10 September 2013

Foodie Tuesday | Family Favourite Meatloaf

Ever since I was little, meatloaf has been one of my all-time favourite meals. My Nanny made it infrequently enough that each time she did it was a celebration of sorts. It was exciting. It was an EVENT.

(Yes, that's right folks. Ground meat pressed into a pan and baked until grey-brown (gr-own? br-ey?) is what passed for an EVENT in our house. We're sort of a sedate people. We're British.)

Anyway, you would think that with time and age (and now having to make it myself instead of having it made for me) that the thrill of the meatloaf would wear off. Not so. I like it even more, if that's possible, because I've been able to play with the recipe to figure out what really tickles my taste buds. It took quite a bit of experimentation but we've finally arrived at a modern version of a '50's favourite that everyone in our family loves.

Yes, meatloaf night is STILL an event in our house. Because we're cray like that.

Preparation: 20 minutes | Cooking Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes | Serves: 8-10

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 2 lbs extra lean ground beef
  • 1 large Spanish onion, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 3 + 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, separated
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Tabasco sauce (or any hot sauce of your preference)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup plain BBQ sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • cooking spray

Cooking Directions:
  1. In a medium sized bowl, combine eggs, tomato sauce, 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco/hot sauce, salt and pepper. Whisk to blend thoroughly.
  2. In a separate, large bowl, combine turkey, beef, onions and oats. Using your hands, mix ingredients together to blend meats and thoroughly distribute onions and oats.
    This step requires some elbow grease, so roll up your sleeves!

  3. To the meat mixture, add half the sauce contents. Knead with your hands until the sauce mixture is fully absorbed. Add the remaining sauce, and do the same. The final result should be a pile of wet meat but no visible liquid.
    It's not very appetizing at this stage. It gets better.
  4. After washing the meat goop from your hands:
    • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
    • Coat a 3-quart lidded baking dish with cooking spray. Be sure to get up the sides as well as the bottom, to prevent the meat from sticking.
    • In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, brown sugar and BBQ sauce. Whisk together.
      This is where it becomes obvious that I am a '50's throwback. I LOVE this sauce on meatloaf. Betty Crocker would be proud.
  5. Press the meat mixture into the pan. Pour the 'Betty Crocker' sauce on top and spread it evenly around, all the way to the edges.
  6. Bake for 90 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into the center registers 160 degrees. Serve hot.

The juices cook down to a thick-ish consistency that makes for a nice gravy; just a little goes a long way. The meatloaf itself is really moist, so the sauce is really just for added flavour. We keep this recipe pretty family-friendly - especially for the little one - but you can bump up the heat quotient by adding more hot sauce as you like it.

Not only is this meatloaf flavourful, it's lower in fat than its predecessors thanks to the extra lean ground beef and the addition of turkey instead of traditional choices like pork. It freezes beautifully, too, which makes it perfect as a make-ahead dinner - you can freeze the whole loaf, or slice it into single servings and freeze them individually (which is super great for young athletes who need dinner quick, healthy and often at odd hours). It's delicious on sandwiches, too, and makes a great alternative to processed lunch meats.

On a weeknight, we serve it with Parmesan mashed potatoes (basically, just smashed red potatoes - skin on - with milk, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper; pictured in the photo) and a green side: beans are our favourite but broccoli rocks our socks too.

And there you have it! A dinner your whole family will love.

Notes: kid-friendly | freezer-friendly | lightened up