|Meatloaf with Red Wine Ketchup|
Nothing says home cooking quite like a roast dinner. Unfortunately roast dinners, especially those involving meat, can cost you an arm and a leg. We live in a tough economy and food prices are high. If you’re like me, you don’t have the money to spend on a rib roast that can range from 13 to 40 bucks a pound.
It’s time to reinvent the wheel for 2016’s food prices.
With that in mind, I’m going to show you a few ways of banging out a roast dinner that will impress your guests and loved ones without breaking your back or the bank.
Let’s start with meatloaf.
Meatloaf tends to get a bum rap as a dried out lump of mystery meats compressed, sliced, and served with ketchup and artificial gravy in cafeterias all over North America. Despite its reputation, meatloaf can be a great, budget friendly substitute for a costly roast dinner. This is because instead of using one pricey cut of meat, you start with a couple of pounds of much cheaper ground beef or pork, add a few flavorful fillers, toss it in the oven for an hour or so and presto! You have a roast dinner that will feed a crowd of 6!
Here’s How You Do It
Sammy’s Marvelous Meatloaf
Difficulty Level: Easy to Medium
Prep time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour 15 minutes
Serves 6 or more depending on your crowd
2 Pounds of Ground Beef or Pork
Use lean or medium meat, as extra lean tends to be pricy and will result in a dry meatloaf.
Leftover cold cuts, chopped – Optional
If you bought some cold cuts but now find yourself with leftovers that aren’t enough to make a decent sandwich, the meatloaf is a great place to use them.
½ Cup of Italian Style Breadcrumbs
2 Large Eggs
¼ Cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese
This is the one splurge I’m going to insist on for this recipe, as it adds a nice salty nuttiness to the loaf.
1 Pack of Mushrooms – Finely chopped
3 Cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
½ Tablespoon of Butter
Salt and Pepper
1 Tablespoon of Jarred Pesto
1 Tablespoon of Tomato Paste
1 Teaspoon of Hot Sauce - Optional
1 Package of Bacon
The Canadian touch; if you want to make it extra Canadian, use maple bacon.
2 or 3 Pieces of Uncooked Spaghetti, Vermicelli, or Spaghettini
1 Frying Pan
1 Regular Bowl
1 Large Mixing Bowl
1 Baking Pan
1 Knife and Cutting Board
Preheat the oven to 375oF.
In a frying pan on high heat, melt the butter and olive oil together. Add the garlic and stir with your spatula until you can smell the garlic. Now add the mushrooms, some salt and pepper, and cook, stirring every minute or so until the mushrooms have softened and reduced in size.
Dump the cooked mushrooms into a bowl and stick the bowl in the freezer to cool them off.
While the mushrooms are chilling, dump the ground meat, cold cuts (if applicable), breadcrumbs, cheese, eggs, pesto, tomato paste, hot sauce (if using), and half a tablespoon each of salt and pepper into a bowl.
Add the mushrooms, and mix everything together with your hands until JUST combined. If you overmix it your meatloaf is going to be tough, so once everything seems evenly combined, you can stop.
Take your bacon out of the pack and lay each strip side by side horizontally in your pan.
Put your meatloaf mix in the center of the bacon and using your hands, shape it into a loaf.
Wrap the bacon around the meatloaf and pin each strip into place with a piece of pasta. The bacon will make the meatloaf extra moist, and most of the pasta will dissolve into it while it’s roasting. You can discard the bits that stick out afterward.
Stick the meatloaf in the oven and leave it alone for an hour and fifteen minutes.
When the time is up, let the meatloaf rest on the counter for another 15 minutes before slicing.
You can now wow your guests!
Serve it alongside some rice, mashed potatoes, or if you truly want to go the Italian route, some polenta. Ketchup or my famous RedWine Ketchup is optional.
-Samantha R. Gold
Questions? Comments? Requests?
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