HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


I am ready to tackle the meatloaf/mashed potatoes meal! Help!

I want to make a "homey" meal for Valentine's day, similar to something we have eaten at an awesome local restaurant (well, not local, but in NY)-

Meatloaf with gravy
Mashed potatoes mixed with leeks

And some sort of sweet to follow.

I know there are tons of links and recipes for meatloaf - I am therefore overwhelmed by everything I've read and with literally 20 recipes in front of me, I could use some help in deciding how to even go about choosing a few to narrow it down! I am looking for something that I can make a "gravy" with - but I want to be able to cook the meatloaf in a meatloaf pan so the fat drains out. I'm not even sure how you get the gravy. Sad. Also no bacon wrapped meatloaf, and only beef - no pork or veal...but otherwise anything goes.

As for the mashed potatoes with mashed leeks...how do I do this? Cook the leeks with the potatoes? And will the leeks mash in with the potatoes or do I have to do them seperately??

The funny thing is this all has to look really easy and simple when I make it because I usually tear a tornado through the kitchen when I attempt to cook and at least for this time, I am trying to appear confident... :) I need a little help here..completely and utterly clueless!!

Thank you so much!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Here is an excellent meatloaf from an excellent food blog: http://theendivechronicles.com/2009/0... You'll enjoy the flavor that results from the oats and the caramelized onions even if you don't make the ketchup.

    1. Make the mash and leeks separately since they cook at different rates and need to be treated differently. While the spuds cook, saute thinly sliced leeks in a frying pan with butter and oil so they get nice and golden. Mash the spuds with whatever seasonings and dairy you usually use, then fold in the leeks.

      Random recipe (garlic is optional if you want plain mash): http://www.jfolse.com/recipes/vegetab...

      If you google mashed potatoes leeks, there's a bunch of flavor variations.

      1 Reply
      1. re: stilton

        Thanks for the replies - the meatloaf recipe looks interesting (I would skip the ketchup. Stilton this is great - Now I know what to do!

      2. I don't know if you can really make gravy from meatloaf, the drippings are pretty much all fat. That's why it gets served with ketchup so often. I use gravy that I made from other sources for the potatoes. If you were making special potatoes like you are planning, I'd go with just butter though, so you could taste the flavor of the leeks.

        After years of experimenting, I got the texture I like by using oatmeal and Ritz crackers, just 1/4 cup of each, instead of breadcrumbs. Don't be tempted to use too much filler, and make sure to use "meatloaf mix" rather than all beef. (Edit: just noticed you want all beef, sorry, meatloaf mix is only my preference, just use a lean chopped beef (85 to 90%) so it doesn't all drain away). I also stopped using the loaf pan and make a football shaped loaf on a sheet pan now, it comes out a lot crispier which is how we like it. You could always try deglazing the sheet pan to make gravy too, but since you want this to look easy, I would skip that step.

        All of this can be made earlier and reheated, so you can enjoy the meal too. Not a "a la minute" kind of deal at all.

        FWIW I always make heart shaped linzer tarts for Valentine's dessert.

        12 Replies
        1. re: coll

          Coll would you pass on the recipe for the linzer tarts? Oddly enough bf loves them and I have put them on a list of consideration along with chocolate lava cakes and carrot cake-
          I like the idea of football shaped because he likes the "crust" the best...and thanks for the tip about the gravy. I think I'll skip it - I can't handle deglazing and I'm not sure it would come out the way I wanted in the end!
          Love that I could make it ahead - I guess I figured that with the meatloaf but a) how do I reaheat the meatloaf? Back in the oven I assume at low temp? and b) how do I reheat potatoes? I didn't realize I could without them getting gummy-

          1. re: lovessushi

            The meatloaf, just put in a baking pan covered with foil, on low (300 degrees is what I do). Potatoes, add a good cup or two of milk or cream and heat the same way, and then mash with a hand masher before serving, to fluff up. They actaully seeem to taste better this way.

            Linzer tarts, I will write out later, have to go out for a while but will do as soon as I get back. It's my husband's favorite too, even though it seems like a cutesy thing it's a favorite of all men I know.

            1. re: coll

              Coll this is great - thank you. It does seem like a cutsey thing, but he loves them :-) The extra milk or cream won't make them runny? I guess not if I'm mashing it all in. I really appreciate the advice because it will be much easier to cook everything ahead!

              1. re: lovessushi

                No never runny for me, I add more milk/cream than I think I should but it absorbs in perfectly. Not a gallon or anything, but soak the top and sides of the dish anyway.

                Ok here is my Linzer Tart recipe, approved by guys everywhere:

                1 cup ground almonds (I don't toast because you want a white cookie)
                2 1/2 cup cake flour (I've used all purpose but cake works a lot better)
                1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
                1/2 tsp nutmeg
                1 cup butter, room temp
                1 cup sugar
                2 eggs plus 1 egg white
                1/2 tsp vanilla
                1/2 tsp almond extract
                1 tsp baking powder
                jar of raspberry jam SEEDLESS maybe 12z or more

                Mix ground almonds, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
                Beat room temp butter for 30 seconds.
                Add sugar to butter and beat until fluffy.
                Add eggs, vanilla and almond extracts and blend a little more.
                Add flour mixture to this.
                Make a ball out of the dough and refrigerate one hour.
                Divide ball in quarters.
                Roll out 1/8" thick. Cut shapes as you wish. Before I had heart shaped cutters, I used a thin cordial glass to make a small circular cookie, and the top of the extract jars to make a center hole in half of them. Still haven't found a tiny heart shaped cutter for the center hole but I hear they sell them in the aspic cutter aisle ;-) But anyway, one side/half the cookies have to have a little hole in it.
                Bake on an ungreased pan for 7 to 9 minutes at 375 until starting to brown on the bottom.
                Put a big spoonful of raspberry jam on the whole cookies and sandwich with a cut out cookie, so the jam pokes out the top hole.
                Sprinkle with confectionery sugar when serving.

