Thursday, July 18, 2013

Nourishing Meatloaf

When you think of meatloaf, you probably are not thinking so much about nourishment.  You are probably thinking of a basic meat and potatoes man-pleasing dinner.  And it certainly is that.  But with a little thought, meatloaf can be a surprising nourishing meal.

When it comes to food choices, I do not worry about sugar, calories, or fat grams. Instead I concern myself with nourishment.  Is what my family puts into our mouths nourishing us?  Is this giving us what we need to live in a strong and healthy way?  Is this actually food? 

I am paying attention to things I do not want to put into my body like chemically altered ingredients (shortening, margarine, any hydrogenated fat, sugar substitutes, etc.), preservatives, non-food food dyes, poison, and similar items. 

Nourishment involves eating actual food containing all the things your body needs and preferably none of the things your body doesn't need.  So back to the meatloaf.  My meatloaf recipe is not only nourishing, it also helps use up some of the summer garden abundance. 

I start with a selection of vegetables fresh from my garden in summer (and fresh from the grocery store or freezer in winter) and grains.
Barley and Kamut along with garden veggies add a large nutritional punch to the meatloaf
First the veggies are chopped and sautéed in a little olive oil.  I love my cast iron pan.

While the veggies cook, I boil the grains.  Grains cook like rice (not minute rice).  Generally 1 part grain to 2-2 1/2 parts water.  If you don't cook the grains before adding them to the meatloaf, someone might need a trip to the dentist.  One note, rolled oats (like the stuff in instant oatmeal) does not need to be precooked. Steel cut oats do need to be pre-cooked.  Rolled oats are already precooked (betcha didn't know that did you).

Any grains you have on hand will do including rice, oats, wheat, barley, and quinoa.  I chose to use Kamut wheat and hulled barley. 
Cooking the grains
While the veggies and grains cook, combine one pound of ground meat with two eggs.  I used ground beef but any ground meat will do.
Once the grains and veggies are cooked, add them to the meat and eggs.

There are times where I will puree the cooked vegetables before adding them in.  It tends to hid the presence of veggies.  My daughter is pretty good about eating her veggies but she goes through phases.  Personally I like to see the chunks of bright color in the mix.  You will also want to add some bread crumbs to help hold the meatloaf together.

At this point I add in any seasonings.  Usually I use a little salt and pepper, some catsup, Worchestershire sauce, and various herbs.  Sometimes I also add parmesan cheese for extra flavor.  But feel free to spice up (or down) the mixture to your own liking.

Mix everything up together real well.  You could use a stand mixer for this purpose but I just use my hands.  If you use your hands, be careful, the vegetables and grains could be hot.

Once everything is mixed together real well, shape the meatloaf.  I like to make individual loaves which cook faster than a bread pan full of meatloaf.  But the choice is yours.

Cook at 350 for about 40 minutes.
Ready for the plate
Here is the recipe in a more concise manner:

1 lb. ground meat
2 eggs
2 cups chopped vegetables (try onions, carrots, peas, bell peppers, green beans or any combination)
2 Tbls olive oil
1/2 cup uncooked grains (wheat, oats, rice, barley, quinoa, or any combination)
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup catsup
2 Tbls Worchestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring 1 to 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a small sauce pan.  Add grains, stir, then cover.  Turn heat down to simmer and let cook for approximately 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, turn off heat, check to see if the grains need a small amount of extra water, recover sauce pan and let set for another 10 minutes.   

Into a heated skillet add the olive oil and chopped vegetables.  Sautee vegetables until soft.  Once soft you can puree the vegetables or not at your choice.

Put the ground meat, eggs, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, catsup, Worchestershire sauce, and salt and pepper into a large mixing bowl.  Add cooked grains and vegetables.  Mix well.  You can use your hands or a stand mixer.

Form into individual loaves and put on a rimmed pan for cooking. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes until internal temperature is 160 degrees.

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  1. These look really good! I love all the veggies... I was getting hungry looking at the photos!

  2. I love the idea of making smaller portion-sized pieces. Pinned this to one of my recipe folders.

  3. We love meatloaf. I have got to try this recipe. I especially like the idea of adding a lot of veggies along with the grain. Thank you for sharing this recipe at Tuesdays with a Twist! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

  4. Good Morning!!!
    You've been featured at Back to the Basics for Tuesdays with a Twist!
    Thanks for sharing. I'm looking forward to seeing what you share this week!

  5. Terrific idea! Carrie, A Mother's Shadow

  6. Hi there. I'm stopping in from Let's Get Real today. I just had to check out your meatloaf recipe. I've started adding vegetables to mine as well, but I haven't tried adding grains. Great idea! I also really like the individual portions. I cook them in muffin pans sometimes. Kind of the same idea..........These would certainly be better for those with larger appetites in my family.

    1. I like the individual sized loaves because they cook faster. I like adding grains when I have them cooked. I have used rice before too with good results. My family smothers meat loaf with ketchup and steak sauce anyway so I could add cardboard and they would never know. Might as well add the good stuff. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comments. Have a great day!

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