Sunday, December 28, 2014

2015 Christmas dinner menu

Nearly 25 residents, staff and guests enjoyed a festive dinner at work on Christmas Day. Holidays are important to the residents. With half the residents restricted to the house for various reasons, the meal gave them a chance to celebrate.

Staff do their best to make the recovery house a home during the 90-day program. Christmas tree, presents and frequent visits from family help the residents through the holiday season. One could argue that the holiday meal is the most important aspect of the festivities.

Christmas dinner gave me the opportunity to present a meal that's a cut above the normal fare. With a modest daily food allowance, the high cost of beef roast keeps it off of the menu. And it let the residents enjoy a special meal.

Two chuck shoulder clod roasts, averaging six and one-half pounds each, gave a generous portion. Into a hot oven just before noon, the intense heat developed a richly-colored crust. From that point, a 100-degree reduction in oven temperature (from 425 to 250 degrees F.) let the roasts coast to a perfect medium.

Accompanying the roast were scalloped red potatoes with a rosemary cream cheese sauce, roasted broccoli florets and Dutch apple pie. One of the residents, a former professional cook, assisted me on Thursday. He enjoyed the day as much as I did.

The festive Christmas dinner gave the men the opportunity to enjoy a family tradition, one which gave them a brief respite from their struggles with addiction.


Garden Salad with Ranch & Italian Dressings
Seasoned Croutons
Fresh Vegetables Marinated in Balsamic Vinaigrette

Beef Gravy from Natural Juices
Scalloped Red Potatoes in a Rosemary Cream Cheese Sauce
Broccoli Florets Roasted in Garlic Olive Oil
Freshly Baked Dinner Roll

Dutch Apple Pie

French Roast Coffee
Sweet Iced Tea

Monday, December 01, 2014

Meatloaf flop

I won't be posting the recipe to cheeseburger meatloaf anytime soon. After testing the recipe last night, I wasn't pleased with the results. Though the recipe appeared to be straight forward, it needs re-working before I can give it the 'Round the Chuckbox stamp of approval.

I must confess that the failure of the recipe isn't entirely the fault of the source. It was located on the ChefRef cell phone application by Sysco. A major contributing factor was my selection of the wrong measuring cup, something that I rarely do.

The recipe called for a mixture of bread crumbs, chopped pickles, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, egg and mustard. Once mixed, it was worked into ground beef and shredded cheddar cheese. Since the initial ingredients were portioned in quarter and half-cup increments, I had intended to select the quarter-cup measure.

There's one problem. Our quarter-cup measure has been missing for some time. (It's likely buried in the rice or flour container.) Instead, I absentmindedly selected the third-cup measure. While I enjoyed the basic flavor, I couldn't move beyond the pasty texture. And I couldn't slice it for the plate without it falling apart.

I do intend on presenting a Dutch oven meatloaf recipe on these pages in the coming week or two. I will place the recipe for cheeseburger meatloaf on the back burner for now and work on a basic comfort recipe.