Everybody loves a good slice of meatloaf now and then. If there were ever a time for making meatloaf it would be now. A few days ago we had a blizzard that dumped 6″ of snow on us and we’re expecting another storm tomorrow to bring up to another 10″! Time to bunker down. Coincidentally, lean ground beef and bacon were both on sale at Farm Boy, AND they had ground pork, for once. Fate had this in store for me! I got a little over-excited with it and decided to make one HUGE loaf. In hindsight, with these quantities, I should have made two separate loaves. Things got a little awkward when trying to transfer it onto the baking tray. It tasted great just the same. The flavor reminded me of italian sausage. It has a nice texture too, slightly crumbly and juicy. Here’s the recipe:
Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf
makes 12 – 4.5oz slices. Plenty to freeze for later.
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup rolled oats
1.5 lbs lean ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 tbsp chopped fresh marjoram (or oregano)
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp whole fennel seed
2 tsp whole mustard seed
2 tsp paprika
1 pinch chili flakes
2 tsp kosher salt
12 strips bacon (about 1lb)
Preheat your oven to 350F.
In a small frying pan saute the onions and garlic until translucent. Add the milk to the pan in heat it up just until it’s very steamy. Do not boil. Place the oats in a small mixing bowl and pour the hot milk over them. Allow them to soak and cool while you are preparing the rest.
Place a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter and lay out the strips of bacon on it so that they are slightly overlapped. The picture shows one large sheet of bacon… make two sheets with 6 strips each for easier handling later on.
Place the ground beef and pork in a large mixing bowl with all the remaining ingredients. Once the oat mixture has absorbed all the liquid add it to the bowl with the ground meat and gently mix everything together. Do not over mix or the meatloaf will have an unpleasant texture. Split evenly between the two sheets of bacon and form them into loaves.
Use the plastic wrap to lift up the other end of the sheets of bacon and fold them over and around the loaves. Use the plastic wrap to lift the loaves and transfer them onto a parchment lined baking tray. Place them so that the seam where the bacon overlaps itself is facing down. This way it will stay wrapped properly while cooking. Remove the plastic wrap and discard. Put the tray in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 40 minutes. Slice and serve!
I cut this into 12 portions about 4.5 oz each. All together it cost just under $16.50, making it roughly $1.40 per portion.
Pork chops are a great lean and inexpensive cut of meat. Their flavor is fairly neutral and can be paired with just about any sauce. They take on other flavors very well. Pork and apples go together very well so I decided to go with that – mostly because gala apples were on sale. 🙂 If you can’t find gala any crisp apple will do. Honey crisp, fuji and granny smith are a few other good choices. Mealy apples, like mac and red delicious, don’t hold their shape when you cook them so you’ll want to avoid them. This recipe is pretty easy and takes about and hour in total.
Pork Chops with Sweet & Sour Apples
6 pork chops, about 2.5 lbs (6oz each)
1 small white spanish onion, medium dice
3 gala apples, peeled, and diced.
2 tbsp mustard seeds
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup cider vinegar
Preheat your oven to 350F. Season your pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. In a large frying pan heat 2 tbsp cooking oil over medium-high heat. Once the pan is heated through, gently place 3 of the pork chop into the pan. Brown them well on both sides and then place them into a casserole dish. Repeat with the remaining 3 pork chops.
Add the onion into the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the onion until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add in the apples and mustard seed and cook another 2 minutes. Add in the honey and cider vinegar and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour the apple mixture over top of the pork chops and place in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes and enjoy with your favorite side. (The side dish pictured is wheat berries with sauteed butternut squash and green swiss chard.)
This recipe costs about $2.25 per portion. Give it a try!
I love a good bowl of brothy soup in the winter. It’s a satisfying way to warm up from the cold. Chorizo and white bean is a super tasty soup you can adapt for any season. In this rendition I chose to use kale, butternut squash and fennel as the vegetables.
Chorizo and White Bean Soup
1 1/2 cups cannellini beans, soaked 24 hrs
1 small red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 bulb fennel, diced
2 tbsp fennel fronds, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 bunch of kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
1 lb fresh chorizo sausage
1 liter chicken stock
salt & pepper to taste
In a large pot, simmer the beans gently in plenty of water over medium heat until they are tender. This will take about an hour and a half to two hours. In the mean time you can prep everything else for the recipe.
In a large saute pan, cook the onions and garlic over medium-high heat until transluscent. Add the squash and fennel and saute another 2 minutes. Remove the casings from the sausage and add the meat to the pan. Using a wooden spoon break the sausage meat apart while it’s cooking. Once the sausage is cooked through, take the pan off the heat and set aside. Once the beans are tender drain off all but about 4 cups of the cooking liquid. Add the chicken stock to the pot with the beans and the remaining cooking liquid. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Add the herbs, kale and all the veggie/sausage mixture and simmer 2 minutes just for the flavors to come together. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy your first bowl. The rest can be kept in the fridge for later days.
This recipe makes 6 large bowls of soup at 2.50 each. Enjoy!