Sunday, January 15, 2012

Don't Tell Mom. It's TURKEY MEATLOAF

Nothing beats Mom's meatloaf.

It's comfort food at its finest.

It reminds people of home - of growing up - and of Mom's kitchen.

When we were kids, our Moms didn't think about fat grams, calories or leaner meat choices when she made her meatloaf.

So whatever you do, don't tell Mom that you're using turkey in your Meatloaf!

1 lb. ground turkey (try NOT to use ground turkey breast, it tends to be a bit drier, try to get ground dark turkey or half and half - gotta keep Mom happy)
1/3 c. diced sun dried tomatoes
1/3 c. diced onions
1/3 c. diced celery
1/2 c. plain bread crumbs
2 eggs
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
Olive Oil
1 small 6 ounce can Tomato Paste
1 Tbsp. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Diced your sun dried tomatoes and set aside.

Dice your onion and celery in small pieces.

Time Saving Tip:  I like to use bagged frozen chopped onion - it's quick, it's easy, and you don't have to worry about the left over half-unused onion.  Open freezer, take out bag, there ya go.  Chopped onions.  No tears necessary.

Lookie Here - Another Time Saving Tip: For the celery, I dash over to the salad bar at my local grocery store, and grab about 1/3 cup of celery.  Again, its quick, its easy, and you won't have an ENTIRE bag of celery hanging out in your refrigerator that you might never use.

In a small saute pan, pour 2 Tbsp. olive oil and throw in your celery and onions.

Saute until onions and celery are tender.

In a large bowl, go on and dump your bread crumbs, diced sun dried tomatoes, celery/onion, Parmesan cheese and eggs.

Shhhh, before Mom sees, throw your turkey on top.

Salt and pepper top of turkey.

Before you get to mixing the loaf, line a 9 x 13 inch pan with foil.

Now, get your hands in there and mix away. 

Grab your loaf mixture and plop it in the foil lined pan.

Mold away into a nice square-ish shape.

Sorta like the size of a brick, but wider and not as thick. 

When combined, wash your hands really well - like your Mom taught ya.

Note:  I'm gonna ask that you pretty please not leave out this next part.  It really adds a little zing zang zoom to it.

Get out a small bowl along with your tomato paste and brown sugar.

Scoop out tomato paste into your bowl and add 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar.

Mix it all up and start spreading all over your meatloaf.

Spread it around all pretty-like.  Just like Mom would do it.

Cover with foil, and bake for 45 minutes.

Uncover and bake an additional 15.

Take out of oven, and let your loaf rest for about 15 minutes before transferring to serving plate.

Slice away.

Now doesn't that look just like what Mom use to make?  But a little bit healthier.

Thanks Mom!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ole Dad's Mouth Melting Fudge. Oh My Aching Arm.

My dad was born in 1913.

Gilbert would have been 98 years old this year.


Hard to believe.

When talking to me, Dad would refer to himself as "Your Ole Dad".

"Listen to your Ole Dad".

"Don't worry sweetheart, your Ole Dad will take care of it".

"Trust your Ole Dad on this one".

When I was growing up, Dad never seemed "Old" to me.

He was just my wonderful....handsome....Dad.

When I was growing up in the 60s and 70s, most men weren't in the kitchen cooking and baking.

But that wasn't the case for dear Ole Dad.

The Kitchen was where you could always find him.

Thankfully, over the years, I have safely guarded all his hand-written notes, letters, and of course his wonderful recipes.

One of which, shown below in his own writing, was his "self-titled" mouth-melting Fudge Recipe.

2 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick butter
1(5 ounce) can evaporated milk
7 1/2 ounce jar Marshmallow Fluff
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (12 ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
Nuts, optional
Wooden spoon

Click ME for PRINTABLE Recipe

Note:  My Dad only used Marshmallow Fluff.  I'm not saying you have to use Fluff instead of Kraft's Marshmallow Creme - I use it cause Dad used it.

I realize that most people have their own Fudge recipe.

And most people's recipe is probably pretty close to Ole Dad's recipe, which happens to be pretty close to the Marshmallow Fluff fudge recipe.

But it's not necessarily the "what" of the recipe, it's the "how" part that I remember.

Every single Christmas, he would tell me the same thing.

"Listen to Ole Dad. The key to good fudge is to be sure to stir and stir and stir the HELL out of it".

He told me time and time again....."If you don't stir and stir and stir it, then the sugar doesn't break down, and your fudge will have sugar grit in it.  And no one's fudge is as creamy as your Ole Dad's".

Dad was right, and here's how he told me to do it.

Have EVERYTHING ready before you being.

That way, your constant stirring will not be interrupted.  Which is what Dad said was the Key to good fudge.

Timing is everything Dad use to say, so prepare ahead of time and your Fudge will turn out perfectly.

So let's get started.

1. Get out a 9 x 13 pan and spray Pam or butter the bottom and sides.  Set aside.

2. Open up the Marshmallow Fluff and tear off the paper lid, and set aside next to your stove.  Also get your long handled spoon that you're going to use to scoop out your Fluff and set that aside.

3. Open your Chocolate Chip bag and set aside next to your Fluff.

4. Have the lid off your Vanilla, along with a teaspoon and set aside with the chocolate chips and Fluff.

Now you're ready to begin the "oh my aching arm" stirring without any interruptions.

In a large pot, place one stick of butter, 2 1/2 cups sugar, and the evaporated milk.

Turn your heat up to Medium High.

I hope you've lifted your weights this week, cause your arm is going to need all the help you can get for the next 10 minutes.

With your favorite wooden spoon, keep the movement going.


And stir and stir and stir and stir.

Butter will start to melt, and things will start to incorporate.

Don't forget to keep stirring.

Your arm is gonna be pretty agitated with you right about now.

You're gonna move your spoon from your tired right hand to your energetic left hand then again back to your right hand (which has had time to recuperate) and back to your left hand.

As Dad said, "Stir the HELL out of it".

Things will start to slowly bubble.

It will take about a good 7 minutes of constant stirring before the bubbles will start to appear.

Soon, the bubbles should be good and constant now.

The faster you stir, the bubbles just keep appearing.  When the bubbles are constant, keep stirring for two minutes longer.

Turn your burner off and move your pot over to the unused cool burner next to it.

Immediately pour in your chocolate chips.

Stir stir and stir.  Once the chips are half-way melted, add the vanilla.

Stir stir stir again until all the chocolate chips are completely melted.

If you prefer nuts in your fudge, now would be the time to add them.  Dad would make two batches. One for me, without nuts, and then another one with walnuts.

Now, quickly scoop out all the Fluff and add to the pot.  This part can get messy.

Try to get as much Fluff out of the jar that you can.

Stir stir stir stir until all is totally and completely incorporated.

Keep stirring until you can no longer see the white of the Fluff.

Once the Fluff has been all mixed in with the chocolate, pour into your buttered 9 x 13 pan and spread out evenly.

Just like at the candy store.

Once you've spread the fudge in your pan, place directly into the refrigerator for one hour.

Now, let's get to the important stuff.

After one hour, take the fudge from the refrigerator.

Slice the Fudge into long strips, then into small squares.

Place fudge squares in a container with a tight lid.

Refrigerate fudge 8 hours, or overnight.

The next day, remove from refrigerator and serve fudge at room temperature.

Fudge can now be stored at room temperature in container with lid.

Oh my aching arm....But OH what delicious fudge.

Thanks Dad. I sure do miss you.