"Because life is good, home cooking is best, and there is always something to be grateful for." - Christy Jordan

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The All-American Meal... Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

Meatloaf. Mashed potatoes. Biscuits. Does that scream All-American to you? It does to me. When I was making it, it made me feel like I was in the '50s, wearing a tight-waisted dress, a strand of pearls, and high heels in the kitchen with all the old-school appliances (in reality I was wearing a big t-shirt and shorts, but that's okay!). This has to be one of the most common meals around, but if you make each part of it really good, then it turns into an amazing, comforting meal.

I didn't take a lot of pictures when I was making this. Okay, I took one... but really this is a no brainer. The meatloaf is a dump and mix kind of thing and the mashed potatoes are super easy. Don't worry, I'll walk you through it, I just don't have as many pictures as I usually do. You could say I get a little camera happy when I'm cooking for the blog. :)

My yummy plate!
I actually really like meatloaf. I didn't grow up eating it , but I remember making it at school two years ago because one of our friends did us a favor and we said we would cook him any meal he wanted to thank him.  When he said he wanted meatloaf and mashed potatoes, I had to google the recipe for meatloaf. I knew it couldn't be hard... from what I understood it was a big glob of some stuff mixed together with meat and you shape it on a pan and bake it, topped with ketchup. I took a shortcut and bought one of those McCormick seasoning packets that do half the work and it turned out pretty well! When I took my first bite I thought, "Is this what I've been missing?!?"

A while back I found a recipe for "Brown Sugar Meatloaf" and it sounded SO good to me. You should know, when I see a recipe that I think sounds good, I obsess over it. It's all I can think about. I think about the steps in making it and what it will taste like. It's pathetic. Cooking consumes my brain. Baking does too actually, and what's silly is that I hardly eat any of the stuff I bake. I'll try it once and then give it away. I really just like baking and the whole process of making it.

Look at me getting sidetracked....goodness. Okay, anyways, this recipe was fantastic. I loved it and Mom and Daddy did too. The brown sugar makes all the difference. I am not a ketchup person and I never have been. I'd rather eat my french fries plain than dip them in ketchup. I'm more of a ranch dressing kind of gal :) So the brown sugar mixed with the ketchup sent it over the top. It was so easy to make and so delicious.
Brown Sugar Meatloaf
Recipe from All Recipes.com 
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. ketchup
1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 c. seasoned bread crumbs (I only had plain and it worked fine)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil (SERIOUSLY DO THIS. Clean up will be a pain in your you know what if you don't. Trust me.) Make sure when you form your loaf that you put it in the center of the pan.
In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the brown sugar, ketchup and worcestershire sauce. All you have to do is use your hands (the best kitchen tools you have) and squish it all together. Yes, "squish" is a cooking term. I know you were wondering! Just make sure everything is really combined, but don't overwork it. Dump the mixture onto the center of the foil-lined baking sheet and form into a wide log-shape.
Next, combine the ketchup, brown sugar and worcestershire sauce in a bowl and then spoon, or pour, over the loaf so that it covers it. This sauce adds SO much flavor to the meatloaf and it is waaaaay better than just putting ketchup on it. You'll never go back to that, I promise!
Bake the meatloaf for 1 hour or until the juices are clear (to be honest, I didn't know what this meant, so I just baked it for about an hour!) The pan will look like a mess when you take it out of the oven. A lot of my sauce had run off and cooked too much on the foil, but don't worry about it. The meatloaf will still taste good!
I took this picture from the internet, but there just aren't enough pictures on this post! It's bothering me!

Best Ever Mashed Potatoes
3 baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 oz. cream cheese (light is fine)
1/2 c. sour cream (again, light is fine)
1 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
2 tbsp. butter

Peel your potatoes and cut them into pieces that are all about the same size. Put them into a large pot and add just enough water to cover them. Salt the water generously, I think I added about 1 1/2-2 teaspoons. Cover the pot and cook on high so the water comes up to a boil. 

