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: No Peek Chicken

As promised, here is No Peek Chicken. I’ve been trying to find more dinner options to add to my regular rotation just to give myself a greater range of meals to choose from. That and the fact that we are having people from my husband’s crew over for dinner on a semi-regular basis means I also don’t get as many leftovers, so I’m cooking more often. This recipe comes from Thrifty Decorating, and while it does take time to cook (two and a half hours), the prep time is minimal.

Ingredients

  • 1 box of Uncle Ben’s Long Grain Wild Rice (Original Recipe – Though you could probably sub in a different flavor if you so desired and it would not be an issue.)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 can of water (You can add up to an additional cup of water if you want more tender rice.)
  • chicken breasts or tenders (I used tenders.)

Set your oven to 350°F.

Grease a 9×13 baking dish. (Don’t forget to do this! I did, and while it wasn’t the worst thing I could have overlooked, my baking dish did need a good soak after dinner in order to get all the stuck on rice loosened up so I could clean it.)

In your baking dish, mix your rice, soups, and water. Stir everything together until you have a uniform mixture. Arrange your chicken on top.

Cover and seal the dish with foil and bake for two and a half hours. Do not remove foil until done.

No Peek Chicken

Tweaks and Overall Review

Given how simple this recipe is, there’s not a lot to mess with. The only thing I noticed that I would try to adjust next time is that between the spices which come with the rice and the “cream of” soups this dish came out just a tad too salty for my liking. Since I only used the single cup of water in my preparations (I like a little more chew in my rice), I figure I can either use another half cup of water to further dilute things a bit, or I can use the reduced sodium versions of the soups. Either would probably work. Other than that, this made for a great weeknight family dinner. The chicken was deliciously moist and tasted great with rice mixture. True, there’s quite a bit of cook time, but as long as I can have this in the oven soon after picking up Big Bit from school, dinner is still ready and on the table at a reasonable time.

New Pinterest Recipe of the Week: Chicken Alfredo Bubble Up

I’m mixing it up a bit this week. For once, the chosen recipe is savory, not sweet and/or banana based. I figured it was time for something different. Since things are plenty busy around here, quick and easy meals are very much my friends right now. I found a bubble up pizza recipe a while back and have made it a few times. The family seems to enjoy it well enough, but it doesn’t keep as well as I would like, so leftovers aren’t as tasty (the biscuits tend to get a bit hard and crusty). However, the recipe, and the concept in general, makes for a good meal when crunched for time.

Enter the Chicken Alfredo Bubble Up. I was scanning Pinterest and came across this variation of the bubble up concept and immediately I was intrigued. Hubs loves chicken alfredo and since this recipe is alternately known as “White Pizza Bubble Up,” I can still call it “pizza” to the girls. (Sneaky mommy. Lol.) Anyway, this recipe originally comes from Julie’s Eats and Treats. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of refrigerated biscuits
  • 1 16oz. jar of your chosen alfredo sauce
  • 2 cups of mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt (I omitted this)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning (I didn’t have “Italian seasoning” on hand so I just used a mixture of dried parsley and oregano. The oregano came from our little patio herb garden.)
  • 1 lb. of cooked chicken, cubed

Preheat your oven to 375°F and spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, cut up your biscuits into 4-6 pieces, depending on size. Toss the biscuit pieces with the alfredo sauce and seasonings.

Add the chicken and 1 cup of the cheese, making sure everything is blended evenly.

Spoon or pour the mixture into your baking dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 25-35 minutes, making sure the biscuits (especially those in the middle) are done.

Chicken Alfredo Bubble Up

Tweaks and Overall Review

Okay, so I’m going to go ahead and admit to tweaking this recipe quite a bit based on what I had on hand in my own kitchen. The original recipe used standard sized Grands biscuits, cutting them up into 6 pieces. I used Grands Jr. biscuits, so I only cut mine up into 4. Also, because I used a garlic parmesan alfredo sauce (and the fact that I didn’t have any on hand), I omitted the 1/2 tsp. of garlic salt. (If you’ve followed this blog a bit, you know I am a firm believer in using what you have on hand, rather than buying an ingredient solely for one recipe unless absolutely necessary.) Also, as noted above, I made my own “Italian seasoning” with some help from our herb garden. Finally, I added about 1/4 cup of milk to the alfredo sauce. I hate that when you pour out the jars you are left with so much clinging to the inside, so I pour in about 1/4 cup of milk, screw the lid back on, give it a good shake (think like mixing a martini) and then pour that out as well. I think it was very helpful in this recipe since it added a little extra liquid to keep things moist.

This was a total hit in my house. My husband said he liked it better than the original pizza bubble up I’d been making (so do I), and apparently when he took some leftovers to work for lunch, some of the crew was jealous. Speaking of leftovers, this kept very well. Much better than the original pizza bubble up recipe. Even a few days later the biscuits were soft and moist after being reheated in the microwave (about 2:30 on 50% power and then another 20 seconds or so on full power, by the way).  The most time consuming portion of this recipe is prepping the chicken, but if you have some pre-cooked from another recipe or just use a rotisserie chicken from the store, you’re back down to maybe 20 minutes of prep work before dinner is in the oven and that’s if you’re moving slowly or being distracted by kids. If you have to start from scratch with the chicken you’ll add another 15-20 minutes to cube and cook it, but I’d still consider that negligible time-wise. Overall, a really good “throw together” meal for busy nights. I’ll definitely make this again (and again) for us here at home, and one of these days I’ll probably send a batch to work with Hubs, since his leftovers seemed to cause food envy.