            2. re: lovessushi

              You can also make the meatloaf ahead of time but stop before you bake it. Wrap it well in plastic wrap, foil and then in a freezer bag (I know, overkill). Simply bake it on Valentine's day. I believe you can also make the entire mashed potato recipe and simpy reheat on V. Day, perhaps using a crock pot on low a few hours before. I'm not positive on the exact time of reheating the mashed pots but I'm sure some other Chowhounds will know.

              1. re: sickpuppygirl

                I was thinking just to make the meatloaf completely the day before, or that morning, whenever you have time, and then reheat at dinnertime. That's what I would do anyway.

            3. re: coll

              Alton Brown "molds" his meatloaf in a loaf pan then flips it out onto a baking sheet. The surface gets crispy all around.
              I'm a firm believer in ketchup for topping meatloaf, but I used to have a recipe from the Yankee Magazine (NE) cookbook that was a glaze, made from tomato sauce, minced onion, prepared mustard, worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and cider vinegar, simmered until thickened, that was similar in flavor to ketchup but with a twist and less sugar.
              Lost the recipe, <sigh>

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                Equal parts ketchup, spicy preferably coarsely ground mustard and Major Grey's chutney.

              2. re: coll

                I make my meatloaf on a jelly roll pan and you do get drippings ... but I don't know how suitable for gravy they are (although you could just use the fat I guess). Not sure why now that I think about it, but the quality of drippings from ground meat vs a roast seems to be quite different.

                I use ground bison, not sure if that is acceptable, but it's lean and has great flavor. My 'filler' is soft wheat breadcrumbs soaked in milk, sour cream (and of course eggs to bind).

                1. re: foiegras

                  I'm a HUGE meatloaf fan and I always make on a baking sheet or large pan...never in a loaf pan. I love how brown and crispy the surface gets. I am also pretty much a "purist" when it comes to meatloaf (like my Mum made so of course I think it's best!) I only add an egg, onion, salt, pepper and some worcestershire. I don't like a lot of add-ins but to each their own... I think a meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes and whatever veg is to your taste is a wonderful meal! Enjoy...

                  1. re: tochowchick

                    I have to admit, I cover the surface completely in bacon, and then glaze on top of that, so I wouldn't know about the brown and crispy surface!

                    I like the soaked soft bread crumbs simply because it makes the loaf so moist and tender, not to try to 'stretch' the meat.

                    I love the idea of the heart-shaped meatloaf--I'll have to try that. I've always done kind of an oval or half egg shape.

                    Btw, I like to serve with baked purple potatoes and asparagus.

                2. re: coll

                  I use meatloaf drippings to make gravy. Just make your roux with it before adding the beef stock. Makes a great, dark country gravy.

                3. You're going to get a lot of recipes for meatloaf, but the main thing with ground meat is not to overwork it or it will get tough. Mix with your hands until "just" mix then stop. Don't keep working it. Good luck.

                  1. Here is a meatloaf recipe that gives me good results each time--it's moist but cuts nicely.
                    I dislike oatmeal in my meatloaf personally, thought I'd give you another option. :)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: BangorDin

                      I dislike oatmeal too. I used leftover biscuits or white bread crumbs soaked in milk.

                    2. I used to make meatlof in the shape of a heart for Valentines day. We didn't have the money to go out to a fancy place and this became our tradition. With the economy as it is I think I will pick up our old tradition this year. I would mix up your meatloaf in the am, then put it in the oven to cook that night. You could carmelize the onions ahead of time and have them ready to mix into the taters. Personaly I love potatoes colcannon ( cabbage and onions mixed into mashed taters). No gravy needed. How about a Panna cota for dessert; it can be made ahead of time and some berries to top it off with.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: JEN10

                        Thanks everyone - I'll check out the recipe and I appreciate the meat mixing tip. Also, like the way the glaze sounds bushwick girl...maybe I will look for a similar recipe... Jen10 that's exactly our issue - no money and to be honest don't want to go out for mediocre food anyway...oddly enough he doesn't like Panna cota! Odd ;)

                        1. re: lovessushi

                          Here's the glaze I've developed, in case it helps:

                          1/4 cup ketchup or cocktail sauce
                          1/4 cup jam, I really like to use currant or even cranberry sauce but grape would be fine here too
                          cumin, worcestshire and hot sauce to taste
                          I just whisk this together.

                          I bake the meatloaf a half hour plain first, then mix above and paint over for the second half hour.

                          Well as long as I have my recipe out:

                          first, saute lots of chopped onion/shallot and celery, then add to:
                          1 1/2 lb chop meat of your choice
                          1 egg
                          1/4 cup oatmeal
                          1/4 cup Ritz
                          dash ketchup
                          dash worcestshire
                          handful dried porcini mushrooms reconstituted in sherry or vermouth, then diced
                          Season with: a little mustard powder, paprika, thyme, parsley, mint (obviously optional! but I like), granulated garlic, salt and pepper

                          Mix all by squishing with fingers quickly in a bowl, dump on baking sheet and form as you wish.
                          Bake 350 for 1/2 hour, coat with glaze and cook another 1/2 hour.

