There are about as many different ways to make meatloaf as there are people to eat it. Here’s how my family made meatloaf when I was growing up, and how I still generally make it today.
1 lb ground chuck
1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal
1/2 cup stuffing mix
1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
1/3 envelope onion soup mix
Combine all ingredients. Shape into a loaf. Bake in a loaf pan at 350F for 1-1¼ hours.
I’m currently working my way through the new Good Housekeeping Cookbook and came across a Cajun style variation on meatloaf. I took a cue from the ingredient list and added 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoons each of dried thyme, nutmeg, cayenne, and ground black pepper to my standard recipe. If you enjoy spicy, you’ll probably like the result.
What do you put in your meatloaf?
What do you look for in a cookbook? I want to see more than just a list of ingredients. For me, the most engaging cookbook is one with gorgeous photographs and a bit of narrative. The science-geek in me can get totally sucked into anything from the folks at America’s Test Kitchen, who walk me through the entire process of refining and perfecting classic recipes. Will an extra egg white make all the difference? Maybe using cake flour instead of white?
This year I’ve noticed an upsurge in cookbooks that share family stories as an accompaniment to the recipes. These anecdotes often give a sense of what the dish will taste like, serving suggestions, and a peek into the character of the recipe’s creator. Sound appealing? Then checkout some of these cookbooks:
In the Kitchen With a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark: A New York Times columnist offers a collection of stories about food along with comments on her own experiences in making the 150 recipes that she presents, classifying the dishes into such categories as things with cheese, the farmer’s market, and my sweet tooth.
One Big Table by Molly O’Neill: Presents a celebration of America’s culinary traditions that features such favorite recipes as Beacon Hill Chestnut Stuffing, Acadian Mussels, and California Avocado Soup.
The Pioneer Woman by Ree Drummond: The author shares homespun stories on adjusting to life on a ranch in the country and offers a number of recipes, including cowboy calzones, ribeye steak with whiskey cream sauce, Patsy’s blackberry cobbler, and Iny’s prune cake.
Southern Plate by Christy Jordan: The founder of SouthernPlate.com collects more than 125 recipes that have been passed down through several generations of her family, in a book that also includes the family stories behind the recipes and full-color photos.
2/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 teaspoons milk
2 cups sifted flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Thoroughly cream shortening, sugar, and vanilla. Add egg; beat until light and fluffy. Stir in milk. Sift together dry ingredients; blend into creamed mixture. Divide dough in half. Chill 1 hour. On a lightly floured surface, roll to 1/8” thickness. Cut in desired shapes with cutters. Bake on greased cookie sheet at 375F for 6-8 minutes. Cool slightly; remove from pan.
Makes 2 dozen.
This simple, but exceptionally tasty bread is great for toast, garlic bread, and even small sandwiches!
2 packages yeast
6 cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups milk
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup water
Combine 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and soda. Heat liquids until very warm (120-130F). Add to dry mixture; beat well. Stir in rest of flour to make a stiff batter. Spoon into two 8½ x 4½ pans that have been greased and sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle tops with cornmeal. Cover; let rise in warm place for 45 minutes. Bake at 400F for 25 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool.
Take home some of these bread-making cookbooks to browse through while eating your English Muffin bread.
I have a Milford-Miami Township Branch volunteer to thank for my discovery of this simple and delicious cake. If you need a cake that can travel, this is the perfect choice. I have found it to be a hit with pretty much any audience. If you like, chopped nuts can be sprinkled on top along with the butterscotch morsels. Serve this dessert at Halloween and call it Witch’s Warts Cake!
1 box yellow cake mix
2 tablespoons oil
4 individual serving packages of pre-made butterscotch pudding
1 package butterscotch morsels
Add oil, eggs, and pudding regardless of what directions for the cake mix say. Mix ingredients and pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle morsels on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes.
This tasty cookie had been a hit with family, friends, and coworkers alike.
1 cup butter or margarine
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 package (4.67 oz) chocolate sandwich mints, coarsely chopped
1 cup vanilla baking chips
Heat oven to 375F. In large mixing bowl, combine butter, sugars, egg and
vanilla. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add flour, cocoa,
baking soda and salt. Beat at low speed until soft dough forms. Stir in
mints and chips.
Drop dough by heaping teaspoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie
sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool completely before sorting.
Makes 3 dozen cookies.
Want to make more cookies? Check out some of our cookie-specific cookbooks.
If you ever wanted to attempt making candy, but were too intimidated to give it a try, this is an easy recipe to begin with. The flavor of this crunchy candy is reminiscent of peanut brittle and Butterfingers. My mother remembers my grandmother making tasty angel food for her when she was a child.
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 pound milk chocolate
In a saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and vinegar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Cook without further stirring until the temperature reaches 300 degrees. Remove from heat and quickly stir in baking soda. Pour into a 9 x 13 pan lined with foil. Do not spread candy; mixture may not fill entire pan. When cool, break into bite-sized pieces. Dip pieces into melted chocolate and place on waxed paper until chocolate is hard.
After you’ve mastered angel food, check out a book on candy making if you’re feeling brave enough for further experimentation!
I recently made cupcakes for a baby shower. I wasn’t feeling very creative, so I decided to focus on tasty and pretty. My Mom has a great recipe for white cake that I use frequently. It makes a very soft, but flavorful cake, so you may find it easier to use for cupcakes than layer cakes. When it came time for icing, I used Wilton’s Buttercream Icing recipe, which I’ve found to have a nice consistency and taste. If you’re going to use a decorating bag and top your cupcakes with swirls of icing, make one batch of the Wilton’s recipe for every dozen cupcakes.
If you decide to get more adventurous than I did, check out some of these books from the library’s collection:
2 cups flour
1½ cups sugar
3½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup shortening
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 egg whites
Beat sugar and shortening. Alternate dry (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) and wet (milk, vanilla) ingredients. Add egg whites. Pour into cupcake pans 1/3 full. Bake 20 minutes at 350F.