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.

Chicken Fried Steak With Sausage Gravy

We spent last Saturday afternoon at a street fair in Fountain Hills AZ. It was wonderful time; the streets were filled with food vendors, artists and other miscellaneous Chicken Fried Steakbooths with interesting items for sale, along with a beer garden or two. We picked up a few things here and there – mainly some salsa and spices, most of these small vendors use fresh ingredients and have pretty good product. There were two companies I really liked and brought home some items from both their shops, Natura Spice Company out of Scottsdale AZ and Starlight Herb and Spice Company out of Idaho. Both have great spices and I would recommend giving them a try if you every get the opportunity.

So the reason I bring up spices is because of the number one problem I find with most foods when we eat out, and that is the lack of spices. One of the vendors there had what they were calling fresh Alaskan salmon; honestly I was kind of pumped to give it a try, especially when I saw the Salmon Chowder. We split a bowl and it had large chunks of salmon in it with some other good flavors, but it was lacking the basic seasoning like salt and pepper that would have made that dish so much better.

If there is one thing that I have learned from my brother, the Executive Chef, or the countless hours of food network, it’s always taste your food and add those basic spices like salt and pepper.

This dish is one of my all-time favorites for both breakfast and dinner, but if you don’t season it or the gravy properly – you get just a bland meal.

Seasoned Flour

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What you will need:

  • 2 Cubed steaks pounded thin
  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour (seasoned)
  • 2 Eggs beaten (seasoned with S&P)
  • Frying Oil (peanut or other high temp oil)Seasoned Chicken Fried Steak
  • Green onion or flat leaf parsley for garnish
  • Salt and Pepper

Seasoned Flour

  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 2 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. saltFrying Chicken Fried Steak
  • 2 tbsp. fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • ¼ tbsp. cayenne or some red pepper flakes

Prep

In a shallow frying pan heat up about 2 inches of the frying oil over medium to medium high heat. While the oil is heating up, take your cube steak and pass if through the flour, then egg then flour mixture. You will want to repeat this process for as many steaks as you are cooking.

Cook

Once the oil is nice and hot, but not smoking, you will want to carefully lay the steaks in the pan and shallow fry them. It should takChicken Fried Steake about 4-6 minutes per side depending on how hot your oil is. Keep an eye on them as they will burn quickly. Once both sides are browned place them on a paper towel to drain off the grease and serve with your favorite gravy. Nothings better than a good sausage gravy in my mind and you can find a good one at my county sausage gravy recipe.

Enjoy

Mexican Pizza

Playoff Pizza – Mexican Style

This last weekend was a tough one for the Cavewoman; her beloved Colts lost their playoff game. So to perk up her spirits I made her favorite foods, Mexican and Taco Bell. First off will be the Mexican Pizza, which I have to say, one off my favorites as well. Check out the 7 layer dip I will be posting tomorrow…it’s not too shabby either.

What you will need: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • ½ of 1red onion chopped (I reserved the other half to top the pizza with) 4 tbsp.
  • Taco Seasoning (recipe to follow, or use package)
  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese 8 (12″) Thin Flour Tortillas
  • 1 cup Shredded Lettuce
  • 1 cup of tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno Sliced (optional)
  • 1 Can Refried Beans (Caveman Version)
  • 1 Cup Salsa or taco sauce.
  • 2 Green Onions chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced olives

Taco SeasoningOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1.5 tsp. cumin
  • 1.5 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. cilantro
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. Montreal steak seasoning
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • Dash cayenne pepper

 Prep

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Caveman Tip*** I make the taco meat and beans early in the day, and then store them in the fridge until I am ready to use them. This way I don’t have to rush to put them together and it gives the mixtures time to marry together for better flavor. Then when I am ready just reheat it quickly on the stove.

In a heavy bottom skillet under medium heat, drizzle EVOO and add the onions. You will want to sauté them till soft and then turn it up to medium high and add the meat. Once the meat is browned, drain the fat & reduce to medium low heat. Add the taco seasoning to the meat in the pan along with a splash of chicken or beef stock. (2 tbsp. or so) You will want to simmer on low heat until the liquid is absorbed.

Place the refried beans in a separate pan and heat to medium low.

Caveman Tip*** I use refried beans a lot, in either dishes and just don’t have the time to make them from scratch but I do like to doctor them up a bit. Sauté a 1/3 cup onion (I use a lot of onions so I always have some in the fridge half used from earlier that day or the day before) 2-3 baby bell peppers until soft. Add your beans small can 10 oz. rotell tomatoes, 2 tbsp. salsa, 2 tbsp. cayenne, 2 tbsp. cumin and heat under medium low.

Take your flour tortillas and lightly coat with EVOO then place on a backing sheet and put in the oven. After a few minutes I like to turn the heat up to broil to really crisp up those shells, but be careful they will burn quickly.

Assembly

Take your tortilla and apply a thin layer of beans on it, then add a thin layer of ground meat and top it with shredded cheddar cheese. Next, add your second tortilla to the top and then put a thin layer of salsa on it followed by a layer of the Monterey jack cheese.

Cook.

Put the pizza in the oven, middle rack at 400 degrees until all the cheese is melted, it will take 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the pizza and your oven. Once all the cheese is melted remove it from the oven and finish the assembly.

 Final Assembly

Top the melted cheese with the shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, and jalapenos and olives.  Don’t forget your sour cream!

This will definitely be on the repeat list.

Beef Sliders

What you will need:

  • ½ lb. 80/20 ground sirloin
  • ½ lb. ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese. (I like Tillamook)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 4 dill Pickle spears
  • Lettuce
  • 1 small tomato
  • 8 small French or Rustic Rolls

Prepare the Sliders:

Take the ground sirloin, ground pork, garlic, a drizzle of EVOO, and a dash of salt and pepper and mix them well in a bowl. Do not mash the meat together you want it to be loose.

