If you're looking for easy ways to eat healthy meals, incorporate chicken as a staple. It's one of the leanest meats available and also one of the most versatile to cook with. Chicken turns out perfectly in the slow cooker, oven, or skillet, and it complements flavor combinations from all over the world. Try one of our easy and healthy chicken recipes -- including chicken enchiladas, crispy oven-fried drumsticks, and classic roasted chicken -- for dinner tonight.View Slideshow
Fall's favorite fruit is delicious in savory dishes as well as sweet. We've paired apples with pork, chicken, and vegetables to create innovative dinners and snacks -- including apple cider chicken and apple bacon burgers, as well as cool apple smoothies and cozy apple stew.View Slideshow
If you've never met a potato you didn't like, you're going to love these ah-mazing potato recipes that include potato side dishes and potato casseroles, as well as everyone's favorite mashed potatoes. It's about time the humble spud got the recognition it deserves.View Slideshow
Craving something sweet, but want something healthy? We've got you covered! Our collection of healthy apple desserts includes flavorful muffins, cookies, tartlets, and more. Best of all, each serving of these delicious desserts has fewer than 200 calories and 8 grams of fat.View Slideshow
American cooking guru Scott Peacock offers the inside scoop on making rich and delicious meat loaf.
Great meat loaf is moist and dense, tender yet firm. It satisfies with a rich flavor that's meaty and lasting; it's well-seasoned yet not overwhelming.
On the following slides, Scott Peacock teaches you the basics; start there, then adapt as you please.
You know how wonderful mushroom gravy is with beef; putting mushrooms inside the meat rather than on top makes the combination even better. For best results, use a spoon to gently scrape gills from Portobello mushroom caps. If you leave them in they will turn the vegetables a dark, unappetizing color.
"Sautéing the onions, mushrooms, and celery in a bit of butter softens them and develops their flavor," says Scott. "Chop all vegetables into pieces that are about 1/4 inch in size."
"Rubbing the garlic into a fine paste helps transfer its flavor throughout the loaf," says Scott. "Finely chop the cloves first, add a pinch of kosher salt, then use the side of the knife to mash and pull the garlic pieces into a paste."
"Grating the carrots ensures they soften during cooking and don't provide too much texture or crunch," says Scott. "The technique also distributes their sweetness throughout the meat loaf."
"Bread crumbs or cubes lightens the loaf's texture," says Scott. "Hand-cut pieces of white bread and soak them with half-and-half. This adds richness and helps evenly mix the bread and meat together."
Bacon adds richness and depth to the flavor of the meatloaf and a mild smokiness. Chopped very fine, the bacon "melts" into the ground beef and pork as the meatloaf cooks.
Eggs beaten into the bread crumbs help to bind and lighten the meat loaf without adding too much filling.
Thyme adds dimension and liveliness to the flavor of the meat.
"Using your hands to mix the meats is the most effective and efficient method," says Scott. "Fingers aerate as they blend, rather than mash, making a lighter loaf." Be sure to use ground chuck and a bit of pork. The chuck has more fat and flavor and marries well with ground pork for rounded, satisfying flavor.
"Moistening hands with cold water makes shaping the meat loaf easier, and it minimizes the amount of meat that sticks to your hands. Baking the meat loaf in a dish that is larger than the loaf improves browning and lets the excess fat escape," says Scott. "A shallow indentation along the edges keeps the delicious glaze on top."
"A ketchup-based sauce is delicious," says Scott. "It caramelizes and intensifies during baking, and meat loaf wouldn't be meat loaf without a sweet, tangy finish."
Scott Peacock, Better Homes and Gardens' American Classics expert, is executive chef at Watershed Restaurant in Decatur, Georgia, and was named Best Chef in the Southeast by the James Beard Foundation in 2007.