MEAT LOAF? NO, MEAT CAKE!

My sister-in-law claimed to hate meat loaf. She also never had it and refused to eat it. My brother couldn’t even cook it at home for her to try. It’s not like she doesn’t like ground beef. She eats burgers and other meat dishes. How can you not like meat loaf? Or even more shocking, how do you hate it? It’s the classic mid-western American meal. What was her problem? It was my goal to investigate this, and then later educate her on the greatness that is meat loaf.

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Italian Meatball Meatloaf

2013_01_30I saw a bunch of Italian meatloaf recipes, but none of them were quite what I had in mind. So I took my meatball recipe and added bread crumbs and eggs to it. Topped it with sauce and melted mozzarella cheese. This tasted just like Italian meatballs but in meatloaf form. We all loved it!

RECIPES:

Italian Meatball Meatloaf

Ingredients:

2 lbs ground beef
1 onion finely chopped
3 carrots finely chopped
2 eggs beaten
1/2 Cup Japanese panko bread crumbs
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp Italian seasons
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Mix ground beef, egg, onions, carrots and garlic together. In a small bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to meat mixture and mix thoroughly.

Put meat in loaf pan and cover with spaghetti sauce. I used tomato basil. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until done. Top with mozzarella cheese and bake an additional minute of two for cheese to melt. (Mine took about an hour and a half, but I think it depends on your loaf pan)

Meatloaf Cupcakes

2013_01_16My sister-in-law has an aversion to meatloaf. Mainly because of the name. “Meat” and “loaf” are two words that shouldn’t go together in her opinion. It’s a valid argument. But I was convinced she had to like meatloaf. It was just a matter of coming up with a better name. Something that sounded more friendly, more appetizing.

I wondered about meatloaf cupcakes. That sounds better, right? Did something like that already exist? Yes, it does! I was surprised that my Google search produced many results for meatloaf cupcakes, and meatloaf muffins. Some with sweet potato frosting, some with regular mashed potato frosting. Mini muffins, to big muffins. The options were endless!

I decided to use a 6-cupcake pan and did a variation of Alton Brown’s meatloaf recipe. To get my mashed potato swirl, I stuffed the mashed potatoes in a Zip-loc bag, and cut off a of a corner. Then I just swirled it up like it was frosting.

Ellie was so excited for her meatloaf cupcakes. But when she realized they weren’t real cupcakes, she was not so thrilled. And a meat muffin didn’t sound anymore appetizing to my sister-in-law either.

RECIPES:

Good Eats Meatloaf

PUMPKIN MEATLOAF

Pumpkin spice. You either love it, or you hate it. Or maybe you liked it, but you’re totally sick of everything being pumpkin spice. I mean, you can get pumpkin spice Cheerios, Twinkies, cream cheese, and even candy corn. Really? Candy corn. There is nothing that can enhance candy corn to make it more appealing. And not only are the packaged foods over-saturated with pumpkin spice, you can also buy pumpkin spice, soap, lotion, household cleaners, and even beard oil. With that said, I am one of those people that used to love pumpkin spice. My love for pumpkin spice came at a time when you had to make them yourself. You didn’t buy tons of pumpkin products, you bought tons of canned pumpkin and hit the kitchen making pumpkin spice pancakes, cookies, breads, and cakes. And that’s when I created pumpkin meatloaf.

It was my first fall as a working professional with a college degree. I had volunteered to take over making pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. My wife was working retail at the time and was gone most evenings so I had tons of free time and a lot of anxious creative energy. I like pumpkins and I like meatloaf, so with me left on my own, it was only a matter of time before these two merged together into a wonderful flavor extravaganza.

I just took a regular meatloaf recipe and added pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spices. When Make this I never write down what I do so it’s different every time. But this time I tried to really pay attention so I could be consistent. I also made a pumpkin gravy to go with it.  It’s pretty amazing if I do say so myself.

This nice apple-cheddar soup from Better Homes and Gardens is a great supplement and compliments the spices of the meatloaf.

PUMPKIN MEATLOAF

Ingredients

  • For the meatloaf:
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 Cup chopped onions
  • 3/4 panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 can pureed pumpkin
  • 3 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 tsp allspice
  • 3/4 tsp cloves
  • For the gravy:
  • 2 3/4 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 can pureed pumpkin
  • 3 Tbs brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp allspice
  • 3/4 tsp cloves

Instructions

  1. For the Meatloaf, mix together all ingredients. Form meat mixture into a loaf pan.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees between 60-90 minutes. Meat should reach 155 degrees in the center.
  3. For the gravy, mix all ingredients and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Pour on top of meatloaf as a glaze before baking meatloaf.
  5. You can add flour or cornstarch to thicken the gravy if needed.
  6. Use the rest as gravy for meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
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