Brown Sugar Meatloaf

Sunday Dinner….Brown Sugar Meatloaf…
 I haven’t done a meat loaf in awhile and I’m craving one on this cold winters day.  I learned  a few yummy recipes from my mother that I can remember her teaching me….I was a newlywed when I got this one….
Yummy brown sugar meatloaf....

 She didn’t like us kids in the kitchen when she cooked. (Now of course I know why!) But I did learn how to make her meat loaf. It was delicious. I always loved meat loaf night.

The ketchup I use is always Heinz. It’s the best!

The sugar/ketchup mixture….I had about a third of it to the mix before baking it….
.the rest is for topping it after it’s baked awhile …

 Sometimes she would add leftover cooked rice to the meat loaf recipe and roll the mix into meatballs and then call them porcupines. I loved those too. You could do that too. I added brown sugar to this recipe to ramp up the flavor even more. It makes it just that much better.

Vidalia Sweet Onions are the best in recipes…

I saute the onion a bit before adding it to the meatloaf….I don’t love crunchy onions in my meatloaf!

 I always try to add sweet Vidalia onions or a sweet white onion when I can find them in the market. They are usually at Costco too. But sometimes I don’t want a 20 pound bag of onions, you know?  

I use Johnny’s and Lemon Pepper for seasoning my meatloaf….

Mix up meat, crackers, onions and about 1/3 of the sauce and 2 eggs, and spices….

The basic recipe is just ground beef,round or saltine crackers, eggs, ketchup, onions, brown sugar, season salt and pepper.  I toss in a little lemon pepper too.

Meatloaf before sauce….Just pour sauce on top after it’s baked for 30 minutes…then bake another 30 minutes…

I have also made this recipe into 2 mini loaves and put one in the freezer  (topped with ketchup mixture) for another meal since there are only 2 of us now.  That makes a nice treat when you come home from work tired and hungry. You have one to just pop in the oven!  Serendipity! 

Here’s the one I covered with foil and put into the freezer for sometime next  month….


I added a sweet potato and a side salad and raspberry jello with raspberries and blueberries for dinner…..


  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar 
  • 3/4 cup ketchup       Mix these 2 ingredients and set aside
  • ———————————————
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion diced
  • 3/4 teaspoon Lawry’s Season Salt
  • A few shakes of lemon pepper
  • 3/4 cup saltines finely crushed or Ritz crackers
  • 1/3 to 1/2 of the sugar/ketchup sauce mixed into meat mixture

  • Mix brown sugar and ketchup and set aside. Then mix the rest of the ingredients in a separate mixing bowl. Add 1/2 the ketchup mixture to the meat mixture and stir together. Then form the meat mixture into a  roll into a bread pan or a shallow 9 x 9 casserole dish.

  • Bake in the oven for  55 to 60 minutes at 350. After 30 minutes take out the meatloaf and pour off some of the fat. Then I add the brown sugar/ ketchup on the top and smooth out with a spatula. 
  • Mom’s Yummy Meatloaf….with a little sweet improvement! 

  • Bake the remaining 25 to 30 minutes.  Let meatloaf set out for 10 minutes to rest a bit before slicing for serving as it will stay together better. Enjoy! 
  • Rumbi Mango Chicken Salad


    Rumbi Mango Carribean Chicken Salad….my style! 

    HERE is a link to the delicious salads at Rumbi, one of my favorite restaurants here in Utah.  They use lots of fresh Caribbean ingredients in their salads and fruity tasting vinaigrettes.

    A whole meal chicken salad that I love, love, LOVE! 

    It has diced mango, Feta cheese, diced red peppers, red onion,  tortilla strips, chicken and salad greens with a mango-passion fruit dressing that will be kinda hard to recreate. But I will try.


