)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup small diced onion
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp season salt
  • Dash granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp sriracha (optional)
  • 1 pinch celery seed
  • 1/2-3/4 cup bread crumbs (as needed)
  • Black pepper
  • 1 large pinch thyme
  • Genergous dash of worcestershire sauce

Other ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Beef stock (2-3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion

Method 

Mix ingredients for meatloaf together until combined.  Shape into 4 patties. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat oil in pan over medium heat.  Brown meatloaf patties, about 4-5 minutes aside.  Adjust heat as needed to keep them from burning.  Place patties in a oven safe greased tray, and brush with chili sauce, ketchup, or ketchup and sriracha mixture (my preference).  Bake for 10 minutes.

 

While the meatloaf finishes in the oven, make the gravy.  Melt butter in skillet, and stir flour in to make a roux.  When the roux hits a light khaki color, add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add beef stock, stirring constantly until you hit the consistency you like.  Adjust seasoning, turn heat down and stir regularly.

 

At this point, I recommend turning the oven to broil, raising the oven rack and broiling the meatloaf for a couple of minutes to really get the ketchup coating to bubble and glaze.  This is optional. but highly recommended.

Serve with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable.

 

Spoon bread (healthy, easy version)

For those of you who haven’t gotten to experience spoon bread yet, I highly recommend it.  It’s basically corn and sour cream baked into a corn bread.  The fancier versions treat it like a soufflé, with whipped egg whites and everything, but for weeknights, that’s just a little intense for me.  This can be made as complicated or as simply as you want.  For this variant, I’m going with a super easy, pantry friendly version, but feel free to make this as indulgent as you want.  

Ingredients*

  • 1 box (8.5oz) Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 (15oz) can corn kernels (we used the corn off of 3 cooked cobs, and it was just right)
  • 1 (15oz) can creamed corn
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (most recipes call for 1 stick, but we didn’t miss it with only half that)
  • 5 oz plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 oz sour cream (could omit the Greek yogurt and just use 1 cup of sour cream, but the yogurt does save some calories, and gives you a lighter texture without whipping eggs)
  • 3 eggs

 

Method

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix ingredients in a large bowl.  Dump into greased baking dish (I used 8″x8″).  Bake until set, 40-45 minutes.  If desired, brown the top under the broiler. Cool, and serve.

*Note on additions-you can add pretty much any additional flavoring agent you could want to this.  Bacon? Go for it.  Jalapeños? Absolutely.  Cheese? Go nuts. Green onions? Why not?  Think of it as a blank corn-based canvas.

This is a really nice side dish with baked barbecue sauce chicken (as seen here), or anywhere you might otherwise serve corn.  This will probably make it into the rotation for side dishes for those days we’re running the smoker.

 

 

 

Weeknight dinner rolls

I am going to start this post with an entirely banal statement.  Homemade bread is amazing.  I know I’m not staking out a highly contentious position with this, but I feel like I need to make my position on this topic clear from the beginning.  Unfortunately, good yeast breads tend to take longer than I want to devote to cooking on a week night, so I’ve been relying on the take and bake loaves of bread from the local Kroger.  These are all well and good for the crusty bread fix, but there’s nothing quite like a fresh pan of rolls.  On a whim, I looked around on Pinterest and found a one hour buttermilk dinner rolls recipe and decided to try it out last week.  The results were promising, but a little dense and pale in our oven. I made the recipe again yesterday with a few tweaks, and we have a winner.

Buttermilk dinner rolls

Buttermilk dinner rolls

 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups AP flour
    • (EDIT: For wheat rolls, use 3 cups AP flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp rapid rise dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup water

Method

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add all of the dry ingredients (including yeast), and stir briefly to combine.  In a microwave-safe container, mix the buttermilk, butter (sliced into smaller pieces) and water.  Heat until butter is melted.  With the dough hook attached and mixer running, slowly add in the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients.  When combined, turn speed up to medium low until dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  If it’s too dry after a couple of minutes, add another tablespoon of buttermilk, and if it’s too wet, add some flour.  It is better to err on the side of sticky.  When the dough has had about 5 minutes on the mixer, remove the hook, cover the bowl and stash in a warm place for 10 minutes.  This allows the dough to relax a little bit before you shape the rolls.  While you’re rising the dough, preheat the oven to 170 degrees F, or as low as it will go.  After your 10 minutes are up, turn the dough out onto an oiled board, and shape into rolls (I like breaking it into twelve rolls).  Place rolls in a greased 9″x13″ pan, turn OFF the oven, cover the tray and allow the rolls to rise in the oven for 20-25 minutes. When the rolls have risen, remove them from the oven (VERY IMPORTANT) and preheat to 400 degrees F.   Bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes, covering them loosely with aluminum foil if they start to brown too much.  Remove from the oven and allow them to cool as long as you can before consuming in a frenzy of butter and crumbs.

 

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While they do take a little longer than an hour with these modifications (about 75 minutes), the results are worth it.  These are light, fluffy rolls that are great with dinner, or as rolls for sandwiches.  This is definitely going to be entering our bread rotation in a big way.   It’s also a short enough process that I can make the dough, and let them rise and bake while we’re working on the rest of dinner, which makes these absolutely manageable as a weeknight bread option.