one man's ceiling
Monday, October 02, 2006
  comfort meal -- meatloaf & cheesy scalloped potatoes
i thought i'd get some resistance when i mentioned the potatoes. trying to cut back on the starches and carbs in the house, donchaknow.

the meatloaf (one word, unless you're talkin about that bat out of hell) is a combination of two separate recipes. you know how it is, you get one recipe down, you make it a few times, then you forget exact proportions and so you go to look it up. but you can't find the original recipe, so you try a new recipe. it's similar, but not. each recipe has good points and bad. then you find the old recipe and make it. hmm, now the other recipe seems to have an edge. finally you go whole hog and merge the two into one and a new family recipe is born

what's odd is that the original recipe was for a vegetarian meatloaf. added to a transmogrified regular meatloaf recipe. final version: brave new meatloaf.

brave new meatloaf throw it all in a large bowl and mix it up. i do it all by hand, from the chopping to the mixing, though i've gotten a little squishy about actually touching raw meat so i wear disposable latex gloves. it that cheating? maybe, but i have a tendency to chew my nails and the last little surprise i want is a bit of salmonella growing beneath them. use a food processor and a mixer if you want, but the last time i used them with meatloaf it tasted all wrong.

divide the meat into two balls and drop each into a greased loaf pan. yeah, this recipe makes a lot of meatloaf. we like out meatloaf, okay? the leftovers (when there are any) make good sandwiches.

it bakes in a 325 oven for 50 to 70 minutes, depending. use a meat themometer. and when it gets where you want it to be, top each loaf with a half cup of ketchup or chili sauce and set it under the broiler for five minutes or so. yummy tomato-y crust!

cheesy scalloped potatoes

this is so damn easy i don't know why i haven't made it before. maybe i was scared off from a childhood of scalloped potatoes that came out of a box.
in a small saucepan cook onions and garlic in butter until soft
stir in flour to mix, followed immediately by the milk or half & half.
cook mixture over medium heat until it thickens, then add cheese and reduce to simmer.
add 1/8 teaspoon pepper and salt to taste.

butter the bottom and sides of 9 x 13 baking or large casserole dish.
layer half the potatoes on the bottom of the dish and cover with half the cheese sauce.
layer the rest of the potatoes and cover with cheese.
top with parsley flakes and place in a 325 degree over for around 70 minutes. the top will have nice bits of golden browned cheesy goodness.

now, i probably should have mentioned this earlier, but timing is everything if you want both the meatloaf and the potatoes coming out of the over at the same time. here's how to do it.

first, get all the ingredients together, chopping and prepping and setting things aside in bowls. to keep the potatoes from changing color, place in a bowl of cold water after slicing.
make the meatloaf and set into the pans.
turn the oven on to 325 to pre-heat.
start the cheese sauce for the potatoes.
put the meatloaves in the oven on a top rack. note the time.
assemble the potatoes. when the meatloaves have been in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes put the potatoes in on a rack closer to the bottom of the oven.
when the meatloaves hit the 50 minute mark check the temperature. you're looking for a read of 160 degrees.
when the meatloaves hit the magic mark top them with ketchup or chili sauce and switch things over to broil.
watch the potatoes. if they're looking done when you check the meatloaves, then pull them. if not, let them brown a bit under the broiler as well.
ta da! they should be ready to plate at about the same time.

oh, did you want another vegetable with that? we did frozen broccoli floretes. could have done fresh bit didn't have them. took all of five minutes, started right after i topped the loaves with ketchup.
ta da! meat and two sides ready at the same time in about an hour and 20 minutes, start to finish.

everyone ate seconds.
everyone ate too much.
no leftover potatoes.
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recipes and musings on food -- and anything else for that matter -- from a guy with a sticky brain who likes food. perhaps he likes food too much.

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