Culinary Delights

Imaginary Friendships

Since I tend to post fairly frequently about dessert, I thought it best that I write about something other than sweets.  Just in case you were wondering…I do eat real food too.  My good friend Ree Drummond always shares her amazing recipes with me.  She encourages me to try my hand at new things.  She is a wife and mother.  (Me too!)  She loves to share good food with her family (and herself).  (Me too!)  She is always there for me when I need her. 

Okay, okay.  Ree is not actually my friend in real life.  She doesn’t know who I am and she is not paying me to say nice things about her.  But I do feel like I know her through her website and from watching her show on Food Network.  She speaks to me. 

Last Sunday she whispered to me, ever so gently from her cookbook, to try my hand at her version of Meatloaf and Twice Baked Potatoes.  So I did. 

I learned a few things along the way. 

For instance, to check that the meat is actually done before serving it to guests. 

Dear Microwave, I mostly do not like you but sometimes you save me.  Thank you.

I’ve made meatloaf before but always in a loaf pan so this was a bit new.  Ree’s version had great flavor. I’m guessing the use of white bread and bacon had a hand in that.  However, my dad, who is somewhat of a meatloaf expert, informed me that while it’s nice to try new things, the old standard holds firm as his favorite. 

If you are looking for a new meatloaf recipe or have never made the man-loving dish, this is certainly a good one to try.  I think if I were to have a do-over, I might try shaping this into two smaller loaves. Although that might cause a tiny conundrum with the bacon because the bacon slices fit so perfectly around this two-pound loaf with just enough to tuck in on the sides.  I do know that I would definitely bake it longer than I did!  And I would most certainly check for doneness. *smiles sheepishly*

The Twice Baked Potatoes were delicious too.  However, I toned them down a bit and omitted the bacon.  After all, the Meatloaf was draped with bacon and I didn’t want to cause internal bacon overload reactors to start sending warning signals to our bodies.  I added only a bit of shredded cheese to the mixture and did not grace the tops of the potatoes with additional cheese. 

I also snapped photos of leftover meatloaf and potatoes the day after our dinner, to get the best natural lighting.  Sadly, I cannot post them here.  Without the salad greens on the plate as an accompaniment, the slice of meatloaf and the potato looked so sad and, dare I say, disgusting (I don’t know if there is a secret to making a slice of meatloaf look appealing in a photo but I didn’t have the luxury of taking the necessary time to figure it out) that I could not share my photos with you.  Could not.  Would not.  Should not.  I will let you look at Ree’s lovely pictures and work on your very own imaginary friendship with her.   This is one of Ree’s photos.  

Link to Ree’s Meatloaf Recipe and Fabulous Photos

Link to Ree’s Twice Baked Potatoes and Fabulous Photos

Here is to cooking meat thoroughly and serving it proudly to your guests.  (Next time…)

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