Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Skinny Meatloaf!

I have officially turned into a blob. I spent the entire day yesterday working on a jigsaw puzzle! Granted, it’s a difficult one (1,000 pieces, and they are all about the size of my thumbnail for heavens’ sake) but this is better than watching Brady Bunch reruns on television, although I’m not accomplishing much.

Jack is continuing to become proficient in the kitchen. One thing which he does which I never could quite get the hang of is to wash dishes and stack the dishwasher as he goes along with the meal preparations. Of course, his cleaning comes at the expense of efficiency. It takes much longer to make the meal. I watched in frustration last night as the potatoes were boiling over and the carrots were cooking into mush as he insisted on scrubbing a black mark on the counter made by a pan a few minutes earlier. I didn’t bring this up, though, because I found it is very easy to overwhelm him in the kitchen. A lot of things to do, and to keep your eye on, and he’s not accustomed to this. So we ate over-cooked carrots and he had to clean the burner (after it cooled), but the counter sparkled!

I am into Day 17 and cannot wait to be using both legs again.

On Sunday, for dinner, we have pizza. With the exception of when holidays fall on this day, we have had pizza on Sunday for years. I can throw together a double recipe of pizza crust in the Kitchen Aid rather easily and freeze half for the following week. I have tried premade crusts and frozen crusts and making crusts out of frozen bread dough but we haven’t yet located an easier alternative which meets our standards. Last Sunday, I thought that it would be easier to put the crust together in the food processor (the Kitchen Aid is stored under-counter, the food processor is always on the counter) and found, on an internet search, a food-processor pizza crust marked at “the best”. Obviously, the author hasn’t made many because it wasn’t good at all. Very yeasty, but otherwise tasteless.

This past Sunday I suggested ordering a pizza, but that was met with the usual (“it won’t be as good as yours” and “it will be loaded with fat”) protests. So the late afternoon found us in the kitchen, me sitting with my leg propped on pillows on an adjacent chair, Jack learning how to use the Kitchen Aid. Since the oven would be on already, I also chose this as a time to also bake a loaf of bread (dough which I had frozen a few weeks ago and had been thawing and slow-rising in the refrigerator) and make a couple of meatloaves from two pounds of ground turkey which needed to be used.

As he remarked later—“I can’t believe we spent 3 hours in the kitchen!”. Yes, dear, it takes time…

The bread baked without a hitch, the meatloaves turned out great (they smelled great, we didn’t have the opportunity to try any until Monday night), we had a good pizza and another crust is in the freezer for next week, and my “neatnik” husband showed me that it is possible to make dough in the KA without getting a floury haze all over the kitchen! Of course, I’ll never be able to duplicate that unless he helps by doing all of the prep work. It’s much too difficult to do it all and be neat at the same time. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking with it…

Here is the meatloaf recipe. It was reviewed by Jean on the Cuisine at Home website forum and I agree that it is delicious. The meatloaf recipe itself was altered from its original in that I used all ground turkey (instead of a combo of ground sirloin, pork, and turkey), added some canola oil to keep the meat moist, played around with the seasonings, etc. However, the sweet and sour ketchup topping which was baked into the meatloaf made it outstanding. A mixture of ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar added a sweet tangy flavor to the meat. I baked it on a rack, which allowed the excess fat to drip away. After removing the meat from the rack, I added some chicken stock to the pan drippings and cooked them, then strained the mixture into a jar. The next evening, when we reheated the meatloaf, I skimmed the fat from the top of the drippings, added a little more stock, and thickened it with flour for a tasty gravy.

