Mash-Up Meatloaf

9/19/2011

Today is a day to celebrate! We received a call this afternoon from the vet regarding our sweet and wonderful puppy (Ruby) letting us know that the blood work results from last week’s tests came back this morning and were CLEAR. Long story short – 6 nights ago we had to take Ruby to an evening emergency animal clinic because she was having what we can only assume were seizures. One after another after another… To say we were frightened would be putting it lightly. The doctor who examined her told us he was concerned that she may have some kind of swelling in her brain… Not what you want to hear at 2AM – or ANY time, for that matter. We set up an appointment for our pup at the vet to have blood work done. Our fingers and toes were crossed that nothing would show up indicating that Ruby had brain cancer or any other organ problems. And, after a looong weekend of worrying, we finally heard back and all is well!

So, with this good news I said to my husband, “We have to celebrate!” Immediately my mind was filled with thoughts of going out and ordering plate after plate of delicious Indian food, or rushing over to our favorite ice cream shop for a scoop of bananas foster and salted pretzel ice creams mashed together in the same cup (no idea what I’m talking about? Check it out – http://www.glaceicecream.com), or driving all the way to Osawatomie to pig out on a plate of the BEST WINGS EVER at the Miami County Airport. But then, I remembered. I’m on a diet. And so is my husband. And from this paragraph right here I imagine you understand why.

One of our very favorite recipes that we’ve been able to bring over from the dark side (i.e. the world of fatty, high caloric and DELICIOUS foods) is, believe it or not, MEATLOAF. The way we used to make it was loaded with sugar and was way too fatty with too many carbohydrates. Tonight, we will be dining on a healthier – but still divine – version. And then afterwards, we’ll take Ruby out to celebrate with a night time ride in the car with the sunroof back so that she can enjoy the feel of the wind rushing across her pretty little brown and blue eyed face.

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If you’re wondering why we call this “mash-up” meatloaf, it’s for a couple of different reasons. 1). Jeff’s version and my version of meatloaf when we first married were very different. But, working together we came up with a recipe using variations of both of our original recipes that we really liked. 2). When typing up the list of ingredients and directions I made sure to show you how we use to make our meatloaf before we cared about things like calories and grams of fat and stuff like that. So, the recipe below is a mash-up of both our old and new recipes.

Mash-Up Meatloaf

(Serves 4)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3 c onion, diced
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ c bell peppers, diced (we used green, red and orange)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 200 grams (or 7 oz) lean ground turkey (instead of pork)
  • 200 grams (or 7 oz) lean ground beef 93% (instead of 80%)
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, or less depending on preferences
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1/3 cup crushed healthy crackers (instead of an entire bag of buttery garlic croutons)
  • 1 ½ TBSP Worcestershire sauce

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook onions, sprinkled with ¼ tsp salt, in a non-stick skillet set on medium heat for 5 minutes. (If you do not have a non-stick skillet, you’ll want to add a TBSP of olive oil to your pan to prevent your onions from sticking. Or, if you want to make our old version of meatloaf, go ahead and add the oil even if you have a non-stick pan). This will begin the caramelization process, thus sweetening and maturing the flavor (and omitting the need for honey like we use to add). And, as my husband likes to point out, this step also softens the onions, making them nearly undetectable when cooked into the meat loaf, thus making picky eaters who don’t like the crunch of raw onion – much like myself – happy. Do not skip this step and add the onions raw like your mother use to. It is worth the extra time spent in the kitchen.
  3. Add the garlic and bell peppers to the onions and cook an additional 8 minutes on medium-low heat. Be sure to stir them from time to time. By now your home should be filled with a wonderful aroma that will make your other housemates wonder if Thanksgiving has come early this year.
  4. In a large bowl combine the ground meats with the cooked onions and peppers. Mix in the crackers, spices (cayenne, black pepper, chili powder) and Worcestershire sauce. Take care not to over mix – you don’t want to make your meatloaf tough.
  5. Form whatever shape meatloaf you prefer. Consider a heart if it’s Valentine’s Day. Or perhaps a creepy arm with a gruesome hand if it’s close to Halloween. (A year ago for April Fools Day I made a meatloaf for Jeff in the shape of a round cake and “frosted” it with pink mashed potatoes. He fell for it hook, line, and sinker!). Tonight we opted for a simple loaf. Place on whatever surface makes the most sense to you – my mother would use a broiling pan, we however use a piece of foil with the edges folded up atop a cookie sheet – and plop into the oven for a full uninterrupted 45 minutes.
  6. Slice and serve. And while you enjoy each and every yummy bite of this mash-up meatloaf, think about all of the wonderful things you have to celebrate in your life.


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