Italian Meat Loaves

My amazing friend, Betsy, brought these little meat loaves to us after the birth of our son.  We have made them often since then, and I always appreciate the yummy meal as well as the sweet memory of my thoughtful friend.

By the way, that son Betsy helped us celebrate is making this recipe for supper tonight.  He’s (gasp!) fourteen now and will eat more than his share of these tasty meatloaves with multiple helpings of the peas and mashed potatoes he’s making to accompany them.  I asked him if he wanted to make the loaves in heart shapes for Valentine’s Day; he declined.

2 eggs, beaten
3/4 c. cracker crumbs
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
1/4 c. finely-chopped onion
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic
1 t. salt
1 t. Italian seasoning
2 lbs. ground beef, pork or turkey (or a combination)
1/4 c. ketchup or barbecue sauce

In large bowl, combine eggs, crumbs, milk, cheese, onion, Worcestershire, garlic, salt and Italian seasoning.  Add ground meat and mix well.

Shape into 10 mini loaves; place on rack in a shallow pan.  (A broiler pan works great!)

Drizzle ketchup or barbecue sauce over mini loaves.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-55 minutes, or until no pink remains.

These little guys freeze beautifully both before and after baking.


Ham & Cheese Sliders

This recipe captured my kids’ attention at a potluck.  The loved them!  I made a few changes, like eliminating the brown sugar and substituting swiss cheese, and I now include them in my Power Cooking classes as well as in some of our family’s special occasions.  They’re a fun recipe to have on-hand for munching when company comes or even on family movie nights.

If well-wrapped, the freeze quite nicely–especially if used within a month or so.

¾ c. melted butter
1 ½ T. Dijon mustard
1 ½ T. Worcestershire sauce
1T. poppy seeds
1 T. dried, minced onion
12 slider buns OR mini Hawaaian-type rolls
1 lb. thinly-sliced ham
2-3 c. grated Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9×13” baking dish.
In small bowl, combine butter, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds and dried onion.

Separate tops from bottoms of buns, placing the bottoms in prepared baking dish. Top evenly with ham and cheese. Place bun tops over ham and cheese. Pour sauce evenly over rolls.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Zucchini Pizza Pie

Since our summer months are usually inundated with zucchini, I try to prepare it in a wide variety of ways.  Most of my family agreed that this recipe is a keeper.  Once the crust in established, the rest of the dish is very flexible, so it’s a great option when trying to use what you already have on-hand.

4 c. grated zucchini
1/2 t. salt
2 eggs
1/2 c. grated Parmesan
2 c. grated mozzarella or provolone
1 c. grated cheddar
1 lb. ground beef or pork sausage or chorizo, or whatever
1 onion, chopped
2 c. marinara sauce of your choice
1 c. bell pepper, chopped (or mushrooms, black olives, more zucchini, tomatoes, etc.)

Preheat oven to 400.

Put grated zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with the salt.  Let stand 10 minutes, then squeeze out moisture.

Combine zucchini with eggs, Parmesan and half of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.  Press into greased 3-qt. baking dish.  Bake 20 minutes.

In large saucepan, cook ground meat and onion over medium heat until done.  Add marinara sauce.

Spoon sauce/meat mixture over baked zucchini crust.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese and top with veggies of your choice.  Bake another 20 or so minutes, or until heated through.

NOTE:  This casserole freezes really well.

Breaded Oven Pork Chops

Pork chops are a real treat in our home, mostly because it is not usually in our $300/month grocery budget for me to feed everyone a “hunk” of meat for supper.  It’s easier to stretch a pork roast into two meals than it is to stretch 4 or 5 pork chops. However, when we have a hog butchered, we have the glorious abundance of things like pork chops right in our own freezer.

In the summertime, I like to brine the chops and throw them on the grill.  In the winter, not so much.  The problem with indoor cooking, though, is that it often leaves my pork chops dry and/or flavorless.  Fortunately, I have come across a wonderful cold-weather recipe for some pretty tasty pork chops that got ten thumbs up around our table.  I hope you enjoy them just as much as we have!

2 T. flour
2 t. seasoned salt/spice rib
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. unseasoned breadcrumbs
4 pork chops (about ½” thick)

Brine pork chops in a salt/sugar solution for two hours.  (I use about half a cup each of salt and sugar, dissolved in a gallon of water.  I also sometimes throw in a sprig of rosemary or thyme.  Make sure the chops are covered by the brine liquid and stick them in the fridge.)

Once chops are brined, preheat oven to 425.

In small bowl, combine flour and seasoned salt; mix well. In another small bowl, combine egg and Worcestershire sauce. Coat pork chops with seasoned flour; dip in egg mixture and coat with crumbs.

Prepare as directed above. Place in a shallow baking pan that has been greased. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until no longer pink in center.

All-Purpose Meat Rub

This all-purpose rub is a HUGE money-saver!  It’s good for chicken, pork or beef, and it can be tweaked for your personal tastes.  This recipe uses KOSHER salt.  If you’re using table salt, reduce the amount to two teaspoons.  Once you know your family likes it, feel free to multiply the recipe by ten in order to have some on-hand for grilling season (spare ribs, beef roast, whole chickens, pork loin, etc.).  This would also make a great Father’s Day gift with a nice cut of local meat.  Mmmmm!

1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1 T. paprika
1 T. kosher salt
1/4 c. firmly-packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (if you like a little kick)

Ham & Swiss Casserole

This is one of my hubby’s favorite casseroles.  It’s certainly quick and easy!

1 (8-oz.) pkg. egg noodles, cooked & drained

2 c. ham, cooked & cubed

2 c. Swiss, grated

1 can cream-of-something soup (Really, any of them are good.)

1 c. sour cream

1/2 c. chopped onion

1/2 c. chopped green pepper OR 1/2 c. peas

In a greased 9×13, layer half the noodles, the ham & the cheese. 

In a large bowl, combine soup, sour cream green pepper (or peas) and onion; spread half over top.  Repeat layers. 

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Ham & Broccoli Pot Pie

ham&broccolipotpieThis is one of my kids’ absolute favorite ways to eat broccoli.  Like many casseroles, it’s a fabulous way to use up leftovers.

1 (10-oz.) pkg. frozen broccoli, thawed  (You can substitute fresh broccoli as long as you cook it a bit before using, then drain. Sometimes I use leftover broccoli for this recipe.)
2 cups corn, cooked (Another good way to use leftovers!)
1 can cream of chicken soup or a basic white sauce
2 c. diced ham, cooked
2 c. shredded cheese
8 oz. sour cream or plain yogurt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried mustard (or 1 T. prepared yellow mustard)
1 pie crust (If I don’t have a pie crust on-hand, I will sometimes use biscuit dough that I’ve made from a biscuit mix. I just drop “glops” of it on top of the filling. It does take a few more minutes of baking time.)

 Arrange broccoli in greased 11×7 dish.

Stir together corn and next six ingredients; spoon over broccoli.

Pat or roll pie crust into 11×7 rectangle and place over ham mixture. Crimp edges and cut 4 slits in crust for steam to escape.

Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes.