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Accidental Happy Meals

 
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 971
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:51 pm    Post subject: Accidental Happy Meals Reply with quote

ever made a ground beef dish - meatloaf / hamburger / meatball / etc - with a "gosh this is darned good - need to remember how I . . . "

necessity being the mother of invention and mother many other happy accidents, once upon a time I was caught short on time and had to make a meat loaf from ground beef that was not entirely thawed.
to hasten the thaw, I cut the semi-frozen meat chunk up in to slices on a large cutting board. after a few minutes reduced the slices to chunks, few minutes more and I could dice it into mini-chunks.
result: about 1 pound of ground beef spread out in a circa 3/4 inch thick layer on a large cutting board.

by complete un-intent, over this "flattened" ground beef, did the salt / pepper / minced onion / garlic / splash of mustard / twitch of Worcestershire sauce / bread crumbs / beaten egg thing, folded it together into a "loaf"
(aside) I add applesauce into my meatloaf, but (see later) that appears not an important issue

well, the peanut gallery raved.
in repeated experiments - without spilling the beans to the gallery - I've done hamburgers and meatballs to similar raves & acclaim.

since my "seasoning" is not precisely new to the peanut gallery - nor particularly innovative & brilliant - I concluded there must be another factor at work.

my working hypothesis is: spreading the ground beef out into a "thin" layer for seasoning allows the seasonings much better incorporation into the final ground "form"
a tasty morsel in every bite . . .

multiple TV cooks have cautioned about over-mixing ground beef preps - the traditional toss-it-all-in-a-bowl-and-squeeze-it-through-the-fingers routine is 'discouraged' - might this be a simple and easy alternative?

if anyone gives this a try I'd like to heard the outcome.
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kgb1001001



Joined: 21 Dec 2005
Posts: 107

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:56 pm    Post subject: Yes I have -- but never have again... Reply with quote

Once when I was cooking Easter dinner for family and friends we were checking up on side dishes and realized that I hadn't made anything for the "pickier" eaters (like my son) that wouldn't eat certain vegetables.

So, in a rush through the refrigerator and pantry I realize that "Hey, I've got this set of leftover cheeses from other recipes, and I have egg noodles -- this sounds like Macaroni and Cheese!" So I make a bechamel, add the cheese(s) and some spices, and pour on top of the cooked egg noodles with a breadcrumb topping, bake, and hope for the best.

It was phenomenal. My wife and our guests raved about it and my son ate two servings (which is unusual). It was smooth, creamy and delicious. And the problem is -- I didn't write down the type or proportion of cheeses I used. I've never since succeeded as well in a homemade mac and cheese again.
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 971
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

.....I didn't write down the

rats.... we needed that <g>

mac&cheese falls into the "religious icon" category around here.
I use the recipe from Mueller's - dressed up with a bit of finely diced onion/shallot/scallion - what's on hand - and a dash of cayenne. it's a basic white sauce approach - for special occasions I use replace (some) of the milk with a cup of light cream.

mixed cheeses is great! - using a cheddar base, my favorite 'add in' is Edam but some of the soft cheeses make a good variation.

the biggest hurdle I found was 'accepting' a sauce that appears way-too-thin. the pasta soaks up some moisture on bake and if the sauce is too thick I get 'cheese flavored glue' - arggh!
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 352
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dilbert wrote:
.....I didn't write down the

rats.... we needed that <g>

mac&cheese falls into the "religious icon" category around here.
I use the recipe from Mueller's - dressed up with a bit of finely diced onion/shallot/scallion - what's on hand - and a dash of cayenne. it's a basic white sauce approach - for special occasions I use replace (some) of the milk with a cup of light cream.

mixed cheeses is great! - using a cheddar base, my favorite 'add in' is Edam but some of the soft cheeses make a good variation.

the biggest hurdle I found was 'accepting' a sauce that appears way-too-thin. the pasta soaks up some moisture on bake and if the sauce is too thick I get 'cheese flavored glue' - arggh!


Yeah, yeah, then top with panko bread crumbs browned in butter, send back to hot oven. Yeah, yeah!

http://www.cyberbilly.com/meathenge/archives/001154.html

This recipe and photograph of the finished product made it in to the Marin Sun newspaper last year, I think. They were doing an article on Funeral Food, and macky cheese rates at the top.

Cheers!
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 971
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

.......top with panko bread crumbs browned in butter,

here's a interesting twist:

crushed oyster crackers - not the round 'balls' (but heh, why not?) the oval types. nice texture, no added salt.... (ala "saltines")

I use oyster crackers when I'm looking for a bit more "volume" to the 'toasted topping' - mashed in a bag or on the board, you can control the large-to-fine mix - works especially well when using diced <anything>
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 352
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dilbert wrote:
.......top with panko bread crumbs browned in butter,

here's a interesting twist:

crushed oyster crackers - not the round 'balls' (but heh, why not?) the oval types. nice texture, no added salt.... (ala "saltines")

I use oyster crackers when I'm looking for a bit more "volume" to the 'toasted topping' - mashed in a bag or on the board, you can control the large-to-fine mix - works especially well when using diced <anything>


? The oyster crackers I have are salty as gosh. And there's no way they'll beat panko browned in butter. They'd totally kick the oysters ass!


Biggles
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danicamoore



Joined: 16 Sep 2009
Posts: 58
Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 3:00 am    Post subject: Re: Accidental Happy Meals Reply with quote

Dilbert wrote:
ever made a ground beef dish - meatloaf / hamburger / meatball / etc - with a "gosh this is darned good - need to remember how I . . . "

necessity being the mother of invention and mother many other happy accidents, once upon a time I was caught short on time and had to make a meat loaf from ground beef that was not entirely thawed.
to hasten the thaw, I cut the semi-frozen meat chunk up in to slices on a large cutting board. after a few minutes reduced the slices to chunks, few minutes more and I could dice it into mini-chunks.
result: about 1 pound of ground beef spread out in a circa 3/4 inch thick layer on a large cutting board.

by complete un-intent, over this "flattened" ground beef, did the salt / pepper / minced onion / garlic / splash of mustard / twitch of Worcestershire sauce / bread crumbs / beaten egg thing, folded it together into a "loaf"
(aside) I add applesauce into my meatloaf, but (see later) that appears not an important issue

well, the peanut gallery raved.
in repeated experiments - without spilling the beans to the gallery - I've done hamburgers and meatballs to similar raves & acclaim.

since my "seasoning" is not precisely new to the peanut gallery - nor particularly innovative & brilliant - I concluded there must be another factor at work.

my working hypothesis is: spreading the ground beef out into a "thin" layer for seasoning allows the seasonings much better incorporation into the final ground "form"
a tasty morsel in every bite . . .

multiple TV cooks have cautioned about over-mixing ground beef preps - the traditional toss-it-all-in-a-bowl-and-squeeze-it-through-the-fingers routine is 'discouraged' - might this be a simple and easy alternative?

if anyone gives this a try I'd like to heard the outcome.


not bad. i love the idea about spreading the ground beef out into thin layer. that was a good alternative.
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Cornelius



Joined: 17 Nov 2009
Posts: 16
Location: Everett, WA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dilbert wrote:
- and a dash of cayenne.


Yep, cayenne makes all the difference for me. The little bite it provides makes the cheese taste cheesier.
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IDontUse
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mix all you want as long as you keep the meat COLD, keep in an ice bath and mix in some crushed ice should do. If you have a grinder, grind some ice cubes along with the meat and fat, and try to keep a ratio of 30% fat 70% meat.
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