It’s time to clean the refrigerator with me and whip up a hearty, delicious meal with leftovers. I clean the refrigerator and use up leftovers once a week. Today’s leftovers recipe: Garden Vegetable Meatloaf Supreme. This meatloaf is moist, piquant and packed with veggies.
There are as many meatloaf recipes as there are chefs who make meatloaf. Everyone thinks she or he makes the best meatloaf; I know mine is the best meatloaf and here’s why: how often have you been served meatloaf, only to find that it’s a dry solid mass. Cement or marble loaf would be a better word for it. If you can sculpt meatloaf, it’s too dry. To make it palatable requires drenching it in gravy. Not so great for the cholesterol or diet. My meatloaf recipe is moist and delicious because the ‘gravy’ is baked it.
Here’s how to use up leftovers, clean the refrigerator and make a meatloaf that will be an oft-requested family favorite. Begin with ground beef or hamburger. Ground beef has less fat. It is also more expensive. The reason meatloaf was invented was as a way to stretch hamburger, in the days when meat was a luxury. Meatloaf is a penny-pincher’s meal.
Place raw beef or burger in a large mixing bowl. In your refrigerator purging, you’re bound to come across leftover bits of vegetables. The odd few carrots, partially used onions, half a stalk of celery, several sliced tomatoes, withered green, red or yellow peppers, part of a turnip, leek, rutabaga, half a bag of radishes, cucumber, several potatoes. Any and all of these vegetables make delicious add-ins. Rinse, pare away any bad parts and chop. Add to hamburger.
Got several bottles with just a little sauce left in them? Add mustard, ketchup, BBQ sauce, sweet French or Russian salad dressing, chili sauce or Worcestershire sauce? Add leftovers to meat and vegetables. Rinse the bottles to get remains out. You will need more sweet sauce or ketchup (about one cup) than mustard.
Go through your dry goods cupboard. Look for partially used sleeves of saltines and crackers. Look for mostly used boxes of unsweetened breakfast cereal (Cheerios, Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Wheaties). Crush cereal and crackers and add to meat and vegetables. Add a packet of French onion soup mix. If you have leftover cooked rice or mashed potatoes, you can add these for starch. The ratio of meat to starch can be as much as 1:1. Mix by hand until blended. Place in glass baking dish or 9×13 cake pan. Bake covered until bubbly.