Sunday, June 19, 2011

Meatloaf in mass

I didn't like meatloaf growing up. To be fair, I'm not sure my mom cooked it that often so maybe it was alright but didn't leave a great impression. As an adult, I was blessed to try my mother-in-law's meatloaf and I was hooked!

As I planned what I wanted to try for freezer meals, I figured that meatloaf would be pretty easy. I gathered all my materials and I multiplied by 5 when pulling out ingredients.

The recipe I think is close to what my mother-in-law told me (because I can't find where I wrote it down) is:
1lb hamburger
1 cup oatmeal
1 egg
1TBSP ketchup
1TBSP Worcestershire sauce
miscellaneous vegetables
additional ketchup

I had a 5lb roll of hamburger so I threw the whole thing in the big metal bowl. I took the carrot pulp from the other day and dumped in about a cup. I added 5 eggs, 5 cups of oatmeal, 5 TBSP of ketchup and 5 TBSP of Worcestershire sauce.

For the miscellaneous veggies, I grabbed what I had in the fridge. I always try to keep a couple peppers in the fridge because they are easy to add to any recipe; especially because I have a Pampered Chef Chopper! (Again, Pampered Chef fan here.) My hand cutting consists of slicing the pepper into manageable portions and removing the seeds. Then I pop the top a few times and I have lovely chopped veggies!

Usually I have an onion to throw in my food as well but unfortunately, I didn't have any in the fridge. I bought mushrooms to put in the meatloaf and after chopping those as well, I had everything I needed to start mixing.

Mixing is probably the worst part of the whole process. You can use a spoon but after the cookie dough x 4 experience, I decided to roll my sleeves up and get dirty.

It only took about 3 minutes of mushing before it looked and felt completely mixed together. The egg needs to be spread among all of the meat to help hold the loaf together when you are serving it. If you are worried about germs, the meat is in the oven for an hour. Any germs left over after washing your hands don't stand a chance.

I purchased disposable bread pans just for this experiment. I lined the bread pans with plastic wrap then added the meat on top. After the pan was filled, I wrapped the remaining plastic over the top.

I ended up with 4 loaves. I'm a little disappointed. I thought with 5 lbs we would get 5 loaves but these pans held more than a pound of meat. A good friend of mine suggested that I bulk up my meat further by adding lentils. She said it doesn't change the texture but it does make the meat go further and adds a couple more nutrients. I will try that next time.

I cooked one of them at 375 for 1 hour, added a drizzle of ketchup on top and cooked them for another 15 minutes. If I may say so myself, it was tasty! I added mashed potatoes and fruit to round out the meal.

***Note: Pull the frozen meatloaf out of the freezer the night before and let it thaw in the refrigerator before cooking. If the meatloaf isn't thawed, it will take much longer than 1 hr and 15 minutes to cook.

The ingredients cost $19.22 and made 4 meals. Again, I'm right around $5.00 per meal. Next time, I will buy the meat on sale, add lentils and possibly fill the pans a little less.

I need to do enchilladas in the next couple of days so the meat doesn't sit too much longer. Also, I will be posting about the wheat fiasco soon. (I'm still rolling my eyes.)

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