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Last night's dinner was meatloaf. I'm not going to post the recipe again, because I have posted it before.

However, I would like to offer a few tips that aren't in that post.

  1. You can add other veggies. This stretches the meatloaf and makes it more nutritious. Try carrots, bell peppers, corn, potatoes, summer squash, mushrooms, jalapeños, etc. You can dice, mince, or grate your veggies.

  2. The order of adding ingredients when making the meat mixture can make things easier on you. Here's the order I used last night, which worked really well:
    1. Break egg(s) into bowl and beat with wire whisk.

    2. Whisk in remaining liquid ingredients (ketchup, milk, Worcestershire), plus salt and pepper.

    3. Add meat and, with your hands (sorry if it grosses you out, but it's REALLY the only way to get it mixed really well!), squish this paste-consistency mixture into the meat until it's well-mixed.

    4. Now add the oats (I sometimes end up adding some fine breadcrumbs too if it's too wet) and the sautéed, cooled veggies (you don't want to burn your hands!).

    5. Repeat the squishing-mixing process with your hands.

  3. When you go to put the ketchup on top of the meatloaf after 45 minutes of baking, pat about 1/4 cup or so of brown sugar on top of the loaf (about 1/8-1/4" thick layer) and then put the ketchup on over that. This has been getting big thumbs up at my house!

  4. You can double my meatloaf recipe and get three meatloaves out of it. Each will have four generous servings or perhaps six smaller ones.

  5. If you do make three meatloaves, line a loaf pan with aluminum foil (with plenty to fold around it for protection) and then line the foil-lined pan with waxed paper (again, with enough to fold around it). Put 1/3 of your doubled batch of meat mixture into the lined loaf pan, pressing down to fill any pockets and leveling the top. Wrap the waxed paper over the meatloaf and wrap the foil well. I pulled the inch or so that was available on either side of the pan up and folded it over, which left a 2-inch gap down the center of the meatloaf. Then I took the long ends of the foil, brought them together in a tent-shape above the center of the loaf, and rolled them until they were flush against the top of the meatloaf. Then I folded the little "wings" at the sides toward the center. Freeze the loaves right in the pan if you can; they hold their shape a bit better. After they're frozen, remove from loaf pans. I like to put them in freezer bags at this point because foil has a tendency to get torn when the teenager is rooting around in the freezer. :) When you are ready to cook the meatloaf, either defrost in the fridge for a day or more, until fully thawed, then back according to recipe, or remove from the freezer and unwrap about 5 hours before dinner. Let thaw 2-1/2 hours, then cook at 350 for 2-1/2 hours.
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The Soup Fairy

October 2012

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