Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

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:

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makes 12 – 4.5oz slices. Plenty to freeze for later.

  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1cup milk
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1.5 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 eggs
  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

Related Post: Crushed Red Skin Potatoes

Baked Tomato & Eggplant w Friulano Cheese

I love the rich flavor eggplant gets when you roast it. This is a dish I like to make in winter, sort of a comfort food – but healthy. It’s very simple and can easily be made ahead and enjoyed throughout the week. I like to serve it over quinoa but pretty much any grain, lentil or bean would work. This recipe uses japanese eggplant which are long, thin, purple and slightly less bitter than the standard italian variety. Their small size makes them a good choice to pair with with cocktail tomatoes in this dish.

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  • 3 japanese eggplant
  • 1 lb cocktail tomatoes
  • pinch chili flakes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups grated friulano cheese (fontina or mozza also work)
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, or your own coarse crumbs

Slice the eggplant into 1/2cm rounds and toss them with 1 tsp salt. Let them sit for 1 hour to draw out some of the water. Drain out the water and toss the eggplant with the oregano, chili flakes, garlic and shallot.

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Slice each of the tomatoes into 4. Place the eggplant and tomatoes into a baking pan. Pack them in fairly tightly since they will shrink alot while cooking.

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Drizzle the olive oil overtop of the veggies. Bake at 400F for 1 hour. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over top of the tomatoes and eggplant and top with breadcrumbs. Bake another 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the breadcrumbs are toasted.

If you’re making quinoa to go with it you’ll need 3/4 cup. Place it into a small pot and cover with 1 1/2 cups water. Add a pinch of salt and bring up to a simmer over high heat. Once simmering, cover and reduce heat to low. It takes about 20 minutes to cook. It’s done when it is light and fluffy and all of the water has been absorbed.

This recipe makes 3 portions, costing 2.25 each including quinoa. Enjoy this delicious light vegetarian dish!

Bolognese Sauce

This is a simple and delicious tomato meat sauce for pasta. It’s a staple in my kitchen. I usually make a big batch and freeze it in 1 or 2 cup containers. That way I can use it for a quick meal when I’m short on time or just to mix it up. This recipe isn’t traditional, but it’s tasty none-the-less. You can use leftover wine, or, do what I do; buy a bottle and use half for the sauce and drink the rest! It makes for a relaxing night. This is great comfort food for cold nights.

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  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced (or grated)
  • 2 carrots, finely diced (or grated)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 325 ml dry red wine
  • 2 bottles passata
  • pinch chili flakes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

In a large sauce pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef and use a wooden spoon to break it apart and stir it while it cooks. You want the beef to be broken apart into very small bits. Once the beef is cooked add in the celery, carrot, onion and garlic. Turn the heat up to medium-high and allow any liquid from the vegetables to cook off. Add in the wine and simmer until the liquid is cooked down again. Add in the remaining ingredients and bring up to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer uncovered for 1 hour. The sauce should be fairly thick.

This recipe makes about 8 – 1 cup portions of sauce. It costs roughly 2$ per portion, depending on which wine you choose.

Buttermilk Brussel Sprout Slaw

Yup! A salad made of brussel sprouts. It’s a great way to make them  more approachable. It’s super simple and will chase away any memory you  have of gross overcooked steamed brussels. This slaw has a good crunch and nice tangy flavor. It makes a super healthy and light side dish for your hearty winter meals.

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  • 10 brussel sprouts
  • 2 baby carrots, julienned or grated
  • 1 stalk of celery, very thinly sliced
  • 1 small shallot, halved and very thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds

Lemon Garlic Buttermilk Dressing

  • zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 clove garlic, grated on a microplane, or minced
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Trim off the outer leaves of the brussel sprouts. Hold them by the stem end and thinly slice into rounds, top to bottom. Break apart the rounds and mix in carrots, celery, shallot and seeds. Stir the dressing together and dress the salad with desired amount, there will be extra. Season the slaw with salt and pepper, mix thoroughly and enjoy. This slaw will benefit from marinating in the dressing. Makes 2 generous servings.

Breakfast Bread

I usually don’t have time to make my own bread. When I do, I like to make this loaf. It’s great for fried egg sandwiches in the morning. It has a crisp and crunchy crust. Oat flour gives it a moist center with rich toothy texture. If you’re more a fan of sweet breakfasts, omit the garlic.