                          1. re: lovessushi

                            I just found the sauce recipe, I'm amazed since I had it back in the 80's and it's online now, adapted by me. Yankee Magazine calls it Barbeque Sauce, which I had forgotten:

                            BARBECUE SAUCE:
                            ■1-1/2 cups tomato sauce
                            ■1/2 cup water
                            ■2 tablespoons vinegar
                            ■3 tablespoons brown sugar
                            ■2 tablespoons prepared mustard
                            ■2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

                            Combine all ingredients in saucepan and heat until well blended, stirring. Use to baste meat loaf. From what I remember from this recipe, there was plenty of sauce left for extra. I added finelyy minced sauteed onion.

                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                              Somewhat similar to what I use, which is chili sauce, brown sugar, and dry mustard. I don't cook it before glazing the meatloaf, but I do put the extra in a small casserole in the oven toward the end 'for extra.' Really yummy ... and any left over when the meatloaf is gone is not at all bad on a baked potato with bacon, etc.

                        2. I would add some steamed braised carrots cooked in chicken broth, drain, add some butter parsley, and honey. Too bad about the panna cotta, I can't eat dairy anymore, but oh how good it was. Carrot cake is always a real treat here at home as are lemon bars.

                          1. I think there's some sort of law that states that you have to serve green beans with this meal. At least that's what my grandmother always told me. Some tender-crisp roasted tiny green beans, maybe with some garlic and toasted almonds, would be a great way to comply with this law.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: southern_expat

                              I think he'd be more apt to eat the carrots than the string beans - he doesn't seem to be a huge fan of string beans...though I can eat them raw!

                              1. re: lovessushi

                                I always think you have to have frozen green peas with this, and I think it's because of my grandmother too! She always encouraged us to mix them in with the mashed potatoes and gravy.

                              2. re: southern_expat

                                Nuh-uh! Lightly sautéed carrot rounds.

                                1. re: southern_expat

                                  My meatloaf law is also green beans, and baked potatoes and chocolate pudding for dessert. That's what my mom always served, and although her meatloaf involved campbell's tomato soup (yikes!) and the meat sort of floated in the soup...(yikes!) and the green beans were canned...and the pudding was instant...I still love this meal. Mine are made quite differently, but my mom gets credit for the combination:)

                                2. Ina Garten's meatloaf recipe is simple and very flavorful


                                  Since it's for Valentine's day perhaps you could make individual meat loaves in the shape of a heart, or is that a bit too corny?

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Axalady

                                    It's really corny...but I love corny things :-) I am considering it...could I get individual molds or would I just cut the meat with a cookie cutter before baking it?

                                    1. re: lovessushi

                                      There are heart molds galore this time of year (heart shaped ramekins you could use as molds). I might get a couple & try it two ways ... a couple molded & turned out on a jelly roll pan and a couple in the molds, to see which worked better. I think they should hold the molded shape, but I would want to have a backup ...

                                      1. re: foiegras

                                        Great info - I will head off to the store this week! Thanks-

                                  2. ATK has a great recipe for all beef meatloaf. You use gelatine to mimic the missing veal. I love their trick of putting the loaf on a pierced foil covered baking rack over a sheet pan. All the fat is gone and it browns nicely all over. adam

                                    1. **It wouldn't be a sin if you used a jar of beef gravy. That is 1) easy 2) foolproof 3) tasty.

                                      First, peel the potatoes, cut them in quarters, and cover them with water. Second, make the meatloaf and put it in the oven, allowing about an hour for it to bake. 3) While it is baking, cook the potatoes. Pour off the cold water you had them sitting in and just cover them with hot water from the tap so they will boil faster. When you can pierce them with a fork, drain and mash them with a little butter and hot milk (heated in the microwave). You can mash them using a hand potato masher or a portable electric mixer. 4) Open a jar of beef gravy and heat it in the microwave. 5) You need a vegetable or salad with this meal. Consider the green peas that come in a steamer bag for the microwave. 6) Everything should be ready at the same time. If you don't want the kitchen tornado effect, clean up after yourself as you go along and get in the habit of prepping in advance (as here you peeled your potatoes in advance). I have a Victorian housekeeping book that says "Always keep an hour ahead of your work". Not bad advice. Ahead of time you can set the table, fill the salt shaker, set up the coffee pot for after dinner, etc. Having things done ahead of time will help make you feel (and seem) more confident (you mention that as a goal).

                                      1. Growing up I always hated meatloaf until I learned to make my own. Any my boyfriend also said he hated meatloaf until he tried mine. I generally don't like sweet flavors mixed with savory - so I think it may have been the requisite ketchup my mother added that I really didn't like. My recipe calls for 1/2 beef and 1/2 pork, but I'm sure you could use all beef. You didn't mention if it was an option, but can you use ground turkey? If so I'd use 1/2 ground dark meat turkey. And personally I don't find that the drippings from meatloaf work very well for making a gravy, so I use a brown gravy. You can also add some sauteed or canned mushrooms to the gravy if you like them.

                                        4 slices white bread
                                        1/2 cup milk
                                        1 lb ground beef
                                        1 lb ground pork (or use all beef)
                                        2 eggs
                                        1 small onion, finely chopped
                                        1 clove garlic, minced
                                        1/2 cup parsley, chopped
                                        2 Tablespoons worcestershire sauce
                                        1 Teaspoon salt
                                        1/4 Teaspoon pepper

                                        Soak bread in milk until thoroughly moistened. Mix all ingredients and form into loaf on a shallow rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350° for one hour.

