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Variations abound for making meatloaf

Variations abound for making meatloaf

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Meatloaf is a classic American comfort dish and relatively simple to make. Traditional meatloaf is made with ground beef and mixed with egg and breadcrumbs, shaped into a loaf, baked in the oven, and served with a tomato sauce. Today, there are hundreds of variations. Some chefs are combining a mixture of ground beef and ground pork for more flavor, while others are using ground turkey to cut back on fat and calories. Whatever meat you choose, use lean meat; about 90 percent lean is the best and will make for a less greasy product.

As for fillers, use whole grain options, such as cooked brown rice, dry oats, whole wheat crackers or bread crumbs. Try splitting the amount of filler the recipe calls for with ground flaxseed to boost your omega-3 fatty acids. An egg makes a great binder, adds richness, and is a good source of protein. However, if you are without an egg, low-fat milk or sour cream can be substituted. Cooked vegetables can also be added to increase nutritional value and add flavor. But meatloaf wouldn’t be a meatloaf without the topping. Ketchup, tomato sauce or a glaze mixture keeps the entrée moist and is like “icing on the cake.”

Magically Nutritious Meatloaf

⅓ cup chopped green onions

¼ cup finely chopped red or green bell pepper

¼ cup finely chopped carrot

2 egg whites, slightly beaten

½ cup oats

2 Tablespoons fat-free milk

⅓ cup ketchup

½ teaspoon dried basil

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 lb. 90 percent lean ground beef

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a small skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Cook green onions, bell pepper, and carrot over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and set aside. In a large bowl, stir together egg whites, oats, milk, 2 tablespoons of ketchup, basil and pepper. Add the cooked vegetables and the ground beef; mix well. Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and form meat mixture into a loaf. Bake for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine remaining ketchup, brown sugar, and vinegar. Spread over meatloaf. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until internal temperature taken with a thermometer reads 160 degrees.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutritional analysis per serving: 189 calories, 8 grams fat, 48 milligrams cholesterol,

319 milligrams sodium, 12 grams total carbohydrate, 1 gram dietary fiber, 16 grams protein

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