Basic meatloaf gets a makeover Tradition: The culinary classic can be updated to suit today's tastes.

January 28, 1998|By Ruth Cousineau | Ruth Cousineau,EATING WELL

Do you ever find yourself in a trendy restaurant, ordering the Thai shrimp salad or the smoked chicken pasta, all the while quietly craving a slice of old-fashioned meatloaf with a side of mashed potatoes? Or, if the truth be told, maybe it's leftover meatloaf you really want, sandwiched in a bun with plenty of ketchup and lettuce, a cold glass of milk in easy reach.

It isn't so much that retro food is "in." It's more that you love the foods that feel familiar -- the way you buy the same brand of toothpaste as your parents.

It's also that the simple meals of your childhood -- even meatloaf -- were really quite good.

Of course, classic meatloaf recipes tend not to match today's nutritional sensibilities. But they offer sensational opportunities for a healthful makeover. By using the leanest of meats in combination with onions, peppers, grains and spices, you get savory loaves that have lost nothing but calories and fat. And if you can't help but play with your food, try making a meatloaf that looks like a pizza or jazz up Mom's loaf with the elements of a Latin-American picadillo, such as raisins, olives and cinnamon.

Picadillo Meatloaf

Makes 6 servings

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 pound lean ground beef, preferably ground round

1/2 pound ground turkey breast

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/3 cup pimento-stuffed olives, chopped

1/4 cup raisins, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup medium-hot taco sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil an 8-inch square bakin pan or coat it with nonstick spray.

Spread oats in a shallow pan and bake for 4 to 7 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Let cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, ground beef, ground turkey, onion, bell pepper, garlic, egg, olives, raisins, salt, coriander, cinnamon, pepper and 1/4 cup taco sauce. Mix well.

Transfer mixture to prepared pan. With dampened hands, form into a 7-inch-by-4-inch loaf. Drizzle with remaining 3/4 cup taco sauce.

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in center of loaf registers 165 degrees. Transfer to a serving platter.

Per serving: 250 calories; 24 grams protein; 13 grams fat (1.3 grams saturated fat); 17 grams carbohydrate; 800 mg sodium; 65 mg cholesterol; 2 grams fiber.

"Meat'za"

Makes 6 servings

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 medium onion, sliced

1 red or yellow bell pepper, sliced

1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1 pound lean ground beef, preferably ground round

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup Italian-style bread crumbs

1/3 cup 1-percent milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup prepared marinara sauce

1/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a 12-inch pizza pan o coat it with nonstick spray. Place pizza pan on a large baking sheet with sides.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, mushrooms and basil; cook, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine beef, garlic, bread crumbs, milk and salt. Mix well.

Transfer meat mixture to prepared pan. With dampened hands, pat into a 10-inch circle. Top with marinara sauce. Spoon reserved vegetable mixture over sauce and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until meat is browned and cheese has melted. Drain off any fat. Place pizza pan on a large platter and cut "meat'za" into wedges.

Per serving: 220 calories; 25 grams protein; 11 grams fat (2.9 grams saturated fat); 11 grams carbohydrate; 310 mg sodium; 64 mg cholesterol; 1 gram fiber.

Mom's Mashed Potatoes

Makes about 5 cups, for 6 servings

3 pounds baking potatoes (about 8 potatoes), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

salt to taste

1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth, defatted and heated

2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream

freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large, heavy pot, cover potatoes with cold, salted water Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Drain potatoes and return to the pot. Off the heat, mash potatoes, adding enough hot broth to make a smooth puree. Stir in sour cream and season with salt and pepper. (The potatoes BTC will keep warm, covered with wax paper, over a pan of barely simmering water for up to 1 hour.)

Per serving: 205 calories; 4 grams protein, 1 gram fat (0.5 gram saturated fat), 46 grams carbohydrate; 60 mg sodium; 2 mg cholesterol; 3 grams fiber.

Pub Date: 1/28/98

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