Hash Brown Casserole

I swear that I had no idea this was even a thing until I found a reference to a recipe for genuine Copycat Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole at the bottom of an entirely different recipe page.  There are no Cracker Barrels anywhere near me.
I decided to give it a go – the odds are that anything with a tub of sour cream in the ingredient list is going to be tasty.  I just needed something to round out the menu, meatloaf works for me.Add some frozen peas and we were good to go!  The dinner was well received.

Mmm… Meatloaf Dinner

Your basic meatloaf, half beef and half Italian sausage with milk and crumbs and Parmesan and herbs and spices.  Ketchup with brown sugar and worcestershire sauce for the topping.  There’s onions and peppers in there.  Hard to go wrong but it can be done so don’t take that as a challenge.Mrs J was wanting mac and cheese and green beans because that is what you serve with meatloaf in these enlightened environs.A good time was had by all.  Gabe got some cheese sauce flavored pots and casseroles to lick out and he did a very good job.  Such a good boy, yes he is!

Glazed Meatloaf

JeffreyW linked to this recipe originally. When I went to make it, I adapted it to what I had on hand.

Glazed Meatloaf

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 stalk celery, rough chopped
  • 1 small carrot, rough chopped
  • 1/2 onion, rough chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, rough chopped
  • 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 lb 80/20 ground beef
  • 1/2 lb Italian sausage (pork or ground beef can be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper


  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a skillet, melt butter and saute celery, carrots, onion and garlic until soft. Remove from heat and cool slightly. In a blender, add crushed tomatoes, soy sauce and chopped vegetables. Blend until smooth.

In a bowl, combine oats, beef, sausage, vegetable mixture, spices and eggs, and mix until well combined. You’re probably going to have to use your hands to get it done properly. I don’t have an issue with that, but if you do, kitchen latex-free disposable gloves are a lifesaver (I use them for chopping chiles and such).

You want this to be somewhat firm, but it’s not going to stand up on its own (that would lead to dry meatloaf)

Cover a baking sheet with foil and then top with a sheet of parchment paper. In a loaf pan, form the loaf, tap it on the counter to remove any air pockets. Refrigerate until oven preheats to 350 degrees F. Next put the parchment paper over the top, then place the baking sheet over the top and invert everything. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and gently remove the loaf pan.  It helps to use a thin spatula. Put the meatloaf back in the oven and bake uncovered until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F. About 40 minutes.

While it’s baking, whisk together the glaze ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly until it has thickened.

Remove the meatloaf from the oven, turn heat up to 450 degrees F, baste the meatloaf with the glaze, return to the oven and bake for 3 minutes, glaze again, bake for an additional 3 minutes. Then a third time and remove from the oven when the glaze is bubbly and brown.  Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes so that you can cut it evenly.

The vegetable mixture really gives this meatloaf a silky texture and it is full of flavor.

I think serving it with mashed potatoes should be mandatory. YMMV.


Mmm… Meatloaf!

DSC_0930 (1600x1060)It’s a crapshoot to enter “best” as a search term but I’m a gambling sort – if the stakes are low enough.  “Best meatloaf” took me to a serious eats/food lab recipe that looked good enough for me to print the recipe out and follow along.DSC_0924 (1600x1060)The loaf was pretty loose but they managed that by cooking it for a half hour under an inverted loaf pan, pulling the pan after a half hour.DSC_0925 (1600x1060)It continues to bake at 350 until an instant read thermometer hits 140 degrees.  Let it rest as the oven temperature increases to 500, brush on the first layer of glaze.  Give it three coats, letting the hot oven set the coat for a few minutes after each layer.DSC_0926 (1600x1060)Here’s mine after the last coat.  Looks good!  Smells great!DSC_0928 (1600x1060)I made a few alterations to the recipe, skipping entirely the gelatin.  Also the marmite and the mushrooms – I didn’t have those and wasn’t in the mood to run after them. I used a mild store blend Italian sausage for the pork, and went with shredded Monterey jack cheese.  I did have anchovy paste so that went in instead of fillets.  It turned out rather well without those few things, I’m not sure adding them would have substantially changed things.  Two thumbs up!


DSC_5270 (1600x1060)The hummers finally showed up in some force.  There are enough of them around I have to keep an eye on the feeders lest they run dry.20150415_175837 (1600x1060)I’m always losing those info tabs that ID the plant so I hit upon the idea to take a picture of each one with my cell phone.  Might not be foolproof but it can’t hurt.DSC_5266 (1600x1060)Bea is fond of turning our pots into kitteh beds.  I have two small basil plants in this one and she managed not to crush either one.  Yay!DSC_0317 (1600x1060)I had Italian sausage leftover from the last pizza so I combined that with some ground beef in a meatloaf the other day.  Worked out pretty well!  This was an ad hoc recipe:  Milk, an egg, bread crumbs, chopped parsley, chopped onion, garlic, and salt/pepper – bake in a 325 oven for about an hour in a bread loaf pan.  The dressing is ketchup and Sweet Baby Ray’s.DSC_0321 (1600x1060)The best reason to make meatloaf is the prospect of using the leftovers in a sammich.  Mmm…DSC02274 (1600x1200)Thread needs more kitteh!  This is Sweet Pea, a 5 month old kitteh girl.DSC02278 (1600x1200)That was hard work!  Nap time…DSC_0313 (1600x1060)I’ve been perfecting my braising method for these baby back ribs.  I do these in a 300 degree oven in a covered foil pan, after applying a dry rub, for about 3 hours or so.  A cup of beef broth helps to keep them moist.  During the last 20 minutes I brush them with a BBQ sauce, crank up the heat, and leave them uncovered to set the glaze.  Still working on the rub recipe but is has ground coriander, black pepper, kosher salt, garlic and onion powders, brown sugar, and a few other things that look good at the time.

Mmm… Meatloaf

DSC_7503 (1600x1060)I thawed some of my homemade breakfast sausage and was wondering what to make with it.  Mrs J suggested meatloaf.  I thought that a splendid plan!  My sausage recipe departed from the one I linked to – I used white wine and left out the paprika.  I probably used more black pepper and garlic, too.

Anyway, I added ground beef half and half with the sausage and went with the Pioneer Woman’s meatloaf recipe.  I mostly followed it, no really significant departures.DSC_7498 (1600x1060)Before today I’ve always used a bread loaf pan but her mention of using a roasting pan put me of a mind to try this thing.  It worked pretty well but the chili sauce topping with the brown sugar burnt a crust onto the bottom that kept me from trying to use the drippings for gravy.  I was getting pretty darn hungry, too.  DSC_7499 (1600x1060)I kept poking it with my thermometer trying to hurry it and finally got it to say 160 degrees for me.  The loaf spent most of its time at 350 but I turned it up to 375 towards the last 20 minutes or so, wanting to see more caramelization of the topping – and to hurry it along – LOL!

The veggies were some of those from the freezer section that let you steam them right in the bag.  These were OK, nothing to rave about but they were certainly easy.

Mmm… Meatloaf

Thawed a couple of links of Italian sausage and a like amount of hamburger this afternoon while I piddled about in the basement.  Nothing special about the recipe, an egg, a splash of milk, a handful of bread crumbs, some Parmesan and an onion, some minced bell peppers.  Odds and ends of spices: dried basil, oregano, onion powder and garlic. Tossed some veggies in after the meatloaf had a head start, then cranked the heat when the meatloaf came out.  By the time the gravy was ready the veggies had some nice color: