Convection Meal Italian Meatloaf
Italian Style Meatloaf, Roasted Vegetables and Summer Fruit Shortcake Cobbler
Successfully cooking a complete meal at one time requires planning but with a little orchestration it’s quite simple. Follow these steps for success.
First arrange the oven racks to accommodate the different dishes.
Preheat the oven in the Convection or Convection Bake mode 350 degrees.
Meatloaf 40-45 minutes cooking time + 12 minutes resting time.
Roasted Potatoes and peppers 25 - 30 minutes.
Shortcake Cobbler 40 45 minutes.
If using Convection Bake the Top and Bottom heating elements will be generating the heat while the fan circulates the heated air, so foods placed closer to the elements will receive more direct heat. Ideally, cook the meatloaf and vegetables on the lower rack and the cobbler on the upper rack.
Italian Style Meatloaf
This recipe begins with sauteing the onions, garlic and peppers then combining with the remaining ingredients. The meatloaf can be combined a day in advance of cooking and shaped into a log on a rimmed baking sheet or packed into a loaf pan.
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped
½ tsp, mixed Italian seasoning
2 lbs ground beef OR 1 lb ground beef mixed with
1lb mild or spicy bulk Italian sausage
2 large eggs
½ cup breadcrumbs
½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
½ cup Italian parsley leaves, chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
½ tsp Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cup ketchup or more to taste
Heat a medium sized skillet over moderate heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes until it softens. Stir in the garlic, red pepper and seasoning and cook for 8 - 10 minutes until the peppers are soft and slightly charred on the edge. Set the vegetables aside to cool slightly before adding to the remainder of the ingredients.
Combine the remainder of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and gently fold in the cooked vegetables taking care not to overmix. Pack the meatloaf into a loaf pan or place on a rimmed baking sheet and shape into a tight uniform log. Spread the ketchup evenly over the top.
Slide the tray onto the lower rack in the oven and set the timer for 40 minutes. The meatloaf should be firm to the touch and the internal temperature should reach 160 degrees when checked with an instant read thermometer.
Roasted Potatoes with Peppers
2lbs small golden potatoes, washed, dried and cut into ½” thick slices
2 bell peppers, use different colors, halved, seeds removed and cut into 1” chunks
1 small red onion, peeled and cut into 1” chunks
½ tsp smoked Spanish paprika (mild or spicy)
2 tbsp olive oil
Combine the vegetables in a medium sized bowl and add the paprika and oil. Just before adding to the oven add in ½ tsp Kosher salt and a little freshly ground pepper. The vegetables can be cooked next to the meatloaf or or a separate tray.
Summer Fruit Shortcake Cobbler
6 medium nectarines or peaches, pits removed, cut into 2” chunks
2 cups fresh blueberries or blackberries
¼ cups sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Combine the fruit and sugar in a 9 x13 oven casserole dish and gently fold in the flour.
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour. Sift into a large bowl
4 tbsp sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
In another bowl whisk
1 cup chilled whipping cream
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients to form the dough, it will be quite soft.
Drop the dough in even mounds over the fruit. The dough can be sprinkled with a little more sugar combined with a ½ tsp ground cinnamon for some added pizzazz. Place the cobbler in the upper portion of the oven and cook for 40 - 45 minutes until the biscuits are golden and firm to the touch.
Each recipe serves 6 - 8 people
Cauliflower Mc & Cheese
Convection Bake Mode
This delicious version of perhaps the most popular comfort food incorporates some steamed cauliflower but you could also substitute broccoli if you prefer.
3 - cups elbow pasta
2 - cups, small cauliflower or broccoli florets
3 - tablespoons butter
3 - tablespoons all purpose flour
2 - cups milk
1 - teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
1 - cup grated Jack cheese
2 - cups grated Cheddar cheese
¼ - cup fine breadcrumbs mixed with
¼ - cup grated Parmesan cheese and
2 - tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Cook the pasta in 8 cups of water with ½ teaspoon of salt, drain and rinse in cold water.
Steam the cauliflower and when cooked combine with the pasta.
