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In honor of Retro Week, I finally made meatloaf last night in the crockpot. If you google meatloaf in crockpot or crockpot meatloaf you will get a bazillion different ways to make meatloaf in the crock. I got overwhelmed reading them, and decided to make it the way that I always make meatloaf: throw in what I feel like at the time and hope for the best.
The very first time I made meatloaf kind of traumatized me, so I don't make it very often.
We were living in a 2-bedroom apartment with shag-green carpet, and the kitchen was teeny-tiny. My eldest was a newborn, maybe only 6 to 8 weeks of age, and the kid DID. NOT. SLEEP. like at all.
I hadn't gone back to any sort of work yet, and had regained some energy, so I decided to pop her into the sling and walk to the store, hoping she'd fall asleep on the way. She did. I called Adam and told him I'd make whatever he wanted for dinner. He picked meatloaf. Okay, then, meatloaf it was. I gathered the ingredients I thought I would need, and remembered to sway and jostle properly, so the baby wouldn't awaken. I somehow managed to get home the mile walk from the store, with a bag in each hand without waking the baby.
I was ecstatic.
I unloaded everything--except the baby. There was no way that I was going to disturb her sleep for anything.
I remember flipping on the stereo, and opening the front door and the windows to get a bit of air into the stuffy apartment while I got to work on the meatloaf. I had no idea what I was doing, but started cramming different shredded vegetables, breadcrumbs and pasta sauce into a bread pan.
I cracked an egg, and heard a bellow from the open front door, "UPS!"
I screamed, and dropped the egg.
Into the sling, and onto my newborn's head.
She was covered in raw egg.
And she woke up.
And we both cried.
I didn't make another meatloaf for four years.
BUT! I made one yesterday. For you people. ;-)
This is what I did. You can use your favorite secret family recipe. -- Just keep the proportions pretty much the same -- use 1 to 2 pounds of ground meat.
1 pound lean ground turkey
-1/2pound lean ground beef
1 chopped red bell pepper (take out the seeds!)
--1/4 cup uncooked brown rice
1 (14.4-ounce) can of tomatoes with Italian seasoning (the whole can, juice too!)
1 tablespoon A-1 sauce
1 tablespoon dried, minced onion flakes OR 1 packet onion soup mix (this is usually not gluten free, be careful and read ingredients well!)
1 large egg
1/4 cup (or so) of ketchup
--in a mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients except for the ketchup and mix. I always use my hands, because that's what my mom does. Remember where you put your rings!
--squirt the ketchup all over the top.
You can put the entire meat mixture directly into your crockpot, or you can put it into a heat-resistant dish inserted into your crock. It is your choice. I used my 6qt Smart Pot, and put a loaf pan into it. What I like about using the loaf pan is that the fat kind of bubbles up and out over the top of the pan and then collects in the crock.
I wish I had one of those insert things that goes in the loaf pan for meatloaf with the little holes so the fat can drain. But I don't.
If your crock is only 4 qts, just plop the meat into the crock. You can suck away some of the fat that collects on the top with paper towels a few hours into cooking time if it grosses you out.
Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 6-8. The meat is done when it is brown and fully cooked when you cut into it.
Let the meat sit for about 30 minutes before you slice and serve.
I didn't let my meat sit long enough and it fell apart. It was kind of like meatloaf hash. It tasted wonderful, but I was bummed that it didn't slice the way that I knew it could if I hadn't rushed the process.
My parents came for dinner and liked it, and took home some leftovers. They fed the kids while Adam and I went for a run, and the kids ate it for them. I think grandma and grandpa should come over for dinner more often---the kids eat MUCH better for them.
|original photo from 2008: slow cooker meatloaf|
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