Saturday, October 06, 2007

Whew! I am worn out! We did a lot today. We took the recycling to the recycling center, the million or so plastic bags back to the grocery store (right around the corner from the recycling center) and then came home to eat a quick lunch. Then we headed to Martinsburg to return some things at Kmart, return something at Walmart, do some shopping, stop at the grocery store to get some cat litter that was buy one get one free and then FINALLY went to Lowe's to look for a tree. They didn't have any maple trees but we did find a nice "Cherokee Princess Dogwood" that will be a great year-round tree. It has white flowers in the spring and summer, colorful leaves in the fall and red berries in the winter. And we also bought a pink crepe myrtle, some topsoil and mulch. Oh yeah and to make things really great, I managed to save us about $75 by using coupons and checking the ads for sales. Nice! (That's for our entire shopping extravaganza, not just at Lowe's.)

I am so tired now though that I have ZERO energy to cook dinner. Think we'll have some cheese and crackers to tide us over and maybe by then I'll feel like cooking. I really want to make this unbelievably good salad, meat loaf and mashed potatoes for dinner. I've been craving about meat loaf all week! Recipes to follow. Try the salad. It is SO good! I know it sounds weird, but it is amazing, trust me! And a little side note about that yummy salad. We had one almost exactly like it at our fancy dinner at the Grandover resort 3 weeks ago and it was served in a parmesan crisp bowl. Jason told his boss "Hey, Amy makes these parmesan crisps. And she also makes the bruschetta we had earlier." That was pretty cool! My hubby was bragging about my cooking and the boss was impressed. Thanks, honey! Makes it sound like I'm some kind of gourmet chef or something. :)

Mom's Turkey Meatloaf
(Recipe by Ellie Krieger, Food Network)
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 to 15 minutes before slicing.

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
(Recipe by Alton Brown, Food Network)
3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
16 fluid ounces (2 cups) half-and-half
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 ounces grated Parmesan
Peel and dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size. Place in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil. Cook until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork. Heat the half-and-half and the garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and set aside. Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain off the water. Mash and add the garlic-cream mixture, salt, and Parmesan; stir to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes so that mixture thickens and then serve.

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing
(Recipe by Alton Brown, Food Network)
8 ounces baby spinach
2 large eggs
8 pieces thick-sliced bacon, chopped
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large white mushrooms, sliced
3 ounces red onion (1 small), very thinly sliced
4 ounces mandarin oranges, drained
4-6 strawberries, sliced

Remove the stems from the spinach and wash, drain and pat dry thoroughly. Place into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Place the eggs into an electric kettle and cover with cold water by at least 1-inch. Turn the kettle on. Once the water comes to a boil, the kettle will turn itself off. Leave the eggs in the water for 15 minutes. Remove and peel off the shell. Slice each egg into 8 pieces and set aside. While the eggs are cooking, fry the bacon and remove to a paper towel to drain, reserving 3 tablespoons of the rendered fat. Crumble the bacon and set aside. Transfer the fat to a small saucepan set over low heat and whisk in the red wine vinegar, sugar and Dijon mustard. Season with a small pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper. Add the mushrooms, mandarin oranges, strawberries and the sliced onion to the spinach and toss. Add the dressing and bacon and toss to combine. Divide the spinach between 4 plates or bowls and evenly divide the egg among them. Season with pepper, as desired. Serve immediately.