Picnic Perfect

June is bustin' out all over, so plan a picnic and pack some Mushroom and Fontina Meatloaf Muffins to beef up your menu.



Photos by Laura Petrilla

On the shelf of our hallway closet, there lives a vivid-plaid picnic blanket we affectionately call “Heywood” after the flamboyantly dressed sports commentator Heywood Hale Broun. I’m not sure where my wife, Laura, acquired the material, but we’ve been using it for outings to the park or the beach or bike riding for the last 17 years, and Heywood shows no signs of giving out.

You certainly don’t need one of those fancy wicker picnic baskets with leather hinges and special compartments for cutlery and dishes in order to enjoy a little bit of open-air dining. But a little advance planning will ensure that you have tasty foods that will travel well without fear of spoiling.

We’ve all heard horror stories about church picnics where a batch of potato salad sent half the congregation home with food poisoning. People often blame the mayonnaise, but it’s actually the potatoes and eggs themselves that are more supportive of bacterial growth. 

My personal criteria for bucolic dining includes the following: easy to pack and carry; not too messy to eat; tasty when warm or at room temperature. This recipe for meatloaf muffins really fills the bill, and because it is just as easy to make this in larger as in smaller quantities, you can make a big batch of these, wrap them individually and keep them in the freezer for impromptu picnic outings. Now you just have to find a snazzy blanket to spread out on a shady spot in the grass.

To complete the al-fresco dining experience, go to pittsburghmagazine.com and try my recipe for Asian Broccoli Slaw.


MUSHROOM AND FONTINA MEATLOAF MUFFINS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
  • 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté the mushrooms until they are tender and have given up their juices. Add the salt and pepper and garlic and cook for another minute. Set aside to cool slightly. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat the egg with the 2 tablespoons of milk. Add the beef, cheese, breadcrumbs and mushroom mixture. Mix lightly but thoroughly. Coat a muffin pan with nonstick spray (or use cupcake liners). Divide the mixture among the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 45 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160 degrees. Remove and let cool before wrapping and storing.
 

 


 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Growing Their Own Way: Inside 4 Pittsburgh Family Farms

Growing Their Own Way: Inside 4 Pittsburgh Family Farms

Family-run farms adapt in multiple ways in order to thrive in western Pennsylvania.
Loud & Proud: In the Booth with Voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates

Loud & Proud: In the Booth with Voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates

Greg Brown knows anything is possible for his beloved Buccos. His career has had its share of surprise turns as well.
Flavorful Tacos are Main Attraction at Lawrenceville's SMOKE

Flavorful Tacos are Main Attraction at Lawrenceville's SMOKE

Reasonable prices and a lively atmosphere make SMOKE barbeque taqueria one of Pittsburgh's go-to restaurants.
Belief and (Tough) Love Drive Pitt's New Football Coach

Belief and (Tough) Love Drive Pitt's New Football Coach

Pitt football head coach Pat Narduzzi is determined to make the Panthers believe in themselves and their program.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Bicyclists Getting More Lanes in Lawrenceville, Oakland

Bicyclists Getting More Lanes in Lawrenceville, Oakland

Some of the new lanes are expected to be in place by the end of the month.
Taking Over: Brit Boy Band Boots Actress from Hotel Room

Taking Over: Brit Boy Band Boots Actress from Hotel Room

Eliza Dushku cheekily posted to Instagram when One Direction and their entourage forced her to make other lodging arrangements.
Arcade Heaven: Where Pinball and Pac-Man are Preserved

Arcade Heaven: Where Pinball and Pac-Man are Preserved

Fortunately, the Pennsylvania Coin Operated Gaming Hall of Fame and Museum is not a stuffy, hands-off collection of antiques.
Pittsburghers Mobilize to Rescue Popular Pizza Shop

Pittsburghers Mobilize to Rescue Popular Pizza Shop

In a span of just a few days, Spak Bros. has endured a burglary, an equipment failure and a social-media hack.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Growing Their Own Way: Inside 4 Pittsburgh Family Farms

Growing Their Own Way: Inside 4 Pittsburgh Family Farms

Family-run farms adapt in multiple ways in order to thrive in western Pennsylvania.
Loud & Proud: In the Booth with Voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates

Loud & Proud: In the Booth with Voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates

Greg Brown knows anything is possible for his beloved Buccos. His career has had its share of surprise turns as well.
Flavorful Tacos are Main Attraction at Lawrenceville's SMOKE

Flavorful Tacos are Main Attraction at Lawrenceville's SMOKE

Reasonable prices and a lively atmosphere make SMOKE barbeque taqueria one of Pittsburgh's go-to restaurants.
Belief and (Tough) Love Drive Pitt's New Football Coach

Belief and (Tough) Love Drive Pitt's New Football Coach

Pitt football head coach Pat Narduzzi is determined to make the Panthers believe in themselves and their program.
PittGirl's Reliable & Delightful Crash Course on Pittsburgh

PittGirl's Reliable & Delightful Crash Course on Pittsburgh

She shares the truth about everything from driving technique to Terrible Towel etiquette for anyone new to the 'Burgh.
Top Dentists 2015

Top Dentists 2015

The Pittsburgh region's 346 premier dentists in 9 specialties.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module