Timing is everything, isn’t it? In film and TV, it’s what makes a scene funny, scary or romantic. I guess you can say it also applies to real life, but the timing is rarely perfect. I set out to make this meatloaf on a cloudy Wednesday to get over the hump day blues. But about 15 minutes before the meatloaf was done, the power went out on my block. I was very much annoyed because not only was I borderline hangry (anger caused by hunger), there was a power outage the Sunday before. They’re usually very good about restoring power where I live because I live on a busy street in my town so I figured that I would wait until the power came back on. My resolve lasted about an hour and a half until I gave up and decided to order Papa John’s. It took another 50 minutes for the pizza to arrive and when I brought the pizza in, my cousin said, “Wouldn’t it be really funny if the lights came on right now?” and just like a sitcom, the lights came back on.
Honestly, I was too hangry to find humor in the situation at the time but now that I look back on it, I can see that the timing was spot on. I reheated the meatloaf the next day, and as usual it was delicious. It is one of my favorite weekday meals to put together. Even better because it’s wrapped with bacon, and it is never dry. The original recipe states to use three kinds of meat but I simplify it and use just beef and pork which is just easier since they usually sell meat by the pound. I would say that the only downside to this recipe in comparison to others is that you have to cook the garlic and onion in a separate pan, which disqualifies it as a one-bowl recipe.
Remember to line the sheet pan with aluminum foil to make clean up easier. Also, don’t forget to line the cooling rack with aluminum foil and poke holes in it for the fat to drain, because we don’t like greasy meatloaves, no sir.
Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with Brown Sugar Ketchup Glaze
For the Brown Sugar Ketchup Glaze
½ c. ketchup
4 tbsp. brown sugar
4 tsp. cider or white vinegar
- In a medium bowl, stir ketchup, brown sugar and vinegar together until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
For the Meat Loaf
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large eggs
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground black paper
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
¼ tsp. hot red pepper sauce
½ c. milk, buttermilk or low-fat plain yogurt
1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground beef
⅔ c. crushed saltine crackers (about 16) or quick oatmeal or 1⅓ c. fresh bread crumbs
⅓ c. minced parsley
8 oz. thin-sliced bacon
- Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil, shiny side down.
- Line a metal cooling rack with aluminum foil (shiny side down), poking holes with a chopstick where the meatloaf will be, a little larger than a 9 x 5 inch rectangle (to drain the fat).
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- In a medium skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is softened and translucent.
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs, thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, worchestershire sauce, hot sauce, and milk (or yogurt) together.
- Add in the pork, beef, crackers (or oatmeal or breadcrumbs), parsley and the cooked onion and garlic.
- Using your hands, mix everything together until it just comes together. Do not squish the meat between your fingers, use light hands.
- Shape the meat into a 9 x 5 inch rectangle on top of the cooling rack where the holes are.
- Using a silicone basting brush, brush the loaf liberally with the ketchup glaze.
- Cover the loaf with the strips of bacon, tucking the ends under the loaf and slightly overlapping.
- Bake loaf until the center of the loaf registers 160°F, about an hour. About five minutes before the loaf is done, brush the entire loaf with the remaining ketchup glaze.
- Once out of the oven, let the loaf rest for about 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.
Remember when Facebook was exclusive to profiles and writing on someone’s wall? It was a simpler past. These days, I feel like Facebook is a black hole for wasting time, especially since they made videos play automatically. Occasionally, I’ll scroll through and catch myself watching every single clip. The beauty of it is that each clip is usually short and you don’t even notice the time go by.
This especially holds true for those “Tasty” videos. If you’re active on Facebook, then you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, I’m referring to ridiculously short clips of (mostly) very simple recipes, done in a fraction of a time. The videography is pretty good and the food usually looks, as the name suggests, tasty.
So one day, I was scrolling through and I saw a video clip of a bacon wrapped avocado that was filled with a poached egg. It wasn’t a “Tasty” video, but a clip of a restaurant’s dish. No instructions or recipes, just how they made it. After watching it once, I thought that I could do it. So without even really prepping anything, I decided to try it.
Yes, I’ve never poached an egg and I’ve never tried to wrap an avocado with bacon before, but how hard could it be? I wish I could say it was super simple, but I was very wrong. My poached egg was a little over done, and when I tried to put it in my avocado, I realized that I happened to have a larger than average avocado with a huge pit. The egg looked a little sad in there, but I figured, “It’s alright. Let’s just wrap the thing in bacon like the video.” So I put the two halves together, and wrapped it in bacon and set it in a low heat, nonstick pan.
Well, I know that bacon shrinks from cooking, but I thought I wrapped it well enough that it should hold. As soon as I turned the avocado, the avocado started sliding in half. Now, I don’t know what kind of magic they used to keep the avocado together, but no matter how carefully I turned it, the avocado started sliding more and more, loosening the bacon wrap at the same time. Frustrated, I took the whole thing out, unwrapped the half cooked bacon and stuck a few toothpicks on the outer corners of the avocado (not the center because you don’t want to pop the poached egg). Then I re-wrapped it with the partially cooked bacon, sticking it into the ends of the toothpicks that were sticking out and put it back into the pan. The bacon continued to shrink and slowly started coming off of the toothpick. So instead of the neat bacon covered avocado I wanted, I ended up with an avocado wearing a shredded bacon sweater.
I wondered if it was even worth putting on the blog and if I had just wasted my precious Saturday. Even if it wasn’t the perfect dish I was looking for, cut in half and served on toast with some fresh tomatoes, it still tasted great. What I learned though, was to never trust a Facebook video without real instructions.
