Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

From as far back as I can remember we always had some sort of comfort food growing up. Salisbury Steak, Stuffed Bell Peppers, Stuffed Cabbage, all that good home cooking. One of the meals that was pretty common around our house was the meat loaf. I always remember the meatloaf, such a tasty slice of ground beef with something new inside every time. There would always be some sort of tangy sweet coating around the outside and the brown gravy, who can resist mash potatoes and brown gravy, makes my stomach grown just thinking about it. So in honor of my mom, here is my version of the all time American classic the meatloaf.

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What you will need:Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf Ready To Eat

1 cup Milk – (Whole or 2% works fine)
6 slices Sourdough or White Bread
(I use the Rosemary & Olive Oil and slice it myself)
2 lbs. Ground Beef – (you can use 1 beef and 1 turkey if you like)
1 cup (heaping) Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 tsp. Cajon seasoning or Seasoning salt
3/4 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/3 cup Minced Flat-leaf Parsley
3 Eggs
8 slices Thin Bacon (don’t use thick cut, it won’t get crisp)

Sauce:
1-1/2 cup Ketchup
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Dry Mustard
Juice of one lemonMeatloaf Mix
Tabasco To Taste

Preheat oven to Broil or your highest oven setting, (yes broil, we will turn it down to 350° so don’t get excited)

Line a oblong pan with foil, this helps with the clean up.

Prepare the Meatloaf:
Place the slices of bread in an oblong or square pan or large bowl and pour the milk over them. Allow it to soak in for several minutes; you may need to turn the bread over depending on how dense your bread is.

In a large mixing bowl add the ground meat, milk-soaked bread, Parmesan, seasoning, salt, black pepper, and parsley. Pour in beaten eggs.

With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined. Try not to over mix. Form the mixture into a loaf shape and place on the foil lined pan.

Lay bacon slices over the top (side to side), you can either tuck excess underneath the meatloaf, or trim it off. (I trim it off)Bacon Wrappped Meatloaf Ready To Cook

Now place the meatloaf in the hot oven, middle rack. This won’t take but a few minutes, just long enough to get some crispness on the bacon. 5 to 6 minutes. While the bacon is getting crisp, make the sauce.

Making the Sauce:

Add ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, lemon juice and hot sauce in a mixing bowl. Stir together.

Your bacon has started to crisp, turn the oven down to 350°, and pour 1/3 of the sauce mixture over the top of the bacon. Spread with a spoon.

Continue to bake for 30 minutes, and then pour another 1/3 of the sauce over the top. Bake for another 15- 20 minutes.

Slice and serve with remaining sauce.

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Cajun Red Beans and Rice

I have always been a fan of Cajun and Creole cooking; the flavors and spices are among some of the best in my mind. In my opinion, great Cajun food simply has soul, and that’s what draws me to it. I grew up on comfort food and to me – Cajun food is just that, comfort food with a kick. So in honor of this past Mardi Gras, I made one of my favorites: Red Beans and Rice.

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Cajun Red Beans And Rice
What you will need:

  • 1 lb. red kidney beans (dry, then soaked overnight in water)
  • 5 Strips bacon sliced to 1” strips
  • 3 Jalapenos chopped (seeds removed)
  • 4 Ribs celery chopped
  • 1 Green bell pepper chopped
  • 5 Cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 Onion chopped
  • ¾ lb. Andouille sausage thinly sliced (I substituted ¼ lb. with linguisa)
  • 2 tbsp. Cajun seasoning (The recipe below makes more than 2 tbsp. so just store the remainder, its great on fish or chicken)
  • 3 Cups chicken broth (You can substitute with water)
  • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 Cups white rice
  • Salt and PepperRendered Bacon

Cajun Seasoning

  • 2 tbsp. paprika
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tbsp. cayenne powder
  • 1 tbsp. oregano Chopped Andouille Sausage
  • 1 tbsp. thyme
  • ½ tbsp. cumin

Cook

Cook your white rice to the directions on the package and then let them sit, covered until your red beans are done. Make sure to flavor your rice with a little chicken stock, parsley or whatever you desire.

Start with a 6 quart dutch oven and slowly render out the fat of the sliced bacon. You want to do this under medium-low heat so that you don’t burn the bacon but rather pull out all that fat goodness. Before the bacon starts to get crisp pull it out and set it aside.

Next, you will add your Andouille sausage to the pot and cook that under medium-low heat until the sausage starts to brown. Once the Andouille is slightly browned pull it and set it aside.Brown Bits

Caveman Tip*** There should be all sorts of brown bits and grease in the bottom of the pan, that’s perfect, that’s what you want. It’s all those brown bits that help give the Red Beans and Rice those great flavors.

Now add your green peppers, onions, celery, garlic, and jalapenos to the pot at a medium heat. You will want to stir occasionally until the vegetables get soft.

Caveman Tip*** A trio of green peppers, onions and celery in the south is called the “ Holy Trinity” and it’s used as a base for most stews and soups. It’s very similar to the French version of the mirepoix which consists of celery, onions and carrots. Both are great as a base for a lot of dishes

Once the vegetables are soft add in your beans, bacon, sausage, 3 cups chicken broth, 3 cups water and 2 tbsp. of the Cajun seasoning.

Now bring the Red Beans up to a slow boil and then reduce the heat to low and put on the lid. You will want to simmer them for 30-60 minutes or until the beans are soft.

Caveman Tip*** I like to pull the lid off and cook the red beans without the lid  for the last 20 minutes of so, this allows the sauce to reduce and concentrate all those great flavors.Holy Trinity Besides I like my red beans and rice to be a little heartier as opposed to soupy

Once the red beans are done, place some rice in the center of a bowl and pour your red beans around the outside edge of them. I like to top with a little chopped green onion and serve.  It’s delicious.

If you’re a fan of spicy trust me, Red Beans and Rice will become one of your favorites too!

Enjoy!