Cook Once Eat Twice: Meatloaf Gets a Makeover

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The men speak, and they want their beef! At least, that’s how it seems in my household. Instead of large cuts of steak or roast, these days I am more apt to serve meatloaf. It allows me to combine different types of lean meat, which makes it flavorful. And when I combine meatloaf with brown rice and a simple green salad, my guys are happy and they get a healthy balance of protein, complex carbs, and veggies.

Kitchen Notes
The best choice for ground beef is “extra lean,” which contains no more than 5% fat. For the ground turkey, look for breast meat, which is leaner than ground thigh meat. These choices aren’t available for the ground lamb, but including the lamb in this recipe adds a lot of flavor to the final dish.

The meatloaf bakes in one hour. If your time is limited, you can try baking mini loaves or even muffin cups, which will cut your baking time.

White rice, a staple on many tables, is simply brown rice that has had essential nutrients removed in order to increase shelf life and create a shorter cooking time. The health benefits of brown rice are many: It’s an excellent source of magnesium, iron, selenium, and manganese, as well as several B vitamins. A cup of brown rice has about 14% of the daily requirement of dietary fiber.

I like Alton Brown’s method of baking brown rice. Brown rice is usually simmered, but Brown bakes his in the oven, which provides fluffy perfect rice every time. I have added frozen peas at the end to give the rice some color. You could use other small, frozen veggies: peas and carrots, mixed vegetables, cut string beans, or corn.

Meal 1: Weeknight Dinner
Greek Meatloaf
Serves 6
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound ground turkey
1/2 pound ground lamb
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
4 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 red bell pepper, fresh or roasted, cut in strips

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, gently combine the ground beef, ground turkey, and ground lamb. Add the eggs, and then add the remaining ingredients. Lay the red bell pepper strips over the loaf.

2. In a large, rimmed baking dish, shape the mixture into a loaf. Bake for 1 hour. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

Meal 2: Next Day’s Lunch
Greek Meatloaf Wrap with Yogurt Dipping Sauce
For next day’s lunch, arrange some meatloaf on a multi-grain flatbread. Add some shredded lettuce for crunch, and a sprinkling of feta. Roll up the flatbread, tucking in the ends. For the dipping sauce, combine 1/4 cup of plain yogurt with chopped mint and green onions, and pour into a small container.

Alton Brown’s Baked Brown Rice Recipe
1 1/2 cups medium or short grain brown rice
2 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups frozen peas

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place the rice in an 8 inch square glass baking dish.

2. In a small pot, or in a microwaveable container, combine the water, butter and salt, and bring to a boil. Pour over the rice, stir to combine.

3. Cover with foil, and bake for 1 hour.

4. Remove from the oven and turn off the heat. Sprinkle with the peas, recover, and return to the oven for 3 minutes, or until the peas are soft.

Alice Stern loves to eat. And cook. And share recipes. After working in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto, she taught cooking classes to both adults and children, is the author or two self-published cookbooks, and wrote the food column for her local newspaper. She lives with her husband and dog in northern California.

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