Tag Archives: dinner

Recipe Review – Meatloaf

We’re on a strict budget, which means we grocery shop based on what’s on sale. This week, that item was ground beef. Now, if you’re willing to get the 80/20 beef, you can get it for really cheap. I’m not so I pay a little more but still got it for a good price. With the protein out of the way, it was just a matter of finding something to make with it. We already were having chili with beef and stuffed peppers with turkey, and have frozen burgers, so I wanted something new. Everyone raves about Skinnytaste recipes so I headed over to her website to find something new. I didn’t find something new, but it was something I hadn’t had in a long time. Meatloaf. Something about meatloaf makes me think of being a 50s housewife, so I’m not generally inclined to make it. But my husband likes it and my son said he ate it at school so I thought he might eat some (he didn’t), so I gave it a shot. (Side note, I just went to the Skinnytaste website to get the meatloaf link and how awesome does this look?)

I only found a recipe for turkey meatloaf so I just subbed in my beef. Two things: (1) this recipe could not have been easier to make and (2) it was really good. I followed the recipe pretty closely. Other than the turkey-beef substitution, I didn’t have marjoram (and also I didn’t know what marjoram was) so I threw in some garlic powder. I looked it up today and substitutes for marjoram are basil or thyme so I was WAY off, but it still worked out OK. Also, I was a little low on ketchup so I added in some barbecue sauce. It’s hard to tell how different it would have been with just ketchup but I feel like the barbecue added a little kick.

Meatloaf is so easy. It’s just mixing everything in a bowl and then baking. Nothing to it. I’ll definitely make this again.

My favorite part. I LOVE the smell of onions cooking!
Can’t go wrong with Sweet Baby Ray’s!
Good ol’ lean ground beef
Going in to the oven
Going in to the oven

The hardest part about making meatloaf is waiting an hour for it to cook. Luckily, I have a five-year-old who has lots of things he needs mommy to do  so I barely noticed the time go by!

The finished product
The finished product

I am a terrible food chopper so the onions were a little larger than I would have preferred. Next time I’ll use the food processor, or better yet, my husband.

Recipe Review – Creamy Avocado Pasta

First it was, “are you on Facebook?” Then it was, “do you tweet,” and now “did you pin that?” Pin, as in Pinterest, as in the “you think it’s stupid but next thing you know you are pinning everything and getting excited about creating new boards” website. If you don’t know it, Pinterest is a combination of scrapbooking and bookmarking a website. You create a board and then “pin” things to it. You know how when you want to come back to a website, you bookmark it? Now you pin a thumbnail of it and it looks pretty.

Anywho, one of my Pinterest boards is for recipe saving. I always intend to but I’ve never actually made any of the recipes, until, you guessed it, until now! I have been so bored with my eating lately I figured I better shake things up, and so I attempted to make Creamy Avocado Pasta, originally found on the Flourishing Foodie website. In cooking, for me, the more simple the better and this seemed pretty simple –  tomatoes, avocado, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and pasta. It was simple and it was really good!

I’ll skip right ahead to the end product:

And just for comparison, here’s the original recipe photo on the left and mine on the right:

OK, so now the details. (To be honest, I don’t really know how it works doing a recipe review and I don’t want to post anything without permission so I’m not going to post the whole recipe, but you can find it here.

What I liked:

  • It was delicious!
  • Easy to make, even for me!
  • Roasting the tomatoes added incredible flavor. It also gave me time to make the avocado mix before starting the pasta/finishing the tomatoes. I get very flustered in the kitchen doing more than one thing at a time!
  • The avocado mix (avocado, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil) was so good I could eat it right out of the bowl. I will definitely make just that again and use as a dip.

What I would change next time:

  • The recipe used fettuccine. We didn’t have any so I used regular spaghetti, which I found really hard to mix together, so at hubby’s suggestion, I’d probably use bow tie, rotini or penne next time.
  • It was a little too creamy for my taste. The recipe says to blend the avocado mix until “smooth and creamy.” It’s possible that I mixed too much so next time I’ll leave it a little chunkier. It didn’t taste too oily but I will cut back the oil next time. With the avocados and lemon juice, I think two tablespoons of oil is too much.
  • The recipe called for Campari tomatoes. I have no idea what those are but based on the photos I’m guessing like the smaller tomatoes on the vine. I couldn’t find those so I used plum tomatoes. I think next time I’ll use cherry tomatoes. It will be a little harder to cut up (those damn little ones always slip away!) but the plum tomatoes, even cut up, were too big for the pasta.
  • Being my usual self, I added in two extra garlic cloves. I will not do that again. The garlic flavor was a little overwhelming. She made a good call there in her recipe!
  • I didn’t have any pine nuts, which the recipe called for (and at $4.62 a bag was not about to buy any!), so I don’t know what that would have added. I think the nutty crunch would probably be great.
  • The recipe said to use four servings of pasta (instead of a measurable amount). I have no idea how much that is without measuring. Given how much avocado mix I had, I might not have used enough pasta. I’ll have to fool with that.

In short, this was awesome and I’ll definitely make again, with a few minor changes. But that’s the fun with recipes – taking someone else’s creation and making it your own! Or as I like to call it, letting someone else do all the work and sweeping in for the victory!

Tomatoes – bought, chopped and roasted
Avocado, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil

And least I forget, because I’m not sure exactly how much pasta I used, it’s a little hard to figure out the Weight Watchers points.  I’m estimating this at 8-10PP per serving. I know that’s vague but I’ll come back and update after I make it again and measure out the pasta. Don’t freak out about the high points. I wouldn’t eat this every day and, other than the pasta, this is healthy eating at it’s best. Avocado and olive oil are fantastically good for you, and if you cut the oil like I plan to do, it will knock one point off.