Meatloaf Stuffed Potato Balls with Dragon Sauce

Recipes in this PostMeatloaf Stuffed Potato Balls with Dragon Sauce

Meatloaf Stuffed Potato Balls with Dragon Sauce

One of my favorite things is to go to Porto’s in Glendale and get Papas Rellenas (Cuban Potato Balls).  They are very tasty, and make for a quick bite.  One day, I had left over meatloaf, and left over mashed potatoes, so I decided to try my hand at making them.  It’s pretty simple, and a good way to use up your left overs.  You could use other stuffing, I just happen to really like my Three Pepper Spicy Meatloaf.

A few words about mashed potatoes

Please use real ones, not the ones in the box, or the ones that are already made. Take a little time to make mashed potatoes.  I usually use one medium sized potato per person, unless I want extra for something like this, and then I add an extra potato. For this recipe, you will need to peel the potatoes. Unpeeled potatoes are great, but the peels would get in the way when trying to keep the shaped correctly.  I cut my potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut each half into quarters.  I keep the cut, peeled potatoes in cold water until they have all been prepped, this keeps them from turning brown.  Rinse the potatoes and put them in clean, salted water. Always use a good amount of salt in the water, about a half a teaspoon per potato. Bring the water to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to medium. Check the potatoes at about 15 minutes.  They are done when you can easily stick a fork or tip of a knife in them.  Don’t let them get over cooked, or you will have a soggy mess. Drain them in a sturdy colander immediately so they will stop cooking.  I like to add butter at this point, and mash them with a masher so the butter really gets in there, then I add milk and depending on how fluffy I want them, I either whip them by hand, or use a hand mixer.

Meatloaf – It’s all up to you!

To make this you will need about 2 cups of left over mashed and a few slices of left over meatloaf.  You can use your favorite meatloaf recipe, you are not tied to mine. You can even use – gads! – store bought meatloaf if you like it.

The Dragon Sauce

You don’t have to have a dip for these, they’re good plain.  But, if you like a extra zip, please try this Dragon Sauce. If you don’t like spicy foods, then you could always use Ranch or onion dip if you wanted.  This is one of those recipes that’s really up to you.  Use what you enjoy!

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Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Recipes in this PostBiscuits and Sausage Gravy

When I was in college, one of my friends introduced me to another girl, Biba Hughes, who would become my best friend. I dated her brother, I got the father/daughter talk from her father because my father had died, and I was privileged to be in the kitchen with her mother, who made the absolutely best food. One of our favorites was Biscuits and Sausage Gravy. Her mother made the best, and still does. Mine is good, but Jeanne Hughes has some mother thing going that just makes hers the best.

With that in mind, and a package of raw bulk sausage in hand, I decided to make sausage gravy for dinner. I will happily admit that I am biscuit challenged, so I just got a package of refrigerated biscuits. No recipe for those here, yet.

Jeanne Hughes usually uses Italian sausage, but I had regular bulk sausage. I still wanted to make my gravy like hers, so I added the missing ingredients, garlic and fennel seed. She also has a secret ingredient that I am about to share with you…

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Thousand Island Dressing with Balsamic Toasts

Recipes in this PostThousand Island Dressing with Balsamic Toasts

Why would anyone want to write about Thousand Island Dressing? It’s yucky! It’s that reddish stuff that sits on the salad bar and congeals because no one wants it, and rightly so. It’s the “secret” sauce on the Big Mac, and has become so common that you probably don’t even notice it on your sandwich anymore. That’s a pity, because this is a grand dame of salad dressings with an interesting and honorable history.

One of the Thousand Islands only supports one tree and two bushesThousand Island Dressing is named for the archipelago of 1,864 islands that straddles the Canada-U.S. border in the Saint Lawrence River. Some of the islands are very small indeed. The one pictured above supports a single tree and two bushes. The dressing was popularized by May Irwin, a Canadian vaudeville star in the 1890’s. She had a home in Grindstone Island, one of the Thousand Islands. She said that the dressing reminded her of the Thousand Islands, and enjoyed the dressing so much that she requested the recipe from Sophia LaLonde, a fishing guide’s wife who frequently made the dressing for her husband. Miss Irwin then gave the recipe to George Boldt, the proprietor of the famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, who instructed his the hotel’s maître d’hôtel, Oscar Tschirky, to put the dressing on the menu. In 1950 the dressing became a standard, and started its decline into the gloppy mess we have today.