Heat the butter in a small heavy saucepan, add the flour and stir to blend.
Cook for a few minutes taking care not to let the butter get too dark.
Whisk in the milk and cook over moderate heat until thickened.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese whisking until it is all blended, taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Preheat the oven to Convection Bake 350 degrees (using Convection ensures even heat distribution and enables you to roast some meat or vegetables on another rack at the same time)
Mix the cheese sauce with the cooked pasta and cauliflower and pour into an oiled oven casserole dish (approx 9 x 13) cover and bake on the center rack for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove the foil and sprinkle the breadcrumb, parsley, Parmesan cheese mixture over the pasta and cook for another 10 minutes until the topping has browned.
Turkey Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles, Mozzarella and Pesto
Convection or Convection Bake
I won’t kid you, Lasagna always takes work but the efforts are always worthwhile and in this version the zucchini “noodles” are easily prepared at the same time using Convection.
It takes about 10 minutes to slice the zucchini and about 20 minutes to cook and cool them.
The turkey filling takes about 40 minutes to prep and cook and while that is cooking you can assemble the other ingredients so you are ready to layer everything into the casserole for baking. Once everything is prepped, layering the lasagna into the casserole is easy.
6 - large zucchini, ends trimmed each cut lengthwise into 6 ¼” thick slices
½ - teaspoon mixed Italian seasoning
2 - tablespoons olive oil
1 - tablespoon olive oil + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 - lb ground dark turkey meat (or ground beef if you prefer)
1 - medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into 1” dice
3 - cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Dash of ground chili flakes if you like some spice
1 - 15oz can whole peeled tomatoes
2 - tablespoons tomato paste
1 - 15oz container Ricotta cheese
1 - 4 oz container Pesto (or ½ cup homemade)
1 ½ - lbs shredded Mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to Convection or Convection Bake 400 degrees
Lay the zucchini slices onto 2 rimmed baking sheets, sprinkle with the seasoning and drizzle with some olive oil, salt and pepper and cook for 15 - 20 minutes until softened, then set aside to cool.
Meanwhile heat a large heavy skillet or saute pan over moderate heat, when hot add the oil and butter and when the butter sizzles increase the heat and add the ground turkey. Break it up with a fork and cook over medium high heat until evenly browned. Turn off the heat and remove the turkey from the pan with a slotted spoon.
Return the pan to heat and over moderate heat saute the onion until softened, add the garlic and cook for a few minutes before adding the tomatoes. Cook over moderate heat breaking the tomatoes with the back of a spoon (you can use chopped tomatoes if you prefer) then stir in the tomato paste. Add the browned turkey and any accumulated juices to the pan and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Layering the Lasagna
Spoon a little of the sauce onto the bottom of an oven casserole dish and add one layer of the cooked zucchini noodles.
Add half of the turkey mixture, spread over the noodles and top with a cup of mozzarella cheese
Add another layer of noodles and spread the ricotta over the noodles, or flatten a few tablespoons between your palms and place over the noodles.
Gently spread a layer of pesto over the ricotta and top with another loosely packed cup of mozzarella and another layer of noodles
Add the remainder of the turkey, another cup of cheese and the final layer of noodles.
Spread a little more pesto over the top of the noodles and top with a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese.
Preheat the oven to Convection Bake 325 degrees
Cut a sheet of foil to fit the casserole and lightly oil the non-shiny side.
Cover the casserole loosely so the foil doesn’t stick to the cheese and bake on the middle rack for 25 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbling, allow the casserole to stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 6 - 8
Shepherd’s Pie with Seitan
Another dish on the list of popular comfort foods, this version from Susanne Jensen will show you just how delicious a plant based version of this dish can be. If you don’t have a big group to feed you can easily portion this casserole into smaller portions and freeze some for later use.
