I Would Do Anything For Loaf… Especially If There’s Cheese

This was Meat Loaf’s lesser known hit about my Cheesy Turkey Meatloaf. Ok, maybe I just made that up. But it could’ve been if he’d ever tried it. Moving along now…

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Hi! I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I just haven’t been in the mood to do much cooking lately, mostly because I’m training to run a 10 mile race in a couple weeks, therefore, I’m pretty hurty and angry a lot. I do not advise anyone to take up running. Seriously. I’m not kidding about this. Anyway… Yesterday was Mother’s Day! And although I’m not a Mom, I felt inspired to make some Mom-like comfort food in the form of my soon-to-be-famous-this-side-of-the-Mississippi-or-maybe-just-in-my-book-club Cheesy Turkey Meatloaf! It’s just like regular meatloaf, except way better, because it’s mine, so it just is. And there’s cheese involved. Don’t fight it. Just go with it.

Mmmm... Cheese.

Mmmm… Cheese.

A few notes here:

1. I use 93/7 ground turkey, because once you add all the melty delicious cheese, this sucker’s got plenty of fat. Trust me. But feel free to fatten it up with ground beef if it makes you happy. This is comfort food, not sad, skinny person food.

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2. Most people use bread crumbs in their meatloaf, but not this girl. Nope. I pound the shit out of pretzels and use those. Trust me. It sounds weird, but it gives it a little somethin’ somethin’. Again… Just go with it. I’m totally an expert here. I have a Girl Scout badge somewhere in a box, along with my Debbie Gibson cassettes.

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3. You may be tempted to just grab a bag of shredded cheese and toss it in as a shortcut. DON’T DO IT, LAZY!!! Sorry I yelled. But really, you need the chunks o’ cheese to create melty cheese pockets, and also, any straggler cubes that end up at the top of the meatloaf when you put it in the oven get all caramelized and delicious, and I don’t know about you guys, but I would strongly consider marrying caramelized cheese were it legal. It’s totally not weird. Also, feel free to use any type of hard cheese you’d like. I use Colby-Jack because I like my cheese like I like my men: Sharp and flavorful. And easy to pop into my mouth after chopping. Whoa. That sounded wrong. Onto the recipe!

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Paula’s Cheesy Turkey Meatloaf

Prep time: 15 minutes or thereabouts

Cooking time: 1 hour

Stuff you need:

  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups pretzel crumbs
  • 3/4 pound Colby-Jack, or whatever kind of cheese tickles your pickle, chopped into cubes

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Dump first 4 ingredients into large bowl. Super easy, right? At this point you can either mix with some sort of super strong spoon, or you can do what my momma always taught me- Just dig into that meat with your bare hands, like the cavemen did when they made meatloaf. That happened, right? Grunting noises optional. But way fun.
  3. Once mixed, fold in cubes of cheese until distributed evenly throughout.
  4. Throw it all into a loaf pan, and pop into the oven for 60 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes, just so all the delicious fatty juices soak back up. Fat is yummy.
  6. Slice n’ serve!

Shit, I’m writing this at 8:00am, and now I want meatloaf for breakfast. This could be a bad situation.

Lemon Heaven

A couple weekends ago, Mr. Ahi Tuna man did the worst thing he could possibly do: He brought up lemon squares in conversation. Ok, maybe that’s not the WORST thing he could do. I mean, it’s not like he wore Crocs on a date or something. But you know what I mean. It did, however, remind me that I haven’t had a lemon square in an unacceptable amount of time, and caused me to have a mild lemon bar recipe obsession, and maybe a couple dreams about bathing in lemony topping. Which is totally not weird at all. Pssh.

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So I decided that lemon squares must be mine.

Oh yes.

They will be mine.

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And they were.

I shared, though, because I’m nice like that, and it WAS Mr. Ahi Tuna Man’s idea, and I guess he’s nice sometimes, except when he dumps milkshakes directly in my lap and stuff.

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Dislaimer: It’s quite possible that upon finishing these lemon squares, you MAY want to sit down with a tall vodka & cranberry, and immediately shove four of them in your mouth. Not that I did that. Nope. But you have been warned.

Paula’s Lemon Squares

Prep time: Between the crust and the filling, meh, about 20 minutes.

Baking time: Altogether, 50 minutes or thereabouts. This is a very technical blog, obviously.