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  • 1 cups oat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp canola oil,
  • 1 clove garlic, grated using a microplane
  • 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water

Place the warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of sugar over it. Let sit for 10 minutes to proof. Combine all the other ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and form a well in the center. Stir the yeast mixture and pour it into the well. Mix the liquid into the dry and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 8 minutes to make it smooth, elastic and develop the gluten. Add flour if necessary while kneading to achieve a tacky consistency, it should not be wet or sticky. Shape it into a ball and leave on a floured surface, loosely covered with plastic wrap, to rise 45 minutes. Knead 2 minutes, shape into a ball and allow to rise another 45 minutes. Flatten it into a rectangular shape.

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Fold one of the sides in towards the middle.

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Fold the other side over and form a seam by pinching the 2 sides together.

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Gently roll the dough into a nice even shape and place it, seam down, on a parchment or ‘Silpat’ lined baking sheet. With a sharp knife make a few shallow cuts across the top of the loaf.

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Cover and allow to rise another 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 500F.  Place one oven rack at the very bottom and one in the middle. When your bread is ready to bake, fill a metal baking pan with 1/2 inch steaming hot tap water. Remove the plastic wrap and generously brush the bread with water. Place your bread on the middle rack and the tray of hot water on the bottom rack of the oven. Quickly close the door to keep as much of the heat and steam in as possible. The hot water will create a steamy environment which makes a really nice crispy crust. Bake for 15 minutes then turn the pan and reduce heat to 350F. Bake another 20 minutes, until brown on the bottom. Place it on a wire rack to cool completely.

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Molasses Baked Beans – a nod to my heritage

I’ve been craving these for a couple weeks now. The crazy cold snap that’s taken a hold over Ottawa has given me the motivation to whip up a batch. I need some warmth! They’re not only a comfort food for me, they’re also homey. Molasses baked beans are a traditional food in Acadian Canada, from which my mother’s side of the family stems. I’ve been trying to replicate the flavour of my mom’s baked beans for years. The first attempt wasn’t worth writing home about. I’m now onto version 12 or so and I think I’m getting pretty darn close. She might protest since I don’t use the same ingredients, but, come on mom, ketchup isn’t an ingredient. It belongs on top of hot dogs and hamburger patties. I switched that and a couple other things out for a more “whole foods” oriented recipe. I use a bean pot in this recipe. If you don’t have one, you can use a crock-pot, a large deep casserole dish with a lid, or a covered pot on the stove top.IMG_20140102_213356

Molasses Baked Beans

  • 2 cups dried navy beans
  • 2 slices bacon, cut into small strips
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground mustard seed
  • 2  bay leaves
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup fancy molasses
  • 3 c water
  • 1 tbsp salt

Soak the navy beans, uncovered, overnight in plenty of cold water.

Preheat your oven to 350F.

In a medium sauce pot cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat is rendered. Add in the onions and garlic and cook until translucent. Add the ground ginger and mustard seed and toast 1 minute. Add everything but the beans to the pot and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, strain the soaked beans and place them into a bean pot (4 qt or larger). Once the sauce is simmering pour it over the beans and give them a stir. Cover and bake for 2 hours, stirring halfway through. Remove the lid, stir and bake for another hour, uncovered.

This recipe makes 6 small servings and only costs 5$ to make.

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Green Lentil Soup – a quick and easy recipe

Lentil soup is a great way to warm up on a cold winter day. It only takes 30-40minutes and costs less than $5!

Green Lentil Soup :

  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups green lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chicken stock (optional)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 small carrots

Start by cutting the bacon into small strips. In a medium sized pot cook the bacon over medium heat. Once it starts to brown add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion turns translucent. Add the lentils, stock, water, bay leaves and salt. Bring to a simmer and then cook on low heat until the lentils are completely softened, about 25 minutes. In the meantime peel and dice the carrots and dice the celery and set aside. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Puree the lentils in the blender and return them to the pot. Adjust the consistency by adding more water if necessary. Add the diced carrot and celery and simmer another few minutes, until they are tender.

Makes 4 portions. This soup can be kept in the fridge up to 5 days and freezes well. Enjoy!

Hi!

I’d like to share my love of cooking by helping people learn to cook things for themselves, at home. I live by myself and it can be difficult figuring out what to make when you’re only cooking for one person. I can’t be the only one that feels this way! So I’ve decided to share some recipes, tips and experience with you guys.

Today I’m going to focus on getting my site set up. The real adventure starts tomorrow with the first recipe i’m going to share! Looking forward to it!

Kristine.