Malto Mario


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Sunday, March 12, 2006

A dinner for one...

My fiance, Wayne, is out of town on a job for work. He's been gone for 4 weeks now and still has another 4 to 6 weeks (if not longer) to go.. so it's just me and "the kids". I miss him tremendously, but the good news is, he's coming home for a long weekend in 10 days.. I'm so excited!!

While he's been gone, I haven't really done too much cooking. It's not quite as fun when you are just cooking for yourself. Hmm.. well, I guess that's not a truly accurate statement. I have been cooking - but nothing new, like I cook when he's home. Normally I try to find something new for us to try as often as I can. I try to incorporate foods we don't normally eat, or preparations that we don't normally use. Sunday's are usually the big dinner day.. especially this fall/winter season, as we've been hitting the farmer's markets a lot on Saturdays.

Today though, I decided to give in to a craving for a meatloaf I love and to try a recipe for a side dish that I had found on Culinary in the Desert (love that blog!). Tonight's dinner for one was a Meatloaf with Ranch Seasoning and French Fried Onions - a recipe I found off many, many moons ago and Carrot Coins in a Maple-Balsamic Browned Butter, thanks to Joe at C in the D. The meatloaf turned out fantastic as it always does and the carrots were absolutely yummy. I was a little hesitant cooking with maple syrup as I've never used it for anything other than pancakes & french toast. But the combination of the maple and the sweet tang of the balsamic vinegar along with the already sweet carrots was quite delightful.. a great compliment to the savory meatloaf. I like this meatloaf so much because it's quick and easy - and I usually always have the ingredients in my pantry. I usually double the recipe for the two of us, but this time I followed the recipe exactly and it was a perfect size for my dinner tonight, a lunch another day this week and nice dinner I can take to my mom.

I also did a little baking today, again a recipe from C in the D. Chewy ginger cookies. I love homemade ginger cookies and these were definitely the very best I've ever had. They were crispy around the edges and chewy in the middle.. and so buttery! I don't think I've ever tasted such a buttery flavor in a ginger cookie before and really, this recipe doesn't call for any more butter than other recipes I've tried. I did leave 2 ingredients.. the crystallized ginger, as I didn't have any on hand and was too lazy to run up to the store for it and the cloves because I do not like cloves.

That was pretty much my day.. it was cold, wet and foggy here today.. perfect for time spent in the kitchen. Unfortunately, all other energy and time was spent on lounging on the sofa with the dogs watching movies and reading.. ahhh the perfect Sunday :D

Meatloaf with Ranch Seasoning and French Fried Onions
1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck
1/4 c. ketchup
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 pkg. ranch dressing seasoning mix
3/4 c. dry chicken flavored stuffing mix
6 oz. + 2 TB. french fried onions
Preheat oven to 350º F.
In large bowl, combine all ingredients (except 2 TB. onions) thoroughly.
Press into a 9" x 5" loaf pan and sprinkle remaining onions on top.
Cover loosely with foil and bake for 50 to 60 min.*
*Note: I bake it covered for 45 min. and then take the foil off and bake for another 15 min. I find this really crisps up the onions on top.

*Update* Because I think this is such a great meatloaf recipe, I'm going to submit it to the Meatloaf Madness round up at Eating for One! Check out all the rest of the delicious recipes at Eating for One =)

Carrot Coins with Maple-Balsamic Browned Butter

3 1/4 c. sliced, peeled carrots - about 1 lb. cut 1/4 inch thick
1 TB butter
1 TB maple syrup
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
Steam carrots, covered, 15 minutes or until tender.
Melt butter in a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook butter 3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add syrup, vinegar, salt and black pepper, stir until combined. Add carrots, cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring to coat. Stir in parsley.

Chewy Ginger Cookies
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. molasses
1 egg
2 tsp. baking soda
2 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
rounded 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 oz. crystallized ginger, chopped coarsely

Preheat oven to 375º F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine softened butter, sugar, molasses and egg.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and spices. Stir into the wet ingredients and mix well. Fold in the chopped ginger. Chill for at least 1 hour.

Scoop out the dough to about 1" balls and gently roll in granulated sugar. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake 8 to 10 min. Let cool on cookie sheet for about 5 min. before moving to a wire rack.

Makes about 36 cookies.

I have pictures of everything but haven't figured out the trick of getting them to show up yet.. will work on that another day.

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Comments on "A dinner for one..."


Blogger Cate said ... (3/13/2006 9:00 PM) : 

You might want to check out Sticky Date ... there's a Meatloaf Madness event in March that this post would be perfect for...


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