For a brief second about ten days ago I harbored this fantasy… No it has nothing to do with Bunneh as cute as he is. This was a fantasy about having a lot more ‘free’ time this year. A week in…I’m ever so wrong. This year looks to be just as busy as last year, though in pretty good ways. I’m not complaining so much as musing. This musing leads me to thoughts about how to be busy and feed my family, and those thoughts lead to making food ahead of time, which takes me to my freezer.
There are so many great meals, or meal components, which can be prepared on those less hectic days and left in the freezer for the ones where time just escapes from you. One of my favorites, and yeah we’ll talk about others later, is meatloaf.
Now, stop groaning at me. I can hear the groans and it’s not very nice. Meatloaf does not have to be the dry thick lumpiness mocked on television sitcoms since the 1950’s. It can be a lovely way to prepare ground meat, full of moisture and flavor. It can also be a place to start two meals, one on the first cooking and meatloaf sandwiches the next day, which are favorites of both Bunneh and the children.
To get moist meatloaf requires a few things in my mind. 1: Beef and pork in the mixture. 2: Good flavor components, in this case some raspberry chipotle sauce, but salsa is also killer. 3: Good binders. I use cheese, egg and Ultra Gel in all of my meatloaf. 4: The right cooking process. Cook covered to 160, then uncover add more cheese or other toppings and finish up to 175, let sit 10 minutes to coast the last few degrees to a safe 180-190. When these guidelines are followed you get a meatloaf which freezes beautifully, cooks up moist and tender and gets rave reviews.
Come to think of it I have a meatloaf in the freezer… Wednesday dinner here we come!
Easy Raspberry Chipotle Meatloaf
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
1/4 cup Ultra Gel
1/2 cup Cornaby’s Raspberry Chipotle spread (I prefer the sugar free one)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. There are many ways to mix, but I always glove up and do it by hand. It’s a lot easier to be able to get everything mixed well this way. Otherwise a big wooden spoon works pretty nicely. Once everything is mixed allow to sit for five minutes to fully hydrate. If the meatloaf mixture is thin, which has really never happened to me, add upto an additional 1/4 cup Ultra Gel and mix well. At this point you can press the mixture into two bread pans and bake covered at 350 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 150 (~30-40 minutes), then uncovered until the internal temperature reaches 175 (10-15 minutes). Let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Otherwise, press the mixture into two loaf pans. Wrap with plastic wrap and then tin foil. Date and label your pans and move into the freezer. when you are ready to bake remove from the freezer and remove the plastic wrap, before recovering with tin foil and baking as above. If cooking directly from the freezer baking time will take longer. You can pull it out of the freezer the night before so it’s thawed by the time you’re ready to bake.
Serve with warmed chipotle sauce for anyone who wants to add more kick to their serving. This is great with potatoes on the side and a mound of vegetables.