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5 Variations on Meatloaf

Meatloaf has been around what seems like forever. Maybe it's time to mix it up a bit. See more pictures of comfort foods.
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Meatloaf has been a popular family menu staple in U.S. households for many years. It found its way onto dining room tables around the turn of the 20th century, when meat was expensive and frugal matriarchs everywhere were trying to feed their families while cleverly stretching their resources. Traditional meatloaf recipes combine ground beef with breadcrumbs, though veal was used in earlier recipes because at the time, it was less expensive than beef [source: Jacobi]. Some of the most popular recipes in the early days were distributed by Quaker Oats, who recommended using their oats in lieu of bread crumbs. Here are five recipes guaranteed to funk up meatloaf night at your house.

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Add a little south of the border sizzle to traditional meatloaf with the addition of a few spicy ingredients.

Ingredients

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  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 slices bread, torn into small pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can green chilies
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190.5 degrees Celsius).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, bread, egg, tomatoes, chilies, onion, chili powder and black pepper.
  3. Spread into an ungreased loaf pan.
  4. Bake for 1 hour and drain excess drippings.
  5. Spoon chili sauce over cooked loaf, then sprinkle with cheese. Bake an additional 15 minutes.

Ground up your leftover lunch meat for a yummy alternative.
Ground up your leftover lunch meat for a yummy alternative.
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Ham loaf is a great way to use up leftover lunchmeat. Just use your food processor to chop it up and then grind it to a fine consistency. Fruit is a great complement to ham, so you can top off this dish with some crushed pineapple, if you're so inclined.

Ingredients

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  • 1 pound smoked ham, finely ground
  • 1 pound fresh ground pork
  • 1/2 Spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup cracker crumbs or dry bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon each allspice and nutmeg
  • Black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176.6 degrees Celsius).
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and blend them with your hands.
  3. Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and transfer mixture into pan.
  4. Bake 1 1/2 hours.

Who says that meat-eaters get to have all the fun? In this recipe, lentils are a capable meat substitute, due to their dense texture and hearty consistency. The addition of oats to the lentils provides a complete protein, which is important in a vegetarian diet.

 

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 3/4 cup grated cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 1/2 ounces spaghetti sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon

Directions

  1. Boil water and add lentils. Simmer covered 25 to 30 minutes, until lentils are soft and most of the water has evaporated.
  2. Drain and partially mash lentils, then scrape into mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Stir in onion, oats and cheese until mixed.
  4. Add egg, tomato sauce, garlic, basil, parsley, seasoning salt and pepper. Mix well.
  5. Spray loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and spoon mixture into pan. Smooth top with the back of a spoon.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176.6 degrees Celsius) for 30 to 45 minutes until top of loaf is dry, firm and golden brown.
  7. Cool in pan on rack for about 10 minutes.

For a healthier version, use lean chicken breast in your meatloaf.
For a healthier version, use lean chicken breast in your meatloaf.
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Substituting chicken breast for red meat in this meatloaf recipe makes for a delicious dish that's lower in calories and fat than traditional meatloaf. You can buy chicken and grind it yourself in the food processor, but most grocery stores carry prepackaged ground chicken.

Ingredients

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  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176.6 degrees Celsius).
  2. Combine chicken and bread crumbs in large bowl and set aside.
  3. Cut the carrot and onion into chunks and add to blender.
  4. Add egg white, carrot, onion, ketchup, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, celery seed, salt and pepper to the blender and process until the carrot is very fine.
  5. Pour blender mixture over meat mixture and mix very well using your hands.
  6. Transfer to a lightly greased 9x13-inch pan, cover with foil and bake for one hour.
  7. Remove foil and continue baking for 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is cooked all the way through.

Here's a meatloaf recipe adapted for the microwave for when you're short on time but don't want to forgo flavor.

Ingredients

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  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 4 oz. can mushrooms with liquid
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1/2 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Ketchup to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients and blend with your hands.
  2. Transfer into microwave-safe pan and top with ketchup.
  3. Insert a microwave temperature probe into mixture and set to170 degrees Fahrenheit (76.6 degrees Celsius).
  4. Cover with wax paper and cook on high until done, 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. This recipe can be baked in a conventional oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176.6 degrees Celsius) for about 1 hour.

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Sources

  • Jacobi, Dana. "A Brief History of Meatloaf." Diabetic Gourmet magazine, 2009. http://diabeticgourmet.com/articles/614.shtml
  • Nelson Family Farms - Company Website. http://www.farmbuilt.com/
  • Rauschert, Jeff. "Meatloaf variations far from boring." Flint Journal, February 24, 2009. http://www.mlive.com/food/index.ssf/2009/02/meatloaf_variations_far_from_b.html
  • "Really good vegetarian meatloaf." Recipezaar.com, 2009. http://www.recipezaar.com/Really-Good-Vegetarian-Meatloaf-really-33921
  • "Tex Mex Meatloaf Recipe." Cdkitchen.com, 2009. http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/1876/Tex-Mex-Meat-Loaf75624.shtml
  • "Unbelievable Chicken Meatloaf." Recipezaar.com, 2009. http://www.recipezaar.com/Unbelievable-Chicken-Meatloaf-88410

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