Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with Brown Sugar Ketchup Glaze

bacon wrapped meatloaf with brown sugar ketchup glazeTiming 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.
bacon wrapped meatloafbacon wrapped meatloaf with brown sugar ketchup glaze
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.
bacon meatloaf
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

Ingredients:
½  c. ketchup
4 tbsp.  brown sugar
4 tsp. cider or white vinegar

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, stir ketchup, brown sugar and vinegar together until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.

For the Meat Loaf

Ingredients:

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

Instructions:

  1. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil, shiny side down.
  2. 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).
  3. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  4. In a medium skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is softened and translucent.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, worchestershire sauce, hot sauce, and milk (or yogurt) together.
  6. Add in the pork, beef, crackers (or oatmeal or breadcrumbs), parsley and the cooked onion and garlic.
  7. Using your hands, mix everything together until it just comes together. Do not squish the meat between your fingers, use light hands.
  8. Shape the meat into a 9 x 5 inch rectangle on top of the cooling rack where the holes are.
  9. Using a silicone basting  brush, brush the loaf liberally with the ketchup glaze.
  10. Cover the loaf with the strips of bacon, tucking the ends under the loaf and slightly overlapping.
  11. 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.
  12. Once out of the oven, let the loaf rest for about 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.

Sausage and Spinach Pasta

Sausage and Spinach Pasta 3I have this silly mentality that as long a dish has dark leafy greens, it is somewhat healthy.  Peas, carrots, celery… those don’t fool me, but add kale, spinach, or broccoli to the mix and I’ll think that it’s nutritious.  So if you follow my train of thought, you can understand why I would proclaim that this pasta is nutritious and healthy.
Sausage and Spinach Pasta 6It’s really not though, I should know.  It’s rich without feeling heavy and gloriously creamy without being greasy.  In fact, it tastes so decadent that people were surprised I only used 4 tablespoons of butter for an entire pound of pasta.
Sausage and Spinach Pasta 1It starts with a pound of good Italian sausage, and when the sausage is cooked and the delicious brown bits are formed, you add your veggies.
Sausage and Spinach Pasta 2Then you start your béchamel sauce which is the key to having a pasta taste so creamy and finally, you add your freshly grated cheddar.  No, not the shredded bagged stuff, the seriously sharp, good stuff you get by the block. The dish comes together relatively quickly and the sauce requires only one pot. Oh, and the flavor? Explosive! 😉
Sausage and Spinach Pasta 4

Sausage and Spinach Pasta

Ingredients:
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
1 lb. dried pasta (I used thin spaghetti)
½ lb. baby spinach
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
⅓ c. all-purpose flour
1 ½ c. whole milk
1 ½ c. chicken stock
6 oz. aged white cheddar, grated
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil while you prepare the sauce.
  2. In a large, heavy bottomed pot cook the Italian sausage until cooked through and brown bits have formed on the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the onion and cook until softened, then add the spinach, garlic and red pepper flakes until the spinach wilts and releases liquid.  Continuously scrape the bottom of the pot to remove the brown bits.
  4. Add the butter and once it melts, stir in the flour and cook until the mixture becomes pasty and smells slightly nutty.
  5. Slowly add in the chicken stock while stirring the mixture to avoid any lumps.
  6. Then, slowly add in the whole milk while stirring the mixture to avoid any lumps.
  7. Add the grated cheddar in small increments until completely incorporated.
  8. Simmer sauce while boil the pasta.
  9. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, add salt and pepper to the sauce to taste.
  10. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir until sauce is evenly distributed throughout the pasta.