Thursday, March 6, 2014

I am such a good wife

I was the oldest in a family of seven kids, and for reasons that are outside the scope of this blog, once I completed the requirements for my Girl Scout cooking badge in fourth grade, I was mostly responsible for cooking our family's meals. That is, until I got a job (thank God) and Jeanie then took over, until she got a job, then Gail, and so it goes. Anyway, we were a large family on a limited budget. Looking back, though, we always had a salad (iceberg lettuce, carrots, and celery), always a vegetable (frozen beans, corn, or peas), and a protein. My parents bought a quarter cow every now and then, so our freezer was stocked with roasts (yum), some good steaks (which we kids rarely got), round steak (which we did get), and lots and lots and lots of hamburger.

We had hamburgers, hot dishes of every iteration, and my nemesis, meatloaf. I cannot begin to tell you how much I hated meatloaf, but I will try! First of all, we had it all the time.  I loved hamburgers which were the same meat, but I just could not swallow that meatloaf. I'd put bites in my mouth, chew it, and pack my cheeks until I looked like a chipmunk then go to the bathroom and spit it out. Or I would feign wiping my mouth and spit into my napkin, or surreptitiously call the dog over... I was a master. (I was talking about it with Aly the other week, and she asked if it was a texture thing, or the thought of meat - in loaf form. It was definitely the former, but the latter sure made me laugh harder than the innate funniness of the phrase).

Anyway, when I was older, each of us kids could have a "thing", that when we were having it for dinner, we could just make ourselves a PBJ and not have to eat the "thing". I had a tough time deciding my thing - it was between liver and meatloaf. I definitely hated liver more, but we had meatloaf way more frequently so I chose that. And haven't eaten meatloaf for years - or meatballs, or anything involving that texture.

As luck would have it, I married a man who loves meatloaf. My mom felt sorry for him, so when she would come and visit, she would make several and freeze them for Dwight. After she died, though, this poor man was meatloafless for years, unless he ordered it at a restaurant. But really, who wants to eat out and have meatloaf? Actually, he did, occasionally.

[Side note:  when I joined our knitting group several years ago, one of the first things they did was have a meatloaf night - seriously. Everyone was saying how theirs was the best meatloaf recipe so everyone made theirs and then we (they) voted on their favorite. I contributed the salad.]

But this year for Christmas I was stumped on what to get Dwight for a gift. We got a nice camera for our big gift, but I needed some smaller ones. I thought, hmmm, what does he love? And it hit me. Meatloaf. I'm a pretty good cook - I could make it for him, but I didn't have to eat it. Just like when I was a kid, I could make a PBJ. And it would make him so happy. And it did! I went on line and got lots of recipes: Ina Garten, Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray among others. And I got my friend Debbie's recipe, which was his favorite from knitting, and also Erin's who makes a mean meatloaf. I put them all in a binder and gave them to him with the promise of making him meatloaf whenever he wants.

I've made three different recipes, and while I can swallow a little bit - still not my fave. Debbie's recipe, which involves half ground beef and half Italian sausage, is the best so far. Although Erin's is a close second:


Mmmmm.... protein waffle.....
And some lunches:

Brown rice, shrooms, scrambled eggs, kimchi, and avocado

Work fail. Although delicious and filling!


Emily's artichoke and sun-dried tomato stuffed chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto

And then this happened

I know, I know. The Runza didn't just happen last night. I am totally owning my choice. I had to consciously decide to get in my car, drive to the restaurant, order it, pay for it, drive it home...   My excuse was that I have been sick for a week and a half and since I didn't go out for dinner with knitting (too coughy), I needed something. Total rationalization, I know. But those fries are the best things in town - and I am a connoisseur of french fries.

Here's to better choices!
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