Hey, y’all! I’d like to thank everyone who’s been voting and spreading the word about the Best Healthy Eating Blog competition over at Shape.com. You’re all so wonderful! Just a clarification, though – it won’t block you from voting more than once, but it won’t count it; if you vote a second time, when it takes you to the results page, scroll up to the top of the list and you’ll see a message saying, “Thank you, we have already counted your vote.” I’ve dropped to 7th place (not that I ever expected to win), but everyone that I’m ahead of, I’m ahead of by a comfortable margin. I really appreciate your support – there’s 10 more days of voting, so if you can continue to spread the word of the only paleo/primal/real food blog in the running, I’ll be ever so grateful.
Sorry there was no post on Friday, but I spent the day playing one of my most important roles: Grandma. No photos, sorry; I took my camera but I just wanted to spend time doing the grandparent thing rather than documenting it, if you get my meaning. Not to worry, though – The G Man is going to spend an entire week at the Sushi Bar the week following Thanksgiving while his Mommy takes a trip, and you can bet I’ll find plenty of opportunities to follow him around while saying, “G – look at Grandma and smile, honey!!”
But now to the business at hand. You know, it was warm and sunny (albeit windy) in Cincinnati this weekend, but when we returned to Podunk it was wet, dreary and cold…all part and parcel of autumn in northeast Ohio. I had a hankering for something resembling Chinese food last night, but it was clearly meatloaf weather, so I threw this together. I have to admit, it was pretty darn good, too, as were the side dishes, one of which I’ll likely post later this week. It doesn’t take any longer than a traditional meatloaf, and it is reminiscent of good old Chinese-American Sweet and Sour without the fake bright red color. If you need an endorsement – The Young One gobbled it down in about 7.3 seconds.
Note: I made two smaller meatloaves to shorten the cooking time; you can make one large meatloaf if you wish. Also, if you want to make it a little more “authentic” (although there’s precious little that’s authentic about Chinese-American Sweet and Sour), use ground pork instead of ground beef. Also, if you cannot find coconut sugar, use an equal amount of honey or – as a last resort – sucanat (evaporated cane juice).
Sweet and Sour Meatloaf
serves 6 to 8
2 pounds ground beef, preferably grass-fed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 small onion, finely diced
1/2 medium red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 tablespoon lard or butter
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
Preheat the oven to 350º F.
Melt the lard or butter in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion and bell pepper, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Whisk together the tomato sauce, coconut sugar, apple cider vinegar and mustard in a small bowl. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, egg, salt, pepper, onion/bell pepper mixture and ¼ cup of the tomato sauce mixture, mixing well with your hands. Form it into two loaves and place them in a shallow glass baking pan. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
While the meatloaves are baking, pour the remaining tomato sauce mixture into the skillet you cooked the onion and bell pepper in. Cook it over medium heat, stirring frequently, until reduced by about half and thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and set aside.
After 30 minutes, remove the meatloaves from the oven. Glaze them with the thickened tomato sauce mixture and return to the oven. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer.
Allow the meatloaves to rest for 5 to 7 minutes before slicing and serving.
Nutrition (per serving): 352 calories, 25.8g total fat, 109.8mg cholesterol, 546.2mg sodium, 439.8mg potassium, 6.6g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 5.5g sugar, 21.5g protein.