Skinny Meatloaf with Sweet & Sour Ketchup

Serving Size : 8

Amt Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

----- ---------- -------------------------------------

1 large egg

1 large egg white

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup grated onion

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram -- crumbled

20 ounces lean ground turkey

1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs -- (fresh- whirl slices of bread in food processor)

1/3 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard

2 teaspoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. With cooking spray, coat a baking pan and a rack which fits into it. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg and egg white until well combined. Add the remaining ingredients through the marjoram, add salt and pepper if desired, and mix well. Add the ground turkey and the bread crumbs and mix lightly until just combined. Shape the mixture into an oval loaf (about 2 to 2-1/2" high) and place on the rack.

Combine the ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar and coat the top of the meatloaf with the entire mixture.

Place the meatloaf into the oven and bake for 50 minutes to an hour, until the interior temperature reaches 160F. Let rest for at least 5 minutes after removing from oven.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per serving: 199 Calories (kcal); 8g Total Fat (2g saturated); (36% calories from fat); 18g Protein; 15g Carbohydrate; 69mg Cholesterol; 314mg Sodium

Food Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 5 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates

NOTES : Next time try adding grated carrot, chopped mushrooms

Jack loves meatloaf and I only make it once or twice a year (it's not something that I normally even think of making and, besides, there are so many other recipes in my file). We had last night's meatloaf with mashed garlic potatoes and buttered (soft!) carrots. He sighed and said that it was “the perfect meal”. Silly man! I’m glad that he likes it, though, since there are 3 more dinners and another lunch-sized portion or two left in the freezer.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Anzac Biscuits

Day 11 of immobility. I am not getting used to it! The recipes in my laptop are organized and arranged into categories and subcategories, I have deleted all junk e-mails since 2004 (why was I keeping these things?), other e-mails have been sorted and saved (in files) or deleted. I feel incredibly organized. So why am I so frustrated about this down-time? Because I can’t move! Crutches are evil. I am not a very coordinated person, and these things are not easily maneuverable. I want to walk up the stairs on my feet. I want to go outside into this sunny, yet cold, day and run. I love Christmas, and the tree in the living room is beautiful, but I want it and the other decorations to be packed up and back in the attic. As Jack says, it will be Christmas until March.

Cooking with my husband is a continuing adventure. He is so much better at it than I had anticipated, but it takes so long. And there are a few reasons why which I simply cannot break him of. First, measuring. I’ve told him that, unless we’re baking, exact measurements aren’t really necessary. Still, I ask him to pour 1½ cups of water into the glass measuring cup and, 2 minutes later, he is still at it. Dribbling water in from a spoon and staring at the red line at eye-level until the water level is precisely at the mark. Spoonfuls of spices are carefully leveled off. Measuring cups of sugar are exactly to the top rim. I realize that he is still a beginner at this, but he isn’t paying attention when I say that this kind of preciseness is not necessary when making meatloaf!

When we were kids my brother loved Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, as we all did. He is now a good cook but this was the only thing he made for the longest time. I remember being in the kitchen once, he was about 14 years old, and watched as he would measure exactly 4 cups of water into the saucepot in which to cook the macaroni. I told him that he just had to fill the pot about 2/3 full since it wasn’t necessary to have the exact amount of water in there; the macaroni just needed to be able to cook in enough water so they could dance around as they boiled. He looked at me and said “then why don’t they tell you that? The directions say 4 cups of water for a reason, and that’s what I’m doing.” He wasn’t about to screw up his lunch just because his older sister told him to use the wrong amount of water!

Back to the present.

Yesterday, Jack cleaned the house very nicely and my friend Jenni arrived with food. Lots of food! Turkey meatballs, turkey chili, African chicken, frozen multigrain waffles, frozen challah French toast—all things which she made for us. We will have the chicken tonight over whole wheat couscous. I can hardly thank her enough. Yes, Jack and I are doing well enough in the kitchen on our own, but it takes so long to put together meals (with exact measurements!) and these wonderful food-gifts are so appreciated. She also picked up a couple of Trader Joe’s quick bread/ muffin mixes for convenient baking. How can I thank her enough???

