Monday, March 20, 2006


Wow! I’ve never been that into meatloaf before—OK, I’ve never been into meatloaf at all before, and in fact the concept of a loaf of meat strikes me as both hilarious and disturbing. But when I saw this recipe in Cooking Light, it just sounded so good. Maybe I was iron-deficient that day, but I suddenly craved a big slice of spiced meat. And boy howdy, it tasted as good as it sounded. I always think of ground beef as somewhat dry and bland, but this recipe makes sure to keep it well-seasoned and moistened with tomato sauce, producing a juicy, flavorful meatloaf (even more flavorful the next day) that isn’t too dense and is still pretty lean. And could it be any easier to cook? Plus, you’ve got to love that kitchy ’50s housewife vibe you feel pulling a hot meatloaf out of the oven. (Especially if, like me, you happen to be wearing a retro cherry-printed apron at the time.) This is another recipe I can’t wait to make again.

Note: Usually I abhor garlic powder, because I love the real thing so incredibly much. But Cooking Light usually avoids the powdered stuff, too, so when this recipe called for it, I figured there must be some good reason to go along (also, I usually think it’s best to follow a recipe to the letter at least one time before I go making modifications). And I do think the garlic powder works better here. The garlic flavor gets subtly distributed throughout the entire mixture and melds with the other tastes, rather than just appearing in intense, isolated chunks. And really, it doesn’t pay to try to be too fancy when making one of the ultimate comfort foods.

1 and 1/2 pounds 92% lean ground beef
1 cup canned tomato sauce, divided
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 large egg whites

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine beef, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Shape beef mixture into an 8-by-4-inch loaf on a broiler pan or baking sheet lined with tin foil and coated with a small amount of olive oil or cooking spray. Brush remaining 1/2 cup tomato sauce over top of meat loaf. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

Serves: 4-6
Time: 1 and 1/2 hours, mostly cooking time

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