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Meatloaf PupCakes with Mashed Potato Frosting

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Jessie turned ten earlier this month and I decided that I was finally, finally, going to throw her the birthday party I’d always wanted to throw her ever since we got her.  I had invitations I meant to use for it so long I finally ended up selling them at our garage sale last year, thinking I would always have too much going on to actually do it.  Ironically, I ended up throwing her a birthday party the year I’m most busy, with a little human puppy taking up most of my time.  Just goes to show, you always have enough time for whatever you put your mind to.

I plan to do a whole separate blog post about the party because it was the sauce, if I do say so myself, but first I wanted to share the recipe I made for the PupCakes.  Rather than make something flour-based, I decided I wanted to go with meat-centric PupCakes because, let’s get real here, it’s a rare dog that prefers a flour & fruit-based treat over a meaty one.  Jessie is alll about the meat.

So I just threw together a bunch of stuff that seemed like it might make good dog-friendly (i.e. no onions) meatloaf into a bowl, mixed it up, and took a tiny taste test after baking.  Wow, I was impressed!  The only salt in the recipe comes from the ketchup, so I thought it would be rather bland, but these are so good I wished I’d made extra to enjoy along with the pups!  I added a mashed potato “frosting” that I thinned with yogurt.  So healthy and delicious, and the dogs devoured them! (Don’t be fooled by Doc giving up his to Jessie in the video, he’s so sweet that if Jessie even looks at him when he has a treat, he drops it so she can have it.  Kind of breaks my heart, actually! lol)  Even the little tiny dogs ate an entire PupCake by themselves. I’d say they are definitely dog-approved. :)

Meatloaf PupCakes with Mashed Potato Frosting

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 ½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup finely diced red bell pepper
½ cup finely diced zucchini
1 egg, beaten
1 lb 93% lean ground beef
½ cup quick oats
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 cup ketchup

2 large russet potatoes, peeled
1 cup plain yogurt
Milk to thin

Optional garnish: real bacon bits

Remove ground beef from refrigerator to allow the chill to come off while you begin the recipe. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 9 muffin cups with foil liners; set aside.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, red pepper, and zucchini, and sauté until softened, about 5-10 minutes. In large bowl, combine the cooked veggies with the remaining pupcake ingredients until well combined. Roll mixture into 9 large balls and place in prepared muffin cups.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted in center of loaves reads 160ºF. Cool slightly in muffin cups.

While loaves are baking, cut potatoes into large chunks. Place in 3-quart saucepan, cover with water, and heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cook potatoes until fork-tender. Drain; return to saucepan. Add yogurt and beat with an electric mixer, adding milk as necessary, until creamy and smooth like frosting.

Place potatoes in a 10-inch decorating bag and snip the tip as large as you want it to come out. Alternatively, you can place them in a Ziploc bag and snip the corner. Remove the pupcakes from the muffin pan and place on serving plate. Starting at outside of each cake and in a circular motion, pipe potatoes onto each meat loaf. If desired, garnish with bacon bits. Serve warm or room temperature.

A Veronica’s Cornucopia original

Chicken-Fried Steak with Country Gravy

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Living in Kansas, I say this so often that by now, it doesn’t really need to be said. But seriously, what is up with this weather? It seems like we went straight from summer into winter. It’s freezing, people. 40°F as I type this.  And the weird thing is that the grass is still green and the leaves are still green on the trees and none of them have fallen off. But it’s shiver-me-timbers cold.  It’s only the first week of October and I’m already pulling the ice hand in Dennis’ armpit trick.

All I know is, when cold weather hits, that’s when I start wanting hot, comforting meals. Chicken-fried steak was one such recipe on my bucket list (it also has other such common things as homemade chocolate pudding on it–seriously, I’ve never made these basics!) and I have Gina to thank for helping me get ‘r done.  Bring on the homestyle cookin’!

Chicken Fried Steak with Country Gravy

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 ½ cups milk, plus more for gravy
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons seasoned salt, plus extra for steaks
½ teaspoon black pepper, plus more for gravy
5 tablespoons bacon grease or vegetable oil
4 cube steaks
Salt to taste (for gravy)

Pour the milk into a pie dish. Place flour in a separate pie dish and mix in the seasoned salt and pepper until well combined.

Heat bacon grease in a large skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, sprinkle seasoned salt over both sides of the steaks. One at a time, dredge the steaks in flour, coating both sides. Dip the floured steak in milk, flipping it over to get both sides wet, then dredge in the flour again, coating well. Once the grease is hot, place the steaks in the skillet. I place them in the skillet as I finish coating them, but if your skillet isn’t hot enough, you can put them on a platter until it is. Cook the steaks until browned on the bottom and juices are coming out of the top. Flip over and continue cooking until the meat feels tender when you poke it in the middle with a fork and doesn’t pull, and no juices run out. You may have to keep flipping the steaks over until they are done. Place finished steaks on a clean platter and tent with foil while you make the gravy.

Add the leftover flour from the breading to the skilled and stir it well to absorb all the grease in the skillet, stirring until no white flour is visible. Add remaining milk from breading the meat, approximately ½ to 1 cup, and stir until smooth. Add additional milk as needed to get a smooth, liquid consistency. Continue cooking until thickened, adding additional milk to thin as necessary, and seasoning to taste with salt and lots of pepper. Ladle over the chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes.

Recipe source: adapted from At Home My Way

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

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Someone asked me about the “mashed potatoes” I served with the Steak au Poivre yesterday, and how I kept them so white. Well, the secret is that it wasn’t mashed potatoes! Since the steak itself seemed pretty rich, I decided to keep the sides healthy and low-calorie, and served it with roasted asparagus and this creamy mashed cauliflower.

I have made mashed cauliflower before that has cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, and butter in it, but I wanted to make it a little lighter this time. There is still a bit of butter, but also an equal amount of heart-healthy olive oil, and the cauliflower gets its creaminess and mild tangy-ness from nonfat Greek yogurt, giving it a closer taste to potatoes in that it reminds me of a baked potato with sour cream…minus the potato flavor. This dish definitely won’t fool you into thinking you’re eating potatoes, but it is delicious in its own right.  I actually like the taste of it even better than the higher-fat version, not to mention it’s much healthier.  To prove it’s not just me and my own weird tastes that finds this dish tasty, my husband heartily approved of the creamy cauliflower, despite being an avid mashed potatoes aficionado, polishing off a generous pile of it just as fast as he did the steak!

*Note: I updated yesterday’s steak recipe because I forgot the first and most important step in cooking them (letting them rest at room temperature prior to cooking to help ensure a tender steak).  If you saved the recipe or plan to make it, please revisit it and save the new instructions.  Sorry for the inconvenience of my memory lapse!

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 head cauliflower
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon salt
Snipped fresh chives or parsley for garnish (optional)

Separate the cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Place in a steamer basket over boiling water, cover, and steam until tender, about 15 minutes. Place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with blade attachment, add remaining ingredients, and process until smooth and creamy. Serve hot with a sprinkling of fresh chives or parsley, if desired.

*Veronica’s Note: using nonfat yogurt and milk is perfectly fine!

Recipe source: adapted from Eating Well

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