I seriously need some help with my food photography! Lol. I can tell you honestly though, this meatloaf (my favorite is the end piece shown here) tastes SO MUCH BETTER than it looks. And it uses my favorite method of cooking these days: hiding my veggies. Not sure why, but I just don’t like eating anything green besides green beans right now. So, I hide spinach and kale in my smoothies and tons of nutritious, colorful veggies in Alton Brown’s famous meatloaf.
The preparation is a little tedious, but worth it in the end. To feed 5 people, I cut in half the recipe below using only 1 package/16 ounces of ground chuck (96% percent lean, grass-fed). I added extra veg: kale and cauliflower. On my next round, I might use brown rice bread-crumbs with garlic powder instead of the croutons.
I’m not saying you get a decent serving of veggies in a slice, but it’s better than nothin’!
- 6 ounces garlic-flavored croutons
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and broken
- 3 whole cloves garlic
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 18 ounces ground chuck
- 18 ounces ground sirloin
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg
For the glaze:
- 1/2 cup catsup
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Dash Worcestershire sauce
- Dash hot pepper sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
Heat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a food processor bowl, combine croutons, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and thyme. Pulse until the mixture is of a fine texture.
Place this mixture into a large bowl. Combine the onion, carrot, garlic, and red pepper in the food processor bowl. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped, but not pureed. Combine the vegetable mixture, kale, cauliflower, ground sirloin, and ground chuck with the bread crumb mixture. Season the meat mixture with the kosher salt. Add the egg and combine thoroughly, but avoid squeezing the meat.
Pack this mixture into a 10-inch loaf pan to mold the shape of the meatloaf. Onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, turn the meatloaf out of the pan onto the center of the tray.
Insert a temperature probe at a 45 degree angle into the top of the meatloaf. Avoid touching the bottom of the tray with the probe. Set the probe for 155 degrees. (I didn’t do this, I just cooked for 35ish minutes.)
Combine the catsup, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and honey. Brush the glaze onto the meatloaf after it has been cooking for about 10 minutes.
When it comes to party recipes, I always say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Friends and family usually can’t wait for your famous dishes like beer can chicken, fajitas and queso, or ribs. Click here for my BBQ party how-to guide or refer to my grilling posts for my old faithful tips and recipes.
That being said, there’s always room to try something new. It could be the next fan favorite.
I’ve been inspired by The Local Palate, a Charleston foodie mag, to try a few new alternatives to serve at kick-off this season.
- 4 duck breasts
- 1 pound of bacon (not thick cut)
- 10 fresh assorted hot peppers (jalapeno, serrano, fresno) cut into slices
- Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 10 minutes
- Your favorite teriyaki sauce
Cut duck breast into 1 inch chunks. Slice bacon in half to shorten. Roll one piece of bacon around one piece of duck and then wrap one slice of pepper around bacon. Slide onto skewer. You should get about 8 skewers total. Place on grill over medium heat and grill on each side for 4 minutes or until bacon is cooked. Serve with teriyaki sauce.
Jicama Green Apple Slaw
- 1 small head of radicchio, thinly sliced
- 1 jicama, peeled and chopped
- 1 green apple, small dice
- 2 carrots, grated
- 1/4 cup cashews chopped
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix the first six ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk rice wine vinegar and honey until blended. Add sesame oil and whisk until blended. Add dressing to the veggies and toss to coat. Salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Caramelized Apple Upside Down Cornbread Cake
- 4 ounces of butter, room temperature
- 1 cup + 4 ounces sorghum syrup, more for garnish
- 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, and seeded
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 4 ounces melted butter
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 cup White Lily self-rising flour
- Ice cream, optional
Preheat oven to 325. In a heavy 10-inch stainless steel skillet, melt butter wtih 1 cup of sorghum until well incorporated. Remove from heat. Add apples to skillet, round side down, set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, buttermilk, meltedbutter, and remaining 4 ounces sorghum syrup. Add cornmeal, salt, and flour, beat until well incorporated. Pour batter over apples and bake for 35-45 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. To serve, cover with a plate that fits over the top of the skillet and flip over. Tap skillet bottom to release cake. Slice into wedges, garnish with syrup, and serve.
Indian Summer Cocktail
- Small handful of mint
- 4 small pieces of pineapple
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce green Chartreuse
- 1 1/2 ounces of gin
- Lemon twist for garnish
Muddle pineapple, with mint. Add remaining ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a freshly-iced old fashion glass and garnish with twist.
This is a great meal for when you feel like eating super healthy, but don’t want to sacrifice flavor! Below is a recipe I adapted from Bon Appetit. You can also make the meatballs for a pasta dish or just to have as a snack!
Spring Minestrone with Chicken Meatballs
Serves 4. I usually only make half of the broth and all of the meatballs.
