Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Food for Thought: My Secret Love Affair with my Crockpot. (Post includes my Meatloaf Recipe!)

So, up until a year ago I hardly ever used a crockpot / slow cooker. My boyfriend had one. He would make what he called the "Man Meals" (I'll have to share some of those recipes another date, lol). I started finding recipes online and figuring out all the amazing things even on my own I could make in that sucker!
Due to opposite work schedules (he gets up at 2:45am and gets home around 4pm after picking up Little Miss from school. I get up at 4am and don't get home until after 6pm)  we were finding it hard to plan for meals. When I got home it was too late for him to eat and I was too tired to make anything of value that didn't involve the microwave or a frozen pizza! Thus began my love affair with my crockpot!

Here's an easy step-by-step recipe for my own meatloaf recipe!
I've had a lot of bad meatloaf over the years. Bless the person that made it but it seems to me its either dry, burnt, or tasteless in most cases! Ick.
This is a sure to be the best one you've ever had! Moist and full of flavor.

Ingredients for the Meatloaf & Bedding:
1 lb of ground beef
About 1/8 cup of bread crumbs
1 large egg
1/2 can diced tomatoes, drained*
(*Note: I use the kind with added green peppers & onions)
1/4 cup of ketchup
3 small round potatoes
2 large carrots
(you can also add additional chopped onion - I love onion, but we try to keep the 'onion breath' to a minimum so I only opt for the onion thats with my diced tomatoes)

Ingredients for the Topping:
1/8 cup of ketchup
1 full tbsp of brown sugar
1 tbsp of mustard
(you can also add any other seasonings you may like, such as a garlic & onion spice, etc.)

Also note: This size meatloaf feeds our little family perfectly, you can always increase as needed or as space in your slow cooker allows. :)

First: Mix in a bowl the ground beef, (drained) diced tomatoes, ketchup, egg, & bread crumbs.
I always mix it up with my hands, making sure everything is throughout the soon to be 'loaf'.

Second: (After washing my hands thoroughly) I spray the crockpot with cooking spray (bottom & sides) and begin dicing up my potatoes & carrots. I create a bedding on the bottom of the crockpot for the meatload to rest on. (They will also be eaten later!)

Third: I take my 'loaf mixture' from the bowl and begin forming it into the shape. (It will be moist but just imagine like you're forming a big, fat hamburger patty!) I carefully place the loaf ontop of the bedding and make sure the sides of the 'loaf' are not touching the crockpot.

Fourth: (Again, after washing my hands thoroughly, lol) I being to make my topping mixture. I blend together the above mentioned ingredients until smooth.

Lastly: With my spoon, I spread the topping mixture all over the meatloaf. Put the lid on and turn the pot on LOW. It takes approximately 7-8 hours depending on how big your meatloaf.

When complete and ready to serve, we use a large strainer spoon (like this --> here)
Thay way we don't get a plate full of the juices that are on the bottom.

I made this last week for dinner (it's one of the staples in my house, my boyfriend LOVES it) and was going to take a "done" picture when I got home but he had already devoured it!
Not a bad thing I suppose! :)

ETA: You can now view this recipe on Taste of Homes website!

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