Stuff you need:

For the crust:

  • 12 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly (Salted or unsalted butter, whatever you prefer. I can never tell a big difference. Butter’s butter where I come from.)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

 For the lemon goo:

  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • ¾ cup lemon juice (You may be able to get away with the stuff in a bottle, but I do not recommend it at all. I cannot guarantee they will come out delicious. I just squeezed the crap out of 5 lemons with my strong, Hulk-like hands.)
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, just for dusting the tops after they’re done

 What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Line a 13×9 metal pan with aluminum foil, and make the edges overhang so you can lift the bars out easily later. Coat sides of foil with cooking spray so the lemon goo won’t stick.
  3. In a medium bowl, dump the sugar, salt, lemon zest, and vanilla, and use a fork to mix it all together until it’s sort of moist and crumbly. Throw in your flour and butter, and continue mashing it all up with a fork until it’s a crumbly dough.
  4. Press dough evenly into the bottom of your 13×9 pan, then poke some fork holes all over, just so no bothersome air bubbles happen. Lemon bar air bubbles would be a disaster. A DISASTER!! Sorry I yelled. Ok, now stick that pan in the freezer for about 5 minutes to firm up the dough a bit.
  5. Once the dough is sufficiently chill (Duuuuude. That freezer was bitchin’. *dough takes drag off cigarette*), bake in preheated over for 25 – 30 minutes, until slightly golden.
  6. While your dough is baking, make the lemon goo! Basically, you just stir together the dry ingredients and the lemon zest, then whisk in your eggs and lemon juice. Ta-da! Lemon goo! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Haha! Sorry. Moving along…
  7. Once crust is done, remove it from oven and raise your temp to 350 degrees.
  8. Pour lemon goo on the crust, and return to the oven to bake for another 20 – 25 minutes, until you can shake shake shake the pan and the lemon goo doesn’t shake shake shake with it.
  9. Cool bars completely. If you’re really impatient (or really hungry), you can put them in the fridge to speed things up.
  10. Once cool, lift out of the pan using your overhanging foil. If you skipped that part, you are now just screwed. Haha! Anyhooo… Peel away the foil and chop your big hunk o’ lemon into cute little squares, however big you want to make ‘em. You’re in charge of your own lemon bar destiny. Dust with powdered sugar, and you are now ready to shove multiple lemon bars into your face. Again, not that I did that. Gotta run now.

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You’re welcome.

Suddenly Salmon

I have a confession to make.

In 4th grade, I changed the word ‘hit’ to ‘shit’ in a large number of school library books. I blame my three delinquent older brothers for this, fully. But that’s not really what I wanted to confess. Although, I do feel like a weight has been lifted. Thanks for being my priest, guys.

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Anyway, what I REALLY wanted to confess is that I. Hate. Salmon. Along with most other fish that appears to be delicious and that I really, really WANT to like, but every time I’ve tasted it, I’ve immediately had to spit it into a napkin as soon as that disgusting fishy taste hit my tastebuds. As you can imagine, this has gotten me blacklisted from many a fancy dinner party. That, and the fact I typically end up with a lampshade on my head. Whatever. What the hell are lampshades for anyway? Lamps? Psssh. Why are they so hat-shaped then? It’s very confusing.

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Shhhhh… The fish are sleeping.

But I’m getting off on a tangent now, when my real purpose for being here is to report that I’ve experienced a miracle! And not like that one time I found a Jesus-shaped Pringle. NO! This is bigger! You see, in an effort to eat healthier (In between weeks of eating bacon and gravy and French fries and tacos.), I decided to give salmon another shot. I was determined to like it, damn it, and to bask in the healthiness of all those Omega 3s. And BEHOLD! A delicious baked salmon dish was born! And holy shit, it’s delicious. Not to mention simple, and not even remotely fishy-tasting. And when I say that, I really mean it, because I am very fishy-taste sensitive. Girl Scout’s honor. I think I got kicked out of Girl Scouts for stealing Thin Mints, but still. Trust me.

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Here’s how you do it!

 Salmon-In-A-Packet 

(That’s sorta fun to say real fast.)

Prep time: Approximately 4.3 minutes.

