White Cheddar Meatloaf

Monday, September 01, 2014

I. LOVE. MEATLOAF.  I love it!  I think it's one of those classic comfort foods that is just sooooo yummy!  I have a meatloaf recipe that I've made for years and years.  My Tuscan Meatloaf has always been my "go to" meatloaf recipe, but a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't find the red currant jelly I needed to make this recipe.  So...I decided to create a NEW meatloaf recipe, and OMG the results were DELICIOUS!  I always use ground turkey because I have never been a fan of ground beef.  I would like to try making it with ground beef just to see how it turns out, or maybe a mixture of beef and turkey.  This White Cheddar Meatloaf is my new favorite!  YUM!  I paired it with white cheddar mashed potatoes (cause you can NEVER have enough white cheddar) and green beans.  Unfortunately I didn't get a great picture of the meatloaf, but I promise you, it was DELICIOUS! Next time I make it I promise to get a better picture :).

White Cheddar Meatloaf

  • 1 lb ground turkey (or ground beef, although I haven't made it with ground beef so I am not sure how it changes the flavor-if you do make this with beef, let me know how it turns out! I would love to hear!)
  • 1 tbsp. dried minced onion (I like to use dried onion in meatloaf because the meat holds together better around it.  You can certainly use fresh onion if you prefer, I just like the result better with dried onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. and 2 tsp. mustard (I used dijon), divided
  • 1 tbsp. and 1/4 cup ketchup, divided
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (you could also use regular milk but I like the rich flavor of buttermilk in this recipe)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sharp white cheddar (I used Beecher's but any sharp white would be good, like Kerry Gold would be AWESOME too!)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a small bowl, soak the breadcrumbs in the buttermilk for about 5 minutes until the milk is absorbed and the breadcrumbs are moist.  In a large bowl, add the turkey, onion, garlic, worcesterhire, 1 tbsp. mustard, 1 tbsp. ketchup, breadcrumbs in buttermilk, eggs, salt and pepper, and cheddar.  Mix well (I use my hands).  Shape loaf in a large baking dish or loaf pan- I use my Pampered Chef deep covered baker for meatloaf.  In a small bowl, mix the remaining ketchup, remaining mustard, and brown sugar.  Spoon over meatloaf and spread evenly.  Bake 60-65 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.  Remove from the oven and cover with foil or baker lid and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting.  Yum!

Until next time, happy and healthy cooking!

Creamy Tomato Meatball Soup with Acini de Pepe

Thursday, August 28, 2014

This is one of my FAVORITE soup recipes!  I've never been a huge fan of plain old tomato soup, so I decided to change it up a bit!  This soup is ALWAYS a big hit in my house!  I use Acini de Pepe which is a small round pasta.  If you can't find Acini de Pepe, you can use something like orzo, stars, or even alphabet shaped pasta!  I use ground turkey, but you could certainly use ground beef if you prefer!

Creamy Tomato Meatball Soup with Acini de Pepe

  • 2 (28 oz) cans (or 4- 14.5 oz cans) diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups chicken stock 
  • 8 oz garden vegetable cream cheese
  • 1 lb ground turkey 
  • 1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated 
  • 2 tbsp. Italian herbs (divided- half for the soup, half for the meatballs)
  • 1 cup uncooked Acini de Pepe
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a large soup pot or dutch oven, sauté the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic in grape seed (or vegetable) oil for 2-3 minutes or until beginning to sweat.  Add the tomatoes and chicken stock, and half the Italian herbs,  and bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer on medium low about 15 minutes or until carrots are very soft. Meanwhile, mix together  the turkey, worcestershire, breadcrumbs, the rest of the Italian herbs, the eggs, and the parmesan cheese, in a medium bowl.  Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender in batches) puree the soup.  Add the cream cheese and stir gently to start melting it, then use the immersion blender to finish blending it into the soup.  Form meat mixture into small (teaspoon sized- I use a small cookie scoop for this) meatballs and drop them into the soup (they will poach in the soup). Once all the meatballs are added, add the acini de pepe.  Simmer another 10 minutes until the pasta and meatballs are cooked.  Serve with a sprinkling of good parmesan!  YUM!

