It's been a busy week, not overly busy, just more so than usual, but I am oddly happy for Monday, 9am, and a coffee date with myself! I love to reflect on time passed, especially when it is busy and the minutes seem to whizz on by without me being able to get every ounce out of it. You see, I put much importance on not wasting time (or food), which is why I love to reflect as I feel I can put value on some things that I didn't get around to appreciating. So here I am, spending quality time in front of the computer (ha!), I am wearing a super cozy hoody, with the hood over my head, a space heater is blowing warm air my way and my pup is snuggled up close by. It's in these moments I do dream of summer, of sitting by the water, and if you were there with me, we'd talk of times passed, of a great future ahead and the amazing thing that is called today. We'd sip coffee and talk about food, or better yet, nutrition, and how keeping things simple is where it's at. I can almost see it, if I close my eyes and allow myself to drift away...
Right now, however, we have business to take care of! I have a winner to announce! The winner of my very first give away is a special friend that shares the love of food and writing, one who inspires me to be content, a better baker and quite often, a better mother, too. She drinks coffee with me, even though she doesn't necessarily like coffee, but rather enjoys that moment shared together. She is also my #1 Reader, and my one and only entry, but that's OK, because my friend Wanda deserves to win!
Here's what she wrote:
I found myself in the kitchen today, the day before the contest closes, thumbing through my only nice meal cookbook, scrambling for a recipe and ingredients. I settled for the Bacon Topped Meatloaf and Emerald Rice.
I like the idea of both recipes... the Meatloaf had Chili Sauce in it and bacon on top of it. Two items that make any meal delicious in my mind. The rice had spinach, cheese and cream in it. Mmmmm. I figured it would be a fun experiment, and my kids will eat whatever I put in front of them (eventually) so I rolled up my sleeves and dug in.
The meatloaf was very easy to prepare, so I plopped it into a stoneware loaf pan and set it to baking while I prepared the rice. I didn't have half-and-half cream, so I made a mix of sour cream and milk instead. I also ran out of cheddar cheese making the meatloaf, so I used mozzarella instead. I considered lightly steaming some broccoli to go on the side, but my husband and I decided the spinach, rice and meatloaf would suffice for a complete meal tonight.
As the family dug in, they started rating the meal. Boy #1 said the meal was 997 good. (The meatloaf was 1000, the rice was 997.) Girl #1 said the meatloaf was 1000 and the rice was 2. (She was not a fan of the spinach in the rice.) Boy #2 said the meatloaf was 81 and the rice was 10. He's four though, so any number he throws out there is arbitrary. When I asked my husband, he said, "I'd eat it again". Coming from a man who thought he hated meatloaf until a couple of years ago, that's a pretty good rating.
The meatloaf did not hold together well, but it was so moist and tasty. I think next time I'll do them in individual loaf pans. I also commented to hubby that the rice would be great with mushrooms. He agreed... but he's always trying to get more mushrooms into my recipes. I'll definitely give them both another try! I give the meatloaf an A- and the rice a B. And my good friend over at Sprout Culinary Studies gets an A+ for prompting me to try something new!
Bacon - Topped Meatloaf
1/2 cup chili sauce
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 bacon strips, cut in thirds
In a bowl, combine first 9 ingredients. Pat into an ungreased large loaf pan or 9x13 baking dish. Top with bacon. Bake, uncovered, at 350 F for 70 minutes.Drain and let stand 10 minutes before serving.
3 cups cooked brown rice
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup half and half (I used 1/4 cup sour cream and 3/4 cup milk)
1/2 chopped onion
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Bake in a covered 1 1/2 quart dish at 350 F for 25 - 30 minutes, until heated through.