Cooking time: 20 minutes. That’s it! Super fast and easy. Like your mom. HAHAHAHAHAHA! Sorry. Anyhooo…

Stuff you need (This recipe is for only 2 filets, but you can make more, too, if you’re real hungry. I did. I ain’t ashamed.):

  • 2 large rectangles of parchment paper, at least double the size of each filet
  • 2 – 6 oz fresh salmon filets
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 4 – 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

 What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Salt, pepper, and garlic salmon filets on each side, and place in center of parchment paper square.
  3. Place rosemary sprigs on top of filets, followed by lemon slices.
  4. Fold up and crimp edges of parchment paper, creating a cozy, sealed salmon packet.
  5. Place packets in a large glass pan, or rimmed cookie sheet, whatever you got, and bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven, carefully remove filets from packet, get rid of the lemon and rosemary (Or keep ‘em on there for presentation if you wanna be super fancy, but I wouldn’t recommend eating them.), and chow down on the moist flaky, non-fishy fish! You won’t be sorry.

I can’t believe I just used the word ‘moist’. I hate that word. But it really is moist. I can’t think of another word. Steamy? Wet? Neither of those sounds good either. Gotta go.

Where’s The Beef?

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Mmmmm… Butter.

Well, Mr. Ahi Tuna Man decided to jet set off to Key West for the weekend (The nerve of him!), so I was left to my own devices for Sunday night dinner. What to do… What to do? Well, luckily I had a little horseradish sauce and some cute little Yukon Gold potatoes left over from a quick mid-week salmon meal (Side note: I hate salmon normally, but this crap was delicious. I should’ve taken pictures and written down how I made it, but I was sick with a very bad cold, and I was also very hungry and had little patience for these things in my sinus pressurey state. Someone may have gotten hurt. Next time. I promise.), so I did what any red-blooded American woman would do in this situation: I bought myself a giant hunk of red meat.

*insert manly grunts that are still sorta somehow feminine-like here, like if Wilma Flintstone grunted over a Brontosaurus Burger*

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DON’T LOOK AT ME, PERVERT! I’M SKINNY DIPPING!!

I’ve never been a big fan of the beef roast, because I used to have a tendency to dry it out and be required to then dump a giant puddle of Worcestershire sauce on it, but NO MORE! I discovered the secret to great beef roast. Wanna know it? Come closer. A little closer. *forehead flick* HAHAHAHAHAHA! Gotcha! Anyhoo… I discovered the answer is to keep it simple, stupid. No, you’re not stupid. It was an expression. You’re just a little slow. And that’s ok. So like I was saying, a little butter, a little soy, bada-boom bada-bing (Or some other less Italian expression, because this is beef, not pasta, silly.), and here you have it!

Here’s My Beef!

Prep time: Stupidly fast.

Cooking time: 50 minutes or so, depending how bloody you want your hunk o’ red meat.

 Stuff you need:

  • 2 – 3 lb beef tenderloin roast
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • ¾ cup soy sauce

 What you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine butter n’ soy in small bowl
  3. Throw beef roast in a shallow glass baking pan.
  4. Dump butter mixture directly on top of roast. Make noises like your beef roast is having a lovely day at the pool.
  5. Stick it in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or thereabouts, then flip that puppy over so the other side gets some buttery soy sauce lovin’.
  6. Continue baking for 35 minutes or so, or to desired doneness, basting occasionally with all the fattening and delicious butter, because butter is our friend. Write that down.
  7. Let your meat rest (Because it’s exhausting swimming in soy.) for 10 minutes or so.
  8. Slice that sucker up and enjoy that meat in your mouth.

 BUT WAIT! There’s more!

 As an added bonus, here’s the recipe for my horseradish sauce, because it’s really pretty yummy with this:

  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh dill
  • A little lemon zest (I didn’t measure it, really, I just zested that sucker until it looked about right. Don’t make it too lemony, because gross. Don’t screw it up! No pressure.)

 Combine all the stuff in a bowl, and that is all!

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Saucing up your meat is completely optional. But I highly recommend it.

Thank you.

You Feta Eat All Your Veggies! (See what I did there? I kill me.)

So, after a couple months or so of hopping on and then falling off the healthy eating wagon, Mr. Ahi Tuna Man (Yes, he’s still around. I’m telling you, he keeps feeding me martinis and I just can’t bring myself to give him the boot10994930_10155173023155551_1943565638982608194_n. Plus, he’s sorta cute. Don’t tell him I said that.) and I decided to go full-on Sunday night healthy this week. Go us! Can I get a “WHAT WHAT!” for some whole grains and veggies?!?!?

 

*crickets*

 

Ok, ok, I’ll admit it’s not nearly as exciting and drool-inducing as stuff loaded with fatty sauces and cheese and bacon (Mmmm… bacon.), but this is actually really freakin’ tasty, if I do say so myself. I also didn’t even feel like a giant lard ass after eating it. That’ll come this weekend when I shove some poutine in my face. I’m all about being healthy, guys. Clearly. I wonder if I could do a quinoa and b10978631_10155173022440551_746204137923659992_nrown rice poutine? Hmm… Whole grains and cheese curds and gravy. Oh my. I’ll have to sleep on this.