                                        Brown Gravy
                                        2 Tablespoons butter
                                        1 thin slice onion
                                        2 Tablespoons flour
                                        1 cup beef broth
                                        1/4 teaspoon salt
                                        1/8 pepper

                                        Heat butter in saucepan until melted. Cook and stir onion in butter until onion is browned; discard onion. Stir flour into into the butter and cook over low heat until roux is deep brown. Remove from heat and whisk in beef broth. Heat to boiling, boil and stir for one minute and stir in salt and pepper.

                                        1. I've been using panko bread crumbs in my meatloaf lately. Make sure the beef is not too lean. I would say 85% lean at most. The fat mostly renders out, but in the meantime, itkeeps the meatloaf moist.

                                          You get a really nice, 'restauranty" mashed potatoes using a ricer and warm the dairy before mixing it in.

                                          While you can certainly mix the meatloaf and peel the potatoes earlier in the day, there is not a lot of prep work to this meal that you need to cook it ahead of time. I would not chance dried meatloaf or gummy mashed potatoes for a meal you want to be special.

                                          I've done rainbow cookies with red pink and white layers for valentines day.

                                          34 Replies
                                          1. re: Val55

                                            Thansk for all the replies! Very helpful...I've narrowed the list of possibilities to 5 recipes. I'll make carrots, because I think we can both agree on carrots! (He likes peas, I don't and I like green beans, he doesn't).

                                            Val do you mean the rainbow cookies you can find in an Italian bakery? The ones with 3 colors? If so do you have a good recipe?

                                            1. re: lovessushi

                                              Yes, I mean those cookies. They are not overly hard to make, you make quite a few at a time and they taste much better than most bakeries' because you are using real almond paste. They also impress everyone because no one realizes you can make them at home. You can google Rainbow cookies or venetian cookie recipe, they are pretty much all the same. Here is one example:


                                              I looked at that recipe. You should butter the pan, then put wax or parchment paper and then butter that too. After you stack the layers, you should cover with plastic, then put something heavy on top overnight (I put a baking pan on top, then something heavy on top of that), so that the layers stick together. Then the next day, you spread chocolate on top. I just melt semisweet chocolate chips in the microwave and spread that over the top. Then wait only a few minutes before you cut. if you wait till the chocolate is too hard (they say an hour in the fridge), the chocolate will crack.

                                              Sometimes I use raspberry preserves instead of apricot, especially with the pink and red ones. I've also made them red white and blue for July 4.

                                              It's easier than it looks!

                                                1. re: lovessushi

                                                  Just want to announce that as I get ready to go food shopping tomorrow, I am utterly panicked that I am going to completely botch up this meal on Sunday...I am really challenged in the area of cooking...will let everyone know how it goes since I'm sure you're all waiting with baited breath ;)

                                                  1. re: lovessushi

                                                    You can do this ... this is easy ... just breathe :)

                                                    1. re: lovessushi

                                                      Just keep it simple, it will be fine. Make today and taste test if you're that worried.

                                                      1. re: coll

                                                        Thanks foigras and coll...I know this isn't exactly earth shattering...but I'm nuts ;)

                                                        btw coll I settled on your recipe for linzer tarts for dessert :) - And I'm either doing your meatloaf or Alton Brown's...let you know how it turns out!

                                                        1. re: lovessushi

                                                          Me or Alton Brown, I am so honored! Don't get compliments like that every day ;-) I'm making linzer tarts shortly too (thanks for reminding me!) with the leftover ends of dough I saved from Chirstmas, I do this every year for my husband who loves them so much. Just a few for after dinner tomorrow. Too bad I never got around to getting the heart shaped cutters, plus the tiny hearts that come in the aspic kits, well before next year....they will have to be round this one last time.

                                                          1. re: coll

                                                            :) I'm glad :))) Still not sure though leaning towards the Brown one, only because I'm not sure how well mushrooms will go over with my bf. And yes, well, I forgot the heart shape cutters, I forgot the buttermilk for muffins I wanted to make for bkfst (he's still asleep!) and I forgot to get a meatloaf pan so I am BELIEVING you that it won't be greasy on a sheet pan ;) lol -
                                                            I am very anti-grease! :)
                                                            Ok, off to the store to get the buttermilk, and then diving in to make muffins and cookies now, and meatloaf and such later...

                                                            1. re: lovessushi

                                                              No...I've changed my mind...making yours :)))

                                                              1. re: lovessushi

                                                                You're talking about a jelly roll pan or something with sides, right? Not a cookie sheet?

                                                                1. re: foiegras

                                                                  Sorry I was at work and didn't see this earlier. The mushrooms are totally optional, there will be no difference if you leave them out. Just don't use fresh, because they suck up all the grease in an unnatural way. Buttermilk, you can just add a spoonful of vinegar or lemon juice to plain milk and wait 5 minutes, or next time you buy some, freeze it in 1 cup portions for later use.

                                                                  I cook it on a thick (professional) cookie sheet, the grease is very separate from the loaf when done. If you do it in something with sides, it will hold the grease in, and not in a good way.

                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                    I was actually talking about a cookie sheet - and yes,coll I was planning on using the professional one someone gave me for the holidays...my bf is very skeptical this is going to work...but I have faith...
                                                                    You can shape it in whatever shape, correct? I'm assuming it doesn't really matter-
                                                                    Yes, leaving the mushrooms out and have everything else ready. I did buy the buttermilk - muffins came out really nicely (Dorie Greenspan's corn muffins) and I didn't know I could freeze the rest! Definitely doing that...
                                                                    Thanks :)

                                                                    1. re: lovessushi

                                                                      Yes any shape, and why not heart shaped? I usually do a rough football shape myself. You'll have to let me know asap how it came out, now I'll be thinking about you all night!

