Meatloaf with a Secret

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I feel like there are a lot of mix feelings out there on meatloaf - not everyone loves it! I remember one of the first times I had it I was not sure if I would like it… but over the years I have had some amazing ones! So I decided to stick with the kale theme I have going so far and see if I couldn’t find a way to use it something besides sweet treats or soups! I love my meatloaf with oats instead of bread crumbs - Jayson’s grandparents got me hooked on that! So I went off of two recipes to try to fit everything I love into one delicious meal! I used an Old Fashion Meatloaf recipe from Malinda with Countryside Cravings and to figure out how to add the kale in I used Erica’s Turkey Meatloaf with Spinach and Kale recipe.

Malinda had these great pointers on how to have a great meatloaf so I will share them with you. Now her recipe and I did use beef - but Erica’s has turkey, so pick whichever you prefer.

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  1. Use a lean ground beef, but not so lean that it will dry out.  

  2. Not soaking the oatmeal long enough can also result in a dry meatloaf.  The oats (or bread crumbs if you prefer) are necessary in a meatloaf to help hold it together.  But if you just mix it in dry it will draw moisture away from the meat causing it to turn out dry.

  3. Overmixing.  Don’t do it, it will make the meat tough.  Just mix long enough to combine everything and the best way to do this is by hand.  Throwing it into a mixer is just asking for it to be overworked.

  4. Resting the meatloaf after it comes out of the oven is the last crucial step.  Just like with other cuts of meat allowing it to rest for at least 5-10 minutes before slicing into it will save you from loosing all those precious juices.

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Another pointer I will add, is to chop the kale and-or spinach up very fine - this helps keep the meatloaf together and hides the greens a little more if you have picky eaters. I sautéd the onions and peppers before stirring them into the loaf. It gives them some extra flavor, and leaches out the extra liquid to avoid soggy meatloaf. Once the onions and peppers were cooked I added the kale to wilt it as well. While this was cooking I soaked the oats in the milk and egg mixture before finally adding it all together. Originally I thought I didn’t have any breadcrumbs in the house but my mixture was more wet than I wanted it to be so I did add a few crumbs in there to help get it to the consistency I wanted. I also just put mine into one 9x9 pan instead of two typical meatloaf pans or separating in into two loaves, but I will leave the instructions for two loaves!

It was a huge hit! I hadn’t made meatloaf in awhile and my husband didn’t mind the kale being in there at all - I think he is starting to expect that I am putting it in everything!

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 large onion diced

  • 1 bell pepper diced

  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley

  • 1 tablespoon dried basil

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 5 cloves minced garlic

  • 10 oz kale, chopped into roughly 1/2 inch pieces

  • 2 lbs ground beef

  • 3 eggs - mine were medium sized but probably could’ve done just two

  • 1/2 cup oats or 1 cup plain bread crumbs

  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/3 cup milk

  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

  • 1/2 cup  ketchup - I added a tablespoon of brown sugar to the ketchup for the top

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large nonstick skillet. Add the diced onions, peppers, dried parsley, dried basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper to the pan. Sauté over medium heat for about 8 minutes, or until the onions are softened and just starting to turn golden.

  3. Add the baby kale, spinach, and garlic to the pan and sauté, stirring frequently, for 2 or 3 minutes, until just wilted. Remove from the heat and let cool until just slightly warm.

  4. While the greens are cooling, prep the rest of the meatloaf. In a large bowl combine the milk, oats, and eggs . Let sit for 5 minutes to soak up the liquid. Add the Worcestershire sauce, parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to the large bowl. Add the cooled greens and onion mixture and add in the ground beef and mix gently with your hands, just until combined (this should only take about 30 seconds, really!)

  5. Once the meatloaf is well mixed, take out a large 8x16 inch Pyrex baking dish and form two 4 inch by 8 inch meatloafs on each half of the dish. Spread 1/2 cup ketchup on top of the loaf and place in the oven. Bake for about 1 hour , or until the center of the meatloaf reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit and the ketchup topping has developed a nice crust.

  6. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before slicing. Enjoy!

  7. P.S. the leftovers make GREAT meatloaf sandwiches