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Hand in hand; winter and hot home-cooked meals

Series: Welcome to my Kitchen | Story 21

Last updated 1/18/2020 at 4pm

Winter weather and hot meals go together. Meatloaf, casseroles, soups and stews, top the list of requested recipes, whether one is using a conventional range, slow-cooker or insta-pot.

Jessica Torres shared the recipe for Mozzarella Stuffed Meatloaf she recently found on The recipe gives instructions for oven baking, but it works equally well in a slow cooker. The mozzarella cheese and seasonings give a pizza like flavor.

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatloaf


1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

1 cup dry bread crumbs

1 tsp dried, crushed basil

1 tsp dried, crushed oregano

1 tsp dried, crushed parsley

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 cup milk

2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced


1 cup ketchup

1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/8 tsp salt

Pinch cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have a shallow baking pan (9 x 13 inches) ready.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the meatloaf ingredients except the cheese. Mix with your hands, like kneading bread until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Divide mixture in half. Shape into the bottom layer of the loaf, about 1 1/2 inches thick. Place in shallow baking dish.

Lay cheese slices down the center of the loaf, leaving about 1/2 inch meat showing around sides and ends. Shape remaining mixture into a similar size layer and place on top of cheese layer. Press the edges gently to seal.

In a small mixing bowl, combine glaze ingredients and whisk until smooth. Spoon half the mixture over meat loaf, reserving the rest for later.

Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Spoon remaining sauce over the loaf and return to oven to bake an additional 15 minutes. Yield: 6 generous servings.

Note: Jessica says she plans to try the recipe with 1 pound ground turkey and 1/2 pound bulk sausage.

Speaking of turkey, I recently had opportunity to try a recipe for Leftover Turkey Taco Crescent Ring that I found in the Snohomish Tribune several years ago. This recipe was easy to prepare, elegant enough for company and used up leftover turkey. I have added it to my list of entertaining Go To Recipes.

Leftover Turkey Taco Crescent Ring

1 packet taco seasoning mix

2 Tbsp butter

1 cup finely chopped onion

2 cups shredded, cooked turkey

1 can (15 1/4 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained

1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and chilies, drained

1 clove garlic, minced

8 ounces whipped cream cheese

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

2 packages (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease or line with parchment paper, a large baking sheet.

Reserve 1 tsp of the taco seasoning in a small mixing bowl.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and cook and stir 3 minutes or until tender. Add turkey, corn, tomatoes, garlic and remaining seasoning mix. Cook and stir 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cream cheese, mixing until melted, and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese. Set aside.

Unroll and carefully separate crescent roll dough. Arrange triangle to resemble a sunburst with a center opening, overlapping the wide ends and pressing firmly together. (You may view some assembly photos on the “Welcome to My Kitchen” Facebook page.)

Spoon turkey mixture carefully into a ring where the triangles overlap. Fold the triangles around the filling and tuck under at the center of the ring.

Bake ring 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Meanwhile stir remaining cheddar cheese into the reserved taco seasoning mix. Remove ring from oven and sprinkle with the cheese mixture. Return to oven and bake 5 minutes longer, or until cheese is melted and a bit crispy. Serve with you favorite taco toppings. Yield: 10 servings.

Note: I did not have whipped cream cheese on hand, so substitutes 6 ounces regular and it worked fine.

Chicken Almond with Chow Mein Noodles is another recipe I recently tried and has been added to family favorites. Walker McKay shared this recipe with me. I made it with turkey and besides chicken, diced cooked pork or chicken sausage would work as well.

Chicken Almond with Chow Mein Noodles

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped celery

2 tsp melted butter

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 cup chicken stock

2 Tbsp corn starch

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp soy sauce

2 cups diced cooked chicken

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Chow Mein Noodles

Cook onion and celery in butter until tender. Add soup and stock. Heat to boiling. Combine cornstarch, soy sauce and lemon juice, mix until smooth. Stir into soup mixture.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Add chicken, almonds, salt and pepper. Serve over heated Chow Mein noodles. Yield: 4-6 servings.

Note: Hot cooked rice would make a good substitute for the Chow Mein noodles.

What are your families favorite winter time recipes? Insta-pot and slow-cooker recipes are time savers, share your favorites. Are there recipes you have been searching for? Share those recipes and requests with your fellow readers by sending them to:

Welcome to My Kitchen, c/o The Odessa Record, P.O. Box 458, Odessa, WA 99159, or email or drop them in the Welcome to My Kitchen mail tin in The Odessa Record Office.

Planning a vegetable garden this coming growing season? Whether a large back yard plot or just a few vegetables mixed into flower beds, plan to add a few yellow flowering plants like nasturtiums (which are edible by the way), marigolds and calendulas to attract bees to your yard, thus ensuring good pollination to set lots of produce.


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