                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                        Aw, thanks! I'm making everything now - I promise I will let you know asap!! :)

                                                                        1. re: lovessushi

                                                                          I think I'm more nervous than you now......this is a great responsibility. My dinner (Italian as requested) was highly praised by DH tonight so I am on a roll. He usually just takes it for granted.

                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                            Lol! I was so nervous bf asked if I was alright! So glad your DH loved dinner! Bf really enjoyed it!! There were some snags, but in the end everything was really delicious! Internet went out just before I was ready to assemble meatloaf, and I couldn't remember your recipe of course, so I had to resort to a ...gasp...book...and went with the joy of cooking meatloaf, making the glaze as I remembered you describing. It came out wonderfully!! Potatoes were awesome - leeks could have been sweated down more but really good. And your COOKIES!!! OMG...absolutely a hit with bf!! Only issue was that they were rather bizzare looking as the cutters I used were too big, so the hole on the top cookie was too large and made the cookies look like weird flying saucers. :) But so good - he LOVED them!!!

                                                                            Thank you so much coll for the recipes and for all your help!! Such a hit!! Can I just steal all your recipes? lol - I wish every dish I made was a winner like this was! Your DH shouldn't take your cooking for granted...trust me...my bf is always a bit concerned when I enter the kitchen ;)

                                                                            1. re: lovessushi

                                                                              I've been married 35 years so I've had a little practice, and time to experiment, but at the same time enough for my husband to become blase about my cooking. First time I made meatloaf for him I burnt it (I know, how is that possible?) Meatloaf isn't an exact science, now that you have the basics you can try different tweaks to make it your own. Any recipes you want, you let me know. When I told my husband at dinner last night that I was waiting to see how your meatloaf came out, he asked why I'm giving out my recipes on the Internet...like they should be trademarked or something ;-) I'm always honored to pass any others on to you (or anyone else) and then hear if they were a success, thanks for the good news! I think I will show my husband what you said tonight, and he will understand.

                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                Thank you so much coll!!! Your recipes should definitely be trademarked ;) But tell your husband it's in good hands here, and I am ever so grateful :-) I have a laundry list of things I'd like to be able to make...you shouldn't have offered more help ;)
                                                                                But seriously, thank you very much :)

                                                                                1. re: lovessushi

                                                                                  I had lots of people to help me along, and I think of them whenever I make "their" dish, so guess that's the same as a trademark. Usually name it after them too, so there you go. Let me know what's up next.

                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                    Thanks - sorry it took a day to get back to you. You're so sweet - and yes, these are coll's Linzer tarts now :) I also wanted to tell you - there was so much dough I decided to freeze half of it to make cookies as needed. Bf asked me to make a few last night and they were perfect! Came out beautifully even from frozen.
                                                                                    I will definitely let you know what's up next - really nice of you to offer!! I'm starting to think if it's your recipe it must be good! :)

                                                                                    1. re: lovessushi

                                                                                      Well I've been working on my recipes awhile, and they have all been approved by The Family. The frozen cookie dough is so great, I started doing it at Christmas because I was so sick of making tray after tray, you definitely enjoy them more in small quantities a little while later.

                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                        I do not believe any of my recipes have been approved by the extremely tiny family...with the exception of my roasted potatoes, a hearty vegetable soup, and risotto (and your cookies of course). Everything else is kind of a toss-up ;)
                                                                                        Well, since you were so nice to offer, how about this? A good shrimp dish? Quick...and relatively healthy? Or how about something nice (and foolproof to do with chicken breasts?) I know that's a broad request...don't want to take too much of your time! And maybe I should have started another thread!! If you're up for the challenge...thank you!! :)

                                                                                        1. re: lovessushi

                                                                                          Glad to start my day with a food challenge!

                                                                                          This is my newest favorite shrimp dish, it's so easy you won't believe it. I call it VIETNAMESE SHRIMP:

                                                                                          1/2 lb peeled shrimp
                                                                                          2 Tbsp butter
                                                                                          1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
                                                                                          2 Tbsp sherry
                                                                                          2 Tbsp cilantro, preferably Vietnamese (I grow my own, don't know if you can find)

                                                                                          Heat butter til foaming subsides. Saute ginger 30 seconds. Add shrimp for 2 minutes. Add sherry and saute til shrimp is done, 10 or 2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and cilantro.

                                                                                          Then there's always SHRIMP SCAMPI, healthy if you're on Atkins ;-) this is how I make it:
                                                                                          12 large shrimp, peeled and butterflied
                                                                                          (I also add some scallops occasionally)
                                                                                          1/2 stick of butter, melted (whipped butter works well here)
                                                                                          1/4 cup olive oil
                                                                                          3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
                                                                                          2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
                                                                                          1/4 cup sherry (or white wine or vermouth)
                                                                                          dash worcestshire, tabasco, white pepper

                                                                                          Place shrimp (and scallops) in baking dish in single layer. Mix all else and pour over. Marinade 2 or 3 hours.

                                                                                          If just shrimp, broil 5 inches from heat for 5 minutes on each side.
                                                                                          Scallops, broil just 3 minutes per side.

                                                                                          Garnish with 2 Tbsp parsley and some paprika.

