Monday, March 15, 2010

Let Me Help...

I spent the other weekend visiting friends at their ski lodge. I had just met all of these people, but had volunteered to help in the kitchen with dinner. They were grateful and accepted my help. I felt good helping and contributing feeling like I was earning my keep and dinner went off without a hitch.

Later that weekend, Scott and I threw our own dinner party at his house. He wanted to make meatloaf and I was home all day and getting stir crazy and I was planning to start the meatloaf without him. However, I could tell he wanted to help. I remembered how good it felt to help my new friends, so I stepped out of the kitchen, sat outside in the sunshine and waited. When he got home, we had fun measuring and creating the meal together. We made Hot Mess Meatloaf, Smooshed Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy, and I got him out of his comfort zone with Confetti Green Bean Casserole.

Our friends came to dinner and we all ate and had a great time. After dinner one of our friends offered to help clean up. I let her, knowing that she would feel as good helping as I would feel recieving the help. That is a lesson that I learned this year. To let other's help me. Just as much as I like helping people, others get reward from me accepting their help. It is a two way street. I encourage you to accept the assistance that is offered or ask if it isn't. I ask for help more, give help more, and accept help more than before and my life is easier.

It really does take a village to do ANYTHING. Let me help you with dinner tonight by sharing these delicious recipes that are easy and your family is sure to love them. The great thing about meatloaf is that usually everyone has everything they need already in the house to make it. All you need is some ground meat and lots of seasonings. The key to great meatloaf is to keep it light. To do that I have used dried potato flakes as a filler instead of all of the bread crumbs. The potato flakes keep the meat juicy and tender. Ground turkey meat can also be used as a healthy alternative to red meat. This is also a really fun meal to make with kids. Just put everything into one large bowl teaching them the names of all of the spices and roll up their sleeves and let them use their hands to mix the meat loaf. Believe it or not, they might be delighted to help!

Enjoy these simple and down home recipes and meet me here next time for more good ideas for you and your family.

Hot Mess Meatloaf

4 lb. ground beef (we used ground venizon)
1 lb. sausage
1/2 cup bread crumbs
4 eggs
1 tbsp. seasoning salt
2 tbsp. parmesean cheese
1/2 cup A1 sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbsp. garlic; minced
3 tsp. worchestershire
1 tsp. tobasco sauce
1/4 cup parlsey
1 cup white onion; diced
1 tbsp. steak seasoning
2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. red pepper
1 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 cup dried mashed potatoe flakes

Mix all ingredients above in a large bowl using your (clean) hands.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and separate the meatloaf into 3 loaf pans. Bake for 70 minutes.

Smooshed Potatoes

8 cups red potatoes; diced with skins left on
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1/2 reduced fat milk
1/2 cup cheddar cheese; shredded
1/4 cup chives; chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Add potatoes to a large cooking pot and cover completely with water. Add a dash of salt and bring the potatoes to a boil. Allow to boil uncovered for 25 minutes or until a fork can easily pierce the potatoe peices.

Drain the water off the potatoes and add the remaining ingredients and combine using a potato masher. Serve immediately.

Mushroom Gravy

2 cups mushrooms; chopped
2 tbsp. garlic; minced
2 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup white wine
2 tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
2 packets brown gravy mix
1 1/2 cups reduced fat milk

Add butter, garlic, mushrooms, and white wine to a medium pan. Cook for 15 minutes or until mushrooms have reduced in size and white wine has reduced by half. Then add the soy sauce, gravy mix, and milk. Whisk the ingredients together and cook for another 15 minutes or until the gravy has thickened. You may also add a little extra flour one tsp. at a time to reach the desired thickness. Serve over the meatloaf and the smooshed potatoes!

Confetti Green Bean Casserole

3 cans greenbeans (14.5 oz)
1/2 white onion; diced
2 cans cream of mushroom soup (14.5 oz)
1 can creamed corn (14.5 oz)
1 tbsp. pepper
1 tbsp. garlic
1/2 cup reduced fat milk
2/3 cup dried onion

Combine all ingredients in a baking pan mixing completely. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. This is easy and is terrific served alongside the potatoes, meatloaf, and gravy.

Mental Health Benefit: These recipes are simple down-home classics. They are classics because of how good they taste and how easy they are to prepare. With winter wearing on all of us, call your family and friends into the kitchen to help you. These delicious recipes and the help of you loved ones are sure to lift you through the end of these cold winter days.

Wishing you a little help from our kitchen to yours!

~ "Too Lovely" Hot Messes in the kitchen

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