Friday, January 18, 2008

Your family will love this dinner

My final thoughts on Ellie Krieger's new book, is to run, not walk to the bookstore and get yourself a copy. If I was really ambitious, I would make every recipe in her new book this year. Not only is Ellie dedicated to healthy fare, but these recipes have a prep time of 30 minutes or less. She really has written this for parents out there with little time on their hands but a dedication to raising healthy kids. These two recipes below - which can be found in her book and online at the Food Network website - are a perfect example of a weeknight meal for a family of four. Even your most picky eaters will love these dishes. I made the meatloaf last night and I've made the mac and cheese several times in the last few months. My thoughts on each recipe below.

Mom's Turkey Meatloaf by Ellie Krieger

3/4 cup quick-cooking oats

1/2 cup skim milk

1 medium onion, peeled

2 pounds ground turkey breast

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

2 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, stir together the oats and milk. Thinly slice 1/4 of the onion and set aside. Finely chop the remaining onion. In a large bowl combine the turkey, oat mixture, chopped onion, bell pepper, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, salt and a few grinds of pepper. Mix just until well combined.

Transfer the mixture to a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and shape into a loaf about 5 inches wide and 2 1/2 inches high. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatloaf and sprinkle with the sliced onions. Bake for about 1 hour or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees.F.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to15 minutes before slicing.

  • I only had 1 lb of ground turkey meat, so I wound up halving this recipe. This was perfect for a dinner for two. I thought I would have more leftovers, but my husband ate three pieces (that's a good thing, right?) For those of you who want to do the same, bake it for 45 minutes instead of an hour.
  • Before I set this on the table, my husband was a little skeptical. His memories of meatloaf from the school cafeteria wasn't stellar. And he kept repeating the lines from the movie "Wedding Crashers." Remember that scene when Owen Wilson visits "Chaz" (Will Ferrell) who is a ladies man but still lives with his mother. "Mom! Meatloaf!" Okay, I digress...
  • We both loved this recipe because it was the most moist (say that three times fast) meatloaf we've ever had. It was the tomato sauce. Don't skip this step. If you have don't have an 80z can of tomato sauce, just use some marinara sauce.
  • I was missing two ingredients. Usually I would run out to the store, but we were blanketed with snow here yesterday so I made do. I didn't have instant oats because I use the kind that takes 15 minutes. I didn't want to chance it, so I used panko - whole wheat bread crumbs from Japan - instead. I was also missing a pepper since I made the roasted red peppers a few days ago.
  • In the future, I'm going to add sauteed swiss chard or spinach to the meatloaf.

Macaroni & 4 Cheeses by Ellie Krieger

Cooking spray

1 pound elbow macaroni

2 (10-ounce) packages frozen pureed winter squash

2 cups 1 percent lowfat milk

4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1 1/3 cups)

2 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated (about 2/3 cup)

1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon powdered mustard

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

2 tablespoons unseasoned bread crumbs

1 teaspoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until tender but firm, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, place the frozen squash and milk into a large saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the squash with a spoon until defrosted. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the mixture is almost simmering, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the Cheddar, Jack cheese, ricotta cheese, salt, mustard and cayenne pepper. Pour cheese mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the baking dish.

Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes. Then broil for 3 minutes so the top is crisp and nicely browned.

  • I have to admit that growing up in my parents home, I always thought that mac and cheese came in a box. I never had real, baked macaroni and cheese. I didn't even know what it was! It wasn't until I was in my twenties and a friend's parent treated us to the real thing. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
  • Of all the different versions of macaroni and cheese that my hubby and I have tried (that I've made), this is by far our favorite. The squash adds a distinctive and pleasant taste. Plus, we feel great eating a treat like mac and cheese guilt free. When we have a family, we are planning on making this a staple.
  • Just you know, don't expect this dish to look real cheesy. There's no "gooey-ness." So, when you make it and see what I'm talking about, don't fret. It still tastes divine.
  • I've made this several times and have used less and less bread crumbs. It just doesn't need it. It even dries it out a little.
  • Has anyone ever found whole wheat elbow macaroni? I've never ever seen it and I would love to try it.


Josie said...

*sigh* I ordered Ellie's book. I should send you my cc bill!! :)

Ana said...

I have already made both these recipes and also thought they are great!!
The meatloaf is the only recipe I use now, I love the addition of oats to it!
About the elbow macarroni, I buy Barilla Plus, its a multi-grain pasta, full of fiber, ptoteins, we love them!! (I buy all my pasta shapes now of the same brand, Barilla Plus and they are so tasty that I like to eat them with just salt pepper and olive oil!! - the pasta boxes are yellow and I find them at regular grocery store alongside with the regular barilla and other dried pastas.)

Your blog is very nice! Thanks for visiting mine too!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Test Drive Kitchen Person,
I am not into reading recipes or trying a lot of new foods, especially if I have to make them myself. However I still like the idea of eating healthier, and what I really found delicious and delightful were you comments.They almost have a touch of an improv comedienne in them. I think I will become a more frequent reader of Test Drive Kitchen.
Bob the Recordman

Karen said...

Thank you "Bob the Recordman" aka Dad,

I'll make this for you and Mom next time you visit. And thanks for always laughing at my jokes (or my attempts). I love you!


Sharon said...

I just replied on Cooking Light that I was going to make this though my husband wasn't so sure about it. I reread your post and laughed when you mentioned yours was skeptical as well. You'd think men would like meatloaf?! Well, it'll be an experiment nonethless!

Sharon said...

Thanks, it was a hit! I did make a modification in sautéing the peppers and onions. I'm not a big fan of raw onions and I'm definitely glad I did this as they were still a little crisp after sauteing and baking. He loved this recipe so I guess I proved him wrong :)