Mini meatloaves with a thick homemade BBQ style sauce that bake up in a fraction of the time of a traditional meatloaf.  And if the word ‘meatloaf’ makes you cringe…call them extra large baked meatballs.

mini meatloaves with bbq sauce

What makes these meatloaves so flavorful is the addition of sautéed onions, dried thyme (my favorite herb), and a bbq style sauce that binds it all together.  Using 1 1/2 pounds of meat always gives me 4 nicely shaped mini meatloaves.  I used 93% lean ground beef but you could use whatever cut you prefer, even turkey but they might need more sauce.

extra large baked meatballs with bbq sauce

We don’t eat a lot of red meat I’d say, so tossing in a mini meatloaf night is a nice change of pace.  Of course we love a good burger off the grill, or traditional meat spaghetti sauce, but usually it’s chicken that gets the most attention round here.  Step aside chicky!

Summertime usually means serving more simple meals/sandwiches like my #1 Sloppy Joes or THIS or THIS recipe vs. heating up the oven.  That’s why making mini meatloaves is not only smart because they cut down on oven time but you’ll have leftovers you can make into an awesome panini with melty cheese (I recommend pepper jack) and sautéed onions.  I love recreating leftovers (or what I call double duty dinners)!

Leftover Paninis: Saute onions and mushrooms with a bit of salt, pepper, and garlic powder until softened. (I also like adding a drop or two of liquid smoke.)  Thinly slice two pieces of meatloaf and set aside. Spread butter on one side of good panini bread and assemble with meatloaf, onion and mushroom mixture, a slice of pepper jack cheese and cook in panini press until heated through and desired crispiness.  Serve with extra bbq sauce for dipping!

Mini Meatloaves with
Homemade BBQ Style Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb. 93% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup garlic herb breadcrumbs (or any variety)
  • 1 egg
  • Glaze
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1 TB brown sugar
  • 1 TB barbecue sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Saute chopped onions 2-3 minutes in a small skillet with non-stick spray or a little butter. Add minced garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and worcestershire sauce. Saute on low an additional 2-3 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  3. In a large mixing bowl add ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs and onion mixture.
  4. Using your hands gently combine it all together but avoid over mixing.
  5. Form into 4 mini meatloaves and place on cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes then coat the tops of each meatloaf with the sauce allowing some to drip off the sides. Return to oven for an additional 10 minutes or until meatloaf is cooked throughout.
  7. Allow the meatloaves to rest 5 minutes before slicing.
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Beef Double Duty Dinner

Leftover turkey (or chicken) stuffed shells have become a tradition at my house after Thanksgiving.  There’s always leftovers to be enjoyed but these turkey stuffed shells smothered with a delicious white cheese sauce can also be made year round…so don’t wait until next year!

turkey stuffed shells

 It might be hard to tell from the fuzzy photo, but my homemade stuffing I make every year at Thanksgiving has a combination of sausage, celery, apples and dried cranberries. It’s beyond delicious and full of flavor.  However, any boxed stuffing mix will work in these shells and you can always add to it if you wish!

If you don’t have any leftover turkey, a rotisserie chicken is hard to beat!  And there will be leftovers from that too for another meal…I’m all about making things stretch!

white cheese sauce

After you assemble all the turkey (or chicken) stuffed shells in the bottom of a casserole dish, you simply cover them in a delicious white cheese sauce.

Did I mention the cheese sauce has wine in it?

Seriously good.

turkey or chicken stuffed shells

That sauce!  As it cooks in the oven making its way into every nook and cranny of the shells it gets a little thicker and further develops in flavor.

This dish is so comforting over the winter months and perfect for entertaining guests.  In fact, that’s how I came upon this recipe!  A friend of mine served this at a luncheon and I knew immediately it would be a family favorite.

stuffed shells in white cheese sauce

Serve alongside some fresh or leftover veggies, corn, or a simple salad.  No matter what you serve with it, these turkey stuffed shells will be the star of the meal.  And you may as well put the bottle of wine on the table too…

enjoy!

