Life is Good: dinner's ready!I can remember, oh so heartily, sitting at the dinner table pleading with my mom to let me leave the meatloaf on my plate untouched because I just could not bring myself to eat it. It looked weird! It smelled funny!
Well, the recipe below is not my mother's meatloaf recipe! With all due respect to my mom, of course...she's a celebrated cook and baker to everyone who knows her. And don't worry, all of those feigned attacks of nausea and pleading served me well in high school theater class. ; )
Neither the hubs nor I have ever been fans of meatloaf, but I am always looking for something that I can double the recipe and put half in the freezer. This is one of my secrets to organized living! On those days when you have to eat especially early so that you can run out the door to a soccer lesson or you had a baby up teething the night before, pulling something out of the freezer and sticking a salad with it can be just like an answered prayer.
I found this meatloaf recipe on epicurious.com. It's from an old Gourmet magazine, so I trusted that it would be great. I have made it with and without butter as well as with and without the bacon (and when I used bacon, I used turkey bacon) and I will admit that it tastes better when you leave the butter and bacon in there! However, if you are watching your calorie/fat/cholesterol intake, you can omit these things (using olive oil for butter) and it is still yummy. Below, is my adapted version:
Eggless *Rainbow* Meatloaf
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup whole organic milk
1/2 medium onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 carrot, minced or finely chopped (I do this with my mini Cusinart)
1 cup **vegetable pulp from juicer** (may be omitted)
2 Tablespoon unsalted butter
2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
quick dash of nutmeg
3 slices of turkey bacon, chopped
1/3 cup golden raisins, chopped
1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1/3 cup natural, no sugar added organic applesauce
salt and pepper
Equal parts ketchup, deli mustard, and sriracha sauce
For kidlets who are really young or less adventurous, I would omit the sriracha, which is a very spicy, hot pepper sauce.
*Rainbow* refers to the multi-colored pulp from our juicer! For this one pictured below, I juiced 1 apple, a handful of kale, two handfuls of spinach, and a carrot.
Here are all of the veggies together...
Here is what it looks like once you have added most of the ingredients...
Then into the muffin pan (remember to oil the pan!)...
And here they are, topped with Spicy Sauce. Now that's what I call a "Pleasant Meal"!
I adapted this recipe to fit our family's needs. You can find the original recipe here.
I omitted eggs due to our kiddos' egg allergies. Also, I added the pulp from the "green juice" I made in our juicer. All the pulp does is add fiber and nutrition (plus color/rainbow effect). Stick it in with the veggies and butter. If you don't have a juicer, the recipe still works. You could chop other veggies in with your carrots, such as broccoli, celery, and red/orange peppers if you want to have a "rainbow" effect. (Calling it "Rainbow Meatloaf" is how I first got my 5-year old excited about trying this new entree!)
I have also substituted ground turkey for the ground beef/pork combo and it worked just great.
I haven't had prunes on hand when I made this, so I have always substituted with golden raisins.
The original recipe calls for allspice, but I am not sure my kids can have it due to their allergies, so I substituted cinnamon, which I think is a nice flavor accent for beef (it works well in the ground turkey version, too). I once read that you should always use a dash of nutmeg if you use cinnamon in a recipe, so that is where that comes from.
I have made this recipe a couple of times. I will admit that when you do a traditional loaf shape, this recipe is not attractive at all. It is not a meal I would serve to guests. However, I have put it into a muffin pan with a sauce and it looks great! The kiddos like having "meat muffins", too! Everyone in our family--adult to toddler--have been satisfied with this meal.
As with any recipe, the first time is always an experiment. It takes longer to make and you have to figure out how your oven reacts, etc. I encourage you to hang in there and try recipes a second and third time. It always gets easier. For sure, the second time around, this recipe is a breeze and it freezes and reheats well. I hope you enjoy it!