10. All You – Moroccan Meat Loaf

Let me preface this blog post by saying that I am obsessed, OBSESSED, with magazines. I know that between magazine websites and sites like Pintrest magazines might be a little outdated, but there is something so relaxing about being able to sit down with a magazine with all the pretty layouts, a cup of tea and my favorite blanket and being unplugged for a while. Last year I got to the point where I had so many magazines that I was literally filling storage bins with them. I couldn’t throw them away because they had a craft I wanted to try, or a recipe I needed to work into the rotation, etc. etc. I knew I had to reduce the clutter, especially since so many of my magazines are home magazines that preach organization and decluttering, but I didn’t know how. My solution: a magazine binder! Since I am almost equally obsessed with office supplies, this was a perfect solutions. As I flip through each magazine I cut out my favorite pages and they go into my binder(s), which is divided into categories. What can this possibly have to do with Test Kitchen Thursday you ask? Well, recently I had to move my ‘recipes’ section into its own three-inch binder. I have already tried a lot of them out, but I think the majority of these recipes will end up coming from magazines, since they often add some unique flair or technique and I really want to learn how to actually cook, not just replicate a recipe.

For example, this particular recipe (from the January 2013 issue of All You magazine) uses a meat mix that you can make ahead of time, and then use in three different recipes: Moroccan Meat Loaf, Beefy Calzones and Tamale Pie. I think this is a brilliant idea and something I never would have thought of. I only wish they would have called it something other than ‘master meat mix’ because I called it mystery meat mix more than once and that is, well, less than appealing. My biggest obstacle in making a menu for the week is that when I plan it, I have no idea what I am actually going to be in the mood for three days later. With the type of recipe, there is more flexibility in your menu and I really like that. On to the recipe!

Moroccan Meat Loaf - All You Jan. 2013

Master Meat Mix

Ingredients:
1 14.5-oz. can kidney beans, drained, 1/4 cup liquid reserved
2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, using a fork, mash kidney beans with reserved liquid. Add beef, eggs, onion, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper and mix gently but thoroughly with your fingers.
2. Divide mixture into 2 portions, about 1 lb. 11 oz. each. Use immediately or place each portion in a large zip lock bag, squeeze out air and seal. Refrigerate for up to 1 day or freeze for up to 1 month.

Moroccan Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf Ingredients:
1/2 portion Master Meat Mix (about 1 lb. 11 oz.)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, optional
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup raisins
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mist a 9-by-13-inch pan with cooking spray.
2. Make meat loaf: Place meat mix in a large bowl; add cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cumin and cayenne, if desired. Mix gently but thoroughly with your fingers. Shape meat into a 5-by-7-inch loaf and transfer to greased pan.
3. Bake loaf 30 minutes; pour 1/2 cup broth into pan. Continue to bake until a meat thermometer inserted into center reads 160°F, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Remove meat loaf to a platter, tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes.
4. Make sauce: Pour broth into a pot; add tomatoes and raisins. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Stir in zest; season with salt and pepper.
5. Slice meat loaf and serve, passing sauce on the side.

Overall I thought this was a really good recipe and I will definitely make it again. I am not a huge fan of onions so I wish I would have scaled down the amount a bit in the meat mixture, but they gave it a good flavor. I also decided to skip the cayenne in the meatloaf and the raisins in the sauce. I think they probably would have added an interesting texture to the sauce, but I just couldn’t get my mind around the tomato/raisin combination. I plan on making the Tamale Pie with the other half of the meat mix, so we will see how that turns out. What new recipes have you tried lately? Leave a comment, or let me know on Facebook or Twitter!

3. Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken Barbecue

For some reason my slow cooker often sits in the cupboard gathering dust, so I decided today that I would try out a new recipe for zesty slow cooker chicken barbecue. I found the recipe on allrecipes.com a while back, but I hadn’t got the chance to try it out yet. The nice thing about slow cookers is that many recipes, like this one, require dumping a bunch of ingredients in the cooker and setting the timer for around 4-8 hours. You do definitely need to plan these meals out in advance so you make sure you get them started in time….unless you like to eat after 10 pm once you remember to start the timer at 6. This recipe was super simple and it has given me a lot of ideas for slow cooker meals to do in the future.

Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken sandwich

Ingredients:

6 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1 (12 ounce) bottle barbecue sauce

1/2 cup Italian salad dressing

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the barbecue sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken.

Cover, and cook 3 to 4 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low.

Seriously. Two directions, that’s it. As you can tell from the picture, you can shred the chicken and put it on a bun, which is actually the way I chose to do it. Once the chicken has cooked for that long it is pretty much already shredding on its own; however, I found the easiest way to shred the chicken was to take two forks and pull them in opposite directions across the chicken; it will come right apart. You may want to do this and then let the chicken cook for another 5-10 minutes so that the inside of the chicken can take on the sauces flavors. I also added some additional barbecue sauce at this point. For the buns I think you could pretty much put this on anything and it would be really good. I used ciabatta rolls and toasted them in the oven with a little melted garlic and butter brushed on the tops.

Overall, I would definitely do this recipe again. I probably would have used a touch more Italian dressing for the extra zest, but other than that, I wouldn’t make any major changes. I think next time I will try this with pork, since I am a sucker for a good pulled pork sandwich. What are your favorite slow cooker recipes? I would love to try out some more, and see how it goes. If you make this recipe, let me know how it turned out and what delicious updates you made!

Thank you to allrecipes.com for the recipe and picture.