Monday, October 25, 2010

Menu Monday: Mini-meatloaves 2 ways

Happy Monday!

It was a very rainy weekend in Northern California...which I loved!  I was able to start and actually finish sewing a Halloween costume (more on that to come) and finish a ball of yarn on my first knitting project. The end of the weekend brought the beginning of a fun week with my girls' first ballet class today- SO SWEET!

I made the last of my Rachel Ray recipes this week (gosh that week of meals seemed to last 2 weeks...guess that's what happens when you toss in a Mac-n-cheese night and a few extra burrito nights!)  Anyways, this meal was actually a great two-fer.  We had it for dinner one night and then again for lunch the next day in paninis.

Mini Meatloaves Smothered in Onions

Ingredients:1/2 cup pitted dried dates, chopped (Trader Joe's has these in the refrigerator section)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (TJ's carries, near pasta)
1 1/3 pounds ground beef (I love the organic/free range ground beef at Costco, just $4.33/pound)
3 onions, 2 thinly sliced and 1 finely chopped (this is a LOT, if you just have 2 adults use 2 total)
3 slices cooked bacon, chopped (we love bacon*, use more!)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper 4 tablespoons butter, melted

Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 375°. In a bowl, combine the dates and breadcrumbs, working the mixture through your fingers to separate. Mix in the beef. Mix in the chopped onion, bacon, egg, worcestershire and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Divide into 4 mounds and, on a baking sheet, shape into loaves. Place on the upper rack and bake for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, on another baking sheet, toss the sliced onions with the butter and season with salt; spread out evenly. Bake on the lower rack, stirring occasionally, until
 golden, about 30 minutes. I prepared the onions slightly differently.  I caramelized them slowly, for about 30 min., on med-low, in the pan I cooked the bacon in, without draining the bacon grease (not so healthy, but SO good!) 
Serve the meatloaves with the onions.
I served with this great frozen veggie mix from Trader Joe's: Organic Foursome (beans, peas, carrots, corn) and brown rice.

 the best part of this meal is yet to come!
We had left-over meatloaf AND onions........
this made one of the best paninis the next day.

For the paninis:

Sliced Sourdough (or your favorite panini bread)
meatloaf,above, sliced & heated
caramelized onions from the meatloaf, heated
freshly cooked bacon
smoked Gouda (I'm sure any cheese would be good!)

Put all the ingredients between bread and cook in panini press (my panini press is my George Foreman creative!) for about 5 minutes.  Yum!

* I tend to cook with more bacon than you might think is "healthy"...but I wanted to add a disclaimer about the bacon I buy.  It's Niman Ranch Applewood Smoked Uncured Bacon (the photo above is not mine, and is of the dry-cured package...also nitrite/nitrate free). This bacon has got to be one of the "healthiest" out there.  It contains no nitrates/nitrites.  The pigs are raised in a sustainable manner, fed only a vegetarian meal, and not given antibiotics or hormones. And of course, it is available at Trader Joe's!

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