Monday, October 13, 2008

Dinner tonight... Mini Honey-Mustard Meatloaves with Roasted Potatoes

When I was a child, the idea of eating meatloaf was truly repulsive to me. Despite my mom's best efforts to make what I'm sure was objectively a wonderful meatloaf, I just couldn't get excited about it. Maybe it was the word, "meatloaf." Maybe it was the fact that there was a rock star named Meatloaf. Whatever the case, I held firm to my anti-meatloaf bias until... March.

The March issue of
Everyday Food had an intriguing recipe for a complete meal that included mini-meatloaves. When I looked at the ingredients and realized that this particular meatloaf was really just a gussied-up cheeseburger (albeit with the cheese interspersed throughout and sans bun, I was sold. I also liked the idea that the meal included roasted potatoes instead of french fries (I am deathly afraid of frying anything in hot oil on the stove top, even though my mother is a pro at it) and that the potatoes and the mini-meatloaves cook simultaneously in the oven. Plus, if you line the baking sheets with tinfoil, clean-up is a snap.

The recipe includes panko, or Japanese breadcrumbs, and I've found that one package can be stretched quite a ways. I also think this would be a fun recipe to make with kids, for those who have little ones who like to help in the kitchen. They could mix up the ground beef, egg, cheese and panko, then mold the loaves into little football shapes and put them on one of the baking sheets. Or, they could be in charge of spreading the top of each mini loaf with a mixture of honey mustard and ketchup and then sprinkling shredded cheddar on each one. Kiddos could also help mix the potatoes and olive oil on the second baking sheet. Good times! Regardless, even in my kid-free kitchen, this has already become a standby.

I try to make sure to include a "real" vegetable with every meal. (Potatoes don't count.) Tonight, instead of serving a salad with the meal, I went with sliced mushrooms, sauteed in a little olive oil. Mr. Fritz isn't exactly a fan of the mushroom, but he indulges me by eating them when they find their way onto his plate. In return, even though I adore them, I try not to cook them too often. Is this what they mean when they say marriage is full of compromises? If so, I think we're off to a good start!

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