Thursday, March 6, 2014

Paleo Meatloaf by Amy Kubal

Sometimes it's nice to go back to basics.  As I get myself back into a swim schedule, I've had to become stricter with my meal planning and preparation.  This means no more leisurely mornings to make breakfasts and put lunch together.  I have to have breakfast and lunch for the next day ready to go before going to bed.   As I'm also having to go to bed much earlier, I really don't want to be in the kitchen every night of the week, even if it's making something quick, so I am preparing some main dishes that freeze well.  This brought me back to Amy Kubal, R.D.'s,  Paleo Meatloaf.  

When I first started working with Amy, she sent me a collection of easy paleo recipes.  Her meatloaf recipe was an instant favorite.  She has given me permission to share it with all of you. Thank you Amy!   

Almost all the ingredients for a single batch.
Here is the recipe: 

Amy Kubal's Paleo Meatloaf

2 lbs. Lean (93-96%) or Grass Fed Ground Beef
1 cup chopped onion, pepper, celery mix
1 cup frozen spinach
1 small can tomato paste
2 Eggs
2/3 cup ground flax seed (or almond flour)
Garlic powder, pepper, salt and spices of your choice


Mix all ingredients well.  Put into well oiled pan(s) and bake at 375 degrees for 1-2 hours depending on depth of pan.  If using muffin pan baking time will be less than 1 hour.

All of Amy's recipes are pretty short and sweet and require you to use your cooking intuition to fill in some blanks.  It's pretty hard to mess up meatloaf, so I was up to the challenge.   What's great about this recipe is that it doesn't require a lot of chopping.  

I made a double batch on the day I took pictures.  When I make a double batch, I love using my 13 quart stainless steel bowl.  Before I got this bowl, I struggled to mix things without making a mess in the largest mixing bowl I had.  I found my huge bowl at Sam's club for around $10 and it has made batch cooking so much easier.  It's amazing what having the right tools will do for your cooking experience even if it is just a huge bowl.   

I started by turning my oven on to preheat to 375 degrees and prepping the frozen spinach by squeezing the moisture out of it with my straining cloth.  

And then I had my first pause the stop watch moment.  The package of onion, pepper, and celery mix I had was freezer burnt.  When I dumped it on top of my meat it was more ice than vegetable.  Luckily, I had some fresh onion and red pepper on hand.  I chopped both and added a cup of each (double batch) to the bowl with the spinach and meat.  So much for not chopping, but that was my fault.  

Next up, I added the eggs.  I like to beat the eggs first so they are more easily and evenly mixed in that way, but you don't have to do so.    

These colors just look beautiful to me.  Yes.  I'm odd. 
Next up, I measured and added some almond flour and added the tomato paste to the bowl.  Does anyone else get tomato paste out of the can by opening both ends and letting it slide out?  I feel like I waste less when I do it this way (just don't cut your fingers on the lid).  

Amy leaves the seasonings up to you.  I added 2 tablespoons Italian herb seasoning, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1.5 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon ground pepper.  I hadn't made this in a while and was conservative with my seasoning, I could probably up them a bit.  Finally, its time to mix everything together.  I put a pair of latex gloves on and use my hands to get the mixture well combined.  

Instead of oiling my glass baking dishes, I lined them with foil.  I roughly divided my double batch into two and formed loaves.  

I just happened to have a partial can of tomato paste that I needed to use so I spread it in a thin layer over each of my meatloaves.  This isn't in the recipe, but I like the glazey crust it creates on top of the loaf.  

Here's the meatloaf right out of the oven.  It's not so pretty, but it gets better.  

I made a batch of cauliflower mash to serve with the meat loaf.  Here's my plate.  

A slightly different angle.  

Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients:  You should be able to find everything you need for this recipe at your "big box" grocery store except for maybe the almond flour.  You'll need to go to your more health minded store for that or order some on the internet.  

Preparation & Cooking Time:  It took me 16 minutes to prepare the loaves to bake (excluding the few minutes I took to chop up some substitute peppers and onion).  I baked them for 1 hour and 30 minutes.  
Clean Up:  Everything I used to make this dish went into the dishwasher.  When I removed the foil, the glass dishes were mainly clean, but I put them in the dishwasher anyway.  

The Paleo Review:  Thumbs Up!  As if that wasn't obvious that I love this dish.  

It's easy, tasty and freezes well.  I like to take a clean tomato sauce and pour a little on top sometimes.  I cut mine and froze it in 4 ounce portions.  I'll have healthy Amy Kubal approved meat ready to eat for weeks!   

If you don't have some frozen onion, pepper & celery mix on hand but do have fresh vegetables, it will work out fine.  I'd venture to say it would probably just work with any one of the three in that vegetable mix if that's all you had around.  One thing I have not done is make this recipe as meat muffins.  Maybe I'll do that next time.  

If you like this recipe from Amy, give her chili a try.  It rocks as well.  

Do you have a favorite paleo meatloaf recipe?