Leftover Turkey or Chicken Stuffed Shells in White Cheese Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups diced leftover turkey or rotisserie chicken
  • 2 stalks celery, diced small
  • 1 1/2 cups herb seasoned stuffing mix (or leftovers from Thanksgiving!)
  • 1/2 box Jumbo shells (approximately 15-20)
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 TB flour
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 TB white wine
  • 6 oz. shredded monterey jack cheese (more for topping optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a large bowl add turkey/chicken and stuffing. Gently stir to combine and set aside.
  3. Prepare jumbo shells according to package.
  4. While the shells are boiling, prepare the cheese sauce by melting butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  5. Add flour and whisk continually for 30 seconds - 1 minute. Slowly add chicken broth and stir to combine. Add milk and wine. Gently stir and allow sauce to heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Lastly add the shredded cheese and stir over low heat until cheese is well blended.
  6. Pour about 1/4 of the sauce into the bowl with turkey and stuffing and stir to combine. Add a few spoonfuls of sauce to the bottom of a 9x13 casserole and begin stuffing shells and placing in dish. Pour remaining cheese sauce over top the shells and bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes. Additional shredded cheese can be placed on top if desired.
  7. *If using chicken I recommend using a rotisserie to save time and add flavor!
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Double Duty Dinner Pasta

Remember one of my very first posts on the OSH blog for Fiesta Turkey Burgers?  Well I’m still making them and often have them on hand in my freezer for a quick lunch or dinner.  They’re so full of flavor and after discovering Bolthouse Farms salad dressings I can’t get enough of this filling combo:

Chopped romaine and head lettuce (no nutritional value, but lots of crunch), roma tomatoes, chopped avocado a cooked crumbled turkey burger and 2 TB Bolthouse Farms classic ranch.

turkey burger salad

Another favorite around here is Pork Carnitas with Pineapple Salsa!  The flavors are out of this world and a definite crowd pleaser!

Serve it up traditional style for dinner with corn tortillas and another day over a big plate of chopped greens.  No dressing required-holla!, just a generous amount of the pineapple salsa! I always make a ton to ensure we don’t have a shortage!

pork carnita salad

And here’s a new recipe to the OSH blog that has already become a staple to have in my freezer…

Italian *Chicken* Meatballs.  Have you ever made meatballs with ground chicken? Beef and turkey get all the fame, but I’m telling ya lean ground chicken is not to be overlooked….or overcooked!  LOL.  The first time I made a batch I split them between 2 pans and one I took out of the oven for dinner and the other…well…I kinda forgot it was in there for another 15 minutes.  Those were a leetle on the dry side but not wasted.

italian chicken meatballs

And keeping theme with the post, I repurposed them into a speedy lentil salad for lunch the next day. (no I’m not sponsored by Bolthouse Farms but I sure do love the stuff!)

chicken meatballs

What dinners in your rotation can you transform to a healthy and filling salad?  I betcha have something…this is what I commonly refer to as a double-duty dinner!

Italian Chicken Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground chicken
  • 3/4 c. italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 TB fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt
  • few dashes of pepper
  • 1 egg
  • *double recipe for leftovers! makes about 12-14 meatballs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. In a large mixing bowl add all ingredients and mix gently with bare hands just until everything is incorporated.
  3. Use a 1" scoop, or your hands if your old school, and form meatballs.
  4. Place into a lightly non-stick sprayed pan
  5. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes. *They don't brown like turkey or beef meatballs so cut one in half at the 20 minute mark or use a thermometer if you're fancier than me. Cook an additional 2-5 minutes if needed.
  6. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce or eat them plain!
  7. Leftovers are wonderful over a bed of warmed lentils with cherry tomatoes, chopped green onion, avocado, and your choice of salad dressing. I chose Bolthouse Farms Ranch, like always.
  8. Enjoy!
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Double Duty Dinner Salad

Not your average potato salad here! Roasted red potatoes are tossed in a homemade sun dried tomato dressing before topping a bed of mixed greens, with hard boiled eggs and red onion with a secret ingredient to pull it all together.
roasted potato salad with sun dried tomato dressing
This recipe started out as an idea to jazz up my breakfast.  Breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day, but lately I was bored with the usual options.  Out of sweet potatoes to accompany my beloved scrambled eggs, I turned to the forgotten bag of red potatoes that were starting to sprout.  Looking over my menu plan I’m clueless why I had them in the first place!

