Apr 21, 2011

Lazy meat, quit yer loafin'

Nothing says "I have too many leftovers, no imagination, and a chunk of ground beef" like meatloaf. What other meal allows you to simultaneously clean out your fridge, hide produce, and feel good about giving your kids a hot meal with just some easy prep and patience. I found that after just a few times, I no longer needed a cook book, or as just meat. I do have a couple shortcuts to share though:

  1. Use a good food processor. I like the Euro-Pro Ninja Master Prep Blender and Food Processor, it makes me feel like a real ninja with all the rogue veggies I can puree and hide into what the kids think is a pure hunk of meat.
      The problem with the Ninja though, is it attracts my 6 year old like a moth to a flame, or as I say a cat to an electric can opener. With an audience, you have to be even more of a ninja to toss in the green beans from last night, a couple raw carrots, an onion, a tomato, or whatever you have on hand that is raw or requires a good blending. You may have to threaten your kids with certain death, amputation of fingers, or starvation if they are picky and you don't want them to see how you make your 'secret sauce'.

  2. Once you have your paste resembling a bowl of baby crap, scrape it into the Kitchenaid mixing bowl. You can also toss in more leftovers, some examples include: rice from when you had Chinese takeout, whatever that was in the Tupperware container that vaguely smells like potatoes, actual mashed potatoes, etc. Get creative here, this is where your leftovers get eaten up and not composted.

  3. Toss in a couple eggs, and now raid your condiments. You can add ketchup, or BBQ sauce, mustard if you like, worshesher-whatever sauce, etc. Throw in some random spices that smell good, some milk, and a dry ingredient like crackers, bread crumbs, or oatmeal. Mix all these in your stand mixer, and let it sit for a couple minutes to turn into a gross looking, gelatinous mess.

      I read somewhere that the key factors to the perfect fluffy meatloaf are to let the dry ingredients sit and get soggy. Also, to not molest the meat... err, in other words, you don't over-mix the ground beef, so pre-mixing the other ingredients well is really important.

  4. This is where my love affair with my Kitchenaid mixer was born. Use the dough hook that comes with it, add your meat and then mix. No longer do I have to relish in the joy of cold, raw, ground meat between my fingers, the booger-eating cousin to the much cooler sand between my toes, illegitimate son of the promiscuous between my legs and the ever brilliant between my ears.
      But I digress. Once your meat and mush have gently been mixed together, plop the whole thing into a baking dish on 350 and cook for an hour. You now have time to watch a show on the DVR, play a Facebook game, or kick the kids outside and hide in the bathroom with a book.

  5. When you hour of bliss is over, slather more condiments over the top, bake another 5 minutes, then serve. You can serve with a vegetable, or a starch or both. If I include enough veggies, I will let my kids believe they are getting off veggie-free and just serve with potato wedges or something. My boys are pretty good about eating their meatloaf, but my daughter isn't as wonderful. Then again, for the child who hates vegetables, she would pick a salad and plain white rice for dinner over meatloaf any day of the week.

Tonight the princess thought she would be slick. After all the kids had eaten, including the baby who happily nursed while I dislocated my shoulder to eat cold meatloaf, the ones who ate got fresh chocolate chip cookies. The princess decided she could skip her meal and go right to the cookie. When that didn't work, and screaming didn't make me give in, she resorted to climbing onto the counter, grabbing the Tupperware and running as fast as her stubby little legs would take her. She ended up going to bed without finishing her meatloaf, or a cookie, but she did end up going to bed with tons of tears. I think tonight mommy is going to drink a nice glass of wine for dessert, because mommy drinks when you cry.

*This is not a sponsored post, but Kitchenaid or Euro-Pro is welcome to send me a free gift for this post if they would like. I really want the mixing blade with the rubber spatula built in for my mixer or extra bowls for my ninja. *wink wink*

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