Ring in the New Year with a Spicy Meatloaf!

Italian Sausage Beef Meatloaf20200101_173252

Making Meatloaf gives you so many opportunities to experiment with different flavors. I started out cooking Meatloaf in an oven. But once I began using a Slow Cooker, I have not used the oven since. Meatloaf is so versatile that you can play with using Ground Beef, Italian Sausage, Ground Pork, Ground Turkey or add Chorizo for a Mexican-inspired Meatloaf. Instead of Ketchup, I normally use Condensed Tomato Soup for the topping. This time, I wanted something different, so I am using Tomato Basil Soup instead.

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Italian Sausage Mild, recommended: Great Value, 19 oz.20191231_022249
  2. Ground Beef, recommended: Great Value, 2 lbs.
  3. Meatloaf Seasoning, recommended McCormick, Two 1.5 oz. packets
  4. Cubed Stuffing Herb seasoned, recommended: Pepperidge Farm, 12 oz., divided (or use Salad Croutons)
  5. Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano, recommended: Del Monte, 14.5 oz.
  6. Diced Tomatoes Petite with Jalapeno and Habanero, recommended: Del Monte, 14.5 oz.
  7. Tomato Basil Soup, recommended: Progresso. 19 oz.
  8. Mixed Vegetables with Carrots, Green Beans, Corn & Peas, frozen, recommended: Great Value, 12 oz.
  9. Mirepoix with diced Yellow Onion, Carrot and Celery, 8 oz.20191231_131028
  10. Garlic, diced, 10-11 cloves, divided ¾ and ¼
  11. Sweet Potatoes, frozen, diced, recommended: Great Value, 10 oz.
  12. Eggs, 3 Jumbo
  13. Balsamic Vinegar, 2 teaspoons
  14. Liquid Smoke, 1 capful
  15. Worcestershire Sauce, 1 teaspoon
  16. Soy Sauce, 1 teaspoon
  17. Optional: Disposal plastic gloves
  18. Optional: Reynold’s Slow Cooker Liners or Reynold’s Aluminum Foil for the cooking vessel

INSTRUCTIONS:20191231_150135

  1. Beat 3 eggs in a mixing bowl, and set aside
  2. Combine the Ground Beef with Italian Sausage in a (different) large mixing bowl.
  3. To the meat mixture, add in gradually, the Diced Tomatoes, Mirepoix, Mixed Vegetables, Stuffing Cubes, Meatloaf Seasoning, Balsamic Vinegar, ¼ Garlic and Eggs. This is a good time to use disposable gloves for mixing.
  4. If using a Slow Cooker, line the bottom of it with half of the Stuffing Cubes, Sweet Potatoes, ¾ Garlic, Liquid Smoke, Worcestershire Sauce and Soy Sauce. If using a pre-heated 350 degree oven, mix this with the meat mixture.20191231_151251
  5. Slow Cooker on High for 4 to 6 Hours or Low for 8 to 10 Hours, or Bake in 350 Pre-Heated oven for 1 hour.
  6. Top with Tomato Basil Soup during last 30 minutes of cooking time.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2020!

Check out the sample and get your copy here:  Audible.com The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 Audiobook

The Vampire Dancer Saga Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all Audiobooks now available at  Audible.com and iTunes (click the word Audible or iTunes to open link to store).

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2019 Cooking Ends: 2020 Cooking Begins

Samsung 870I created a Cookbook folder on my computer back in 2009. Since then, I have added my recipe creations and saved recipes for inspiration.

I am almost done working on my Cookbook. Hopefully, I will have it ready by January 2020.

I originally planned to publish my cookbook back in 2016. But, along came the thoughts and ideas for the Vampire Dancer Saga series, after seeing 3 bats in my house.

I LOVE planning my meals in advance!Samsung 871

That way, there is no excuse to order Pizza Hut, when the fridge or pantry is empty.

I try to plan my meals 1 to 2 weeks in advance, to allow “smart” shopping versus “impulse” shopping.

This week was Epic Tuna and later on, Pork Chops on Croissant Rolls. I love Salad as my side dish for dinner.

Samsung 866I am also prepping the Catfish Nuggets for tomorrow. For breakfast, during work days, I love eating Cottage Cheese with Diced Peaches.

I used to love eating a Bacon, Egg & Cheese sandwich for breakfast. Or a Spam, Egg & Cheese sandwich, or a Sausage, Egg & Cheese sandwich. I am cutting out a lot of bread to lose weight. But I will take a break on my diet to make a Biscuit, Sausage, Country Gravy, Hash Brown, Egg and Cheese Quiche for Christmas.

Ground LambMy Christmas main dish will be a Surf & Turf Spazghetti with Truffle Alfredo Sauce, Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, Anchovies, Shrimp Scampi and Cream of Shrimp Condensed Soup. I even have Shrimp Bouillon cubes to boil the spaghetti pasta in. This will be epic!

For a lighter meal next week, I have a can of Baked Beans and I can chop and fry Polish Sausage to cook with it. A “Grown Up” version of Pork & Beans.

My lunch break during work days is only one hour. So I love to cook in advance and eat leftovers during the week. And then freeze the rest, when I get sick of eating it.

Samsung 862I like to make Black-eyed Peas & Cornbread for New Year’s Eve, or a pot of Chili. I plan on making Middle Eastern Chili On December 30th or 31st. The Ground Lamb is so expensive, but since it is a holiday, I will splurge.

If I know that I am planning a meal in advance, I also buy things on sale. I plan on making Meatloaf, and I have some of the ingredients now that can be used for other meals, in a pinch. For example: diced tomatoes. can be used in Spaghetti, Chili or Meatloaf. So I try to buy them on sale and stock up.