2 - tablespoons oil
1 - yellow onion, diced
3 - cloves garlic, minced
1 - teaspoon thyme
2 - carrots, finely diced
1 - rutabaga, finely dice
1 - pound seitan, ground in a food processor or meat grinder
2 - tablespoons tomato paste
1 - tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ - teaspoons salt ¼ t- easpoon pepper
2 - cups water mixed with 2 tablespoons vegetable powder
1 - tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2-3 tablespoons cold - water ½ - cup fresh or frozen peas
3 - large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
1. Heat oil in a frying pan and add onion and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes.
2. Add rutabaga and carrot and sauté for another 3-4 minutes.
3. Add thyme, seitan, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, water with vegetable powder and cook for 6-8 minutes.
4. Add dissolved cornstarch and cook until vegetable seitan mixture has slightly thickened, approximately 1 minute.
5. Stir in peas.
6. Meanwhile steam the potatoes in 1 cup of water over moderate heat until very tender. Mash with some butter and milk until creamy.
7. Assemble shepherd’s pie by adding vegetables to a baking pan and cover with mashed potatoes.
8. When ready to serve, preheat the oven in the Convection Bake Mode 400 degrees and bake uncovered for 20 minutes until the potatoes begin to brown (40 minutes if the casserole has been refrigerated.)
Serves 6 - 8
Roast Leg of Lamb with Roasted Ratatouille
Ratatouille is a flavorful vegetable stew from Southern France that combines a bounty of summer vegetables, eggplant, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes. Typically it is cooked in a heavy casserole on the cooktop but the vegetables can also be combined and roasted in the oven for an easy Convection Meal. Ratatouille combines well with roast chicken, oven baked polenta and our favorite roast lamb and can even be served over pasta or grains.
To coordinate the cooking plan on the following timing.
Lamb - 1 hr 25 minutes including 10 - 15 minutes for resting and carving.
Ratatouille - 40 - 50 minutes
Roast Leg of Lamb
1 semi boneless leg of lamb, approx 4 - 5lbs
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp, finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tbsp olive oil
Begin by seasoning the lamb and letting it sit overnight in the refrigerator. First give the lamb a generous sprinkle of Kosher salt, then combine the rosemary, garlic and oil and rub it all over the meat. Cover loosely with a sheet of wax paper and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. And be sure to let it sit outside of the refrigerator for at least an hour prior to cooking.
Organize the oven racks to accommodate the roast and the tray of ratatouille underneath.
Heat the oven in the Convection Roast or Convection Bake Mode 325 ℉.
Place the lamb on a rack in a shallow pan. And if your oven has a meat probe insert the sensor into the meat on the diagonal, taking care not to touch any bone.
Slide the lamb into the oven and activate the meat probe function then program to the desired internal temperature. Remember the internal temperature will rise as the meat rests so if you like your lamb medium rare, select an internal temperature of 125 - 130 degrees.
When the lamb has cooked for at least 45 - 50 minutes, slide the tray with the ratatouille into the oven.
3 shallots, peeled and cut in half
10 cloves garlic, peeled
2 small Italian eggplant or 1 Italian and 1 Fairy Tale eggplant, cut into 1 ½” chunks
3 large zucchini, cut into 1 ½” chunks
2 large peppers, yellow and orange are nice for the color, peeled, seeds removed, cut into
1 ½” pieces ( a Y shaped vegetable peeler does a good job of removing the peel)
¼ cup olive oil
1 level tsp herbs de Provence
4 medium roma tomatoes, cut into quarters (these are added later)
Combine the shallots, garlic, eggplant, zucchini and peppers in a large shallow mixing bowl.
Season with a sprinkle of Kosher salt and the herbs, add enough of the olive oil to coat the vegetables evenly then spread onto a rimmed baking sheet. The vegetables will shrink a fair bit during the cooking so it’s best if they are fairly crowded on the tray.
When the lamb has cooked for 45 - 50 minutes, add the tray of ratatouille into the lower part of the oven. Remove the lamb when the meat probe indicates it has reached the desired internal temperature and set aside to rest. Carefully combine the tomatoes with the other ratatouille vegetables and reprogram the oven to finish cooking the vegetables in the Convection Roast or Convection Bake Mode,400℉ and set the timer for 25 minutes.