It's important to add water after you put the potatoes in the pot because this allows the potatoes to all cook evenly and at the same time. Cutting them into similar sized pieces helps with this too. Plus, if you add the potatoes into hot water, the boiling hot water will pop out at you when you drop them in and IT HURTS. I know from experience.

Let the potatoes cook in boiling water for about 15 minutes, or until fork tender. This means you can stick a fork through a piece of potato and it goes through easily and the potato might even fall apart. This ensures that they will be easy to mash!

Drain the potatoes and add to a large bowl. Add in all your mix-ins and mash away. The sour cream and cream cheese give these potatoes amazing creaminess and flavor. This is my version of my Grandma's mashed potatoes that are famous within our family. Hers go in the oven for a while though and use actual chopped garlic.

I really think I could eat a whole bowl of these. They're SO GOOD.

I didn't take this one either, but these still look delicious, don't they?!
Now it's time for me to introduce you to one of my favorite southern cooks out there. I just found her last summer through her blog Southern Plate. Her name is Christy Jordan and she is incredible. Her blog is precious... she adds a cute story to each recipe post and her writing is so cute. I remember when I found her blog last summer. I think it took me about 2 minutes to fall in love with her and her blog. Once I realized that her blog lead her into creating a cookbook, I literally went to Target that day to go buy it. I knew it wouldn't let me down and it never, ever has. I've made several recipes out of it and each recipe is fantastic.  
The thing I like most about Southern Plate is that each recipe is down home, southern cooking, but it's still easy and carefree. Some recipes out there require so many steps that it can scare you away from making it. None of Christy's recipes are like that. If you read her posts, she doesn't even buy pure vanilla extract... she buys the imitation stuff and isn't afraid to admit it. She usually uses margarine instead of butter and hardly ever buys anything but store brand stuff. She's a regular woman, running a family and cooking good food along the way. Go buy her cookbook! It's my absolute favorite out of all of them in my collection...it even beats out Paula's books, and that is saying a whole lot!

This is Christy's recipe for biscuits and they were the best biscuits I've ever made. There's only 3 ingredients...you can't screw this up!
"Daddy's Rise-and-Shine Biscuits"
2 1/4 c. self-rising flour *
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened (I used cold because that's how I know to make biscuits)
1 1/4 c. buttermilk*
all-purpose flour for dusting
melted butter for brushing the baked biscuits

* To make your own self-rising flour, simply add 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt for each cup of all-purpose flour.
*To make your own buttermilk, add 1 tbsp. lemon juice or white vinegar to 1 c. milk. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir and use in place of buttermilk.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

Place the flour in a large bowl. Cut the butter in with a long-tined fork or pastry blender, I used my Grandma's :). You want the mixture to be crumbly and for the butter to in tiny pea-sized pieces. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. (Since I used cold butter, I skipped this step.) Remove from fridge and slowly pour in the buttermilk and stir until just moistened.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead 3-4 times with your hands, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. Don't overwork the dough. This will give you tough biscuits. Not good! I've learned that lesson the hard way. With well-floured hands, pat the dough out into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick. Fold each side over into the center as if folding a letter. Repeat two more times, beginning with patting the dough out.

Pat the dough out a final time until it is 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a biscuit cutter (I used a juice glass... it's called being resourceful!) dipped in flour. Make sure you don't twist your cutter into the dough. You need to press straight down so the layers will rise like they're supposed to. Place the biscuits on the baking sheet with the sides touching. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and brush the tops with melted butter.

You caught me, this isn't my picture either, but mine looked like this!

You should definitely try these for breakfast this weekend. Or anytime :)
Sorry for the long-winded post, but I just had to get it all in!


  1. YUM YUM and YUM!!

    Here is my all time favorite meatloaf recipe if you get the itch to try another one:


    And I will be trying your recipe soon :o)

  2. I've seen Paula make that one on her show and it looks delicious!

    Miss you!