Mini Meat Loaves + Cauliflower Mash

It's raining today. It's grey, and foggy, and drizzly and miserable outside. The wind is whipping the trees and the water is choppy with tufts of white on every wave. It's an angry day with a hurricane off shore, she is making sure we know that the threat is real and we must remain vigilant.

Days like this leave me longing for a warm meal, comfortable clothing and a good book. Something about dreary grey days that make us just want to enter in to hibernation mode. I remember being a child and sitting down to big bubbling pots of stew with dumplings on grey winter days, and feeling so fulfilled. The kind of warmth you get from comfort food is hard to capture in words.

The thing is, comfort food often is leaden with potatoes, pasta, butter, sugar...all of those things that taste amazing, and would help us hibernate. I am usually on a mission for ways to lighten up comfort food dishes so we can still enjoy them regularly without hesitation.

Growing up, I loved meat loaf. Something about the savoury meat slathered with a thick sauce and baked until bubbling. So I still make it for my family these days. This is my answer to one of my favourite comfort meals for rainy days: meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

 Mini Meat loaves stuffed in sweet pepper rings, on cauliflower mash, topped with caramelized onion gravy

Mini Meat loaves stuffed in sweet pepper rings, on cauliflower mash, topped with caramelized onion gravy

I will break this down in to two separate recipes to lessen what seems like it could be overwhelming. I swear it's easier than it looks. The meal pictured took me 45 mins from washing the peppers to eating.

Mini Meat Loaves + Caramelized Onion Gravy

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lb ground meat ( Any ground meat, or veggie ground will work. I like pork & beef mixed)
  • 1 tbs steak spice
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 large sweet bell peppers, cut in 1.5" rounds
  • 2 large onions, sliced thin
  • 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 tsp cold butter
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  • Put onions and olive oil in frying pan and turn on med-low heat. Salt them generously to help the moisture release-this also helps protect from burning. Leave on the element stirring occasionally until onions are deep brown.
  • Preheat oven to 375 F
  • While onions are browning, mix meat, egg, spices together thoroughly.
  • Lay out your Bell Pepper slices on a cookie sheet with a layer of parchment.
  • Stuff your pepper slices with your meat mixture. Make sure that they are stuffed well as the meat will slightly shrink.
  • Place in oven and bake for 30 mins.
  • Once your onions are browned coat them in flour. Toss for 1 min
  • Add beef broth, Worcestershire, and ground pepper and bring to a simmer. Once thickened, add 1 tsp cold butter and stir to combine. Set aside off the heat.
  • Remove mini meat loves from the oven and let sit for a few minutes. Serve warm smothered in the onion sauce

 

Mashed Cauliflower

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 XL head of cauliflower chopped fine
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 cups broth (beef is my preferred, but veggie, chicken etc also work. Water would work but would be BLAND.)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup cream or milk
  • 1 tbs of butter

DIRECTIONS

  • In a large pot with a lid,  bring cauliflower, garlic, thyme and stock to a boil
  • Leave uncovered and let reduce until cauliflower is fork tender. If there is excess liquid drain it off.
  • Mash with potato masher, adding the butter and cream

 

This was my first attempt at mashed cauliflower, and I have to say I LOVED it. It isn't QUITE as delicious as whipped white potatoes, but it's pretty delicious. As always you can edit the seasonings for you and your family, but please let me know what you try!

 

 

 

 

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