THE COOK ONCE, EAT TWICE APPROACH
Italian-style Stuffed Peppers and Meatloaf
2 lbs. lean ground beef
6 cubanelle peppers
1/2 cup grated cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup cooked rice (white or brown)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup lukewarm water
1 package onion soup mix
1 can tomato soup
Place ground beef in a large bowl. Add both eggs, bread crumbs, salt and pepper and mix well. Gradually add the cup of lukewarm water and mix until it has been completely absorbed. Divide this mixture in half.
Into the first half add the garlic, grated cheese, cooked rice, 1/2 can tomato soup, and salt and pepper to taste. Remove stem and seeds from the cubanelles and and place on a microwave-safe dish. Cook at full power for about 5 minutes. Be sure to drain on paper towels, then stuff each with 1/6 of the mixture. Top with the other half of the tomato soup. Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees.
Into the second half add the onion soup mix. Be sure to mix well. Add pepper (probably won't need salt). Shape into a loaf. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees.
Voila! Two night's worth of dinners that reheat in the microwave.
THE SAME, BUT DIFFERENT
Italian Wedding Soup
1 small onion, grated
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp salt
1 slice of crustless white bread torn into small pieces
1/2 cup grated cheese
1 lb. lean ground beeft
12 cups chicken broth (commercial is what I use)
1 lb. escarole, chopped
1/4 cup grated cheese
To make the meatballs: Stir the onion, egg, bread, and garlic together. Add the cheese and beef. Add the salt and mix well. On a baking sheet, shape into 1 inch meatballs.
To make the soup: Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the meatballs and the escarole and simmer about 8 minutes. Whisk the eggs and cheese together. Stirring the soup in a circular motion, gradually add the egg mixture into the swirling broth with a fork so that thin strands of egg form (about 1 minute). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
This recipe makes enough for 2 nights. On the first night, I serve the soup as the main course with a salad to start and garlic bread. On the second night, I serve the soup as a hearty appetizer and follow with a panini or a pizza.
The meatloaf and the soup freeze well and will keep in your freezer for 3 months.