Meatloaf and Easy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

This is a two recipe post, because meatloaf is in close contention with tacos for my favorite food, but I still mostly made it this week as an excuse to make more of these roasted garlicy, delicious mashed potatoes. And I don’t use the [not real] word “garlicy” lightly! So let me share this magic with you.


 

Easy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

You will need:

  • 1 and 1/2 heads of garlic (use less if you prefer)
  • 1.5 lbs of red potatoes (usually 1 bag)
  • 5 Tbs heavy cream
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Fill a medium-large pot with water, enough to cover your potatoes easily. Wash and chop your potatoes into bite-sized pieces so they will cook faster. I definitely side with the leaving the skins on side of that potato debate, especially with red potatoes. Add your chopped potatoes to the pot and boil them until very tender. At least fork tender, possibly falling-apart-on-their-own tender, if you want an easier mashing experience.

While they are cooking, you can roast your garlic. Now, roasting garlic the proper way takes about 45 minutes in the oven usually. But I, for one, do not have that kind of time most nights. Properly roasted garlic is also usually soft enough to be squeezed out of its skins at the end. Which is undeniably delicious, but isn’t what I prefer for these potatoes. Roasting them that much gives the garlic a very mellow, nutty flavor, but for potatoes I prefer a little bit of zing to remain.

SO. For this, you can roast garlic in the microwave. Cut the whole head of garlic in half horizontally, like through the middle of each clove. Then just estimate how many cloves seem like half a head for the rest and cut those the same way. Don’t peel them or anything. Add the halves cut side up to a microwavable bowl and add a couple tablespoons of water just to cover the bottom of the bowl slightly. Put it in the microwave with a plate over the top like a lid, and microwave for 3 minutes at 50% power. Then take it out and remove the lid for a couple of minutes, then put it back in for 2-3 more. It should be “roasted” enough after that (although very hot, so be careful) but test it with a fork to make sure it is very tender. It just needs to be tender enough to mash along with the potatoes. That way its flavor will be dispersed throughout the potatoes, but there will also be some soft pieces of garlic remaining in there. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let your garlic cool a bit and then each clove should be easy to kind of slide out of the skins. When your potatoes are tender, drain them and add them back into the pot. The residual heat from the burner you boiled them on should be enough to keep them hot as you continue. Toss in your garlic and begin to mash, just roughly. And note that I said mash. Like, with a masher. Don’t you dare whip them with an electric mixer. Unless you want to turn perfectly rustic, awesome mashed potatoes into pureed glue.

It’ll be a little hard to mash them well at first, but just add the cream and butter and they should quickly turn to a rich, velvety consistency. Just add your salt and pepper to taste (Hint: a lot) and dig in. I’d like to say this recipe feeds one, but I guess it’s probably more like 3-4, if  you manage better than I do to eat normal portions of potatoes.

potatoes

And now for the glowing costar, the meatloaf.


 

Simple Meatloaf

meatloaf

This isn’t your mom’s meatloaf. And I don’t say that in an edgy way, as if it has some crazy twist on a classic meatloaf. I mean it literally is probably not the exact way your mom made meatloaf. But that’s because part of what’s great about meatloaf is that everyone has their own style they grew up with or that they will always love best.

That being said, mine is a fairly traditional meatloaf. I know. I’m contradicting myself.

 

You will need:

  • About 1 lb lean ground beef (I buy 85-90% for meatloaf)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs ketchup
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup (scant) brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Then, if you do decide to use the onion, start there. Chop it finely and sauté with a little butter for a few minutes until fairly soft and translucent. I usually don’t even use onion. I just happened to this time. Combine your onion with your ground beef, egg, the 1 Tbs of ketchup, worcestershire, panko, oregano, basil and garlic powder in a large bowl. Mix it together with your hands just until its evenly distributed, then shape it into a loaf.

Place it in an ungreased baking dish. Mix together the remaining 1/4 cup ketchup with the brown sugar in a small bowl, then spoon the mixture over the top of the loaf for a sweet ketchup glaze. You may need to spread it around a little to get it somewhat even. Then just bake the whole thing for one hour.

If you make the mashed potatoes with it, you can just make those while you wait. Meatloaf and mashed potatoes together are one of the most classic comfort foods. As I said before, its one of my favorites. This combo is usually what I make for days when I am stressed and/or just really want to settle in for the night in the winter with hot comforting food.

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