Spinach and Mozzarella Meatloaf

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This is not you mother’s ketchup and brown sugar topped meatloaf. This is a flavor packed cheesy meatloaf. I’ve had fails with meatloaf before that left me with a brick of dry beef but this recipe made such a juicy loaf that I doubt I’ll ever use a different one again. It is really hard to describe just how good this meatloaf was! I was able to prepare this ahead of time which was great as I had a busy afternoon planned with the kids. We got home in the late afternoon and all I needed to do was preheat the oven and cook this baby up. It does take an hour and 15 minutes to bake so be sure to allow yourself that time.

Serves: 1 loaf about 8 slices     Calories: approximately 444/ slice     Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 2 cups of finely chopped spinach
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl mix together ground beef, spinach, bread crumbs, 1.5 cups of the mozzarella cheese, onion, garlic, eggs, salt and pepper. Mix well but do not over-mix as you run the chances of drying it out.
  3. Transfer this mixture to a loaf pan.
  4. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella over the top of the loaf.
  5. Make a tent over the pan with foil. Don’t let the foil touch the cheese on top of the loaf because it will just stick to the foil and peel off.
  6. Bake for 1 hour
  7. Remove loaf from the oven and take off foil.
  8. Place loaf back in the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.simplifylivelove.com

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Cheesecake Factory Chipotle Pasta

ImageI’m always looking for new pasta recipes because it is so easy during the week to cook up some whole wheat pasta and a quick sauce. This recipe is just that. It is extremely easy and delicious to boot. The creamy sauce is rich but complimented nicely with crunchy veggies.

Serves: 8      Calories: 470       Time: 

Ingredients:

  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, rinsed ribbed and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, rinsed ribbed and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1.5 cups of frozen peas
  • 1 lb whole wheat pasta (we used penne)
  • 3 tbsp adobo sauce ( OPTIONAL: chop up and add a chipotle pepper or two to add additional heat)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • tortilla chips to top

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to its package directions.
  2. Combine lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside
  3. Chop veggies and garlic
  4. Over medium high heat, heat a skillet and add butter and canola oil.
  5. Add peppers, onion and lemon/honey mixture. Cook for approximately 5 minutes (until onions become clear) stirring as not to burn the honey.
  6. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
  7. Add frozen peas, heavy cream and parmesan cheese. Cook until peas are heated through approximately 5 minutes
  8. Let simmer for a few minutes so sauce will thicken and add adobo sauce and optional chopped chipotle
  9. If you are making homemade tortilla chips now would be the time to do it.
  10. Dish your pasta and top with tortilla chips. We also sprinkled chipotle pepper powder on top. Can you tell we like it hot 🙂
  11. Enjoy!
  12. TIP : When reheating do it stovetop to protect the sauce from separating. Heat over medium flame and stir constantly. There is cheese in this recipe so it will burn if you do not keep a constant stir.

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Original recipe adopted from http://mrsschwartzkitchen.blogspot.com/

Slow Cooker Carnitas

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I experience much stress/anxiety when cooking pork and that is why it has taken me so long to try a pork recipe. I was extremely nervous and half expected this recipe to be a complete disaster (think zombie apocalypse in my crock pot). Long story short, this pork came out so good that we ate the whole thing in the matter of two days… 2 lbs. of pork GONE in 48 hours! We were able to make tacos, nachos and quesadillas with just this one recipe. Once you try it, this recipe is a lot of fun to experiment with. I’ve tried adding other citrus and many variations of hot peppers. Follow this recipe exactly once than refine it to your own tastes. I think that’s why I love cooking so much as it is quite a creative outlet.

Serves: 10+      Calories: 440/serving      Time:

Ingredients:

  • 2lbs boneless skinless pork shoulder
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (I used 6 because I love garlic)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and ribs removed, chopped
  • If you like heat also chop up a Serrano pepper and throw it in. HIGHLY RECOMMEND
  • 1 orange, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Directions: 

  1. Rinse and dry the pork shoulder. Salt and pepper it liberally.
  2. Mix together the oregano, cumin, and olive oil. Rub the mixture all over the pork. Place pork in your slow cooker.
  3. Top with the onion, garlic, and jalapeño pepper. Squeeze the juice of the orange halves over the layers and add the two halves to the pot.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4 hours (I cooked it on low and had amazing results).
  5. Once the meat is tender, remove it from the slow cooker and let it cool for a few minutes before pulling it apart with a fork (This is important because if you don’t let it rest you’ll loose the juices of the meat leaving you with dry nastiness)
  6. In a large pan heat the canola oil over high heat. Add the carnitas and cook until crisp on one side. Add back to the crockpot and stir it around to mix in the slow cooked onions and jalapeño.
  7. Make tacos, nachos, quesadillas or anything you crave!
  8. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

**Original recipe can be found at http://www.foodnetwork.com