 

Anyway, here’s something healthy for you guys! Something to make you feel good, for those days after you overeat short ribs and drink too many girly martinis. Not that I did that Saturday night. Nope. Not me. Gotta run.

 

You Feta Eat All Your Veggies! Bowl

 

Prep/Cooking time: This all depends how fancy you wanna get. I roasted my own red pepper and may have caused a small kitchen fire, so it took longer than normal. Start to finish for me, excluding fire extinguishing, was 30 minutes or so.

 

Stuff you need:

  • I used a pre-packaged brown rice/quinoa blend, but you could really use any healthy whole grain you want to- Quinoa, brown rice, couscous, whole wheat pasta, yada yada. You get the point. Just no Captain Crunch. That would not be tasty at all.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 6 oz chicken breast, cooked and cubed (You can leave this out if you wanna go all hard core vegetarian-like. Weirdo.)
  • 1 roasted red pepper, chopped (I made my own by charring it on the stove and then peeling and chopping it, but you can get the jarred ones if you want. I’ll only look down upon you a little bit.)
  • ¼ cup jarred marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • ¾ cup kalamata or black olives, whole (I recommend buying the pitted kind, because one time I chipped a tooth unsuspectingly biting into a kalamata pit at a Greek wedding and had to repair it with cake frosting. Shit got weird.)
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Minced garlic, sea salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to taste 

What to do:

  1. Cook whatever whole grain stuff you got according to package instructions, set aside.
  2. Dump the EVOO (Extra virgin olive oil. Sorry I went all Rachael Ray there. You can kick my ass if you want now.) into a giant  wok-like pan, or whatever big pan you have that’ll fit a crapload of fresh baby spinach.
  3. Toss in the sliced  mushrooms and sauté on medium-high heat, stirring ‘em around occasionally, until they start to brown a bit.
  4. Dump your spinach in the same pan and sauté, again stirring around occasionally, until it’s all cooked down and wilty. Reduce heat to low.
  5. Throw in the cooked and sliced chicken, roasted red pepper, chopped artichokes, kalamatas, and quinoa stuff; Cook, stirring frequently, just for about 2 or 3 minutes, just until hot, but not ‘scald your face off’ hot. Remove from heat.
  6. Throw in the crumbled feta, minced garlic, salt n’ pepa and stuff, and mix it all together until it’s way yummy.
  7. Spoon into bowls and go to Healthy Town.

 

I’m so technical, huh? I should really have my own Food Network show. This is some fancy ‘mix until it’s way yummy’ stuff happening right here.

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I’m Here! I’m Here! Wait! Don’t Leave!

Happy Wednesday, five people who read my blog! Hey… Looks like I have a couple new blog followers… There may even be SIX of you by now! Holy cats!

Anyway, I bet a lot of you are wondering where I’ve been. I know, it’s probably keeping you up at night. I get that a lot. Well you see, I met this handsome gentleman on Hollywood Boulevard last week, and he paid me $3,000 to spend the week with… Hang on… Is this the plot to Pretty Woman? Oh man, I get us confused all the time. However, I did sing a Prince song in the bathtub last night, so Vivian the hooker and I are practically the same person. Except I’m prettier. And I probably cook way better. And that whole getting paid for sex thing. Whatever. In all reality, I just haven’t been doing much cooking lately because I’ve been dieting, and surviving on couscous and smoothies, and those are just no fun to blog about. I’m also so weak that I can barely lift my poor little shriveled and starving hands to type this. I can button my jeans now, though, so there’s that.

(Insert cry for help here.)

I promise I’ll be back soon with lots of delicious and super healthy (Well… sorta. Maybe. Not likely, actually.) recipes, as well as stories about Mr. Ahi Tuna Man and all the help he gives me in the kitchen by watching me open things, forgetting to buy lemons, and occasionally shredding cheese for me so I don’t shred my knuckles into the mozzarella again. I’m pretty sure that’s a selfish move on his part. But PFFFFFFFFFFFT (infinite Fs)- You could hardly taste the blood in that last pizza. Such a whiner he is.

I just wanted to pop in and say I’m ok and to put all of your minds at ease. You’re welcome.

And here is a picture of my dog eating my high heel, which probably has more flavor than my lunch today.

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