                                                                                          Something else I made recently that was interesting:

                                                                                          RED CURRY SHRIMP

                                                                                          1 Tbsp curry paste
                                                                                          1 can coconut milk (I use buttermilk to make it less calories)
                                                                                          8 z clam juice
                                                                                          1 lb raw peeled shrimp
                                                                                          1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro
                                                                                          1 lime

                                                                                          Heat curry paste in skillet til melted about 1 minute.
                                                                                          Add milk and clam juice, whisk til it boils and dissolves.
                                                                                          Continue to boil gently around 7 minutes until thickened.
                                                                                          Add shrimp and cook until pink, about 4 minutes.
                                                                                          Stir in cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
                                                                                          Serve in bowl with jasmine rice and mango or pineapple. Garnish with lime slices.

                                                                                          I probably got that recipe from here, and the first one (they are really new for me) so I apologize in advance to the OP for any bastardization.

                                                                                          For chicken, I also do a CHICKEN SCAMPI:

                                                                                          6 to 8z chicken breast
                                                                                          1 Tbsp butter
                                                                                          1 tsp chopped garlic
                                                                                          also sprinkle some garlic powder
                                                                                          salt and pepper to taste
                                                                                          pinch of paprika
                                                                                          1 z sherry

                                                                                          Cut the chicken into 1 inch squares. In baking dish, put the butter, then the chicken. Sprinkle the rest of the ingredients on top, and bake at 450 for 12 minutes.

                                                                                          Here's my other new favorite that I've been raving about:

                                                                                          My husband doesn't approve of cutlets, except for parmigiana or chicken salad, so I don't have a ton of recipes. For myself I like to make a mildly curried chicken salad with grapes and nuts, and apples and pineapples which is not to his taste, but has been praised in other quarters. Come to think of it, he doesn't really do shrimp either except for cocktail, but me and the cats love it so much that I make lots of it anyway (I buy it in 10 lb cases). I often cook two separate meals just to make everyone happy.

                                                                                          Hope one of these appeals to you, not sure if you're into ethnic food as much as I am, if not let me know and I will dig deeper in my recipe vaults!

                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                            You're glad to start your day with a food challenge?? Seriously! Wow, you ARE truly exceptional ;)
                                                                                            I absolutely love your recipes - all of these sound delicious and definitely something bf might actually eat! I love ethnic food! Thank you!! I won't be cooking much this weekend but definitely next week - can't wait to let you know how things come out...
                                                                                            You realize you've probably created an addict here...every few days "coll, do you have a recipe for...?" lol - thanks again!

                                                                                            1. re: lovessushi

                                                                                              Feel free, that's what I come here for!

                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                Hi - I'm sure you've been just staring at the computer, waiting for my reply ;) but I just wanted to share bf has been sick with flu and there has been minimal to no cooking in the house - so no chance to try your yummy recipes. But hopefully soon!
                                                                                                I did make your meatloaf tonight, because he is getting hungry again, and it came out beautifully!! Perfect for this winter storm!
                                                                                                I did want to ask you, perhaps I should make another thread, but how about vegetables? Do you have any good recipes for simply made, non-creamy veggies (i.e. broccoli, carrots) that would be good for an "every night" sort of dinner? Thanks!!

                                                                                                1. re: lovessushi

                                                                                                  Well today's your lucky day! I'm snowed in and have plenty of time for a change.

                                                                                                  ROMAN STYLE BROCCOLI
                                                                                                  1 bunch broccoli, cut up roughly
                                                                                                  3 Tbsp olive oil (and butter if desired)
                                                                                                  3 cloves garlic
                                                                                                  red pepper flakes
                                                                                                  2 or 3 anchovies
                                                                                                  1 cup wine (red or white, whatever you have)
                                                                                                  lemon zest
                                                                                                  a cup or so of toasted bread crumbs to top (cooked with some olive oil in cast iron pan til well browned)

                                                                                                  Par cook broccoli.
                                                                                                  Saute garlic in oil until brown, remove and discard.
                                                                                                  Add broccoli and all else (except topping) to the oil.
                                                                                                  Cook at low boil for 10 minutes until almost dry.
                                                                                                  Top with bread crumbs and serve.

                                                                                                  BALSAMIC GLAZED CARROTS
                                                                                                  2 cups baby carrots
                                                                                                  1 cup chicken broth
                                                                                                  2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
                                                                                                  1 Tbsp butter
                                                                                                  salt and pepper to taste

                                                                                                  Place carrots and broth in small pan and bring to boil. Reduce to medium and simmer until tender and liquid is absorbed, about half hour.
                                                                                                  Add vinegar and cook over high 3 to 5 minutes to glaze. Stir in butter. Season with salt and pepper.

                                                                                                  PEAS WITH PROSCUITTO AND PIGNOLI
                                                                                                  1 lb frozen peas or 2 lbs fresh peas, shelled
                                                                                                  2 oz very thin proscuitto, chopped fine
                                                                                                  1/4 cup pignolia, toasted
                                                                                                  salt pepper and mint to taste

                                                                                                  Cook peas until tender. (If frozen, I just thaw)
                                                                                                  Cook proscuitto over low heat in dash of olive oil for about 2 minutes. Add pignolia and cook another 30 seconds. Add peas and seasonings, cook 30 more seconds and serve.
                                                                                                  (If any leftover, this is great to add to pasta dishes, especially clam sauce)

                                                                                                  ZUCCINI PROVENCAL
                                                                                                  2 Tbsp butter
                                                                                                  1/2 cup chopped onion
                                                                                                  1 clove garlic, whole
                                                                                                  4 zuccini, cubed
                                                                                                  2 tomato, cubed
                                                                                                  sliced olives
                                                                                                  basil, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper

                                                                                                  Saute onion and garlic 5 minutes, remove garlic. (You may notice I always do this, but you can just chop and leave in too)
                                                                                                  Add zuccini, tomato and seasonings.
                                                                                                  Cover and cook 15 minutes.
                                                                                                  Top with parmesan and serve.

