Monday, November 7, 2011

Guest Blogger: Look what's cooking!

So, I have this wonderful friend that always has the best ideas in the kitchen.  She is creative {former teacher like yours truly}, a planner {girl of my own heart}, and then something I am not: a natural in the kitchen.  Now, don't get me wrong.. I like to bake with the best of them but real cooking.. Still trying to perfect that. In the meantime, once  a week Danielle will be dishing about her latest meals and hoping that they add a little spice to your menu as well. Enjoy!
Cheeseburger Meatloaf
actual finished product!

I am always looking for easy kid friendly recipes that the entire family will enjoy and this one fit the bill.  Rachael Ray’s magazine even showed pictures of a child making the meatloaf.  I enlisted my two year olds help for this one but she decided she would rather paint today using a carrot as a paint brush. What I loved about it is the veggies are chopped very small in the food processor so even my very picky eater may get a serving of something good for her tonight.  
The meatloaf only took about 10 minutes to prepare and turned out scrumptious.
I have always loved to cook and that did not change when my daughter was born.  When she was very young my husband, trying to be supportive, would offer to put together dinner so I could take care of the baby.  I very graciously explained to him that I have spent all day with our darling daughter and I would love to take a break.  It was actually relaxing for me to spend the time alone in the kitchen while she was in his capable hands.  I need to be honest though.  The types of food I make and the time I have to prepare them have changed dramatically now that she has entered toddlerhood.  When Addisyn was a infant she would eat anything I gave her now she barely tries anything!!  It is very frustrating to me but I keep cooking and keep offering her my creations.  I put a little of whatever I make for us on her plate each night and just hope she eats.  I always try to have a side dish of something that I know she will eat so that she does not go to bed hungry but I really, really try not to be a short order cook.  
People ask me all the time how I have the time to cook with my husband at work and a 2 year old demanding my attention.  I do have a couple tricks up my sleeve.  
1. The first is the learning tower.  This wooden platform has been my savior so many times.  Addisyn loves to be at the same level as me and “helping” whenever she can.  I try to give her small things to do whenever she wants to help.  I have been told that if children participate in the cooking they are more likely to eat.  It hasn’t worked for me yet but she is having fun none the less and we are spending time together doing something I want to do.  
2. My daughter also LOVES to paint.  If I need a significant amount a time to prepare a meal I give her some water color paints on the kitchen table with huge paper and let her go to town.   
3. I’m not ashamed to say that my third trick is the television.  I try to minimize tv time during the day so that I can put a movie on while preparing dinner with minimal guilt.  
The recipes I pass on to Nicolle for her blog are ones that I have had success with and my family has enjoyed.  Hopefully you enjoy and can have some stress free cooking time as well!

Cheeseburger Meatloaf 
(RACHAELRAYMAG.COM, November 2011)
  1. 2 cups italian bread cubes (I used whole wheat bread crumbs and skipped step 1)
  2. 1 carrot
  3. 1 celery rib
  4. 1 onion
  5. 2 lbs. ground chuck (I used ground meatloaf mix)
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1/4 cup ketchup
  8. Salt and pepper
  9. 6 colby-jack cheese sticks
  10. 1 1/2 lbs. red-skinned potatoes
  11. EVOO
  1. Grind 2 cups italian bread cubes into coarse crumbs in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a large bowl. Preheat the oven to 400°. 
  2. Cut 1 carrot, 1 celery rib and 1 onion into 1-inch pieces. Using the same food processor, finely chop the vegetables. 
  3. Add the vegetables to the bowl with the breadcrumbs. Add 2 lbs. ground chuck, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. 
  4. Mix all the ingredients together with your hands until just blended. 
  5. Transfer the mixture to a 10-by-15-inch baking dish; pat the meat into a 9-by-13-inch rectangle. (I don’t have a 10x15 dish.  A 9x13 dish worked fine.)
  6. Arrange 6 colby-jack cheese sticks lengthwise on top; fold the meat over the cheese. 
  7. Pat well into a loaf that is about 4 by 12 inches, pressing to seal the seams. 
  8. Scatter 1 1/2 lbs. quartered red-skinned potatoes around the loaf. Drizzle lightly with EVOO; season with salt and pepper. 
  9. Bake until the potatoes are tender and the cheese begins to ooze, about 50 minutes. (I thought it needed an extra 10 for the potatoes.)
The Learning Tower
Addisyn- Sous Chef/Artist

So, let us know what you think.. I am certain this is making it to the Libby Lane Press dining room this week! 


  1. The recipe sounds amazing, and I am looking forward to reading more in the weeks to come!