I tossed the quartered potatoes with a bit of olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper and set them in the oven to roast for 20 minutes.  While the potatoes were roasting I worked on a sort-of dressing that would take the place of ketchup.  Sun-dried tomatoes.  BAM!
sun dried tomato dressing
Wanta know something weird about me?  I love tomatoes but can’t stomach them by themselves.  They have to be paired with a salad, burger, tacos, etc.  or come in the form of sun-dried…

Ok moving on…

The dressing starts off with some jarred sun-dried tomatoes in oil and italian herbs, a touch of dijon mustard, a splash of red wine vinegar, pinch of salt, and just enough olive oil to bring it all together.  I don’t know why this combination works but it does.  I used a combination of ingredients from two of my favorite dressings and well shazam, it tastes amazing.   (Basil, garlic, and parmesan cheese would be wonderful additions too but that’s for another recipe!)

Perhaps what I love most about sun-dried tomatoes is they don’t really taste like tomatoes to me!  Is it just me? Raisins don’t taste like grapes.  Right?!  I believe I have a valid point, your honor.
roasted potato salad with sun dried tomato dressing
Coffee was brewing, my scrambled eggs were finishing up and now I had the perfect non-boring and typical side dish to make it complete.  I eat breakfast like a king  queen.  LJ and I have a tradition most mornings where we sit together in the leather recliner while we eat and watch cartoons.  I try to soak up these moments as much as I possibly can before he starts kindergarden.
LJ
While I enjoyed my scrambled eggs (with sriracha of course), LJ was enjoying hard boiled.  After chopping him up some large chunks of the egg whites, my brain went on recipe creation mode.  Why not pair the roasted potatoes and dressing with hard boiled eggs… over salad?  That puts a whole new spin on potato salad!!  BRILLIANT!

I could hardly wait to try it for lunch the next day.  So thankful I made extra.
potato salad with sun dried tomato salad
My mom always makes the best salads loaded with lots of yummy goodies.  One thing she’s notorious for doing is drizzling honey overtop.  Thanks mom, that’s just what this salad needed!!

I used a container of organic mixed baby greens that made this salad come together in a cinch.  Layer the greens in a large serving bowl and drizzle honey directly overtop.  No need to toss before spooning some warm roasted potatoes over top.  Add some sliced red onion for a kick and finish it off with some large chunks of hard boiled eggs.  The flavor combination is out of this world.
roasted potato salad

*The leftover potatoes are wonderful with an over easy egg!  Dice up leftover potatoes into smaller pieces and heat in the microwave.  Add to a bowl and top with an over easy egg and some turkey sausage on the side.
*Heat leftover potatoes with cheese and extra sun dried tomatoes to serve alongside your choice of protein. Grilled chicken and green beans would be my pick 😉

Roasted Potato Salad with Sun Dried Tomato Dressing

Ingredients

  • 4-6 servings:
  • 8-10 red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
  • 1/4 sliced red onion
  • pinch of garlic powder, salt and pepper
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, quartered
  • 1 TB honey
  • 6 cups mixed baby lettuces with a combination of arugula, radicchio, or frisee
  • 2-3 TB jarred sun-dried tomatoes in oil and italian herbs
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp or a few dashes of red wine vinegar
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Scrub potatoes and slice them into quarters, then cut each quarter in half. Drizzle with olive oil and season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Roast potatoes 30 minutes flipping halfway through. Pop under the broiler for 3-5 minutes to finish crisping up the edges.
  3. While potatoes are roasting prepare eggs and dressing.
  4. Add sun dried tomatoes, dijon mustard, salt and red wine vinegar to a food processor. Pulse until mixture becomes a paste. Add enough olive oil about 1 TB to bring it all together to a smoother consistency. It will be thick.
  5. When potatoes are finished cooking toss them into a big bowl and coat them with the sun-dried tomato dressing.
  6. Layer washed and dried mixed greens in a large salad bowl and drizzle with honey. Top greens with warm potatoes, diced red onion and chopped hard boiled eggs.
  7. Enjoy warm or cold! Freshly shaved parmesan cheese would pair nicely, but it's wonderful as is!
  8. *To easily make hard boiled eggs add desired amount of eggs to a pan in a single layer. Cover with water and set on stove to boil. When water begins to boil top the pan with a lid and turn of heat. Do not remove pan from heat. Allow eggs to sit for 15 minutes, then drain and rinse under cool water. Peel and enjoy!
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Double Duty Dinner Salad