I had the feeling that my oven runs a little hot and subsequently cooks everything a bit too fast, dishes that should take an hour were done in about 45 minutes, etc. I mentioned this to Kate, so for my birthday she bought me an "outside the oven" meat thermometer. It's funny how a little thing like that could make me so excited! "What to cook? What to cook?" I kept asking myself, and I finally decided to start simple and make that prince of comfort food, meatloaf (tater tot hotdish is the king of comfort food).
I don't have a standard recipe for meatloaf, in fact I don't really have a standard recipe for anything, so I threw one together using a few leftovers, set the oven at 350° F, inserted the thermometer's probe, set the alarm to go off when the inside had reached 160° F, opened a beer and waited.
I didn't time it, but it sure felt like it took less time than times when I'd used a timer (nice sentence!), and it came out perfect! I'd never tasted a better one of my creations, it was so juicy and tender! What a treat!
My thrown together meatloaf:
1 lb. extra lean hamburger
1/4 lb. left-over uncooked stew meat cut into smaller pieces (it helps if its slightly frozen)
Several left-over slices of turkey pepperoni (not enough to make a pizza) cut into smaller pieces
One slightly beaten egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs (left-over from a recipe I was going to try, but never did)
1/4 cup left-over shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded Asiago-parmesean blend cheese
2-3 tbsp ketchup
1-2 tbsp spicy mustard
approx 1 tsp garlic salt
approx 1 tsp ground pepper
The stew meat adds a texture you don't find in meatloaf, all of the sudden you're eating a small piece of steak. The turkey pepperoni adds a little taste surprise, and it was good to get it out of the fridge.
Now, what's next? A chicken? A pork loin? The possibilities are endless!