I ran out of Mirepoix, so I have to wait to make the Macaroni & Cheese with Cream of Mushroom Soup. Boo!

Samsung 864Along with the Surf & Turf Spazghetti, that is way too much pasta. But I still kept it in the picture with the Catfish Nuggets for my Happy Vance Day on December 21st. TODAY!

 

Check out the sample and get your copy here:  Audible.com The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 Audiobook

The Vampire Dancer Saga Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all Audiobooks now available at  Audible.com and iTunes (click the word Audible or iTunes to open link to store).

PAPERBACK BOOKS BY SHALIMAR ALI:

SHALIMAR ALI BOOKS AT AMAZON

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The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 @ Amazon Kindle (June 13, 2016)

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The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 3 by Shalimar Ali (Apr 13, 2014)

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The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 2 by Shalimar Ali (Dec 11, 2012)

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The Vampire Dancer Saga by Shalimar Ali, Shalimarali and N/A (Jul 25, 2012)

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Learn to Belly Dance Textbook & Certification Program: Dance Lessons & Choreographies For Students, Troupes, Performers… by Shalimar Ali (Aug 17, 2011)

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What’s for dinner tonight? Meatloaf!

WP_000378Growing up, my Mom always baked meatloaf in the oven.  It was a traditional meatloaf with ground beef and cubed toast.  My Aunt Forestine kicked it up a notch by adding cheese or using sausage with beef.

So for many years I baked my meatloaf like my Mom in the oven.  As I began collecting slow cookers, I had the courage to try meatloaf in a slow cooker.

Meatloaf April 11 2015 008It was a good choice.  Even though I miss the “brown” edges from an oven, the slow cooker has an advantage to where you can cook the entire meal in one pot.

So I put the veggies on the bottom of the crock pot.  Use whatever your family likes, for example carrots and potatoes diced, frozen vegetables, etc.  The veggies end up with so much flavor and sometimes steal the show from the meatloaf.  The veggies are a bit greasy from the meat on top, but still very tasty.  Optional, you Meatloaf April 11 2015 017can also use the slow cooker lifting pan as pictures below left, for separation.

With some recipes, I don’t like to experiment.  For example, I try to cook my Fritters the same way, instead of adding too many variations.  When I cook scrambled eggs, I get bored and sometimes like to try a a different cheese or use buttermilk or sour cream.

The meatloaf that I am cooking for dinner tonight has some new WP_000368ingredients.  I did not have any fresh or canned carrots, so I used frozen mixed vegetables instead.  I used 5 potatoes, diced and added some jalapeno peppers to the veggies and meat mixture for some heat.

Did you notice the gloves in the photos?  The gloves are less than $2 for 5 sets and are really handy for chopping onions or mixing meatloaf.  Garlic, put cloves in a plastic bag and crush them with a hammer.

Meatloaf April 11 2015 021It’s nice to kick it up a notch like Aunt Forestine and try something new with a recipe.  I how this one inspires you for the next time you desire Meatloaf.

Meatloaf

INGREDIENTS:
Ground Beef, 1 lb
Sausage, 1 lb
2 Eggs, large or jumbo
Meatloaf Seasoning (Williams, recommended), 2 packages 1.25 oz. each, divided
Meatloaf April 11 2015 020Diced Onions, frozen, ½ cup
Stove Top Stuffing Mix (Kraft, recommended), 6 oz.
Beef Bouillon Cube (Knorr, recommended), 1 cube
Stewed Tomatoes Original Recipe with Onions, Celery & Green Peppers (Del Monte, recommended), 14.5 oz
Petite Cut Diced Tomatoes with Garlic & Olive Oil, 14.5 oz.
Fresh Cut Diced New Potatoes (Del Monte, recommended), 14.5 oz.
Carrots Sliced, 14.5 oz.
Tomato Soup (Campbell’s, recommended), 10 ¾ oz., or Tomato Paste, 12 oz.
WP_000351 - CopyWorcestershire Sauce, 1 tablespoon
Garlic 1-5 cloves
Celery Seed, ¼ teaspoon

INSTRUCTIONS:
Beat 2 eggs in large mixing bowl
Add 1 package Meatloaf Seasoning, Diced Onions and Stove Top Stuffing and mix well.
Put Bouillon Cube in bottom of 6-7 Quart Slow Cooker, add Sliced Carrots and Diced Potatoes, top with Worcestershire Sauce, WP_000380 - CopyMinced Garlic and Celery Seed
Add Ground Beef, Sausage, Stewed & Diced Tomatoes and remaining Meatloaf package to large bowl and mix well. This is a good time to use disposable gloves for mixing!
Add Beef & Sausage mix on top of Carrots/Potatoes. Cook on High for 4-4.5 Hours
Top with Tomato Soup or Tomato Paste during last 30 minutes of cooking time

The Vampire Dancer Saga Parts 1, 2 and 3 are all Audiobooks now available at  Audible.com and iTunes (click the word Audible or iTunes to open link to store).

PAPERBACK BOOKS BY SHALIMAR ALI:

SHALIMAR ALI BOOKS AT AMAZON

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Learn to Belly Dance Textbook & Certification Program: Dance Lessons & Choreographies For Students, Troupes, Performers… by Shalimar Ali (Aug 17, 2011)

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The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 2 by Shalimar Ali (Dec 11, 2012)

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The Vampire Dancer Saga by Shalimar Ali, Shalimarali and N/A (Jul 25, 2012)

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The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 3 by Shalimar Ali (Apr 13, 2014)

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