UPTOWN CAFÉ’S CAJUN MEATLOAF AND JALEPANO GRITS + YMCA CYCLING MADNESS + RED LIPSTICK

My boyfriend loves the cajun meatloaf at Uptown Café in Bloomington. I hadn’t been there in years, but we decided to do a quick overnight trip to his parent’s lakehouse near Bloomington last week and we had dinner at Uptown. It’s located on the Square near the Courthouse and I have fond memories of going there with my girlfriends for the occasional Sunday brunch. I remember thinking how fancy we were with our mimosas.

We both went to IU, but I didn’t meet my boyfriend until this past year. It’s funny how life works that way – so many memories of our favorite IU places and now we have the opportunity to experience them all over, but this time together. After tasting Uptown’s Cajun meatloaf and jalapeno grits, I knew I had to re-create the meal. I spent way too long searching for just the right recipe because Uptown’s version was covered in a thick, spicy tomato sauce.

I’d like to think my version is better, but then again I might be biased. We took the meal over to his parents’ house for dinner (with cookies for dessert, of course) and I’d say it was a hit. We added a salad and sautéed Brussel sprouts to round out the meal.

I also lightened this up and used lean ground beef and did not add crumbs (bread, cracker, panko). The recipe that follows is the result of a lot of googling and merging of recipes until I found the right combination. Get creative and add whatever you’d like. Sriracha would be a nice addition and hit it hard with the Tabasco!

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The Uptown bar. It has a fun jazz vibe.

Now onto the YMCA! This past weekend I participated in the Indy Bike Hub’s Cycle-A-Thon to help raise money for the Y. I registered two months ago after my friend Lauren asked if I’d be interested. I love cycling and jumped at the chance, but was under the impression that it was in shifts. I assumed I’d jump on a bike for ten minutes or so and then ‘tag team’ out. WRONG. We cycled for the entire 2.5 hours. I was determined to finish and it was some of the best sweating I have experienced in years. It’s never a good sign when you find out the instructor is training for an Iron Man.

It was a fun way to give back while jamming to music by the decades and spinning until your legs felt like JELL-O. We started with music from the 50’s, so I knew I was in trouble. We had trivia facts from each decade in between the rounds and it was a great excuse to listen to Tiffany, Prince, and Vanilla Ice.

If you’re not already a member of the Y, check it out! It was one of the best things I’ve done and I love going to all three downtown locations: CityWay (the fancy new one), the Bike Hub, and the Atheneum at the Rathskeller (old school retro). The first few weeks after the accident, I spent a lot of time walking the upstairs track at the City Way. I could feel my ribs during each step, but I felt like I was doing something. It’s not how great you look during a particular workout, but rather it’s important that you at least showed up!

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Photo via the Indy Bike Hub
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WE DID IT! 40+ miles later….

LIBBY’S TAKE ON UPTOWN CAFÉ’S CAJUN MEATLOAF AND JALEPANO GRITS

  •  3-4 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 lb lean ground beef (I used 90/10)
  • 1 Tbsp cajun seasoning – See below for a make-at-home mixture
  • 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce

CREOLE SAUCE

  • green pepper and onion diced (this can be the leftovers that were not used for the meatloaf)
  • A healthy dash (or two) of Tabasco sauce
  • 2 Tbsps dried basil
  • Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  1. Mix together the meatloaf ingredients. Shape into a loaf. Place in a baking dish and cover with foil.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 mins, remove foil and bake about 10 to 15 mins to brown. Remove and let it rest for about 10 mins.
  3. While the meatloaf is in the oven, start cooking the sauce.
  4. In a skillet, sauté the peppers and onion in olive oil until soft.
  5. Add the corn starch (or flour) and stir until combined – this will thicken the sauce.
  6. Next, add the tomatoes and tomato sauce.
  7. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes
  8. You can always put the sauce into a blender if you’d like a smoother consistency

CAJUN SPICE = 2.5 tbsps salt + 1 tbsp dried oregano + 1 tbsp paprika + 1 tbsp cayenne pepper + 1 tbsp ground pepper

JALEPANO GRITS

Recipe via Bobby Flay

  • 2 cups grits (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 12 cups cheddar cheese
  • 12 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco
  • 3 eggs (I did not add the eggs – it is not necessary)
  • 2 jalapenos, finely diced
  • 14 cup canned green chiles
  • garlic salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cook the grits according to the directions on the back of the package (usually between 5-10 minutes), whisking the whole time to avoid lumps.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the next 6 ingredients (cheddar through chilies).
  4. Stir well and season with garlic salt, to taste.
  5. Pour into a buttered 9×9-inch baking dish and bake for 1 hour. (I didn’t bake them – we ate them right out of the pan on the stovetop)
  6. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

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the cajun spice
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the creole sauce
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the grits! 

Leaving you with words from my talented friend Kim (Kate Spade too). When in doubt, always wear red lipstick. PS – Here’s my favorite red lipstick of the moment. I don’t buy much make-up, so I consider this a legitimate splurge.

XO, Libby

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3 thoughts on “UPTOWN CAFÉ’S CAJUN MEATLOAF AND JALEPANO GRITS + YMCA CYCLING MADNESS + RED LIPSTICK

  1. Hey Libby! I just subscribed to your blog and can’t wait to try this recipe. Adding it to next week’s menu.
    P.s. Is that the heart shaped le creuset in your photo? Almost bought one last week on super sale, now regret leaving it behind 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Libby! I just subscribed to your blog and can’t wait to try this recipe. Adding it to next week’s menu.
    P.s. Is that the heart shaped le creuset in your photo? Almost bought one last week on super sale, now regret leaving it behind 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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