                                                                                                  GREEN BEANS MILANESE
                                                                                                  2 lb young green beans
                                                                                                  4 Tbsp butter
                                                                                                  1 clove garlic
                                                                                                  salt and pepper
                                                                                                  pinch of nutmeg
                                                                                                  1/3 cup parmesan
                                                                                                  2 Tbsp bread crumbs

                                                                                                  Trim beans and boil in salted water for about 6 minutes, until al dente. Drain well. In skillet, saute garlic in butter til browned. Discard garlic, add beans and toss til well coated with butter. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, cover and cook gently for about 6 minutes. Add cheese and bread crumbs, mix and cook uncovered another 2 or 3 minutes.

                                                                                                  I'm realizing these all sound very Italian, so here's some that're not so much:

                                                                                                  HERICOT VERT WITH CHESTNUTS
                                                                                                  1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
                                                                                                  1/2 stick butter
                                                                                                  2 cups whole roasted chestnuts (you can get in a jar, or Trader Joes has some in a box)
                                                                                                  1/2 cup chicken broth
                                                                                                  1/4 cup whiskey mixed with a spoon of maple syrup
                                                                                                  2 lb hericot vert (Trader Joe has frozen, or there is a brand in the fresh produce section at the grocery lately that is excellent, can't remember the name but it comes in a bag that you can microwave and I think is organic)

                                                                                                  Cook shallots in half of the butter for 5 minutes.
                                                                                                  Add chestnuts, broth, whiskey and maple syrup. Simmer til evaporated and glazed about 5 minutes.Season with salt and pepper.
                                                                                                  Lightly brown the remaining butter and saute beans in it for 2 minutes.
                                                                                                  Serve beans topped with chestnuts.

                                                                                                  LEMON SESAME ASPARAGUS
                                                                                                  Steam asparagus 6 minutes.
                                                                                                  Brown 2 tsp sesame seeds in 1 Tbsp butter.
                                                                                                  Add 2 Tbsp lemon juice or rice vinegar, a dash of sesame oil and a dash of hot sauce.
                                                                                                  Pour all over asparagus and serve.

                                                                                                  EGGPLANT IN GARLIC SAUCE
                                                                                                  2 medium eggplants, about 3 lbs each
                                                                                                  2 Tbsp oil (I like Roland ginger oil but whatever you would use for Chinese is fine)
                                                                                                  2 cloves garlic, minced
                                                                                                  1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
                                                                                                  1/2 tsp hot sesame oil, or sesame oil and red pepper flakes
                                                                                                  1 Tbsp soy sauce
                                                                                                  1 tsp sugar
                                                                                                  1/4 tsp white pepper
                                                                                                  1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbsp sherry

                                                                                                  Roast eggplants until skin is partially burnt (oven or grill OK). Not too much, you want it a little firm. Cool.
                                                                                                  Peel off skin and chop roughly.
                                                                                                  Heat oil of your choice over med high heat. Add garlic, heat briefly, then add onion and saute til golden. Add the hot sesame oil, and then eggplant. Stir fry, coating eggplant, for a couple of minutes. Add soy sauce, sugar, white pepper. Add cornstarch mixture, tossing constantly, until sauce thickens.

                                                                                                  Well that's a start, let me know what you think. I've got a million of them!

                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                    I think I'm in love... ;) Lol - these all look so great - thank you for taking the time to write them all down! I can't wait to try them!! We are snowed in too - I haven't seen this much in a long time! Think I might make the broccoli tonight if I can find some anchovies. Seriously, these all look incredibly delicious...a million?! Wow...I think you have true fan now :))

                                                                                                    1. re: lovessushi

                                                                                                      Worcestshire is a great sub for anchovies, and if you don't have it's not that important. I bet the original recipe didn't even call for it, it's just that it reminded me of MILs aglio e olio sauce that included them. Gotta get back to shoveling now...

                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                        Good to know - though I definitely like the sound of the anchovies! Yes, shoveling went on for most of the day!

                                                                                                        1. re: lovessushi

                                                                                                          Coll - tried your Roman broccoli yesterday - finally!!! LOVED IT!!!!! :)

                                                                                                          1. re: lovessushi

                                                                                                            So glad! We love it too, so rare for him to like veggies. But it's very similar to his grandmother's aglio olio (minus the broccoli), and if you added more like a cup of oil, you could then add angel hair pasta and have a meal instead of a side dish.

                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                              Sounds SO good!!!! I need to try that!! :))

                                              1. I've seen all the submissions, but just FYI - my family likes a good country gravy with their meat loaf. Very easy. If you use the drippings from your meatloaf pan(s), then add milk and a little season salt (I use Lowery's). Then while heating, mix up a little flour and water and once milk/drippings are hot, whisk in the flour mixture till it is a consistency you like. Salt and pepper to taste. Easy!

                                                1. If you get to the point where you make meat loaf often, I recommend a meat loaf pan. After making free-form meatloaf for many years, I bought an on-sale meat loaf pan on a whim. It is nonstick, and has a 4-sided perforated insert which allows the fat to drain into the solid pan. At one point I also had one with an insert that only had end sides, which ended inlips for lifting it out. It didn't work as well.