Mexican Rice

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I LOVE Mexican rice.  It's SOOOOO yummy and tastes fabulous as a side or in a burrito or tacos.  This recipe takes awhile but it is WORTH it!  I created it by taking the best parts of several recipes I have tried, plus adding a little Elizabeth flare!  Because I have two little boys, I don't like to make my food super spicy, so instead of using jalapeños  I used homemade jalapeño jelly.  If you don't want to use the jelly, you can definitely use jalapeños.   I think you will agree that this rice is pretty amazing!

Mexican Rice

  • 2 cups uncooked long grain white rice (I used basmati- DO NOT USE INSTANT)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1/2 stick butter (or 1/4 cup grape seed oil)
  • 1/4 cup jalapeño jelly (or 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced)
  • 1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350.  Rinse the rice in a mesh strainer for about 2 minutes (this step is really important).  In a food processor or blender, add the diced tomatoes, onion, and jalapeño jelly (or diced jalapeño).  Process until pureed and set aside.  Melt the butter in a large, oven proof dutch oven (if you don't have an oven proof dutch oven you can transfer the rice when it's time to put it in the oven to a casserole dish and cover with a lid or foil).   Add the rice and garlic to the butter and sauté until fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomato puree and chicken stock, green chilies, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.  Place the lid on the pot and transfer to the oven.  Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, stirring after about 20 minutes.  When rice is done baking, squeeze lime juice over the rice and stir to mix.  

Until next time, happy and HEALTHY cooking! 

Honey Wheat Sandwich Loaf

Monday, June 16, 2014

I have taken the final step in eliminating unhealthy processed chemicals from my family's diet.  We've always been very clean eaters, but one thing I have wanted to master for a long time was making bread. Bread is one of those things that is laden with chemical ingredients and HFCS, and organic bread can be expensive. I used to make bread all the time, but it was never very good.  My bread machine broke a few months before moving from Iowa to Washington and I had a baby, so I stopped making bread.  For Christmas, David got me a new bread machine and I bought a baking stone, so I felt it was FINALLY time to learn to properly make bread.  I now make all my bread from scratch and it is SOOOO delicious!  This honey wheat sandwich loaf is super soft and delicious.  It is REALLY important that you use bread flour for both the white and the wheat flours as it has a higher gluten content which makes the bread less dense.

Honey Wheat Sandwich Loaf

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups white bread flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 cup wheat bread flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
  • 2 1/2 tsp. yeast
Place the ingredients in the bread machine in the exact order listed and set to the dough cycle.  Once the dough cycle has finished, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan with cooking spray or butter.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Do a little karate chop action to punch the dough out into a rectangle - about 8 inches by 10 inches.  Roll up the rectangle tightly and fold the ends over.  Pinch the seams tightly.  This is important because otherwise you will have a hole in your loaf.  Place into the loaf pan and cover with a towel, allow to rise until doubled in size about 30 minutes.  Once doubled in size, bake the loaf 30-35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 190  to 210 degrees (I take the temperature with my digital meat thermometer).  

Until next time, happy and HEALTHY cooking! 

Honey Lime Chipotle Grilled Chicken

I have a SERIOUS addiction to grilling chicken!  I have been posting a ton of grilled chicken recipes lately because quite frankly I LOVE our new barbecue!  I absolutely LOVE playing around with marinades and then serving the beautiful grilled chicken over a lovely salad, folded into some delicious tacos, or served alongside some brown rice and asparagus.  YUM!  It's the perfect answer to dinner in the summer!  This particular marinade was an experiment gone RIGHT!  I served it over a beautiful bed of romaine lettuce, sautéed bell peppers and onions, and brown rice- what I call chicken fajita bowl!  Yum!

Honey Lime Chipotle Grilled Chicken

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • juice and zest of 2 limes
  • 2 tbsp. honey (I use a really lovely local organic honey)
  • 1/4 tsp. chipotle chili powder (you can use more if you want it spicy but chipotle chili powder can be VERY strong and a little goes a long way)
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
Place the chicken in a large ziplock bag.  In a bowl, whisk the rest of the ingredients together.  If you taste the marinade and it is too hot, add a little more honey.  Pour the marinade over the chicken in the bag.  Seal the bag squeezing the air out as you seal.  Massage the marinade into the chicken and place in the fridge to marinate 2 hours up to 8 hours (the longer you marinate, the better the flavor). 

Until next time, Happy and HEALTHY cooking!

