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Comfort Food

There is nothing I love more than preparing an intricate French dinner, but sometimes simple comfort food is hard to beat. Tonight I made one of my favorite standards - meatloaf with macaroni & cheese. Meatloaf is one of those non-exciting foods that can be really, really bad or really, really good. I like to think mine is really, really good. Here’s how I do it…

meatloaf.jpgKeely’s Meatloaf
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 egg
1 cup bread crumbs
several good shakes of salt & pepper
1 T dried minced onion
dash of garlic powder
1/2 (of an 8 oz can) of tomato sauce

Mix all ingredients and form into a loaf. This recipe makes more than we can eat, so I will often double this recipe then make several smaller loafs. I wrap the extras in waxed paper, foil, then poke them in a ziplock and freeze for later prior to baking. Place the loaf for tonight’s dinner in a shallow baking pan.

3 T brown sugar
2 T mustard
2 T worchestershire
3 T cider vinegar
1 8oz can tomato sauce

Whisk together and pour over loaf. Bake uncovered @ 350º for 1 1/2 hours. When preparing frozen loafs - thaw out the day before, mix up a fresh batch of sauce and toss it in the oven.

The perfect side dish is mac & cheese. I never ate homemade mac & cheese until I found this recipe. For some reason the thought of the homemade stuff conjured up images of lumpy processed cheese so I always stuck with the lovely powered stuff in a box (I know, ick). But one day I was watching The Izaac Mizrahi Show and stumbled upon this recipe. He is crazy about mac & cheese and shared this recipe from one of his favorite NYC eateries.

Isaac Mizrahi’s Favorite Mac & Cheese
macncheese.jpgGrate 32 oz cheddar & 16 oz muenster.

16 oz macaroni - boil for 8 minutes - drain & cover to keep warm

Make a simple béchamel sauce -
1 cup butter + 1 cup flour - whisk into a rue. Add 1 cup milk + 1 cup cream - whisk smooth. Add a few shakes of salt.

Add béchamel sauce to macaroni, add all of muenster and approximately 2/3 of cheddar cheese. Stir until combined well, then place in a 13×9 baking dish. Top with remaining cheddar. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes @ 350º until bubbly brown on top.

Just like the meatloaf, this recipe freezes well. Prior to baking, I divide it into plastic storage containers, top with cheese, and freeze. It is easy to pop it out of the container with a spatula and place into a baking dish after it is thawed and tastes just as good as the day you made it.

These two dishes go together like peas & carrots - they bake together and freeze beautifully. My frozen stash makes an easy and delicious meal - I simply stick them in the oven, put my feet up and knit, then serve them just like I’ve slaved in the kitchen all day.


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