Welcome to my messy kitchen. I would love to have a pristine kitchen to photograph for this post, like I see on so many blogs but alas I am my father’s daughter and a very messy cook! At least a got to use a nice camera and have an excellent sous chef 😉
This meal (not necessarily recipe) is very near and dear to my heart. Growing up my late father would make heart shaped meatloaf for my mom and I on Valentine’s Day. We never did anything fancy or extravagant but I remember family dinner and maybe some chocolates or holiday themed M&M’s from Mom. His recipe was always different, always from memory and always tasty (except the time he tricked us into eating Ostrich meat which was kind of weird but honestly I didn’t even notice until he told us!)
As a new mom I have an innate desire to start new traditions and also keep some old ones around. A lot of my desire stems from ways to stay connected to my Dad who was a fabulous chef and had more love for my Mom and I then I think I’ll ever understand. I love to bring him into my cooking and each time I cook I can feel him there with me guiding me and smiling at my frustrations knowing he was the same way. He put so much emotion into his work that when something didn’t go right (like a failed Hollandaise sauce, dense popovers or what have you) he would get so upset and disappointed in himself. 99% of the time I couldn’t tell he messed up and he was so proud of what he did that he let his emotion get the better of him. A lot of my memories of my Dad stem from him puttering around in the kitchen.
I’m not big on Valentines Day. I think it’s a consumer holiday and try not to buy into it. But holidays with kids are so much sweeter aren’t they? They seem more magical when you have a baby even if she doesn’t understand boo about it. I figured making this heart shaped meatloaf brings back some nostalgia and though my daughter won’t be awake to enjoy family dinner the sentiment feels greater then it has before.
Before I share the recipe I’m going to share that my dear daughter had her 6 month shots ON Valentine’s Day and I now feel like a crazy person for thinking I would be able to cook dinner on the same day as her shots. And to add more to the mix, I felt her first tooth starting to make its way to the surface on her gum. Needless to say I spent the hours of 2-6p holding Elle, cuddling with Elle, nursing Elle, and trying to keep the poor dear from losing it. You could just tell she was in so much pain!
In the past I would’ve been SO upset that I wasn’t able to cook the special dinner I had planned but I just kept on trucking and said, “I’ll do it tomorrow and it will still be special!”. My darling husband picked up take out from one of our favorite mediterranean spots and ended up relieving me when Elle woke up out of her sleep last night and rocked her back to sleep while I showered. He was SUCH a rock an he said, “My instincts just kicked in and I can tell she’s in pain and it’s all going to be OK”. Like a pro he got her back to a peaceful sleep which she sustained for the rest of the night. So while we didn’t get to have the meatloaf we still had a nice dinner at our table and Elle was even a part of the evening. As my husband put it, “we have our whole lives to eat meatloaf”
This is my From Now Til Forever,
So here’s the recipe I created below, sans the picture of really anything but the ingredients (apparently I shop at Whole Foods too much, this looks like an add for the 365 Brand!):
1 c finely chopped fresh spinach (mine happened to be a week old)
½ c panko bread crumbs
½ yellow onion, finely chopped
1 c chopped fresh mushrooms
⅓ c 1% milk
1 ½ tsp garlic powder (or 1 tablespoon minced garlic)
2-4 oz goat cheese (whatever your liking)
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 pinch dried oregano
1 pinch dried basil
few leaves of finely chopped sage
Salt and pepper to taste
2 lbs ground bison
Directions – 15 mins prep, 45 mins cook
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a loaf pan. (My loaf pan happened to be heart shaped! <3)
- Mix eggs, spinach, mushrooms, bread crumbs, onion, milk, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, basil, salt, and black pepper together in a large bowl. Add ground beef and mix thoroughly with your hands; pack into prepared loaf pan.
- Plop the Goat Cheese in where desired. Use as much as you’d like!
- Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, 45 to 60 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).