Meatloaf and potatoes are the perfect comfort foods for a blustery January afternoon for two reasons.
First, there is no other way to describe the combination but "yummy." Second, because having the oven on in the kitchen for an hour or more always adds to the toastiness of a home when it's cold outside!
My meatloaf recipe is pretty simple and definitely nothing fancy, but it always brings raves from the family. I like to use Lipton beefy-onion soup dry soup mix to add the onion flavor, but of course, finely chopped onions can also be added, if you prefer. The combination of ketchup and barbeque sauce also keeps the meatloaf moist and full of flavor.
Tribune Chronicle photos / Brenda J. Linert
Meatloaf and twice-baked potatoes make for a great meal of comfort food on a blustery January day.
I bake my meatloaf in a loaf pan that came with a specially designed insert that allows the grease to drain from the beef as it cooks. That certainly works the best, but if you don't have one, you can easily use a glass baking dish or a metal baking pan. If that's the case, I also would suggest lining the pan or baking dish with aluminum foil for ease of cleanup.
Twice-baked potatoes aren't a difficult thing to make, but if you have never made them, it might take a few attempts until you master the ability to remove the filling without destroying the skin. The trick is to make sure the potato is cooked well enough to scoop it easily, but not overdone that it becomes too soft.
If you are having a hard time preserving the skin / shell, you can remold the broken pieces of the skin around the pasty filling. Or, if you prefer to avoid the hassle, you could discard the skins and simply place the filling in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika, bake and serve as a twice-baked, garlic mashed potato.
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. low-fat ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 envelope of beefy-onion dry soup mix
1/4 cup ketchup
1/8 cup barbeque sauce
1/8 cup water
In a large bowl mix ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, garlic salt, black pepper and dry soup mix. After it is well mixed, individually mix in ketchup and barbeque sauce. The mixture should be pasty. Add up to an 1/8 cup of water to make it more manageable. Mix well with your hands or a large spoon.
Spray a baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and place the mixture in the pan. Mold it into a "loaf" shape, being sure not to press against the sides of the pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. Allow to cool at least 10 to 15 minutes before attempting to remove from the pan or slice.
6 medium to large Russet potatoes
1 teaspoon garlic salt
8 oz. sour cream
2 tablespoons milk
Wash well and pierce the skins of six nice-sized potatoes. Place the six potatoes on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high for about 20 minutes. Check to see if they are softening to the touch. If they still feel "hard," return to the microwave and continue cooking. Check for firmness every three or four minutes. Do not overcook. After they are softened, remove from microwave and allow to cool for several minutes until you are able to handle them without being burned.
With a sharp knife, cut a large slice from the skin on top of each potato. Taking your time, with a small spoon carefully scoop the white potato out of the skin into a large bowl, leaving the shell of each potato. With an electric mixer, add garlic salt and sour cream to the potato filling. Mix well. The mixture will be pasty. Add two tablespoons of milk and mix briefly.
Using the small spoon, carefully scoop the fluffy mixture back into the potato shells. You should have enough mixture that it "heaps" out the top of each potato shell. Sprinkle the tops with paprika. Place in a baking dish and bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until the tops become golden.
Serve with butter or margarine.
Either way, you and your family or guests will be able to enjoy the delicious comfort foods along with a toasty, warm kitchen!