27 August, 2013

Veggie Loaded Meatloaf


It sounds so boring. So plain. Some meat. In a loaf form. Woo. 

But I love meatloaf. It never sounds exciting, but I everytime I find myself shoveling forkfuls into my mouth (in a most lady-like manner, of course), scooping up all the crumbs I've dropped on the table (and the floor, in the most lady-like fashion). 
The thing about meatloaf is it's really not that healthy. You've got a bunch of meat- usually a mixture of beef and fatty pork, traditionally topped with a bunch of bacon, loaded with bread crumbs, topped with some form of ketchup/ sugar combo.  

So I 'healthified' it. I skipped bacon. In place of regular 'ole beef I used grassfed beef (85% lean). In place of pork I used ground turkey.  And in place of bread crumbs I used crushed almonds. Add in a bunch of healthy veggies like kale, carrots, peppers, and even apple, and there you have it- my version of a healthier meatloaf. 

The kale I added had already been sauteed in garlic with tomatoes (the acid in tomatoes will cut the bitterness in kale- I almost always add tomatoes when making kale). I added the apple for a little sweetness to further combat the bitter kale (The Fiance sure does hate kale). I threw in every other veggie I could find in the fridge, which admittedly, wasn't much. To hold the meatloaf together, I pulsed some almonds in a food processor until ground but not powder to replace the bread crumbs/bread. It worked out well- the almonds added a bit of crunch, though it is a more delicate meatloaf than one made with bread crumbs.  Definitely let cool 10 minutes before you attempt to slice or it'll fall apart. Use the sharpest knife you have to slice. 
Funny story. The Fiance is all like 'what can I do to help?!'  (This means he wants me to say 'nothing, sit down, have a beer')  I say ' Peel these carrots'.  

'I don't know how to do that!' says The Fiance.  I cock my eyebrow.  'Just use this peeler and peel it!'

I continue on tornado-ing around the kitchen, flinging random sauces at walls and throwing crumbs on the floor. I look over at him.  He's peeled the carrot. And kept on peeling until all he's got is shaved carrot. 'I thought you wanted Juliet carrots!' he says to me.  JULIET CARROTS. Not julienne. I almost died. 

I took over the peeling from there. 

So take caution if asking your hubby for help in this recipe, it can get a little sketchy :)
Veggie Loaded Meatloaf

1 lb grass-fed beef (I used 85% lean)
1 lb turkey sausage
3 carrots, peeled and shredded with a shredder
3 stalks celery, diced small
1 bell pepper of your choice (I used half yellow pepper, half orange- what I had on hand)
4 shallots, peeled and minced
1/4 apple, diced
1/2 cup cooked kale
1 egg
1 cup whole almonds, placed in food processor to make 3/4 cup almond crumbs.
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Caramelized Onion Topping:
1/4 cup caramelized onions
1/2 cup ketchup
6 tbsp raw honey
1 tsp dijon
2 tsp sriacha or hot sauce of choice (increase or decrease based on your preference)

Preheat oven to 325. 

1. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the bell peppers. Saute 10 minutes, until beginning to soften. Add the shallots.  Saute another 10-15 minutes, until peppers are mostly soft.  Remove from heat and let cool. 

2. Add the meat to a large bowl, and add the carrots, celery, cooled peppers, apple, kale, almonds, parsley, salt and pepper. Use your hands (clean hands) to mix well. Get in there, don't be shy! Form into a loaf, Using your hands to 'smack it' into a loaf form.  Place on baking sheet, and throw in oven.  It will bake for about an hour, until internal temp reaches about 155 to 160 degrees. 

3. In a small bowl, mix together the ketchup, raw honey, dijon, and sriacha.  Divide this mixture into two small bowls. Into one bowl, add the caramelized onions. Pour the ketchup/caramelized onion mixture onto the meatloaf in the oven.  About 15 minutes before the meatloaf is done, pour half of the remaining ketchup mixture on top. 

4. When meatloaf is done, let cool 10-20 minutes before slicing. Serve with remaining ketchup sauce. 

26 August, 2013

Healthier Sweet Potato Casserole

One of my favorite things in the world is sweet potato casserole.  Probably due to the insane amounts of sugar that are added to this side dish.  Brown sugar is usually mixed in and some sort of candy coating goes on top- often marshmallows (made with sucralose and gelatin- gelatin is made from animal hooves and bones) and more sugar.