    White chicken breast meat cut into chunks (about a cup)
    3 cups chopped Romaine Lettuce 
    1/3 cup red pepper diced into pieces
    1/4 cup red onion, sliced very finely and then diced tiny
    feta cheese crumble a tablespoon over each salad when serving
    1 mango diced into half inch squares
    toasted slivered almonds (I add a bit of white sugar while toasting)
    tortilla strips over the top (or make your own by frying a corn tortilla in oil)

    Sweet Salad Dressing
    1/4 cup frozen orange juice from concentrate 
    1 Tablespoon fresh lime (or refrigerated lime juice)) 
    1/3 cup rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
    1/4 cup sugar 
    1/3 cup salad oil
    1/4 teaspoon ginger
    1/4 teaspoon Lawry’s or Johnny’s Seasoning Salt
    A few shakes of pepper

    This is a great low calorie salad too! Just use orange citrus vinaegrette if you’re in a hurry!

     The Rumbi Chicken salad has slivered almonds and red peppers…Just imagine it WITH the tortilla strips that I forgot…. 

    I pour everything into my blender except the oil and mix it up. Then slowly I add a few tablespoons of oil at a time to thicken up my sauce and emulsify it.  It is super easy and so delicious. You won’t want to buy bottled dressing ever again. But if you don’t want to try the dressing a good substitute is this one. 

    Orange Citrus Dressing from Litehouse….this is also a really good salad dressing!

    It’s called Litehouse Orange Citrus.  Another one I love is Kraft Light Raspberry Vinaigrette. Both are good with this salad.  I am also going to add some candied nuts.  I love those in salads and a lot of times I ask Rumbi to add them to mine for an extra charge.  I have slivered almonds on hand so I’ll put those in a frying pan and toast them with some regular sugar.  Enjoy! 

    Hawaiian Haystacks

    I must be on a Hawaiian kick. My last 2 blog posts were foods with rice and pineapple and the word “Hawaiian” in them. Do you think I’m subconsciously wishing for a Beachy,  Hawaiian vacation right about now, in the middle of a Utah winter? I think that’s highly possible!

    Hawaiian Haystacks 

    Toppings for Hawaiian Haystacks 

    Yeah.  Could be.  It was so cold the last few days. And I should know. I had recess duty during the day AND after school and it was snowing and super WINDY on Monday. My umbrella that I was holding kept doing the backward blow up thing and then would almost send me down the street like Mary Poppins. It was embarrassing! And I had the crosswalk detail so everybody picking up their kids after school SAW ME being blown around and my umbrella pulling tricks. Just call me Mary.  I felt like a big geek in a snowsuit!  So I long for the white beaches and sun and unfettered relaxation of a Hawaiian Island.

    I love the crunch these chow mein noodles add…

    Add Cream of Chicken soup, sour cream, milk and spice it up with Lawrys or Salt and Pepper….that’s it! 

    I like slivered almonds to top my Hawaiian Haystacks….

    The kids love coconut….
    Have to have a cherry on top!  Or a handful! 

    But since I can’t wrangle that for now, I can at least eat yummy food with the taste of Hawaii in it.  This recipe is easy, quick and really yummy.  And it’s a great choice if you have to feed an army or a crowd at a party. My sister-in-law served this at her son’s missionary farewell before he left for Texas. It was yummy!

    I diced up some cooked carrots….. chow mein noodles and slivered almonds….

    And lots of fresh fruit and veggies…..

    The hubs likes my Hawaiian haystacks……..that sounds a little weird saying it out loud tho….hehe…

    So here are the easy ingredients for the basic chicken mixture that goes over rice.  Then the toppings are whatever you decide you want to add. I use one of those veggie and dip platters when I’m doing it for a crowd. You can find them at the dollar store for…..well…..A DOLLAR!  I use them when I’m doing cookie decorating in my classroom too. They are very versatile for putting out little piles of stuff.


