October 29, 2010

Mini Meat Loaves, Roasted Garlic Potatoes and Green Beans with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Monday night's supper featured two recipes taken from the America's Test Kitchen Special Edition Best-Ever Recipes, which I have previously reviewed (http://jeffreyandjulicook.blogspot.com/2010/09/best-ever-recipes-lives-up-to-its-title.html) and frequently mentioned, as well as an original creation of my own. 

The centerpiece of the meal was the 30-Minute Meatloaf, a recipe that originally appeared in the Oct 2006 issue of Cook's Country.  These mini-meatloaves are briefly browned in a skillet then baked in the oven on a broiler pan, which allows fat to drip away from the meatloaf, insuring a meatloaf that is firm and nicely browned on the outside, yet moist on the inside and delicious all the way through.  I've made this one before, and Juli and I had both been wanting it again.  It's a five-star recipe for both of us, and has in fact made my short list of "go to" recipes.  It's highly recommended, and it really is quite fast to prepare.

Monday was the first time I tried the recipe for Roasted Garlic Potatoes, which originally appeared in the April, 2006 Cook's Country.  It's sort of a combination roasted/oven fried potato recipe, which produces wonderfully seasoned potatoes that are nicely crisped on the outside yet moist and creamy on the inside.  This recipe took the most time of the three, as it requires the potatoes to be in the oven for about 45 minutes total and flipped partway through.  All worked great, though, as I was able to get the meatloaves ready to go into the oven during that time. 

I also wanted a vegetable dish to go with the meat main course and the potato side, and since meatloaf and potatoes are very basic foods - comfort foods, almost - I wanted a vegetable dish that was similarly homey.  As we get closer to Thanksgiving, I've been thinking a lot about that traditional favorite, green bean casserole, and that led me to make up a recipe somewhat inspired by that casserole.  We picked up some great, fresh green beans at a farmer's market over the weekend, so I used those and made up a a creamy mushroom sauce thickened with French fried potatoes.  The finishing touch is to top the beans and sauce with more French fried potatoes, thus evoking the full the texture and flavor palate of the familiar casserole.  It was quite tasty, not to mention fast and easy to make, and I expect this might also become something of a go-to recipe, as it is a pretty basic side dish that can potentially go with a lot of things.

Anyway, everything was ready to eat in about 1 hour, and all three recipes were a success.  I greatly recommend both of the ones that are not my own creation, and also believe that you will be quite pleased if you try out the one I did create.

Green Beans with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

yield = 4 servings

1     pound fresh green beans
4     ounces fresh white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1     tablespoon butter
1     cup half and half
2/3  cup chicken broth
1/2  teaspoon garlic powder
       salt and pepper to taste
1     cup + 1./2 cup French fried onions

Steam the green beans until cooked.   Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat then saute the mushrooms until they are soft (about 2 minutes).  Add the half and half, chicken broth, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring the liquid to a simmer, then stir in 1 cup of the French fried onions and cook until the sauce is thickened. 

Serve the green beans in a bowl, topped with the mushroom sauce and 1/2 cup of French fried onions.

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