In preparation for this week I pulled out stacks of cooking magazines and went through looking for things that the family would eat. I have a husband who hates mushrooms and is not fond of squashes. And of course the “bears” who would rather eat chicken and French fries over and over. It is very important to push the envelope while having a good feeling that everyone will eat it.
Tonight is meat loaf. Most of you probably have a meat loaf in your normal rotation. We do not. Mainly because I have yet to find the meat loaf. Not that I haven’t looked. I’ve baked individual loafs, ones wrapped in bacon, a mix with pork and beef or cheese. Nothing stands out as the best. The concept is great; meat mixed with bread and spice topped with a ketchup derivative.
Teagan is very interested in what cooking is all about. With her being almost three I allow her on occasion to put in an ingredient here and there but over all just to be in the kitchen and standing on a step stool and watching. Kaitlyn has been extra grumpy lately and really just wanted to be a part of the fun so I had both girls standing on the stool trying to “help.” They actually did very well and did not touch too much. I would love for them to grow up wanting to cook and learning how to cook. Not just how to follow a recipe but to know which things would work together and experiment to find their own cooking niche.
Therefore both “bears” are in the kitchen with me. On most occasions Daddy would have walked past the kitchen and not bothered to really soak in the situation. With all three of us though I think he looked more closely than normal as he passed to go into the other room. Two minutes later he came out and said “You just put carrots in that! This is going to so suck!” Sounded just like a disgruntled five year old. Ah, the aspect of surprise was ruined. He wouldn’t have noticed if he hadn’t seen it. After that he grabbed the recipe and perused it to see what else he was going to hate. I am very thankful that he had no more “ah, gee” remarks.
How was it you ask? Okay. On a scale from one to ten with five being average I would give it a six. Hubby would give it a four and I suppose the “bears” would give it less since they didn’t eat all of their portions. The sauce was way too sweet. I would double the tomato sauce to even that out. The meat loaf was moist and no you didn’t taste carrot. Just above average isn’t going to make it into the rotation. Alas my search continues. I’m going to post the recipe because that’s the point of this week but please feel free to modify to your taste.
Best-Ever Meat Loaf (their name not mine)
Source: Taste of Home, February/March 2002
2/3 cup milk
3 slices of bread, torn into pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup grated carrot
1 cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk. Add bread; let stand as you mix the rest. Mix onion, carrot, cheese, parsley, salt, basil and pepper in another bowl. Add soaked bread and meat. In a baking pan shape beef mixture into a 7x3x2 loaf. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.
Combine the topping ingredients; spoon some over meat loaf. Bake for about 30 minutes longer or until meat is no longer pink, occasionally spooning some of the remaining topping over loaf. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.