    Here is the Chicken base all mixed up….then I just microwave it to warm it …

    Hawaiian Haystacks
    2 cans cream of chicken soup  (or use large family sized can)
    3  chicken breasts diced
    1 t. salt  (or Lawry’s Season Salt)
    1/8 t. pepper  
    1/2 cup sour cream
    3/4 to 1 cup of milk 
    3  cups Steamed Rice

    My finished plate of Hawaiian Haystacks….a work of art really!  

    Boil the chicken and dice up.  Mix soup, salt and pepper, milk and sour cream and milk. 

    I boiled 3 chicken breasts with a handful of carrots…..

    Cook rice until tender. I have a rice cooker so I added around 2 1/2 cups.  Put soup mixture on top of rice and top with any or all of the following:

    Toppings: Canned pineapple tidbits, mandarin oranges, grated cheese, slivered almonds, chopped red pepper, celery, olives, diced tomatoes, chow mein noodles.

    Veggie and fruit toppings….

    Well, now he’s just acting like Vanna White…he’s such a tease! 

     It’s really filling, and everybody can pick their own preferences for toppings. That makes it even more of a fun meal. You can see my husband is having fun doing his own toppings…LOL.  Actually I made him pose…he’s just a good sport. :O

    He doesn’t like the fruit as much….he’s more of a veggie man….

    He does like the almonds and the white grated mozzarella cheese….

    Hawaiian Haystacks……..My plate is still prettier than the hubs………just sayin……..

    This recipe for Hawaiian Haystacks is a KEEPER!   Enjoy!  

    Hawaiian Chicken and Rice Stir Fry

     My hubs loves rice. And I love Teriyaki sauce. But not from a bottle. I have never found one I can even stand at all. So I try different recipes and layers of flavor. I like this sweet Hawaiian sauce. It can be a sweet and sour sauce. It can be a Hawaiian sauce. And it’s pretty good.

    Hawaiian Chicken and Rice  Stir Fry

    Progressive Vegetable Chopper…..GREAT gadget!
    I use this handy dandy Progressive veggie chopper to do my peppers and carrots…..

    It’s kinda like the “Slap Chop” advertised on T.V. but it’s only about $30 bucks.
    Slap it…..and it chops up the veggies pretty quickly and perfectly!  

    Here are my veggies chopped up and ready to stir fry (I just use an oiled fry pan)

    Then while they are frying up for just about 5-7 minutes I make the sauce….

    My Sweet Sauce……It tastes like a light, sweet, Teriyaki sauce….

     If you really like the taste of soy sauce, you could add a bit more. I don’t love it so I only put a small amount in mine.  I like a sweet sauce….so I add lots of pineapple juice, brown sugar and the ketchup gives it a little kick. It is not really thick, not too powerful either….I like it!

    Here are the veggies all stir fried…with Hawaiian sauce added…..

    Pour the veggies out on a plate for serving.  If you have kids they will pick out the veggies they don’t want before adding them to their rice.  Then use the same fry pan and do the chicken. I baked mine, then sliced it like it is here…..then I added it to the empty veggie fry pan and added some sauce….and just stir fried it for a few moments to coat the chicken.

    Then I slice up and add the chicken to the fry pan….and add a few Tablespoons more  of sauce to  it! 

    Then when the rice is ready it’s time to put it all together! Then pour a few spoonfuls over rice.  Yummy!  It’s healthy and colorful and the hubs LOVES it.  I made enough to put in Rubbermaid containers for our lunches the next day.   

    If you want to….make a big vat of it and freeze half of it in a zip lock baggie…..for another meal! 

    It would be good with fresh mushrooms too…and I added a few stalks of celery to this batch too….I
    use whatever veggies I have on hand….broccoli is good with this recipe too! 

    Let’s EAT! 

