A Simple Meatloaf

My husband and I have decidedly different eating preferences.  I eat just about anything (bananas are a notable exception) and he’s a meat-and-potatoes sort of dude.  I usually have an iron stomach and he does not.  Trying to make a meatloaf that both of us can, and want to, eat is challenging to say the least.  If I were ever to get supremely mad at him, all I would have to do is add onions, garlic, bell peppers, or anything really spicy, to keep him feeling awful for a few days.  I’ve never had such a desire (I’d say at that point I’d probably need a divorce lawyer instead of an onion).  Unfortunately I did learn this from trying different recipes; my poor husband!  This week, however, we reached a turning point in our meatloaf experimentation.  This is a simple recipe that stands on its own and will take to doctoring as well (some ideas are listed at the end of the recipe).  Once you read it you’ll probably wonder why I use ketchup as well as tomato paste, sugar, and vinegar in the sauce; tomato paste, sugar, vinegar are the basics for ketchup.  Would you like me to give you some lofty reason about the use of cider vinegar making all the difference, or the truth that I was playing around and this is the result?  Accept whichever answer you prefer.


Remember that  meat-and-potatoes comment before?  I’m including a fast potato recipe, too.  Read on, my friends…

Meatloaf Ingredients
1 pound Ground beef (I use 85%/15%)
3/16 cup Seasoned bread crumbs (use a 1/4 c. measure and fill it around 3/4; about 25 g)
28 g Grated carrot
2 Tablespoons Tomato paste mixed into 1 1/4 ounces water
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tablespoon Ketchup (I like Heinz)
1 Large egg
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon Ketchup
1 Teaspoon Tomato Paste
1/4 cup Cider vinegar
1/2 ounce Water
1 Teaspoon Sugar
Oil or spray to coat the pan

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
In a large bowl mix the meat, breadcrumbs, carrots, salt, and pepper.IMG_0987
Add Worcestershire, egg, 2 Tablespoons of the tomato paste mixture, and 1 Tablespoon Ketchup mixing thoroughly.

Evenly combine the ingredients but don’t pack the meat tightly in the process.

IMG_0988
Combine the remaining tomato paste mixture, cider vinegar, water, 1 tablespoon Ketchup, 1 teaspoon tomato paste, and sugar in a pot and stir over a medium heat to dissolve the sugar.  Simmer for 2 minutes and remove from heat.
Prepare the pan for the meatloaf.  I
use an old jelly roll pan covered in foil.  The key is the sides to prevent a mess in the oven.  Coat the cooking surface with the oil.
Shape the meat mixture into a loaf, centering it on the pan.IMG_0996
Next pour the sauce over the loaf making sure it is entirely covered.
Bake it for 75 minutes.
Let it rest for five minutes before serving.

 

 

Options
Here are a number of items you can add to give it a bit more kick:
Mix into the meat :
2 Tablespoons diced onion
1 clove of garlic, minced or crushed
1 Tablespoon chili powder
Tabasco or other hot sauce
Vegetables like squash – remember to take the water content into consideration
Mushrooms
Replace the breadcrumbs with crushed crackers (Think Ritz, Townhouse, etc.)
*be careful to add a bit more bread or crackers if significantly increasing the moisture

Stuffings and toppings:
Cheese hidden in the center – don’t ask how much – there’s no such thing as too much cheese in my world!
Top the loaf with breadcrumbs covered by strips of cheese – cheddar works very well for this application.

Quick Potatoes
This is how I make a fast side dish and get to use up those potatoes that seem to multiply in my kitchen.  While not the most inspired dish, it is fast, versatile and uses minimal amount of fats.

Fresh potato, scrubbed, with skin left on;  Golden potatoes are preferred but any roasting potato will work
Butter or oil of choice – just enough to coat the pan
Salt and Pepper
Other dry seasonings – use those used in the entrée
Lemon

IMG_0997

First, pierce the potato thoroughly.  I use a cake tester.
Next, loosely wrap the potato in wax paper and microwave until cooked throughout.  I use the “potato” button and it takes about 5-6 minutes for medium-large spud.
Unwrap the cooked potato being very careful not to get burned by the steam, and slice it cross-wise.
Heat a frying pan and coat with butter, oil, or both.  Now place the potato slices in the pan in a single layer.  Turn them once they are a deep golden brown and cook on the other side.  Serve immediately.
When I made these with the meatloaf I used butter, salt and pepper (I wasn’t having any).  If I make them for me, I use a smidge of olive oil instead of butter, hold the salt,  but include greek oregano, and then squeeze lemon on them as soon as they’re plated.  Yummy!

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