Red Potato Salad and Mushroom Gravy

dinner
Photo by M. Sandoval
potato-salad-done
What a mess, huh? Delicious melange!
red-potatoes
Red potatoes; salt and pepper

First, potato salad can be so addicting—the tangy mayonnaise whether that’s the result of the mustard or a favorite vinegar; tender potatoes, wholesome eggs, or just the creamy way it all commiserates.  There are so many variations and yet, anyone can recognize it. It’s a common barbecue accompaniment and potluck favorite.

I was going to make mashed potatoes which traditionally flank the meatloaf, but since I have red potatoes which are not generally used for mashing, I decided to make a batch of the forever craved pomme de terre salad. It’s been too long.

seasoned-potatoes

I literally threw all this together so that I could work on this post. I’m eager to see the results.

So here we have:

5 large red potatoes, chopped (or 4 medium or 6 small…)

2 teaspoons of dried chopped onions (or a chopped shallot)

1 teaspoon of dill weed/dried dill

½ teaspoon or so each of salt and pepper

Later, I’ll add:

1 to 1 ½ cups of mayonnaise

1 tablespoon of yellow mustard

3 to 6 boiled eggs, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

It’s better once it’s been chilled, but I’m serving this with the meatloaf as soon as it’s done.

potatoes-and-eggs

I know eggs can be done in the Crock-Pot, I just am not sure how long they will take and what temperature is ideal. We’ll see. They are in with the potatoes on Low for 5 hours.

Here is how it turned out! The eggs cooked through. Without water, they did have some browning, but it’s a good alternative to cooking them separately in a pot on the stove.

 

Next, meatloaf is another one of those recipes you have to play with to get your favorite. I’ve been making meatloaf for so long, I don’t use a recipe and since it’s not a “baked good”, you really can’t mess it up. I think this time, I used 1 1/4 lb of ground turkey, 1/4 cup of Worcestershire Sauce, 2 tablespoons of ketchup, ½ tablespoon of yellow mustard, one egg, a package of crackers, crumbled…oh crap! I forgot the salt and pepper! Be right back!

meatloaf-shape

Coat the pot with cooking spray and roll out the loaf into the pot. Usually, recipes say to “shape into loaf” but I think rolling it out of the bowl into the pot does a pretty good job of that itself! Cover, cook on Low for 5 hours.

two-pots

I’m so excited to be able to make these two recipes side by side. They will be done at the same time, too. The more I use the Crock-Pot, the more I feel like everyone should have more than one. It’s just too easy. We are all busy and this leaves virtually no excuse not to cook at home. You not only save money but know exactly what is going into your food.

meatloaf-s-n-p

I literally did forget the salt and pepper and just added it (about ½ teaspoon each)! You can’t mess meatloaf up, unless you forget the salt and pepper. Luckily, until it’s done, it’s not too late, so I just put the S&P on top!

 

 

It really came out perfectly. I could have even gone heavier on the seasoning; but altogether, the meatloaf, potato salad, and mushroom gravy were a hit! Mushroom gravy, yes. I decided while all this was cooking that I was going to make Mushroom Gravy (scroll down for recipe) from scratch to tie this all together and make sure it was a savory meal.

This is the first time I’ve made meatloaf in the Crock-Pot. You can also make meatloaf in the oven. https://cookingupuneecrivaine.wordpress.com/2016/08/12/turkey-meatloaf/

Finally, gravy not only adds moisture to your dish but a heartiness that you can sometimes only get from mom’s cooking. The nice thing about gravy is that you can customize it to your dish. Chicken, beef, and mushroom gravy all have a same name base whereas brown gravy is non-specific in the type of food it uses for flavor. Using gravy to compliment your dish gives better dimension to the flavor of the food.

mush-scratch
Here’s the basics for mushroom gravy.

How much food do you plan on covering with gravy? I have found that gravy packets that you buy at the store only prepare one cup of gravy which is never enough for anyone but yourself. One cup per adult is more sufficient and making it from scratch avoids the added sodium that you find in most grocery store packets.

To make four cups of gravy (plenty to cover this meatloaf), I used:

4 cups of water

4 teaspoons of Better Than Bouillon chicken base

4 tablespoons of butter

1/4 cup flour

16 oz of mushrooms, sliced

salt and pepper to taste (about ½ teaspoon each)

Melt butter in pan on medium-high.  Add mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook until liquid evaporates (may take up to 20 minutes), stirring occasionally. Coat with flour. Stir until flour is no longer dry. Add broth whisking until boils. Reduce heat, simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

We love mushrooms, so I used a lot, but they do cook down a little. I’ve made gravy before adding flour to cold water, dissolving it, and then adding it to the pot. This way, you begin similar to making a roux with butter and then flour. I was a little nervous watching this amount of cooked mushrooms roll around in dry, uncooked flour.

Adding the flour to the mushrooms gave me a lot of anxiety thinking if it didn’t turn out, I would have to toss this whole batch and start over, but it came out okay.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/219091/chef-johns-mushroom-gravy/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringContentType=search%20results&clickId=cardslot%202

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