My friends are so very good. :) Four days after I broke my leg, I received a box of comforting Godiva hot chocolate mixes from Jan, a friend who lives in California. I have been drinking this stuff steadily since I need the calcium in the milk to repair and strengthen my bones…

And then, after Jenni left, I opened a large box from my parents which arrived earlier that afternoon. Anzac biscuits, peanut butter chocolate brownies, cranberry-orange scones, granola, chocolate, coffee, a puzzle, magazines, and a pair of nice stretchy wide-leg pants to fit over this aircast I am forced to wear. And a beautiful card which my niece Arianna made and enclosed.

I am so lucky! Yes, I’m in pain (still! when does it stop???) and I have to get upstairs by pulling myself backward up the steps on my butt and I can’t run and I can’t do most of the things which I enjoy but to have such wonderful parents and great friends just takes my breath away.

Okay, I’m not going to be posting a new recipe today, but I am going to share this Cooking Light recipe for Anzac Biscuits, which is the one which Mom used and I have made several times. It’s is Australian in origin, and “biscuits” in Australia are “cookies” to us here in the States. Chewy with oats, moist with coconut (Mom also added mini-semisweet chips and chopped walnuts), these are perfect with ice cold (calcium rich) milk and they are also great to mail because they are not delicate and will travel well.


1 cup regular oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup stick margarine or butter, melted
2 tablespoons golden cane syrup (such as Lyle's) or light-colored corn syrup
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 325°.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Add water, margarine, and syrup; stir well. Drop by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 12 minutes or until almost set. Remove from oven; let stand 2 to 3 minutes or until firm. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

Note: We found these cookies were much better when made with golden cane syrup. Cane syrup is thicker and sweeter than corn syrup and can be found in supermarkets, in cans, next to the jellies and syrups or in stores specializing in Caribbean and Creole cookery.

Yield: 2 dozen (serving size: 1 cookie)

CALORIES 98 (27% from fat); FAT 2.9g (sat 1g,mono 0.9g,poly 0.7g); PROTEIN 1.2g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 11mg; SODIUM 59mg; FIBER 0.6g; IRON 0.6mg; CARBOHYDRATE 17.3g

Cooking Light, OCTOBER 1998

By the way, the above nutritional informatioin indicates "serving size: 1 cookie".

Yeah, right. :)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I've Returned-- with Garlic Lime Shrimp

I has been three months since I last posted here and I’ve had to jog my memory a bit by returning to my digital photos file. It’s odd to be able to scroll through so many days in a few minutes. Still-green leaves on the trees, the first snowfall, a party where most guests are in short-sleeves, another where most are wearing sweaters, and so on. My parents had an 8mm movie camera for many years as I was growing up and it wasn’t used very often, so as a result each reel contained several months’ worth of occasions all bumped against one another. The labels read something like:


Each event or occasion rated a minute or so in length and each reel, when we watch them now, gives me the sense of being pulled through my past at a very brisk pace. And why on earth didn’t someone tell me how geeky those eyeglasses looked in third grade?

Anyway, there really was so much worth noting during those three months that I just cannot do it all.

So I begin with today, Sunday 20 January 2008.

A week ago I missed a step and, because it was the middle of the night and I was very sleepy, I fell like a brick onto my foot. This is my first broken bone and I certainly hope that it will be my last. It was, according to the orthopedic surgeon, a clean break with no complications. Then how the he** much more does a “complicated break” hurt? I can’t imagine anything being more painful.

To be honest, I’m very disappointed in myself. I thought I was made of much stronger stuff. I should have immediately assessed the situation, crawled to the laundry room where I reached up and got a roll of packing tape and scissors from a shelf, a wad of newspapers from the recyclable bin, and fashioned myself a leg/ankle support of rolled newspaper. Then I would gently wake Jack who, after he had a nice, hot cup of tea (yes, I would have made myself one as well), would drive me to the ER.

