Well, I’m two days late in telling you this, but I heart Valentine’s Day. I really do. I think it’s because it’s such an easy day to celebrate, when compared to the big cook-fest on Thanksgiving and the all-December-hoopla that goes with Christmas. I love those things too … but there’s something so calming about Valentine’s Day. Sometimes I hang red hearts in the window. Sometimes I don’t. And no one complains either way. I think that’s because they know that at least there will be meatloaf.
A long while ago when we were watching our pennies even closer than today, I had planned to make meatloaf for our Valentine’s dinner. Don’t laugh at that — we seriously love meatloaf. And I do realize that it doesn’t sound very festive or special, but that’s because you’re thinking of meatloaf in a regular-old boring shape. But on THIS long-ago Valentine’s Day, it occurred to me that a ketchup-covered meatloaf could look very Valentine-ish if I shaped it just so. And thus, our traditional heart-shaped meatloaf was born.
A few years after that, I found a set of heart-shaped ceramic serving dishes — red on the outside, white on the inside, and perfect for the mashed potatoes and peas we always have with meatloaf. So those got added to the mix.
And then this year, when Dave asked me what I wanted for Christmas, my mind was already in February. I asked for a heart-shaped waffle maker and a Wilton heart-shaped donut pan. He got me those things … and now we’re cookin’. If I add any more heart-shaped cooking implements, we’re going to have to invent a few more meals during the day.
The waffles didn’t make an appearance this year, primarily because Dave decided to take me to brunch instead. I didn’t have the heart to argue with him. 😉
BUT … I did make the donuts. And I’m not going to give you the recipe, because I’m certain there’s a much better recipe out there. This was the one that came with the pan, and it was just so-so for me. Dave and Tera like them. (Tera liked, liked, liked them.) But now I’m on a quest, and I won’t rest until I find the most delicious cake donuts possible.
The Wilton pan:
The recipe called for nutmeg, which always makes me happy. That’s because I’m always looking for an excuse to use my microplane:
You have to tint the frosting pink, right? I had the perfect rose pink food paste on hand … which … uh … happens to also be Wilton. (This is starting to sound like a Wilton commercial.)
A very little dab’ll do ya. So little, in fact, that I probably only used about a quarter of this little bit on my knife:
Bake … dunk … admire.
That looked a little thin to me, so I added more powdered sugar and spread some on with the back of a spoon:
Sprinkles are non-negotiable.
I left one batch at home for Dave and Tera and took the other to Joyful Life (our Monday night women’s ministry) at church. A bunch of other women had similar ideas … it was a veritable sugar fest down there.
And here’s the aforementioned heart-shaped meatloaf (see recipe below) …
… and the potatoes and peas.
I doubt I can wait a whole year to make heart-shaped waffles. Stay tuned. 🙂
UPDATE: As requested, here is the meatloaf recipe. Maybe I should say “guide” instead of recipe, because this is one of those “throw in a little of this and that” dishes. But here’s my very unprecise way of making meatloaf:
- About 1 1/2 lbs of hamburger
- About 1 cup of rolled oats OR crushed crackers OR breadcrumbs
- Milk to moisten the above
- 1 egg
- Spices: minced garlic, onion powder, Italian seasoning … a tsp or two of each
- salt and pepper
- About 2 TBSP Worchestershire sauce
- 1 onion, minced
- olive oil
- Optional: one cup shredded cheese
- ketchup alone, OR ketchup w/a little apple cider vinegar and brown sugar to taste
In your mixer, combine the dry ingredient of your choice (the rolled oats, crackers, or breadcrumbs) with the milk. Let stand 10-15 minutes.
While you’re waiting for that, saute the onion in a little olive oil on low heat.
Add the egg, spices, salt and pepper, and Worchestershire sauce to the milk mixture and stir well.
Add the onion and the hamburger and blend. If you’re adding the cheese, do it now.
Form the meatloaf into a heart-shape on a baking sheet or a baking dish. Cover with the ketchup or the ketchup/cider vinegar/brown sugar mixture. Bake for about an hour (uncovered) at 350.
This is a basic recipe which can be changed in all sorts of ways. You could use half hamburger and half pork or veal … you could add minced peppers or canned chilis … you can swap out the Italian seasoning for cumin, chili powder, etc. to make it more of a Mexican meatloaf … it’s all up to you. Have fun! 🙂