- 6 ounces ground chicken (about 3/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup brown rice breadcrumbs
- 6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan, divided, plus more for garnish
- 4 garlic cloves, 2 minced, 2 thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 1 large egg, whisked to blend
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon grape seed oil
- 1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
- 2.5 cups low-salt chicken broth
- Cooked Basamati rice (see fool-proof here)
- 3/4 bunch of broccolini (or broccoli)
- 1/2 cup 1/2″ rounds peeled carrots
- 1 cup (packed) baby spinach
- Chopped fresh basil
1. I suggest portioning out everything French style (mis en place if you will).
2. Mix chicken, breadcrumbs, 3 tablespoons Parmesan, 2 minced garlic cloves, chives, egg, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl.
3. Form into 1/2″-diameter meatballs (makes about 28).
4. Heat oil in a small pot over medium heat. Cook meatballs until golden all over, about 3 minutes (they will finish cooking in soup).
5. Transfer to a plate; set aside.
6. Add leek to pot and cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.
7. Add 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves; cook for 1 minute.
8. Add broth and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Add carrots and simmer until pasta about 5 minutes.
9. Add broccolini and simmer for a minute.
10. Add meatballs and simmer until carrots and broccolini are tender, and meatballs are cooked through, about 3 minutes.
11. Add spinach and stir until wilted.
12. Season with salt and pepper.
13. Garnish with parmesan and basil which really make the soup. You can eat it without it, but it’s so much better with the two.
In the south we grill a lot, hence of all my grilling and marinade recipes. Beer can chicken is hands down my favorite preparation for chicken. Recently we were referred to Adam Perry Lang’s book Serious Barbecue for more great recipes. We all admit, his preparation for the classic Beer Can Chicken takes our favorite to a new level.
Don’t be intimidated by the long ingredient list or process. It’s super simple, especially if you’re all hanging around chatting.
- 1/2 cup canola oil (or melted coconut oil if you want to be healthy)
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 Tblspn Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tblspn Japanese soy sauce
- 1 Tblspn cider vinegar
- 1 Tblspn yellow mustard
- 1 Tblspn firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 Tblspn fresh ground black pepper
- 1 Tblspn kosher salt
- 6 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 medium sweet onion coarsely chopped
- 1 serrano, Thai bird, or other hot chilli sliced with the seeds removed
Enough for 3 chickens. I save what I don’t use in a jar in the fridge. It keeps for a while!
- 1/2 cup orange marmalade (I use apricot jam)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 Tblspn cider vinegar
- 1 Tblspn freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Tblspn coarsely chopped chives
- 1 Tblspn coarsely chopped parsley
Other stuff you need:
- 2 12 oz beer cans
- Large Zip Lock bags
- 1/2 bunch thyme and 1/2 bunch of marjoram tied in a bundle
- 8 Tblspn unsalted butter
- Fleur de sel (optional)
Finishing dressing (the ultimate finishing touch):
- 1 Tblspn finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 Tblspn finely chopped chives
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup EVOO
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.
- Take the crap out of the inside of the chicken, rinse, and put into a large zip lock bag.
- Pour marinade over chicken and seal, pressing out all of the air. Refrigerate for 8-24 hours.
- Pre-heat bbq (even better a Green Egg!) with drip pan/deflector plate and fruit-wood (like apple) to 300 degrees.
- Place all glaze ingredients in jar and shake to combine.
- Remove chickens from bags and let marinade stay in bag. Pat chicken dry lightly with a paper towel.
- Put chickens on top of empty cans.
- Place chickens in cooker basting occasionally with herb bundle dipped in butter.
- Cook until internal temperature of thigh is 165, and breast is 155. It will take 45 min to 1 hr 15 min.
- Give the glaze a quick shake and then using the herb brush, brush the chicken with the glaze.
- Put the bird back in the cooker and cook until internal temp is 175 for the thigh and 165 for the breast. About 15 to 20 min.
- Remove the chicken and let it rest upright for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine parsley and chives in a small bowl, zest in the lemon and squeeze in all of its juices. Add EVOO. Pour this onto your cutting board or work surface.
- Place chicken on board and cut it into quarters.
- Sprinkle with Fleur de sel.
A ripe avocado can be squished up to make a creamy and healthy spread on your sandwiches. For extra flavor, I add a little bit of pesto. It’s a trick I’ve been using since college and got worn out with it around 2004. Thankfully the combo reappeared in my head while shopping for a picnic the other day.
If you like the flavor, you can also make a more chunky version as a dip. Mash up 2 avocados and add:
- A dash of good quality EVOO
- Chopped basil
- Finely chopped garlic (1-2 cloves)
- Fresh grated parsean cheese
- Fresh ground salt and pepper
- A little squeeze of lemon
Serve with pita chips or sweet potato chips. It’s a pleasant change from guacamole.Tweet this!
