Guess what's for dinner tonight?
I love the movie A Christmas Story and I crack up at the scene where Ralphie and his little brother Randy are sitting at the dinner table with their mother's meatloaf sitting in front of them. When I was a kid I wouldn't waste time playing with my food or chanting the way Randy did. When meatloaf and mashed potatoes hit the table they were gone in a flash because I loved them to bits
Tonight's dinner stars a super easy meatloaf that was adapted from the Taste of Home cookbook Fast Fixes With Mixes. It is the very first cookbook Andy and I bought when we started dating. It was also our first shared possession. We bought it after we were engaged with the intention that it be a kick start to us cooking together as we began our new chapter in life. I have made many dishes from the book but this meatloaf is a quick easy go-to that is bookmarked since I use it so often. Andy loves it and also loves that I always tweak it and add different ingredients to keep it interesting.
Here's the original recipe:
2 lbs. ground beef
1 6 oz. Box of Stove Top (or similar) instant stuffing mix
1/2 cup water
Add stuffing mix to bowl with water and slightly beaten eggs, stirring well to allow mix to absorb liquid. Combine with beef, form into loaf and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Glaze with ketchup in the last few minutes if desired.
Here's my twist:
Instead of using water I use about 3 tablespoons Sriracha and 4 tablespoons of A1 steak sauce with a splash of water added to make it = 1/2 cup. Tonight I only had half a package of stuffing mix left (because I also add it to burgers occasionally) so I added about a cup and a half of ranch flavored crackers I got from Rite Aid in the dollar section. I just crushed them in my hands and left some larger pieces to soak up the flavors of the mix. Then I made a glaze that I put on at the hour and 15 minute mark and put it back in the oven to finish for 15 more minutes. The glaze is 3 tablespoons of ketchup, 1 tablespoon of strawberry jelly and 1 1/2 tablespoons of Thai sweet chili sauce. It makes it sweet and tangy and still gives it a little kick from the chilies. Additionally it gives it a glossy finish which looks as good as it tastes. I used ,my "Perfect Meatloaf Pan" which is on of those "As Seen On TV" gadgets which actually works. I line it in foil so it's easier to clean but it drains all the fat from the bottom and makes it MUCH less greasy and makes it easier to serve as well. I am also a fan of the "Perfect Brownie Pan" and the "Perfect Meatball Pan" (I am kind of a gadgetaholic). If there are any awesome kitchen gadgets you own that you think I should try please let me know! I am seriously considering getting one of those gadgets that slices zucchini into long curly ribbons that you cook like pasta. If you've tried that, let me know.
Andy made the mashed potatoes because he makes the creamiest potatoes you can imagine. He uses a hand mixer to get rid of the lumps without having to do as much mashing, but he also uses a traditional potato masher to start them off. I love how buttery they are and how much black pepper he uses. The pepper makes the potatoes extra good. We also had a bag of broccoli on hand that had a cheese sauce. Amazingly enough I ate it and enjoyed it, but I didn't think I liked broccoli. I find that my tastes towards vegetables have changed a ton in recent years. I outright refused to eat them for most of my teens and twenties, but suddenly I think I was sincerely missing out. Now I watch Food Network and want to try all kinds of green things that I wouldn't have touched as a kid. I'm not a fan of bitter greens, or canned green beans, but suddenly veggies are pretty darn good.
The Birdseye broccoli was the steamable variety, and the frozen bags were on sale for only 67 cents at Weiss markets this week. We price matched them on our Sunday shopping trip. We will definitely be heading back for more because they are usually almost $2 a bag and they have a great variety to choose from. The stuffing mix is on sale too since it is so close to Thanksgiving and obviously I needed to get some! I got a crazy good deal on Hershey's chocolate chips too. I will be using them to bake my little heart out this season.
I can't believe how much money we have saved this year by price matching, and I really can't believe that we didn't start doing it sooner. We usually save at least ten dollars a week just by looking at the ads and finding the lowest prices which is a big help to our grocery bill. The new savings catcher at Wal Mart has also been helping us. We have only had the savings catcher in our area since the end of August and we already have nearly $36 worth of money that we can put on a gift card and use as cash in the store whenever we want. In 15 trips we've saved anywhere from 55 cents to $6.53 cents per receipt we scanned, and that is after the price matching. On every receipt we already priced matched with ads at the register to pay less out of pocket and it still caught all those deals from local ads that we either missed or didn't have a copy of. That kind of rocks, don't you think?
I hope you all had a terrific Monday. Hopefully you'll be inspired to try out this recipe for dinner sometime soon. I bet you'll love it (as long as you're not like Randy "Awwwww meatloaf, meatloaf, double beatloaf. I hate meatloaf! - silly kid!). Much love and good eatin' to all y'all.