Monday, October 18, 2010

Out Of This World Mini Meatloaf & Butternut Squash Mac N Cheese

dThere is something about this time of year that screams comfort food to me. Meatloaf and mac n cheese are two of the biggest comfort foods there are. The thing I love about this dish is that while it might be a "classic" because of its name, this is like nothing you've ever had. This meatloaf has a few ingredients that will surprise you.

I stumbled across this recipe years ago and was so intrigued by the variations in it that I just had to make it. It was an instant hit in my family. I couldn't even remember where I had gotten the original recipe from because I had written it by hand on a piece of paper, but after some research I found it.

Mini Meatloaf

  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup italian bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup prepared horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pounds ground beef

  • one jar chili sauce (approximately 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce (if you're like me make that 4-5 dashes!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl add the first seven ingredients.

Stir them together well. Do not add the meat until all the other ingredients have been mixed. You don't want to over work the meat because it will make it tough. Add the ground beef by crumbling the meat over the mixture and then use your hands to gently combine. Mix only until it is incorporated.

Score the top of the meat mixture with a butter knife into 6 equal parts. A few of them may be a little smaller, but you can adjust them as you shape the mini meatloaves with your hands.

In a small bowl combine all of the sauce ingredients and stir to combine. Spoon half of the mixture over the meatloaf. Reserve the other half for later.

Cook the meatloaf for 20 minutes and then remove and add the remaining sauce to the top of the meatloaf. Cook for an additional 20-30 minutes or until cooked through and no longer pink in the center.

Butternut Squash Mac N Cheese

I had to try this recipe for a couple of reasons. First, because I have not had great luck when it comes to macaroni and cheese recipes. Second, because it is fall and I love to incorporate squash and pumpkin into my cooking at this time of year!
  • 1 medium butternut squash (1 pound) peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 16oz extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 8oz mild orange Cheddar, grated
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced sage leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel, seed and chop the squash. Spread onto a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil and then add a pinch of salt, nutmeg & cayenne pepper. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the squash is tender but not browned.

Cook macaroni in boiling water until it is just shy of al dente. It will cook more once it goes in the oven. If you over boil the pasta now it might get mushy later.

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the milk, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg and 1 teaspoon of salt. Whisk until all of the flour mixture is worked into the milk and there are no lumps. Lower the heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. This could take a while, so be patient.

Remove from heat and add both cheeses and stir to combine.

Add the squash and macaroni to the pot and gently stir to combine. Grease a casserole dish with cooking spray and add the macaroni mixture.

Combine the bread crumbs, sage and garlic in a food processor and pulse to combine. Sprinkle over the macaroni.
Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

This is where I will apologize for not having a photo of the macaroni going in the casserole dish. I had company unexpectedly arrive and forgot!! oops!!

* I tried to take a shortcut and instead of using the fresh bread in a food processor to make my own bread crumbs, I used plain dry bread crumbs. Big mistake. Use the fresh bread and combine in the food processor. It makes a big difference in the texture and flavor.

Source: All Recipes Meatloaf
Source: Big Girls, Small Kitchen Mac N Cheese


Monica said...

Ooh, that mac and cheese sounds very intriguing! Another one to add to the "must try" list :)

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