    Sweet and Sour or Hawaiian Sauce:
    3/4 Cup (basically the juice of 1 can) of  pineapple juice
    1/4 Cup of  soy sauce
    1/3 Cup of  rice vinegar
    1/2 Cup of  brown sugar
    2 T ketchup 
    1 1/2 T corn starch
    Chicken Tenders – About 10 or 2-3 chicken breasts sliced up 
    (or you could use small meatballs too)
    1/4 Sweet onion (Like a Vidalia) chop into 1/2 inch pieces
    3/4 cup green or red pepper diced into 1/2 inch pieces
    Sugar snap peas or Japanese pea pods
    handful of thinly sliced carrots or diced carrots
    1/2 Cup pineapple tidbits (or 3-4 rings, sliced into tidbits)


    My Sauce Stuff… the pineapple juice….

    Stir fry all the veggies with a few tablespoons of oil.  Drain. Then  add 2 Tablespoons of the sauce over the veggies. You can stir fry the chicken in a separate fry pan with a little oil adding the sauce at the last 3 minutes.  Or if I am in a hurry I separately bake the chicken covering it in foil and adding the sauce the last 15 minutes of cooking). Then slice up the chicken and add to the vegetables.  Steam a few cups of rice in a rice cooker.  Then add rice to the plates, cover with the veggies/chicken mixture. Add a few tablespoons of sauce drizzled over the plate of veggies, chicken and rice.  Serve and Enjoy!  

    My Favorite Holiday THINGS…..

     Looking back on the last 2 weeks……what were YOUR favorite things? 3 of mine are right here….
    Grandma’s little cookie testers and tasters……Loved making cookies with them in December…..

    Seeing the smiles while we bake and play in the kitchen…..
    And taste test all our cookies of course…….
      Another one of my FAVORITE THINGS  was
    watching a 3 and 4 year old Christmas Dance Recital….hysterical and heartwarming!

    This was a present to myself…..a year of Taste of Home Magazine….to go with this cool cookbook!  I love this combo! and I’ll use it all year long….Woot!  (do YOU buy yourself presents too? If so… are my friend….lol)

    I LOVE cooking….and I love cookbooks with pictures….and I love cooking blogs too…..
    My husband got me this absolutely cool “Bridge” camera from Sony……it is like a DSLR in clarity and lens,
    but it is idiot proof for dummies in the photog department like me…..I can snap a picture in the middle
    of taking a video…how COOL IS THAT?   yEAh!  I LOVE this…..

    When I turn it on the lens cap pops off and hangs by a ribbon….yeah that’s another thing I LOVE about it!
    No messing with lens caps and worrying if you are going to lose it or forget to put it
    back in your camera bag!  (can you tell I have forgotten stuff like that?….ahem….yes…well….I’m a
    creative sort……not an organized kind of mind…….)
    Cheering for peppermint ring pops…..I scream you scream…..we all scream…..for    RING POPS!
    Aren’t they the bee’s knees?   Yeah….they are so cute….. and watching my hubs
    play “Cootie” with them?   Oh yeah……VERY priceless…..

    Me being a happy camper….after all the buying, wrapping, cooking, baking, stressing…
    it’s finally all ready on Christmas Day…..and I can finally PLAY!  It’s that moment
    before anybody comes down to eat or open anything when you look around and say…
    Because…hey……my work is done here…..

    Hot cinnamon rolls just out of the oven before the cream cheese icing is slathered on…
    can I get a cheer for mom?  Oh yes…..these babies cause grown men to cry….
    Okay I’m kidding there….but they ARE goody, yummy and perfect! 

    My famous and traditional breakfast brunch casserole….Yummy! 

    It’s one of my favorite things getting the family together for brunch at the table to eat yummy food

    and have great conversation and laugh…….yeah… doesn’t get any better than this folks….Family!

    I love the little kiddie table I make up for every holiday….My 2 girlies love it too……yay!  

    Happy laughter and chaos reining and ripped up wrapping paper to jump in!  

    Neighbors who deliver homemade yummy stuff to your door! I just  LOVE THAT!  
    Homemade Christmas cards out of kitchen stuff (Karo syrup and food coloring)  mmhmmm…….
    Seeing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert……with  my peeps…..

