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It’s hard to make meatloaf look pretty…

June 8, 2010
But I tried anyway.

This was very very good. It is very moist and flavorful and it is stuffed with all the yummiest vegetables: finely chopped onion, red pepper, zucchini and mushrooms. Kevin didn’t even complain about the zucchini (new plan: chop up everything so tiny he doesn’t know it’s in there. You know, like you do for your 5 year old). It’s from the Eat, Shrink and Be Merry cookbook that I was raving about last week. It took a bit of work (lots of fine chopping if you don’t have a food processor, you had to really get into the meat with your hands which is so nasty nasty, and it’s not that easy to roll up) but the results are wonderful.

Meatloaf. It sounds like an unknown dead animal mixed with some soda crackers and topped with ketchup. I assure you, this meatloaf was anything but!

One Loaf To Love
Zesty vegetable-and-cheese-stuffed meat loaf
(from “Eat, Shrink and Be Merry” by Janet and Greta Podleski)

“Our sensational stuffed meat loaf is nothin’ like the old rubbery meat loaf they serve down at the General Hospital. We’ve dramatically improved this popular comfort food so it’s not only Bold, it’s Beautiful. All My Children (and yours) will adore it!”

1 cup finely diced mushrooms
1/2 cup each finely diced red bell pepper, zucchini, and onions [I chopped up extra and have been using this wonderful medley in everything the last few days]
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 lbs (680 g) extra-lean ground beef
1 cup fresh whole wheat bread crumbs or 1/2 cup dry unseasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp barbeque sauce or ketchup
1 pkg (.9 oz/25 g) hamburger seasoning mix*
1 egg
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup packed shredded light Monterey Jack, provolone, or mozzarella cheese (2 oz/57 g)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a medium, non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Add mushrooms, red pepper, zucchini, onions, and garlic. Cook and stir over medium heat until vegetables are tender, about five minutes. Add basil and cook 1 more minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, 1/4 cup barbeque sauce, hamburger seasoning mix, egg, parsley, and pepper. Mix well using your hands [eww].

One a large sheet of waxed paper, form meat mixture into a 10×12-inch rectangle. Make sure edges are nice and straight, not jagged. Spread reserved vegetable filling over meat, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle with cheese. Roll up meat loaf from the shorter (10-inch) end, lifting the waxed paper to help get it started. Roll it as tightly as possible. Pinch seam closed. [Rolling was kind of difficult but I didn’t have waxed paper & used tin foil. That may have been my problem. There are other ways around this than rolling….]

Transfer meat loaf to a broiler pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray [I don’t know what a broiler pan is, but I just used a big loaf pan. Instead of rolling next time, I might try just putting half the meat mixture in the bottom, filling with the vegetable mix and then the rest of the meat on top. Although I did buy waxed paper, so I might try one more roll]. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and spread remaining 2 tbsp barbeque sauce over meat loaf. Return to oven and bake for 10 more minutes, or until meat is cooked through and a meat thermometer inserted in the center registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Let meat loaf stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

*TIP: There are several varieties of dry hamburger seasoning mixes on the market, but we like Club House Superburger the best. It comes in a small envelope and you can usually find it in the aisle where gravy mixes are sold.

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