Friday, June 14, 2013

Slow-Cooker Meatloaf

My husband claimed he never liked meatloaf before we met and he tried mine. Since then, I've turned him into a fiend. I had no specific recipe, but I've always been pretty good about "seeing" recipes and pairings. I found out only a few months ago that I apparently inherited that from my 98 year old grandmother, who rarely made the same recipe twice. I often tell Steve we're "experimenting tonight!" but am thankful that very rarely is it inedible.

Today is my wonderful husband's birthday. He is such a large part of my life. I cannot possibly express how I feel about him in a few words on a blog. But suffice it to say that I wanted to try to make tonight's dinner special.  The only problem with our family's birthdays is, depending on the weather, all three can be uncomfortably warm. June; July; September. I wanted to make Steve's favorite meal, but I wanted to attempt it in a manner that would not heat up the house, since meatloaf usually needs to bake for at least an hour. So, I figured I would attempt a slow-cooker version that used less energy and made the house much more comfortable.

I started with attempting to keep this fairly healthy. I didn't want the loaf bathing in grease, but I didn't know what I could possibly use that fit my crock-pot. I dug through pans long since forgotten in the recesses of my cabinet and found this lovely - it is either an expandable hot-pad for dishes on the table, or something to hold a huge roast or bird in the dutch oven. I think it's a stand for hot dishes. Either way, it was this or the steam basket for vegetables, but I thought this would work better.
 Next, I gathered my ingredients. I use ground beef (1 lb), one egg, approximately a cup of oatmeal, and normally large chunks of garlic w/ various herbs. However, I've found these lovely gems by Land O Lakes - these are advertised as saute starters, but they're fantastic to toss into brown rice, saute vegetables before putting into stuffed peppers, or, as I found, to mix into meatloaf. Side note: these do not contain hydrogenated oils or MSG, and I can pronounce every ingredient.
 The only way to thoroughly mix meatloaf, as any chef knows, is by hand. Dig in. Have fun with it.

My finished product rested easily on the hot pad. I added about an inch of water, sprinkled Parmigiano Reggiano cheese on top, put the lid on, and started on high for 10 minutes while I got Syd ready for the park. Right before we left, I switched it to low and left it until dinner time.
What can I say? I meant to take a "finished" picture, but we had a guest for dinner, and in the rush to get everything else done, I forgot. However, it was the most moist meatloaf I have ever eaten. So exquisitely delicious. I don't know if it was the low and slow, the butter mixed in with herbs, or my deft hand at mixing, but there is not even a full serving left over.

Try it out - it was delightful, and a new addition to our summertime repertoire. So, rest easy and know you're saving money on your air conditioning. Let's hope we do not have the joy of triple digits this year.
Bon appetit!

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