When I visited my sister and her family in Spain I cooked for them a few times. One of the things my sister misses most about home while living in Europe is plain old American food. So one night I made meatloaf. It was a huge hit with the whole family. About a month later, I got a call from her saying David, my brother-in-law, was craving meatloaf. And mine was the one he wanted. Who could blame him, it’s awesome!
I am a huge advocate of hiding vegetables in places you wouldn’t really expect them. Meatloaf is one of my favorite veggie hiding spots. Not only do the additional veggies contribute extra flavor and variety to what can be a pretty boring, albeit classic, dish, but they also add moisture, keeping it from being dry and lifeless. That isn’t even touching on the extra health benefits from eating meatloaf that is secretly about 1/3 veggies. I much prefer this to the traditional version and my kids can’t get enough of it. For those of you who are not huge veggie fans, chop them small or grate them and you probably won’t even notice they are there. Don’t expect any leftovers.
Don’t feel like you have to use the exact amounts listed here. I only wrote it down so someone else could make it. Truthfully, I don’t measure anything when I make it. Because let’s face it, good meatloaf is just like good art: sometimes you just throw things together and magic happens.
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 chopped red pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup ketchup
A few shots of hot sauce
1 tbsp of Italian seasoning
1-2 cloves chopped garlic
Salt & pepper
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Preheat your oven to 375˚. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Your hands are the best tools to use for this job. Wear gloves if you don’t like to get dirty.
Mix lightly with your hands until all ingredients are combined. Spray your casserole dish with cooking spray, plop in the meatloaf mixture and lightly press into the shape of the pan.
Top with additional ketchup and hot sauce and spread over the top. Bake uncovered for 45-60 min at 375. If there is extra grease or juice around the edges after cooking, just drain it off a bit before serving. Get ready to watch it disappear!