Cozy Modern Meat & Potatoes

Meatloaf is not a dish that is talked about much these days. I don’t think it is because we are anti-beef, since in the U.S. we seem to be obsessed with burgers. Maybe people think meatloaf is a dated and tired dish. If that’s you, I believe this Fresh Italian Meatloaf recipe (that my friend Amy introduced us to many years ago) might change your mind! I have a vivid memory of being in her home and eating this dish. It is filled with great ingredients, including fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes, diced provolone cheese, and fresh garlic! I made it once many years ago but have recently revived it and my family (and friends who have had it) have enthusiastically embraced it! And with these dark evenings and colder temperatures, this meal hits the spot!

Italian Meatloaf

from Cooking Light magazine

makes 1 loaf (I double the recipe for my family of 5)

1 cup boiling water

½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil

1/2 cup ketchup

1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

¾ cup finely chopped onion

¾ cup chopped fresh basil

½ cup (2 ounces) diced sharp provolone cheese

2 large egg whites

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound ground round beef

Cooking spray

1/3 cup ketchup for the top

Combine boiling water and tomatoes in a bowl; let stand 30 minutes or until soft. Drain tomatoes; finely chop.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine 1/2 cup ketchup, and the next 7 ingredients (breadcrumbs through beef) in a large bowl. Add tomatoes to meat mixture.

Shape meat mixture into a 9 x 5-inch loaf on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray or optionally, a rimmed baking sheet covered with aluminum foil and coated with cooking spray. Spread 1/3 cup ketchup over meat loaf.

Bake at 350° for 45-60 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

I feel like meatloaf needs potatoes as its trusty companion, and I have 2 recommendations.

These baked potato halves are one of my favorite go-tos: a big win with small effort! The recipe is from a beautiful cookbook, Southern Kitchen by Sara Foster. I actually happened upon this book at an airport bookstore on their featured book table and was drooling at every page. They were having a “buy 1 get one 1/2 off” sale…so I bought 4 to give as gifts and keep one for our kitchen. This is the recipe from the cookbook that I return to over and over again. I usually make a combination of sweet potatoes and Idaho white potatoes, so people can choose what they want. They are very tasty and refrigerate and reheat so well, I always make plenty so we can have leftovers!

Baked Rosemary Sweet Potato (or Idaho Potato) Halves

by Sara Foster

4 Sweet Potatoes (or Idaho Potatoes…or a combo)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. melted butter

1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary

Coarse Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375˚.

Drizzle 2 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 Tbsp. melted butter onto a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary and sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Cut 4 potatoes in half lengthwise.  Rub the cut side of each potato half in the butter/oil/S & P goodness, and arrange cut side down, on the baking sheet. 

Bake until the potatoes are soft to the touch and the cut sides are golden brown, 30-35 minutes.  Remove from the oven and flip over. Serve warm with sea salt and lime wedges to squeeze over the potatoes (it’s really yummy)!

When serving the Idaho potatoes, my family likes topping them with cheese and sour cream! For the sweet potatoes, they need nothing additional- other than the lime juice, which is a delightful surprise.

If you are in the mood for Mashed Potatoes, these are my current favorite mashed potatoes. Teighen, of Half Baked Harvest, did it again, with this recipe. They are buttery, creamy, simple and irresistible. In her cookbook, Half Baked Harvest Super Simple she includes a recipe for this to be made in an instant pot. They are so easy and delicious!

Wishing you a season of cozy meals!

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