 So I've made a healthier, less sweet version. Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet (duh), so I don't see a reason to load up on added sugar.  I added 1 tsp of honey to 2 cups mashed sweet potato, and then added a granola topping mixed with a bit of turbino sugar (also called muscavado sugar- a brown sugar made by adding mollasses to white sugar). Turbino sugar gives a nice sugary crunch. 

Sweet potatoes are also considered one of the world's healthiest foods, so don't wait until Thanksgiving to eat! They give you a big dose of beta-carotene, are high in vitamin B6, vitamin C, and also contain vitamin D, vitamin A, iron, fiber, potassium  and magnesium- the 'relaxation and anti-stress' mineral- necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function. Read more about sweet potatoes health benefits here.  
It may not be Thanksgiving but I'm enjoying sweet potatoes year round.  If it WAS Thanksgiving, this is a nice make-ahead dish.  You can add the sweet potato mixture to a glass baking dish and store in refrigerator a day or two.  Just add the granola topping right before you pop in the oven or it'll get soggy in the fridge. 
Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potatoes
2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/4 cup milk

Granola Topping
1 1/2 cups granola 
2 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup turbino sugar (can also use brown sugar if you have on hand)

Preheat oven to 325.

1. Lightly beat egg. Add all sweet potato ingredients to bowl and mix well. Pour into 8 x 8 glass baking dish.

2. Toss all granola ingredients together. Sprinkle on top of sweet potatoes. 

3. Bake 45 min to an hour, until granola topping a light brown in color. 

22 August, 2013

Raspberry Grapefruit Bundt Cake

Tis the season of raspberries!

And since I've been on a grapefruit kick, why not balance the sweetness of these fresh raspberries with grapefruit's tartness? 

-Enter Raspberry Grapefruit Bundt Cake- 
This is your basic pound cake recipe, with the addition of fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice and those plump red raspberries. Bake in a bundt pan, tube pan or make a regular 'ole pound cake, enjoy the deliciousness in any form!

This recipe makes a one buttery pound cake. It's ever so moist, with a slightly crisp exterior and large delicate crumbs. 

The grapefruit gives it just a slight hint of tart, which gives it a nice flavor as opposed to regular pound cake (though equally delicious). The red raspberries are thrown in whole when pouring batter into the pan, making for a pretty slice of bundt heaven. 

I though about drizzling the cake with a glaze- I was thinking white chocolate or maybe grapefruit. But the cake was just perfect naked.  :)  

My favorite part about this cake is that it's make-ahead and freezer friendly. Make ahead for company, or make the cake for yourself and freeze what you can't eat. 

To freeze, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and put in a ziploc freezer bag (after its cooled entirely). For best results and the moistest cake, try to freeze chunks, not slices. Freeze the whole cake, half a cake, a quarter of the cake.. unsliced. I'll be honest, I only had a little tiny wedge left to freeze (maybe 1/8 of a cake), as I ate almost the whole cake myself in 2 days. That'll be our secret. 

Raspberry Grapefruit Bundt Cake

1/2 pound unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing pan
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour, plus more to dust pan
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder, plus more for raspberries
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 pint fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Have ingredients at room temp. 

1. Cream butter and shortening together using a mixer. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, allowing to incorporate into butter. Then add eggs one at a time, mixing just until incorporated before adding the next. Stop mixing immediately after egg is mixed in/you see no more yellow from the yolk. 

2. Mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Gradually add the flour to the mixing bowl a little bit at a time, alternating with the milk. Add a bit of flour, mix, add a bit of milk, mix, etc. when you run out of milk, use the grapefruit juice. End with the flour.  Mix in the vanilla. 

3. Toss the raspberries in a bowl with a tsp of baking powder. This will keep them from sinking. Grease and flour your pan of choice. Pour in a layer of batter, and then toss in a handful of raspberries, keeping them away from the edges of the pan. Add another layer of batter, making sure to cover raspberries. Throw another handful of raspberries on top, trying to place in different areas where last raspberries fell. Layer with batter, covering raspberries. Repeat until your out of batter/raspberries. Make sure there are no raspberries visible, they should all be covered with batter. 

4. Bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (only took 1 hour for me but I'm at a higher altitude, lower altitudes will take longer). 

5. Let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. Enjoy!