Pineapple Chicken Tacos with Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Saturday, June 14, 2014

I know, I know, I have been posting a lot of taco recipes lately.   We have Tacos Tuesday every week and since we got our new grill I've been big into experimenting with different marinades for chicken and fish tacos.  My aunt, who is the chef, was here last weekend and we made a winner recipe!  The chicken is marinated in a mixture of pineapple juice and taco seasoning and then grilled to perfection. I then piled the chicken in warm corn tortillas and topped them with my Auntie Teri's black bean and corn salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.   You could also serve this over rice, or in a salad.  YUM!  

Pineapple Taco Grilled Chicken

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup 100% pineapple juice
  • 2 tbsp. taco seasoning (I use the Trader Joe's brand  or I use Frontera taco sauce)
Put the chicken in a large ziplock bag.  Mix the pineapple juice and the taco seasoning together and pour over the chicken.  Close the ziplock, pressing out all the air as you do so.  Massage the marinade into the chicken and place in the fridge for 2 hours up to overnight.  Grill about 5 minutes on each side or until internal temperature is 165 degrees.  

Black Bean and Corn Salsa
  • 2 ears corn, kernels removed from cob (I look for NON GMO corn)
  • 1/2 can black beans, rinsed (if you buy organic black beans the cans do not contain BPA)
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pineapple, finely chopped
  • a handful of cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. jalapeño jelly (or 1 fresh jalapeño finely chopped if you like it spicy...I am not a fan of spicy so I like the taste of the pepper jelly)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Saute the corn and the onion in olive oil (or grape seed-if you are going to cook with olive oil, do not use extra virgin, it is not safe when heated at high temperatures) until the onion is starting to sweat and the corn begins to caramelize about 5 minutes.  Remove from pan to a bowl and mix in the rest of the ingredients.  Place in the refrigerator to cool or serve warm.  

Until next time, happy and HEALTHY cooking!

Halibut Tacos with Tomato Corn Salsa and Lime Cream

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

We have tacos in some shape or form every Tuesday.  We call it Porter Tacos Tuesday in our house.  With the grilling season underway, and also many of our beautiful Northwest fish in season, I decided to make my beautiful halibut tacos.  My 5 year old absolutely LOVES these, and in fact last night he ate 4 of them!  It has been a long time since I've made them since we only recently moved back to the land of good fish!  Halibut can be somewhat pricey, so you can also use cod but make sure when choosing a fish for these you pick a "meatier" and mild white fish that will stand up to grilling.  


  • 1 lb. halibut or other firm, mild white fish
  • Juice and zest of one lime
  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. Rub with Love Seafood Rub (if you can't find this rub, use 1/4 tsp each of- cumin, garlic powder, ginger, cinnamon, and brown sugar, and 1/8 tsp chipotle powder)

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 olive oil or grape seed oil
Place fish in a large ziplock bag.  Whisk together ingredients for marinade in a bowl and pour over the fish.  Marinate 2-8 hours.  Grill the fish on an outdoor grill or grill pan on the stove for about 5 minutes on each side or until the fish turns opaque.  

Tomato Corn Salsa
  • 2 ears sweet corn (I look specifically for NON GMO sweet corn)
  • 1 can petit diced tomatoes (organic canned tomatoes come in BPA free cans)
  • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. chipotle chili powder (or regular chili powder) - BE CAREFUL- Chipotle powder is HOT so only use a little bit.
Peel and wash the corn.  Cut the kernels off the cob using a sharp knife.  In a large, deep sided skillet, sauté the corn in the butter, cumin, and chipotle powder for about 5 minutes or until the corn starts to release its starch and caramelize- over medium heat.  Add the tomatoes and the green chills and continue to cook down about 10-15 minutes longer. 

Lime Cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • juice and zest of one lime
  • 1/8 tsp. chipotle chili powder (more if you like it HOT)
  • salt to taste
Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld.  

Taco Assembly

  • 16 small corn tortillas, hot (I have found the easiest way to heat the tortillas is to wrap them in foil and heat them in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes).
  • coleslaw mix
  • Shredded cheese (I like cheddar and jack blend)
  • Fish (from above)
  • Lime cream (from above)
  • Corn salsa (from above)
To assemble the tacos, place a small amount of fish in the middle of the tortilla, top with lime cream, salsa, coleslaw, and shredded cheese.  YUM!

Until next time, happy and HEALTHY cooking!

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