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The Secret Is In The Sauce

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North Carolina, United States

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Time for Comfort Food!

It’s the time of year when the days are getting shorter and the evenings turning cooler, and I start craving “comfort food” again. I just love comfort foods because they include some of America’s best dishes such as chowders, stews and casseroles. Whether it’s grandma’s beef stew or mom’s chicken and dumplings, there is something special about these recipes that satisfies more than just my hunger.

At our house we LOVE comfort food and look forward to the arrival of the cooler weather that gives us an excuse to eat some of our favorites. The following recipes are for two of my family’s best-loved comfort foods. The first recipe, Mimi’s Famous Meatloaf, is moist and delicious and great for sandwiches the next day. Serve it with the sauce included in the recipe or covered in brown gravy. Either way, I promise your family will love this meatloaf! The second recipe, Mom’s Easy Macaroni and Cheese is the ultimate in comfort food. Tender elbow macaroni is baked in a gooey, tangy cheese sauce and topped with a golden-brown layer of even more cheese. It doesn’t get any better than that! It’s so easy to make that I often prepare two at a time and freeze one (baked or unbaked) for our next comfort food craving!

Both these recipes are super-easy, use ingredients you probably have on-hand right now, and are perfect for making ahead and freezing (baked or unbaked). The next time a comfort food craving hits you, try out these delicious recipes and satisfy more than just their hunger. Your family will be glad you did!

Mimi’s Famous Meat Loaf
1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef or ground chuck
1 egg
1 5 oz. can evaporated milk
1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp. white vinegar
6 Tbsp. onion -- chopped
1/2 cup water
1 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350.
Place meat in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, use a wire whisk or a fork to lightly beat egg and milk.
Add dry soup mix and continue to whisk until combined. Pour egg mixture on top of meat.
Pour bread crumbs and oats on top of meat.
Using a fork, gently mix meat, egg mixture and dry ingredients together until well-mixed. Do not squish or squeeze the meat as overworking it compacts the meat and results in a dry meatloaf.
Place meat mixture into a loaf pan, using your hands to flatten and shape the meat into a smooth loaf.
Bake at 350 for approx. one hour.
While meatloaf is baking, prepare sauce.
Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Pour 1/2 of sauce over meat last 30 minutes of baking; warm remaining sauce and serve on the side.

Note: If you plan to freeze the meatloaf (baked or unbaked), don’t make the sauce until the day you plan to serve it. Thaw frozen unbaked meatloaf in refrigerator for 24 hours, then bake and follow directions for sauce as usual. Thaw baked meatloaf overnight in refrigerator. Prepare sauce and pour over thawed meatloaf before re-heating in oven or microwave.

Mom’s Easy Macaroni and Cheese
2 tsp. butter or margarine
1/4 cup onion -- chopped
1 10 3/4 oz. can Cheddar Cheese Soup
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp. Texas Pete hot sauce (optional)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (your choice mild or sharp)
1 cup shredded Colby-jack cheese
3 cups cooked elbow macaroni, prepared according to package directions (1 1/2 cups dry macaroni = 3 cups cooked)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan.
Add onion and cook, stirring often until tender, 2-5 minutes.
Whisk in soup, milk, hot sauce (if using), and 1/2 cup each of shredded cheeses, stirring until cheese is melted.
Add macaroni, stirring well to coat with cheese mixture. Pour into a lightly greased 9-inch square baking dish.
Top with remaining 1/2 cup each of the shredded cheeses and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned on top.

Note: Thaw frozen baked or unbaked macaroni and cheese overnight in refrigerator. If freezing unbaked macaroni and cheese, put cheeses for topping (1/2 cup each cheddar and co-jack) in a zippered freezer bag and tape to the wrapped macaroni and cheese. Frozen baked macaroni and cheese should be thawed as directed above and then reheated in the microwave or covered with foil in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes.

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Jackie said...

It's funny, I was just thinking to myself yesterday how much I wanted something warm and comforting for dinner. These look so good. My husband also LOVES meatloaf so I'm always looking for new recipes... I'll have to try these out!

Cheers :)

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"In the childhood memories of every good cook, there's a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot and a mom."

- Barbara Costikyan


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