I made these quinoa cakes 3 times last week! Healthy, hearty, and delicious by everyone’s standards. Make these instead of a potatoes for your next bbq or even breakfast.
The recipe is from my new cookbook, Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson. (You can also find the recipe on Epicurious here.) All of her recipes are vegetarian but look to be so rich with a variety of flavors I wouldn’t normally put together.
Makes enough for 12 cakes. Store the unused uncooked mix for for up to 5 days in the fridge.
- 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1/3 cup finely chopped chives
- 1 yellow or white onion finely chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan or Gruyere cheese
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 cup bread crumbs (I used organic gluten free made from rice)
- Water, if needed
- 1 Tbspn Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1. Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the chives, onion, cheese, and garlic. Add the bread crumbs, stir, and let sit for a few minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture.
2. At this point, you should have a mixture you can easily form into twelve 1-inch/2.5cm thick patties. I err on the very moist side because it makes for a not-overly-dry patty, but you can add more bread crumbs, a bit at a time, to firm up the mixture, if need be. Conversely, a bit more beaten egg or water can be used to moisten the mixture.
3. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat, add 4- 6 patties, if they’ll fit with some room between each, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms are deeply browned. Turn up the heat if there is no browning after 10 minutes and continue to cook until the patties are browned. Carefully flip the patties with a spatula and cook the second sides for 7 minutes, or until golden.
4. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties.
MR Note: I went for a wetter patty so they would be moist inside. When I initially put them in the pan, they looked like they were going to fall apart. A couple minutes in, I flattened them with the spatula to get more browning and the cake formed back into one piece. You really can’t mess these up. The more burned the better in my opinion :)
Click here for an artichoke 101 on selecting and preparing them. My rule of thumb is that the bigger the stem, the bigger the heart, which is the best part. You can steam, boil, grill, and roast artichokes. I usually steam them in the winter and grill them in the summer, like I did above. Recently I’ve run across these ideas to add artichoke to bigger dishes.
- 8 oz. your favorite pasta
- 1/2 c, plus 2 T olive oil
- 1 lb baby artichokes (or 1 14 oz. can/jar of artichoke hearts)
- 3 c baby spinach leaves, packed
- 1/2 c shelled pistachios
- 3 large cloves of garlic
- 1/4 c chopped scallions
- 1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 c shredded Parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper
- 1 c baby peas (frozen is fine)
- 1 c chopped tomatoes
- Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain & set aside. Cut the stems from the artichokes, leaving about 1/2″ exposed (since they’re baby artichokes, you won’t have much to work with). Next, trim about 1/2″ off the top of the artichoke. Remove the first 2-3 layers of leaves and slice in half lengthwise. (If they’re bigger baby artichokes, cut into quarters.) There probably won’t be much of an actual choke, but if you do see some, remove gently with a paring knife. Once the artichokes have been prepped, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice so that they don’t become discolored.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the artichokes and sprinkle generously with salt & pepper. Let them cook for about 6-7 minutes, until browned and tender. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for a couple of minutes.
3. When the artichokes have cooled some, combine them with the spinach, pistachios, garlic, lemon juice, cheese & remaining olive oil in a blender (or immersion blender cup). Puree until completely smooth. Check for seasoning & adjust according to taste with some salt & pepper.
4. Add about 1/3 cup of pesto to the cooked pasta and mix well. Add the peas and tomatoes and fold in gently. If you like a lot of sauce, add a couple more tablespoons of pesto until you have the desired consistency. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese and some freshly ground black pepper. Serve with a crisp salad and warm crusty bread, and enjoy!
Apparently they taste just like the heart, my favorite part! All you have to do is use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer layer before you cook it. You can steam, roast, boil, or sautee before adding to dishes and dips.
HEALTHY ARTICHOKE DIP
She also does this White Bean Salad with Artichokes that looks amazing.
- 5 medium artichokes, cooked (see methods in story at right), hearts removed and chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
- 1 lemon (2 teaspoons lemon zest and juice of one half)
- 1 bunch beet greens, chopped, about 8-9 ounces
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces Neufchatel cheese or cream cheese (the former has better flavor and less calories, fat and carbs)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, thyme and lemon zest. Sauté about 5 minutes until onion gets soft.
Add beet greens, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, red pepper flakes and salt. Mix well and heat until there is no more liquid in the pan from greens, about 5 minutes. Add artichoke hearts and cook 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, mix together Neufchatel, sour cream, lemon juice and remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Add artichoke-greens mixture.
Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray and spread the mixture out evenly. Top with Parmesan and bake for 10 minutes. Heat broiler; broil 2-4 minutes until Parmesan melts and begins to brown. Serve hot or at room temperature.