Today has just been a flurry of activity for me. Now that I’m 16 weeks along, the second trimester/second wind seems to be kicking in. But it starts and stops. One day I’m all busy busy busy, the next I’m motionless on the sofa all day. It’s rather hit or miss and makes it difficult to plan things, but we’re trending up, so I’ll take what I can get, as I can get it.
Now, before you get this picture of me running nad running like the Energizer Bunny, allow me to clarify. I had spurts of activity, followed by too-pooped-to-pop sedentarianism. So, like I said, it’s a trend, not a state, just yet.
This week, for the first time in MONTHS, I actually made a menu plan for each nights’ dinner. I am so proud of myself, because now, Matt and I won’t have the same-old-same-old conversation every day: What are we doing for dinner? I dunno. Pizza?
Nope, instead, dear reader, I took into account our larder and the shopping this weekend to plan meals that would not require us to scramble and figure something out. And tonight’s dinner kicks it off with a bang: Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and a mushroom gravy, and a cucumber and tomato salad. Unfortunately I have discovered that eating raw veggies gives me horrible indigestion right now, so I won’t be having the salad, but I couldn’t be more excited about the rest of the meal!
I’m so excited because I tried some new things and did a lot of prep from scratch. Meatloaf typically relies on heavy doses of ketchup, but since I have a jar of my own lacto-fermented homemade stuff, I was keen to use that, as well as roasting the veggies and pureeing them before hand for an extra special flavor profile. I’m not big on biting into huge chunks of bell pepper in my meatloaf anyway, so this seemed like a great way to overcome that. I also used up some ends of sourdough loaves that were frozen from a while back but giving them a whirl in the old Cuisenart for some fresh breadcrumbs.
All of the veggies in tonight’s meal were from the garden, or purchased at the farmer’s market this weekend for pennies on the dollar what we would have spent at the grocery store, and the beef was from the half a cow we have stored in the big freezer, which was also half the price we would have spent for the same quality beef elsewhere.
It feels so good to have things on hand prepared in a traditional and wholesome fashion, that allows me to be frugal AND nutrient dense at the same time!
Without further ado, here are the recipes!
2 lbs ground beef
1 lg red bell pepper
6-10 cherry tomatoes (or larger)
1 small onion, chopped (or 1 T dehydrated)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c fresh bread crumbs
1/4 c ketchup
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/8 tsp chipotle chile powder
3/4 c ketchup
1 T dijon mustard
1/4 tsp cumin
dash of chipotle powder
1 T honey (opt)
Directions: Pre-heat oven to 400* (this is just for the veggies, the meatloaf will cook at a different temp.) Cut the bell pepper and tomatoes in half and de-seed, then place cut side down on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Put on the lowest rack and allow to bake for about 15-20 minutes, or ntil the veggies are soft andbroken down, and begin to brown/blacken on the edges. Remove from oven and puree in a food processor or blender. Set aside.
While the veggies are baking, in a large bowl combine the rest of the ingredients until incorporated. After the roasted veggies have cooled a bit, add them to the mixture as well. Allow the meat to rest in the fridge for at least an hour. Prior to baking, pre-heat oven to 325*. Shape the meat mixture into two loaves on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
To make the glaze, combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Brush onto loaves after they have cooked for ten minutes. Allow to cook for an additional 35 minutes (45 min total) or until they reach an internal temp of 155. Allow to rest under tented foil for about 15 minutes before serving.
4 cups mushrooms cleaned and quartered
1 small onion, chopped
2 T butter or coconut oil
2 cups beef stock or water or combo of both
2 T cornstarch, tapioca starch or Arrowroot powder
Salt and pepper to taste
In a skillet over medium heat, saute the onions and mushrooms until browned and reduced down. Set aside. Add the cornstarch to the cold broth/water and mix well. Pour into hot skillet and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for one minute and reduce to a simmer. Stir frequently, and add the mushrooms and onions back in as the gravy thickens. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over mashed potatoes or with beef or meatlaof.
Cucumber Tomato Salad
1 large cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and sliced
1 large tomato, or two medium, de-seeded, and chopped into bite size pieces
1 small onion, thinly sliced and separated
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c raw apple cider vinegar
1 tsp dill
salt and pepper to taste
Combine the vegetables in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, oil and dill, and whisk until an emulsion is made. Pour this over the veggies, and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.