Hello Mr. Potato . . . Meet Loaf

Well . . . it certainly isn't the prettiest picture . . . but I'm not spending all day in photoshop. I've actually got things to do. If this goes viral, that'll just have to be the cross I'll bare.

Hello Mr. Potato . . . Meet Loaf.

1lb ground meat
1 egg
1/2 roma tomato
1/4 cup diced onions
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of leafy stuff (spinach/kale)
Italian bread crumb
Olive oil
Garlic salt

Meatloaf has a bit of a bad rap. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's not like it's suddenly good for you or anything, but it's always had sort of a blah reputation. I don't remember having it very much as a kid, if at all, so there's a good chance that my first experience with Meatloaf was "Bat Out of Hell"

That will be the last Meatloaf/meatloaf joke . . . probably.

Anyway, it has always seemed to me to be this doughy, bland, slice of stuff that people would put ketchup on. Is it weird that we would dip our fries in ketchup but not cover our baked potatoes with the stuff? Hmm?

So, I never considered meatloaf to be the kind of thing that I would cook, until my wife magically got pregnant and it was up to me to find foods that I could hide other foods inside of, so as not to gross her out, but still get as many vitamins and minerals to what is supposedly my baby boy.

Key to this plan was finding her favorite foods and then slipping in some heavy doses of protein and folic acid. Or in laymen's terms . . . Chicken and Spinach.

Knowing that she couldn't get enough meatballs in her system, I conned her mom into giving me her meatball recipe. (Actually I just asked, she was glad to hand it over). I don't care what religion you belong to, but if you haven't tried Giulia's meatballs, you will never actually get to experience heaven.

Same goes for her chicken cutlets, and well . . . who am I kidding . . . just about everything else.

The recipe isn't very complicated, but it does require a good supply of stale bread which I never seem to have on hand, so like with all her recipes that I steal and virtually maim, I cheat a little.

And add spinach where I think I can get away with it.

Of course my wife didn't fall for my ruse for one second, she's a smart cookie that one, but on my first attempt at her mom's meatballs, she deemed them worthy, if not outright delicious, and I was given a pass.

And then I got even lazier . . . so rather than rolling out the individual balls . . . I just rolled it into one big ball, popped it in the oven, and claimed that I had invented a new food.

My Meet Loaf was born.

And normally you can't have a side dish for meatloaf other than mashed potatoes, but I was in baked potato mood last night and all worked out fine.

Alrighty then . . . lets get to the how to's:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Fahrenheit.

The Potatoes:
Now if ever you are baking potatoes, you should know that they take a very long time. (Not really, but it feels like that sometimes. Russets are usually the way to go, for they have a thick skin and a flaky texture, but they have severe disadvantage to the weight conscience in that they absolutely require butter and sour cream. White Potatoes, however, have a soft creamy texture and you can get away with jus ta little salt and some olive oil. I've never tried that, cause nixing the sour cream is like betraying Jesus, but you know . . . where there's a will.

Okay, scrub you potatoes, place them on a sheet of aluminum foil, poke a bunch of holes in them with your knife or fork, drizzle a little olive oil, sprinkle some salt, cover 'em up in the foil, and place them on a baking sheet and into the oven they go.

Onto the Loaf . . . 
Spread your ingredients out on the counter, grab a pyrex baking dish (the little 6X4 one) and an over sized bowl.

Put all the ingredients in the bowl except for the Italian bread crumb. Spray a little cooking oil in the bottom of the pyrex dish.

Now you're ready for the fun part.

With one hand holding the breadcrumb tube, take the other hand and begin squeezing all the ingredients together until they make a gooey gloppy mess. Sprinkle the breadcrumb into the dish while still mashing up the goo. Do this until the goo starts to dry out and feel like a soft ball of meat flavored play-dough. Flatten it out a little bit, drop the mass onto the pyrex, and go wash your hand you filthy animal.

Place the dish in the oven an give it about 45 minutes to cook.

Squeeze the potatoes with an oven mitt. If they're soft, they're done. Cut the loaf in the middle, if it ain't pink, it's done.

Slice and serve.

You can adopt more of Giulia's recipe and add the stale bread too. Just cut the bread up into small chunks, rehydrate them with a little water, and then squeeze out the water like squeezing a sponge, chop the wet bread into even smaller chunks and add about 3/4 cup to the bowl before adding the Italian bread crumb. You also don't have to bother with the spinach/kale.

You can add a little more seasoning if you want. I sprinkle a little garlic salt in, but just a hint. Don't use fresh garlic for it will override all of the other flavors.

Also . . . and if you've chosen to go the bad-boy route, you can lay a couple of slices of thick bacon on top while it cooks. You won't regret it, but you'll have to confess to at least four out of the seven deadly sins.

A few cardinal ones too I think.

If you're concerned about the speed of cooking your potatoes, you can cut them in half lengthwise and wrap the halves individually. Quickens it up and makes the side dish a bit less of a gastro bomb.

Probably serves four.
Probably shouldn't concern yourself with the calories
Probably makes for an amazing sandwich the next day.
Probably pair it with a citrusy dry white wine (Viognier or Pinot Grigio)
Probably learn how to pronounce Viognier.

It's Vin-Yay!


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