Honey BBQ Meatloaf & Coleslaw

Meatloaf is comfort food. We don’t eat it often in this house, but every once in a while we get a craving for it, or the opportunity presents itself, and I put meatloaf on the menu.

This time, it was because of cabbage. We had half a head of cabbage left over from the pork & udon soup, and I decided that coleslaw would make good use of it. We tossed around a couple of ideas of what to make to go with coleslaw, and eventually we agreed that meatloaf was something we wouldn’t mind having.

I have a few different meatloaf recipes, but this Honey BBQ one is a recent winner, possibly because it is so easy to make. Another of my favorite recipes requires chopping up mushrooms, grating cheese, putting together a lot of herbs and spices, soaking bread in milk. This recipe is much more simplified and still tastes really good. It’s not a show-stopper, but it gets the job done in a satisfying way.

I do double the recipe, because we are a leftover-friendly household, and I often make it the day before a leftover day. It’s extremely tender and tends to fall apart, but I think an egg would help hold it together better. I might try adding one in the next time I make this. (Spoiler: I will totally make this again.)

Best of all, Miss H loves this meal. Roasted diced potatoes? Yes. Sweet, vinegary coleslaw? Yes. Meatloaf doused in BBQ sauce and honey? YES. Kid cleaned her plate in no time at all. On nights when dinner doesn’t meet her fancy, the meal can last an hour. Tonight, she was done in half the time. Comfort food for the win.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5. I love the flavor, I love how juicy and tender it is, I love the leftovers. But it does have a tendency to fall apart and be a little liquidy. Still, a keeper in this house. We should eat meatloaf more often. The coleslaw, however, is a go-to recipe and gets made often throughout the year. Such a good way to use up cabbage.

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Guinness Beef Stew

Source: Tracey’s Culinary Adventures (Guinness Beef Stew)

Every so often, usually when summer in our area lasts twice as long as it should and it’s still 90 degrees in October, I think wistfully about how nice it would be to live someplace where seasons actually exist. And then the first cold night of the season arrives, and I think, nope, I’m good. I make some cold weather comfort food, which is really one of the only reasons I like cold weather.

I find it nearly impossible to enjoy pot pies and stews before October and after March. These are meals that are meant for cozy evenings, enjoying the warmth of home when it’s too cold to think about going outside. Which is too bad, because I love cold weather meals. I love autumn and winter vegetables. I look forward to October every year because I’m so sick of salads and dishes that aren’t uncomfortable to make when it’s 100 degrees outside. Nobody wants to have the oven going for three hours when the AC unit is rumbling all day long in an attempt to keep the house at a livable temperature.

And this stew takes about three hours in the oven. It actually could have stayed in for a bit longer, but the meat was still fall-apart tender, the potatoes were cooked through but not mushy, and the carrots added a bit of crunch.

Everything blended together so well in this one-pot dish. The Guinness didn’t overwhelm any of the other flavors, though my husband did comment that the gravy tasted “like root vegetables,” so maybe a little more Guinness was called for. But my husband will always say yes to more beer, so I’d be surprised if he didn’t approve of that idea.

About three-quarters of the way through making the stew, I was a bit concerned about the thickness of the gravy. Beef stew needs a nice, thick gravy, otherwise you’re just eating soup, right? I resisted the urge to do any doctoring, placing my trust in the ingredients and the wonderful magic that happens to them by adding heat. Good thing too, because the stew came together beautifully with a lovely thick gravy that tasted amazing.

Rating: 5 stars. Yes, this was a very tasty meal. I don’t like pot roasts, but I do like stews. There are a couple of daubes in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table that are absolutely terrific and should be made at least once a year. But this was an excellent meal in its own right and should certainly be considered a fine example of the humble (but delicious) beef stew.

Will I make it again? You bet. I would make a couple of minor changes. I’d cut the carrots smaller to allow them to cook a bit more. I’d serve it with a nice, soft roll to help soak up all the tasty Guinness-rich gravy. I’d even consider leaving out the potatoes and serving the stew over mashed potatoes instead, because seriously, the gravy is pretty awesome.

This one is going into my “saved” recipes file, and I’ll be happy to make it again in the future.