Bacon Avocado Egg
1 tbsp. vinegar
1 avocado, ripe but slightly firm
4-5 strips of bacon
toasted bread (optional)
fresh tomatoes (optional)
- Fill a small shallow nonstick frying pan with water and heat until it reaches a rapid boil.
- While the water is heating, crack eggs into two separate small bowls.
- Once the water reaches a rapid boil, turn off heat and stir in 1 tbsp. of vinegar.
- Slide eggs carefully into the hot water, one at time and cook for 4 minutes.
- Once the time is up, carefully remove the eggs from the water and drain on a paper towel.
- Cut open the avocado in half and pop out the pit by using the blunt end of the knife. Use a spoon to scoop out the two halves.
- Slide the poached egg into the hollow center of one half of the avocado and line the second half of the avocado so that it is perfectly lined with the first half.
- Use four toothpicks to secure the four corners of the avocado, do not puncture center of the avocado, you will pop the yolk.
- Carefully wrap the bacon strips over the avocado, using the toothpick ends to secure the bacon.
- In a small nonstick pan, over medium-low heat, cook bacon on all sides of the avocado until cooked through and crisp.
- Serve with toasted bread and fresh tomatoes if desired. (highly recommended)
It’s officially fall. Only it’s too cold for fall. Last night it was 35 degrees outside and this morning there was a chance of snow for a couple of hours. As much as I love having four seasons, I feel like fall in New Jersey only lasts a few weeks. Whenever I’m on Pinterest or on Instagram I see posts of girls in short sweater dresses with ankle boots without tights or thick coats, I ask myself, “Just where do these girls live? And how can I get myself there?”
Although it may not feel so much like fall, we can certainly eat like it is. The color orange seems to be the theme of fall food. Pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, acorn squash… all of these have orange flesh that not only taste great but are healthy too. If you’ve never tried Kabocha squash, it also has an orange flesh but is sweeter than a butternut squash. Mix that with the salty bacon and the delicate fruitiness of the Enoki mushroom, you have a winner. I added a dash of Unagi sauce on one of them and it was the perfect touch.
It is incredibly easy to put together and you don’t even have to put in the Kabocha squash or the Unagi sauce. It can be as easy as wrapping the mushroom with the bacon and you’ll still have a crowd-pleasing appetizer that can be made on the fly.
I probably won’t be able to write another post before Thanksgiving. So, I hope you have the happiest of Thanksgivings with your loved ones this Thursday and I’m so thankful for all of you reading this. ❤
Bacon Wrapped Enoki Mushrooms and Kabocha Squash
1 – 4 oz. package of Enoki mushrooms, split into 8 bundles
4 slices of bacon, halved vertically
8 slivers of Kabocha squash, raw
salt and pepper to taste
parsley, minced, for garnish
Unagi (eel) sauce, optional
- Preheat oven to 375˚F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, shiny side down.
- Top a bundle of mushrooms with slice of squash and very lightly sprinkle salt on top of the squash.
- Wrap the vegetable bundle with a slice of bacon and secure with toothpick. Repeat for the rest of the bundles.
- Season the bundles with pepper and roast the bundles for 15-20 minutes, until the bacon is browned and crisp.
- Drain bundles on paper towels and if using the unagi sauce, lightly drizzle sauce before serving.
- Garnish with minced parsley.
It’s rare that I find a technique that is life-changing. I love trying out new ways to do things. Mostly because they are novel and I’m always looking for ways to grow and learn in general. I’ll usually try something once or twice, but that’s about it. It’s on to the next obsession, the next trend, the next new way to do something.
But this, oh man… It is such a simple technique but it makes the average hot dog 10000% tastier than what it was before. You simply stick a skewer into the sausage, take a knife and create a swirl pattern along the meat, which will result in a Slinky looking piece of meat. It does not look like much but once you cook it, the increased surface to volume ratio creates extra crisp, juicy, meaty goodness.
The first time I made this on a grill, the neighboring party came over and asked what kind of meat I was cooking. Once they saw that it was just a hot dog cut up into a fancy shape, they amused at its novelty and went about their merry way. Little did I know that I was a monkey about to touch the monolith.
I’ve eaten my fair share of hot dogs and this one is right at the top. Neck and neck with the deep fried hot dogs they sell at a local hot dog joint in my town. Yes, true to the busy spatula fashion, I had to jazz it up by adding bacon, avocado, Sriracha and Kewpie mayo. (Which by the way, if you can do it, you must. It is a serious flavor bomb.) But honestly, this post is really about the technique. Simply cutting it up in a spiral shape will be life changing. I promise.
Avocado Bacon Spiralized Hotdogs
Hot dog sausage
Avocado, peeled and cut into thin slices
Kewpie Mayo (yes, there is a difference between this and regular mayonnaise)
Potato hot dog buns
Skewers (I understand that this is not an ingredient but SO NECESSARY)
- Stick a skewer through the middle of a hot dog sausage. If it does not go straight and pokes out the side, pull it back and continue until you get it to the other end of the sausage.
- With a sharp knife, make a continuous spiral cut along the sausage, using the skewer as a guide to know how deep to cut the sausage.
- Spread a thin layer of mayo over potato hot dog buns and toast it in a heated frying pan.
- Remove toasted buns and cook sausage over medium heat until well browned and crispy.
- Remove sausages, turn heat to low and cook bacon until desired level of crispness.
- Top toasted hot dog bun with sausage, avocado slices, bacon, Kewpie mayo and Sriracha.
- Enjoy immensely.