New Pinterest Recipe of the Week: Secret Ingredient Meatloaf

I am a big fan of meatloaf. For me, it’s one of those ultimate comfort foods. It’s a big, meaty, “I love you,” for your stomach. Throw in some mashed potatoes and some bread or rolls and I’m set. Also highly in meatloaf’s favor is that it is so easy to make. A little bit of prep work and getting your hands dirty (I firmly believe true meatloaf should be mixed by hand), some time in the oven, and a wonderful dinner is ready to go.

I stumbled across this recipe a while back using stuffing mix and I gave it a try. I definitely liked the concept, and the first attempt went fairly well, but it wasn’t quite right for me. There just seemed to be something missing, and the loaf itself was a little dry. I solved that problem with my leftovers by putting applesauce over the top, which tasted quite nice, leading me to think, “Aha! Next time I’ll add some applesauce to the meatloaf itself!” I did, and I am very pleased with the result. I guess my version has two secret ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1 – 1 1/2 lbs. of ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 box of stuffing mix (I used sage because I like the extra herb flavor. The recipe I adapted this from used chicken.)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

Mix everything together and put it in a loaf pan (I used an 8×4). Cook in an oven set at 350°F for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how much meat you used. Enjoy! (Really, that’s it!)

Adapted from Dancing Thru the Minefield

Secret Ingredient Meatloaf

Tweaks and Overall Review

Aside from using a different flavor of stuffing mix, the main thing I did was add the applesauce to the recipe, and I have to say I really think it makes this dish shine. The meatloaf stays nice and moist, and there is a slight sweetness from the applesauce which I think goes quite well with the herb flavors from the stuffing mix. I really enjoyed it, as did some friends who joined us for dinner. Since the prep time is minimal, probably less than 5 minutes, this is a perfect recipe for a busy night.

New Pinterest Recipe of the Week: Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

So before I get into the recipe, let me just say hello! I know I’ve been silent for a while. If the lack of posts didn’t give you a hint, we’ve been BUSY out here. There just never seemed to be enough time to sit down and write a post. Part of that was Big Bit being on fall break for a chunk of the time. She’s gotten used to having a nice, active day, so when she was on break we had to have something to do (preferably outside the house) or she, and thus the rest of us, would have gone crazy. We filled the time with trips to the zoo, the museum, just going for walks, etc. Anything to get her out of the house and burning off all that energy she has.

Anyway, one of her days at home, Big Bit decided to be my baking helper and so she actually assisted with this particular Pinterest recipe (she was a most excellent mixing assistant). Now, full disclosure, this isn’t my first time making these muffins. I made them once before for Hubs to take on a work shift. The original recipe comes from Sally’s Baking Addiction and it turned out well enough, but not quite to my taste. Granted, part of that was due to the fact that from the get go I was making tweaks to the original recipe, so this time around was for me to tweak my tweaks. Anyway, I’m going to give you my version, but by all means, go back to the source and try the original, if you care to. I’ll explain some of the changes I made further after the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed, light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup and 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)

Preheat your oven to 350°F and either spray your muffin tin with non-stick spray or use liners. As you know, I prefer the liner method.

In a bowl, combine your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and cinnamon). In a separate, and slightly larger bowl, combine the white and brown sugars with the applesauce until there aren’t any lumps. Once the sugar/applesauce mixture is smooth add the egg. Then take the dry ingredients and add them to the wet, mixing until they are just combined. Gently fold in the strawberries and chocolate chips.

Spoon out your batter into your muffin tin (I got an even dozen). Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on your oven. When done the tops should be lightly browned and a tester stick should come out clean. Mine took closer to the 20 minutes than the 15, so unless your oven runs hot, I wouldn’t check them until about 17 minutes in to the bake time, and even then they might need an extra minute or two. Allow them to cool and then enjoy.Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Tweaks and Overall Review

Ok, so what did I change and why. Well, first off, I increased the amount of cinnamon used. I just like the taste of cinnamon, so this was totally a personal preference. Second, the original recipe calls only for an egg white, but I just went ahead and used a whole egg. Granted, that makes my version less “skinny” than the original, but for only doing a batch of these at a time, unless I happen to have a spare egg white lying around (which I never do), I’ll just use the whole egg and skip separating it and then trying to figure out something to do with the yolk. Using the whole egg rather than just the white does make the muffins a little richer, but since I’m not overly concerned about calorie counts for myself, I don’t mind. If you want to go ahead and just use an egg white like in the original, go ahead. It shouldn’t have to much of an impact on the overall flavor. When it came to strawberries I upped the amount from 2/3 of a cup to a full cup. The first time I made these I stuck with the original measurement and there just didn’t seem to be enough strawberry flavor in combination with the chocolate. Part of that was my use of semi-sweet chips rather than a milk chocolate or even a dark chocolate chip, so the chocolate flavor was pretty strong to begin with. By increasing the amount of strawberry pieces in the batter, I was able to get a better balance between the chocolate and the strawberries.

I’m really happy with how this batch turned out. The original recipe was good, but now I think I’ve got this to where it suits my own tastes perfectly. Once again, they were a huge success when my husband took them to work. I hope you like them, too. I’d be really interested to hear from other people who try this recipe both ways and what their thoughts are or any tweaks they make themselves.

Enjoy your muffins!