Friday, December 18, 2009

Kel in the Kitchen

I'd have never considered myself a foodie...but given that I've recently begun browsing through cookbooks, appreciating foodie blogs, scouring recipes on The Food Network, and hankering to spend some time in the kitchen...I just may be coming out of the foodie closet. It's true...something in the movie Julie and Julia spoke to me! It's probably just a phase that's borne of too many quickly thrown together meals here lately. I used to love trying new recipes and creating an appealing dinner for my family, but now that we are down to two and I've doubled my workload outside the home, plus indulging in my Zumba instructing passion twice a week along with the preparation time that it requires, not to mention just coming off of two months of pageant rehearsals and performances, I've found myself in somewhat of a cooking rut. I set out to remedy the situation this week and discovered three new recipes to try. Today, in between baking Christmas pies and cookies, I made Roasted Vegetable Meatloaf with a Balsamic Glaze and stored it in the fridge until time to bake it for dinner. Now I have never been a big meat loaf fan, but this recipe intrigued me. It's our youngest son's first night home for Christmas break, so it was a good time to make a nice meal to celebrate. My family loved it! I even managed to photograph the beautiful veggies that went into the mix -- zuchinni, red pepper, yellow pepper, and garlic -- before putting it all together. The end result is pictured also, which I served with steamed broccoli and brown rice. I tweaked the recipe a little bit by leaving out the ground pork and doubling the amount of ground veal, using shaved parmesan rather than grated, and I threw in some extra panko bread crumbs because the mixture was so moist it was hard to form into a loaf. The extra crumbs held it together well. I also split the recipe into two loaves so I could freeze one. I baked the two loaves together for an hour. In true foodie form, I am including the recipe for your enjoyment. Bon Appetit!

Roasted Vegetable Meat Loaf with Balsamic Glaze
courtesy of Bobby Flay and The Food Network

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large zucchini, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 yellow pepper, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, smashed to a paste with coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground veal
1 pound ground beef chuck
1 cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan
1 cup ketchup, divided
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the zucchini, peppers, garlic paste, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper, to taste, and cook until almost soft, 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Whisk together the eggs and herbs in a large bowl. Add the meat, bread crumbs, cheese, 1/2 cup of the ketchup, 2 tablespoons of the balsamic vinegar, and the cooled vegetables and mix until just combined.

Mold the meatloaf on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Whisk together the remaining ketchup, balsamic vinegar, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Brush the mixture over the entire loaf. Bake the meatloaf for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

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