Easy, tasty, versatile meals

With Halloween just around the corner, and numerous other evening events scheduled for fall, some quick and simple menus are always welcome. This is especially true, if the recipes, like these, can do double duty and provide leftovers to pack in lunches for the next day.

Chicken ‘Meatloaf’
This mixture is the ultimate in versatility. You can pat into a loaf pan as a paté, form into meatballs or into burgers for the barbecue. As a meatloaf, it can be served hot or cold, and it is delicious sliced and served in sandwiches.
1 cup (250 ml) fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp (15 mL) grated lemon rind
2 tsp (10 mL) dried tarragon
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) fresh black pepper
2 lbs (1 kg) ground chicken or turkey
1 egg
1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard
2 tsp (10 mL) Worcestershire sauce
For meatloaf, preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C), for meatballs, preheat oven to 375˚F (190˚C) and for burgers, preheat barbecue to medium-high. In a food processor, combine fresh breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic, lemon rind, and tarragon, salt and pepper until well combined. Using a large mixing bowl, stir the bread crumb mixture into the chicken; beat in egg, mustard and Worcestershire sauce until well combined. Meatloaf: pat mixture into 9 inch (2 L) loaf pan sprayed with baking spray. Bake for about one hour or until meat thermometer registers 165˚F (74˚C). Meatballs: scoop chicken mixture into generous tablespoons and form into about 30 balls. Arrange in neat rows on parchment lined baking sheet; bake at 375˚F (190˚C) about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with a dipping sauce or with roasted vegetables (next recipe). Burgers: shape mixture into six to eight even-sized patties pressing firmly. Grill until juices run clear and there is no pink.

Grilled Autumn Vegetables
Over the past summer, Beach Metro’s Bill MacLean discovered that grilled vegetables was one of his most popular barbecued items for both family and guests alike. Just as the previous recipe is versatile, so is this technique. You can vary it with seasonal vegetables; you can serve it hot or at room temperature; it can be served as a salad with a generous sprinkle of balsamic vinegar, or as a main course with the addition of the meatballs (previous recipe) served over couscous or rice. And, if the weather is blustery, you can opt to bake it in the oven rather than use the barbecue. Once you have made it, you will develop your own favourite variations.
2 small zucchini, sliced (1/4 inch/ 6 mm)
2 small summer squash (yellow zucchini), sliced, (1/4 inch/ 6 mm)
1 each, red and orange sweet peppers, sliced
2 onions, peeled and sliced
2 cups (500 mL) cherry tomatoes
1 head garlic, peeled
1/2 cup (125 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp (15 mL)    dried basil or rosemary or oregano or mixture
1 tsp (5 mL) sea salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) fresh black pepper
Balsamic vinegar
In a large mixing bowl, combine the zucchini, summer squash, red and yellow peppers, onion, cherry tomatoes and garlic cloves. Toss with the olive oil, herbs of your choice, salt and pepper. Arrange vegetables in single layer on one or two large baking sheet(s) lined with barbecue foil and sprayed with baking spray.  Grill on medium high with lid down about 20 to 25 minutes or until vegetables are beginning to brown turning once or twice. Alternatively, bake in preheated 425˚F (220˚C) oven for about 20 to 25 minutes turning once or twice. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar to taste (about 1/4 cup/ 50 mL).

Double Pumpkin Bread
A perfect sweet to add to a lunch bag or serve with fruit for dessert.
1 cup (250 mL) each, whole wheat and all purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
½ tsp (2 mL) ground nutmeg
½ tsp (2 mL) baking powder
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
2 eggs
1 cup (250 mL) canned pumpkin
1 cup (250 mL) packed brown sugar
½ cup (125 mL) vegetable oil
¼ cup (50 mL) pumpkin seeds (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Line 9 inch (2 L) loaf pan with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, sift together whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, baking powder and salt. In separate bowl, stir together eggs, pumpkin, brown sugar, oil and 2 tbsp  (25 mL) pumpkin seeds if using. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan;
sprinkle with remaining pumpkin seeds. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until skewer inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool on rack before slicing. Makes about 12 slices.

Jan Main is an author, cooking instructor and caterer.
janmainskitchen@yahoo.ca


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