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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Italian Meatloaf

There's one thing J can't do is cook. He even messed up boxed macaroni and cheese (thank God for the microwavable ones!). Since we didn't live together until we were engaged he had to fend for himself when I'm not around. He stumbled upon Cookin Dinners  while it was still located in Norwalk. He used to go there at least once or twice a month to prepare 10 entrees. Occasionally we would go together and prepare the meals together. The owner George posts a monthly menu of delicious entrees and have all the ingredients prepped for you. All you have to do is assemble it or if you are really lazy/busy he will do it for you and deliver them. You just freeze all the entrees and thaw the entree in the fridge the morning of.  J would get the entrees that can be baked in the oven.

Tonight's dinner was inspired by one of J's favorite, Mama's Italian Meatloaf. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F then reduce to 375 during last 20 mins of baking. 
  • 1 lb ground beef (or whatever ground meats you like)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet pepper (tonight I used a mix of green, red and yellow)
  • 2 or 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 tbs chopped parsley (goes in meatloaf)
  • 1/2 tbs chopped parsley for garnish
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (or more if you like) of any types of shredded Italian cheeses blend (split into 2, 1/2 cup goes in meatloaf, other 1/2 goes on top of meat loaf)
  • 1 tbs ketchup
  • 1/2 tbs yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tbs Worcesterchire sauce
  • 1/3 cup milk
  •  3/4 cup plain bread crumbs (you can use italian bread crumbs but omit the oregano and basil)
  • 1/2 tsb dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsb dried basil
  • 1 tsb salt
  • 1/2 tsb ground black pepper
  • 1 cup marinara sauce (use more if you like more sauce)
Saute onion, garlic, sweet peppers until translucent, let it cool. In a mixing bowl, add parsley, eggs, ketchup, mustard, milk, bread crumbs, oregano, basil, cheese, salt and black pepper then combined with the ground beef and the cooked veggie mixture. Shape the meat mixture into meatloaf shape (tonight I shaped them into 2 mini meatloafs). Pour half of the marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan (either loaf pan or baking dish) and place the shaped meatloaf on it. Top the meatloaf with the remaining marinara. Bake for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. Reduce the temperature to 375, take the meatloaf out and top with the remaining cheese and parsley. Bake for another 20 minutes.  Serve with pasta. This will probably feed 4 people. 

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