Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Stretched Meatloaf

Ok it's not mine, that's just the name of it. The is probably one of my family's favorite meals (definitely Danielle's and she's my pickiest eater) and it's really "super-cheap" as the recipe book Cheap. Fast. Good! by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross call it. I've used beef, turkey and elk and all have come out good, I think it's primarily due to the topping baked on it. This freezes really well so sometimes I will double and freeze one, or at least double the veggie mixture while I have the food processor out. Sometimes when I am running low on breadcrumbs and don't want to make my own I swap the amount of oat meal and crumbs and it still turns out great and probably cheaper too. Yum.

My S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D Meat Loaf

2 large eggs
1/2 cup tomato juice or V8 (I've substituted carrot juice before but if I don't have either I double the ketchup and add a little water)
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup quick-cooking (not instant) oats
6 cloves fresh garlic, or 2 tablespoons bottled minced garlic
1/2 cup fresh parsley, or 2 tablespoons dried parsley (optional) (I hardly ever add this one and once tried with cilantro - don't do!)
1 medium-sized carrot
2 ribs celery
1/2 medium-sized green bell pepper
1 large onion
1 pound lean ground beef
Cooking oil spray
Mustard-Brown Sugar Topping

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add the tomato juice, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt and black pepper. Stir well. Stir in the bread crumbs and oats. Set aside.
3. Peel the garlic cloves if using fresh. Turn on a food processor and drop the garlic cloves, one at a time, through the feed tube. (not a necessary step but do it if you want) Process until finely minced. Then drop the fresh parsley (if using) through the feed tube and finely mince.
4. Peel the carrot and cut into roughly 2-inch pieces. Cut the celery into roughly 2-inch pieces. Core and seed the bell pepper half and cut into 2-inch pieces. Add the carrot, celery, and bell pepper pieces to the processor bowl and pulse until the vegetables are cut into very small pieces (but not soupy). Transfer the vegetable mixture to the mixing bowl, along with the bottled minced garlic and dried parsley (if using).
5. Peel and quarter the onion and place the quarters in the processor bowl. Pulse until the onion is cut into very small pieces (but not soupy). Add the onions to the mixing bowl and stir to mix well.
6. Add the beef to the bowl and, using your hands, throughly combine the meat with the vegetable mixture.
7. Spray a large loaf pan (about 10x6x3) with cooking oil spray. Spread the mixture evenly in the pan. Use the back of a spoon to spread the topping of choice evenly over the meat. Bake uncovered until cooked through, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. (I tend to use a 9" round pan and reduce cooking time to about an hour)

Mustard-Brown Sugar Topping
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup prepared mustard

Stir the brown sugar and mustard together in a small bowl until smooth. (I usually double this for extra yumminess) 

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