Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Best Meatloaf Recipe and a Couple of Salads, too

I spent yesterday putting in my herb garden. I was lucky to find a buy-one, get-one sale on potted vegetable plants and herbs Sunday afternoon. I planted: sweet basil, lemon basil, tarragon, sage, Italian parsley, and rosemary. I'm still going to get some mint and oregano. I like lemon balm and lavender, but didn't find any.

I did see an unusual herb while I was shopping that I'd never heard of, it was called "chocolate mint". I may have to plant a pot of it on my porch (my reading spot) just so I can smell it blowing in the breeze. If you happen to have a great recipe using herbs let me know about it; I don't have many. I basically use them in sauces and to grill meat with. I enjoy putting the lemon flavored herbs or mint in iced tea in the summer. That's about it for my use of herbs, but I love to look at them and enjoy the aroma they provide.

The children who were neighbors and friends of my son, Ben, at our old house used to come to my deck to sample the mint and lemon leaves. I showed them the corner of my deck that was herbs and explained the "safety rules" about never putting plants in your mouth that you're not sure of. I always shared with the other moms so they could also taste the flavors in their food and iced tea.

Well, speaking of flavors and recipes, let's get down to business as I share some family favorites. After all, it is Tuesday!

Here's my best meatloaf recipe. I think it's origin is an old Heinz ad from years ago. After I started making this version, and noticed that all the guys ate it and didn't grumble about it being "meatloaf night" for dinner, I knew it was a keeper. The trick for our family is that the vegetables in the meatloaf must be diced very small and saute'd to a transparent state. After I discovered this recipe, I threw the other meatloaf recipes away.

Fiesta Meatloaf

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 C chopped celery
1/4 C chopped green pepper

2 TBSP butter

1 bottle Heinz Chili Sauce (12 oz.)
1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 C crumbled butter crackers (Ritz)

1 egg
salt and pepper

Saute' onion, celery, and green pepper in butter until tender (can use microwave). Mix together ground beef, chili sauce (reserve a little for the topping), cracker crumbs, egg, salt and pepper to taste. Form into loaf. Spread rest of chili sauce on top and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hr.

The next two salads are ones that I sometimes make on Mondays to stick in the fridge for after-school snacking. They are salads that my teenager will eat a whole bowl of, and both stay good for several days...if they last that long!

3 Bean Salad

1 1 lb. can cut green beans
1 1 lb. can cut wax beans
1 15 oz. can dark red kidney beans
1/2 C finely-chopped red onion
1/2 C finely-chopped green pepper

1/2 C sugar (or same amount of Splenda)
2/3 C vinegar
1/3 C salad oil (I use Canola)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Drain beans. Combine sugar, vinegar and oil. Pour over vegetables; add salt and pepper. Chill overnight. Every once in a while open the fridge and shake the container (with tight lid) around to coat the salad evenly.
You can add chick peas or any variety of beans that you like to this to up the nutritional value. In fact, I've put corn in it before.

Chinese Coleslaw

1 head of cabbage thinly shredded

1 pkg. broccoli slaw (opt)
4 pkg. dry, broken ramen noodles
1 C sunflower seeds
1 C chopped pecans

Put cut vegetables and broken up noodles in a large plastic container w/lid. Pour 1 bottle of Kraft Poppy seed Dressing over all and mix to coat.
Refrigerate for several hours. When ready to serve, toss in seeds and nuts.
This makes a lot! If you're taking it to a dinner that's a good thing, if not, and you don't have a teenager at your house, you might want to cut the recipe in half.

Today is the recipe swap at BlessedwithGrace and Tammysrecipes.com.


  1. I love that Chinese coleslaw. It is so tasty. I have an herb garden too, but can't figure out many uses for mine either.

  2. That meatloaf sounds wonderful. Thanks for the recipe and linking up to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.

  3. The crushed ritz crackers in the meatloaf are a great idea! Bet it gives it buttery taste.