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

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Magazine consulted dozens of power brokers and behind-the-scene players to determine and rank the 50 individuals who, in Pittsburgh, make things happen.
15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

According to the region's behind-the-scene players, these individuals are some of the city's rising stars.
Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Entering into the final weeks of the 2015 regular season, pitcher Gerrit Cole has emerged as the Pirates’ ace.
At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

Richard DeShantz and Tolga Sevdik strike again with täkō, their taco-centric downtown eatery with an extensive tequila selection.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Commuting Toll: How Much Do We Waste Stuck in Traffic?

Commuting Toll: How Much Do We Waste Stuck in Traffic?

Pittsburgh gridlock not only frays nerves — it dings the wallet.
Breeding Success: Alpaca Farming is Booming in Western Pa.

Breeding Success: Alpaca Farming is Booming in Western Pa.

Our rolling hills are good for more than vegetable gardens and chicken coops. Dozens of alpaca farms are located in the region.
Head North to Find the Comfiest Place in the Pittsburgh Area

Head North to Find the Comfiest Place in the Pittsburgh Area

Cranberry Township was the only western Pa. area mentioned in a nationwide list of most comfortable cities.
'We Are Family Matters' Pirates Mashup is Brilliant

'We Are Family Matters' Pirates Mashup is Brilliant

Pittsburgh viral video genius Benstonium creates another winner.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Magazine consulted dozens of power brokers and behind-the-scene players to determine and rank the 50 individuals who, in Pittsburgh, make things happen.
15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

According to the region's behind-the-scene players, these individuals are some of the city's rising stars.
Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Entering into the final weeks of the 2015 regular season, pitcher Gerrit Cole has emerged as the Pirates’ ace.
At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

Richard DeShantz and Tolga Sevdik strike again with täkō, their taco-centric downtown eatery with an extensive tequila selection.
 A Sign That This Time, It's Good to Part with the Past

A Sign That This Time, It's Good to Part with the Past

Pitt Girl explains her change of heart on what should be done with the large, decaying billboard on Mount Washington.
Oh, the Humanities - Can They be Saved?

Oh, the Humanities - Can They be Saved?

Locally and nationally, college and university students are flocking to programs they perceive to be pathways to jobs while they forego studies of languages, history, art and philosophy. But at what cost?
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module