This week: Italian Meat Loaf
There are several variations of the meat loaf recipe that one can use. I did a Mexican Meat Loaf before. This week I'm doing an Italian theme. Unlike traditional meat loaf, this is done without bread, cereal, or other grains. The secrets to doing a really good meat loaf this way are first, to use the leanest ground beef you can (generally sold, progressively leaner, as ground chuck, ground round, and ground sirloin; locally we also get "extra lean ground beef" which is the leanest yet). The less fat in the ground beef, the less shrinkage and the less the loaf will end up swimming in liquid (normally absorbed by the bread or equivalent) during cooking. The second secret is lots of egg, which helps bind everything together.
3 lbs lean ground beef (chuck or leaner)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 12 oz. can tomato paste
1 cup diced bell peppers (I use them from frozen bags so how many bell peppers that might be, I don't know).
1 cup diced onion (ditto)
4 Oz chopped fresh mushrooms
1 Tbsp finely minced garlic (for folk who know me, this is actually a remarkably small amount)
1 Tbsp Oregano.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ingredients. The best way really is to get in there with your hands (I don't need to remind you to wash them first, right? Oh, I just did. ;) ) and squish it all together until it's thoroughly mixed.
Place the mix in a 4-5 quart slow cooker.
Cook 8-10 hours.
Portion. I like to cut it into eights like a pie and remove the pieces to zipper bags to freeze to take to lunch.