Meatloaf balls because I started out with meatloaf and ended up with meatballs.
And my garden, because, as puny as it is, I am proud of it and want to share it with you here on Authentic Simplicity.
I have to admit that gardening is not my favorite pastime, especially container gardening, because you have to water the darn things constantly, and woe to those who miss a watering!! Every year, I swear I’m not going to bother… and every year, I do. I guess I figure eventually I will get the hang of it?
One thing that keeps me plucking away with my black thumb is the satisfaction of using fresh herbs, lettuce and even a few vegetables from my little garden. There’s just nothing like growing your own food: it’s QUICK because you can step outside and pick what you need (no half-hour trip to the grocery store); it’s CHEAP because the seeds or starter plants are minimal in cost, especially compared to the output over the growing season; and it’s definitely very HEALTHY, especially if you can grow them organically without the use of chemicals. But it’s not EASY. Oh well. We can’t have everything, I suppose.
The other day, I was thrilled to be able to use some of my new herbs to add some extra flavor and nutrition to our dinner. I had clipped a recipe for individual meatloaves from a Family Circle magazine, and altered it a bit to suit my tastes and our family’s dietary needs. It already started out with lots of fresh veggies (hence the “Garden Fresh” moniker I bestowed upon it), but all the seasonings it called for were dried or powdered. I just couldn’t do that when I had fresh herbs right on my balcony, so I spruced up the recipe a wee bit. My DH was really very skeptical when he saw the ratio of veggies to meat, but even he admitted afterward that they were delicious. He doesn’t like people messing with his food, so that’s high praise, folks.
When I started to make them, I just intended to dump the meatloaf mixture into muffin pans to make individual meatloaves; then I decided that I wanted their shape to be more uniform, so I shaped them into balls before dumping them into the muffin pan. Then I realized that I had just made meatballs. Or Meatloaf Balls.
The original recipe calls for ground beef, but I used ground turkey because of our Certain Little Someone’s allergies.You, however, are allowed to use beef; I will let you.
Garden Fresh Meatloaf Balls
2 lbs ground beef or turkey
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 zucchini, shredded
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP fresh chopped basil
2 tsp fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp fresh chopped oregano
3 TBSP ketchup
1 egg, optional
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl until well blended. Form into large balls and place in muffin tins (makes about 18). Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160F.
Making individual (or muffin-sized) meatloaves is a lot QUICKer than cooking the loaf in its entirety. I very rarely make an entire meatloaf for that very reason.
Meatloaf is so EASY; that’s why it’s a popular meal-time staple.
Ground meat is generally CHEAPer than cuts of meat and can be stretched further. Plus, using all those veggies really extends the amount meat to produce more servings.
Adding all those veggies also really increases the HEALTHY factor, adding vitamins, minerals and fiber to the dish. Using oats instead of bread crumbs provides a healthier grain.