    And enjoying all the lights of the season…….So pretty….

    These are a few of my favorite things….
    Hope you get a year full of favorite things in 2012….


    Artichoke Pasta Salad (with Feta Cheese)

    Artichoke Pasta Salad with Feta Cheese

     Artichoke Pasta Salad

    How many meals are you making this weekend? I get all mixed up unless I plan out my meals and ingredients at holiday time. It is kind of like a list of meals board…if I don’t I get overwhelmed with all the cooking and company. . Then I can go to the market with my list and hopefully not forget anything.

     New Year’s Eve is one menu, New Years Day is another. It is hard to keep it all straight and not repeat anything you did on Christmas Eve or Christmas Brunch or Christmas night! No wonder us moms are all stressed out during the holidays! Geesh! 

    I found this colorful “Wacky Mac” in the store last week. It looked
    kind of festive so I bought it for our New Year’s Buffet.
    Boil up the pasta in salted water…..Wacky Mac I mean….snicker….
    Then drain and add your cut up veggies….I ran out of olives…so I didn’t include them
    but this salad is better with the black olives….for sure! 

    Salads have to be a little more special than normal, because, well……IT’S NEW YEARS!  Here is one that everybody loves no matter where I bring it.  


    Green, yellow, OR  yellow bell pepper, diced (The colorful veggies make this salad so pretty!
    cup artichoke hearts, drained, diced up into pieces
    package FINELY crumbled feta cheese (about 1/2 cup)
    cup pitted olives sliced in half 
    1/2     cups of quartered and sliced celery or cucumber (for crunch)
    3/4     cup chopped tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes
    3        cups cooked and drained pasta (9 oz) (bowtie, shell or rotini) or 1 bag
    3/4     cup Greek vinaigrette with Feta Cheese (I like Gerrards-find at Target)
    teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
    A few shakes of Johnny’s seasoning to taste (find at Costco in a large bottle)
    I usually buy my artichoke hearts from Costco because they are good quality and cheaper in the large jar.  I only use about half of this jar in one salad though. And you do have to cut them up into small chunks. The feta cheese is cheaper NOT in the quickie deli section. Look in the cream cheese section instead for a better price. 
    I love these Girard’s salad dressings…they are not cheap, usually $3.99 on Sale! 
    Girard's® Greek Feta Vinaigrette Dressing
    Look for the Greek with Feta dressing (my favorite for this salad….)
    Or if you have some good Italian like Kraft House Italian…that will do too in a pinch….
    Boil the pasta ( I look for colorful pasta for holidays…sometimes in fun shapes too) but any kind will do, curly, shell, or ziti style or bowtie are all good. Then drain it. Add the sliced artichokes, chopped tomatoes, diced peppers and cucumber, celery, and olives. I cut my olives in half. Add a few cups of diced rotisserie chicken for a meal.
    Then add the Feta Cheese to the Artichoke Pasta Salad…I pinch it all and crumble
    it till it is as fine as cottage cheese…

    Crumble the feta cheese over everything and then add the Greek dressing (it looks like an olive oil thick Italian with bits of cheese in it, kind of cloudy looking). A good brand of Greek dressing is hard to find.  Look for Girrards Greek and Feta Cheese or Trader Joe’s Greek Dressing or make your own. A good recipe is HERE at All Taste and shake a little seasoning salt over it.  Let it marinate in the fridge for a few hours before serving.
    Use whatever color you want of the fresh peppers…I used red on this one..

    Artichoke Pasta Salad…yummy! (Better with black olives…I didn’t have any on hand)
    But trust me…It’s better WITH olives…and looks more Greek too….
    Colorful and rich and Greek Artichoke & Feta Pasta Salad!  
    It is delicious and you will get many compliments on it. It is just a little different from stuff everybody else brings to the New Year’s Party. It is the bomb for a juicy good side dish!