Growing up in a family of six, I learned a few tricks for getting multiple meals out of just one recipe.
My father was so much of a meat eater that he didn’t consider it dinner unless he had a hunk of steak or hearty meatloaf. I remember my mom served an eggplant dish, which he considered an appetizer or side dish. He asked when dinner would be ready.
One of the easiest ways to stretch meatloaf is to turn them into meatballs that can be frozen or refrigerated until the next day’s dinner.
Make a generic meat mix
The recipe for meatballs and meatloaf can be identical. Some people like to mix pork and beef together. I now just use grass-fed beef. To make a large batch, use two eggs, two packages of meat. Chop up a green pepper and onion. For seasoning, I use black pepper, salt, at least 3 Tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and parsley. Use enough bread crumbs for the texture you like. The meatball mix has to be thick enough to turn into balls.
Forming the meat mix
To make meatballs, I use a melon scoop to get perfectly round balls. For the meatloaf, I form one large loaf. If I am making individual portion sizes, I use a measuring cup to portion out ¾ of a cup.
Finishing off the recipes
For the meatloaf, I top the formed loaf with ketchup and then bake. For the meatballs, I cook them in olive oil on the stove until nicely brown. I then transfer them into a clean pan with marinara sauce, sprinkling parsley on top.
Lighter meatloaf recipe
For lighter meatballs, I substitute ground white turkey breast meat for the beef. For added health, I finely chop a bag of spinach, which I add to the turkey meat mixture. Since turkey is rather bland, I add more herbs and spices. Instead of using the tomato sauce, I often make a light fruit glaze for the turkey meatloaf and meatballs. The glaze is similar to a recipe for blackberry cobbler filling. I simply mash blackberries on the stove with a little bit of water, balsamic vinegar and cornstarch. For seasoning, I add thyme.
Other quick and easy dishes using the meatloaf mix include an easy “meat pie,” using crescent dough. I slice the meatloaf so they fit inside the crescent shapes, roll them up, sprinkle with cheddar cheese and bake according to package directions.
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