I’m a few (many) posts behind, so I hope no one minds that I’m posting more than one recipe today.
About a week ago I did my usual monthly shopping at Sam’s. About a week before that I was aghast to find that the huge supply of ground beef I bought at the beginning of October and froze had dwindled to nonexistence. (I actually bought twice what I usually do.) I later learned that half of what I had frozen had been shoved into an out of the way spot in the freezer where no one could see it, so now, since I again bought twice what I usually do, I have an amazingly large amount of ground beef in my freezer. (Whew. Good to know I wasn’t losing my mind!) What with the way grocery prices are rising, I don’t feel too bad about that.
Anyway, as I was pondering what to make for dinner last night I realized that I had only frozen half of the double amount of ground beef I bought, and half of it was still in my refrigerator. YIKES! Praying that it was still edible, I decided I needed to use some of it for dinner and get the rest in the freezer NOW. My husband has been begging me for meatloaf, but I didn’t have the hour and a half it took to cook a traditional one. Once again, my sweet friend Stephanie came unknowingly to the rescue! (She’s saved my bacon hehe more than once.) Here’s her amazing recipe:
Chef Tess’ Personal Italian Meatloaves with Oats
makes 12 muffin-sized meatloaves
2 pounds spicy lean turkey sausage
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup vital wheat gluten
½ cup minced onion
½ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
¼ cup tomato paste
4 ounce part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 Roma tomato, sliced into 12 thin slices
12 green olives, pitted
6 black marinated olives
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine turkey sausage, oats, onion, gluten, sun-dried tomato, fennel, garlic and tomato paste until completely mixed. Divide mixture between 12 muffin cups. (I use silicone muffin pans because they can go from the oven to the fridge/freezer and make removing the meatloaf a very simple process.)
When I’m ready to bake, I take half of the cheese and cut it into 12 cubes to go inside the meatloaf. Then I pinch the meat mixture around the cheese cube. Bake 25-30 minutes.
While they bake, slice the remaining cheese into 12 small slices, along with slicing the olives in half. Take the meatloaves out of the oven and top with a slice of cheese and one small slice of tomato. Sprinkle with parsley. Cheese will melt slightly. Serve hot OR for a freezer meal: Top with olives. Place in fridge and allow to cool. Transfer to freezer safe bags.
To serve: Defrost overnight in the fridge or place frozen meatloaf on a microwave safe plate. Microwave on high 2 minutes for one loaf, or 5-7 minutes for 4. To heat from frozen in the oven, place in personal ramekins or oven safe dishes, top with a few tablespoons of marinara sauce, and bake 350° 15-20 minutes, until heated through or internal temperature of 170°.
So, as you already know, I had ground beef to use up, so I swapped it for the turkey sausage. I’m sure that this swap contributed greatly to the flavor of the meatloaf, especially since it calls for spicy sausage, and I didn’t add any additional spice to cover the missing flavor. And I’m very grateful for the wheat gluten, which I think helped soak up some of the extra grease. (I used extra lean, but I’m fairly certain there’s still more grease in beef than turkey.) I also used onion powder instead of real onions, as usual. I was going to mix in a little season salt, but I didn’t, and honestly I didn’t mind. I thought it tasted great, and so did Middlest, which quite surprised me since he doesn’t much like tomatoes. The sun-dried made the flavor quite different that regular old tomatoes, maybe that’s why. I also forgot to put the mozzarella on, and left out the Roma on top (I used up all the Romas I had in the house, so was lacking) and the olives, since my husband hates anything to do with olives, especially green ones. So by the time I was done, this really wasn’t Stephanie’s recipe anymore. Maybe next time.
Littlest had a fever and wouldn’t eat, poor little guy, so he didn’t weigh in with his opinion. My husband and Oldest decided that they weren’t too keen on this particular meatloaf (I think they didn’t like the fennel) though the way my husband smothers meatloaf in ketchup I don’t know how he could tell. I loved the way the outside was a little bit crunchy while the inside was moist. Mmm. Wonder if they do that when you remember the mozza...? I popped the leftovers in the freezer for a quick meal/snack. I hope they freeze cooked as well as they do raw.
|Here are two of the meatloaves making a happy face with some fresh green beans. Mmm. And yes, I admit it, I do use paper plates from time to time. Cuts down on the stress at my house.|