About Dana

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I'm a dichotomy of blue jeans, pretty jewelry, frugalista, and Southern girl living the simple rural life. I want to live my life holistically, thoughtfully, economically, and most of all gratefully, and encourage other women to do the same.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mouthwatering Meatloaf: Best Church Cookbook Recipes

I adore using cookbooks printed by the ladies of Southern churches. The recipes are timeworn and tested, with families all over the South - at home and at after-church potlucks - having a chance to give them the "thumbs up" they need to make it into the cookbook.

I have adapted this meatloaf recipe from one such cookbook, "Blessings from Our Table," and it is loved by the meat-eaters in my family. I've tweaked it by using lean venison instead of beef and increasing the amount of flavorful topping, but if you have beef, that works fine.

Here goes.

Minnesota Meatloaf

2 lbs. ground venison (or beef)
1 1/2 c. bread crumbs (I often use Panko bread crumbs)
1 c. milk (I successfully use unsweetened original almond milk)
1 small finely diced onion
2 beaten eggs
1 1/2 tsp. sage (I make mine heaping teaspoons because I love the taste of sage)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and pat into an 8x8 casserole dish.
6 T. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 c. ketchup
2 tsp. dry mustard

Mix all topping ingredients well and spread over the meatloaf in the dish.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for one hour.

It's not a dish that's beautiful to the eye, but beautiful to the palette.

Enjoy! We scarfed down mashed potatoes and green beans with it.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Quick-for-Mom Penne Pasta & Roasted Vegetable Dish

I'm a busy mom - a freelance writer from my home office, tackling an occasional PR consulting assignment, homeschooling my son, handling the books for my husband's consulting business, and general cook/housekeeper/chauffeur (you know the mom-drill).

I insist on cooking a homemade meal (or "semi-homemade" in the words of Sandra Lee) most nights, but sometimes I have little time for preparation of ingredients. And sometimes I haven't had a chance to even go to the grocery store (it's not super close to my country home), so I must cook creatively. Unsurprisingly, I needed a healthy dose of creativity the other evening when pantry staples were running a little scarce. I had plenty of variety on hand; it's just that there was only a little of this and a little of that. Hard to feed BIG BOY appetites with the pickins'.

I created this recipe on the fly, and everyone in the household loved it. It will make our meal rotation. I thought you busy moms out there may like to give it a try.

Penne Pasta & Roasted Vegetables

For this one-dish wonder, you will need:

assorted vegetables (whatever you have on hand) - button mushrooms, zucchini, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, edamame, bell peppers, etc. Note: the sweet potatoes taste especially good in this recipe.
sea salt
ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
dried rosemary or thyme (or both)
a box of penne pasta
grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

First, make my Roasted Vegetables recipe. During the last half hour of cooking the vegetables, boil the pasta per package instructions. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain off the water and lightly pour a little olive oil over it (to keep it from clumping together). Toss well. Next, season the pasta with a little sea salt and black pepper. Stir together and add the grated cheese (as much as you like). Stir the pasta once more and then add the cooked roasted vegetables to the pasta mixture. Mix all well and serve with grilled chicken (if you want meat) and/or crusty garlic bread.

Hope you enjoy!