February 19, 2013
The fourth annual “Don’t Let your Meatloaf” party happened in my neighborhood this past weekend. It was the first time my husband and I had been invited to the event and I was terribly excited about going. A party geared towards cooking something? Right up my alley.
The rule was no garlic. Not sure the hows and whys of where this rule came about but I followed it. I was not going to be disqualified because of a rule like that…I was in it to win it! I had a meatloaf recipe that was pretty good, but this had to be the best. After all, I was going to write about the party and brag how much everyone loved my meatloaf. I practiced, I added and I tweaked. This was going to be amazing!
The time of the party arrived and I thought my meatloaf looked beautiful. I was very proud. First mistake of the evening…I didn’t try it. We arrived at the home of Judy and Steve and pictures were taken. The rules were explained to us on how to vote. Wow…this was really serious! Second mistake of the evening….I thought it was really serious. It was time to taste and vote but judging the meatloaves was proving to be a challenge because each award needed to be voted on individually and there were a lot of meatloaves! Vote first for best looking meatloaf and then go back through the line and flag all the bites taken and taste test. Third mistake of the evening….I thought I could win.
As instructed, we had to pick a first place winner, second place and third place, one for best looking and one for worst, all separate categories. Little did I know then how important this could be. We ate, we drank, we tallied, we drank, we turned our votes in and we drank some more. The waiting began for the results. (It’s very important to note at this time that everyone drank.)
The bell rang and the winners were announced. The first award given was for the worst tasting meatloaf. I wasn’t even paying attention…after all there was no way I was going to be in this category. I wasn’t paying attention…..until they called my name! WHAT?!?!?!?! They called my name…. the one who writes and cooks and shares my recipes received the worst tasting meatloaf?! Holy smokes…what just happened?! I think I might have died a little at that moment. All I could do was smile and accept my award with grace and as much dignity as I possibly could in such a boisterous crowd. (remember, I mentioned earlier everyone drank…I want to believe that may have influenced the voting!)
I do want to mention that they showed me the final results on the voting and I was actually one vote shy of tieing for first. I also placed in the second, and third category. That did help with the ego factor a bit, but I was still labeled the worst! But then I got to thinking, everyone messes up now and then, everyone makes something that someone doesn’t like….even professional chefs don’t always get it right. Right? Empowered with that knowledge, I realized that I could go on with life, despite a flawed entry, and my husband and I continued to have an extremely fun evening with a great group of people. I had the will and determination to make another meatloaf, and another 364 days to practice at it!
So just wait until next year’s “Don’t Let Your Meatloaf” party…. I’ll be ready for the big comeback. Just you wait!
THE WINNING MEATLOAF RECIPE by Lynn Fortunato Hodges!
2 lbs ground chuck mixed with two cans of Rotel (drained). Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Cover 1/2 of a large flour tortilla with sour cream and chive mashed potatoes. Slice meatloaf and place 4 slices on top of the potatoes. Sprinkle with a mixture of shredded Mexican cheese and frozen corn. Top each slice of meatloaf with another spoonful of mashed potatoes. Fold over the other half of the tortilla and place in a heated frypan with olive oil. Brown each side of the quesadilla. Serve with salsa and jalapeno as garnish.
Don’t let your meatloaf!
- 3 cups bread crumbs from a rustic bread, crust removed
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 2 lbs ground turkey
- 1/2 lb sweet italian pork sausage
- 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
- 1 cup Asiago cheese
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for brushing meatloaf
- 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a standard muffin tin with cooking spray.
Place the bread in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until the bread is in medium crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and add the milk. Set aside for 5 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the turkey, sausage, prosciutto, bread mixture, Asiago cheese, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Lightly combine the ingredients with your hands. Add the 3 tablespoons olive oil and the eggs. Stir lightly with a fork to combine.
Take a large palmful and fit into the prepared muffin tin. Brush each meatloaf with olive oil. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes at 400 degrees until the tops are browned and the centers are completely cooked.
Top each meatloaf with mashed potatoes, gravy and crispy shallots.