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Pat’s Pantry: Always a comfort

By Pat Mills

After a rough day at work or at home, it’s always a comfort to sit down to a good dinner of meatloaf and mashed potatoes. This is one meal the family will enjoy. – Pat

Mom’s meatloaf

1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon pepper
¾ teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 (1 oz) slice white bread, torn into small pieces
1 ½ pound ground round
vegetable cooking spray
1/3 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl, tossing to moisten bread. Crumble meat over onion mixture, and stir just until blended. Pack mixture into a 9 x 5-in loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Spread ketchup over top of meat loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until meatloaf reaches 160 degrees. Let meatloaf stand in pan 10 minutes. Remove meatloaf from pan; cut loaf into 6 slices.

Roasted mashed potatoes

4 medium baking potatoes (about 2 pounds)
1 cup 2 percent low-fat milk
2 tablespoons margarine
¾ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wrap each potato in foil, and bake for 1-½ hours. Cut potatoes into chunks. Combine milk, margarine, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan, and cook over medium-low heat until warm. Remove from heat; add potatoes to pan, and beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until smooth. Yield: 8 servings.

Carrot mushroom medley

1 pound carrots, cut into 2-in julienned strips
1 small onion, finely chopped
5 fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, or ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter

In a skillet, sauté vegetables and seasonings in butter until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.  Yield: 4 servings.

Spinach salad

1 (10 oz) package fresh spinach
½ cup thinly sliced red onion, separated into rings
1 (8 oz) package pre-sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon pepper
1 garlic clove, minced

Tear spinach into bite-size pieces, and place in a large bowl. Add onion and mushrooms; set aside. Combine the next 7 ingredients in a jar. Cover tightly, and shake vigorously, pour over spinach mixture; toss well. Yield: 5 servings.

FOOD FACTS

• To produce a 1 pound jar of honey, bees have to forage over a flight path equal to three trips around the earth and burn only one ounce for fuel, that’s 7 million miles to the gallon.
• Many vitamins are lost to the liquid when cooking vegetables. The liquid should be saved and frozen to be used when your making soups, etc.

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