Sunday, August 14, 2016

Vegetable Meatloaf Recipe

Even as a "house wife/stay-at-home mom", I still find life to be pretty darn busy.  I cannot imagine what things would be like in our household if I were still working 50-60 hours OUTSIDE the home in an off-farm job.

I know, I know, I probably wouldn't be doing several of the extra curricular activities that I do.  However, I really enjoy many of the "perks" of working from home and being in that stay-at-home roll.  

I love that I can get a balanced lunch ready for my son in the morning before he gets on the bus.  I love that we can have some chat time in the morning for a pre-school pep talk (I think I usually need them more than he does).  I love that I am home when he gets off the bus and that we've developed a routine after school that gives him some down time, snack time, homework time, football (any sport) time, dinner time as a family (most of the year, anyway).


This is me before one of my "live" farmer chats to The Glass Barn at the Indiana State Fair.

However, as with any American family, we are busy.  It's been spring planting time, wheat harvest time, 4-H time, State Fair time, and now we are preparing for harvest time.  All the while all of this is going on, each of us in the family has our "things" that we do.

Since I've been out of town for a few days and missed the very first football practice of the season, tonight is my night to be the chauffeur for the evening.  I realized this morning that this is my only day this week that isn't filled with meetings, appointments in the evening, etc...just football.

Lots of things were supposed to get done today.  Like that laundry that's been laying over the recliner in the living room since late last week.  And the toilets that need scrubbed, again.  And all the dishes that didn't fit into the dishwasher.  Beds need turned, cars need washed on the outside and vacuumed on the inside to get the "pig poop" smell out from weeks of "fairing it".

I got my workout done.  Period.

A few phone call interruptions and The Farmer calling me to bring him lunch as he cleans out a fence row of brush and overgrown trees.  A second trip back home to get the chainsaw so that he can actually cut down one of the big ones.  And a stop to pick up freezer meat that we've had stowed away in an off sight freezer until we got more room in our deep freeze at home.  Needless to say, I didn't get nearly as far as I planned.

Because of the little hiccups in the day, I formulated my own "fortified" meatloaf recipe for tonight's dinner.  My goal:  make something that is packed with veggies, protein, flavor, and ease of preparation that the family won't be aware that it's a meatloaf that is actually GOOD for them.

We'll see how it works out.  It's currently in the crockpot, awaiting our 8:00PM-ish arrival for supper...I just can't send my kid to a 2 hour football practice on a full stomach.

Vegetable Meatloaf from Elaine the Soybean Farmer:
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup butternut squash, pureed
1/2 cup finely chopped artichokes, previously frozen
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet peppers
1/2 cup finely chopped spinach, previously frozen
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 slices of bread (I used gluten free on behalf of The Farmer)
1 larger egg
1 1/2 teas garlic powder
1 1/2 teas salt
1/2 teas ground black pepper
1/4 teas red pepper flakes

I placed all of the veggies in a food processor and pulsed until everything was finely chopped.  I did the same with the bread slices (they had been in the freezer for this very purpose, so they chopped up nicely in the processor).  Add all processed ingredients into a medium sized bowl.  Add the ground beef and the egg.  I prefer to mix meatloaf with my hands, so off go the rings, I wash my hands with soap and water to make sure they are extra clean and then I dive in!  Gently mix all the ingredients until everything is combined.  Then form a loaf with the mixture inside the crock.  Cover with lid, cook on low for 3-4 hours, then cook on high for 2 hours or until meatloaf is starting to brown.

I will be serving baked sweet potatoes with the meatloaf tonight since all the other bases are covered with the veggies that are included in the meatloaf.  A side salad would also be a great addition, but since it will be late when we are eating, we will not be over filling the bellies!

PS:  My son said this was "the best meatloaf you've ever made, mommy!" The Farmer said, "where's the mushrooms..."

I'm just glad it worked!!!  Give it a try!


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