Friday, August 19, 2011

Down-Home Barbecue Meatloaf & Sweet Potato Fries with Rosemary

My husband, Fred, was out doing the manly thing all afternoon, brush-hogging the weeds along our driveway, and I thought he deserved a good, hearty dinner after all his hard work. I decided to make him a real meat-and-potatoes meal, so I pulled out my favorite meatloaf recipe, one that I got years ago from an old church cookbook. Although I'm not a big meat eater, this always tastes really good when I make it. The hint of barbecue flavor makes it a lot tastier than plain old meatloaf. A side of roasted sweet potato (and white potato) fries, marinated cucumbers, and tomatoes, fresh from the garden, rounded out the meal nicely.

 Down-Home Barbecue Meatloaf

1-1/2 pounds ground beef
¾ c. tomato juice
¼ c. barbecue sauce
¾ c. uncooked rolled oats
1 egg, beaten
¼ c. chopped onion
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350º.
2. Combine all ingredients and mix well.
3. Press firmly into an 8” x 4” x 2-1/2” loaf pan.
4. Bake about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

Recipe Notes:
- Ketchup or barbecue sauce may be spread on top of the meatloaf before baking.
- Tomato sauce may be substituted for the tomato juice.
- I like to form the meatloaf mixture into two mini meatloaves. Place them on a foil-covered rack in a roasting pan. Poke a few holes in the foil to allow the juices to drain through. Adjust the baking time – they don’t take quite as long to bake as a large single meatloaf. I overbaked mine a little this evening - they should be moist in the center.

Roasted Sweet Potato Fries with Rosemary

Sweet potatoes and/or white potatoes
Fresh rosemary
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450º.
2. Slice potatoes into pieces about 1/4" -3/8" wide and 3"-4" long. Place the pieces in a 1-gallon Ziploc bag.
3. Add a generous amount of chopped fresh rosemary and enough olive oil to coat all the potatoes with a light layer of oil.
4. Close the bag and shake well to distribute the oil and rosemary. Spread the fries on a cookie sheet or any baking sheet with low sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
5. Roast fries in the oven for 15-20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes, then every 5 minutes until they are cooked through and lightly browned.

Recipe Notes:
- This recipe works well with sweet potatoes or white potatoes, and it's nice to use a combination of the two. They take about the same time to cook, so it isn't a problem roasting them together. 
- These fries are slightly crispy when they first come out of the oven, but soften upon sitting. Don't expect the same texture as deep-fried French fries. They're much healthier though, and they taste wonderful.
- Try sprinkling the potatoes with other flavorings before roasting, such as seasoned salt, Italian herbs, paprika, hot peppers, or Old Bay seasoning. Cinnamon is a great choice for sprinkling on sweet potatoes.

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