Comfort Food Remix: Turkey Meatloaf & Fresh Green Bean Casserole

I’m so awkward when it comes to real food.    It’s embarrassing.    I don’t normally tell people about this.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat it and I enjoy making it but…

my natural kitchen flow can be a smidge timid  when sugary sweet bakedness isn’t involved.

I don’t know. It’s just one of things, ya know?

Like okay, when it comes to soups… well, I’ve been called the soup master a time or two.                  By my dad.          Whatever.

Sauces… I’m totally on the gravy train.

Savory breads… I mean duh. Baked good, hello.

But say you hand me a hunk of raw cow flesh and shoot me the “do your thing, girl” look … I mean, I don’t know why you’d ever do that, but just saying you did… I’d be uncomfortable.

I’ve no earthly idea what it is.

As soon as I inch out of soup/salad/sandwich land, intimidation sets in.  A nasty little intimidation creature that sits in that grody corner of the kitchen by the garbage can and whispers terrible things… “Go back to the cafe, Sugar. Leave this junk to the big kids. Go bake muffins or something.”

What a jerk.

After that, things have nowhere to go but… awkward.

I can’t entertain people while I cook forreals because every hot pot and pan demands that I maintain constant eye contact with it. It’s like something out of Harry Potter. The minute I stop staring, all hell breaks loose.      So then, I come off not only as awkward, but rude too.   Awesome.

If I’m not staring at the stove, I’m staring at the recipe.  So that I can read the same line 6 times, forget what it said, and go read it again.   That doesn’t happen when I’m baking.                Freaking annoying.

I pretty much throw taking pictures out the window until all is said and done.

The pictures I do take are, surprise surprise… awkward.   As you may have noticed.

I have relatively no aesthetic instinct when it comes to plating things like meatloaf.     I apologize.
I think I’ve said this before, and it didn’t happen. But I’ll say it again, and maybe it will.

I’m aiming to incorporate more savory shtuff around here.  Man cannot live on fat and sugar alone.

I could. But mankind in general, not so much.

Plus, we’re heading into the chilly months when hardy fare is critical. I was thinking a couple twists on comforting classics would be a nice way to kick off.  This turkey loaf makes for a pretty stellar change of pace from your typical ground beef blob. Switches up the flavor, texture and nutritive content… less fat, fibrous oats, you know. As far as the green beans, I have holiday nightmares about condensed cream of mushroom soup + canned green beans+ canned french onion flavored crispy things casserole. Alton Brown’s recipe puts my soul at ease. Fresh green beans, rich creamy bechamel, real onions… that’s what I’m talking about.

I’d trust Alton Brown with any of my veggies. And my life.

I feel like I’ve said “I” an exceptional amount today.

I’m making today a self-proclaimed All About Me Day.      Everyone deserves those.

So one final thing you should know about me… if I ever have you over for dinner, quickest way to become the love of my life is pretending that you don’t notice my cooking awkwardness and bringing me fresh bread and cheese.

Goat milk brie is where it’s at.

Turkey Meatloaf

Adapted from Ellie Krieger

  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 medium onion, peeled
  • 2 pounds ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, stir together the oats and milk. Thinly slice 1/4 of the onion and set aside. Finely chop the remaining onion. In a large bowl combine the turkey, oat mixture, chopped onion, bell pepper, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, mustard, garlic, thyme, salt and a few grinds of pepper. Mix just until well combined.

Transfer the mixture to a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and shape into a loaf about 5 inches wide and 2 1/2 inches high. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatloaf and sprinkle with the sliced onions. Bake for about 1 hour or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to15 minutes before slicing.

 

 

 

Best Ever Green Bean Casserole

From Alton Brown

For the topping:

  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Nonstick cooking spray

For beans and sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and halved
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup half-and-half

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Combine the onions, flour, panko and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Coat a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray and evenly spread the onions on the pan. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. Toss the onions 2 to 3 times during cooking. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees F.

While the onions are cooking, prepare the beans. Bring a gallon of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan. Add the beans and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and simmer for 1 minute. Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the half-and-half. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 of the onions and all of the green beans. Top with the remaining onions. Place into the oven and bake until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

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