Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday night Meatloaf

Ok. I have to admit, I wasn't sure I was going to get a post out his week or not. I had a bit of an accident which resulted in two of my fingers getting a bit torn up. One of them is pretty bad; a bit of a gouge in the pad and the nail bed is cracked about a quarter of the way across. Not fun to say the least. My finger has been swollen, purple from bruising and partially numb. Not to mention, lots of bandages. So, typing and cooking has been a bit of a challenge. Thank goodness for spell check.
But I decided to soldier on this week anyway, though, sorry, recipes aren't going to be as spectacular as we all might have hoped as things have had to be scaled down a bit for the time being. At least until I can properly hold things again. :)
So, tonight's dinner is meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Household staples and the butt of many jokes in years gone by. Now, if it were whole up to me, I'd be doing a properly veggie packed meatloaf. shredded carrots, olives, spinach, etc. But it's not. My husband likes his meatloaf pretty straight up. So we'll be sticking to the basics. Maybe one day I'll get to do my full out crazy loaf, but not tonight. Now, I will also freely admit that most of my meatloaves, like many other things, tend to play fast and loose with recipes. It's never quite exactly the same twice, as many things will depend on what we have to hand. But tonight I'm trying to stick to pretty close to a "base" recipe.

 So first step is to assemble our ingredients. To make the meatloaf we will be using:
* about 2.5 pounds of ground beef. (I used about half of a 5 lb package)
* 1/2 of a 6 oz can of tomato paste (we will use the other half later..)
* 1 egg
* about half a cup of instant potato pearls (I'd really prefer flakes, but I'm out of those. You can use rice, bread crumbs, whatever you like to add. This works for me.)
* 1/4 c parmesan cheese
* 1-2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
* 1/2 onion, chopped
* salt, pepper, and garlic to taste

Combine all your ingredients in a bowl and combine by hand. I wound up needing to move to a larger bowl then I started with here. I was a bit hindered by my injury here. Thank goodness for food grade gloves, but the loss of full usage at present made it hard to dig in properly and I needed more room. More dishes, but, maybe I can get hubby to wash them.  :)

Once everything is combined, turn out onto a lined cookie sheet and mold tightly. If you want to press it into a loaf pan, you certainly could, but I don't generally bother, since you're going to want to turn it out for cooking anyway.
Place your loaf into a warm oven (350 usually works) for about 10-15 minutes while you get the next step done.

Next up is the glaze.  Now, I never use to bother with this step. Never even knew this step existed, really. Not until Good Eats. If you haven't heard of this show, you have missed out and need to go find it. Some episodes and clips are available on Hulu, and there are a few dvd's out, but we're talking a 10 year or so run on Food Network, combining food and the science behind food with lots of funny and fabulous recipes. The host, Alton Brown, has been our go-to guy for recipes for years. I've had to give up or modify some of them since going gluten free, but, where we can, we still rely on his info. Anyway, his show on meatloaf is where I learned of The Glaze, as well as the "open style" cooking we're doing, and it really has made things so much easier and tastier.
So, tonight's glaze consists of:

* the other 3 oz of tomato paste
* 2 tsp prepared mustard
* 1 1/2 tsp prepared horseradish sauce
* 1 tbsp beef stock
* 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
* 3 Tbsp ketchup
* salt, pepper, garlic to taste

Combine all ingredients and set aside.

Once the meatloaf has been in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, remove it and apply the glaze. Cover the top and all sides. Basically you are "frosting" your meatloaf. As this crusts over, it will help maintain the moisture inside your meatloaf.  Return to the oven and let it continue to bake for another half hour or until done. Depending on the size and density of your loaf, it may take more or less time.

As you can see, I also sprinkled more Parmesan cheese over the top. You've got to play to your audience. So do what you, and they like.

Once it is done, let it sit for a few minutes to cool.

Then slice and serve. We had mashed potatoes, gravy and corn.
The teenager even had seconds tonight, so we were all happy with this. And we have plenty of left overs for tomorrow's lunch or a second dinner later this weekend.

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