Monday, June 16, 2008

No Pics!

Sorry - this meatloaf was so good that there was not time to take any pictures. Maybe next time I whip it up.


2 lbs ground burger (used the 20/80 mix although I prefer the 10/90)
1 box Lipton Beefy Onion Soup Mix ( 2 pkgs)
1 cup (already steamed) brown rice
1 jar beef gravy or about 1 - 2 cups left over gravy.

I put my rice to cook in our ** rice cooker/steamer, a device we have had since Gabriela was an infant so it is 17 years old and still going strong - knock on wood.

Once it was ready and cool enough to handle I mixed 1 cup of (cooked) rice to 2 lbs of (raw) ground beef and then worked in two bags of the Lipton Soup mix.

I was working on memory here. The first time we ate this meatloaf was 24 years ago and I have not made it in years or more accurately in over a decade so there were several children anxious to see what this mysterious thing called meatloaf was going to look like, never mind taste.

Once all the ingredients were well mixed I patted it into a loaf pan and poured a generous layer of the gravy over it. Inserted it into a preheated oven set at350. Set the timer for 30 minutes as I had no clue how long it would take to cook.

We rolled into the oven, strategically placed here and there, 12 potatoes that had been duly poked by Gabriela, the chef's assistant for that night. Not only had they been poked, but they had been generously rubbed with olive oil, salt and pepper. Next time I think I will add the salt and freshly ground pepper to the oil and then rub it on the potatoes and see how that works.

Then I hopped online to see if my estimation of 30 minutes was a good one and determined it might be better to give the loaf a good 50 minutes to bake in peace before I started poking and prodding it to see if was ready.

On the ding of the timer we pulled out a steaming hot loaf and carefully, but quickly placed the pan upside down on a cookie rack set over a tray to catch the fat. I had read of a great idea (after I had already placed the pans in the oven) that one website suggested and that was of buying some cheap loaf pans, poke holes in the bottom so that the fat drains out while baking - into another larger pan of course.

By then even the largest of the potatoes were ready, the salad had been thrown together and placed on the table. The hungry crew gathered and in no time at all there were only a few slices of the loaf left and these were eagerly consumed the next day at lunch time by the ones smart enough to remember before anyone else that there was left over meatloaf in the fridge.

Now I can imagine you all sitting here scratching your heads and wondering what size of loaf pan was this, that it fed this crew and had a few slices left over. Well here is my confession - I actually made two loaves but as most people will not be needing to feed a crew of twelve on the average week night, I only posted the recipe as for one loaf. It was an incredibly easy recipe to make, and easily duplicated so that I actually had two loaves in the over in under 20 minutes from start to finish.

The only thing I might change is to use only one bag of Lipton soup mix per two pounds. When I try that, I will let you know how it fared. And of course, had I had left over gravy that would obviously have been my first pick as a gravy!

I never cared for meatloaf as a child, in fact I detested it as a child as well as an adult so when a friend brought this to the door as a care package meal after Jennifer's birth, I gulped and put on a big smile and graciously thanked her, while wondering how many meals it would take Hugo and 15 month old Aimee to finish off this huge loaf! Perhaps sensing my discomfort, though I was hoping she did not as it was so gracious of her to have brought us a meal, she quickly explained that her meatloaf was not like most others. Intrigued I asked what made it different. She explained about the rice and the gravy and I was hooked. This I had to try - esp if it had real gravy on it.

Later that night we feasted on Cathy's meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans. It was an instant hit with the "whole" family, that is the three of us that had teeth and could chew. It became one of Aimee's favourites, especially with green beans.

Time marched on and as my confidence as a cook grew along with my repertoire of recipes, this one eventually fell to the wayside and was forgotten, I don't know if even Aimee remembers it. But a few nights ago, we were sitting around the dining room table talking and something triggered my memory so I told the kids all about meatloaf and they were curious to try it. They had read about it often in books and wondered what it was.

Now they know... and they loved it. If you try this recipe, let me know what you thought and how your family enjoyed it. While doing my research online to help me to determine how many cups of rice to mix in with the beef, I came across several interesting ways to make meat loaf - including adding in grated potatoes and carrots. I might try that some day!

(** Note: I do not know the brand of my rice cooker but this one, being sold at Target, looks the most like ours and falls into about the same price range that we paid 17 years ago. One of Hugo co-workers, originally of Vietnam, had his mother find us one in Montreal, and he picked it up while visiting her and brought it back for us and cooking rice has been a dream ever since!) Read more!

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