                                                  I pack the mix right up to the top of the pan, then with the side of my hand, press a center trough down the length of the loaf. I fill the trough with ketchup, and put a rasher of bacon along either side of the trough, tucking it in at the end. The meat shrinks as it cooks, so I do get some brown crust along the sides, admittedly not as much as on a free-form loaf.
                                                  The advantages: Because I put a lot of vegetables in my meatloaf, the free-form version tends to break up when sliced. The loaf pan version is more cohesive because I really pack it in. I get more usable drippings and fond for gravy with the meatloaf pan. Once I turn the loaf out of the insert, I return the insert to the pan and fill it with boiling water. After that sits for a few minutes, I use a rubber spatula to loosen all the drippings from both pieces, pouring everything into a saucepan. I boil it down, skim the fat, and then add a flour-milk-bouillon slurry to make gravy. Also, I find it easier to wash the loaf pan than to deglaze and wash a sheet pan or lasagna pan.

                                                  One good thing about using a larger pan with a free-form loaf is that once some fat has rendered, I used to add halved or thickly-sliced potatoes to the pan, to roast right along with the meat loaf.

                                                  I would not want to make meat loaf in a regular loaf pan without a draining insert.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                    Yes, I definitely want to buy one at some point. To be honest I was kind of planning to buy one on Saturday, but then time got away and there was nothing open on Sunday...but I definitely want to try it that way too and see how it turns out

                                                  2. Glad to hear your meal turned out so well!

                                                    I'm not a big ketchup fan (except with fast food fries), so I top my meatloaf with undiluted canned tomato soup and a few strips of bacon. It's the only thing I use the concentrated canned soup for (usually Campbell's), but it works really well to moisten the loaf and add a bit of tomato flavor without the sweetness of ketchup, and it mixes really well with the bacon to make a sort-of sauce.

                                                    I do bake in a loaf pan, and just drain off some of the fat when I take the meatloaf out.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: bear

                                                      I like the canned tomato soup idea - but I think I would skip the bacon only because I'm not a fan - but definitely something to consider next time instead of ketchup!

                                                    2. The problem with making a meatloaf in a loaf pan is it comes out looking gray and anemic. I make a hand formed meatloaf and put it on either a broiler pan or a jelly roll pan with a drip rack on it. I wrap the drip rack in aluminum foil and poke holes in the top layer of foil. The grease goes into the foil and can be thrown away. Easy clean up. What makes a better looking loaf and therefore a better tasting loaf because you taste with your eyes first is a glaze. I use ketchup and worchestershire sauce mixed then brushed on. Sometimes I put some chili powder in it. If you want it a little spicey, you can even add a dash of cayenne. Brush the glaze on the meatloaf just before putting in the oven.

                                                      Another suggestion, If you are going to have veggies in the loaf... I use chopped onion and red bell pepper, Saute them before adding them to the loaf. They won't get soft enough just baking in the loaf.

                                                      Use a combination of ground chuck, ground pork and ground veal. If you can't get veal, I usually use ground sirloin.

                                                      Alton Brown has a pretty good recipe on food network.

                                                      As far as the gravy, I would be tempted to a can of Swansons beef broth and a gravy mix... perhaps Beef mushroom. it should be acceptable and quick.

                                                      1. I added a teaspoon of "better than bouillon" beef base to the meat mix a few days ago. It made it taste beefier.

                                                        1. I know this is late to the game, but as meatloaf is usually part of the meal rotation for carnivores, I thought I'd give my two cents. I make a LOT of meatloaf, but it's usually made when I have little time to prepare and measure. Hence I often use bottle sauces.

                                                          I'm not particularly fond of straight ketchup, but I do like the tomato base. Barbecue sauce is the old standby (I usually use a bottled version from a local rib joint that is not widely available). I've also used a jerk sauce or pretty much anything with a tomato base and some sugar content with great success.

                                                          Lately, however, my new favorite is to mix one part catsup to two parts Pickapeppa sauce (which I also put in the meatloaf itself). If you're not familiar with it, it's a tart, spicy, sweet tamarind-based sauce from Jamaica that is something akin to Worcestershire.

                                                          I also fairly regularly make mini-meatloaves in a muffin pan. They tend to cook more evenly (but that could be my old, stupid stove, and I've not tested meatloaf in the new toaster convection oven).

                                                          1. This isn't exactly on topic but related. I've been going through old food magazines to save recipes I want (and get rid of the clutter), and I happened upon a piece about "trick" food in a Halloween issue. Rachel Ray made a sausage meatloaf (though I imagine you could do any meatloaf) in cupcake wrappers and piped mashed potatoes on top to look like frosting. It seems like a really cute and easy thing, particularly for kids.

                                                            1. Why not be inventive and make a Shepherds pie. You still have the ground meat and the mashed potatoes. We add a layer of hardboiled eggs and top it all with a sprinkle of parmesian cheese. Looks for recipes. Ours is a Chilean versions using sauted onions, raisens, black olives. In Chile it is called Pastel de Papa. It gives a new twist to ground beef.

                                                              1. This four years late. But you made me want to sign up. I'm sure you don't even need an answer anymore. I just wondered why you feel the need to put leeks in. I'm from TN. Gravy is simple to me but there are a billion ways to do it. Never heard of putting leeks in there, nor wrapping the meatloaf in bacon. Is your sweety from the south? We don't all have to have as much grease as possible in every recipe. Although it does help in many cases, there are better ways to get exactly the same flavor without clogging our arteries.

                                                                I take extreme pride in being a great southern cook and some things can't be compromised, but gravy and meatloaf can be done without adding too much artery effort.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: anniemo51

                                                                  Leeks, because she is trying to recreate something from a local restaurant.

                                                                  Bacon, she said she's not going there, but it's a popular method with some. Me, I like bacon, but don't want everything I cook to taste like it.