Instead, I screamed and cried like a baby. And then broke out in a cold sweat and shook uncontrollably. Now really, how brave was that? So much for the Red Cross classes and the Girl Scout first-aid badges…

This past week has been very interesting. I broke a bone in the lower part of my fibula, in the ankle area, and one on the side of my foot. As a result, from below my knee to my toes, I am now wearing something called an “aircast”. This looks like a boot which astronauts wear, plastic and foam and straps and a little pump that inflates each side to provide support. So for the next week, until I see the doctor, I have to use crutches and not use the foot.

Jack is now taking care of cooking and cleaning. I was talking to my nephew yesterday and mentioned that his Uncle was learning how to do everything. Steve, in his late 20’s and a newlywed, was amused. “You mean Uncle Jack can’t cook anything?,” he asked. In defense of my husband, I had to explain that, while Steve grew up with 2 working parents and his father did a lot of the cooking, and now Steve makes dinner when his wife works later than he does, that was not something which Jack has ever done. His father’s foray into cooking was flipping burgers and steaks on the charcoal grill. Jack did make his own meals before we met, but that was 25 years ago. Cooking has since been my job. I not only enjoy it but, more often than not, I have the time to spend preparing 3 meals a day. As a result, I am woefully unprepared for this.

Our first couple of days after the fall featured leftovers from a chicken I roasted earlier in the week, and soup which I made the previous day from the chicken carcass. Then rigatoni with mini meatballs which I had made in November and frozen the leftovers. Unfortunately, after that we were on our own. One friend suggested a garlic-lime shrimp recipe which we served with steamed broccoli and rice was very easy and almost too delicious considering how quickly it was put together. Another easy meal was tilapia fillets sprinkled with Penzeys Trinidad seasoning, pan-sautéed, served with microwaved baked potatoes and steamed spinach. Another night was spaghetti with my Mom’s sauce (which, fortunately, she had given us several jars of when we visited at Christmas) and a salad.

Unfortunately today, Sunday, is Pizza Night. Last week I had taken dough from the freezer on Saturday night and placed it in the refrigerator to thaw; we used this for dinner on Sunday (I sat at the kitchen table, chopping veggies, while Jack rolled out the dough, made a simple red sauce, and assembled it). Alas, tonight I have to dig up a recipe for a quick food-processor dough. And that is what I should be doing now.

Following is the shrimp recipe which we used and give a big ol’ thumbs up to:

Garlic Lime Shrimp
May 2004

Canadian Living

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced [you can use more, of course - I almost always do!]
1 tbsp grated lime rind
1/4 tsp each cayenne pepper and salt
1 3/4 lb large raw shrimp (about 50), peeled and deveined
1/4 cup white wine or chicken stock
2 tbsp lime juice
3 green onions, chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat; fry garlic, lime rind, cayenne pepper and salt, stirring occasionally, until aromatic, about 2 minutes.

Add shrimp; fry, stirring often, until slightly pink, about 3 minutes.

Add wine and lime juice; cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until shrimp are bright pink and almost no liquid remains, about 3 minutes. Toss with onions and coriander.

[I serve this with rice.]

Makes about 4-main course servings. Per piece: about 16 cal, 2 g pro, trace total fat, trace carb, 0 g fibre, 29 mg sodium, 18 mg chol. % RDI: 1% calcium, 2% iron, 1% vit. A, 2% vit. C.

My notes:

I used 12 ounces of shrimp for the two of us, but kept the remaining ingredients as is for a bit more sauce.

And I apologize, but very few food photos will be posted until I’m back in the kitchen on my own!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

It's been a while...

almost 3 months since I've last posted! To say that I've been busy seems a tad inadequate, though. :)

I recently fell and broke a bone in my lower leg and one in my foot and am now forced to sit all day long wearing a heavy, bulky boot-cast thing. Allllll dayyyy looooooong... it has been only a few days and I'm going crazy! But there are some other things to clear up before I can resume my posting here. I will return very soon. ;)