Local Author Harriet Hodgson Releases New Family Caregiver’s Cookbook

Rochester author Harriet Hodgson recently released her newest edition to the four-part “Family Caretaker” series. Her new release, “The Family Caregiver’s Cookbook: Easy-Fix Recipes for Busy Family Caregivers,” hit bookshelves on October 11. Like its predecessors (see Rochester Women magazine November/December 2015 issue, page 47), this newest book focuses on helpful strategies for family members as they navigate their new world as caregivers.


Hodgson is no stranger to the role of caregiver. In 2013, her husband, John, suffered a spinal cord injury while undergoing surgery to repair a dissected aorta. The injury left John’s legs paralyzed, leaving Harriet to manage not only John’s daily care, but an entire lifestyle adjustment for both of them. 

“During this time I moved us out of the three-level home we had lived in for more than 20 years, built a wheelchair-friendly townhome for us, visited him three times a day (at the hospital) and maintained my writing career,” she explains. “I was stressed to the max and ‘dinner’ became a bowl of cereal or a dish of ice cream, which I often ate standing.”

 As a self-described “nutrition nut” and former food writer, Harriet knew she’d need a plan for providing better meals when John was released from the hospital, so she set out to find healthy recipes that would be easy to make and taste great.


Combining original recipes and family favorites, “The Caregiver’s Cookbook” provides a series of tasty recipes with icons to help readers quickly find the information they need. Harriet explains, “A measuring cup marks the ingredients. A whisk marks the method. A star marks the caregiver tips.” Most unique, perhaps, is the inclusion of anecdotes related to each recipe, which makes the cookbook both useful and entertaining for the reader.

Among the author’s favorites is “The Best Meatloaf in the World” which, she explains, was handed down from her own mother-in-law. “We like it because it’s made with only beef and has a sweet topping.” In fact, the couple likes the recipe so much, she has used its basic ingredients to make a meatloaf pizza.


As she promotes her new cookbook, a book signing and demo recipe will be provided by Hy-Vee Barlow Plaza on Saturday, November 5 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Additionally, Post Town Winery in Rochester will host a book signing on Sunday, November 20 at 2 p.m. For information on purchasing this and other books by Harriet Hodgson, visit harriethodgson.com.

The Best Meatloaf in the World

Prep Time: 15 minutes + baking  //  Serves 6  

  • 2/3 cup wheat bread crumbs (or 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs)
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 yellow onion, grated (or 1 tsp. onion powder)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. sage
  • 1 1/2 lb. ground beef, 90% lean
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard  (or 1 tsp. dijon mustard)
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg


  1. Heat oven to 350˚ F.
  2. Coat meatloaf pan with cooking spray.
  3. Put bread crumbs, milk, eggs, onion, salt, pepper and sage in batter bowl. Combine with whisk.
  4. Using a fork, gently work ground beef into milk-egg mixture.
  5. Transfer to prepared pan.
  6. In a small bowl, stir ketchup, brown sugar, mustard and nutmeg together. Spread evenly over top of meatloaf.
  7. Bake for 1 hour.
  8. Let meatloaf rest for a few minutes before slicing.


A 2.9-ounce can of French-fried onions can be substituted for the onion, but salt should be decreased to 1/2 teaspoon.

Leftover meatloaf is great on sandwiches or crumbled into spaghetti sauce.

Catherine H. Armstrong holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and is the author of the historical fiction novel, “The Edge of Nowhere.” charmstrongbooks.com