Saturday, January 31, 2009

Meals we actually ate this past week (with recipes!)

Well, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I failed to follow the menu plan perfectly this week. It's been very hectic at work, and I just didn't always have time to make some of the great meals that I had planned.

So, what did we REALLY eat this week?

I actually did make Sandra's wonderful (and calorific!) cheese-stuffed was FABULOUS! My husband is a true meatloaf connoisseur, and he absolutely loved it. The meatloaf part itself is basically the way I've always made meatloaf, but I've never put a layer of cheese in the middle before. I used grated cheddar and sliced Jarlsberg for the cheese layer; it came out very well! We had enough for leftovers on Wednesday. Here is my version of the meatloaf as I made it Monday night (only slightly different), but please visit Sandra's site to see the full step-by-step recipe, beautifully illustrated with many photographs:

Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf

1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
2 eggs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 medium onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
cheese (I used sliced Jarlsberg & a mix of grated sharp and mild cheddars)
more ketchup for the top

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray large loaf pan or 8" x 10" casserole dish with non stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together meats, bread crumbs, eggs, garlic powder, onion, salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup. Don't over mix, just mix with your hands until everything is combined well.

Divide meat mixture in half. Press one half into the pan and pat smooth, then place the cheese slices and the shredded cheese on the meat layer

Top with second half of the meat mixture, and press all around the edges to seal the cheese inside. Drizzle ketchup over the top and then bake for about 60 minutes or until meat is done.

I also made fish tacos, which is one of our favorite casual family meals:

Easy Fish Tacos

3 tilapia fillets (or other mild white fish - about 1 1/2 to 2 lbs)
Seasoned pepper (make sure it's gluten free! I use a Key Lime Pepper.)
butter for basting
8 corn tortillas
canola oil
your favorite toppings (grated cheeses, salsa, shredded red cabbage, sour cream, guacamole, etc)

Melt butter and use it to baste the fish on both sides. Sprinkle the fish on both sides with the seasoned pepper. Bake the fish in pan sprayed with non-stick spray at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until you can flake it with a fork (or do as we do: we buy frozen tilapia fillets from Costco and microwave them from the frozen state according to package directions). I realize that many people bread fish and deep fry it when they make fish tacos but we prefer it unbreaded.

While the fish is baking, pour oil into a small pan until it's about half an inch deep. Cook the corn tortillas one at a time briefly in hot oil over medium high heat. It will only take a few seconds per side to see bubbles forming in the tortilla if the oil is hot enough; as soon as that happens flip it over with tongs and cook the other side, unless you like your taco shells really crispy, in which case just cook the tortillas a bit longer per side. We like them to be still flexible.

Remove the cooked tortilla to a plate lined with paper towels, blot it with a paper towel to remove excess oil and bend it into a taco shell shape while still hot. Repeat.

Scoop some cooked fish into a taco shell, add cheese or other toppings as you wish, and enjoy! Makes 8 fish tacos.

I did manage to make Stephanie's Crockpot version of the Obama family's chili recipe. She found the recipe posted online, and converted it into a Crockpot recipe. I used twice as much ground meat as the original recipe called for (2 lbs instead of 1). The recipe below is my variation. The chili was very family-friendly, even after I increased the spices a bit. In other words, it's tasty but very mild, so little kids can eat it. So those of you who like your chili HOT will have to increase the spice level quite a lot.

As I combined all the ingredients in the crockpot, I noticed all of those bright colors...dark red kidney beans, bright red tomatoes, green bell pepper, translucent white onion, and the turmeric adding an orange-ish tint....really beautiful! I couldn't resist taking a picture of the chili before cooking it:

Crockpot version of Obama's Chili

1 can kidney beans
2 lbs lean ground meat

1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
5-6 medium tomatoes, chopped (include seeds and all)
4 chopped cloves of garlic
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp basil
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
2 - 3 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 T red wine vinegar


You'll need a 5-6 qt Crockpot for the chili.

I increased all of the spices from Stephanie's recipe, because I doubled the amount of ground meat. As I mentioned before, if you like your chili hot and spicy, you'll need to add a lot more spices.

First, brown
the meat on the stove top, and drain well. Stephanie says that if you use very lean meat like ground chicken you can just crumble it in raw.

Chop up the tomatoes, garlic, onion, and bell pepper. Add to the crockpot. Open the can of beans, and pour them in undrained. Add the meat. Stir in all of the spices and the red wine vinegar. Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or on high for 4-5. I cooked our chili on high for 3 hours and then on low for 3 more hours.

The babies both ate it; Matthew actually asked for more! I served it over white rice as the Obamas do. My husband liked it so much, he asked me to make it again tomorrow, for Superbowl Sunday! :)

As to the remainder of the week's menu plan, I did not get around to making the Crockpot Chicken Mole, nor the hamburgers with potato salad. Friday night I was very tired from a long week and ended up taking the easy way out by using a Mrs. Leeper's gluten free boxed mix to make tuna casserole with peas and mushrooms.

Tonight was supposed to be leftover night, but we really didn't have any leftovers! So I used Tinkyada elbow macaroni to make a gluten free version of my Five-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese Casserole with Chicken and Broccoli. Yummy!! That's serious comfort food!

Five-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli


2 C cooked chicken, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 C steamed broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 T butter
3-4 T white rice flour (superfine)
2 C heavy cream
2 C chicken broth
2 tsp salt, plus more for water
1/4 tsp ground dry mustard
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 T onion flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 1/2 C grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1 1/2 C grated medium cheddar
1 1/2 C grated monterey jack
1 1/2 C grated Jarlsberg
1 C grated Parmesan
1 pound gluten free elbow macaroni

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 3-quart casserole dish.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add the rice flour. Cook, stirring (best to use a wire whisk), for about 1 minute. While whisking, slowly pour in the cream a little at a time to keep mixture smooth, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick. Continue cooking, and add the chicken broth a little at time while whisking constantly, until the mixture has the thickness and consistency of paint. You don't want it to be too thick, because it will thicken when you add the cheese. Note: you may not need to add all of the broth to reach the right consistency.

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, dry mustard, black pepper, garlic powder, onion flakes, all of the Parmesan and MOST of the other cheeses (reserve a little of the grated cheddars and Jarlsberg to sprinkle on top); set the cheese sauce aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the macaroni until al dente (i.e., until the outside of the pasta is cooked and the inside is slightly underdone), about 7-8 minutes for most gluten free pastas, but it varies. Drain the macaroni in a colander and return to the empty pot. Add the chicken, broccoli and cheese sauce to the macaroni; mix well but gently.

Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheddar cheese over the top. Bake until top is starting to turn golden brown in spots, about 20 - 25 minutes.


RissaRoo said...

Wow! These look fabulous! And thanks for the photos, they really make my mouth water. I'm going to make my next couple of menus up from recipes from you and Molly, these look so good and my creativity is stuck! Thanks.

JoAnn said...

Thanks Erica! I'm trying to be better about posting pictures. It helps when I remember to buy batteries for my camera! :)

I need to figure out this week's menu plan today...I will probably recycle a few of those meals I didn't get around to making last week!