Saturday, June 20, 2009

Miracle Moisture and 5 Meal Time Saving Tip

Ever wonder why homemade zucchini bread is so moist and yummy? Are you looking for a super moist cake recipe?

I was throwing together a box cake mix and realized that I did not have the vegetable oil that the recipe called for. Remembering the snippet I read from the New McDougall's Cookbook regarding oil substitutions, and really not wanting to drive to the store, I quickly grabbed two small apples from the fridge. It took me about a minute to cored them, peel them and throw them into the Vitamix with 3 Tbsp of water to make applesauce. The recipe called for a half a cup of oil. I ended up with about 2/3 cup of organic, unsweetened applesauce... I added the whole 2/3 cup to the recipe. That little substitution was the difference between a good cake and a GREAT cake. I have NEVER had a more moist cake! The same principal applied a few weeks ago when I was preparing a meatloaf. After reading a blog post at about hiding vegetables in everyday recipes to increase vegetable intake (i.e. spinach in spaghetti sauce or zucchini in meatloaf), I decided to give it a try. I had just pulled a few zucchini from the garden and decided to julienne one of them and mix it into my meatloaf with the onion, celery and bell pepper. Worrying that the meatloaf might be a little too "wet" because of this addition, I increased the amount of whole wheat bread crumbs and oatmeal that I added to the recipe. It turned out PERFECT! That little addition made the BEST meatloaf. It was moist but firm and the outer edges still got super crispy the way I love it! I ended up making a batch of 5 loaves to freeze so that I always have an easy meal to prepare any time. <-- That's my little time saving tip. You all know how I love to save time! Here's how I prepared it... not bad for 5 ready to cook meals that I only did the prep work for once! Love it.....

I went to the store and bought:
3-1 lb. chubs of 99% lean ground beef
3 lbs. of lean ground turkey
2 large onions
3 large bell peppers (colors varied)
1 stalk of celery
1 large bottle of Worcestershire sauce
1 large jar of salsa
1 large container of quick oats
1 loaf of whole wheat bread
1 bottle of Tabasco
3 limes
6 eggs
Seasonings of choice; I use: sea salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, turmeric, and cayenne pepper
5 aluminum bread pans (I bought the disposable ones in the baking isle, however, I will be purchasing the silicone bread pans so that I'm not wasting money to freeze pre-prepared meatloaves)

When I got home, I pulled out the Vitamix and ground up the whole wheat bread into bread crumbs. I put about five cups of bread crumbs into a large bowl. I chopped all the veggies and julienned three super large zucchini (from the garden) and added all of that to the bowl. I then added about three cups of salsa (which ended up being the entire jar) and about 1/2 cup of Tabasco. I juiced the limes and added the juice to the mixture. I added three whole eggs and three egg whites with about 1 1/2 cups of Worcestershire sauce. I added all the spices to taste and set out all the aluminum pans to line the counter of my work surface. I then washed my hands, rolled up my sleeves and dove in! The bowl was full the top, so it took me a little bit to get everything incorporated. Once everything was squished together, I didn't have to worry about overflow as much. The next time I do this, I will cut and measure, divide everything in half then mix it all in two batches using my Kitchenaid mixer... trust me... it will save me so much time. It took me FOREVER to mix all the ingredients by hand and the overflowing bowl only made it take longer. I then divided the mixture into 5 equal parts and shaped each part into a loaf to place in the loaf pans. I then sealed each of them in the Foodsaver, dated each one and I was done. It took me about two hours to prep everything. I'm estimating that if I used the Kitchenaid mixer next time, I can probably shave about a half an hour off my time. Not bad for five meals!!!

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