23 April 2009

Fun With Meatloaf

Growing up I hated meatloaf. But you're supposed to as kid, right? Like on The Christmas Story when Randy says, "Meatloaf, smeatloaf, double-beatloaf. I hate meatloaf." Recently I stumbled on an amazing food blog Bake Me More and saw an idea for making meatloaf fun for kids. You'll need to make some mashed potatoes for the fun part of this idea. But first, the meatloaf recipe:
2 lbs lean ground beef
1 large green pepper
1 large onion
1 egg
1 cup oats (quick or old-fashioned)
3/4 cup ketchup

I use two pounds of meat so that we will have leftovers, but if you want to use one pound of meat just use smaller veggies, 1 egg, 1/2 cup each of ketchup and oats. Also, you can substitute the ketchup with tomato sauce or even tomato soup. I'm allergic to tomatoes. One touch and I look like I have a chemical burn. Thankfully, all of the acids (or whatever tries to kill me when I touch or eat them) has been cooked away in ketchup.

Mix all the ingredients, except the meat, in a large bowl.

Add the meat and mix thoroughly. I use disposable gloves and mix with my hands. Or let Tinker Bell do it. She loves mixing meatloaf! Sometimes I press the meat into an 8x8 pan, other times a loaf pan. Last night I lined a 6-cup muffin tin with aluminum cupcake liners and pressed a spoonful of meatloaf mixture into each one. I put the rest of the meatloaf into a loaf pan. I like to spread a little more ketchup on the top of the meatloaf. It gives it a nice crust and a prettier color than grey cooked meat.

After baking at 400 degrees for 60 minutes for the loaf and 30 minutes for the cupcakes, allow the meatloaf to sit for 10 minutes. If you use lean ground beef the moisture you see in the pan after baking won't contain much fat. I made the mistake once of draining the moisture immediately and the meatloaf was dry, dry, dry.

Now for the fun! Eyeball enough mashed potatoes to cover the 6 meatloaf "cupcakes" and put the potatoes into a small bowl. Add two drops of liquid food coloring, any color, and mix. Then frost your cupcakes! Bake Me More got creative and used a pastry bag and made the prettiest meatloaf cupcakes. I just spread the potatoes like frosting. Either way the kiddies will be tickled with their meal.

Even my picky eater ate her meatloaf!

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