One of the things we do at The Good Plate is to reconstruct packaged foods, so they taste better, and don’t have the preservatives common in packaged foods. I knew that venerable Thousand Island Dressing deserved a better place, and making it from scratch would make it one of my favorites, especially for sea food salads.

I made a crab salad for the dressing, and some Balsamic Toasts to go with them. This was in the midst of Spane and his friend making Play Dough on the stove. There are little bits of homemade Play Dough all over the place. Time to clean!

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Pork Chops Paprikash

Recipes in this PostPork Chops Paprikash

When I was a little girl, my mother had the entire collection of The Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cooking, and there was a recipe in for Hungarian Porkchops, which I have been making for many years. Today, I decided to change the recipe a bit, and came up with Pork Chops Paprikash.

In Glendale, California, which has a large Armenian population, we have Red Pepper Sauce. It’s basically paprika peppers, and I use it quite often, in sauces, eggs, and other dishes. There are many brands and you can probably find it in ethnic European stores. I highly recommend it.

Paprikash dishes call for sour cream. I have probably talked about this before, and I will say it again. When you buy sour cream, please only get the kind that has cultured cream. The other stuff has gelatin and other ingredients as fillers, and they just are not real sour cream. The Alta Dena brand has a wonderful saying on the top of the tub, “Those cravings you feel are totally natural”. I love that because it’s true – there is nothing in that sour cream except cultured cream, the way sour cream should be.

Mis En Place

Mis en Place – Sour Cream, Red Pepper Sauce and Beef Base

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Ham Steaks with Russian Red Eye Gravy and Cranberry Almond Pilaf

Recipes in this PostHam Steak with Russian Red Eye Gravy and Cranberry Almond Rice Pilaf

Sometimes, you need a little Christmas, right this very minute. That’s why we love ham steaks, because you satisfy your craving for a good piece of ham, without having to cook a whole ham. If you’re lucky, you even get to have the bone with the luscious marrow.

When I make a whole ham, I usually make a glaze of Russian mustard and Sour Cherry preserves. It’s sweet and a little hot, and definitely wakes up the ham. One of the traditional gravies for ham steak is Red Eye gravy, which has, you guessed it, coffee in it. I wanted to incorporate both.

Since The Good Plate is all about deconstructing packaged foods, and one everyone likes a lot is Rice-a-Roni. Rice-a-Roni is rice pilaf, but with way too much salt and other preservatives. There’s no need to use the box, just get the ingredients together and make it from scratch – you know what’s going in it, and you can add whatever you want.

Over the weekend, I made a salad with a new dressing. It was fresh dill and lime, and Amber absolutely loved it. She asked for it again tonight, so I’m including the recipe for it here.

Remember, if you’re having a ham steak, and you don’t want your bone, just give it to me!

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Fry Baby, Fry! Beer Battered Fried Fish and Onion Rings, Avocado Fries

Recipes in this PostRice Flour Beer Batter Fried Fish, Onion Rings, Avocado Fries and Stuffed Wontons

I don’t eat a lot of fried food, but sometimes, you have to fry. I wanted to make Avocado Fries, and considering that there was already going to be a pan of hot oil, why not throw some other things in as well?

My friend, Amber Lewis, chief cook and bottle washer, and event planner extraordinaire at Cool Dreams, makes these wonderful Bacon Wrapped Dates and Artichoke Stuffed Wontons. She suggested we make fried onions to go with our other appetizers, and I said we should make beer battered fish to go with it.

Amber’s son, Zeik, helped make sauces, including Chipotle Lime Sauce, for the onions rings and avocado fries.

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