Meatloaf 101


Meatloaf is an American comfort-food classic, and it’s easy on the budget.


It’s also a hearty organic Super Bowl Sunday entrée—“a smart dish to serve a gang of fans,” says Dana Jacobi, author of the 12 Best Foods Cookbook, a contributor to the New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life and a recipe developer for the American Institute for Cancer Research.

Every ingredient in meatloaf has a purpose, Jacobi says.

“Traditionally, the meat was a blend of fatty beef, pork (for bolder flavor) and veal,” she explains. “Today, many health-conscious cooks use lean poultry or reduced-fat beef to cut down on the saturated fat. I like to combine the two, especially since new evidence notes that a diet high in red meat can increase risk of colorectal cancer.”

Meatloaf also needs a binder, an egg and seasonings.

“The binder, which is traditionally either fresh bread soaked in milk or whirled into soft breadcrumbs, helps the meat hold a nice shape and lightens the overall mix,” Jacobi says. “It also makes the meat go further, with a pound of meat yielding six to eight portions. Cooked rice, mashed potatoes or even refried beans also make good binders.

“The egg (or egg white, if you prefer) helps a meatloaf hold together,” she continues. “When using lean ground beef or poultry, it helps keep the meatloaf moist, as well.”

Seasoning is the cook’s preference.

“Most cooks rely on a combination of aromatics and seasonings,” Jacobi says. “The aromatics may be sautéed onions, garlic, leeks, scallions or shallots. Seasonings can include ketchup, mustard and herbs or spices—anything from Italian seasoning to curry powder.”

Jacobi always blends a few cups of cooked vegetables into her meatloaf.

“Along with flavor, color and moisture, they add valuable nutrition,” she says. “Chopped broccoli, mushrooms, peppers, celery, carrots or corn work well. Simply sauté them together with the onions.”

Tune in tomorrow for Jacobi’s recipe for Super Bowl Meatloaf.

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