Mini Meat Loaves

A few awesome things about these mini meat loaves: 1) they are mini, so everyone gets their own personal meat loaf, which is key if you are 5 and 6 years old; 2) you can even kind of make them to order, as far as the toppings go since they are pretty small, and; 3) the cook so much faster than your grandmother’s meat loaf.  The pasta sauce, basil, and cheese really made these tasty.  Add a nice green vegetable (such as the roasted asparagus with parmesan cheese that I did) and you’ve got the start of a quick and filling meal.

Ingredients:

1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup prepared marinara sauce
½ cup Italian style bread crumbs
2 Tbs Gourmet Garden basil paste (one of the best inventions ever)
1 lb lean ground beef (can use turkey, chicken, etc)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ tsp salt

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450°.  In a large bowl, combine egg, 1/2 cup marinara sauce, bread crumbs, basil paste, and salt.  Add beef and 1/2 cup of cheese; using hands, mix well.  Divide mixture into four equal parts.  Shape into a small loaf.  Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Spoon remaining marinara sauce over the top of each and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake 15 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160°

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Chianti
Merlot
Petit Sirah
Syrah / Shiraz
Zinfandel

Serves: 4 large helpings (or 6 smaller servings)

Total time: 25 minutes

Mini Meat Loaves

Mini Meat Loaves

*Original Serves-4 Recipe

Quick Chicken Pasta Dinner

I like to keep things around that I’m going to use a lot of.  I don’t want to, nor do I have the time to, run to the store before making dinner, lunch, or really, any meal.  Some people love going to the store before each meal.  I have a good friend that won’t plan the meals ahead because she doesn’t know what she’ll want for dinner on, say, Thursday.  I’m just the opposite.  I thrive on order.  Schedules are bliss to me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love spontaneity, but a last-minute trip wine tasting, not to Safeway.  So, I purchased a ginormous bag of Tyson Grilled and Ready, Frozen Grilled Chicken Breast Strips.  It’s great for last-minute enchiladas, pastas, taquitos, etc.  The problem came about, well, I don’t actually know how I got myself into this mess of chicken.  I think we were getting close to the end of the first bag, so our next trip to Sam’s Club, I grabbed another.  And on our next trip, yet another.  Even though we hadn’t 1) finished the first bag or 2) even opened the second bag.  For some reason I was all frenzied that we were going to somehow run out of the grilled chicken that I, quite frankly, kept forgetting I had so didn’t use it as much as I thought. This meal was planned several days ago (Sunday, to be exact) with that exact chicken in mind.  Because I know you are wondering, this pasta was made with the final portion of the first bag.  Yes, I still have TWO bags in the freezer.  Chicken anyone?? 

Ingredients:

1 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups marinara sauce
2 cups water
1 pckg (9 oz) refrigerated fettuccine
1 bag (12 oz) frozen cut green beans, thawed.  You could really sub any vegetable here.  I’d love to try zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms.
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation:

in large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic; cooking about 30 seconds, until softened.  Stir in marinara sauce and water.  Cover, heat to boiling.  Add fettuccine, green beans; stir to separate fettuccine.  Return to boiling, cover and boil 3 to 5 minutes, or until beans are tender.

Stir in chicken, Cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is heated.

Remove from heat.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Cover; let stand for about 2 minutes to melt cheese.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Fume Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc
Chinon, Loire
Cabernet Franc
Loire Valley, Red

Serves 6
Prep time: 20 Min; Total time: 25 min

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*Derived from Pillsbury