 Next you will want to make the patties. To do so you will take a palm size amount of the meat mixture and loosely roll them into a golf ball size ball.

 *Caveman Tip:  Do not over press your patties, you want them to be loose inside with little pockets of air, if you over press your patties the meat tends to be tougher.

Prepare the Grill:

**Caveman Tip:  I prefer to cook my beef sliders over a griddle as opposed to the open BBQ.  To me, the meat tends to be juicier and have more flavor. I also like to preseason the griddle with a little bacon fat before cooking the sliders, which works perfectly because we will use the bacon on our burgers.

Once the grill gets good and hot place your sliders on the grill. **Caveman Tip:  Immediately use your spatula to flatten then out, you don’t want to flatten them out once it starts cooking because you will squeeze out the juices. Remember do not over press them though, leave them loose.

The beef sliders are small so they will only take a couple minutes per side so watch them. As soon as one side has started to sear, give them a flip. At this point you are going to want to add the cheddar cheese to the top and put your buns on the grill to warm them up and give them a little crunch.

**Caveman Tip:  I prefer to use shredded cheese on my burgers and sliders, the cheese melts quicker and it just tastes better if you ask me.

 Close the lid on your BBQ and let them finish cooking and allow the cheese to melt. Like I mentioned above these sliders are small so they will cook fast.

When they are done pull them from the grill along with the toasted buns and get ready for goodness.

I like to add a little lettuce, sliced tomato and sliced dill pickle to my sliders. Just layer them on in order. Apply your favorite condiment and you are ready to go!

Enjoy!

Caveman Stroganoff

What you will need:

  • 1 ½lbs. steak, thin cut
  • 12 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 tbsp. butter
  • Salt & Pepper
  • ½ tsp. dried tarragon
  • 2 tbsp. white flour
  • 2 medium yellow onions, sliced
  • Beef stock (½ cup)
  • 1½ cup sour cream
  • 3 cups egg noodles
  • ½ Cup Fresh Parsley

Prepare Beef:

Thinly slice the beef into 2”x ¼” strips.  Put them into a bowl and season with a generous amount of salt and pepper. You be the judge on how much to use depending on your taste.

Next you will lightly dust the steak strips with the flour.

Prepare Noodles:

Get a large stock pot ready with salted water. I use about 1-2 tablespoons depending on the size of the pot. The water should taste mildly salty.

Caveman Tip*** When I am cooking a meal that requires pasta, I like to get the water ready under medium to medium high heat. If it starts to boil and reduce you can always add more water to the pot. This allows me to just turn up the heat and cook the pasta without having to wait for the water to get to a boil and it greatly reduces the time it takes to cook the pasta. It can be troublesome to time your food so this just helps me.  You always want to try and take your pasta straight from the boiling water to your sauce, just a quick strain, never rinse your pasta.

Cook:

Melt 4 tbsp. butter in a large skillet on medium high heat.  Lay the steaks in the pan and quickly brown them on both sides.

**Caveman Tip:  Do not overcrowd the pan. It’s important to leave space between your beef strips, overcrowding the pan will cause the temperature to reduce and you will not get that good sear, instead the meat will start boiling in its own juices.   If you have to cook the beef in a couple rounds, that’s okay, just add a little more butter or EVOO as necessary.

**Caveman Tip:  Do not overcook the meat, they are small strips and will cook quickly, also remember that they will continue to cook when you pull them from the pan. So remember only a minute or so per side, just enough to get a good sear.

Repeat technique until all the beef is cooked.  Your kitchen will be smelling good at this point!

Now remove the steak from the pan and set aside.

**Caveman tip: Do not remove the goodness from the beef pan. We want to use those flavors to carry into the next step.

 After you cook the steak, reduce the heat to medium, there should be some butter or EVOO still in the pan if not add a tbls of EVOO and add the onions to the same pan.

Add a pinch of salt to the onions and stir the goodness from the pan into the onions.   Next add a tsp. of flour and sauté until the onions are soft and almost caramelized.  If the liquid in the pan gets completely absorbed or the onions become dry and start to burn add a tablespoons of beef stock.

Once the onions are ready, add your mushrooms to the mixture followed by a pinch of salt. Let the mushrooms get soft and then add ¼ cup beef stock and the tarragon.  Now increase your heat to medium high and get the mixture to a rolling boil.  Now add your beef back into the mix.  You will want to stir continuously, moving all the ingredients around.  Once its boiling you will want to reduce the heat to medium. You will want to simmer the mixture until the liquid reduces by half.

**Caveman Tip:  Taste your liquid.  You may need to add salt, but you be the judge.  I can’t say this enough, but you have to always taste your food, start to finish. This way you can adjust ingredients as needed.

Now would be a good time to add your noodles to the boiling water.  (Cook as directed on the package)

The noodles should only take a few minutes since your water is almost boiling already.

**Caveman Tip:  You always want to cook your noodles al dente, this means soft but still has a little bite to it. Remember the noodles will continue to cook when you pull them from the water and you want them to finish cooking and absorb that awesome sauce you just made.

Once the sauce has reduced by half and it tastes to your liking add 1 ½ cups of sour cream to your stroganoff mixture this will help thicken it up and add that creamy texture.  You will now reduce the heat to medium low and when your noodles are ready give them a quick strain add them into your mixture. Now turn the heat back up to medium and stir them in for a minute or so, this will allow the noodles to finish cooking and bring everything together.

All you need to do now is top will a little fresh parsley and you’re ready to go!